Paid For(2)By: Alexa Riley
This has to work. I have no other options. This isn’t merely about me. It’s about the man who raised me since I was a little girl. A man who tried to give me everything he could until he started to forget who I was.
I knew I couldn’t take care of him anymore. He needed someone to be with him 24/7, and not only that, I was physically incapable of helping him at times—my grandfather is a big man, easily twice my size. I could, however, make sure he was somewhere safe where people were good to him. So far, I had done that, but the place was far from cheap, and I quickly burned through the money I’d gotten from selling the home he raised me in. I’m drowning in bills. Waiting tables and cleaning jobs simply aren’t cutting it anymore.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered other ways to make money. One of the girls in my building strips and says she could make over a thousand dollars some nights just off cash tips. I’d toyed with the idea. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but there wasn’t a lot I wouldn’t do to keep my grandfather happy.
The man had raised me since I was a little girl. I don’t remember my mother. My memories are crafted from the stories he told me about her. I never knew my father. My grandpa made it seem like he didn’t know who he was either.
It was always just the two of us, and I love him more than anything in the world. He is the only family I’ve ever known. I loved it when I’d lie down to bed at night and he’d tell me stories about grandma. He always lit up at the memory of her. I grew up thinking I wanted a love like that, but then all that was pushed to the back burner as his health started to decline.
Lately, whenever he is having a good day and starts talking about my mom and grandmother when I visit, I write down everything he says. I am scared that one day he’ll no longer remember the stories himself, and I want to be able to tell him those same stories.
I feel wetness hit my cheeks and I quickly wipe it away. Looking up, I see the woman behind the desk watching me. She gives me a sad smile, and I look away, not liking that I’ve been caught crying. Lovely. I’m sure that’s not going to help me get this job.
I stand up. I need to get myself under control.
“Bathroom?” I ask the woman.
“Down the hall, second door on the right,” she says.
I nod and make my way down the hall, almost running into a man coming out of an office.
“Sorry,” I whisper before moving around him and darting into the bathroom. I feel his eyes on me the whole way.
Get it together, Kennedy.
“You’re going to give yourself a headache if you stare any harder at that screen.”
I look up from my computer to see my business partner, Finn, kicked back in one of my chairs, eating a bowl of grapes, not a fucking care in the world.
“We can’t all have a Helen to do everything for us. Some of us have to figure out this scheduling shit on our own.”
I go back to what I was doing, scowling at my computer screen and trying to make sense of what all these different colors mean for scheduling. It looks like a rainbow exploded on my screen.
“Helen is here to help you, too, but it’s not her fault you go through admins faster than you say Go Pack Go.” He rolls his eyes like he’s the one who has to deal with this mess.
“I like Green Bay. I don’t see the problem,” I say, ignoring the part where he’s right. I do go through admins at a pretty rapid pace.
Finn lucked out with our office assistant, Helen. She’s been with us since the beginning and is perfect at everything. Unfortunately, she’s only one person, and Finn and I are demanding assholes when it comes to our company. Technically, Helen is his admin, and I have my own. Only I haven’t had a steady assistant in years. Normally they either last a few weeks before they quit, or I have to fire them for inappropriate behavior.
It’s not that I’m a prude, but the workplace isn’t the location for romance. No matter what they say, it’s what they want. They think they can entice you with a quick fuck that will maybe grow into something more. When I hire someone, I expect them to do their job and leave me alone until I need them again. Some of my admins hung around my desk, looking for every little excuse to touch me or get close. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of a woman, it’s simply not a priority for me. I can’t even remember the last time I went on a date, so it must not have been all that great. The biggest problem with hiring an admin is that we spend so much time together, so feelings can get confused.
One or two of my male admins tried to start something physical with me, thinking that maybe since I rejected women I preferred their attentions. Then the straight ones wanted to become best friends, with hopes of taking over my company or getting some part of it. It’s not that I don’t like healthy competition, but I don’t need my administrative assistant gunning for what’s mine. I didn’t like having to look over my shoulder or worry about what kind of information they might be stealing.