First Date

A few days later, Tyson took me on our first official date as a couple. Our first date was quite tumultuous in a good way.  The date was casual. He wore a collared white shirt with a red sweater and jeans and sneakers. I wore a yellow striped dress with sandals.

We picnicked in the Boston Public Garden on a Saturday afternoon.Tyson bought us sandwiches, cheeses and grapes and a bottle of wine from Delucca’s Market. It was a warm sunny day. The flowers were in full bloom. The park was not too crowded so we had enough privacy. We picked a nice spot where we could watch the ducks floating in the pond. We spread the food out and sat down on the blanket with my back laid against his chest.

Image via [beingtazim.com]

We mutually avoided any conversations about JLS. Instead we talked about our individual goals. I talked about how I want to eventually write and publish a book and how he wants to eventually start his own business running a fitness center. We talked about things we want to do on our bucket list like ride elephants or swim with dolphins and where we wanted to travel. He told me about his recent trip to Florida to go see some football game with his friends.  I found the more I talked to him and got to know him, the more I liked him. Also the fact that he listens to me.

Photo of swans in Boston's Public Garden

 

We were enjoying a lovely peaceful picnic with me feeding a few grapes into Tyson’s mouth. All of a sudden, we both felt drops of water falling on our heads and shoulders. We suddenly realize rain started to pour and it was coming down hard. We immediately packed up and ran underneath one of the trees with low branches large enough to shelter us from the rain. Noticing my clothes were completely drenched, Tyson wrapped his jacket around me. I started giggling.

“What is it?” Tyson asked looking confused.

“It’s just whenever it rains, something happens between us. Like that rainy night when you came to my apartment and broke out of your shell and apologized and we became friends.”

“Oh yeah,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. I wiped off some spouts of water from his face with my hand. He then took off my hand and kissed it softly, making my heart skip a beat. Tyson soon pulled me closer to him and he leaned down towards me and we kissed.  And I don’t want to sound cheesy. But when we kissed, I felt some sense of electric spark and passion between us. At the same time, the kiss was gentle, soft and warm like a fuzzy comfortable sweater. I wrapped my arms around his neck and we continued to kiss, not minding the rain falling all around us. We eventually pulled away and he brushed aside strands of my hair off my cheek, leaving me breathless.

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Father and Son

First of all, let me just say that Mrs. Knightley’s meat lasagna is delicious. Her lasagna contained a perfect proportion of meat, cheese, noodles, herbs, and spices. My stomach never felt so fulfilling. I must have consumed two portions. By the look of her face, she was clearly pleased that I enjoyed her food. I’m also glad I met her. She is warm, kind and down to earth. Mrs. Knighley made me feel welcome in her home and like Tyson, I can be myself around her. She is also very sincere. I am glad to finally meet her because she showed me Tyson’s true character.

Mrs. Knightley and Tyson have a strong and caring mother-son relationship. She spent the whole dinner telling me funny stories about Tyson’s childhood, causing Tyson’s face to constantly turn red. At the same time, she praised him of his various accomplishments like earning a business degree and getting the promotion at JLS. Mrs. Knightley is definitely proud of her son and what he has achieved so far.  Reciprocally, Tyson is very devoted to his mother. Last year, Tyson even convinced her boss to take the week off to spend her birthday in Jamaica. This totally touched my heart!

Mrs. Knighley also did pull me aside to thank me for changing Tyson for the better. She told me that since we became friends and now boyfriend/girlfriend, she noticed the light came back into his eyes.   He started to smile and open up again. He also would not stop talking about me and how my positive spirit encourages him to do better. She is also glad that Tyson finally found someone who is as goal-driven as he is. More importantly, he found someone who he can trust again and care deeply for and not give up on.  Apparently, all that was lost when Tyson’s father walked out on them.

Before they divorced, Tyson and his father shared a close bondage. They enjoyed baseball games together either at Fenway Park or in front of the TV. They spent weekends camping in Merrimack Valley in the summer months. He coached Tyson’s little league team. Tyson truly idolized his father who was a lawyer in a private firm. Though he worked many hours, he would still find time to help Tyson with his homework. His father taught Tyson the importance of a strong work ethic and focus. They also confide with one another.

