*Caution* This chapter contains disturbing content. It is PG 13 and not meant for young readers. If you read and are offended, I did warn you. *Caution*
Also, this chapter is longer than my normal chapters. Hopefully you will find the length worth reading. Thanks for your support.
I knew I was going to move out of my parent’s house right after I got a full-time job in the entree program at the Bradley Benjamin Bean Center, but I didn’t tell anyone except my mom. Melinda and Ronald probably wouldn’t care that I was moving out, but Sydney would have been sad to see me go. However, like Mom, I counted on Sydney at least understanding why I had to leave. Dad, on the other hand, would flip out.
And I was right. I probably should have just moved out without asking, but I didn’t have the money to go out on my own. In order to rent an place in town, I would need a deposit.
“Dad?” I approached him with caution. “I need to talk to you about something.”
“If this is about your foolish idea to move out of the house and work at that new fancy high-rise, you can just forget about it,” he said.
“Dad! Will you at least listen to me?!” I raised my voice.
“No!” His voice also increased in volume to match mine. “You’re just a young woman, barely 18. You should not be living alone. You wouldn’t even know how to take care of yourself. You’d end up moving back here anyway, so you might as well just stay until you’re more mature.”
I was indignant. Me? Not mature? He didn’t understand me at all! “Dad, you’re being a llama’s ass! I am 18 and an adult now! I have a full-time job in the entree program at BBBC. Do you know how hard that was to get as a high school graduate?”
“Foolish,” he snorted under his breath.
“No, smart,” I countered. “I’m a registered genius. I’ve practically completed all of my college courses while I was still in high school. Not many people can claim that, Dad. The people at BBBC recruited me especially!”
“Well you can stay here until you’ve got more experience and then we can talk about you moving out.”
I stomped my foot like the little girl he was accusing me of being, but I couldn’t help it. He was being so stubborn. “Even if I stay here, when I have earned enough money to leave on my own, I’ll just go. We will not discuss this again, and I think you’re being extremely unfair!”
Dad raised his eyebrow incredulously. “How am I being unfair?”
“You let Mina and Sam move out right after they graduated. Neither of them had achieved as much as I have. You even gave them a little money to start out. That’s all I’m asking for. Just a little money to make a down payment on my rent. I’ll pay for everything else from my salary.”
“That was different. Both of your sisters got married. They moved in with their husbands.”
It was my turn to snort. “So if I was married, I could move out and you’d give me the money for rent? Is that how it works? That’s just ridiculous! It’s archaic and extremely sexist. Would you give Ronald the money, Dad? Because he’s a guy?”
“Now don’t put words in my mouth, Kindra,” Dad admonished me. “I’d be saying the same thing to your brother. He is too immature. Right now he doesn’t know what he wants. If he’s going to settle down, then maybe I’d let him move out. But that’s what you’re missing Kindra. Settling down. You haven’t done that yet.”
“Well, I’m not going to go off and find some random man to marry so you’ll consider me ‘settled down’. I’ll just find another way to get the money. Thanks Dad,” I added sarcastically, “I thought you might listen to reason now that I’m an adult.” I stormed off to my room feeling like the bratty child he was accusing me of being.
* * *
The Bradley Benjamin Bean Center was the tallest building in Twinbrook. Dad was always complaining about it because it was very high-tech and didn’t fit in with the rest of the town. It did no good for me to point out that Twinbrook was trying to become more modern. The BBBC would help bolster the town’s economy and allow it to compete in the business market like more urban areas like Bridgeport or Sim City.
I was just happy to be one of the many people employed there. However, I soon discovered that being in the entree program meant little more than being a coffee courier and general gofer. I had no idea how I would learn to be a better business woman if I was constantly fetching and carrying for the executives.
“Here’s your sandwich Mr. Preston” and “Here’s your double shot mocha latte with extra whip cream, Ms. Winslow” did not demonstrate my true potential. I did, however, try to impress my superiors with my delivery service. I learned to anticipate their wants and bring them things before they could ask for them.
Pretty soon, I got to know their assistants and offered to help them assist their bosses. It took a little time, but after awhile, one the of assistants told me that a guy in the records department was going to have surgery. She said I should head to HR and try to get his job at least temporarily.
And that’s what I did. I became a filing clerk. It wasn’t glamorous, but it paid a bit better. The worst part of the job was that I hardly ever saw the executives anymore. At least when I was bringing their coffee, they knew who I was. But, like before, I really tried to impress my superiors. I made myself into the best filing clerk there ever had been. I knew where every file was and could find it at a moment’s notice.
