As I wiped the tears from my eyes, It became reality to me that I had become the centre of a joke.
Martin had not messaged me and Lizzie didn’t seem to pay any interest in how I was feeling. When I think of it as a joke, I mean I am the joke. I’ve fallen for bullshit yet again and I will always be that stupid naive girl that deep down wants some kind of miracle in love to happen.
I grew some balls and sent Martin a message on Facebook, heart pounding as usual – Plus the coffee. But once I had sent it I felt a little bit better. If he ignored it, then I would know for sure it was all bullshit and if he replied depending on his answer I could sweep this under the rug.
“You broke your promise Mart!”
It was a big deal for me, my lack of confidence and self belief paid a huge part in my depression and anxiety. I’ve struggled and still struggle to this day to not hate myself.
I spent a lot of my teenager years wishing I wasn’t me, and sometimes I look in the mirror and still wish that very same thing. My head is fucked and that will never change, I’ve always tried to love myself and as the years go on I don’t have the struggle I did when I was 18. But it still exists, and something simple as not feeling wanted by a man always plays a huge factor.
When I was in high school and I had a group of friends, I wasn’t the most popular one and for some reason I happened to be the target of bullying. Lads would call me names, sometimes would make the odd joke at the other girls in my circle but it was not like me.
I was fat, and an ugly panda because I wore black eyeline, so did everyone else. There was a day which I think plays a huge part in my trust with guys, the most popular guy in school. He was a dream but I didn’t have a crush on him, sure he was so good looking and had these piercing blue eyes. But I really didn’t think about boys back then, I was too busy dealing with my own head and worrying about who would pick on me today.
We were lined up outside science class and one of my friends decided to tell me that he liked me and wanted to go out with me, I knew straight away it was a joke and I persisted no. They kept pushing and convinced me in my own little mind that maybe, just maybe he did.
So I said yes, I stood in line looking away and I saw them approach him to tell him. I didn’t make any eye contact but listened to these words “Alex said yes she will go out with you.”
I heard him clearly, “What who’s Alex” – For a moment I knew I was pointed out and already I felt sick as I knew a loud no would roar. Instead I heard the words “Why would I go out with her, look at her she’s disgusting.”
I heard laughter and I tried to drown it out as we walked into class, I really did have to hold myself back from crying and in the background I could here him repeat what he said and make comments about my weight.
I would never forget that day, and never forget that my so called friends made me look like a fucking idiot. Best of it is, the girl who told him was fatter than me. Pot belly pig she was, yet she was so popular. So from then on I never trusted it when a guy told me he liked me or complimented me because I always thought it was part of a joke, let’s make the fat fucking panda look like fool.
“Sorry Alex, was out again yesterday am mega hungover and I’ve forgot the promise.”
Just like that, he forgot. The fact that he used going out the next day an excuse, I think he clearly must of remembered when he woke up on Saturday before going out again. But I totally get it, he played the compassionate male card.
I will listen to her speak, compliment her and take interest in everything she says and maybe I’ll get my leg over and a good shag. But he didn’t get to sleep with me and he never will.
What’s pissed me off the most is that he lied. I hate liars, I can easily forget what happened now I know the truth – You move on from wasting your time with pieces of dust you can just blow away, but he didn’t use honesty.
Is lying to play with someone’s head or to get a fuck still a trend? I thought the 3 date rule came back and people have their genitals on lock and key with a ten thousand digit code to allow the key to even go into the lock.
I feel embarrassed and ashamed that I read too much into it, I saw something bigger than what it was. He was drunk, I was a female within his company and it is what it is.
At least I don’t need to sweat my vagina off about whether or not a guy will message.
I kind of feel like Cameron Diaz in the Sweetest Thing, she’s totally into someone she met in a club but this time it’s real and Martin is a twat.
Monday morning came around too quickly and I found myself showering at the last minute and rushing to get my hair dry. I always wake up at the right time in the morning for work but I tend to just sit with a cup of tea watching the morning shows on the TV, before you know it I can’t be arsed to get up and end up with another cup of tea and half a dozen cigarettes.
I dried my hair and I wanted to look good today, which meant my eyes and my mirror needed to be nice to me. My make up actually looked good and I was rocking a rose pink lipstick, let’s do this.
