One star? ONE STAR?! Who does Ted even think he is? How dare he give me a one-star rating?
What have I been thinking?
A competent Salesman on a good day, and an uninspiring manager on a normal day, a gleam of unopposed charmer runs through him. He knows what he wants, and how to get it. Just like I do.
Ever since the first day he arrived - strutting around the office in his hip-hugging jeans and blue shirt that perfectly matched his eyes (how does every shade of blue somehow perfectly match his eyes?), I knew I was in trouble.
From that day onwards my mission was to cross paths with him as often as I could. And cross paths we did. In the canteen, outside his office (where he winks at his gold name plaque each time he enters or exits), and at the coffee station on our floor. I had drunk so much coffee since then that I’d been on a constant jittery high. In fact, some days all I could see in the mirror, on yet another bathroom visit, was a cappuccino instead of my face!
Speaking of bathroom visits, I even planned mine to coincide with his - not difficult with all that coffee I’d been drinking! I’ve seen his look of confusion a few times as he emerged to find me, yet again, lurking (I prefer lingering) outside the door. I’d also noted what time he arrived and left each day and have perfectly matched my movements to his. Some might call it stalking – I prefer ‘staking’ my claim.
No, I do not need him to inspire me … I need him to notice me!
Yes, I’m in love with my Boss! The cardinal sin in all corporates, but I wasn’t doing any confessing. I’m sure it’s love because I’ve never enjoyed an office vibe so much. In fact, work is all I’ve thought about and talked about since his arrival. Even my friends have started getting suspicious. But I just smile cryptically and hug my thoughts of him close to my heart whenever they have asked questions. I haven’t been ready to share my feelings with anyone yet – no matter how many glasses of our favourite bubbles they have fed me.
Things were moving along fabulously according to my plan until she showed up, and their friendship became too obvious to ignore.
My nemesis. The office siren. As subtle as a flying brick is our Bonnie. Bonny in looks, and bonny in nature – her fiery orange hair can eclipse even the brightest flames. Her voice is as loud as the siren she aspires to be, and one can hear her moving through the passages like an approaching freight train well before she comes around the corner.
Freight Train in size too, come to think of it. Did I mention she is rather large – though voluptuous is the word everyone else tends to use? People can tell who is coming around the corner, just by the look on my face.
Ted, however, seems to enjoy the fiery presence of Bonnie, and while my face darkens as she comes around the corner, his lights up like a flame.
Of course, Bonnie is in Sales – and therefore, she can do no wrong. Especially as she does close the most deals as the top performer in the branch.
But is it really about the bottom-line Ted? Or is it more to do with her over-generous bottom?
It’s not hard to see why she’s so successful – one too many buttons undone on her tight blouses, and she’s always popping out all over the place!
So are all the men’s eyes.
There’s even an office legend about the time she was walking down the passage at a client, and a man had fallen off his chair as he leaned back to watch her sashaying (yes – sashaying) down the corridor!
Bonnie – the flying brick – and Ted’s favourite. She is such a cliché – making a play for her Boss! Does the girl have no shame!?
Right from the start, I’d seen the way he looks at her – and I’d needed to change my strategy to get those looks directed at me. To nip their friendship in the bud.
It was time to put my feelings about Bonnie aside and get closer to her.
As they say in the classics - keep your Teds close and your Flying Bricks closer. So, I’d come up with a fool-proof plan.
Task number 1: Poker Face. Not the song by Lady Gaga, but the strategy used by winning Poker Players. I plastered on a smile instead of a scowl in her presence. Goal: Sally Sunshine and Bonnie Bright – office besties!
Task number 2: Conversations at the coffee station. I’d needed to dig deep here (personal information and patience) for intel to further my cause.
Task number 3: Grab lunch at the downstairs deli (judging by her ‘voluptuousness’ the obvious way to her heart must be through her stomach).
And finally, Task number 4: Invite her to Friday night Bubbles with the girls. This was going to be the most difficult one to orchestrate successfully. I’d just have to keep my bottle of Rescue drops nearby!
The shock of my performance rating has made me feel slightly dizzy (or is it all these thoughts of flaming Bonnie?). Closing my eyes, I shake my head to banish her face from my mind, but instead, I find myself thinking back over the past few days...
