It helps you sleep a little better at night, given other circumstances, and you're doing your best to be the ideal boss; someone who takes care of her employees, someone who wants to work with her employees to make it a better workplace. Sure, the business had started as a way to hide the more expensive side business you have, but you've mostly given that up - you haven't gone on a heist in months, years even, and while you get the itch now and then, you hold off. Because there are bigger things at play now, like the well being of those who work for you, who depend on that paycheck every two weeks. You're not going to deny them of what they're rightfully owed, and they respect you for that. Respect is a two way street.
But there are things that need to be done to keep this company afloat, things you hadn't admitted to anyone until recently. And as it hits ten o'clock on the day before Thanksgiving, you're in your office dreading the thing that is about to come through the door. You inhale sharply, you annoyingly tap your long manicured black fingernails on the desk, and you eye the gun that you know is hidden under your desk. It would be so easy to end this little game, if only if it would bring you freedom. But even you know that isn't how it works. People like him, they always get away with things. Money talks, and while you've amased a large amoutn of it, it still apparently isn't enough. It doesn't hold the weight.
There is no knock on the door, as the well dressed man with red hair walks in, and you remind yourself it is in your best interest not to visually gag at the sight of him. He's known as Massachusetts State Senator Jim Horne, winning his father's State Senate seat so easily after he passed. He's known as the chosen one who will eventually go to Washington D.C. to mix in with the big leagues and really make a change in the country. You don't know him as this. You know him as the boy from freshman year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who brought you up to his room at his frat house. You know him as the boy who wouldn't take no for an answer when you told him to stop. You know him as the man who forced himself onto you, and into you, over and over until you were screaming and crying for help and not a single person would help you. You know him as the man who used his father's political power to make your claims of sexual assault go away, and he's the reason you left MIT in shame.
And now, he's standing in front of your desk, his hands on the top, leaning forward, daring to ask you how you are. He tells you that you look beautiful, and it's a shame that you're not one of the people he can buy, because he'd love to take you for a ride again. Remember how it was? That first time? You screamed, but I know you liked it. I know you've been lying this whole time. Your hand reaches to the sharp letter opener on the desk, and your hand forms a fist around it, and he sees this. He sees this and he laughs because he knows you won't do anything. Because you can't. Because this man in front of you has enough dirt on you to ruin your life, and ruin the lives of those working for you.
"I have your fucking money, just take it and leave," You hiss at him, your eyes narrowing, your fingers tightening around the letter opener. He reaches over to your hand and touches it and you quickly pull away, angry. "Don't fucking touch me, you don't have that right."
He laughs at you then, and asks Who does have that right now? and laughs again, telling you that you're his. That you're going to always be his, and you won't ever dare let anyone else in. Your mind goes back to a conversation earlier in the week; to conversation, and laughing, and a feeling of happiness that you haven't felt in a while, and that for some reason gives you a piece of something to hold on to.
"I'm not yours. You're not allowed to fucking touch me. Our agreement is I pay you, you leave me alone. That is it. Nothing else." Your tone is firm and angry, and you toss a bag with unmarked bills on the desk. "Take it and fucking go. That should be more than enough."
He takes the bag and opens it, flips through the cash, and he nods at you. He actually smiles at you, and tells you, I'll see you next month, same time. Wear something a little more low cut. I hate when you hide yourself from me. You sit in silence, as he leaves the office with his money, and you wait until the door is shut firmly behind him that you let out a breath you didn't know you were holding in.
It takes a few deep breathing exercises to get you back in the right mind frame, and your hand finally lets go of the letter opener. It falls unceremoniously to the top of the desk, and you turn in your chair to look out the window to the city below. You remind yourself that this is only a monthly thing, that this could just end if you just moved away, but you couldn't let that happen, you can't give up everything you've built to get here. You have spent your life fighting, and there is no rest. You need to keep fighting. You just need to find a way that can get him out of your life for good. So you finally have all the control back.
But for now, you're stuck, and you know it. But you take comfort in the message that lights up your phone, and it brings a smile to your face, as you try to focus on the good, and what you're thankful for.
You're thankful for new beginnings. That's a start.