Someday (Canyon Bay Series, #1)
“Sorry, Chloe, we have to let you go.” There’s the kicker—the one sentence burns away the happiness I felt all morning. I really enjoy working in this office, the people are nice, and I’ve made some amazing friends.
“Wh-why?” I stammer. The bleak grey walls of Chad’s office begin to close in around me. A large lump develops in my throat. Quickly, I blink away the tears threatening to follow.
This man will not see me weak.
“We’ve had to make some tough decisions recently.”
I stare at the guy who’s been my boss for the last three years, Chad McBride. His face is pinched, and he purses his lips like he’s all high and mighty. As my gaze shifts up to his perfectly sculpted hair, I find myself wanting to reach over the table, and yank a handful of it.
“Is this to do with me personally?” I squint accusingly. Looking up from his phone, he watches me. It causes me to swallow, hard.
“No, Chloe,” he clips. A brief flash of anger crosses his features. Stone-cold eyes glare at me. These same eyes once gazed at me lovingly, but now they glower with a fierce ugliness.
Leaning back in his overpriced office chair, a smug expression crosses his face. I see the enjoyment in his eyes at getting rid of me.
“You’ll receive a payout,” he continues, with not a care for how this affects me in the least.
Gliding my clammy hands over my legs down my sleek black dress before straightening my back, I ask, “Can I be transferred to a different office or position, please?”
How pathetic must I sound? I’ve resorted to begging this jerk who’s treated me poorly in love and at my workplace. I need this job. If I lose my position, my big plans of travelling this year will go up in smoke. I’ve been saving for a long time for this opportunity, missing nights out with friends so I would be able to experience different cultures from around the world. Those dreams will evaporate into nothing. “I thought you couldn’t simply get rid of me . . . Aren’t there legalities involved when you let someone go?” Rising from the seat I was occupying, sadness fills me. How dare he fire me?
“It’s budget cuts,” he states matter-of-factly. More lies roll from his tongue. His hard stare moves away from mine, dropping down to the phone cradled in his hand. I watch his lips twitch, before they pull into a slight grin. He composes his expression before he looks at me again.
“I don’t believe it. It seems it’s more to do with your broken pride.” The words fly from my mouth before I can stop them. When I ended it with him, I never expected him to become malicious. Who hasn’t had a workplace breakup before? He needs to grow up and accept that every woman doesn’t love him. Shaking his head slightly, his hand brushes over the front of his suit and tie. He’s deceitful, a complete and utter liar.
“Well, you know, it was time for an upgrade.” He speaks slowly, drawing out the last word, watching me intently. His eyebrows rise, waiting for my reaction. Taking a wary step back, I’m stopped when I bump into the chair I was sitting in not long ago. Tension grows thick between us. Did he really say that?
“Excuse me?” I ask, my voice higher than normal.
“You heard me. You’re not needed here anymore; someone else is replacing you. Do I need to spell it out any clearer?”
“All because I broke up with you?” I question.
Chad shrugs, “You need to have someone to break up with first. You were nothing but a good time in bed.” An evil grin spreads across his face. “You weren’t the only girl either, I have my hands all over and in a lot of ladies, and you were just another one of them.”
My face must portray shock. My body becomes numb. His words sting like bees attacking my skin. I attempt to suck in a deep breath which proves a challenge.
Throwing his head back, laughter erupts from him, filling my ears. It’s as if this scene is playing out on a movie screen.
When I finally overcome the initial shock, I manage to speak. “You can’t do this. I won’t let you get away with this.” I choke on the lump in my throat as I speak. My strong composure, slowly begins to crumble.
“When you’re the boss, you can do whatever you want. I’d love to see you try win anything against me. You’re nothing but a worthless secretary who’s spoken provocatively in the work place.” His voice slowly rises as he stands, speaking threateningly, then he sits back in his chair as if he’s won. Which he has. I have no hope going up against a multi-million-dollar company, when I have no witnesses to the words he’s spoken. It’s all heresay.
