A young office clerk wonders about an executive's strange behavior towards her.
| To call him stubborn would be polite. Not that politeness mattered to him. Malcolm would probably describe himself as principled, manly and honest. Those closest to him would probably use different words, like vulgar, sardonic, crass, intimidating. Others would have particular names or phrases for describing Malcolm, be it “asshole, prick,” or even a “bourbon chugging goat of a human” as his younger brother so vividly labeled him during an argument at a past office party.
To an extent, I agreed with some of the many names, phrases and words his closest people and others used to describe him. Malcolm was definitely no saint in the office environment. I’ve even experienced his crass behavior a few times. On the few occasions where I’ve had the displeasure of entertaining his company, he had delivered morbid jokes, made three sexist remarks about women and what he believes their roles should be (one of which was aimed at my current position in the office), quipped some remarks about his brother’s self-worth and, on rare occasions, delivered unsolicited opinions on me wanting to pursue the life of a writer.
But those were from when I first started working at the location. Now, his comments directed towards me seemed to have lost some of the gruffness and disdain that existed before. This was even more evident when he accompanied them with a swig of bourbon from a glass that seemed to be in his hand at most times. Even his usual demeanor would change whenever I was nearby. Many times I have caught him simply staring at me with a strange expression on his face that I could never really decipher.
There were times where I thought that Malcolm admired me in his own unique way. As one of the only six women working at St. Charles Investments, I was not immune to the snarky comments and heavy opposition from some of the men there. Yet, as of now, it seemed like Malcolm was the only one to put any of them in their place if they directed their commentary at me.
I remembered an earlier time I had left for the lounge to grab some water and had maneuvered past a young technician who had made a comment about how nice my “ass looked” and “what kind of underwear I was wearing” underneath a pencil skirt I had chosen to wear that day. I remembered blushing with embarrassment and anger at such a nasty comment, but I didn’t know that Malcolm had just emerged from another person’s office right at the time the crude inquiry was spoken. Malcolm had promptly stormed up to the technician, grabbed the poor bloke by the front of his shirt and tie and dragged him away while growling something about “wanting to have a man-to-man talk.” The technician has since avoided me, but I couldn’t help but wonder if that was enough of a confirmation that Malcolm had a soft spot for me.
Little did I know, my answer would arrive on one special night. The night of meeting the executives and St. Charles himself.