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Five Stories: Office Affairs
Our readers dip their pens in the company ink.
By Nerve Readers
Hard to Tell
Kevin was the first editorial assistant I was allowed to hire. He was twenty-three; I was just twenty-nine. I interviewed six candidates, but never thought for a minute that I was going to hire anyone else. In his suit, he looked like a college lacrosse captain dressing up as a business man for Halloween. You know how, when you first really have a crush on someone, it's hard to tell if they're a really great person, or if you just want to fuck them? That's why everyone should have to interview with a bag over their head — if someone tells you they can be completely divorce talent from looks and charm, they're lying.
After that, things progressed like clockwork. I assigned him a desk near mine so I could look at the side of his head when I got bored. On Friday, I asked him out for a drink with a couple of co-workers, "to celebrate your first week." No one else stayed longer than an hour.
As we sat, I realized I wanted to figure out if he was into me, or just being nice to his boss after his first week of work. At ten, I looked at my watch and said, "Wow, it's late. Do you want to get one more, or head out?” so he’d have a polite out. He said, "Let's get one more." Again, hard to tell. We were talking about work projects, and he was obviously an eager, ambitious kid.
At eleven, we walked out, I followed him to his car, and then, surprising even myself, pushed him up against the door and kissed him. He kissed back. We went back to my house, and had very fun first-time sex. While he was blowing me up against the wall of my bedroom, I thought, "What a suck up," and almost laughed aloud.
We kept having sex for about six months, usually just on Friday nights after work, only once in the office — on a Saturday when it was just him and me, under deadline. I recommended him several times for promotion, always glowingly, and always a bit guiltily, since as far as I could tell, no one knew we were boning. After six months, he got a bigger job in a different imprint.
And that's kind of the tricky part. I can definitely say that I didn't hire and promote someone who was unqualified, just because he was fucking me. But would I have been so nice to him, so quick to help him learn stuff, so unabashedly positive in my reviews? Would he have gotten promoted so fast? Hard to tell. — Jason
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