I become so blindingly angry after such a statement, my heart hammers against my ribs.
Before my mind processes what he just said, he speaks again. “Leave. Your time at this office is up. Collect your things this instant and go or I’ll call security.” He practically shouts ‘go’ at me. Shifting out of his chair, Chad stands with a single empty box clutched in his closed hand. I saw this box when I entered; I had a strong feeling it would be for me. There’s nothing I can do about it now, except move on.
Again, his phone vibrates. And again. And again. Seriously, someone needs to lay off the text messages. Gee, I hope she likes working for him. He only wants her here so he can keep a close eye on her. Chad’s a possessive man. I can’t stand this quality. Who wants to be with someone who spies at your phone to see who you’ve been contacting? Not me. Thankfully, six months ago, I was alerted to his controlling behaviour when I caught him red handed with my phone, checking my messages. That was it for me.
With a sense of dread and feeling like a complete and utter idiot, I snatch the box from his outstretched hand and exit swiftly, slamming the door in my wake. Tears threaten to fall, and I will them not to . . . not now. I furiously blink them away. My pride is broken, and my world has been tilted on its hinges.
“Go to HR and collect your final payment!” he roars as the door clicks into place.
Well, duh . . . I’m not about to leave my money here . . . what a loser.
My legs collapse beneath me at my now old workspace . . . Deflated.
“That went well.” Janie’s soft voice comes from her desk across the room. My gaze shifts in the same direction.
“He’s a jerk,” I scoff. “I deserve better than being treated like a doormat. Ever since our relationship ended you know he hasn’t been nice to me. What did I expect, though? I should have known better than to get involved with the boss. If I didn’t need this job, or like it for that matter, I would have left when we broke up.” Since the relationship ended, he’s been short-tempered with me, piling up my desk with work, and mounds of paper that was literally rubbish, and only had to be put in the bin. He had to make sure I knew where I stood. He’d get angry at me for not doing a job he hadn’t given me to do, but still I put up with his attitude.
Janie is nodding in agreement when I snap out of this thought. “What are you going to do now?”
Good question. What? “I have no idea. Find a new job, I guess. Maybe something different to what I’ve been doing. I had some savings, but some were blown out because the engine in my car needed repairs. So, I can’t even travel yet.”
Janie’s jaw drops open. “You’re going to leave me? To do what exactly?”
“Perhaps it’s time to re-think my plans.” Collecting my belongings, I slam them into the empty box.
“So, when does she start?” The she Janie refers to is Chad’s new monthly delight. We both knew something bad was coming. Chad had the Human Resources Department in his office over the last few days. Quiet discussions had been taking place. We also knew Chad had a new woman; it was confirmed a week ago when she came in with her blonde prim-and-proper hair wearing makeup that would require a shovel to scrap it off.
“She’s getting her paperwork today, and most likely starting tomorrow.” Bitterness develops on my tongue merely speaking of this. Having friends in the office is a blessing. Travis from Human Resources called me yesterday to inform me we would be getting a new team member on our floor. But for this to happen, Chad needed to get rid of someone, and after today’s happenings, it’s clear who that someone was. Me.
Placing the last photo I had on my desk of Mum, Dad and me, in the box causes frustration to build up like a wild storm within me. With this rage comes new found courage and before I even realise it, I’m stomping back towards Chad’s office.
“What are you doing?” Janie hisses at me when she sees where I’m headed.
“To give this loser a piece of my mind.” While I have the courage, I think to myself.
Not bothering to knock, I throw the door open. Chad’s smile fades, as he holds his phone to his ear. His previous grin tells me he’s talking to her.
“Since I’ve been fired, I hope your new monthly delight likes a limp dick, quick man, because now she has one.” His mouth hangs open and, with my spirits lifted a little, I stride out, slamming the door behind me once again.
