Headlights flashed in the distance as Sonya watched them become brighter with each passing second. The low rumble of an engine echoed amongst the thunder quickly becoming lost in the night. Finally an image appeared at the end of the block. Sonya smiled as she watched Sean on his bike. She thought he would have been with Cameron. Sonya had sent her best friend out an hour before the ceremony to make sure that he made it on time.
If she knew anything about Sean, she knew that he would be obsessing over getting everything just right. He never did understand that everything about him was already ‘just right’.
A flash of lightning speared the sky accompanied by another crash of lightning. Sonya bounced lightly on her toes as she waited for the light to turn green. As her eyes focused on him she began to wonder where Cameron was. As a matter of fact she hadn’t heard anything from her maid of honor. And also, why was Sean riding his bike in the pouring rain? He would never be so careless.
It was then that Sonya realized that something wasn’t right. Her eyes focused on the metal contraption as the traffic light finally turned green. Her heart sped up as she realized she needed to do something. She needed to warm him to be careful. She needed him to go back. But more than anything she wanted to scream at the top of her lungs for him to stop.
But like all the other times she watched as his bike swerved before sliding on the rain soaked asphalt. Crimson streaks rushed down the oily ground, soaking in his life force as she stood there screaming into the night.
Each time she watched as his broken body simply disappeared into thin air.
Sonya’s body jerked as her eyes opened. The darkness greeted her like it always did. Only this wasn’t the same darkness that she felt in her soul. This was much worse because she was still alive. And Sean was still dead. And to make matters worse she was trapped in a house with a man she didn’t know but felt a small inkling of something for. Although she was not sure what that something was.
That thought alone brought her back to the dream.
She managed to suppress a small sob that wanted desperately to escape. It was the same dream every night.
Every night for the past year.
And no matter how many times she tried to warn him to turn around she couldn’t save him. And what use was she if she couldn’t even save the man that she loved?
Each time she woke up Sonya felt as if she had just lost him, and that was the hardest part about waking up.
It made the need to end her life that much greater than it was the previous night. Sonya let thoughts run rampant through her mind as she tried to calculate a way to escape. She knew it would be difficult with her new warden watching her every move, but she would figure something out. She was nothing if not determined. And if anything she was much more determined to make the ache in her heart stop.
A hiss managed to escape her mouth as pain rocketed up her arm causing her to grit her teeth. She had stashed her pain meds the previous night and now the pain was making itself known. The throbbing turning into a sharp pin prink of pain. Sonya closed her eyes as she reminded herself it would all be worth it in the end. She needed to feel the pain to remember why she had to do this.
She couldn’t let herself forget for one moment what it felt like to live with a giant hole in her heart. No matter how many people were trying their best to patch it up.
Shaking the thoughts from her head she reset her thoughts. It didn’t matter one way or another what everyone thought. She didn’t plan on seeing another sunset let alone a sunrise.
With the use of all the air she could muster, Sonya moved her body forward slightly only to find that she couldn’t move. Her eyes shifted around the room for the first time since she had woken up. She allowed her eyes to become accustomed to the dark before they drifted down to see a tan forearm thrown over her body.
The hand was placed softly against her stomach. And then without hesitation the hand began to move in a circle before stopping. A small gasp left her as she realized how intimate this must look.
Her first instinct was to throw his arm off of her and push him off the bed. She hadn’t been in a position like this since Sean and she damn well didn’t want to be in it with this guy. Sonya could feel the hard planes of his chest pressed up against her back. The slow movement of his body as his breath tickled the back of her neck. And then she remembered how she had woken up screaming in the middle of the night.
Trenton had rushed to her aid; to quiet her screams that CeCe normally kept at bay. In the dark she hadn’t noticed that it was him who rocked her silently. She hadn’t known that he was real and for a split second she imagined that it was Sean holding her close to him. And that thought alone had helped her fall back asleep.
Now with her mind free of her nightmare, Sonya just wanted to push him away from her. She wanted to yell at him for comforting her. To fling his offending limb from her body and ask him where the hell he got the nerve to touch her without permission. But just as her hand lifted to execute this plan, Sonya paused.
A new plan immediately immerged as she realized this could be the opportunity she was thinking about earlier. If she could just find the key he used to lock her in, she could leave and find a nice place to be alone. At least then he wouldn’t be able to find her. She would figure out the details after she was free of him.
With her good hand, Sonya slowly lifted Trenton’s hand stopping at the sound of his breath catching. When he didn’t leap up or ask her what she was doing Sonya placed it behind. Her body wiggled slightly as she moved to the edge of the bed. Braving a glance behind her, she sat up slowly placing one foot on the floor followed by the other.
Once both feet touched the ground Sonya managed to stand to her full height without falling back onto the bed. A small cry of victory could be heard floating around her head as she realized she was that much closer to getting what she wanted.
