Back at my desk, I am having a quiet afternoon at my desk, listening to some music as I type up some reports when I am startled by the sound of my office door slam. Papers ruffle and the partition walls shake slightly as I hear the sound of the ‘plop’ of someone’s behind in my guest chair a few nanoseconds before I look up to see what is going on.
I tap at my computer to turn the music volume down and look up to see a very furious Ciku staring at me from across her desk.
“What was that you went to tell Chris?!” she fumes, sparks flying from her eyes so hard I think she’s about to set my desk on fire with the force of her fury.
“What do you mean?” I shake my head, puzzled.
“He just called me into his office to lecture me ati oh, I should stop treating you mean ati oh, he doesn’t have feelings for me. What did you tell him?!”
“What?? When??” I yelp, racking my brain furiously. As far as I can remember, I haven’t mentioned…- and then it all comes back into mind, my lunch time conversation with Chris.
Oh no. Did he already have that conversation with Ciku? How tactless was he to make it obvious that I had snitched? But worse still, how am I going to continue to work with such naked animosity between me and her? And how will I fix this situation right now?
The look on my face must reflect my sudden cognizance of what’s going on, because Ciku nods her head and points an angry finger at me, the venom still spitting from her eyes. “Yes, it was you!” she says. “Let me tell you something. I don’t care what’s going on between you and him-,”
“What, me? Nothing!” I interrupt, but she’s in full flow and completely unstoppable.
“-but you will not drag me into this! I see how you sneak in and out of his office-,”
“I do not!”
“-and if you keep putting me in the middle of your issues I will take it to HR! Everyone knows you are his girlfriend! Everyone!”
“-What?? No! I am not!”
“You can’t even hide it!” she’s shouting now, enough for everyone on the floor to hear us despite the fact that my door is closed. “You two are having an affair and everyone knows it! That’s why you keep getting special favours! No one has any respect for you here, no one! You got where you are on your back and without him you are nothing!”
And then she stands up, stomps off, pulls my door open with all the energy she can muster and stomps all the way to her desk, leaving me with my jaw open in shock. This is the first I have heard of the alleged affair between me and Chris. And to think that everyone in the company thinks so? No wonder we were getting such funny looks at lunch. And worse, no one here thinks that I am a capable marketing manager, and that I am only in my position because of him? Have they all forgotten that I was appointed before he was hired? Or is everyone just happy to believe the rumour no matter what the truth is?
I sigh heavily and pick up my extension to call Chris. “Whatever you told Ciku, it absolutely backfired,” I tell him, trying to keep my tone even and the upset out of my voice.
“What do you mean?” he says. “Come into my office and tell me what’s happened.”
“No, that’s not a good idea,” I say. “Apparently everyone thinks we are having a raging affair. Perhaps it’s best if we don’t hang out together in private.”
“Tsk,” he says, and then, “listen, let me deal with this.” And then he hangs up. I, on the other hand, decide that this is a good time to leave the office and go home to lick my wounds. And so I pack up and exit my office into the hallway, where people fall silent as I walk past, as if I am the local pariah.