After the guy came back from vacation, the HR department was impressed with my drive and offered me a position as a report processor. Finally, I would be able to prove that I have some business sense. I’d also be working in a team with other processors. Our jobs would be to analyze the various financial reports and try to find ways to make the company even more money.
And that’s where I met Jack the Jerk.
Well, at first I thought of him as Jack the cute guy with the soft looking blond hair. Seriously. His hair almost demanded to be played with. He kept it too long. I think he did it because he knew that girls like me would look at it and just want to run their hands through it. But he was Jack the Jerk in the end.
It started innocently enough. Jack was an acknowledged flirt. It pains me to admit that I actually fell for his games, but I did. It started at the water cooler (God! I feel like an office cliché!) where I was trying to fill one of those stupid paper cone cups and ended up over-filling and causing a mess. I was so embarrassed that Jack was around to witness the spill and subsequently embarrassing wet mark on my skirt.
“Had a little accident there, Kindra?” he joked. I blushed but tried to laugh it off.
“That water cooler’s been leaking on everyone,” he added. “I saw Jones yesterday walking around looking like he’d wet himself. At least you’re wearing a black skirt. He was wearing khakis.”
“Yeah. I guess I’m lucky.”
“Want to get lunch today?” he asked me. “I hear the vegan restaurant has a new lunch special.”
“Yeah. My sister and her husband are both chef’s there. The food isn’t so bad…if you like boiled vegetables and eggless, gluten-free breads.” I wrinkled my nose. I hate vegan food. Eating vegetarian growing up really put me off the more alternative eating styles.
I could see that my comment had put Jack off his stride. He was probably trying to impress me with his willingness to eat odd foods. For a moment I thought he might just let it go, but then he rallied.
“Yeah, I prefer a juicy hamburger myself,” he chuckled. “But a lot of girls like to eat the more healthy foods.”
“Not me. ‘I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today’,” I said, quoting Wimpy from the movie Popeye. Jack looked a bit confused, but then he shrugged it off.
“So, how about getting lunch at Hogan’s Deep Fried Diner?”
“Perfect,” I said.
After that, Jack became my lunch buddy. We ate French fries and hamburgers at the diner. If Samantha knew about it, she would have flipped. Both her and Eddie were always protesting the use of animal products at the diner. They also didn’t like the conditions in the restaurant. I didn’t care how gross it was. It was a small rebellion after eating salads and meat-less foods all my life.
I’m not sure when our lunch dates started being dinner dates. It probably happened after Jack and I pulled a late night in the office trying to figure out how to skim extra pennies off our distribution centers. The whole processing team often worked extra hours, but only Jack and I extended the time to dinner. We thought about going to the Bistro at first, but it was really late so Jack suggested going back to his place and ordering in.
Where I lived in a cramped, one bedroom house with lousy appliances and plumbing, Jack lived in a nice house. I asked him about it because I didn’t know how he could afford it on our salary.
“Oh,” he said looking around at his living room as if noticing for the first time how it was decorated, “this? I inherited the house from my dad who died several years ago.”
“I’m sorry,” I murmured. I felt bad for bringing it up.
“It’s nothing,” Jack said. “Dad had cancer. Mom remarried last year. She moved in with her new husband, and I decided to redecorate the house to reflect my tastes.”
“It does look a little too modern to have once been a family home,” I said. “I like it.”
We found ourselves going to Jack’s place for dinner whenever we worked late, which was often. On one such night we sat on his surprisingly comfortable leather couch. He turned on the television, but we didn’t watch it. Jack was a great kisser. We could have been making out for hours; I lost all concept of time when I was with him. And then he was whispering in my ear that we should go up to his bedroom.
“Jack,” I said, pulling back so I could think. “I don’t think this is a good idea. I know we’ve been sort of seeing each other, but we are colleagues. There probably is some sort of rule we’d be breaking if things got more serious.”
“I don’t think it will be a problem, Kindra. No one at work would have to know. At work we could just act like casual friends.”
“I don’t think so. I really like you, Jack. I don’t think I could pretend. Let’s just wait awhile. Maybe we’re only like this because we’ve been working on a couple of really stressful projects together.”
Reluctantly Jack let me go, but he promised to try to wear me down. He swore that it wouldn’t matter, but I wasn’t so sure.
Jack was persistent. At work we did act just like casual friends, but if we were ever alone where no one could see, then Jack would sneak kisses or caresses. I tried to stay focused, but my work performance was suffering. There was a promotion up for grabs and I really wanted to get it, but Jack kept distracting me.
After another late night working on our latest project, I found myself alone in the office with Jack. Everyone else left early, but we stayed. Since everyone was gone, Jack started kissing me every few minutes instead of focusing on the reports we were supposed to be analyzing.
