The order was short, crisp, direct, blunt.
“Shut it down”
Connor didn’t have to be told twice. With blazing speed, Connor shut everything he was working on down, making sure not to leave a trace of his activities on the server, and turning his attention back to the man who held his career in his hands.
The man remarked being impressed by the cool calm that Connor had in the presence of what many would have considered the end of their career.
Connor didn’t know to nod, compliment, or say thanks. So, he just stood up and waited to hear the verdict that must probably follow.
The eyes of the man narrowed as if sensing a degree of challenge from a nobody. Connor’s knees begged to buckle, yet no neuronal signal was sent to cave and sit him back down.
“You are a rare breed, you know that Connor. A rare breed”.
Not a question, a statement.
Connor checked his breathing to make sure it was rock steady. This could be the last of his career, he was going to stand firm and let the chips fall as they would.
The man with the serious face leaned forward, raised one brow slightly, then proceeded to share a quick story with Connor.
The story, to Connor’s surprise, was about how this powerful man felt weak, insecure, and unqualified to make the single biggest decision of his life. The face changed, softened, and even held moments of regret in it as the story quickly unfolded.
As the words sunk in, Connor was not sure if the story was a reflection of his life meant to make him change his views or an actual story to make a point. Whatever the case, the story felt very much like a page from his life. Connor was taken back to the first time he felt anything like what love was supposed to be. To the moment that special lady slipped away to the jock of the class.
The one that got away…
Those wonder years were so sweet minus one thing. There was a gal, a southern bell, who had raptured his heart and toyed with it with great sexual glee. Connor had made all the moves he knew to make only to discover that she was using him for homework assistance. As soon as the captain of the football team made his move, she dumped him like last year’s newspaper and totally ignored him. She left a pit of destruction in young Connor’s heart that would take many long years to cover up. The man seemed to be recounting that story, leaving Connor unsure what to make of it.
As the man wrapped up, the clinching phrased that got repeated three times was “It’s about time”. There was no time like now. No time for second guesses. It was about that time to show the world something special.
Without trying to be flippant or cavalier, Connor tried to figure how to ask this man what he really was trying to get done. Sure, the story was motivating, touching, painful. But, what was the key action to take now?
The man sensing the trepidation leaned back, relaxed his shoulders, loosened his posture and tried again with a different story. This time, it was the perspective of Rex. There was no mistaking who was the star of this short story.
Connor didn’t flinch or move. Nothing would touch the vault or shake the new protections in place guarding his heart. There was going to be no sympathy for the jerk who brutishly swept Betsy away from… wait… there never was a grip to begin with. Betsy had never been his. It was just like high school all over again.
Suddenly, a crack appeared in his defenses. How did this man know that Rex had not proposed? The question must have flashed across his eyes because the man leaned in as if a predator ready to capture a wounded prey.
Not that it mattered or that he cared much, Connor was only interested in solid data. Was there any irrefutable proof that there was no proposal. Not saying a word, Connor rested on the logics that without proof, the man was not making much sense. There must be another angle to this. One that would profit the company at the expense of Connor.
The man didn’t let up. He insisted that the reason why Rex made the move he made was out of desperation. There was no other way to have a shot at Betsy. Granted, in the story, there were no names given, but Connor knew the story well, he had lived it. The man was mistaken about Rex. There was indeed a proposal, not a fancy attempt to start a relationship that failed.