Lizzie was already sitting at the desk logging into her emails and typing away smiling at the screen, I spotted Martin doing the exact same. – Were they talking about me?
A sense of paranoia hit me, and I slammed my arse down into my chair. I hated work more than ever today and I felt so uncomfortable, I even felt stupid for putting on a bit of lipstick. Like the whole room was judging me.
“Alex what’s wrong?” Lizzie asked me sounding unconcerned and asked me for the sake of it.
“Nothing, Mondays you know it’s just shit, this place is shit.”
“Yeah i know… So Martins been emailing me, he’s going back to second floor next week.”
“Ah is he now? Well I have to see Benjamin today…..”
“Holy shit really? He’s like one of the biggest bosses. Always sitting in that conference room the lot of them. Fuck knows what they actually do. I know sometimes I see him looking at us all, always judging our work load. But he is so sexy, like seriously.”
“Can’t say I remember his face, so many people here…. So I guess i’ll email him and see when he wants me?”
“I’d give anything Alex to have him want me, I’d break him.”
For what she is, I can’t really dislike Lizzie for very long. Her humour about sex and how carefree she is about it just enlightens me.
Her confidence oozes and she was also once a fat kid, which I think plays a huge part in the way she acts. Lizzie probably felt as shit as most of us people who struggle with our weight or the way we look and now she’s found a new attitude about her looks. So I can’t fault her for wanting to look good or wear certain things, I remember her saying she always has that scared feeling inside incase she ever went back to being over weight. I’ve noticed that she sometimes wouldn’t eat all day at work but pig out at home.
But I can’t justify her actions as the office slut and flirtatious ways.
Subject: Still want to see me?
So what time is best for our meeting?
Come see me now, I won’t be in my office. Conference room number 3 at the end, next to the one I’m usually in.
“Right Lizzie, he wants to see me now wish me luck.”
As I walked towards the end of the floor towards the ‘elite’ rooms as I like to call them, I could feel Martin look at me for a brief second and look straight back down. He knew exactly what had happened Friday but he has no reason to blank me. Let’s move forward, be friends or at least sociable because as an office regardless of how many floors, our floor is a lot less than the others.
We are with each other 5 days a week and everyone knows one another’s business. In face one girl told her team leader she was pregnant before even telling her husband.
The conference rooms were sleek, glass doors and glass windows looking out into the rest of the world. Each chair was situated around the desks perfectly, conference room 3 where I’d be seeing Ben was a little smaller and ideal for just a few people to have chat.
His usual room with the rest of the bosses had it all. Faster internet, comfier chairs, air con. It was a relaxed room but always looked a scary room to be in.
Sometimes when you walk past you could feel the eyes of a few bosses just glare, as if they are thinking they should sack you. But you kind of always feel like that when your up against the higher uppers as I like to call them.
Ben saw me approach and nodded me in without knocking, I sat awkwardly straight on one if the chairs with my arms on my lap. The table was too cold for my arms to rest and I didn’t want to seem like I was a slop.
What surprised me was that Ben was gorgeous, Lizzie was right. Sometimes her taste was a little off but most of the time she did know a good man when she saw one.
He had green eyes and dark hair, short but some how slicked back. His shirt was white, cliche but no tie and a grey jacket and trousers to compliment.
“Morning Alex, thanks for coming. How are you doing?”
“Well, It’s Monday and my team leader isn’t here today so I feel great.”
“It’s win win then, so have you give any thought about what I have proposed?” He smiled and sat back relaxed, which made me relax and put my arms on the freezing table.
“Yeah and I stand by what I said. I don’t want the job.”
“Before you even say it Alex, Lizzie is not perfect for the job so I don’t want any of that horse shit here. What I want is a good worker that knows her stuff which is you, and I know you hate this place. I know your job sucks and it’s not exciting but you do it well, which is why I think you are ready for another challenge. All the other applicants don’t know shit about working hard and they think something like this is just an easy way to the top for them. But it’s not.”
I couldn’t help but watch his lips move as he spoke, his eyes looked at my eyes looking at his lips.
Why me? What makes me good enough for this job, because I sure as hell won’t take any shit or slave work. I won’t be running up and down photocopying or getting lunches for the stuck up twats next door. So what did this job really entail.