Looking at Janie who has a grin plastered on her face, a mirror image of my own, my lips curl up with a big cheesy grin. “I can’t believe you did that.” Janie snickers. With a high five, followed by loud laughter, I take my box of stuff and head to HR. Better collect my payment before that douche bag retracts it. I wouldn’t put it past him.
Walking out, I leave with a cheque for 10 K in my hot little hands—it’ll keep me going for a while. Well that, plus what little I have left in my savings. When you’re a person who doesn’t take holidays and still lives with your parents, I guess saving money comes easily, if things don’t go wrong. But, what the hell am I going to do now?
My phone vibrates through my bag as I step out onto the street. The sweet smell of freedom wraps around me. Warm air blows through my long brown locks. As scary and daunting as my future looks, this elation coursing throughout my body is wonderful. It’s an opportunity to try something new. Knowing I’ll have the support of my new boyfriend, Ryan, and help from Mum and Dad, it’ll be all right.
Or so I hope.
When I get to the car, I check the message I received earlier. It’s Ryan. A goofy grin spreads across my face. It’s funny how some men make girls feel giddy inside. They turn us to mush. Do we have the same effect on them? If only we could read their minds.
Ryan: Hey beautiful, I have a surprise for you when you come over tonight.
Love hearts and little ‘x’ kisses follow at the end of his text. Ryan’s been so sweet lately—not that he wasn’t at the start. We’ve been together three months, but he’s so much better than Chad. My eyes roll at the mere thought of his name, and it brings my irritation to the surface. Good riddance. Inhaling a deep breath, I take my thoughts back to Ryan and his messy blond hair, and don’t forget those deep brown eyes I enjoy getting lost in on a regular basis.
I hit reply and send him a love heart and kissy smiley face. Maybe his surprise tonight is a key to his place. This is something I could only wish for. Living at home is becoming uncomfortable. Mum and I are so much alike we argue most of the time. Family . . .
Butterflies swarm in my belly when I pull up outside Ryan’s place. I decided to surprise him myself. He’s just gotten back from one of his business trips. Never have I been this excited about a guy. Ryan’s going to be stoked to see me early. He won’t be expecting me, so it’s my turn to give him a bit of a shock.
My hand pauses as it connects with the door handle, ready to turn it. The faint sound of laughter comes from behind the door. Not any laughter, but that of my best friend, Crystal.
What is she doing here? Crystal and I were meant to be catching up tonight; she must be helping him with what he has in store for me tonight.
Silently, I turn the handle and push it open a crack. The laughter and banter becomes louder. Slowing my pace, I approach the bedroom with caution. An unnerving churn of doom replaces the dancing butterflies.
The joy that once completely overwhelmed me, vanishes.
With my heart pounding in my throat, I silently move closer towards the giggling, unsure if I should continue on this route or turn and leave.
Pushing open the slightly ajar door, what lies before me causes my world to immediately spin out of control. My heart shatters at the sight before me, the shards digging deeper into my already open wound. At first, they don’t notice my arrival and continue their romp under the sheets. Resentment pours through my raw chest, burning through my insides like red-hot lava, the pain is indescribable.
My boyfriend and apparent best friend are in the bed together, and with this realisation comes a flashing of red before my eyes.
“What the bloody hell are you doing?” I roar, the sound booming loudly, alerting them to my presence. They both look up from their provocative position. I hear them muttering under their breath, but it was hard to make out what they were saying, so I can only imagine.
Scurrying out of the bed, gripping the sheets to their naked bodies, I don’t know who’s more embarrassed—them or me.
I’ll stick with myself. I’m the one being made a fool of, aren’t I? Once again, I’ve chosen a dud boyfriend, but now I’ve also been made aware of my choice of a dud friend.