Her eyes once again moved around the room, landing on the drawer that Trenton had placed her pain medication. He had tried his best to hide them from her, but she had caught him locking the drawer the night before. Trying her best to be as quiet as possible Sonya moved towards the desk. She wasn’t sure where the keys were but she was sure she could figure something out.
Pain coursed through her arm as she lifted it to move papers around. The soft shuffle of paper whispered through the room as she continued her search. He was a real ass to lock her in with him she thought. The next thought that emerged almost made her pause. What if she couldn’t find the keys?
She would just figure something out, Sonya mused again while making another attempt to find the missing keys.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
Whipping her head around Sonya saw the most vibrant set of cerulean eyes staring at her.
And they looked pissed.
Trent noticed the moment Sonya’s breathing changed. Throughout the night she had tossed and turned and even woken up screaming which caused him to get into bed with her to comfort her. The next time she whimpered in her sleep he glanced down at her only to see her brow furrowed. And then she wouldn’t make another sound. After that she had slept peacefully. He had even woken up a few times just to check on her, but to the best of his knowledge, she appeared to be okay.
That was until the word ‘stop’ slipped from her mouth. Seconds later her body jerked and then relaxed. The sound of her breathing was faster than it had been seconds ago and her body language had instantly changed.
She was awake.
Trent looked down at the site they made. His arm thrown protectively over her middle as he watched over her.
When she didn’t threaten to remove his arm, he figured that she must not have noticed it yet. Seconds later he heard a soft gasp, followed by a soft touch to his arm. The contact was quick but still caused him to move his hand across her stomach. They continued to stay cuddled together which caused Trent to close his eyes again. He didn’t know why but this was the most peace he had felt in years.
And although he felt it should scare him, all he felt was calm. Little did he know that it was the calm before a very bad storm.
A few more seconds passed and Sonya still hadn’t yelled at him. It was then that she slowly removed his arm from her stomach. The weight of the bed shifted and then became still.
Trent’s eyes opened as he watched her survey the room. She was trying to figure out a way to sneak away. The barely audible sound of a sigh slipped from her and echoed in his ears. There was no way she could sneak away, but he also didn’t want her to think of ways to try.
Trent lifted his head as he waited for her to go to the door. He had locked it but with everything that happened the night before perhaps she wasn’t aware of that. Well, she was in for a rude awakening. However, instead of going for the door she moved towards his desk.
Her hands lifted slowly and landed on the stack of paperwork he had been sorting through the day before. The sound of shuffling could barely be heard. And if he had been asleep he wouldn’t have even noticed she was rifling through his things. His eyes moved over her body as Sonya leaned down trying to find the key.
It was when Sonya’s hand moved dangerously close to his hiding spot that Trent let it be known that he was awake.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
The way her head swung around would have made him laugh if he wasn’t becoming increasingly angry with her.
Even though he had caught her red handed, she still whispered as if he were sleeping.
“I’m waiting Sonya.”
Her eyes darted around the room landing on everything but Trent. He could only guess what excuse she was going to use.
“Bathroom,” she lied.
“Bathroom?” he threw back at her. He knew damn well she wasn’t looking for the bathroom since it was in the opposite direction.
“Yes,” she hissed, moving her hands in an upward motion.
At the sound of her pain Trent’s face relaxed a little, before hardening again. “Are you okay?”
Rising from the bed Trent walked over to her until he was inches away from her face. “I guess that’s a yes.”
Then slipping past her he grabbed the key hidden in a small lockbox on his desk and unlocked the bedroom door. “You might want to go to the bathroom,” he threw back at her. The confused expression on his face made him smirk a little. “Since that was where you were going, right?” And with that Trent closed the door behind him. But not before he heard her whisper the word ‘shit’.
The door slammed behind Trent rattling a few pictures on the wall. He wasn’t stupid. He knew damn well she was trying to get away from him. It didn’t matter that he had locked the door and she wouldn’t have gotten out, it was the fact that after the previous night she had taken five steps backwards.
His heart pounded to a beat all its own as he ran his calloused fingers through his hair. The look in her eyes when she’d been caught made him angry and sad. She still wanted to die. There was no sugar coating it. That woman in his room needed more than he could give her. Maybe it was a mistake bringing her to his home.
Especially if he slightly reminded her of a dead man she had been grieving an entire year for. A man she was to marry. A man she wanted to die to be with.
The last thought was a punch to the stomach. Trent turned to look at the door. Its solid structure mocked him. How could something inanimate make him feel so weak? No, he wasn’t going to let this go. He was going to go back in there and talk to her. He needed to call her mother as well. This had been a huge mistake.
I’ll call her after we talk.