Unfortunately, Tyson’s parents divorced when Tyson turned 13. His father apparently cheated on his mom with his secretary. They had a secret affair for 10 months behind his mom’s back.  This made me understand why Tyson’s initial behavior was so cold towards me and why he acted against office romances when I started at JLS. He was afraid that he would commit the same bad behavior as his dad did to his mother.

At the same time, Mrs. Knightley felt Tyson took the blame for the divorce. Tyson thought he failed his father despite his mother kept persuading him otherwise. So Tyson took upon himself to take care of both him and his mother.  Although his mother also had a job, Tyson worked tirelessly with his various jobs and school. He managed to get a full scholarship and focused on climbing the career ladder to prove that he can be as successful as his father, which explains his determination on pleasing the higher male authority like Mr. Byrne and Mr.Cogswirth.

Tyson, however, never reconciled with his father nor got over the betrayal. After the divorce, Tyson’s father moved out of Massachusetts with his mistress to Rhode Island. They eventually got married and started a new family. Tyson personally felt his father abandoned him and his mom and forgotten them and decided to replace them with a new family. Though his father tried to reach out to him and persuaded him to visit with his mother’s encouragement, Tyson did not return his messages. Instead, he chose to completely shut his father out of his life.

Mrs. Knighley also noticed Tyson had closed a part of himself up from her and the rest of his friends and family.   He would only talk about school, work  and sports. He acted very business-like, methodical, and gave short answers. Mrs. Knightley thought Tyson was just experiencing   a phase. But this behavior carried on even through college. When she confronted Tyson about this change of behavior, Tyson just shrugged off and stated everything was fine. She tried to get him to talk to a counselor or a therapist but Tyson wouldn’t budge. Since he wasn’t displaying any concerned signs of potentially threatening behavior, Mrs. Knighley let it go.

He did tell her of various challenges and problems he faced at work and school but he never really confided in her as he used to. She even told me that his previous girlfriend, whom he dated since his senior year of college, could not get him to open up either. He didn’t completely isolate himself from the world. He has a tight group of friends, mostly guys, he hung out with on the weekends and taken vacations with. But he never showed his true self.

Overall, Mrs. Knighley made me see Tyson in a different light. Before, I knew Tyson as this hardworking and ambitious colleague. Someone who kept to himself and is a sports junkie. Someone who took a while to come out of his shell and become my friend and now boyfriend. Now, I see him as this devoted son who loves his mother. I understand now why he built that wall in front of me. He was and still is dealing with the disappointment and confusion of his father. Losing his best friend was like a part of him was gone. He was also experiencing betrayal and lost of hope.  This sounds crazy but it made me see him as more human.

After understanding what his dad did to his mom, I know Tyson would never be like that to me. I  feel more secured of his loyalty and his willingness to take a chance on us.

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Take A Chance On Me

Fortunately, the next morning was Saturday. I would not have to face Tyson until Monday morning. I have time to clear my head and think.

 

I  took  Phillipe out for a walk/run after breakfast in the park since the weather was bright and sunny. The air was not too cold. At least both of us can stimulate our minds and bodies with the fresh air in our faces. After running for a good 15 minutes around the park, we both took a break. Well I took break and sat down on the bench. Phillipe decided to bark at the other dogs passing by and ran over to the dog playground to join his friends.

Westiepoo

While watching him closely, my mind drifted to Tyson.

Tyson has really come out of his shell since we became friends. I feel really comfortable around him. I also find myself can easily confide in him. When he senses that I’m having a bad day at work, he cheers me up by buying me bubble tea or taking me out to eat at Flour Bakery. Most importantly, Tyson respects me and my goals. He is willing to show his genuine support and we share similar values. Tyson even stood up for me at work when Mr. Byrne reprimanded me for not being at my desk when packages arrived and I was in the middle of making copies of the latest subscription sales in the backroom.

I know I will leave JLS eventually. Maybe I can start dating Tyson after I leave. We can just stay friends. That way, we can avoid any conflict. But, honestly, I don’t want to wait that long.

Or, we can date on the down low and be official when I get my next job. But then, we would run into the risk of getting caught. What if Tyson throws me under bust when we do? What if I end up like Kerry? No. He won’t do that. I trust him and we have a good group of supportive friends and colleagues.

But am I ready for another relationship after breaking up with Ben? I need to focus on myself and my career.

