Jayda Wright tried to hold back tears of joy as the board announced her name. She’d just been made partner at the most reputable law firm in the United States, Saunders and Co. At age twenty-nine, she was the youngest and also the first female to become a partner in the firm.
She’d been aiming for this position since the first time she interned as a paralegal here. She’d worked her ass off, given up everything relating to her social life, and put her all into her job. She deserved this.
It had taken a lot of hard work to g et here, and there was more on the way. Being a partner came with even more responsibilities, but she’d made it this far. She’d keep working hard, and she’d survive.
The payoff was certainly worth it. A bigger salary, doubled benefits, and most importantly, her name on an engraved plate on the door of her new office. Her dreams had come true!
“Jayda, congratulations. You deserve this honor,” said Mr. Tucker, the firm’s president, as he shook her hand.
Jayda smiled at the tall, dark-haired man in his early fifties. “Thank you so much, Mr. Tucker, I promise not to disappoint you.”
“You worked for it, Jayda. You hardly lose a case in court and no doubt your wins have contributed to the reputation of this law firm. I wish you all the best in this phase of your career. Don’t disappoint us,” Mr. Tucker cautioned. “We all look up to you now.”
“You don’t have to worry about anything. I will work harder than ever,” she promised.
The other partners and senior associates in the conference room congratulated her too. They made a toast and small talk. Everyone seemed happy for her.
As soon as Jayda was able to escape from the conference room, she went to her old office. It had seen many hours of dedication, but she wasn’t going to miss it. She’d move into her new office on Monday. For now, she reached for her iPhone in her bag and dialed her best friend, Lilian.
“Guess what, Lily?” Jayda said excitedly as soon as Lilian picked up her call.
“You just got laid?” Lilian teased.
Jayda rolled her eyes at her friend’s common joke. “What a mood spoiler! No, I didn’t get laid. I got promoted!”
“You made partner?” Lilian squealed with delight.
“Yes! Jayda Wright is now a partner in Saunders and Co.”
“Congratulations, bestie. You work so hard,” Lilian said. “This is truly deserved.”
“Thank you.” Jayda giggled.
“You should go out to celebrate! I’d go with you, but I’m busy tonight. I have to complete the designs for a few dresses. The fashion show is tomorrow.” Lilian sounded disappointed.
“Don’t worry, we can still hang out tomorrow after your show. I’ll probably hang out with Zach tonight,” Jayda replied. “I haven’t even told him the good news yet.”
“Please do, and make sure you get laid tonight. No one knows when next you’ll be free to hang out with us now that you’re a partner.” Lilian teased her some more.
Jayda chuckled. “You have a dirty mind, Lilian. I’ll see you at my place tomorrow evening. Give Roman a kiss from me.”
Roman, Lilian’s boyfriend, was a medical doctor. The two of them had been dating seriously for some time.
“I will, babe. Congratulations again,” Lilian said before she ended the call.
Jayda swiped her phone screen to call her boyfriend. She couldn’t wait to tell Zach all about her promotion and that she was on her way to his place. When he didn’t answer, she tried again. He didn’t pick up this time, either.
She spent the next thirty minutes offloading her drawers and other things she would need in her new office on Monday. After that, she reached for her handbag and laptop bag and went to her car.
Before she started the engine, she called a restaurant to order food and dessert. She and Zach were going to celebrate in style!
As soon as Jayda got to her apartment, she called her parents to give them the good news, then took a shower and started preparing to leave for her boyfriend’s place.
Jayda was used to dressing professionally, but tonight called for something special. Lilian would be so proud of her for finding the perfect red dress that showed off her curves, along with the matching heels. She took some time with her makeup too.
During the day she was a high-powered lawyer, a partner in her firm, but for tonight, she wanted to look a little wild and sexy.
At last, she was ready. Jayda grabbed her purse and a bottle of Zach’s favorite red wine. She could hardly wait to see him.
After making a stop at the restaurant to pick up the orders she placed, Jayda drove to Zach’s apartment. She’d been so busy with work that she hadn’t been there for a while, and suddenly, she started to feel guilty. She hadn’t been able to make as much time for him as she should have. But hadn’t it been worth the sacrifices? After all, she was now a partner!
She couldn’t stop herself from grinning widely as she pressed the doorbell and waited for Zach to open up.
“Hey…” Jayda’s smile slowly faded when Zach opened the door. His stern look showed he wasn’t happy to see her, like he was busy and needed her to say what she was here for and then leave.
“Why are you here? Don’t you have some work to do?” he said in a mocking tone.
“Look, I’m sorr—” she started, but he stopped her halfway.
“Why are you here?” Zach demanded.