The door knob twisted with a slight squeak as he pushed the door open. The sound of the shower eased his tension. At least she couldn’t harm herself in his room.
“Sonya,” Trenton called to her as he walked towards the door.
Of course there was no answer. She was pissed at him. She had shown him that since day one.
“Sonya! When you get out you need to take your pain meds and then we need to talk,” he yelled louder.
There was still no answer. With a sigh he moved away from the door. Day two had only just begun and they were off to a horrible start.
Trent’s feet padded soundlessly across the floor to the locked drawer where he’d stored the Oxycodone. Slipping his hand into his pajama pockets Trent pulled out nothing but air. Moving over to the other pocket he came back with the same result. The key wasn’t in his pants. His eyes moved around to find it laying on the floor.
Leaning down, he quickly picked up the key and slid it into his desk drawer. But when he tried to turn it there was no click. Trent frowned and twisted the key back again only to hear it lock. A feeling of dread crept up his spine as he twisted the key to the right again getting the click he was missing the first time. As his hands slowly slid the drawer open all the oxygen left his lungs. The bottle of pain medication was missing.
Racing to the door he tried to twist the knob only to find that the door was locked. Backing away he slammed his shoulder into it with as much force as he could. A groan vibrated in the room as the framing splintered slightly.
“Sonya,” he yelled, backing away far enough to charge the door harder. Again the door splintered and cracked. Moving further away from the door, Trent let out a loud roar and rushed the door for the third time. The hinges gave way causing his body to fall onto the chilled tile floor.
As Trent’s eyes moved up he nearly had a heart attack as he looked at what appeared to be a lifeless Sonya. Her hair hid most of her face as it leaned against the glass door. The pill bottle lay next to her body with the remnants of what she did not take.
“No. no. no. no,” he scrambled towards her, pulling her out of the glass shower.
Trent lowered his head to her face. She was still breathing; barely. Moving her to her side he said a silent prayer and then slid two fingers into her mouth.
The sound of regurgitation would normally make him vomit himself but today he welcomed the sound. Seconds later the contents of Sonya’s stomach covered the tile floor. Not wasting anytime Trent picked her up and ran to the door not even stopping to put on shoes.
His foot slipped on an area rug before he balanced himself and continued moving forward. He could feel water dripping as he moved faster towards the living room door. The lower half of her body was soaked from where she had allowed the water to fall.
The path to the car was longer than he remembered. The crunch of gravel echoing in his ear as he finally made it to his car. The door chirped as he punched in the code on the side of his door. He always kept a spare set of keys in his glove box which his best friend had always chastised him about.
Now he was grateful he had never listened.
Once inside the car Trent typed in the programmed hospital number and waited for someone to pick up. The car peeled out of his driveway as he said a silent prayer. She had to be okay.
“Hello! Hello! I need someone at the ER bay in five minutes!”
“Sir? Sir, please slow down.”
“She’s OD’ing. I can’t—please—we’re on our way right now.”
“Okay sir. I need you to calm down. Who is OD’ing?”
“And where are you right now?”
“I’m driving. We’re on our way to the hospital right now.”
“Do you know if she’s breathing sir?”
“And you said she OD’d?”
Why was she repeating what he had already told her?
“Yes! She took pills. I—shit,” he yelled as he swerved to miss another car. The sound of a horn honking faded as his foot hit the gas pedal harder.
“What exactly did she take?”
“Does it fucking matter!”
“Yes sir, it does. Sir, I need you to calm down. I’ve already alerted the ER.”
“We’re here! Send someone out! We’re here!”
Trent’s body went into overdrive as he put the car and park. The door flung open just as he rounded the passenger side. A team of what appeared to be doctors stormed the vehicle softly moving him to the side. His body knew that he should stay out of the way, but his mind wanted to make sure she was taken care of. To make sure she didn’t die.
“Sir, we need to get some information from you about your wife.”
“She’s not my wife. I need to call her mother. Shit. I—is she going to be okay?”
“We won’t know that until we exam her.”
“Can I see her?”
“Sir, you said you aren’t her husband. Are you a brother or a relative?
Trent shook his head trying his best to keep his cool. The man in front of him wasn’t answering the question. He needed to know if he could see her. He needed to know that she would be okay.
“Can I see her?” he repeated this time with a bite of anger lacing his voice.
“I’m sorry sir, but if you’re not a relative we can’t allow that,” the young doctor explained as Trent watched an unconscious Sonya be wheeled into the hospital.
“Sir, we do need to get in touch with her family. If you could contact them that would be a great help to us.”
Trent’s eyes moved back to the young man in front of him. His brown eyes held a sense of urgency in them. They told him that this needed to happen right now. With the nod of his head Trent looked back towards the bay doors feeling his resolve slowly slip.
