BELLA EPISODE 3: THE OFFER
It was either he was late or I was too early. I kept looking at the door to the mini conference room expecting to see Jeremiah any minute but he didn’t surface. The intensity at which I started to tap my left foot told me I was beginning to get agitated. I dared to look at my wrist watch now, it was 10:45 AM and he still hadn’t shown up.
Why had he asked me in for 10.00am when he knew he won’t be here then? His secretary had asked me to wait for him in the conference room. Surely, he must have instructed her accordingly. Well, if he didn’t show up by 11.00am I would simply leave, I resolved within myself.
11:05am found me snatching my bag off the conference table as I pulled my chair backwards and straightened my knee-length coffee-brown gown. By now, I was already fuming and I tried very hard to make sure I got a hold of my facial expression just before I opened the door.
Ready to put on a better countenance, I swung the door open to behold Jeremiah right in front of me. Not just right in front of me was he, he was only about 3 inches away from me. The scent of his cologne filled my senses just as it did my nostrils. He looked down at me, right into my eyes.
Well, I am not the type to exaggerate, but I could have sworn he looked into my eyes for what seemed like eternity. Time stood still. His gaze was filled with intense emotions. Why was he looking at me this way?
“Bella, you have really got to stop aiming for what you can’t reach,” That logical part of me chided.
‘’Changed your mind about our meeting, Miss Meyer?’’ He said.
He must have eaten strawberries, or maybe raspberry… definitely berries ‘cos I could smell his breath so close.
I immediately gathered myself and moved away from the door, back into the conference room. The need for space was evident.
He came in and closed the door.
‘’I apologize, I had family emergencies. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my mobile phone with me. I would have called to indicate I was running late.’’
He was troubled. Very troubled. I could sense it. He looked ruffled.
I sat back on the chair I had just vacated few minutes ago. He took a sit beside me.
‘’Sorry about the family emergencies, whatever they may be.” I found myself saying. Well, I couldn’t stay angry when I saw him looking like that.
There were emotions in his eyes, mine were filled with concern.
“It’s okay. It’s all under control now, or at least that’s what I like to believe. Once again, sorry I am late.” He paused, then continued, “Mrs. Cole should be in this meeting with us, but I understand that she fell ill this morning.’’ He started. I blinked.
He seemed to recollect that I didn’t know who Mrs. Cole was because he then added, “Mrs. Cole is our Head of Human Resources, apparently you haven’t been dealing with her.”
I got more confused and I didn’t hesitate to show it.
“I’ll just cut to the chase; I really don’t have much time for formalities. I have made up my mind on certain things. This company is going through some changes; we are letting some people go and streamlining our resources in terms of staffing. We are restructuring, basically.”
Great. I was better off not hearing from him, I was better off not getting contracts. Why call me in to fire me, and then keep me waiting for an hour?!
I couldn’t finish my thoughts before I was jolted to reality.
“We want to hire you Isabella Meyer. We want to hire you full-time. We want to create an office for you right here in Edgewood. I want you on board.”
I couldn’t afford to blink anymore. I was scared my eyes will give way to the water already forming in them. I just looked on, with eyes wide open. By now, he continued, oblivious to my emotions.
“Mrs. Cole expects I follow due process just like everyone else but then I haven’t had much time in my hands and neither do I believe due process is what I need right now. I need someone I can trust. Someone who will have my back. Few people fit the bill these days.”
Did he know? Had he found out about Lisa and Patrick? I felt guilty; how could he trust me when I was keeping such a secret from him?
Oh dear Lord, don’t make me cry here. I started to pull my fingers from underneath the table, (I do that when I am nervous) just as I gritted my teeth together with my mouth closed. As I continued my bad habit, he continued to talk, only this time I didn’t hear him.
Jeremiah wanted me to work with him as a full-time staff. Here I was, sitting close to him and I could hardly breathe, how was I supposed to do that 5 days a week? As his lips moved, my stomach rumbled. He was looking at me, speaking to me, smiling at me, affection showing readily in his eyes.
His mannerism, his attitude and body language… All of it I watched. All of it, I observed. He scratched his eyes. He obviously hadn’t really slept in a while.
Then it hit me like a six-inch nail to the head. I was screaming right inside my head at the realization that fell upon me.
I am in love with Jeremiah Young!
“You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”
Okay, I heard that. It took me a while to get myself, however.
“Would you like to consider all I have said?’’ Jeremiah asked.
That’s the point; I didn’t hear all he said. I knew he wanted to hire me full-time, but that was all I heard.
“I understand this is short notice, but we would like to know within a week. As you may have known, I own the majority of shares in this company. However, some members of the board are contesting some of my decisions especially concerning who to relieve of their duties and who to bring on board. I am hiring you exclusively on my own recommendation and I would like to wrap this up as soon as possible. I want you on board before anyone notices that your hiring has taken place.” He said with a strong countenance.
“Why do you want me on board?” I had said it before I could stop myself.
He laughed lightly, almost like a chuckle. I was sure he hadn’t being doing so much of that lately.
He threw his head back, relaxed fully on his chair with his legs crossed and stretched at the same time. He was facing the ceiling now with his eyes closed.
“Well, truth is I can’t think of anyone else who would handle my business the way I would handle it except you. It just goes to say that I could leave my business with you and go to sleep. I don’t know why I feel so strongly about choosing you but I feel lighter knowing that you would always do what is right for this company. I don’t see you as someone who would easily be pushed around or pressured. Let’s just say I want a quality person on my team.” He finished, still closing his eyes.
Few minutes ago, I could have sworn I was getting laid off, I wasn’t expecting this at all.
“Thank you for the offer; it’s very thoughtful of you to think of me. However, I would like to know the terms. Only if the terms are favorable will I accept. Guess that’s where Mrs. Cole comes in”.
He sat up and his face brightened. I could sense he was excited at my response only that he tried so hard to cover it up.
“Sure, I would ask her to arrange a meeting with you, thank you for your consideration. We can’t wait to have you on board.”
I looked at him and this time I didn’t take my eyes away. For a moment there, he looked on too, holding my gaze. Right there, I realize I wanted so much to be a part of this man’s life. Sadly, I knew I couldn’t. In fact, I knew I must not even think of it again. Jeremiah was a complicated man in a complicated relationship. It was already too messy. I can’t afford to be caught up in all of this mess.
However, it seemed like he was falling apart. It was obvious that he carried a lot of weight on his shoulders. I felt a surge of emotions. I could feel the emotions running around right there in the room. Both of us were trying hard to put our individual emotions under subjection.
This felt like the best moment to break the outfit silence.
“I am sorry about the outfit,” I started to say. He took his eyes away abruptly and said nothing.
I continued ‘’Well, I didn’t plan on making it seem like I rejected your gift, I just didn’t seem that was an appropriate way of sending one across.”
“I am past that, Bella.’’ That was all he said.
I nodded slowly. He stood up. I stood up too.
“I would have Mrs. Cole set up a meeting with you and afterward draw up the necessary employment contract should you be interested in working with us full-time. You would be hearing from her soon, I assure you.” I nodded again. He continued.
“Thanks for your time. I would like to run along now, still have lots of pressing issues to attend to. Have a great day.” He said as he started to walk away. All I could do was stare at his broad back.
“By the way, Bella….’’ He said as he turned, looking into my eyes.
We are back to the icy look. I rolled my eyes.
“Next time, at least, have the decency to say thank you.”
This time, he walked out of the door while I stood staring at it.