She fell in love with a man she thought never noticed her, he was her boss and she a valued employee. He was always there to help, always had a kind word to offer, he gave solutions to her problems. She kept her feelings in check, she could never let anyone know she wanted him in the worst way and when he proposed marriage, she felt betrayed and hurt. To think he could stoop so low as to put a figure to her feelings.
She had to say no but as life would have it... you can't keep a secret forever and when two people have the same secret, it's bound to some out at some point. How they deal with it, is never what they had planned but at the end of it all, all they had was their love and the determination to keep it.
“I’m in love with a woman who thinks I want to marry her and make her a trophy!” Caden slammed his fist on his desk. Shaking the pens, pencils, and letter opener out of their trays.
“Did you tell her how you really feel? That you have been watching her since she got here?” Exclaimed Jauhan his absolute best friend.
“I couldn’t! She will think she got promoted because of my feelings and not because she is the best damned marketing agent in Barbados. I need her in my life, but I think I screwed up my reasoning for wanting to marry her.”
“Oh gosh what did you tell her?”
Caden sighed loudly.
“She asked me for a job letter to get a loan to go to UWI. I approved it and told her I would take the money directly from her salary. Her father got sick, and she came back to me to stop the payments and said she would make them on her own. Well, he got worse and insurance did not cover all the bills. She stopped school but obviously she still had the loan to pay back. One of my friends at the bank called me and asked if she was still an employee because the payments had stopped. I explained to him what had happened. He said he would give her 2 months to start back paying. Her father died, then her mother took ill, she came to me for an employee loan. I approved it; her salary is now down to $200 a month. I do not know how she survives. Then her mother died. She has a child who is her niece, the child’s mother died in childbirth, she and her parents took her home. They had to get a loan to pay for the funeral since their pensions could not even come near enough. Her parents mortgaged their house to pay for her early education, she didn’t know, and she has a few weeks to come up with 125 big ones. The nursery told her she has to pay something for the child’s care, or she has to keep her home. She can’t keep her at home or bring her here, so she pays a babysitter daily and she eats in the cafeteria.”
“Jesus! Wait is that how we got a cafeteria in the first place and one free meal for staff?”
“Exactly. A mortgage, two loans, three deaths, three funerals and a baby. She is now tapped out. I told her if she married me all her worries would be over; she would have everything she needed and maybe we could make a go of the relationship in time. She thinks I am using her current state against her and she refused.”
Caden plopped his head on his arms.
“You can fix this…….”
“How? She turned down everything I proposed to her……….”
“You didn’t ask right, you made it sound as if your money should matter to her more than her happiness.”
“I guess. I will try again soon.”
Caden Carter sat down in his high-rise office and felt the weight of the world on his shoulders. Fern had applied for a job there when she was still at secondary school to be an intern. Her educational background was already impressive by 16. She sat her Common Entrance Exam when she was 8 and by 12, she was applying to the UWI Campus in Barbados. Her parents ran a business out of their home, and it kept them afloat for 40 years, but technology was seeping into their lives at a rapid rate, and they could not keep up. So, when Fern applied to Caden’s Marketing Agency and got accepted, she took over at least 3 of the bills with what she was paid. One of the reasons she applied there as well was because it was within walking distance from home.
Fern was a practical girl. She had been saving money from the age of 5 years old because she wanted a house when she was 20. Her parents knew she would be a successful woman one day and every week, the money she gave them for the bills, they would secretly put it aside for her. Her younger sister was a bit of a wild one and when she became pregnant at 16, she decided that she would keep the child. When she died in childbirth, Fern had already made up her mind that the baby would have everything it needed. She did not know how hard it would be.
CMA had accepted her on the basis that she be paid flat salary and when she finished school, she would work for them on contract for a 5-year period.
“Hey Fern, how are you doing?”
“I need to speak with you about something, do you have a few minutes?”