Day 4: and my plan was going smoothly. Well, to be honest - progress had been rather slow in fact. My face was frozen into a permanent smile, and I’d lost feeling in my cheeks (why had she been in the office every day?!). Extra caffeine with matching her movements now too, had caused constant eye blinking. Disappointingly, my attempts at gently encouraging information out of her had only been met with a raised eyebrow so far. Although come to think of it, this was progress, as she has always tended to look right through me. At least she was now noticing my presence.
We were nowhere near the lunch invite though. That would have to wait until she had smiled at me (or at least looked in my direction long enough).
The good news, however, was that I had seen Ted much more than usual too as they tend to have their coffee breaks together. I’m looking forward to the day that he pours mine just the way I like it too. I needed to step up my game before Bonnie’s fire burned me away completely.
Day 11 heralded a new plan as I’d been trying so desperately to get closer to her with no luck. Despite all my efforts, she really didn’t seem to be warming up. At the coffee station the day before, she had pointedly asked me if I had any actual work to do – or if I was officially employed as a coffee tester?
Maybe I did need to tone down the coffee breaks. I’d gone from constant blinking to no blinking at all. The longer office hours had been taking a toll on me too. Bonnie and Ted had been working after hours on a ‘strategic client’, so I’d been able to catch up a little on my very-far-behind-admin as well (the perfect excuse to stay behind and keep an eye on them).
So, my new plan was to undermine her in Ted’s eyes. I’d just needed to get into her PC to sabotage the proposal she was working on – causing Ted to see her incompetence rather than her cleavage!
Today, however, is day 12 and disaster has struck! I’d come up with my new plan too late in the game, and Bonnie has now landed the largest client in the history of all clients. Our MD has insisted everyone attend a celebratory drinks session in her honour.
So now, I’m heading to the boardroom straight from my ludicrous performance review. Clearly, Ted’s obsession with Bonnie has clouded his better judgement. Admittedly, I have been a little distracted the last few weeks – but Project ‘Dousing Bonnie’ has taken precedence over Ted’s admin. Even my unbuttoned shirt and Wonderbra-enhanced cleavage had failed to elicit a second star out of him.
In the boardroom, Ted is looking even more starry-eyed than usual and Bonnie is wearing a ten-thousand-watt smile which somehow even seems to outshine that flaming hair of hers.
Instead of bubbles with the girls, I am now listening to Ted singing her praises and the applause and admiration of the whole office. She is going to be even more insufferable now!
What did I just hear? I need to concentrate on more than just that blinding smile and bouncing decolletage. Suddenly the energy in the room has shifted, and Bonnie’s smile is now so bright that even Ted’s admiration is overshadowed. In fact, he’s starting to look a little pale and his own smile is looking more like a grimace.
“I would like you all to join me in congratulating our new Sales Director – Bonnie Bright.”
Yes, her surname really IS Bright … even her name is perky and radiant!
“She’s continued to impress me since her early days on our team, and this latest achievement of landing the largest deal in the history of our business has really outshone even my expectations. Bonnie welcome to our Exco Team – you are such a shining star.”
On and on our MD gushes, but I have lost interest in his words. My gaze (as usual) is fixed on Ted – but this new Ted looks rather deflated. The Bonnie blaze has swept in and completely eclipsed him. He is now going to be reporting to her – and the fire that was so deliciously warming and attractive to him has just burnt away all his own goals and aspirations.
That gleaming streak is now more like a dull squiggle of defeat … and, somehow, his eyes don’t seem so blue after all. Looking over at me I see a small spark of something (is it hope?) in his eyes. But it’s too late now. Poor Teddy – you should’ve given me 4 stars!
I’m no longer looking at him, but through him, as I’ve just noticed the new Director of IT over Ted’s shoulder, and WOW - I could just lose myself in those velvety chocolate eyes.
Mr IT looks at me again - a little strangely this time (he must be feeling the electricity between us too!) and I give him my best version of a big Bonnie Bright smile. He turns away quickly, looking uncomfortable - probably caught unaware by the sudden rush of sparks between us.
Soon enough he will look back my way and he’ll see the same big smile just for him. Overdosing on caffeine really does have its perks – I don’t think I could stop this wide Cheshire grin even if I wanted to!
I just really hope that he is a tea drinker!