But I can take things slowly with Tyson and figure it out as we go. We can discover each other emotionally and mentally. Dating is not a fast track….to marriage. Our relationship does not have to be an office romance. We can still act professional and friendly colleagues in the office and have relationship outside.

If the relationship does not work out, we can be friends.

Ok. I know what I want to do.

After returning home and feeding Phillipe, I changed out of my sweats and headed back out to catch the red line train down to South Station and transferred to the commuter rail to Marlborough.

What am I doing? I can wait until Monday. No. I don’t want to miss my chance.

The smooth weekend commute to Marlborough made the train ride shorter by 20 minutes. After getting off the station, I google mapped my way to Tyson’s house. Fortunately his house was not far from the station. I took a deep breath before  knocking on the door. My heart skipped a beat when Tyson opened the door.

“Hello Belle,” he said, clearly surprised to see me. “What are you doing here?”

“I was in the neighborhood running errands and decided to stop by,” I stuttered.

“Oh come on in,” he showed me into the living room. “Would you like anything to drink?”

“Water would be fine,” I answered, realizing how parched my throat was. Tyson nodded and headed to the kitchen. I sat down on the couch nervously looking at the floor. My mind started to wonder what if he turns me down and breaks the news that he got back together with his ex-girlfriend. Maybe he changed his mind and realized dating someone from work is a mistake. He soon returned and handed me a glass of water. I took a sip.

“So besides running errands, why did you come?” Tyson asked straight-forwardly. He remained standing with his arms folded. My heart started to quiver as I looked directly in his eyes. I put the glass of water down on the coffee table and stood up.

“Because I couldn’t wait till Monday to tell you that yes I want to go out with you and be your girlfriend,” I declared.

“You do?” Tyson said, his eyes lighting up. I nodded with a smile.

“Yes I am willing to take a chance on you…on us,” I took his hands in mine and squeezed them.

“What made you decide?” His full face was beaming.

“I realized how much my attraction to you has grown since you came to my apartment on that rainy night. The feelings I have for you was  hard to admit even to myself. But I think about you every day. It’s the things that you do that makes my heart flutter. Like getting that special room in the Boston Public Library. You spin my world around.” I stroked his face with my fingers. “I want to be with you and see how great it could be.”

“Do you mean it?” he asked in a soft voice.

“Yes,” I said feeling more confident and relieved that I finally expressed how I really felt. “I want to take a risk no matter what others say.”  I gave him a kiss on his cheek. Hey! I told you we have to go slow. I was happy that I made the right decision. He gave me a hug and lifted me up and spun me around.

Our small celebration was interrupted when the front door opened and we heard feet walking. We both turned around startled to see Tyson’s mother walking in.

“Hello Tyson,” she greeted. “And who is this?”

“This is Belle,” Tyson introduced. He paused before putting his arm around my shoulder. “My girlfriend.” I couldn’t help but notice the big grin on his face.

“Oh…nice to meet you Belle,” she greeted with a smile despite looking totally off guard. “Will you be staying for dinner?”

I looked over at Tyson before answering yes.

I know you know
There’s something here
But you cannot get past the fear
I can help you make it clear.

So when you feel like trying again
Reach out, take my hand
See how great it could be
To fall in love with someone you can trust
Who would never give up
‘Cause you’re all that he needs
Baby take a chance on me

Take A Chance On Me – JLS 

 

 

 

 

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I Don’t Know How To Love Him

He’s a man, he’s just a man
And I’ve had so many men before
In very many ways
He’s just once more

Lyrics from “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” soundtrack. 

Tyson made a confession tonight that truly scared me. To the point where my heart was racing. And I don’t know what to do.

It all started with JLS’s 20th anniversary party at the Bristol Lounge rooftop in one of Boston’s prominent neighborhoods. The sky was clear. Though the sun was about to set, the weather was a warm summer evening but not too humid. Perfect for an outdoor soiree.  Rooftop Lounge at Pod39, this one is at the top of my list Pod 39 Hotel, 145 East 39th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues); (212) 865-5700.:

The party had an open bar with servers walking around and offering various appetizers to the attendees. As I walked into the party, I immediately spotted Tyson standing in a corner with a glass of wine in hand and talking with Chip. I was about to make my way towards them, but Pippa and Frankie pulled me into their conversation. Which I didn’t mind really.  I like hanging out my colleagues outside of work especially with Pippa and Frankie. When they are not working, they devote most of their spare time to their little kids at home. Tonight was a good excuse for them to relax and let go.

