Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)
TITLE: Giving In When You're Out on a Limb
By Linda Strawn
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Rebecca stared at her boss in disbelief, her mouth agape. What should she do? Did Mr. Thomas expect an instant answer? Would her job be in jeopardy if she made the wrong decision?
Mr. Thomas jutted out his chin. “Well?”
She swallowed and wrung her hands together on her lap. “Sir, may I please have some time to think about this?”
“How much time do you need?”
Did his face just soften? Her shoulders relaxed. “A week?”
He shook his head. “No can do. I need to know before then. I want your decision by noon Wednesday.”
Rebecca raised her brows, but remained silent. There was no point in pleading her case. She watched Mr. Thomas rise from his chair and gesture toward the door. He waited for her to exit in front of him. “I hope you’ll be in on this, or you might as well count yourself out. You’ve got two days to think about it.”
Rebecca glanced over her shoulder. “Yes, sir.”
The edges of Mr. Thomas’ mouth curved upward in a coy smile that sent shivers up her spine.
She hurried to her cubicle without looking back.
“Well, are you going to do it?”
Rebecca glanced at her coworker. “I can’t say right now. I need to pray first.”
Julie knitted her brows together. “Pray?”
Rebecca slung her purse strap over her shoulder. “How about if I call you later?”
Her friend gazed at her. “Is everything okay?”
Rebecca blinked against threatening tears. “I’ll tell you later.”
By the time Rebecca arrived home, her stomach remained in knots. She swiped her wet cheeks with the back of her hand. Why her? She sighed. Why not her? It was bound to happen sooner or later. Ever since her first day as an employee of Burke and Associates, she’d heard of this happening to other employees. Some workers even laughed about it, while others shuddered at the prospect of it happening to them. As a newbie legal assistant after four months on the job, Rebecca figured it would take awhile before her number came up.
Too nervous to eat, Rebecca skipped supper and took a long, hot shower before dialing Julie’s number. She prayed as the spray of water soothed her tense muscles, and prayed again as she donned her pajamas. What would people think of her if she gave in to Mr. Thomas’s wishes? More importantly, what would God think of her? She picked up the phone and breathed a sigh of relief when Julie answered after the second ring.
“Rebecca. I’m so glad you called. Are you all right?”
Taking a seat, Rebecca opened her heart to her long-time friend then wiped her tears.
“What’s the big deal? Everyone’s done it.”
“You’re kidding? I thought this firm was too sophisticated for this type of behavior.”
“Loosen up, Bec.”
“I can’t. I have my reputation to think about.”
“Hey, we’ve all been there and done that, and our reps are still intact.”
Rebecca raked her fingers through her hair. “I guess it won’t be so bad. Mr. Thomas said it’ll only be for an hour or so.”
“Old man Thomas has his quirks, but his word is as good as gold.”
“Okay.” Rebecca sucked in a breath and released it. “I’ll do it. I won’t like it, but I’ll do it.”
Julie chuckled on the other end of the line. “It might even advance your career, kiddo. So don’t worry, okay?”
“If you say so. If I can’t trust my very best girlfriend, who can I trust? Besides the Lord, of course.”
“You know I’d never steer you wrong.”
Rebecca hung up the phone still feeling anxious about the task facing her. Would it really put her in better terms with the boss? Or would he think less of her after all? No one else seemed scarred by the act, so why should she?
A week later, Rebecca smiled recalling the night she finally released her dignity and gave in, even if it meant going out on a limb. She had a wonderful time and would do it again in a heartbeat. Who knew wearing a clown costume in front of a bunch of kids and their lawyer parents would be so rewarding?
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