“So, were those the only things of consequence that happened on your trip? Is there anything else I should know?”
Something in his voice dared her to say that there wasn’t. Jada hesitated. She was being silly; there was no way he could know. A quick glance around the room revealed that her coworkers didn’t seem to think anything was amiss. She decided to roll the dice.
“Um, yes, sir, that’s everything,” she told him, hating how her voice hitched.
Jared didn’t look up from his laptop. As the CEO, he was constantly multitasking.
Jada permitted herself a slight sigh of relief.
“Would you care to explain this, then?” Jared asked casually.
He spun his laptop around to show her the screen. Jada’s stomach dropped as the image of her at the bar faced them. To her left, she heard Becky draw in a sharp gasp, then silence came crashing down. The moment stretched into eternity as the entire room collectively held their breath.
Say something! her brain urged.
“Ah, that’s… that’s…” she fished for words but came up empty handed.
“That,” Jared said in a voice so low that it rumbled like thunder, “is my Strategy Director, fraternizing in plain sight at a bar with her counterpart at our largest competitor.”
“After I specifically told her to lay low and not give any hint of our merger to the outside world.”
Jada found her voice, but it was a weak little thing. “I- I-“
“You were seen,” he snapped.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could perceive the others making their way to the door. They moved silently but efficiently, trying not to draw attention to themselves. Everyone knew that Jared in a temper was not to be trifled with. Best to move out of his range until things blew over.
Unless, of course, you were the target of that rage.
“The speculation has already begun. PR has been fielding calls since your picture surfaced a little over an hour ago.”
The soft click of the door closing marked the sealing of her fate.
Every coworker on the other side of that door knew what was about to happen to her.
Jared had founded the company with a trusted team and kept those people close to him as they grew. As more people joined the company, only that inner circle had access to the high level workings. A natural alpha, his inner circle consisted entirely of women. Some looked askance at that, but Jared never behaved inappropriately or expected any “favors” from them. When asked, he simply said that women were capable of higher levels of thought and multitasking than men. And indeed, he treated them with respect and valued their skills. Together, they had built something to be proud of. Working with Jared was as rewarding as it was challenging.
The only caveat was that he did not tolerate disrespect, disobedience, or carelessness. Jada and her coworkers had long ago learned and accepted that anything less than their best would be met with swift correction.
For Jared, that correction could only come in the form of spankings.
(Part 2 coming soon!)