During the course of the party, I noticed  Mrs. Potts walking up and saying something to Tyson. I could tell by Tyson’s look on his face that her words were not so good news. He seemed upset.  He then looked back at me and I searched his face to figure out what was bothering him. But it was hard to tell so I just gave him a smile and gave a light wave with my fingers. He responded with a small smile and waved back.  I wanted to go up to him but I could feel Mrs. Potts’ ice cold stare on my back and decided to stay with Frankie and Pippa for the rest of the night.  As I was about to leave, Tyson caught me outside.

“Hi,” he said relieved that he finally could talk to me. “Since we’re both going to Park Street, how about we walked together?” I could hear a nervous tone in his voice.

“Sure,” I said giving him a weird look. As we headed out, he took my hand with arm and slipped it through the other. “What are you doing?”

“I…want to make sure you get to the station safely,” he stuttered. I smiled in amusement. I wanted to pull away but felt flattered about the gesture. However, I should have known what that gesture foreshadowed.

“I have to tell you something,” he said looking very serious  once we reached the station.“What is it?” I asked looking up and facing him.

“Listen, I know we are both working in the same company practically under a microscope. I am aware what I have said about office relationships. But you have been a wonderful friend and colleague who really pushes me to be a better person. I have come to be in awe of you every day both personally and professionally. I find myself always looking forward to seeing you come into the office everyday and missing you when I leave at night and sometimes over the weekends.”

His words took my breath away…in a not so good way. I started to fear what he was going to say next.

“Would…you go out with me? And be my girlfriend?” I just stared at him completely shocked. “Mrs. Potts came up to me tonight and bluntly told me you are off limits. But I am willing to take the risk and I don’t care what she or Mr. Byrne says,” he took my other hand and squeezed it. I was completely speechless. Honestly, I felt frightened and scared. I wanted to back away.

“I..I have to think about it,” I finally uttered and letting go of his hands.

“Oh,” Tyson did  clearly not expect that answer and looked disappointed. “Well good night then,” he said before getting on the red line heading to the opposite direction.

As I sat on the train back to Somerville, I thought of Tyson’s words and feel conflicted. He and I have become great colleagues. I’m just scared that a serious relationship could ruin all of that.  I really don’t know how to take this.

But then when I’m around him, I can just be myself. At the same time,  Tyson changed me for the better.

I mean he is a man, he’s just a man. I’ve had past relationships before. Would this be any different? I  should just  focus on my career.

If we did pursue a relationship, what if I bring him down especially when he’s worked so hard at JLS?

At the same time, I want to scream and shout to the world about how I really feel? Let my feelings out and speak of love. I never thought I would come to this.

Don’t you think it’s funny I’m in this position? I’m usually the one so calm and cool. I’m not easily fooled and am usually running every move.

All of these feelings  scare me so.  But then I want him too and I love him so.

eGxtZG1tMTI=_o_the-saturdays---my-heart-takes-over

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Here Standing

I have been in a slump lately and facing a few setbacks with the publishing industry. Receiving rejection after rejection for jobs. Even though I managed to score some interviews and interviewed well, I would either not get called back for a final interview nor get a job offer. There would always be some other candidate more qualified than me. Another candidate who exuded more confidence and is a better fit for the company or some internal candidate already at the company. I am starting to get really frustrated and miserable. Sometimes I even doubt myself and question whether I’m really good enough.

I don’t understand. I have worked on polishing my resume and revamping my writing samples. I have been going to networking events and doing informational interviews. I have even started joining a toastmasters club to improve my public speaking. Isn’t there someone out there that will recognize my talents and capabilities? Or someone who would give me the chance and train me? I am more than just some receptionist.

On top of that, I was turned down for the technical writer position at JLS (a company I actually work in) even with Tyson’s high recommendation. Mrs. Potts and Rachel decided to go with an external candidate with more skills and experiences in writing despite the fact that I already know JLS inside and outside.  Though the person they hired is pretty friendly, I still felt betrayed as I watch this new hire go through the training process and obtaining writing assignments. I felt that person should have been me.

