The betrayal
Battling social anxiety, a young woman struggles to connect with her peers at work. Leo, the charming coworker, befriends her over time and gains her trust. Around him, she feels accepted, normal even. Until one night, she overhears the truth.
"Well, yeah I should have seen that coming. Gah, he was a smooth talker and I’m guilty - I enjoyed listening to his hilarious stories. We'd meet outside of work. I trusted him with my secrets. He helped me break out of my shell. And I helped him meet his deadlines. He took me to parties, introducing me to his ever growing circle of friends. That man knew everyone and everyone loved him. With him, I wasn’t afraid anymore. I felt normal ... until that night."
I drove home in tears. How could he? Why did I let down my guard so easily? Why did I believe anything he said? I went through the motions and tried to go back to work. But as I walked into my cubicle on Monday, my shoes crackled loudly on plastic shards. Chair upturned. Papers scattered throughout. Computer destroyed. I knew it must have been him behind it. The huge project I was working on - it all went down the drain. I had been so wrapped up doing his work that I forgot to backup any of my own. How could I have done this to myself? Devastated and numb, I turned back around silently and went straight home.
I dragged myself to work the next day and noticed people giving me strange looks. Shoulders tense and face burning, I scurried to my cubicle. It was empty - even the desk was gone. I found myself in my boss’ office. Hair disheveled, he looked at me solemnly for a moment, “Listen. This is not what I meant when I said to get more social. You’re our best worker, but even I couldn’t convince management to just give a warning. Your work has been .. subpar lately. And then the computer. They’re asking you to pay for it.”
My eyes snapped up. “What? But... but I didn’t do it...”
“We’ve got two witnesses swearing that you got into a fight with Leo and heard you say you’d frame him by destroying your computer.”
“I know - its ridiculous! But frankly, management loves him and want to believe him. They told me to ... let you go.” .
“They’re lying! I’d never..”
“He went above me. I believe you, but my hands are tied. I’m sorry. Truly.” It didn’t make sense. Why would they... Then it hit me - the stupid bet!
The door swung open suddenly and Leo sauntered inside - a smirk plastered to his face. “I just wanted to say good luck before you go. No hard feelings, right?”
I turned, shoulders squared and looked him in the eye, “How could you be so cruel?” Turning to my boss, I said flatly, “I appreciate all you did for me. But I’m not paying for anything.” With that, I marched out into the rain. Trusting Leo was the most expensive mistake of my life. I lost everything.
The Power of the ring
After seeing her pass his test, the alien in the forest gifts her with a precious ring, harnessing the power of stars from far off galaxies.
Back to Top