New Woman

The only thought that kept running through my mind was why did I come here? If Eileen hadn’t pestered me to come, I know I would have stayed at home and made up a lame excuse for my absence if people asked. But there I sat, amongst colleagues I barely knew and in a bar that wasn’t my style. To make matters worse, Vicky walked in. Vicky Parsons, the editor-in-chief of ‘New Women’, and also my boss. We barely saw eye-to-eye. She’d send me on ridiculous errands throughout the day, stopping me from completing my work and then check up on me at the end of the day to see if my work was completed. It was a catch-22 situation with her.

But she looked different tonight. Her auburn hair wasn’t tied up in a tight ponytail, it fell loosely pass her shoulders and had a slight wave to it. And replacing her constant work suits was a silk sleeveless blouse and denim jeans. She greeted everyone with smiles, gave out a few hugs and then it was my turn. I wasn’t expecting anything, so I was surprised when I received a brief smile. She took a seat opposite me, and very quickly slipped into conversations that surrounded her.

Time was passing and cups were never empty. I made sure I kept my cup always half full so that I wasn’t forced to order another round. I didn’t mind drinking, but with people I was so unfamiliar with, made me feel uncomfortable. The DJ began playing his 80’s playlist, which caused everyone at the table to get excited, making them eager to get onto the dance floor. After declining for yet another time, they let me be and made their way onto the dance floor, leaving me alone with Vicky. She noticed me and gave me an awkward smile.

“It’s…”

“Rebecca.” I spoke loudly enough for her to hear.

“That’s it, Rebecca. Why aren’t you dancing?” She leaned forward.

“Not really my thing.” I lied.

“Dancing isn’t your thing and you’re only…twenty?”

“Twenty-one.”

“Exactly you’re young. You should enjoy dancing before you get too old to do it. Fine, if dancing isn’t your thing then what is?”

“Writing.” She rolled her eyes and waved her arm in the air, dismissing my comment whilst taking a gulp of her drink.

“Of course writing, you wouldn’t be working for me if you weren’t interested in writing, but what does Rebecca love doing?”

I took a sip of my drink and shrugged, “Drawing.”

“There you go, that’s the Rebecca I was asking for,” She chuckled and then moved to sit beside me. “What do you like to draw?”

“People.”

“Really? Wow, I’d like to see a drawing one day. Promise me you’ll show me one?”

I nodded, chuckling lightly as she stuck her pinkie out in front of me for me to wrap my own pinkie around. I did so and she smiled, making me feel more comfortable. I could tell the drink had made its way into her system as her movements and speech became more muddled, but it showed me a side to Vicky that I never knew was there. After we finished our drinks and ordered for another round, we fell back into conversation.

“So does your boyfriend live with you?”

“Oh, I don’t have one.”

“A pretty girl like you doesn’t have a boyfriend?”

“Well I didn’t want anything interrupting my goals.”

That was a lie. Jonathon and I were in a serious relationship for a year, until I was accepted in working for the company. Everyone in my family was excited I was accepted into one of the top five major women’s magazine companies in America, apart from Jonathon. He decided that if I left, I was leaving the relationship too. I tried calling, messaging and emailing, but with no response I decided it was time to focus on myself.

“Oh I understand, it’s almost as though men get threatened by a woman who has goals, it’s ridiculous. That’s why I always say screw men, they aren’t worth our time and we women should stick together.”

“I agree!”

“You see Rebecca,” she shuffled closer to me. “I don’t bother with men anymore. They think we need them for everything, for money, for love, for sex, but we don’t and neither do you. Because I’ve got you Rebecca and if you need anyone I’m always there for you.”

Her comment warmed my heart, it was nice to know someone was looking out for me and wanted the best for me. Especially when I found it difficult being in New York by myself away from my family, hearing that someone was there for me brought a smile to my face. She grinned back at me and stroked my cheek gently.

“You’re so pretty, no man is worth your time.”

“But then who is?”

My words came out slurred, the only evidence that I’d drank far too much than I could handle. Her eyes shone under the strobe lights of the club as she watched me. She shrugged at my question and then chuckled.

“I am.”

It took me longer than normal to digest her words. But once it finally sunk in, I still found it hard to grasp. The alcohol was making me hear things that wasn’t said, because if I believed for a second that Vicky had just said she was a worthy partner for me, I’m sure I would have panicked.

“What?”

Still confused, I question her response for some clarity, but everyone had began making their way back to the table, screaming for more drinks. And during their return, Vicky sat quietly drinking her drink and watching her feet, whilst my brain raced wondering whether she meant what I thought she meant, or maybe I’d jumped further than I could and I just misheard her.