“Jack,” I laughed. “Stop. We have to finish this!”
“We’re almost done. I want to kiss you.”
“You’re terrible. We have work to do.” I rattled the papers to try and get his attention.
“Um…” he murmured against my neck as he pulled me close and started caressing me. I liked what he was doing, so I leaned into him. Pretty soon he was kissing me and the reports we’d been working on were forgotten.
“Ever wondered what it would be like to do it at work?” Jack whispered in my ear. He’d worked my blouse open and was touching me intimately.
His words shocked me and I pulled back appalled. “No!” I gave Jack’s arm a little slap and tried to pull back even more. Frankly, I hadn’t ever done it anywhere, but I hadn’t yet told Jack.
His risqué suggestion was like cold water being thrown at me. I wanted to sputter indignantly. I was surprised to find myself to be such a prude. Who would have known that I would have some of the same old-fashioned beliefs as my parents!
“We should finish up and get going Jack.” I tried to wiggle out of his grasp, but he took my comment the wrong way.
“Yes. Let’s finish up,” he said and started nuzzling my neck again. He was pushing at my open blouse as I was trying to close it.
No matter what I did, Jack would not let me go. He took my wiggles to get out from underneath him as encouragement of his sexual actions. I said no, but he didn’t listen or chose to ignore me. I felt helpless as he raised up my skirt and pulled down my underwear.
“Jack, I don’t want this,” I said. I was panting and not from desire.
“Sure you do, Kindra. You’re just embarrassed that we’re at the office. Don’t worry. No one will know. It adds to the excitement, trust me.”
“No, Jack. We shouldn’t do this.” I tried to push his hands away from me and keep my legs closed, but he didn’t let me.
“Stop being a tease, Kindra. We’ve been working up to this for months. I want you. You want me.”
But my protests did nothing to change the situation. It was awful and the worst part was how oblivious to my words and actions Jack really was. After it was over, he looked at me like I should be grateful. He seemed hurt that I was crying.
“It wasn’t that bad, Kindra,” he said. “You should have told me you were a virgin.” Like it was my fault. Like the only reason I had to cry was that he broke my hymen.
“I want to go home Jack,” I said.
“Go then. I’ll stay and finish the reports.”
And so I left. And Jack got the promotion and I didn’t. Instead I got called into Ms. Winslow’s office.
“Hello, Kindra. Sit down please,” she said. I sat. I hadn’t been feeling like my normal self since the incident with Jack. My heart wasn’t in my work any more. I felt like a zombie.
“So Kindra, you probably know why I’ve called you in here.” I shook my head, no even though I figured it might be because my performance was slipping, but I wasn’t sure.
“It has come to our attention that you and Jack Osborne have been fraternizing outside of the office.” She looked at me expecting me to deny it. I didn’t.
“We were seeing each other, you know, going on lunch dates and out to dinner after a late night,” I said. “But it’s over now.”
She looked disappointed. “You know we have a strict no fraternization policy,” she said.
“No, actually. I didn’t know,” I said. “But I’m sorry. We’re not seeing each other any more. It shouldn’t be a problem now,” I added.
“Actually, it is. It has come to our attention that you and Mr. Osborne were…” she paused as of searching for the correct term, “together…while at work.”
I closed my eyes. I wanted to die, but instead I forced myself to look up and face Ms. Winslow. I looked up to her. I wanted to be her. Surely she would understand what had happened.
“I’m sorry Ms. Winslow,” I said. And then I was mortified to find myself dissolving into tears. I was suddenly sobbing great hiccupping sobs. Between sobs, the whole awful story came pouring out of my mouth. I felt like a fool twice over. Once for letting Jack do what he did to me and twice for spilling my guts to my boss.
“Kindra,” my boss said to me when I had managed to calm down a little. She handed me a tissue. “What you are saying is a serious accusation. You are saying that Jack Osborne date raped you here at BBBC.”
I really hadn’t thought about it that way, but she was right. I had been wallowing in my own misery, blaming myself, but this was really Jack’s fault. I’d said no. Many times. He should have stopped. Suddenly, I began to get angry.
“Yes. That’s what I’m saying. Jack Osborne raped me.” It felt good to say it aloud. At least in that moment it felt good. But then I was feeling terrible again. Ms. Winslow didn’t look like she was going to fight for me at all.
“Do you have proof?” she asked.
I thought about it and became even more dejected. “Not really.” But then I had a realization. “How did you find out about it?” I asked my boss.
“The surveillance tapes caught your actions.”
I got excited. “There, then,” I said. I started to have some hope. “There’s the proof.”
But Ms. Winslow shook her head. “The tapes show a couple making out and then having sex. There is no sound, so you can’t hear what the couple are saying. It looks like the act was consensual.”
