By: Becca Smith
Sarah sat at her desk and tapped the eraser of her pencil against her notepad at a rapid, yet steady, pace. Her second month on the job she found out the noise drove Bruce in Accounting mental, and since he decided to introduce her to everyone as Susan, and not Sarah, she decided the light drumming was her new favorite sound. It’s not like Bruce could get her fired – she had her boss, Jerry, wrapped around her finger. She was the best assistant he’d ever had and quickly became invaluable. It was a security she didn’t take for granted, but knew how to capitalize on.
Movement near the elevator caught Sarah’s eye as the doors opened up and a boy not much older than she walked onto the marble office floor. His name was Oliver and he was the closest thing Sarah had to a friend at work – mostly because Oliver had a longstanding crush, and Sarah didn’t have the heart to break his… yet. After shooting her a small smile, Oliver shuffled by the front desk and around the corner in a cloud of heady cologne. Sarah distracted herself from the pungent scent by cleaning her glasses; glasses she secretly didn’t even need.
Sarah remembered putting the feminine brow line frames on for the first time at the store, out of boredom, and hearing the sales clerk remark, “Oh you look so smart!” Smart. Not pretty, not cute; smart.
So she became the smart girl. She was invisible, unless needed; friendly, but not overtly flirty; and the person with all the answers, but none of the credit. She was as inconspicuous as the plant next to the coffee machine, and even though her glasses were non-prescription, their presence allowed her to see everything.
Sarah knew that even though Jerry’s wife always stayed home, he’d book rooms for two on all of his business trips. She knew that Oliver was secretly taking payments from competitors in turn for company secrets, and she knew that Bruce had been embezzling money for years to help support his multitude of addictions.
By playing the role of the smart girl, Sarah had become the smartest one of them all, and she was tired of keeping it a secret. Putting her glasses back on, Sarah resumed her pencil tapping, keeping her eyes on Bruce. She could see his back tense, jaw clenching in irritation. She smirked, satisfied at her ability to still get under his skin after so many years.
After a few seconds he swung his chair around, snapping in her direction, “Susan, don’t you have something to do, other than being a pain in my ass?”
“What did you just say, Susan?”
Sarah calmly took off her glasses and smiled thinly at Bruce. “I said my name is Sarah.”