Quitting Time

Valerie shifted her car into park and exhaled slowly. Her eyes stared at the building in front of her, it’s cold brick facade impassively returning her gaze. Around the edges of one window she could see the paint peeling back revealing layers of paint over more layers of paint. The original color lost over time, and all that was left was this shell. She sympathized with it.

 

“You coming in then?”

 

Valerie looked up startled to see Kevin standing next to her car. She flashed a smile and grabbed her purse. The door opened for her and Kevin offered his hand. She smiled demurely and took it in hers, noting, with chagrin, the beefy wedding band glinting in the morning sun. “Thank you Kevin.”

 

“No problem at all Valerie.” he smirked and his eye twinkled.

 

Valerie felt her stomach flip and her pulse quicken. She smirked back at him. Her eyes darted about trying to find a safe spot to land. Looking into his grey green eyes, his lips, his strong jaw, his shoulders. Nowhere was safe. She looked back up into his eyes and he smiled at her. A breath caught in her throat and she uttered a barely audible gasp.

 

“Shall we?” Kevin motioned to the entrance and let Valerie walk ahead. She smiled and did what was expected. The two flashed their security ID’s and strode ahead into the elevator, the door closed and they were alone.

 

The moment the elevator began to move Kevin turned to her slowly. His eyes no longer twinkling they were seemingly filled with something predatory. Valerie involuntarily took a step backward and stared at him. She could hear her pulse pounding in her ears. She blinked rapidly and motioned upwards with her eyes and Kevin smirked, nodding. Cameras. He winked at her and turned back around. They stood there and silence slowly filled the cabin like a noxious gas.

 

A few moments later the elevator chimed and the doors opened. The two walked out, Valerie turning to the left, and Kevin turning to the right. They both looked back at each other and Kevin smiled. Valerie knew what that smile meant.

 

She sat behind her desk and got to work filing paperwork, answering emails, and making calls to clients. Friday’s always flew by and this one was no exception. She barely had time to think about Kevin until she looked up at her computer and saw it was already 6pm. Coworkers who had filed in after her in the morning, slowly emptied the building before her as well. She waved goodbye to each in turn, a plastic smile fixed on her face. By 7pm she was the only one left.

 

Her phone rang with the triple bleat of an internal call and she snatched the phone up quickly before it rang a second time. “Yes?”

 

“My office. Now.”

Valerie squirmed in her chair, swinging it from side to side nervously. She looked at her reflection in her computer monitor and quickly fixed her hair. Her hands felt like they were shaking. “Good lord why am I so nervous?” she muttered to herself. She stood on wobbly legs and made her way through the empty office, down the corridor to Kevin’s office. When she reached it she stopped, took a big breath, and knocked.

 

“Come.”

 

She pushed the door forward, her eyes glancing at the ominously placed placard affixed to the door, “Kevin Fletcher: District Manager”

 

“You wanted to see me?” Valerie felt the word catch in her throat and the sentence didn’t so much flow from her as it did tumble out clumsily.

 

“What is this?” Kevin hadn’t even looked up from his desk. He was holding an envelope which was addressed to him.

 

“What is what?” Valerie replied with poorly feigned ignorance. She, of course, had sent that envelope with explicit instructions given to Josie in the mail department to be sure it was the last thing he would see in the day.

 

“This,” he paused and looked up at it with contempt, “thing.”

 

“I’m not sure what you’ve got there sir.”

 

“Sir? Since when do you call me sir?”

 

“Sorry, Kevin.”

 

“Better.” He sucked air in through his teeth causing a hissing sound to emanate from him. “But this, this will not do.” He tossed the envelope down onto his desk. “I refuse to respond to this.”

 

“I don’t think it’s up to you.”

 

“Well it should be.”

 

“It’s not though.” Valerie stiffened, “I–I have decided.”

 

“Uh huh.”

 

“I–I’m giving my two weeks Kevin. I’m leaving–the company.”

 

“You’re leaving me is what you’re doing.”

 

“No–no I’m not.”

 

He stood up behind his desk and Valerie took a step backward. “Yes you are Valerie. You’re making a rash decision based on emotions, not on sound logic.”

 

“No–I’m not. I’ve deci–”

 

Kevin cut her off. Raising his hand and shaking his head as if she was some inferior child that needed to be chastised. “Why have you decided to leave. Can you answer that question without resorting to an emotional response?”

 

Valerie closed her mouth, then opened it again. She was struck dumb. Her brain churned but no words formed. Bastard.

 

“See? Nothing. You can’t think of a good reason that’s not emotional.” He stepped back and then walked around his desk. His movements both scared and excited Valerie. “We’ve had some good times haven’t we Valerie?”

 

Unable to deny it, she sighed and nodded.

 

“and didn’t I treat you nicely?”

 

She nodded again.

 

“So why does that need to stop. Do you have a boyfriend now?”

 

“No.”

 

“So why then?”

 

Valerie scowled maliciously and pointed at his hand, “Because you’re fucking married Kevin. You’ve got a wife and I can’t just–”

 

“What? You can’t just what?”

 

“I can’t do that to her–”

 

“Really? That’s the reason?” he snorted.

 

Bastard. She thought to herself. “Yes.” She was lying and she knew it. He could see right through her too.

 

“Sure that’s the reason.” his words dripping with icy sarcasm. He reached out his hand and without thinking Valerie reached out as well, mirroring his actions. He took his hand in hers and smiled warmly. “You’re not doing it for her. You’re doing it for yourself.”

 

“So what if I am.” her face crinkled up as she tried her best not to cry.

 

“You’re jealous of her.”

 

“So–so what if I am.”

 

“Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I can’t show you love too Valerie. Love isn’t finite.”

 

“But it’s–”

 

“It’s what?”

 

“Not right?” her statement came out as a question and she felt defeated. The tone in her voice already showed her weakness. She looked at his hand on hers and felt disgusting. Not because she was having an affair with a married man, but because she didn’t want it to stop. She played with his wedding band and looked up into his eyes. “We can’t.” she mumbled.

 

He pulled her closer to him and kissed her softly, lovingly. The tenderness was intoxicating to her. “Why can’t we?”

 

Valerie took in his scent and melted into him. His strong frame both physically and emotionally was just too much for her to fight against. She closed her eyes and felt his lips pressing sweet kisses of affection down her cheek, onto her neck, and back to her lips. She felt like she was a passenger in this. Just watching from afar as he manipulated her where he wanted. She unconsciously wrapped her arms around his waist and felt the curve of his body where his strong back met his ass. “but–what if she–what if she finds out.” she managed to whisper.

 

“Well what if I told you–” he paused between kisses, and leaned over to her ear finishing with a whisper, “–she already knows.”

 

office_romance_by_alexgutkin-d7cuqin

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