“Will I fetching coffee all pissing day because that’s not me.”
Ben let out a laugh, I looked at the glass door and a few of the office workers looked my way and started to talk. I could imagine it now, ‘why is Alex in the office with Ben?’
“No Alex, you’ll be taking calls for me sometimes, sitting in meetings with us most of the day, taking notes, dealing with my emails. You’ll have a new work email, sometimes I might ask you to come on trips as mentioned, new phone and laptop. We will treat you well.”
“It’s kind of hard for me to imagine myself as your PA. I’ll be so out of touch with the people here, I’d be judged and talked about. What do i tell Lizzie.”
“Why do you care what people think and most certainly Lizzie, she is like the rest of them here. Out for themselves and you need to start thinking the same by stepping up. Stop letting people get ahead of you. We noticed that you suggested if need Lizzie to be the one that goes to the second floor if they needed someone to train or another pair of hands why?”
“Because I want her to succeed. I think she deserves it.”
Ben looked at me with confusion, the last time I saw that face was when I tried to explain to my mother that I wanted to move to America and do acting, and that it would cost me around twenty five grand. I could never read the frowning and confused look on people, which is why it worked so well. It always opened up the question ‘What?’
“Don’t you also think you deserve to succeed, your productivity numbers are exceptional. You could spend an hour pissing around doing nothing and still manage to come out on top. Please Alex, it’s not just me here who agrees you would be great for our team.”
“It’s because I’m ugly isn’t it, let’s be honest. Lizzie won’t get hired because everyone will want to fuck her just like you so by hiring me, boring Alex with nothing about her. Your jobs become easier.”
The room fell silent, I was pretty sure I only said that in my head but for some reason I had this urge to just say it. Knowing I would make myself look like an idiot and I don’t know, get sacked for accusing the directors and partners of wanting to fuck other members of staff.
Sometimes I really don’t understand my own mind, what if I am mentally ill. I must be, only someone crazy would shout shit out like that. You know them ones you see on the street talking to themselves and randomly tell you that your going to die, how many times have they been right?
“I’m a little lost for words, so I’ll try and forget what you’ve just said and that I am a little concerned to as why you talk about Lizzie an awful lot.”
“Because she’s better than me, at everything. I sit next to competition everyday and I’ll never compare to her. She gets given responsibility from team leaders and floor managers and I’ve never been given any of that.”
“Having responsibility from half of those twats out there isn’t something to brag about, stop comparing yourself to other people especially her.” Ben said firmly.
“Well, I it would be nice to be given a chance. I don’t mean to talk about her as much as I do, I love her to bits even though it doesn’t sound like it but I feel like I need to make sure she does well otherwise I feel bad.”
“Okay Alex, here is what I will say. I am one of the directors here, do you really think, and I mean think about this. That I would be sitting here with you, asking you to work in our team. I want you, we want you that bad I will quite happily beg in the middle of the floor for all to see and I very much doubt you would want to see me embarrass myself like that.”
“I wouldn’t mind seeing that though, so you may have to beg.”
Ben laughed and I laughed with him, I felt happy. Unusually happy, I mean I’ve never sat with a boss like this before talking about how I feel. Is that suppose to happen, is that how you create positive morale by being an ear for your employees. I’ve been wanting to tell someone like a team leader the way I felt for a long time but everyone was tightly knit that I knew my words would spread like the plague.
He listened, understood and reassured me and he wasn’t even drunk.
“Does this mean you will take my offer? I can always just give you little things to do before fully committing. So you can stay put for now and will move things slowly, let you adjust. Being a PA isn’t an easy job.”
“I guess I am saying yes… If I don’t like it though, can I just go back to what I’m doing now?”
“I’m pretty sure it won’t come to that but sure. I don’t want to be rude but I have a meeting and so I will email you and we’ll keep in touch.”
We both got up and he shook my hand, my palms were so sweaty I am pretty sure that he pulled that face of disgust. He opened the door for me like a true gentleman and said goodbye, people stared as I walked back to my desk and clearly some had already had a good gossip about me.
For once I was the talk of the floor and it wasn’t me trying to get in on people’s shit.
