The beginning of a new work week had come, and Nikki was absolutely determined to avoid Brooke. She managed well for most of the day, even getting her own lunch. At the end of the day however, Brooke confronted Nikki with some documents. Nikki, forced to look up, smiled and continued on as if nothing had happened. Nikki quickly told Brooke to take off early, that she would handle the work.
Nikki took off her jacket and threw it across the seat of the car. She was just getting in.
“Nikki, come on, we need to talk,” came a voice from behind her.
Nikki didn’t turn around or even move. “Brooke…I….I can’t…”
Brooke was persistent. “We have to deal with this…I have to know…”
Nikki turned around, hunched. Her face was pale from the strain and her face stained with tears from her recent actions. This shocked Brooke, who was not used to seeing her boss as anything other than strong.
Nikki choked back tears. “Brooke…I am so sorry about that night,” she gushed out, trembling. “I was such a pig. I have never done anything as degrading as what I did to you,” now, her tears flowed unchecked.
“Nikki…it’s okay. If I hadn’t wanted it to happen, I would have resisted. But, I didn’t,” she said with a weak smile.
Nikki leaned against the car, not wanting to hear Brooke’s excuses for her guilt.
Brooke continued. “Nikki, I admire your confidence, your strength, the way you take everything in stride. You can be so charming. I find that all attractive. God, Nikki, you are the sexiest woman and I can’t help having feelings for you.”
“Brooke, no, stop it,” yelled Nikki.
“No…I know you are my boss, and that is why I am being honest with you. I think you may feel something for me,” she said, hopefully.
“Brooke…no. You work for me. We can’t mix business and pleasure,” she paused to look at Brooke. “It just doesn’t work.”
“We will try,” Brooke said.
“No,” said Nikki firmly.
“Why not?” Brooke whined.
Nikki took a breath and answered. “Because I don’t want to. I can’t run a company, deal with my father, and raise you all at the same time.”
Brooke’s eyes flared. “Just what is that supposed to mean?” she asked.
The knot in Nikki’s stomach was tightening. “You are 22. You should be out seeing people your own age. Having a crush on your boss will not get you up the corporate ladder any quicker. Go find someone else, I don’t have the time,” Nikki caught a breath, and watched Brooke’s face change to pale.
“Nikki,” whined Brooke, “you can’t…”
Nikki slammed the door to her car and squared off. “Brooke, just leave me alone. I told you, I don’t have time for this…find someone else to screw if that is how you want to get up the ladder.”
Brooke slapped Nikki and ran off.
The next morning came and Nikki took forever to dress. She was afraid to look in the mirror; she liked what she saw less and less every time she looked there. There was a mark left on her cheek from the night before which reminded her of her shameful actions. She eventually got to her office and found an envelope addressed to her.
She sunk into her chair, and read Brooke’s resignation over and over again. It simply would not sink in. She finally folded it back up and slipped it into her desk drawer.
It was two day’s after Brooke was gone that James finally found out about it and confronted his daughter.
“So, when were you going to tell me, Nicole?” he demanded.
Nikki’s head was already aching like it had the last few days and she was in no mood for one of her father’s tirades.
“Well?” he demanded louder.
“Dad, it was none of your business. She was my PA, so just butt out,” she shot back.
Veins were starting to show in his neck. “You have no idea how valuable to the company she is, do you?”
“Yeah I do James. And, if I didn’t, you sure do a damn good job of rubbing it in my face,” she bit back.
“Of for God’s sake, Nicole, grow up. You are not a child anymore. Business is business. I have no time for petty jealousy.”
Nikki stood up, and grabbed herself a drink, turning her back on her father, waiting for the usual speech.
“I am so disappointed,” he said.
Nikki snapped, “Yeah? Well tell me something I don’t know, in fact, why don’t you tell someone who cares. I don’t give a shit anymore,” she said, and then drained her drink.
James moved to stand in her line of sight, and raised his forefinger in a threatening gesture. “Don’t make me do something you’ll regret, Nicole,” he threatened.
Nikki, emboldened, matched his tone. “Go ahead…do it…I dare you James,” she replied growling.
James backed down from his bluff, his look softening. He stood down and straightened himself out. Then he spoke in a much softer tone,
“Nicole she is the next generation of this company, you and I both know it. I don’t care what you have to do, just get her back,” he said.
James left, slamming the door in frustration. Nikki, in a fit of rage, picked up her coffee mug and threw it against the door, shattering it. She then slumped into her chair, lowering her face into her hands, crying.