These are times where I wish I had my mother around. I mean my dad’s great and all but my mom, when she was alive, was my true confidant. Whenever I faced troubles in school whether it was bullies, boys or bad grades, she would always be there to comfort me and encourage me to get back up.  We would sit at the kitchen table talk for hours. Or we would lie on my bed drinking hot chocolate.  My mom was such a positive person who always saw that better things are yet to come. She was my biggest advocate. Her hugs and embraces were so warm and comforting. I just miss her so much.

I am fortunate, though to have someone like Tyson in my corner has been helpful in coping with my struggle. He strongly encourages me to not give up and keep on trying.  He really does push me hard to be the best that I can be and stand up for myself and what I believe in When I’m feeling down, I am reminded that he is the reason why I’m standing here. At least I have a job and am still standing. I know what I am capable of and just need to show people that. I also know that failure is part of my growth.

And I know my mom will always be by my side.

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Still On Your Side

That night showed me that despite working in a difficult environment, I always have people watching out for me. People who provide me with positive feedback and ways of improvement. These people also offer opportunities for me to confide in them and stress my frustrations. Also, people who advocate for me in my professional career and be my biggest ally. I can definitely say I am fortunate to have colleagues like Pippa and Tyson in my corner who assure me that I’m not alone. I was later reminded of that sense of loyalty a few nights later.

Tyson had managed to convince me to go to a professional networking event. Since the event consisted of business insiders in software engineering and architecture.  I was going to say no, thinking I would be out of place. Then I thought hmm free food and wine plus an opportunity to dress up plus an opportunity to connect with some heavy weights and get to brag about myself. Something I can’t miss!

When getting ready, I definitely wanted to put together an outfit that screams powerful ambitious career woman. I managed to snag a great deal from a little boutique on Newbury Street, a silk red knot dress similar to the one Jessica Pearson wore on an episode of Suits with a pair of high black heels. Nothing says power like Jessica Pearson!

I soon made my way to the Liberty Hotel in Cambridge. When I walked into the well-lit space, I immediately sensed an air of white-collar professionalism…not to mention a bit of snobbery. Young professionals, with their Ivy League degrees, dressed in their finest suits, ties, and pencil-lined skirts and high pumps, gathered in various small groups spread across the room. The sounds of light jazz playing in the background.

I immediately made a bee-line for the bar. After getting my glass of wine, I glanced around  and finally spotted Tyson standing in a corner. He clearly looked very nervous and seemed out of place.  I could see why he wanted me to come to the networking event. He felt very relieved to see me walking towards him.

“Hi…you look amazing.” Wow that was a nice compliment especially from him. I felt flattered.

“Thank you. You look very…distinguished,” I smiled. He really did, sporting a blue blazer with a white shirt . “So met anyone important?”

“I just got here about 15 minutes ago. I don’t really know anyone here and I’m kinda shy,” he admitted sheepishly.

“Don’t worry. Your wing-woman is here,” I said slipping my arm into his.  “Come on let’s mingle.”  We then joined a group of young professionals near one of the bar tables with deliciously looking appetizers placed in the center of the table. After  introducing  myself and Tyson, I  started talking  my work at JLS. I soon found my groove and comfort in networking. I did mention my publishing goals, which did raise a few skeptical eye brows. I also may have heard a few scoffs. But I didn’t care. I might get famous one day and build my own company while these people are still climbing up that corporate ladder and kissing up to their bosses.

I did, however,connected with a few alums from Emerson who are on similar career paths as me. A lot of them ended up in a marketing firm or state government.  After a while, I started to forget Tyson was by my side. Until I looked over to see him standing in the corner by the bar, staring at me with a smile.

“Why are you smiling?” I asked walking towards him.

“You’re just really good at this.”

“Thank you. You can speak up too you know so I’m not taking up the whole space.”  You have a lot to offer.” Tyson just hesitated and looked down at his feet. I can tell this wasn’t his forte. “It’s time to tout your accomplishments and show why people should work with you.” You just have to be confident. Maybe find some common ground with these folks like sports,” I squeezed his hand. “Besides you should be cornering that guy over there,” I then tilted my head towards a middle-aged gentleman sitting at one of the tables by himself, checking his phone. “He happens to work for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. I read that they are looking for companies to partner with on refurbishing the South End for affordable housing You should talk to him, “ I hinted. Tyson briefly looked at the gentleman, who had just ordered his second drink, before looking back at me.

