Damien twitched as the phone continued to ring. It was relentless. His leg bounced up and down as his anxiety rose.
“The phone won’t answer itself,” barked Hilary, in her usual patronising tone. It was a tone which implied that you were crap at absolutely everything.
“Why don’t you answer it then,” replied Damien, before thinking of the implications in making such a suggestion that Hilary might actually do some work.
“Excuse me! Are you forgetting who’s in charge here, babes?” Her Essex twang more prevalent with that last word.
She had always hidden her Essex roots until some Reality TV show about pretty people acting like complete twats made it trendy again. The problem was she had spent so long trying to sound like she was from Surrey that she just came across as fake. Nobody would say that to her face – as the Office Manager, Hilary had a lot of clout with the powers that be.
“It’s the first week back after the Christmas break, there’s a lot to catch up on, people to see and things you don’t need to know. You’ll need to take an early lunch as I’m leaving at twelve.”
“I was hoping to leave at four,” he replied, leg bouncing. “I mentioned it weeks ago.”
“You finish at five thirty, and will you stop banging your knee up and down, it makes you come across as a nutter.”
He held her gaze, the contempt in his eyes lost on her. She couldn’t read anything with one syllable, let alone people!
“Yeah, what’s your problem?”
“I’ll be back in a minute,” he said as he stood up.
“Er… where do you think you’re going?”
Breathe. Don’t respond. Walk out. Catch your breath. Come back calm.
“Babes, make me a brew,” she asked with a click of her fingers.
A few hours later he was collecting his belongings from his desk. He wouldn’t be coming back.
“Where’s Hilary?” a colleague asked.
“She left early.”
He looked at the stationary cupboard with a knowing smile and put the keys in his pocket, preparing to throw them in the river on his way home.
“Happy New Year, bitch!”