I looked at Boss from over my cubicle wall as he passed by and he winked at me. We hadn’t shared the news of us dating in the office, and we weren’t planning on it, so this was a stealth wink. Unfortunately, coworker Sandy was standing next to me and when my cheeks reddened, she raised her eyebrows at me. “What was that about?” she asked, ready for gossip.
“Nothing,” I muttered. “I was…nothing.”
The truth was, I didn’t want anyone to know in the office because I didn’t know if I wanted to stay at the office, and I didn’t know if I wanted to stay with Boss. I’d been looking at culinary schools, like he’d suggested. He was great and supportive and wonderful, and I think that might be the direction my life is headed, if I can get it together enough to apply to them and get loans and quit my job. Boss is a wonderful, loving, handsome, perfect boyfriend. So why don’t I feel what I thought I would?
“It didn’t look like nothing to me,” Sandy said.
“It’s just that I’m not sure about things,” I said.
“Life, that sort of stuff. Job stuff.”
“Like?” she prodded.
“Like, did you ever get everything you wanted, only it turned out that it didn’t feel like what you thought it would?” I asked her.
“Did you get a raise?” she said excitedly. “Is that what this is about?”
“Uh,” I said.
“Because if you got a raise, then I’m going to get one! I’ve gotten more contracts this month than anyone! Oh, this is great! I’ve been waiting to redo our kitchen, so this would be perfect timing.” Sandy continued talking about cabinets and stoves, and I couldn’t correct her. My mind drifted to Ian’s letter, of how I’d hidden it from Boss, of how guilty I felt reading it because it made me so happy. It made me so happy I couldn’t write him back and make it all real. We weren’t together, we’d never be together, and there was no future for us. I had what I wanted, anyway. Didn’t I?
“I’m going to talk to Boss this afternoon about my raise!” Sandy said, interrupting my thoughts.
“Wait, what?” I asked her. “I…didn’t get a raise.” I said.
“Really? Would you be willing to show me your paystub online and compare? Because I bet you make more than me. I’d hate to find out Boss was giving you preferential treatment for some reason,” Sandy said, and I thought, Oh no.