“She was just released yesterday after a suicide attempt. I have a POA, but I agree with you. I really need to call her mother.”
And with that Trent walked past the doctor and towards the nurse’s station.
Strong hands caressed her arm, moving slowly up only to stop at her shoulder. It worked. She was with her Sean at last. A smile transformed her face as she looked up at him. Her eyes still felt heavy but she didn’t care. She was finally where she belonged.
Sonya tried to lift her arms to touch him back but found that she couldn’t. Her eyes met his with a look of confusion. That was when she realized that emerald eyes did not meet hers; sapphire ones did. Dred filled her as she thought about the implications.
She didn’t want to think about what was happening. This couldn’t be happening. She wasn’t alive. She couldn’t be. Not after all of the shit that had happened that day. Not after she had been so close again.
Her eyes drifted down to the padded cuffs that wrapped around her wrist, embracing her with all of their strength. A surge of pain struck her in the chest as she remembered what had happened and where she was.
The machine attached to her arm beeped furiously at her, begging her to take deeper breaths, but she couldn’t listen to it. Wouldn’t listen to it. Not when it was begging her to live. Sonya’s eyes moved back to Trenton and for the first time she noticed that he wasn’t looking at her. Instead his eyes were on the scar that were starting to form on her wrist.
Part of it peeked out from under her bonds, taunting him. Letting him know that he had failed.
“The bandage came off,” he whispered so softly that she almost couldn’t hear him. “The nurse should be coming in any second to change it.”
Sonya’s mouth opened to respond, but that surge of energy to her heart struck again and all that escaped was a sob. She shouldn’t be feeling this hurt by his expression, but the defeat on his face was enough to break her heart. If only a little.
She slowly moved her fingers in her binds and watched as her index finger grazed his arm. For the first time since she had come to, Trenton looked up at her and she saw them. Two sets of tears slowly moved down his face one after the other, and he didn’t do anything to stop them. Would they stop if he tried?
“I should be so mad at you,” he whispered after he managed to clear his throat.
At the sound of her whisper he closed his eyes. It was the first time she had called him Trent. In the day and a half he had known her she had always been so formal in her anger. Never calling him anything other than Trenton. It made him even angrier at her. Why couldn’t he just leave her there to self-destruct? At least that way she wouldn’t take him with her.
“I should want to wring your neck or just leave for that matter. I didn’t sign up for this shit you know?”
The strain in his voice was evident as he cleared his throat again, “But—but I can’t fucking—fuck!”
The scream ripped through the room with a thunderous roar as he stood; kicking over the chair he was sitting in. It was at that exact moment the nurse came in.
“Sir, I need you to leave.”
The tremor in her voice was evident as she watched him stand above her patient.
“No,” Trent stated calmly holding Sonya’s gaze.
“I said, ‘no’,” he said firmly averting his gaze to the nurse standing in the door. “Bandage her wrist, but I’m not going anywhere.”
The uneasiness on the nurse’s face was evident but Trent didn’t care. He wasn’t going to leave her. How he wanted to just leave her here alone, but he couldn’t and it was pissing him off. She’d only been with him for two days and she’d already tried to kill herself again.
And it was all his fucking fault.
“Please,” he asked taking a deep breath. “Please.”
This seemed to calm the nurse down as she nodded her head and set to work disinfecting the wound on Sonya’s right wrist before bandaging it up again.
“While I’m here I might as well check her vitals too.”
Trent didn’t say anything, he only nodded his head and moved to the side so that he was out of the nurse’s way.
“Everything looks normal. The doctor will be in to see you shortly,” the young nurse spoke to Sonya and then turned her attention towards Trent.
“Try to keep your cool or we’ll have to ask you to leave next time. No exceptions.”
And with that she looked towards Sonya again, turned around and left.
The silence in the room was palpable. It was as if it had its own heartbeat and the slow rhythm of its beat was drumming to her own. She wanted to not care that he was upset. But each time that she glanced towards him she couldn’t help but want to assure him that this wouldn’t happen again. But she couldn’t.
He hadn’t sat back down after the nurse left. Instead he opted for posting up like a statue in the corner with his arms folded. The vein in the middle of his forehead was forced forward as he glared at her from a distance.
A shot of euphoria rushed through her causing her eyes to drop down to the IV inserted in her arm. She hadn’t even thought about her pain since she woke up. She wasn’t even aware that it should be there. And as hard as she tried to grasp on to it and pull it back to her heart, she found that it was nowhere in sight.
Once again her eyes moved towards the statue of a man in the corner. His gaze had softened but only slightly. Shit. Sonya found that she had been saying that word a lot lately. Her hand moved involuntarily as her muscle jerked.
She needed to say something to him, but what?
Sonya found that she didn’t have to think of anything to say when Trent spoke first.
