‘There is no polite way to put this,’ Irena says.
Will watches as Irena’s eyes flash; her cheeks are red, flushed. He holds his breath, waiting for the bitch to bite. Then he’s going for her jugular.
‘But you’re not performing according to the position description. You’ve missed all your KPIs over the last six months.’
Will knows where she’s going. Eight months ago, they’d shared an unprofessional moment in the photocopy room. He’d been filling the drawers with fresh copy paper when she strode in, all legs, high heels, tight blouse and mini-skirt. She closed the door behind her and moved towards him, like a model on a catwalk. She pressed up against him, backed him into the wall and kissed him. Will was startled when she wordlessly undid his zipper and lifted her skirt to reveal she wore no knickers. It was all over in five minutes. Will could scarcely believe what had happened. In moments of clarity, he realised it was not consensual, but how does a man prove such a thing. Plus, Irena was his boss. It was all a bit tricky.
Will decided to ignore that it had happened at all. Until one night, two weeks later, when he was working late, Irena appeared in his office and forced him into another session. From then on, he avoided her. But his work had suffered, along with his mental health.
‘Irena,’ he says now, attempting to interrupt her. It’s no use, she’s a runaway train.
She holds up a hand in protest of his voice. ‘Will, this is it, I’m afraid. You are fired. I can’t have your bad attitude spreading, becoming viral amongst my team. Pack your desk. Security will be here to march you out.’
As if on cue, two men stood in his doorway. They weren’t going to stop him saying his piece though.
‘Irena,’ he repeats. She raises her hand again and opens her mouth to speak, but he doesn’t give her the chance. ‘I know why you’re doing this. And I’ll not be quiet on this.’
‘I’m telling the CEO about your sexual predatory behaviour.’
She laughs, a cackle. The security guys smirk. Will’s not deterred though.
‘You won’t get away with this.’
‘I already have,’ Irena purrs. Will is stunned, silent.
The two men walk in. Will packs his desk as they watch over him, making sure he doesn’t take files or copy documents from his computer to a USB. Irena stands near to the office door, watching like she’s ready to devour him.
As he passes by, with his mug and pot plant and a few books and other possessions in a cardboard box, she whispers, ‘Just try to bring me down, Will. I beg you, just try. You’ll never win.’