Lizzie smiled and Martin for some reason had decided to join us on our row of desks to work. I don’t see why but my guess is to get closer to Lizzie so they can go about their day
Ben’s eyes would not be forgotten and I found myself feeling a little excited in working with him and the rest of the big ones.
It was going to be scary and out of my comfort zone, I’m pretty sure the CEO’s have their own jargon and talk about the stock markets or some other bullshit. Oh look at me and my new tie, look at the stock market I invested in, it’s down.
The only only thing I wasn’t looking forward to was people knowing about my new venture, I could hear the voices now ‘She doesn’t deserve that job’
When a chance comes along, the correct advice is to take it. Eat it up and if you fail, fuck it. More doors will open.
Which is exactly what I am going to do, the people I see more times a year piss me off. I dislike most folk here, I am the works shadow. I am the shadow of the world If I really did have to compare but this time, I don’t want to be.
Seriously, I’ve just been offered a new job that’s a little scary and I don’t know what the hell I will be doing but me, Alex the panda will be important. So eat that up with your cheap ass ice cream and no chocolate sauce.
“So.. Are you going to say what it was all about?” Lizzie wanted to know because I think deep down she may of gotten an idea that it was all good news.
“You are looking at Ben’s new PA. He offered, I accepted.”
And just like that, I shut her up. I shocked Martin who looked like he had just taken the biggest shit of his life and was about to take photo’s for world record proof.
I smiled and didn’t stop, but not only because I finally felt like I owned myself. but an email from Ben had popped up.
Subject: Welcome aboard
Coffee, milk no sugar. Also what would you recommend for lunch? Just kidding 🙂
Your are really helping me out, so I cannot thank you enough for this. I will be in touch during the week and you can meet the rest of the partners and directors, I know you are my PA but just to let you know from time to time the other guys might need assistance when they are at this branch as most of their PA’s are back at home or wherever they are needed.
Will meet with you in the week and keep in touch via email, I’ll get everything set up for you.
(Don’t doubt yourself, I believe in you!)
And with one encouraging email, made my day. My job behind a desk with a bunch of idiots is over, my new job sitting behind a desk with an over paid boss with the most precious eyes and arse and everything else is about to begin.
“I applied for that job and not one bastard here has even given me a response. I am happy for you but how bloody rude.”
“Agreed Lizzie.”- Martin decided to pipe up and have his opinion, his stance and attitude around me was uncomfortable and I almost felt as though I had just made two enemies.
“I wasn’t expecting it guys, I thought I was getting the sack… Maybe you could email HR and see why the never got to respond.”
“Well Alex, I hope you enjoy your new job and leaving us lot here. What will I do without my bitch?”
“Aww Liz, don’t worry maybe I can put in a good word for you if anything else ever popped up.”
Lizzie smiles and said thanks, she looked at Martin who clearly has been on her side from day one. I didn’t expect a party but I really did think they would be happier for me, not so much Martin as I know he’s not really arsed about anything but himself.
I can’t believe I had a crush on him, I look at him now and I think what a prick. If he really doesn’t remember anything about that night then I am kind of glad. I’m so over that shit, him and Lizzie make the perfect vindictive couple if she wasn’t married.
The rest of the week went so slow, I checked my emails constantly to see if I will be leaving this crappy desk job. Lizzie could tell I was eager to leave, which didn’t make my mood any better with her distant attitude towards me and her coffee breaks alone. I felt as though I had done something wrong but for the first time since working here, I am actually looking out for my own interests. I really want to smooth things over or do something with this tension, I don’t want her to hate me. Who would I turn to if things went wrong? Friends pick each other up like the many of times I’ve had to listen to her marriage problems and how they have split up and five hours later they are okay again.
“Lizzie are you pissed off with me?”
“You’re being really off with me and I aren’t paranoid…. Please be honest with me.”
“Just a little annoyed I didn’t get that job, and you keep sitting all smug about it. Plus shit with David.” – She looked at me with sad eyes but still managed to look angry at me.
“Mate, I aren’t smug I just feel happy for once you know the shit I’ve put up with here. Why not tell me about David, I’m here always. Whats going on?”
As she looked at me tears streamed down her face and I could tell she didn’t want to cry. Her face turned to the computer so nobody could see her cry and she wiped away little specks of mascara from under her eyes.
