Love, Accidentally
crave the promotion, I needed it. If I didn’t get it now, it would be years before I had another shot. Vice-presidency slots were as rare as solar eclipses. And next time around, I wouldn’t be the agency’s golden girl. By then someone else, someone younger and fresher, would be nipping at my heels. If I slipped and lost my momentum now, I’d never regain it, no matter how hard I scrabbled for a new handhold up the corporate ladder. I might even have to go to another advertising agency and prove myself all over again, to avoid the stigma of having been passed over for a promotion. How could I explain to Matt that working hard didn’t scare me, it was failing that terrified me?
    “Are you sure?” Matt asked. “Think about what it’ll mean for your life. You’ll be locked so tight into this place that you’ll never get out. Can you imagine still being here twenty years from now?”
    “I haven’t thought that far ahead,” I lied. Twenty years from now I wanted my name on this building. I wanted a house in Aspen and one in the Berkshires. I wanted a car and driver to take me to work every day, and to be waiting outside when I finished.
    “Don’t you ever feel like you’re missing out?” Matt said, more gently this time. “Is this what you want?”
    I dropped my eyes from his. So that one stung a bit. It was impossible not to notice that more and more of my friends were getting engaged. My old college roommate had just had a baby. They were expanding their lives, while mine shot like an arrow up its quick, straight path. But Matt knew how hard I’d worked for this. Why was he picking on me today of all days?
    “I—” I began, but for some reason, my lower lip quivered. I cleared my throat and was about to start again. Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I never finished my sentence.
    Cheryl was strutting down the hallway toward the conference room. Apparently she’d been a bit absentminded this morning, because she’d forgotten to put on her shirt. Sort of thing that could happen to anyone.
    “Holy shit,” Matt whispered in the hushed, intense way men do when they see their favorite athlete making an impossible play and saving the game. His feet fell off his desk and hit the floor with a thump.
    Okay, maybe “forgotten” was an overstatement. Her shirt was there all right. All six inches of clingy, silky, backless black fabric. As she came closer, it became all too obvious that it was her bra she’d forgotten.
    She looked fantastic, in an I’m-the-entertainment-at-a-bachelor-party kind of way. Her long hair was loose and wild, and her lips were so full I knew she’d had more collagen shots. Her heels were as high as skyscrapers, and she seemed like she was about to tip over, but that also could’ve been because of the front-loading. Was it possible she’d gotten more collagen shots in unorthodox places?
    “What the hell is she doing?” I said.
    “She’s playing dirty,” Matt said. “Don’t worry, it just makes her look desperate.”
    “Really?” I asked eagerly.
    He didn’t answer.
    “Matt!” I hissed.
    “Huh? Oh, sorry,” he said.
    He moved his seat over a few inches for a better view. “I can see into the conference room from this angle. Do you want a play-by-play?”
    “Yes,” I said, chewing on my only fingernail that had a little life left. “No. I don’t know.” I leapt up from the chair, sat back down, ran my hand across my forehead. “Does she actually think flashing her boobs is going to win her the account?”
    “No, but putting her hand on Fenstermaker’s knee might,” Matt said.
    “What?” I shrieked.
    “It’s off the knee now,” Matt said. “She’s done with her greetings, now she’s launching into her presentation. Her storyboard’s up.”
    “Why not just give him a blow job under the table?” I muttered.
    “I think she’s saving that for the grand finale,” Matt said.
    “Is he smiling?” I asked. “Does he look like he likes

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