“I called your mother too. She’s out in the lobby right now.”
Opening her mouth to speak for the first time since she woke up, Sonya was greeted with the worst case of cotton mouth she had ever experienced. “Water?”
Ignoring her plea Trent continued talking. “She had to be notified because even though I was granted a POA for you until tomorrow she is still your next of kin. And I didn’t feel comfortable making any type of life or death decisions without her knowledge.”
Sonya’s eyes lowered to the padded shackle on her wrists again before she met Trent’s sapphire gaze. “Water?”
“When I’m done I’ll have the nurse bring you some water. You should know, first that, I no longer have a Power of Attorney for you. As of this very moment you no longer have to see my face again. And second, neither does your mom.”
The look of confusion on Sonya’s face would have made Trent laugh if the situation wasn’t so dire. It would have been comical if his heart didn’t feel like she had minced it up and fed it to someone. And yet the look on her face still made him want to comfort her. But if he wanted her to get better this had to be done.
“I said neither of us has a Power of Attorney for you. I can no longer make medical decisions for you. In hindsight, I never should have been able to.”
“I don’t understand. What—what’s gonna happen next?”
Trent unfolded his arm and moved towards her. Each step was much more menacing than the one before it. His broad shoulders slouched as he leaned forward slightly to tower over her. Sonya noticed that the tears had stopped flowing down his face, but the bloodshot appearance to his eyes were still there. She couldn’t take seeing the vulnerability any more. So she closed her eyes and wished him away while secretly hoping for him to stay.
That alone was terrifying.
“Next, your mom is going to come in here and explain what happens.”
“Why can’t you just tell me,” Sonya asked opening her eyes.
“Because, it’s not my place. It’s not my place to take over your life or give you that kind of information.”
“You didn’t have a problem with that before,” she whispered.
A frown transformed his features so much that it was as if looking at an entirely different person. “And look where that got me,” he whispered back.
“You know, I’m supposed to be this hard ass exec. People at work fear me. They fear what I will say to them. They fear what I will do if they fuck up or slack off,” he told her, each word getting stronger and louder as he went on.
“I’m the man who crushes dreams and could care less about anyone else’s life. Especially a stranger. You may think I do this all the time,” he scoffed. “But the truth is that had you been someone else bleeding on the side of the road, I would have stepped over your dying body and never looked back.”
The mental picture he painted made Sonya shiver. In the short time she had known him, there was never any indication that he would be so cruel. Sure she had seen him be bossy and even seen the way he could be cold and unmoving but she also saw how he cared. The man he was describing couldn’t be the same.
“And now?” he frowned again. “Now I don’t even know who I am. I don’t know you—but I know you. And I can’t watch you do this to yourself, especially if my helping is essentially hurting you.”
Sonya knew what he said was true. She had felt this uncanny connection to him since before she had met him. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she knew that it scared her beyond reason. At first glance he resembled her lost love, but when she really looked at him the similarities stopped there. So why was she so guilty?
“I’m going to go get your mom. Her and CeCe have been worried about you,” Trent said as he turned to leave the room.
“Wait! Wait,” she said calmer than the first outburst. “What is my mom going to do?”
Giving her a sad smile, he made a mental note of what she looked like. “What she should have done in the beginning.”
And then he was gone.
“Yes therapy,” Theresa replied. Her daughter had just tried to take her own life for the second time in two days. She had been misguided to think that having her go with Trenton would help. When she thought about it, she knew it had been a horrible idea.
The man had instantly reminded her of Sean, so she knew he would remind Sonya of him as well. But Theresa had reasoned with herself that the similarities were too few. That she wasn’t secretly hoping that her daughter would latch on to this Sean doppelganger and snap herself out of this funk.
As her chestnut hued eyes stared into her daughters she prayed that one day she could forgive her for being so spineless and allowing Trenton to take care of her. Some good that did.
“Yes. Therapy. You just swallowed a whole bottle of pills. If Trenton hadn’t come back in to talk to you, you would be dead. I would be arranging to have your funeral right now. Do you not understand that Sonya! You could have died!”
“I want to die!”
“Why? Because of Sean? He’s dead Sonya. He’s never coming back. Killing yourself is not going to reunite him and you. It’ll just make you stop existing.
The words were whispered but there was no mistaking the anger behind them. Sonya wanted her gone and she wanted her gone that instant.
“Fine. I’ll go. But not before I let you know that it took a lot of work to get you out of this place yesterday. There are no second chances when it comes to suicide Sonya.”
“That’s why it’s called suicide, Mother.”
“Sonya—,” she sobbed. “You still have me and CeCe. We’re still here for you. We still love you. Try taking comfort in that while you are here.”
“I know that. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less,” Sonya whispered looking towards the door. “Where is CeCe? I thought she’d be in here with you?
