Only Forever

Page 21

Chapter 8
Whiplash – when your head spins due to your boss acting hot and then cold toward you for no apparent reason
Beckett sticks his head into my office and scowls at me before asking, “Are you ready for the meeting?”
Why is he scowling at me? Last night he was all smiles and compliments. Is he constipated? Too much cheese can cause constipation after all.
I open my mouth to ask him but, according to Aspen, defecation should not be discussed in a work environment. When I was filling in for her at her bookstore, I asked a customer who was taking an over average amount of time in the restroom if she was constipated.
Apparently, those types of questions are embarrassing and are best left unspoken. I’m still uncertain as to why. Human biology is an essential part of life.
“Of course, I’m ready. Why wouldn’t I be ready? This meeting has been on the calendar for a month now,” I say instead of mentioning his possible intestinal problems.
“The city of Arkville would be our largest client yet.”
Why is he telling me information of which I’m already aware? “I know.”
“I want to nail this presentation.”
He wants to nail this presentation? I’m the one giving the presentation, not him.
“Are you going to stand there and tell me things I already know all morning, or are you going to let me work?”
He grunts and exits my office without speaking another word.
I thought after last night he would stop questioning my work. He was perfectly pleasant as he joked with his sisters at dinner. I guess I misunderstood. It’s not the first time I’ve misunderstood a social situation. Based on my statistical analysis, it won’t be the last.
Or, I need to revisit the constipation hypothesis. But since I can’t confirm or deny whether he is constipated, the hypothesis is at a dead end.
I check the time and adjust my billing for the five minutes of work time Beckett wasted. I’ll add those five minutes to the hundreds of hours I’ve wasted since he took over the position of CEO at the company. I wish I was exaggerating, but I don’t exaggerate. Exaggerating is akin to lying and I avoid it at all costs.
When my alarm buzzes to indicate the meeting with Arkville is set to begin in five minutes, I stand and shrug on my blazer before gathering my things and making my way to the conference room.
The conference room is already buzzing when I arrive. Because of the scale of the project, there are several engineers attending the meeting as well as Beckett and Norman, the CFO.
Beckett glares at me before pointing to the chair next to his, but I ignore him and sit beside another engineer. I wish I could lie and say I chose this seat because I’ll be working with this engineer should we procure this project, but the truth is my body is entirely too attuned to Beckett’s.
Sitting next to him during a meeting will be distracting, and I don’t allow anything to distract me from my work. I haven’t yet figured out how to shut off my body’s response to his, but I will. I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
Beckett’s nostrils flare as he once again points to the chair next to him. What is his problem now? Why is he mad at me this time? The man is confusing, and I prefer to stay away from confusing situations. I always end up making a fool of myself in them. I return my attention to my tablet.
Jack, the engineer on my left, elbows me. “I think the boss is trying to get your attention.”
I make some non-committal sound as I continue to peruse the presentation. There’s no need to re-read it as I have it memorized, but anything is better than dealing with Beckett and the confusing signals he sends me.
“His face is getting red.”
I peek over at Beckett from beneath my lashes. His teeth are clenched, and his hands are fisted. He snaps his fingers at me before motioning to the chair next to him.
“You better sit next to him before he has a heart attack.”
I wish I could indulge in a fantasy of him having a heart attack for a few moments, but I don’t indulge in fantasies. I leave those to my sisters. Besides, I’m from Winter Falls where non-violence is preached from the moment of birth. I’m fairly certain wishing injury on someone is considered wrong in their view.
I gather my things and relocate to the seat he indicated.
“Are you done flirting with Jack?” Beckett asks through clenched teeth as I settle in my seat.
I want to remind him who I flirt with is none of his business as it falls under the ‘personal’ and not ‘work’ flag, but I notice a few people glancing in our direction. Despite being in the right, I know it’s better to not correct the boss in front of other people.