“Only if you come with me. ”

“Sure,” I said with a smile. We made our way towards the table where the gentleman was sitting. “Hi, may we seat with you?” I asked casually. The gentleman looked briefly up.

“Certainly,” he said gesturing for us to sit at the two seats.

“I am Belle Woods and this is my colleague, Tyson Knightley,” I said shaking the gentleman’s hand.  “We both work at JLS Solutions.”

“My name is Charlie Schon. I work at HUD,” Charlie introduced himself. We made small talk for while. Tyson still did not said one word during the entire conversation. It was time for me to make my move.

“So Charlie, I hear HUD is working on improving facilities management in affordable housing.”

“Yes. The project just got approved by the Secretary. I am actually spear-heading the project,” Charlie said. “We are looking for facilities companies to collaborate..”

“Well Charlie, you are in luck cause my colleague, Tyson here, actually runs the facilities management software service for our government clients,” I said putting an arm around Tyson’s shoulder.

“Oh really?” Charlie said turning his attention to Tyson.

“Yes why not you talk about what you do Tyson,” I hinted  noticing  his face  turning bright red. He  then gave me a look as if asking why are you putting me in the spotlight.  But then he started talking about his current projects and his position at JLS. As the conversation continued,  Tyson  began to feel more comfortable and confident about himself. Soon, he and Charlie engaged in a deep conversation about facility management. I quietly got up and made my way to the buffet table for a second round of delicious appetizers.

“I see Tyson invited you as the plus one,” said a voice. I looked up after filling my small plate to see Mr. Byrne standing right there.  I started to shudder, knowing all the dirty laundry about him, but tried to hold a straight face.

“Yes he thought it would be a great networking opportunity for both of us,” I said feeling a lump in my throat.

“Oh is that what he told you?” Mr. Byrne raised an eye brow. “ I thought he brought you here so you can make him look good.”

“What do you mean?” I asked not liking his choice of words.

“By showing off  his important position at JLS, his accomplishments and gaining future business relationships,”  Mr. Byrne said. “And I see you have accomplished that,” he noted to Charlie and Tyson shaking hands. “And also that dress should attract more partners to Tyson,” Mr. Byrne said looking me up and down.

“Oh,” I said starting feel devalued and small and insecure.

“By the way you are doing a great job. Keep it up,” Mr. Byrne said patting me on the back, making me feel even more uncomfortable. I just nodded silently. “Besides, do you really think you, as a receptionist, will get any attention at this type of event?” Adding more insult to my injury. He then went to go speak with someone he recognized at the door. I immediately headed out to the balcony realizing I needed air. Fortunately no one else was out there so I could be alone. I sat down on one of the patio seats and began to wonder.

Did Tyson really invite me for his own benefit? I thought he knew my goals and strongly supported my professional development. Should I have trusted him? Or was I misguided? I mean he did go all out for getting me that special spot at the Boston Public Library. Was that gesture just an act of bribery? Was I being played? Did I just come here to be…the trophy co-worker?

“What are you doing out here?” Tyson’s voice interrupted my thoughts.

“The room felt stuffy  and I needed some air,” I stuttered. .

“Oh why didn’t you ask me to come with you?” he searched my face.

“I..wanted  some space. Besides you looked like you were engaging in an important business conversation and I figured my work was done,” I said turning my back to him.

“Belle, what’s wrong?”

“Why did you invite me Tyson?”

“Because I thought this would be a great opportunity for us to make connections. In fact, I was just talking to an editor of a major publishing company about how valuable you are and she really wants to speak to you.”

“But it’s really just for you? I’m just here to make you look good,” I managed to spit out.

“Belle, is that how you truly feel?” Tyson asked with genuine shock look in his face. “If I just wanted to bring someone who just made me look good, I would have invited my ex-girlfriend.”

“Oh,” was all I could say, realizing how stupid I was to believe Mr. Byrne’s lies.

“What makes you think I just brought you here as a trophy?” Tyson said now sitting down beside me. I briefly looked back into the room to see Mr. Byrne chatting up a group of people. Tyson looked over to see where I was looking and understood. “You shouldn’t believe the rumors that people plant in your head and belittle you no matter how higher up they are,” Tyson sighed. I looked up and gave a small smile.