“You don’t get it Sonya. You tried to commit suicide twice in less than 48 hours. They’ll only allow family to see you before visiting hours are up.”
“Cece is family. Besides I want to go back home. When can we leave?”
“You can’t,” Theresa murmured.
“I’m sure Trenton told you that he no longer has a Power of Attorney to make decisions for you. Well neither do I. You are a danger to yourself and possibly others. The doctors are keeping you here in the Psychiatric Ward until you are further evaluated by a doctor.”
“It’s for your own good. You’ll be able to talk to a professional about your problems. We’ve all tried to get you to open up but nothing has worked. And with the attempts, you’ve taken the decision out of my hands,” she said to Sonya as her voice trembled.
“I’m so sorry for the past year Sonya. I really am. But baby, it’s time to let go.”
“Momma—momma, don’t leave me here alone,” she panicked finally letting the fear she felt show. She didn’t want to be left alone locked down like an animal.
The sadness in her daughter’s voice broke her heart. But she would rather have her hate her now, then bury her later. And so Theresa slowly stood up and kissed her daughter on the forehead. “I’ll be back tomorrow and if the doctors think it’s best for me to see you we’ll talk about this some more.”
“I love you Sonny,” she cried, walking into the hallway.
Six Months Later
“Does this shit look like what I asked for?!”
“Not-not exactly sir, but—”
“Let me stop you right there. I asked if this is what I asked you for and the answer is obviously no. There is no but. There is either fix this or pack your shit. Got it?”
“Got it,” Randall sputtered as he grabbed the crumpled up sheets of paper and scurried away.
Being the boss at a competitive ad agency was tougher than a lot of people thought it was. There was trying to out maneuver the competition while staying on top of the latest fashion and trends. And that was all while keeping things within a budget and making the client happy.
So when you looked at it from all angles Trenton Sinclair did not have any room for error.
He had gotten his reputation early on in his career. Even as an intern he had made it clear that there was no room for error. He was the first one to arrive at work and the last one to leave. The firm was so impressed with him that he was hired as soon as his internship ended. Now 7 years later Trent was the best of the best at Simon, Birch, and Mitchell.
If he played his cards right he would make partner by the end of the year. And at the age of 29 that was something to be proud of.
The click of his shoes resonated through the quiet hall as he made his way towards his office. The sound of chatter caught his attention but instantly was dismissed when he noticed where it was coming from.
The program normally started the first week of November but he had made the decision earlier in the year that if they had help before the holidays it would make a smoother transition. Plus having fresh eyes didn’t hurt.
Trenton didn’t miss the heated looks he received from his interns nor did he miss the way each one of the young ladies leaned over to watch as he walked past them in his expensive suit. Each of them had just been hired to fulfill part of their requirements for graduation. None of them stood a chance with him, but he was sure that at least one of them would try something. And he would not so gently let them down.
Once he passed them the sound of giggling filled his ears. “Women,” he muttered.
The inside of his office was decorated in Earth tones. Light browns and beiges. Most of his colleagues had imagined the inside of his office being dark and brooding. He even laughed when one of the assistants from two floors down gaped at the brighter tone the room conveyed.
The second he sat down he heard the phone ring.
“Sir, your 2 o’clock is here. Would you like me to send her in?”
“Gloria, I don’t have any appointments today.”
I mentioned it to you on Monday. You had me move her to today because of the gap in your schedule, but I can always reschedule.”
Monday? Trent thought back to what she was referring to and remembered that he had just gotten into a fight with Melissa. He had wanted to break up with her for months but she was a good distraction and for that reason alone he kept her around. But on that day he just couldn’t put up with her anymore.
Trent was well aware that the only reason Melissa Dunn was with him was because he was rich. Not Bill Gates rich, but he had enough money to keep him comfortable for the rest of his life. And that was all because he had worked hard for what he got.
But Melissa was the stereotypical gold digger. She didn’t work, bragged to all her friends about who she had ‘snagged’, and tried to spend all of his money when she thought he didn’t realize it. It was time for her to go.
And so when she suggested that they finally move in together Trent gave her walking papers.
Needless to say she hadn’t taken that too well.
And now he was finding out that he had an appointment. He really didn’t need this today.
“Sir? Do you want me to reschedule again?”
“No, it’s fine Gloria. Just give me 5 minutes and then send her in.”
His finger pressed the button again ending the call. “Fuck.”
He had completely forgotten about the job interview. He didn’t even have the applicant’s information or know her name. No matter, he thought. He’d just get all that information when she came in.
As he went over what to ask her and gathered some of the notes he found on the looming appointment, he heard a loud knock on the door.