Without giving much thought to my actions, I grab the closest thing off the chest of drawers, which so happens to be a snow globe Ryan bought on one of his business trips. Those trips are probably just another ruse. Come to think of it, why does a fully-grown man collect snow globes? Are they like a track record of his female conquests? Now my mind starts questioning everything about him and our relationship. How could they do this to me?
With the torrent of emotion searing through me growing stronger by the millisecond, I draw back my arm behind my head and release the globe, watching it hurdle towards Ryan who doesn’t see it coming. Crystal screams, trying to warn him of the impending object, but fails. He turns towards Crystal and it connects with a resounding crack to his thick skull. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have done it . . . An afterthought arriving a moment too late.
“Ow, Chloe! What the hell?” His hands fly to his head. Blood immediately pours out between his fingers. Deep down, I give an excited dance and shout of glee. Serves you right, sucker!
“What the hell? What the hell?” I laugh outwardly. The sound coming from me is not something I’d normally make. “How dare you both do this to me?” I stab my finger towards them, then back at my chest.
“Chloe, I’m so sorry, it just—happened,” Crystal pleads. Tears form in her eyes, but her performance has no effect on me.
“You!” My burning gaze turns to her. “How could you, my apparent best friend, do this to me?”
“No, don’t even bother. I don’t want to hear it. This friendship is over. It no longer exists. You’re nothing to me, not even a blip on my radar.”
Crystal moves towards me with a begging look of sorrow on her face. “I’m sorry,” she cries. Her tears now overflow down her cheeks.
“You’re only sorry because you got caught.”
“Chloe, I think you completely overreacted. Look at me, I’m bleeding!” Ryan chokes back his sobs. My fiery glare now flicks towards him. Bright red blood streaks down the side of his face, and I feel zero remorse. Instead, I burst out laughing like a cackly old witch.
“I overreacted?” I’m not even sure those words are distinguishable with the level of screeching leaving my mouth. “What would you do if I was in bed with your best mate?”
He gives no response. Yeah, sucker, I got you and you know it. Your dick got the better of you and I caught you in the act.
Ryan scrunches a bunch of the sheet he clutches to his body in his hand, placing it to his head. Crystal slides closer to him inspecting the gash.
“Chloe, he needs to go to a doctor . . . it looks deep.” Crystal’s reasoning tone tries to outshine my fury towards them both.
“I couldn’t care less about him. You’re both dead to me!”
“Chloe, please, forgive us,” Crystal pleads, obviously realising her mistake at choosing him over me.
“Oh, hell no! I just lost my job and came here to seek some support from my boyfriend, but now I wash my hands of you both. Goodbye.” I slap my hands together as if washing them and flicking the water away. Good riddance. With my final farewell said, I leave, heartbroken.
When you think, someone could be the one for you, only to be made a fool of when you discover they’ve deceived you, it hurts like a sucker punch to the stomach. The joy Ryan gave me and the friendship Crystal and I had for years are now gone. A treacherous storm brews within my chest, threatening to destroy me. Two horrible incidents in one day.
Once I slide into my car, the storm erupts. My head falls into my hands and I sob. Crystal’s betrayal is the hardest to come to terms with. How could she throw away years of friendship, especially for a guy, let alone her best friend’s boyfriend?
Broken and devastated, I start my car and make my way to the one place I can always call my sanctuary . . . home.
Tears cascade down my face during the entire twenty-minute drive home. It’s unforgivable what those two have done. How do I move on from this? How does anyone move on from such a betrayal?
I need a friend right now and Janie is all I have. We’ve been close since I started working for Chad and his company three years ago . . .
Perhaps I should talk to Mum? No, that’s probably not a good idea. My parents are worrisome and love giving advice I know I wouldn’t want to hear in the first place. They try hard to help me, and I know they want the best for me.
You need to calm down, I warn myself before deciding to check in on the Mum and Dad first, allowing myself some time to get my head in order before seeing Janie, she’ll know what to say to help me feel better.