I shook my head in disbelief and denial. “But it wasn’t.”
“So you say, but those tapes won’t prove anything. Are you sure you want to accuse someone of something you can’t prove?” Ms. Winslow looked sympathetic, but serious. “I’ll be honest and tell you that it won’t go well for you,” she said. “Even if Mr. Osborne is believed to be at fault, you will still end up taking the brunt of the trouble.”
“That isn’t fair.”
“I know. Being a woman in business isn’t fair.” She looked sad, but there was no hope in her eyes. I had to believe that she was right.
“What should I do?”
She looked thoughtful for a few moments. “Well, I was going to fire you,” she started, and I gasped in outrage. But she continued, “If I do, however, you could then sue us for wrongful termination. You could sue Mr. Osborne and cause quite a stir in the media. Even though the evidence is against you, the negative publicity would have a detrimental effect on the company.”
I know I was looking confused. She was going to fire me…but now she wasn’t? Her eyes narrowed as she looked at me. There was a gleam in them, and I could tell that she liked what she was about to say.
“I have an idea. I had wanted to promote you to the position that was given to Mr. Osborne by Mr. Preston, but then I found out about your tryst.” I looked annoyed at her word choice and she said wryly, “Oh, he would have been demoted or fired for the incident, too, don’t worry. We are not sexist here at BBBC.”
Ms. Winslow continued, “Since we want to avoid bad publicity that a lawsuit and sexual misconduct trial would engender, I think it’s best to remove you from the office.”
I gasped in horror. I thought she wasn’t going to fire me!
“Kindra, don’t act so shocked. I’m not firing you. I think I’m going to promote you. But you can’t work in this building with Jack Osborne, so this promotion will take you to Bridgeport. Do you think you could handle working at the corporate offices there?”
I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t going to be fired? I was going to be promoted?! It took a minute for her statement to really sink in. Instead of being fired, I was being sent to the corporate offices! I was stunned.
“Yes, I think I could move to Bridgeport,” I eventually said weakly. Then I raised my head defiantly and looked my boss in the eye, “I’ll make you proud, Ms. Winslow. I promise.”
She smiled, “And no more work-place relationships?”
“Good. You’re one of our best employees. I know you will go far, Kindra.”
I left the office feeling lighter than I had in weeks. Jack the Jerk would not suffer like I wanted him to, but I realized that maybe he would get his punishment in other ways. Karma or whatever.
Jack could stay here in Twinbrook. I was going to go to Bridgeport!
Sorry for the delay in posting this. I debated a lot about how I wanted Kindra to get to Bridgeport. I bounced back and forth between two ideas. Finally, I decided to do what I normally don’t do, and write the update before I played the game. Normally I play first and then write about what happens. But for Kindra, I needed to have a little more set up.
The update did not go the way I originally planned. I wasn’t planning a date-rape scenario. I don’t know why it ended up being what I wrote about. Maybe it was because I was a victim of date-rape. Maybe it was because I was writing this on the 20th, which was Anti-Hate and Bullying day. I don’t know. Anyway, date-rape happens to a lot of young women, teens and college-aged girls. Most don’t even think that what happened to them qualifies as rape. It goes unreported all the time which is a shame. They think they are responsible because they allowed some sexual interactions, but no means no. If you say no and the person you are with doesn’t listen, then they are forcing you, which is rape. I had to learn this the hard way, but I did learn it and have worked to counsel other girls who have been date-raped.
Tough subject, and I’m done talking about it. I will let Kindra’s story be my testimony. The other tough subject is gender inequity in the work place. I am just annoyed that women are still getting unequal treatment compared to men. In my field this isn’t the case…we are all underpaid and over-worked, but in other professions, women are constantly fighting harder for jobs and promotions. I applaud all of those women out there who work as hard as they can and manage to have a family and an outside life, too. Kindra is going to struggle with this, but I think it can be done.
So enough said. The next update will take place after the 26th when I get my copy of the expansion. I will play around with it a bit first before moving Kindra, so don’t expect the update on the 27th. Probably it will be that Friday or Saturday. Also, don’t despair that Caleb wasn’t in this update. I love him and want him to be the one for Kindra. Both of them have to grow a little first. Expect big things from Caleb. I will have a few interjections with his POV off and on before he becomes a permanent part of the legacy. I liked his thinking when I wrote from his perspective last time 🙂
Cheers, for now.
Oh yeah, I got the BBBC from the Exchange. You can find it here. It is a playable lot that can be used as an office set. I wanted to have Kindra work at a really high-tech building and this one was pretty neat looking. It was hard to place in the town, though.