“Enter!” he yelled. His head was still down as he shuffled through a few papers that he finally stumbled across. Trent’s eyes skimmed over a few lines of her resume and found that she was qualified for the job he was trying to fill.
“Your resume looks really nice. Four years at U of H and an internship with—”
The words died on Trent’s lip when his eyes met with a ghost. “Sonya.”
Silence lingered between the two of them as they watched each other with unreadable expressions. Trent hadn’t seen or heard about her since the day he left the hospital. He thought it best to just cut off the offending part of him and that had been Sonya. A clean break was what he needed. And now she was staring him in the face.
His eyes moved down to the papers in his hand. Lifting his gaze up to the header of the paper he saw the name he had carelessly skipped over. “Sonya Philips”.
When he didn’t say anything Sonya took a step forward but didn’t say anything. What was there to say? If it wasn’t for the fact that she really needed this job she would have hightailed it out of there.
“Um. Mr. Sinclair? I’m—”
Her voice wavered as she tried to gain her composure. “I’m, Sonya Philips. I applied for Campaign Manager position that was listed on your website.”
She wasn’t sure what was going on but she had to keep her cool. It had been months since she had seen him. Months of therapy. She couldn’t risk it all by falling apart now. She had come in for a job interview and that was what she was going to do.
“I have some experience in marketing and feel that I would be a great asset to your team.
“I see,” he mumbled looking at her.
When nothing else was said Sonya pulled down the sleeves of her blazer. This caught his attention and he couldn’t stop the next words out of his mouth.
“You’re still alive."
Sonya’s eyes moved up to meet his. Her wide gaze held a slight glimmer of tears. The expression on his face was of shock and that hurt more than she realized. He thought she had finally succeeded in killing herself. And why wouldn’t he think that? She had been very adamant in the fact that her life needed to cease.
Sonya looked away as she thought about his words. She was indeed alive. It had taken her some time, but she was slowly getting her life back on track. It was far from over for her, but the road to recovery was a long one. And she was determined to see it through.
So when she had been given a good review and informed that they were finally releasing her into her mother’s care she was happy. But after a month of her mother hovering Sonya decided it was time she put her degree to use and look for a job. For two weeks she came back with less and less hope until she saw an ad for Simon, Birch and Mitchell.
That night she submitted her resume crossing her fingers. Two days later she received a phone call.
“May I speak to Sonya Philips?”
“This is she.”
“Hi Miss Philips. This is Gloria Richards from the Simon, Birch and Mitchell agency. We’re calling about the resume you submitted this Tuesday.”
The air had caught in her lungs and refused to come out as she took a seat on the bed. What was she going to say? What if she screwed up?
She hadn’t been expecting a phone interview. All the other places had asked for her to come in or sent her a letter informing her she did not receive the job. And that was if they even contacted her at all.
“Um…yes. I mean, yes, I submitted a resume for the Campaign Manager position.”
“We just have a few questions to ask you if you have time.”
“Of course,” Sonya answered, trying her best not to stutter.
The woman on the other end cleared her throat, “The first question we have is regarding your education. It shows that you graduated from the University of Houston. What was your degree in?”
“I majored in Marketing and Communication.”
“It also shows that there was a significant gap in your last year. Is there any particular reason for that?”
At the sound of her question Sonya felt all the blood drain from her face. What was she supposed to say,‘I was in a psych ward for a few months and couldn’t finish on time’?
I see,” the lady on the phone answered. For a second it was quiet and then finally she said, “The last thing we needed to know was if you could come in for a final interview next Monday?”
“Of course,” Sonya answered a lot louder than she wanted to. “I’m sorry, of course I can,” she smiled.
“Great. See you then.”
When the same woman had called and rescheduled a day later Sonya had gotten even more nervous. What if they had found someone else more qualified?
Now she stood in front of a man she never thought she’d ever see again. In the two days she had spent with him she had never known what his last name was. And if he had told her she was sure that in her anger she hadn’t paid any attention to it.
And she certainly didn’t think he was the same Mr. Sinclair she was having a meeting with. Now she stood there in front of him trying not to cry. You’re still alive.
The statement made her cringe but at the same time she could understand. They had history. Really dark history.
“Yes. I am still alive,” she answered looking down at her hands again as she tried to pull her blazer sleeves down lower.
Following her motions closely, Trent motioned for her to have a seat.
“I apologize. I didn’t mean to sound so callous. I’m just surprised to see you here.”
“Same here,” she snorted but didn’t move toward the chair.
“Yes, really. I didn’t think I was ever going to see you again. You left me locked in that place,” she answered her voice getting softer towards the end of her statement.
“Does this mean I don’t get the job? I mean because of…you know.”
“I didn’t know I was interviewing for a job—I mean I didn’t know you’d be interviewing me for this job. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. And I’ve been doing better, I swear. You wouldn’t have to worry about any accidents or mishaps or...”
