He hadn’t meant to forget his phone in the office. Well, he supposed no one ever meant to forget something, but that was beside the point. Fortunately, he had only been by the bike rack when he noticed. Had he waited until he got home to check his voicemail then it would have had to wait until the next day. Since he was only about three minutes away from his phone, he might as well go back and get it now.
Andy, the security guard, grinned knowingly at him.
“Forgot my phone,” he admitted sheepishly. It definitely wasn’t the first time it had happened and it probably wouldn’t be the last.
Andy waved him through.
“This is becoming a habit,” he laughed.
“Maybe one day I’ll remember to bring everything with me.”
He offered one last wave to the security guard and headed towards the elevators, walking briskly.
As he waited for the elevator, he mentally ran through the places his phone could be. He hadn’t gone into the break room that day. It wouldn’t be in Harvey’s office. So, it was probably still somewhere in his cubicle. Visualizing his workspace, he remembered it leaning up against the monitor of the computer. At least he knew where to find it now.
He stepped into the elevator as it arrived and impatiently pressed the button for his floor. Best get this over with quickly before someone gave him more work because he just happened to be in the office at an unfortunate time. That’s how he got stuck with work most times.
The elevator ride itself was quick and quiet. Oddly, he had been the only on in that specific elevator. Oh well. It was probably because it was 6:00 PM. Most normal people had long since left when their workdays ended at 4:00 PM. Only lawyers stayed in the office indefinitely and the only reason he was leaving was that he had managed to finish his work early for a change.
With a small ping, the elevator stopped and the doors slid open. He could see his cubicle, one of the few empty ones, and started towards it.
He had hardly stepped foot in his cubicle when Louis accosted him.
“You left this at your desk,” Louis offered by way of explanation.
“Thanks,” Mike said, taking the phone from him and sliding it in his pocket.
Something felt off about this situation. He didn’t know what exactly, but the feeling had never done him wrong in the past. The warning bells in his head were telling him to get out of there as quickly as possible and he was in no way inclined to argue with his (usually correct) instincts.
Louis gave a weaslish smirk and in that instant Mike knew that whatever came out of his mouth next would not bode well for him.
“So, how was your date last night? Christian, right?”
Mike paled. There was no possible way Louis could know about that. He had been so careful. He and Christian hadn’t quite reached a point in their relationship where they were willing to let everyone know that they were seeing each other. They had only gone out to grab lunch a few times on the occasional weekend. As it was now, only his Gram even knew about the lunches. So how did Louis?
He’d turned off the screen lock because it took to long to get to his text messages otherwise. That’s how Louis had known.
“This was, what, your third date? Fourth? Looks like things are starting to get serious now. ”
His fists clenched.
He vaguely noted the whispers that had started to flare up around him and his face involuntarily flushed from unexpectedly being the subject of so many people’s attention. That was how this was going to be then. Outed. At work. By Louis.
He wasn’t ready for this. All the stares and whispers. He wasn’t ready for any of it.
Being gay wasn’t a huge secret of his. Pretty much everyone important to him knew already. Hell, he’d told Trevor and his Gran ten years ago but that definitely did not mean that he was ready to be out to everyone he knew.
Face burning in embarrassment, Mike grabbed the stack of briefs sitting on his desk and quickly left the cubicle. He hadn’t been intending on taking them to Harvey at that very moment (it really could have waited until tomorrow morning) but it seemed like a good time as good of a time as any to get out of there. He didn’t know what he was planning on doing when he got there, but he did know that he just needed to get out of there so he could think. Unfortunately, his legs carried him away from the elevators and instead towards the partner’s offices.
He didn’t know, didn’t want to know, and didn’t ask how the redhead knew that he needed to be anywhere but where he was now he was just grateful to her for letting him into Harvey’s office despite him not being there. Dimly, he thought that perhaps the office made of glass was probably not the best place for him if he was hiding from the other associates but he couldn’t bring himself to really care. Plus, anyone who wanted to get to him would have to go through Donna first and he honestly doubted that she’d let that happen. He was so bringing her a frappuccino tomorrow. And single every day forever after that.
He didn’t know how long he sat slouched in the black leather chair, making himself as small as possible to avoid being seen from outside the office, but in what seemed like only a few moments he was no longer alone in the room.
To her credit, Donna didn’t say a word. She didn’t look disgusted or judging. If he looked hard, Mike could swear he saw…concern?
“What happened out there?”
Donna just waited for further explanation. They both knew that he’d start talking in a moment.
“Louis just outed me to the entire office.”
“So you’re going to hide out in here,” she asked. There was no judgment in her voice, only understanding.
He wasn’t sure if that was supposed to be a question or a statement. Either way he didn’t have an answer.
“Harvey will be back soon. He had a dinner meeting with a client. You’re welcome to stay if you want to.”
As tempting as the offer was, he really didn’t want to explain this to Harvey.
“I’m good now. I just needed a second. Thanks for letting me in.”
Donna said nothing, but handed him another stack of manila folders. Mike gratefully accepted them, recognizing the gesture for what it was: a way to save face with the other associates.
He took a second to compose himself before lifting his chin and turning to leave and face the world.
He could do this.