The sudden admission of the gift belonging to someone surprised her, especially since she recognized the baritone voice who said it. Her earlier embarrassment and awkward sentiment disappeared immediately leaving only annoyance behind. She should have figured that such an ostentatious gift would have only come from one man even if it was opposite of his style.
"Oh is that so? Well its a gift too big for me to accept." Her voice kept a professional tone but anyone listening in could have heard the coldness seeping through. The silence was deafening as the crowd became silent and watched on. She turned around to finally face her mystery gift giver with her hands crossed over her chest. Her body language screamed "no" but she knew that the man in front of her didn't care much for her personal feelings on the matter.
Just as she had expected, he disregarded both her tone and voice with a smirk as his response.
"Why? I chose it all with great care, do you not like it?"
"And for what do I owe this great gift?"
"Nothing, just saw these and they reminded me of you."
'Did this man just say a decapitated moose had reminded him of her?' If she did not know him that would have seemed like a straight up threat.
"Wow didn't realize you saw me in such an expensive light, it really is too much for me to accept so I'm afraid I'll have to decline."
"Do you not like the gift or do you not like me?"
"I'm sure I don't need to spell that out for you do I Mr. Hendricks. Now if you'll excuse me, some of us had jobs to get to." Before she could make her to move to exit, he stepped even closer to her blocking her path.
Her nose crinkled from the heavy cologne he had put on, she never did like it but there was no nice way to tell him he smelled like teen insecurity. It was one of those colognes that cost a lot and lasted long but served no other purpose than that. Not to say that men should buy scents that attract others, they had the freedom to wear whatever. The issue is buying scents that don't even smell good.
Sure, you could say that she is biased but she knew for a fact that other people hated it as well. The lunch room was a breeding ground for gossip and the gossip flourished when their target wasn't there.
She knew that everyone eventually was talked about but she was at least there for when his cologne was the topic. The women all agreed that it was a bit overbearing and unpleasant to the nose. Yet no one could say anything to him since there was no polite way to and he would not listen to them regardless. The man in question developed quite a reputation for being arrogant and successful. He had been at this company for a year longer than her and loved waving that over her head whenever he had the chance.
The only reason he spared such energy on her and went to such lengths to give her this gift is because she stood up to him early on. Being a brown woman in law there were already enough people against her and she was not about to let a random white man disrespect her for no solid reason.
She had no idea how he had lived for thirty years without someone standing up to him. If he had been given a little beating growing up, his personality would not have developed this far. So because she had disrespected him he developed this sick interest in her. Part of the office thought he had a crush on her but he just wanted to attain her. It was some twisted fantasy in his head, being with the girl that was 'mean' to him seemed masochistic but so desirable for some reason. She was not dumb enough to fall into his traps, so the advances came off more annoying than anything.
The first time they had interacted was a month into her job and she could remember every detail of it. Her manager at the time had placed her on a new project and they wanted her to learn from the group. It was a larger product for the firm so it required many hands on deck for it to be successful. A longtime client was planning their entry into the hotel market and had placed them in charge of all the legal matters including registering, contracts, etcetera. That was already a lot of work and on top of that they handled his public relations so in a sense the marketing as well.
As a new hire she was filled with energy at the idea of being a part of something so big and a passion to succeed. So who knew who's face she had looked at in the morning but the first meeting was anything but harmonious. She had even chosen to wear one of her most expensive suits that day, a caramel beige skirt paired with a silk white dress shirt and a caramel beige jacket. The heels were a bright red to match her lipstick and her curls had cooperated for once, appearance wise she felt like a ten.
All of these efforts were the first thing Damien had to comment on. As if her putting effort into her appearance had anything to do with her intelligence. In his eyes they were inversely related and in her eyes he looked like a complete asshat.
She had gotten comments from other new hires that she should keep an eye out for a man called Damien. He was good at his job but was similar to the frat boy in university who thought they were the top dog and everybody had to know. After one month of not bumping into him she had forgotten about him and focused on her job. Only later on did she find out that he had been abroad for that month hence them not meeting. If not for that, would she have experienced a peaceful thirty days? Probably not.
So as she entered the meeting room, the baritone voice filled with ridicule stood out significantly.
"Sorry miss, I think you've got the wrong room. This is a meeting for lawyers, not pageant queens."