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * *

 

 

Time had passed and I’d consumed more alcohol than I should have, but it was never enough to have made me forget what Vicky had said to me earlier and I guess with that on my mind, I needed something to settle my nerves. She hadn’t spoken to me much after her confession and it surprised me when I felt bothered by her actions. I felt as though she believed she had the ability to decide when I was worthy to be spoken to and when I wasn’t and that was what frustrated me throughout the night. I knew tonight wasn’t worth the journey. With that in mind, I gulped my drink and gathered my things, ready to put an end to this night and strictly keep my relationship with these people work-related only.

I picked up my clutch bag, along with my denim jacket and slid past two colleagues having a conversation.

“You’re leaving so soon?” Eileen said standing up, tugging me to sit down again.

“Yeah, it’s late and I’m in early tomorrow, so I’m heading off now.”

I moved her hand gently whilst saying my farewells to everyone. Vicky didn’t respond, but through my peripheral vision I noticed that she hadn’t stopped looking in my direction since I first stood up. Whilst I walked to the exit, I decided to forget about the conversation Vicky and I had, because if she felt she could be one way with me one minute and then the next the other, then I was prepared to keep my distance from her. I pushed the doors open, welcoming the cool air that graced my face. I slipped on my denim jacket, and began walking until I could haul a taxi to take home. All the while, my attempts of blocking Vicky from my thoughts failed. There was something about the way she’d approached me, was completely different to the woman I worked for in the office. She wasn’t uptight and strict. In fact, she could actually be interesting enough to converse with, what I couldn’t grasp was why she had constant changes in her personality? I understand when at work, one must be authoritative, but in the club she went from reserved, to friendly and then straight back to withdrawn before I even had a chance to understand what was going on.

Being deep in thought, I luckily managed to notice the yellow taxi parked on the curb opposite from me, with an old man leaning on the driver’s door, slightly hunched reading the New York Times. I jogged across the road and hesitantly tapped his shoulder. He peeked over his paper, squinting his eyes in confusion.

“Is that your taxi sir?” He turned to look at his taxi and then back at me.

“Well I am leaning on it, so I suppose so.”

I inwardly rolled my eyes, knowing I had no time for any sass, as I was already annoyed with the way Vicky had treated me.

“Are you on your break or are you working?” He folded his paper and opened the driver’s door. After a few moments of silence and him stepping inside the cab, I figured he was working, so I walked to the passenger’s door, waiting for him to unlock it.

“Where are you looking to go?”

“46th–”

“Rebecca!”

I turned around to see Vicky running towards me. I let go of the passenger door handle, wondering whether that was really Vicky running towards me, or whether I should enter the taxi and ignore the little voice in my head that told me to see what she had to say.

“Rebecca…”
“What are you doing here?” I asked folding my arms across my chest, shifting my weight onto one leg.

She slightly chuckled, “I’m not entirely sure. I waited in the club after you’d gone, but then I just kept thinking about you, so I literally got up and then went to find you.”

“Find me? I’m going home, you didn’t need to find me Vicky.”

“Hey lady, are you getting in or not?” The old man asked, peeping his head through his opened window. I turned around giving him a signal to wait and turned back to Vicky.

“I just wanted to speak with you.”

“If you wanted to speak with me, then why did you ignore me when we weren’t alone?”

“I don’t know.”

“Lady! Are you in or not?”

“I’m coming.”

I spoke with a hint of annoyance in my voice. I wasn’t annoyed at the taxi man; it was Vicky and her indecisive behaviour that had led to my frustration. She hadn’t batted an eye when I’d left, but there she stood, in front of me wanting to talk.

“Rebecca, I’ve been very odd with you, but that’s because I’m not sure how to behave with you. My feelings have me behaving in one way, whilst my mind is telling me to stay away from you.”

“Feelings, what feelings?”

“Okay lady, this is the last time I’m asking, are you getting in or are you going to stand out there?” I looked towards the cab and then back at Vicky, contemplating my options and realised that going home was best. I wasn’t sure what Vicky wanted to tell me, but there wasn’t a point in knowing, nothing would change between the two of us. I opened the door to enter the car, when Vicky grabbed my hand.

“What are you doing?”

“I need to talk to you.”

I pulled my hand from hers, but her grip remained firm. “Vicky, I need to go home.”

“I’ll drop you home if that’s the issue, but I really need to talk to you.”

“About what Vicky? You ignore me at work, you ignore me in the club and now you want me to listen to what you have to say?”

The driver got out the car, annoyed and resumed his previous position in reading his newspaper. I rolled my eyes and shut the passenger door then faced Vicky. She waved a black vehicle towards us and then opened the door for me to enter. Reluctantly I got in, waiting for her to explain herself.

