Posted by: victanguera | August 3, 2009

Exercise #36

She hadn’t really lied, Tamra told herself. But her conscience wouldn’t let her rest–lying by omission was still a lie. But telling the truth would cost her every bit of her security. At best… there was no best. Tamra knew if she told the truth, she’d loose her job. All because she’d gone to work.

“Can I get you anything else before I go,” Justin had asked her. He stroked her hair back from her forehead. In one hand he held a glass of water, in another two small white pills designed to take away yet another migraine. She smiled at his kindness, even though that much movement hurt her head.

“No thanks. Only sleep, but I can do that on my own.”

Tamra curled up around the pain, barely registering the sound of the door closing behind him. She waited like that for over an hour before the pills eased the band across her forehead enough that she could move without vomiting. Showering before she had a chance to change her mind, Tamra headed for the office to finish her project proposal–the reason she probably had the migraine in the first place. And the only reason she’d even think of going in to work at nine on a Friday night.

The hollow echo of her footsteps followed Tamra down the hall towards her office. She shook her head, trying to clear the ringing in her ears, an annoyance that often accompanied the pain. This time, it sounded too much like voices. Making a mental note to talk to her doctor about it the next time she saw him, she opened the door.

To see her boss. With his pants down around his knees, sitting on top of her desk with his secretary. Who wasn’t sitting.

Spinning on her heel, Tamra fled the room, not wanting to think about what she’d seen.

“Hey, baby,” Justin said when he found her curled up in a fetal position on their bed hours later. “You look so pale. Are you okay.”

Tamra barely had the strength to nod her head. At least Justin thought it was from the headache and didn’t ask her any questions she couldn’t answer. Or wouldn’t

“You know you can’t tell anyone.” The email almost burned her computer monitor. She wondered at his audacity in sending something like that to her home email. Didn’t he think? A trace would remain out there in cyber-space. Of course he’d been careful enough not to say what she had to keep a secret. He knew she’d understand.

And she did. Only too well.

“Of course,” she’d replied without thinking.

On Monday, he called her into his office as soon as she arrived.

“You realize I can’t give you a reference. In case you are thinking of finding another job.” He stared at her, unblinking.

Cold traced a path to Tamra’s belly. She had her letter of resignation ready, knowing she couldn’t lie for another individual. Now she had no choice. Without a solid reference, she’d never find another job in such a small community. Rubbing her head at the onset of another migraine, Tamra nodded.

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