“I got promoted to partner at the firm!” Her excitement rang out in her voice, and she held up the bag of food she’d brought. “I thought we could celebrate. I came with something for us to eat.”
Zach’s stern expression didn’t change. “That’s no surprise. I knew you’d be partner one day because your job is the most important thing in your life. Congratulations!”
“What do you mean?” This wasn’t the reaction she’d been hoping for. Her heart sank. He looked and sounded angry and disappointed, not happy for her.
“Do you know how many dinner dates I’ve planned and had to cancel because you had something that came up with work? Or when you eventually showed up, all you did was talk about work, the cases you dealt with, and some other random bullshit. You never even talked about us. You were supposed to be my girlfriend, but you never even acted like it.”
At the sound of his words, Jayda’s heart twisted harder. “What do you mean, ‘were?’”
“I think it’s time we go our separate ways.”
She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Jayda blinked back burning tears. “Please don’t break up with me, Zach. I promise to change.”
“You weren’t even a partner, and you didn’t have time for me. What do you think will happen now that you got this promotion?” Zach shook his head. “We’re both workaholics, but even though I run a family business and a chain of hotels, I still create time for us to be together.”
“Please,” she whispered, her voice hoarse. “Give me another chance?”
“I want to start a family, Jayda, and clearly, you’re not ready for that. You’re not ready to settle down, and I am.” He gave her a cruel smile. “Your job comes first, you come second, your best friend comes third, and I have no place in your life.”
Jayda opened her mouth to say something but couldn’t come up with any reasonable excuse because all that he said was true. Her job was important to her, but why shouldn’t it be? She’d worked hard to get where she was. She didn’t want children yet. She wasn’t ready to be a mother or a wife.
“We never worked, Jayda. I can’t continue this way,” Zach said. “I wish you all the best in this new phase of your career.”
Jayda’s mind whirled. Zach thought they’d never worked? She knew she was to blame for neglecting him, but she’d never thought things were that bad between them. She was about to plead with him again but stopped when a woman appeared beside him in the doorway.
Everything suddenly made sense. Jayda’s stomach churned. “It’s because of her you’re breaking up with me?”
The other woman was a little bit taller than Jayda and, if possible, prettier. Jayda swallowed painfully in shame. While she’d been working herself into the ground to succeed, Zach had been cheating on her!
Zach wrapped his arms around the woman’s waist. “Adriana has nothing to do with our relationship. I’ve been wanting to cut it off for a while, but I never got the chance to see you and have a proper conversation with you because of how busy you are.”
Jayda almost let the food bag fall to the ground. All her plans had been for nothing. Clearly, Zach hadn’t been expecting her to come over. He hadn’t even picked up her calls.
“How long have you been together?” Jayda managed to ask.
Zach looked offended. “I respected you too much to cheat on you if that’s what you want to know. I met Adriana a month ago and we are getting to know each other. We have a lot in common, and she’s ready to start a family with me.”
“After only a month?” Jayda cried.
Zach frowned. “I wish you all the best in your career, Jayda. I’ve moved on, and I hope you do too.”
The hot tears she’d been fighting spilled down her cheeks the second he shut the door in her face. She left the food and wine she brought by his entrance. There was no way she’d be able to eat or drink any of it. As soon as she got in her car, her sobs burst out of her.
Zach was handsome, rich, successful, caring, and humble— but she’d lost him. It wasn’t fair that chasing her dreams could cost her this much. Lilian had warned her to spend more time with him or risk losing him, but Jayda had turned deaf ears. Now, it was over, and she only had herself to blame.
He’d always been there for her more than she’d been for him. Memories of all the dates she’d canceled because of work rippled through her mind. They’d been together for a year and a half, but sometimes they went a month without seeing each other or doing more than texting.
How could she have thought that was a good relationship? She’d been so blinded by her ambitions that she’d completely neglected him. No wonder he’d found someone else.
Her tears should have been a relief, but they didn’t do much to make her feel better. She needed something more…something she’d never done before.
Jayda wasn’t a drinker or a club-goer. No matter how many times Lilian invited her to go out, Jayda had always found the perfect excuse not to go. Tonight would be different, she thought as she drove herself to a new, expensive bar she’d heard about. All the highest class of people went there.
Without caring if she had stains of dried tears on her face, Jayda walked elegantly into the bar with her head high, her clutch in her hands, and the intention of getting drunk.
Why shouldn’t she? She had more than enough cash in her purse to cover her own drinks. She deserved to celebrate her promotion and mourn her breakup. She made herself comfortable on a stool and gestured to the bartender.
“What’s your strongest drink?”
The bartender grinned. “Shot of whiskey?”
The shot burned, and Jayda grimaced at the liquor’s harsh flavor. How did people get used to this? She was going to do her best to try.
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