Please give a warm welcome to my guest this week: Dani Hoots
I finished up my last inputs in the computer and got up from my desk, and took a deep breath. I didn’t want to get yelled at, even though I didn’t think I messed anything up this week. Al- though he wasn’t as bad as the boss upstairs, who laid into Christoph more times than I could count, he still was pretty intimidating. Charles and Jonathan mouthed ‘good luck’ and I headed into Christoph’s office.
The office itself was neat and tidy. Nothing was ever out of place, I swore he was OCD or something. It was a contradiction to everyone else’s office space, which were covered in papers, staples, and clips (even though when you needed one you could never find it and have to borrow someone else’s). While everyone found his tendencies quite annoying, I found them a bit…
I would never say that out loud, though. Who knows what people in the office would think if they knew…
Christoph swiveled around to face me, and I always have to keep myself from blushing when he looks directly at me with his emerald eyes. His brown hair was rather on the messy side today, as if he might have pulled an all-nighter at the office. It was always hard to tell since his of- fice clothes all looked the same; white shirt, black tie, black suit, black shoes. Every day. He really did work himself into the ground sometimes, and I always want to tell him to relax, but it’s not my place.
“There’s a meeting next week in Brussels, with all the company managers. Usually the as- sistant managers come as well, and as you know, Frank is retiring , so his job is going to be open, and there is no point in bringing him along when he is going to be leaving,” Christoph explained.
I just looked at him a bit confused. “Okay…”
“What I’m saying is, you are up for promotion, so what do you say to an assistant manager position? And coming to the meeting in Brussels?”
“You are giving the promotion to me?”
“Yes, I think you are the most qualified for the job. Your work has improved a lot over the past few months and I think this promotion could help you improve even more. What do you say?”
I didn’t even need to think about it. “Yes, of course.”
“Good. We leave Monday morning for Brussels and should be back early Wednesday. We will be sharing a room, is that okay?”
“Oh, uh, yeah, that’s fine.” Because normally sharing a room is fine. It’s not like I could say ‘no, I would feel uncomfortable since I have had feelings towards you since we first met’. I had to act like everything was fine, it was only for two nights anyway, and it’s not like he would recipro- cate the feelings anyway. It would stay professional, as it always did.
“Well then, I will see you at the train station. Our train leaves at a quarter after seven. I ex- pect you there no later than seven. Should be platform four.”
“I will be there bright and early, you can count on that.”
“Good.” With that, he went back to work, which I took as my cue to leave his office. As I closed his door behind me, Charles and Jonathan gestured to come to their cubicle.
I simply grinned. “You are looking at the new assistant manager of the company.”
We celebrated with drinks that night at the local pub, Jonathan, Charles, and I. We ordered
steins, of course, because that’s what you did when you celebrated a raise, or anything I suppose, according to Jonathan and Charles. I was worried that they would be a little mad at me, since they had been with the company a little longer than I. They seemed okay with it, though, and were gen- uinely happy for me.
I ordered a Haufbrau dunkel, and Charles and Jonathan ordered Paulaners. They usually gave me crap about not supporting our football team by drinking Paulaner. Tonight they didn’t say anything though. Tonight they just wanted to celebrate something.
Our drinks came out and we yelled ‘prost’, and clinked our heavy glasses together and took a drink. Charles, of course, downed the most.
“Well then,” Jonathan set his drink down. “Assistant manager. How did you manage that?” I shrugged. “I really don’t know. Guess Christoph just liked my work.”
“Sure, like we believe that. What, did you hook him up with some girl or something?”
Charles laughed. Jonathan and him clanked drinks again and chugged some more down. I could feel my cheeks redden even more as I took a drink, ignoring the comment. These two were my best of friends, but I couldn’t tell them the truth, that I was gay. I feared how they would view me, that they would stop talking to me. I didn’t want that happen, so I kept my mouth shut when it came to any conversation about a girl. Hopefully I just came off shy or something to them. They were usually drinking, so their attention span was short and I never had to worry. But still.
Jonathan slapped his hand on my back. “We joke, but seriously we are very happy for you.”
I knew that they were, the two of them were my best friends and had been for the past few years. I hoped that we would all be able to work together for years to come, and drink after promo-
Taking another drink, I began to wonder what the trip was going to be like with Christoph. I knew it would be fine, I was more worried about the responsibility than anything else. Much was expected of me in the next week and I just hoped I would succeed in the tasks that would be laid out for me.
I woke up on Saturday with a little bit of a headache. I shouldn’t have let Charles and
Jonathan talk me into having schnapps.
Yet, every time we celebrated, I found myself waking up with regret.
It wasn’t anything a little coffee couldn’t handle. I got up and started up the pot to brew.
Meanwhile, I picked up the book I had been reading, and leaned back on the couch for a bit. I swore I had the slowest pot in the history of pots. It always took forever for the coffee maker to finish fill- ing. I needed to get a new one but I always seemed to forget when I was at the store, or make some excuse to put it off another day. I could go get one today, but then again I should work on research- ing about the company in case any one asked questions, and make sure any loose ends are tied be- fore I start my new position.
The coffee finally finished and I added a bit of cream and sugar. Taking a sip, I decided that no matter what, it would never taste as good as it would if I bought it at a cafe. Why that was, prob- ably because they add so much caramel and sweetener and I wouldn’t admit how much they really added. So many calories, now I realized.
The headache started to go away thanks to the caffeine and I decided that it would be a good idea to start researching more into the company that I would be representing. Sorry coffee pot, you shall be pushed back to another day yet again.
And I would be working closely with Christoph. That part of it I liked and didn’t like at the same time. I admitted to myself that I had feelings for him, feelings that I would never share with anyone. Although, discrimination against LGBT in the workplace is illegal in Germany, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be looked at the same way, judged and the like. I just wanted to fit in and go on with my life as normal.
The only problem was, I couldn’t stop thinking about Christoph. I wanted to say something, I truly did, but I knew that he didn’t feel the same about me. There was no way. I tried to forget about him, go out and meet other guys, but none of them were Christoph. None of them made me blush or my heart race like he did. So after a while, I gave up on looking for someone else. It just wasn’t going to happen, not right now at least.
So working close with him was going to be a challenge, not that I could stay professional, that wasn’t a problem for me, but I knew the feeling I would get in my stomach and in my heart every time I saw him, which now would be a lot more often than not.
And I would be going on a business trip with him in just a couple of days. Great…
But I would get past it. I never let my feelings get in the way of my work. It was unprofes- sional and I wouldn’t allow myself to ever say anything.
Unless he said something first, of course. I wasn’t getting my hopes up, though.