“Sonya. Sonya. Calm down,” he stopped her by grabbing her hands which she had been flailing around.
“Let’s sit down, okay?”
Sonya’s eyes moved towards the chair again and then back to him. “Yeah. I’m sorry,” she whispered as she followed him to his desk.
“It’s just that a few of my last interviews didn’t go so well. I found out a little after them that my information was available online. I guess employers don’t want to hire a crazy person.”
When Trent didn’t say anything Sonya continued, “I was actually surprised when I got a call from this agency. It’s one of the most prestigious up and coming places.”
“Yes, well we try not to discriminate when it comes to employment,” Trent answered finally finding his voice. He’d also have to have a little talk with Gloria afterwards.
“I appreciate you even looking at my resume. And I hope you will consider me for the job,” Sonya answered trying her best to smile even though deep down inside her emotions were at war with each other.
“Yes well we will call you after we screen the remaining applicants and let you know,” he answered putting on his professional voice.
“You didn’t ask me any questions.”
“I don’t need to. Look to hear from us in the next three days. That’ll be all Miss Philips.”
And just like that he had dismissed her. Sonya looked at him stunned and stood to leave. She hadn’t expected to see him but she also didn’t think their meeting would be so abrupt. It was as if he was shoving her out of the door.
Her eyes shifted back to his face and noticed that his jaw was locked as if he wanted to say something.
“Well thank you for this opportunity,” she answered back trying her best to sound just as professional.
“Sonya, before you leave—“
“Yes,” she asked with hope in her voice. Too much hope, she mentally chastised herself.
“Can you send Gloria in when you go out? We’ll call you and let you know about the position,” he repeated.
And then turning his back to her he silently dismissed her. The change in his demeanor threw her off but she simply nodded her head and turned to leave.
The sound of a an object hitting against the door frame caught Trent off guard. As he turned he saw that his assistant had stumbled as the door swung open. Righting her body she smoothed her skirt and gave Sonya a small smile.
“It was nice meeting you,” she told Sonya as she walked past her.
“Eavesdropping Gloria,” Trent tsked after the door closed.
“We’ll call you? Really Trenton Sinclair?”
“Really Gloria Richards?” he mocked. “You knew who she was and you didn’t warn me?”
“Warn you? So that you could tell me in no uncertain terms to stay out of it. And then refuse to hire her.”
When Trent didn’t say anything she sat down in the chair that Sonya had just vacated.
“Besides you saw her resume. She’s qualified and has a thirst for this. She wants to learn from the best and you my dear are the best.”
Trent tried his best to glare at her but he knew that she was right. He was one of the best in the business. And he did say he loved fresh talent because they had a thirst for bringing new ideas to the table. But that was before he knew one of those talents was her.
His eyes closed and he could feel the shift in the room when Gloria walked around his desk. Her greying hair was the only indication that she was old enough to be his mother. At 54 she didn’t look a day over 36.
Her olive skin told of her Italian heritage and the way that her hazel eyes lit up with such enthusiasm was testament to the fact that she was a very passionate person. So when he told her all about his missing week of work she had simply sat there and listened to him like a mother would.
When he was finished she simply told him to take a few more days off and then get back to work.
Of course she was right. After he had finished wallowing in guilt, Trent found that work was exactly what he needed. And the rest as they say is history.
“Gloria, I don’t like being blindsided like that.”
Gloria eyes rolled as she looked at the little boy in front of her. No matter how old he got she would always think of him that way. She had been with the company since he was a teenager and when he applied for an internship she was the person who greased the wheels for him. And voila! He was a successful ad exec.
“Well I don’t like an unhappy Trenton. ‘Specially when you’re with that harpy you call a girlfriend,” she frowned.
At the mention of Melissa, Trent couldn’t help laughing. Gloria had tried warning him but of course he wouldn’t listen. Melissa was just a means to an end. He hadn’t planned on actually making her his girlfriend.
“Don’t worry Glory, we broke up.”
Gloria’s ears perked up at the news. “Really? You’re not just messing with me?”
“Really,” he smiled.
A shrill scream echoed throughout the room as Gloria did a happy dance. “Ding dong the witch is dead!”
“Gloria!” he chastised her.
“Oh come off it. You know that’s what she is. All that was missing was green skin and flying monkeys.”
Trent couldn’t hold back the laughter this time. After all her ringtone was the theme song for Darth Vader. He guessed Gloria had a good point.
“Now you can pursue Sonya,” she smiled, turning and leaving before he realized what she said.
“Wait—what? Gloria, what do you have planned?” he asked the closed door. When she didn’t come back in he panicked.
This was going to be a disaster.
Not because he knew he wasn’t going to hire Sonya Philips, but because he knew he was.