In his freshest, gray, hand-tailored suit, Jerome sat in the reception area of Prime Consulting and waited. He pushed persistent thoughts of Michaela away and reviewed his perfectly rehearsed talking points. He'd been out of work for the last three months after a mass layoff at Brooks & Baker and although his severance was far from expired, Jerome was a man that liked to work. Idle hands were not his thing. This was his second interview at Prime, this time with the Senior Vice President of Sales. He'd done his homework and was ready to crush this final interview, just like he did in the first round. Jerome was a man who knew what he wanted in life and never had problems conquering.
"Mr. Davis?" the receptionist called in his direction.
"Yes," he replied in a smooth tone.
"Mrs. Anderson is ready for you, now. You may go in."
Mrs. Anderson. The thought of a female boss excited Jerome. She would be his first. He attempted to push those thoughts away as well. With one final deep breath, he stood, straightened his tie and carried his endless corporate swagger towards the large mahogany door, the only thing separating him from the next rung on his career ladder.
When he entered, she was on the phone.
She raised one finger in his direction and mouthed, "Sorry".
Jerome did his best to control his face, to quell any visual expression of his perplexed mind that was currently scrambling to make some sense out of what he saw before him.
What the fuck was Michaela doing seated behind that desk? Was this some sort of joke? This wasn't funny. This was his livelihood she was playing with. Was Michaela's last name Anderson? Fuck, they agreed: No last names. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. What was happening here?
Michaela was dressed in an off-white pantsuit. She looked older. She looked sexier. She looked professional and fine as fuck.
"Okay, Dave. I'll see you at three...alright...it's my pleasure...have a good morning...bye, now."
She hung up.
"Michaela, what the hell are you doing here?"
"Excuse me? I prefer Mrs. Anderson in this space."
"You're Mrs. Anderson?"
"Senior Vice President of Sales at Prime Consulting?"
"And you didn't think this was information you should share with me?"
"You never asked."
Jerome rolled his eyes.
"Besides," she continued, "We agreed: No last names, no details, personal or professional, remember?"
"Yeah, but I told you I had an interview here, today."
"Guess you slipped up."
Jerome could feel his corporate swagger leaking out of his pores. He felt the pang of an emotional beating in his heart as well but that emotion he consciously decided to ignore.
"You brought your resume, I presume?" she asked.
Jerome slid a folder across Mrs. Anderson's thick, expensive-looking desk. In it contained two copies of his resume, a cover letter, three professional and one personal reference. More information about himself than he ever dreamed he'd share with Michaela.
"Please, have a seat," she said.
She opened the folder and looked over the documents, barely blinking.
He cleared his throat, "Thank you."
"So, why Prime Consulting?" she asked.
He cracked a sly smile and licked his lips.
"Michaela, are we really going to do this?"
She looked too damn good in that suit. Jerome knew he'd never be able to focus, would never be able to take the woman he was bending over just hours ago seriously as his boss.
"It's Mrs. Anderson in here. Please, don't make me repeat myself."
Her face was stone-cold.
Jerome realized that he just might have to take her seriously after all. His sexual and professional desires battling it out between his legs. He crossed his left over his right knee and told his dick to relax. Time to focus.
"I apologize," he said, looking away from her.
"Now, tell me about your duties at Brooks & Baker."
She played with her necklace and held his gaze.
It was in this moment that Jerome first noticed the massive rock balancing on her left hand's ring finger.
"You're married!?" he yelled.
"Mr. Davis, if you can't control yourself..."
"Nah, fuck that, Michaela. You never told me you were married!"
"Remember the rules, Jerome. No details, personal or professional."
He huffed and puffed three shallow breaths until he managed one deep one. He uncrossed his left leg then crossed his right over his left knee. He adjusted his tie and tried to match Mrs. Anderson's casual gaze, tried to relax his own. The emotional pang in his heart spread throughout his chest but again, he consciously ignored it.
Another deep breath.
"At Brooks & Baker I supervised a team of forty, managing over seventy-five multi-million dollar accounts."
"Yes, I know."
"Think you can handle one hundred accounts?"
"I can handle a lot of things, Mrs. Anderson."
"Yes, we'll see about that."