The day after I moved back in with Derrick—my older, married fiancé—he told me that I needed to quit both of my jobs. I would now be his secretary at the Orange County office. My fib to his wife about being a secretary not a mistress left him no other option. He walked me through what I would say to his wife when she came to the office to check for herself that I worked for him.
My first day of work was dreadful. I just sat at my desk all day fidgeting. All eyes were on me—I was the new girl, younger than every other employee, attractive and clueless, but who reported directly to the CEO of the company. From day one, people were suspicious, and had a lot of questions. I had a huge office all to myself, right beside Derrick’s. He wasn’t on site every day, but he did come when he was needed. Most days, I sat around pretending to work. Derrick assured me that when the time was right, he would teach me everything I needed to know.
On my fourth day at the office, Mrs. Freidman showed up. Luckily that day I was working on a spreadsheet, so I looked like I belonged in the office. She didn’t knock on my door or ask if she could come in—she simply walked in and closed the door behind her. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my coworkers twisting their necks to see what was going on.
I explained to Mrs. Freidman, just as I had rehearsed, that I recently moved locations in order to help organize the office. Her cold, stern stare let me know she wasn’t buying a word I was saying. She interrogated me about the business, and I did my best to answer every question, just like how we had rehearsed.
She eventually caught me off guard with one of her questions. I had a feeling she was tricking me, so I made my own move. I leaned over my desk, and said quietly, “Look Mrs. Freidman, I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish here, but you’re interrupting my work. I have a meeting this afternoon with Mr. Freidman that I need to prepare for. You are more than welcome to join me.”
She smiled at me, but it wasn’t a friendly smile. She grabbed her purse and pulled out a file folder with my name on it. She stood up and slammed the folder on my desk. “Let the games begin,” she said. She walked out of the door as quickly as she came in. I quickly got up, shut the door, closed the blinds, and opened the folder. When I saw what was inside, I could literally feel my heart sink into my stomach. This couldn’t be happening.
Inside was a handwritten note that read, “Will you still love him when his money’s gone?” My heart stopped. I frantically went through about a dozen pictures of Derrick and I. Our engagement party, my house, my car, us making love—the proof was all there in the pictures. She had known everything all along.
On the last page was another note: “You decide: wealthy mistress or poor wife.” I couldn’t believe what was happening. Mrs. Friedman didn’t care if we were together or apart—all she cared about was the money. She didn’t mind sharing her husband, as long as she wasn’t sharing her wealth.