“I’m sorry, Tyson,” he then waved off my apology.

“Come on. Let’s go back inside and you show everyone the talented person you are,” he offered me his arm and I slipped my hand through it. Tyson was right and he really did believe in me. No matter what others say, I am more than qualified professional with great skills set, passion, determination and work ethic. Any future employer would be lucky to have me as a valuable employee.

We walked back into the room. Out of the corner of my eye, Mr. Byrne stared at us with a disapproving look. In response, I gave him the side eye and decided to ignore him the whole night which helped me find my groove back.

I began introducing myself to various people and spoke confidently about  my skills No one needs to judge me by actions. Especially if I have someone by my side who believes in me and that’s all that matters.

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Let the Rain Fall Down

Once Tyson returned from DC, I decided to keep my distance from him until I find out what happened to the previous receptionist. When I did meet with Tyson, I tried to act more business formal and straight forward. I also scheduled all my lunch breaks when he would be tied up in a meeting.

So far, I’ve narrowed the suspects down to people at the top like Lee the CFO, Mr. Cogswirth, Antony the Director of Client Services, Mr. Forte the VP of International Sales…and Tyson. I know it sounds bias but I know it can’t be anybody in my lunch group because I think they are pretty wholesome people who won’t ever commit such a betrayal like that.  I have tried my best to ask around indirectly about Kerry without making myself suspicious. However, most of the answers I get were pretty vague and general. Such as most receptionists, before me, left for other jobs or moved out of the state. They were nice. When I did ask about Kerry, more directly, most people, even Pippa, said she was a sweet but quiet and kept to herself.

I was about to give up until one stormy night in Boston.

Boston experienced unusually bad weather in March  as I was about to leave work. Extremely windy. Heavy rain pouring down.  Just one of those days that I didn’t bring my umbrella. Sigh.

Out of the corner of my eye, Tyson walked up to me as I was putting on my coat.

“Hey, I am meeting a friend in Somerville. How about I give you a ride?” I hesitated.

“It’s okay, I can take the T and the bus.”

“No I insist,” he persisted. “Besides the weather is really crummy.” I briefly looked outside and the rain pounded hard against the window. Ok. Beats getting my feet wet. I picked up my purse and followed Tyson to the garage.

“Sure.” The traffic was moving at a slow but steady pace for rush hour as we got onto the high way. The rain continued to pour with heavy clouds covering the sky.

The ride to my apartment was mostly silent…okay I was the one mostly silent. Tyson spent the whole time talking about his trip to DC and the business partnerships he gained there. I just nodded and said uh huh. Truthfully, I am proud and happy for him. I kept looking out the window, avoiding any eye contact with the driver. Tyson could sense my distance, but kept on talking.

“Well here we are,” Tyson pulled up in front of my apartment building.

“Thank you for the ride,” I said finally looking at him. Personally I was glad that I avoided getting soaked.

“You have been ignoring me,” Tyson said touching my hand, not letting me leave quite yet.

“No I haven’t,” I lied. Tyson could see right through me.

“Yeah you have. Now I want to know why,” he said searching my face. I looked down at my feet.

“Cause I don’t want be another Kerry!” I blurted out. Tyson just stared at me, dumbfounded.

“You know about Kerry,” he finally asked. I looked up.

“Yes. Jodi told me everything.”

“Did Jodi tell you, the name of person at JLS who betrayed Kerry?” I shook my head. “It was Nick Byrne.” My eyes widened.

“But isn’t he the CEO? Doesn’t he have a wife and daughter?” Tyson nodded silently.

“I learned the whole story when Mrs. Potts asked me to help Kerry clear her desk. She was obviously on the verge of tears. I felt bad for Kerry because she was such a kind person.”

“Did you tell Mrs. Potts her side of the story?” Tyson shook his head.

“I had just started that year working in the mailroom. I felt powerless considering the position I was in. Besides even if I did tell Mrs. Potts, she would either not believe me or throw it under rug like what had happened to Duncan.”

I sat there in shock, realizing the unfair environment of JLS. But, then a part of me felt relieved that the man that betrayed Kerry wasn’t Tyson.

“Don’t worry. I’m gonna let you end up like her,” Tyson said softly. When I looked at him, I suddenly felt safe and I could trust him.

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