I took the job. Scott called me on Monday wanting an answer and I just took it. I figured if I asked for any more time I would talk myself out of it. So I just told him yes. I figured that even if I don’t love the job, I can’t get anymore unhappy than I am now. Scott was really happy and wouldn’t stop talking about excited he was to have me. Just the ego boost I needed. We discussed my target start date will be the second week in March.
I decided that even though I have like a month until the new job starts, I would still put in my notice right away. I need a damn break.
On Tuesday, Stacey called in sick again. She informed Dale via text message. Right in the middle of a short meeting in Dale’s office he got the text saying she wasn’t coming in. So right in the middle of our conversation, he looked down at his phone and said, “Oh, no.”
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
Dale looked up at me solemnly. “Stacey is sick.”
“Again? Her immune system is terrible,” I replied.
Dale didn’t say anything
“Has it ever occurred to you that maybe she isn’t really sick?”
He changed the subject after that because he knew I was right. Later that morning, a man that Stacey had been working with came in for their scheduled meeting, but obviously Stacey was too stupid to cancel it beforehand due to her being “sick.” So Dale asked me to run the meeting. This was about an hour before the investors were supposed to arrive and I was preparing for my presentation. So naturally I threw a fit.
“I don’t have time to cover for her! She’s not really sick and it’s not fair that she doesn’t have to do her job!” I ranted.
Dale just looked at me and nodded. He was probably thinking about what an uncooperative brat I was being, but I didn’t care.
So I refused to do the meeting and prepared for the presentation (which I killed). I decided to go see Brady for lunch because I was so annoyed. I also decided that I didn’t have time to go through all the other employees and have Brady paged and wait and stuff so I texted him, “I’m in the lobby, come down here right now.”
He showed up a few minutes later.
“Let’s go to lunch,” I demanded.
“Okay, um.” He looked around. “Okay. Let’s go.”
So we went to this place that’s attached to the hospital through an atrium.
“Listen to what happened today,” I said while we ate.
“I’m listening,” Brady replied.
I told him how Stacey called in and Dale didn’t care then had the nerve to ask me to run a meeting that I had no knowledge and definitely no time for. I got so worked up that I started crying.
Brady was like, “Are you okay?”
I was sobbing in the middle of lunch, so obviously not okay.
“I’m so miserable!” I cried.
“You’re going to be fine, Reese. You just have to make it another week and a half,” he said.
“A week and a half of hell!” I knew I was being a little bit over the top, but sometimes you just need to.
“Are you really going to let them make it hell for you?” Brady asked.
“Well, if you let them, then of course they will. Ultimately you’re in control of your own experiences.”
“You’re right,” I sniffled. “I just needed to cry.”
Brady smiled. “Cry as much as you need to.”
I thought this would be the perfect way to get into that gift shop. “You know what would make me feel better? Candy.”
“Okay. We can get candy.”
Brady works in a large hospital and there are at least three gift shops total. I wasn’t sure which one Hailey works in, but I just assumed it was the largest one that is closest to the main entrance. So we walked back in the hospital hand in hand and as we walked past the gift shop I said, “I’ll get candy in here. Is this where Hailey works?”
“Reese,” he groaned, already fully aware of what I was up to.
“What?” I feigned innocence. “Is something wrong?”
Brady let out a laugh that told me he wasn’t buying it and I was being ridiculous. I shrugged and led him into the gigantic gift shop. The candy was in the front of the store near the cash register. I did a quick scan of the place, spotting three employees huddled near the back talking. None of them appeared to be Hailey.
I took forever picking out what candy I wanted, finally deciding on a Twix bar, a bag of Sour Patch kids and gum. We left without seeing Hailey at all so I was disappointed. Brady and the girl who rang us up were really friendly and obviously knew each other. Maybe he spends a lot of time there.
After we left the gift shop, we ran into some of Brady’s colleagues on the way to the elevator. I think I’d met a couple of them before, but he still said, “Do you know Reese?” and introduced me to everyone. I met that woman who made him food once (and I threw a fit about). She’s a tiny half Asian girl with a bob and a laptop case. And Brady was right, she did have a huge rock on her finger so she’s clearly off the market and I have nothing to worry about.