“I’m so sorry Alex I am such a bitch, I hate myself for being like this.. Oh its all going wrong. Someone messaged David with a fake account and told him I had been sleeping around at work. It took me ages to convince him that it wasn’t true. No way was I going to tell him, It would tear us apart. I have made such a fucking mess of things I don’t like feeling happy about being here and enjoying the attention, I hate that I don’t feel guilty. It’s just I’ve been with David since we were teenagers and this Is my first real job as a mother and working with people. I am making friends and he doesn’t like it. Its a mess.. I just don’t know what to do anymore.”
I looked at her for a second, I felt so much guilt inside of me for judging her the way I have. Of course she’s going to feel happy that she’s not stuck at home all day with a child. She is free and earning money liker her husband, Lizzie has a place in society again.
But I can’t feel sympathy for the cheating because no matter how unhappy you are with the person you love, hurting them Is never the answer. Self destruction is never the answer.
I want to hug her but people would know something was wrong, and Lizzie doesn’t like to be the one that cries on the floor – A bit like me, hard as nails on the surface.
I can only offer her support and advice the best way I can, though most of the time I feel like I never make a difference. I don’t have kids and I am not married, I’ve never experienced those difficult times within a marriage and lack of confidence that some parents have after giving birth.
“Shit who could it be, it must be someone that works here to know about the stuff that’s happened. Never feel bad about being happy, your making money. Working hard and earning your way, David should be proud. He’s probably finding it hard because he’s a man, they like to be the ones that can afford everything for their wives and don’t forget he’s probably gotten used to you being at home with your daughter. But you’ve been here a while now so he shouldn’t still feel like that but then I don’t know it must feel at all.”
“Your right Alex, he just doesn’t get that I like to enjoy myself. If I talk to him it just turns into an argument and we just go round in circles. As for the fuckers that messaged him, I will find out who it is. I feel even more shit for treating you like this, how about just me and you have a few drinks on Friday. It’s always a laugh with just us.”
“I can always snoop around see if i hear anything about it, I can agree with drinks as long as you buy me one but you have to promise to sit down with David and make things okay.”
“I promise. I love you my boo boo.” – Lizzie hugged me and we laughed feeling a little better about everything. Though her problems haven’t gone away, a good talk and a hug always works.
I know when Friday comes it won’t be just me and her at the pub, someone will hear the word drinks and tag along. Which I don’t mind because it will probably be my last one for while.
Though I really was hoping to just sit in the dark at home with pizza and beer, stroking my cat.
The email I had been waiting for had finally arrived, was this job really any better than this? I would still be working under the corporate arse holes and have to do whatever they tell me. What for extra pay and some new gadgets. Though I won’t have to deal with floor managers or team leaders, which was never actually fun. They are the people that cause you to lose your self worth, half of them don’t know the job you actually do in hand but they know how to fucking boss you around and give you grief if a mistake comes back.
No more fake team parties for peoples birthday or the Christmas do where I have to pretend I like my team leader and put up with the other people in the team that I don’t even speak to.
Not forgetting, I won’t need to give money towards gifts because let’s be honest here. We don’t want to spend money on those we barely know, even if you do share a lot with your co workers, our money is ours only. Store bought cakes and a few sweets to go around is enough.
Subject: Thursday meeting
Hello Alex, can you pop into the conference room Thursday morning. No need to sit down just come straight to me. You might be with us up until after lunch, maybe all day. I will be going through your new contract and some things that I want to show you about the job itself.
A few of the directors will be in the room as well but take no notice of them as they will be in an out probably taking calls. All the other rooms seem to be busy for training but I thought it would be nice for you to meet them anyway.
If you could possibly dress a little bit smarter. I know the office is smart/casual but we like to make sure we are professional at all times, especially if we need to head out for meetings during lunch.
I won’t be here now until Thursday but you can email me any time with any questions.
Friday, I’d like you to join me in a meeting downstairs (The conference rooms on the ground floor) they are potential investors for us to be able to branch in the U.S which will lead to more partners but more will be discussed about this on Thursday.
Enjoy the rest of your week and I look forward to seeing you soon
(Wear your hair down.)