Pulling to a halt in the familiar driveway, I kill the engine. Dropping my head down in disappointment, has my head hitting the steering wheel, hard. It throbs instantly and sets off the waterworks once more. So much has happened today and every bit of it horrid. Taking a few deep breaths, I wipe my hands down my face brushing away my tears, attempting to pull myself together. I don’t want to play the one billion questions game with Mum about why I’ve been crying and look terrible.
A quick check in the review mirror and I’m out of the car. “What now?” I huff, when I’m alerted to raised voices coming from inside the house, my house. My heart sinks. I should have been expecting something else to go wrong today. How does the saying go? Bad things come in threes?
Now I’m faced with a dilemma, should I get back in the car and leave before I become involved in whatever it is going on in there, or be a good daughter and face the third potentially terrible disaster of the day? My feet answer for me and, without consent, drag the rest of me towards the front door. The voices become louder and much clearer.
“How could you do this to me?” Dad’s angry voice hits the other side of the door. What did Mum do?
“I’m so sorry,” she yells back. What is she sorry for?
My hand reaches for the handle when Dad sounds off again. I pause.
“You’re sorry? What about Chloe? Are you going to tell her?”
Before Mum answers, I grip the knob and push open the door with a hard shove. The sound of silence fills the tense room as their heads swing in my direction . . . so much sadness fills their gazes. Dad stands in front of Mum, who sits on the couch twisting a tissue in her hands. Her attempt to hide the fact she’s very upset is obvious, as she quickly swipes away her tears. Watching her wipe down her perfectly pressed linen pants, I try to think of a time I’ve seen her quite this upset. None come to mind.
“Hey honey, what are you doing home? Is everything okay?” Her voice trembles.
Dad turns, his back is now my view. He’s avoiding eye contact with me, but why? Hurt ripples through me. Why would a father turn away from his daughter? The ripples become stronger each second and he keeps his eyes averted from mine.
“I don’t know . . . you tell me. Is everything alright with both of you? The entire neighbourhood can hear you both shouting.” My tone is soft and I’m unsure of what’s going on between them. A strange fear takes hold of me, squeezing tightly, taking any happiness I had left in me with it. They both turn their eyes my way.
Dad rubs his hands down his pained face, sighing heavily. Mum’s bottom lip quivers in response and I watch as liquid quickly pools in her eyes; she tries blinking her sadness away, but fails. A sense of dread washes over me causing my hand to move to my chest before I grip my shirt. No, not another bad thing to add to this already horrendous day. Mum must see the aggrieved look I’m wearing because if her next words are supposed to ease the tension I’m feeling, they don’t.
“It’s okay, honey, nothing to worry yourself about.” Mum’s rickety words shake me to my core. When parents say don’t worry, then you know there’s something major to stress about. And as an only child, I’ve seen and heard lots of arguments between Mum and Dad, but the tone of Dad’s voice when I first arrived, pierces right through me.
“No, it’s not alright. Nothing is alright!” Dad yells. I step back in alarm of the man who’s never raised his voice with that much anger at Mum or me. His watery gaze shifts between Mum and I, but it isn’t until he notices my hesitant step back, his face falls, full of remorse.
“What the hell is going on?” I yell. My attempt to swallow down the hard lump in my throat is worthless. It only rises again and again.
Silence fills the room once again, and a deafening stillness settles around us. I fear my family, as I once knew it, is about to fall apart.
“Come sit down, Chloe,” Dad suggests, the strain in his words evident.
“I’ll stand, thanks.” Folding my arms across my chest, I brace myself for the blow I’m about to get slammed with.
Mum stands, stepping towards me; grief now fills her gaze. Dad doesn’t move a muscle. “Honey, I don’t know where to start.”
“Just spit it out.”
“Alright . . . Years ago, I made a terrible mistake—one that can’t be undone.” She pauses, drawing in a few deep breaths. “The man you know to be your father, isn’t your father—or at least, I’m not sure if he is or not.”