A lot of them said things like, “Brady’s told us so much about you!” I wonder what he tells his smart friends about me. Things like, “My girlfriend spends all of her money on makeup and shoes, it’s actually pretty pathetic.”
They seemed genuinely interested in meeting me and hearing what I have to say though. We were talking about Super Bowl plans, predictions, etc when someone ran up to the side of Brady and squealed, “Boo!”
It fucking startled me and I jumped then looked over to see Hailey, wearing on the same little t-shirts the other girls in the gift shop were wearing. Out of pure reflex I glared at her.
“Hey!” Brady said, sounding surprised.
“Hey you!” she grinned and didn’t even acknowledge anyone else in the group. I noticed two chocolate bars in her hand (they looked like the expensive kind, not just Hershey’s).
“This is Reese,” Brady said. He gestured toward me and Hailey whipped around dramatically.
“Oh,” she said, still smiling. She quickly put her hands behind her back to hide the candy. “I’m Hailey!”
“Hi Hailey,” I said and took her in. Probably two inches shorter than me, super blonde, super small, definitely overdid it with the undereye highlight/concealer. She’s like 21, why is she even worried about eye bags yet? “Nice to meet you.”
“You too! I’ve heard a lot of good things about you!” she said. I noticed color rising to her cheeks. She was blushing.
“Aww,” I cooed, glancing at Brady. He seemed calm and collected, even checking his watch whereas Hailey was obviously stressed.
“You’re really pretty!” she blurted out.
Brady laughed and she did too once she realized how dumb she sounded.
“Thank you!” I smiled, trying not to make her feel more awkward. I actually felt bad for the girl.
Brady looked over Hailey’s little head at me and said, “I should get going. I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Yeah, me too,” Hailey said.
Brady grabbed my forearm which is about as much PDA as we are going to engage in, sober and in the middle of a hospital lobby. All of his coworkers were walking onto the elevator and he jogged to catch up with them. Hailey was starting to walk back to the gift shop.
“Bye. It was nice to meet you!” I called after her.
She turned toward me and waved with one hand behind her back because she was still trying to hide the candy bars. “Okay, bye!”
I can’t believe I was ever worried about her. She’s a child, like an actual toddler. And it’s obvious that she has a childish crush on Brady, just like you guys said. I’m embarrassed that I thought she was a threat.
When I got back to work, I cornered Dave in his office. I’d told him that we needed to talk that morning and he told me to come find him after lunch.
“Hey,” I said, sitting in one of the armchairs in front of his desk.
“Reese! You wanted to talk? What’s up?” Dave said. He’s always so jolly. He’s such a nice man and I felt bad about having to quit to him a second time.
“I’m quitting,” I said, not beating around the bush.
Dave’s eyebrows shot up. “Oh no. Why?”
“I’m not even going to lie to you, I hate this place. It hasn’t been the same since Diana left and I’m really unhappy. I feel like I’ve worked really hard and tried to adjust, but I just can’t do it.”
Dave looked like all of this was news to him. “Wow. I don’t want you to feel that way about your job, Reese. Is there anything I could’ve done differently?”
I wanted to say, “Not hired that dumbass.”
But that wouldn’t be professional. So I said, “I just wish you would have taken my concerns seriously and investigated them a little more. That’s all.” I can think of at least two occasions where I told Dave that I didn’t like the way Dale worked and I thought he sucked and Dave blew me off.
“Wow, I’m sorry about that. If we have a serious sit down meeting and things change, would you consider staying?”
I shook my head. “My mind is made up.”
I’m glad I stood my ground and didn’t let Dave talk me into staying. The last thing he said to me before I left his office was, “Thank you for all your hard work and everything you’ve done for this company. We wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for you.”
And that made me cry. Twice in one day! I ended up going home early because I’d had such a dramatic day.
There was a package there waiting for me. It was from Carly, asking me to be a bridesmaid! The box included a card, a bottle of glittery champagne, two bottles of nail polish that are her wedding colors (blush and the wine color like I suggested), and a tiny little glass trinket tray. It was so cute that I cried again.
So my last day is next Friday. I’m actually pretty sad about it. It’s bittersweet, but I am happy for a new challenge. I invited Brady, Luke, Preston (Joe) and Kendra (John) out to celebrate tonight so that will be fun.