“Lincoln could you drop us at…?” She faced me, waiting for me to fill the gap.

“46th street please.” The driver nodded and began driving.

“Thank you Lincoln.”

I faced the window closest to me, not wanting to face Vicky.

“I’m sorry Rebecca, I haven’t been fair to you. I shouldn’t have acted one way and then another, I wasn’t considering your feelings.”

“I don’t even understand why you bother with me so much, I’m just your employee.”

“There’s something about you that’s why.”

“You keep saying things like that. What do you mean? What is it about me that has you so conflicted Vicky?”

I faced her, with annoyance in my voice. Knowing I was probably pushing the boundaries with the way I spoke to her. Not only was she my boss, but also she was a few years older than I, and I wasn’t raised to be disrespectful. But at that time I didn’t care. I’d lost my ride home from a sassy driver, drank too much that I’d started to feel car sick and now I had to endure a ride home with Vicky. I could gladly say I was pushed over the edge tonight. She moved closer to me and shrugged.

“I think I’m attracted to you Rebecca.”

Staring blankly at her face, I wasn’t sure how to react. Earlier on I assumed I heard her proclaim her attraction to me in the club. But now with the words ringing loudly in my ears, my body froze as I tried to digest her confession. Vicky was attracted to me? That meant she was a lesbian. Why hadn’t I seen the signs before? It’s not like ladies who are attracted to other ladies, walk around with a sign on their foreheads proclaiming their sexuality. But, something in my body felt like I should have known this revelation before now. She was always distant at work and never tried to engage in a conversation with me. However, it was the way she looked at me when we did managed to speak, was what always had me thinking of her. Not like I’d imagined pursuing anything with her, but I always wondered what her issue was with me. But it made sense. Her cold demeanour and then the warmth she showed me, was all because she liked me.

With my mind failing to form any words, silence filled the car. It seemed as though my heartbeat that thudded hard against my chest, was loud enough for Vicky to hear. It almost felt like we’d been sitting facing each other for hours, when she began shuffling closer to me. Her movements were slow and I wasn’t sure if that was the effect of the alcohol or her actual movements. But I sat watching, as her frame filled my gaze and eventually left us inches away from each other. We were so close that I felt her breath caress my skin every time she exhaled. My core clenched in anticipation, aware of what was to come next. Vicky moved closer to me, heat radiating off her skin and enveloping me. She stared at my parted lips and then pressed her soft lips against mine before I could react. I sat motionless, not sure if it was confusion that hadn’t made me push her away, or whether it was the feeling I felt as her lips moved against mine. I hadn’t felt like this when I’d kissed Jonathon. My body had never vibrated with need when my lips connected with his. Neither did my skin become so sensitive when he touched me during our intimate moments. Yet here I sat, feeling a wave of emotions my body had never felt before. It was almost too much for my body, let alone my mind, to handle. The more our lips moved in sync with each other, the more my body tensed in excitement. Her chest brushed against my own, causing my nipples to harden in pleasure. A small moan escaped my lips, echoing through the car. It was then I realised what I was doing. Hearing my own voice woke up the more conscious side of myself. What was I doing kissing Vicky? It’s bad enough that I’ve never been with a woman, yet after kissing Vicky my body reacted in ways I never thought it could. But, she was my boss and I wasn’t attracted to women. With a shock I pushed her away from me as the car came to a halt.

Wide eyed with a hint of desire, Vicky stared at me. Her chest rising and falling in short breaths with her lips plump from our intimacy. I wasn’t sure what had come over me, but I needed space. Space to think, space to understand what had just happened. I reached for the door when Vicky grabbed my arm.

“Rebecca wait –”

Too stunned to comprehend the kiss, I lightly pulled her off of me. Afraid I’d be drawn back into her embrace and that my body would react to her in ways it shouldn’t. Once her grip loosened on my jacket, I rushed out of the car. Hearing not only the slam of my car door, but also Vicky’s. I picked up my stride, in fear of Vicky catching up with me. Once I’d reached my apartment door, my nerves took control making my fingers fumble with my keys. Aware of the footsteps behind me that increased every second, fear clawed at my throat as I imagined having to speak with Vicky after the moment we’d shared. Finding the key, I rushed inside before Vicky had the chance to reach me. My heart crashed against my chest, whilst my mind played images of us kissing. I backed away from the door as Vicky’s frame emerged with a handprint lightly pressed against the glass. I needed time away from Vicky. Everything was happening so fast and if I wasn’t careful this could end badly for both of us.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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