Sacrifice and reward
When I went into the office the following week, Mr. N told me to watch my behavior because people watched and talked. I figured he was referring to Stuart and me, but people must have also seen Mr. N touching me, so why wouldn’t HE be careful with HIS behavior? My blood boiled, and I told him I didn’t have to care about what people thought because I had done nothing wrong, and they should have minded their own business. He must have thought he was protecting me when he told me to go home with him after the office party. How delusional.
When I stepped out of Mr. N’s office, my eyes met with Lila’s. She was an operations manager who looked like a middle-aged Britney Spears. She was one of those “women of Mr. N” who succeeded under his “mentoring,” though I wasn’t sure if he ever touched her, too. Now they wouldn’t even European kiss. Lila and I hated each others’ guts, though she was the only one who made the resentment visible. I mumbled under my breath, “I’m sure you talk, Lila.”
I was almost there making Stuart mine. We chatted every day, but without romantic progress. Our language escalated to sexually suggestive ones, and I even set him photos. But he’d still go on about how his last relationship was still bothering him, so I finally threw my hands up and told him he could keep grumbling about that as long as he wanted, but I was done and ready to move on. He then told me he had bought new pillows for my visit over the new year’s. I was over the moon and booked a flight to London. It cost me 500 euros, double or triple the early bird booking price, but I didn’t doubt the relationship with Stuart was worth the efforts, energy, time, and money I invested into it. Not just yet.