Published by Briony
Warning! This work
contains adult content, which may include strong language and
sexually explicit scenes. If you consider these subject matters
offensive, please do not read any further. The people and events
depicted in this novel are fictional. Any similarity to past or
present events or any person living or dead is merely coincidental.
The characters depicted are all 18 and over.
The Past in the
Smith was a common name. Probably the commonest of all common names.
I told that to myself over and over again until actually believed
it. It couldn’t have been the James that I knew who was the boss
of this company.
didn’t have much choice, of course. I had gotten extremely lucky
just to get this job in the first place. Then, I had gotten even
luckier when they had kept me on through the merger. I was hoping
that my luck wouldn’t run out this time. And really, what were the
chances that I would be working for my asshole ex-boyfriend on the
opposite coast from where we had both lived?
walked into the office of my new company, wearing a brand new suit
that felt like a super hero’s outfit on me. I was underqualified
for this job, and nobody here seemed to know it. I was going to fake
my way through the day, then the rest of the week, and then as long
as I could through my career at Seaweather Solutions.
new building was so much better than my old office. The lobby was
like something out of an architect’s wet dream. Everything in the
atrium was metal and glass and greenery and so much air. It felt
like I hadn’t even gone inside a building, like I was still
outdoors. I half-expected a parrot to fly by. I felt like an
outsider as I stepped in, though I knew exactly where to go. I tried
not to look out of place as I walked past the front desk towards the
was an energy inside the office as I got shown to my new desk. It was
a kind of energy that I thrived on. I was a new guy, one of only five
to make it from my old office into Seaweather. And I was going to do
my best to make sure they hadn’t made the wrong choice.
new desk was clear that empty and full of new potential. A brand-new
computer sat in the middle of it, and nothing else. I decorated it
with what little I had – a calendar, a family picture in a frame,
and a small digital clock. I laid my planner on the flat surface, and
that was that. At the edge of the desk was a file organizer with
incoming and outgoing slots. A single piece of paper laid in incoming
section. I grabbed the memo and read it over.
Smith would be meeting with each new employee individually. There was
a timetable printed on the paper, with each person given a 30-minute
block with Mr. Smith. Even reading over the name sent strange shivers
through my stomach. It had been nearly 10 years since I had known
James, when we had still been in college. I reminded myself again
that there would be no way that the same James would cross my path
again. I was on the opposite side of the country now, and I hadn’t
seen him since our abrupt end so long ago. When was I going to get
was second on the list to meet with the boss, so I had just over
thirty minutes to orient myself. On the last day at my old job, I
had been given a binder with extensive instructions on duties and
expectations, so I already knew what was expected of me. I turned on
my computer and decided to get a bit of work done before I met with
Mr. Smith. It made the time pass more quickly.
arrived at Mr. Smith’s office door three minutes early. I decided
that was a good enough buffer to not seem too eager, but still
showing off my punctuality. I would be making my first impression,
after all. I knocked on the door, and got a “come in” from my
new boss. I took a deep breath and went inside.
looked down at the floor and stepped into the office. As I was
closing the door behind me, I looked up to see the face of my new
boss. The man sitting at the desk was both familiar and strange, and
my mind went into an immediate haze of shock. I didn’t know what
to say, or even what to do. All I could manage was to stand there,
my hand still on the door knob and my jaw hanging open.
looked up from his computer screen, and a look of disbelief washed
over him. He stood up slowly from his desk.
voice was incredulous, and a big smile formed on his face. It was
almost as big as my frown. Of course this was happening to me.
stood still at the door, frozen in indecision. I wanted to just walk
right out of the room. However, this was my new job, and it was a
big opportunity for my career. I couldn't just quit now. I could
handle James. I had to.
a long period of hesitation, I stepped into the room, determined to
keep things civil. I held my hand out from across his desk.
Smith," I said. I hoped that he would understand what I meant
by calling him that name. However, I had a feeling that he would
ignore my subtle hints.
he said again. He shook my hand, but he still had an incredulous
grin on his face. "I couldn't believe it was really you. I saw
your name, and I just knew."
been a long time," I said, annoyed that he was going into the
past, pretending like it was all okay.
you followed your dreams, then," James said. I gave him a
curious look, and he continued. "I mean, in college, you said
you wanted to become a developer. You told me all about it. In
fact, you inspired me to get into this field as well. You remember,
forced a smile for James. Of course I remembered. We had taken
classes together, but I had left him before he had gotten a job. I
hadn’t thought of the possibility that he would be in this field,
let alone the boss of a company that just bought mine out.
glad I had a positive effect on you," I said. There wasn’t
much enthusiasm behind my words.
how I wanted to rage. It was me who wanted to be in his position.
Of course, I remembered telling him every detail about where I saw
myself in the future. Now he was telling me he had latched onto my
dream and taken it for himself? A rage was starting to boil inside
of me. I just hoped this meeting was over soon before he annoyed me
you still angry at me?" he asked.
didn't seem fazed by any of this. It all happened almost ten years
ago, of course, but how could he act like it was just a far off
memory? Of course, he hadn't been the victim. It was far easier for
him to move on.
prefer we didn't speak about that," I said. "Let's just
keep our relationship professional."
actually seemed hurt by that suggestion. I don't know what he was
expecting from me, but he wasn't getting it. I looked back at him
with an unwavering gaze. He sank back into his chair.
understand," he said. He was trying to pretend he wasn't hurt.
But I had hurt him, and a part of me felt just a little bit of joy at
was looking at me with those same eyes, though. I had seen that look
from him, so many years ago. I had to look away. Starting a job at
a new company after nearly everyone else at my old job had been fired
was stressful enough. Now I was having to deal with an old lover
thrown in the mix. Somehow, this just didn’t seem fair.
you like to say something?” I asked. He had been staring for far
too long, and it was becoming unnerving.
sorry,” he said with a chuckle. “Please forgive me. This is all
just so strange.”
laughed humorlessly. Strange for him? He clearly had no idea how I
there something you needed to speak with me about? Something work
still had a far-off, dreamy look in his eyes. Each second that
passed made me less sure if I would be able to work with him. My
words finally snapped him back into reality, though. He straightened
up and looked down at the papers in front of him.
of course, Paul,” he said. He looked to be embarrassed by his
behavior. I was glad that he was showing some remorse, at least.