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Story Of The Week

The Game

by Dakota Manlier

I had been impressed and flattered when my new boss asked me out to dinner.  As I followed the Maitre’d past cloth-covered tables filled with couples I became excited.  A part of me was thrilled that he had finally invited me to have dinner with him, and another part of me was cautious.

I was so nervous about the evening that I almost tripped over myself before I reached the table.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I got there and saw it was empty.  I wanted to arrive first, so I could be composed and seated when my date arrived.

Though I hated to see women who vainly pulled out mirrored compacts in public to check the status of their lipstick and hair, I readily reached for mine as soon as I was seated.  A woman at the next table smiled at me knowingly, as if she too was there to meet someone.

It all began eight weeks ago when I was transferred to another office at the company I worked for.  At first, I was very angry about leaving the office where I had built a reputation as an efficient manager, but when I walked into the new office and met my new boss, the resentment faded quickly.  He was not only good-looking but charming as well.  I couldn’t get my work done for thinking about him all day and all night.

After the second week, I tried everything I could to get him to see me as a woman as well as his employee. Finally, one night after we both had worked late, he invited me to meet him for dinner at his favorite restaurant, to which I happily agreed.

As I sat in the restaurant waiting and trembling with excitement, I ordered a glass of wine and drank slowly. I kept glancing at my watch.  An hour later, I began to panic.  I wondered how long I should wait as I was on my second glass of wine.  I felt like people were staring at me as I sat conspicuously alone.  I looked over at the woman who smiled at me earlier.  Her date was now there. 

I decided to leave.  After all, an hour was long enough to wait for anyone, and it was apparent, he wasn’t coming.  I motioned for the waiter to ask for the check.  When he came, he smiled broadly and spoke softly with a French accent, “Mademoiselle, the gentleman over there would like for you to join him at his table.”  I turned and was astonished to see my boss sitting alone at another table, smiling and beckoning for me.

Astonished, I got up, walked over to his table, and sat down.  I stared at him incredulously as he explained that he’d been sitting at another table the whole time, observing me to see how long I’d wait for him.  He said he loved to test people, and I had passed the test, when I got up to leave.  He said it revealed the kind of character he liked in a woman.

As he talked, I made polite noises, but I was livid.  When he finished and suggested ordering dinner, I reached for my purse and rose quickly.  “Well, “I said with a regained composure.  “I hope you give a test on departures because I’m leaving.  I’m no longer hungry and you have just proved the common theory that business and pleasure shouldn’t mix.”

The next day, he called me into his office, apologized, and invited me out again to make up for the spoiled evening, but I took a pass.  I was no longer interested in him or the job.    Four weeks later I resigned.

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