*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My boyfriend worked for a retail store that sold arts and crafts supplies. Sometimes he stocked the shelves. Other times, he rang out customers at one of the cash registers at the front of the store depending upon whether it was busy.
One day, I decided to surprise him at work. When I walked into the store, he had his head down and he was focusing on ringing up a customer's purchases and bagging the items.
I walked right past him without him noticing me, and I ducked into a nearby aisle to wait for a lull in his customers so I could say, "Hello." I kept busy looking at random products in the aisle I'd chosen for my waiting spot.
It wasn't a hiding spot because I wasn't hiding. I reasoned that I was just waiting in a nearby yet out-of-the-way location until the coast was clear. In other words, I had good intentions.
However, when things slowed down at the front of the store and my boyfriend started a conversation with a female coworker, I decided to wait just a little longer before making myself known.
I overheard my boyfriend telling jokes and doing impressions. He was a funny and charming guy with a magnetic personality.
"You're the funniest person I've ever known," his coworker said between gasps and giggles. "Ooh, you're hilarious."
He continued his comedy routine, and she continued complimenting him and laughing. Meanwhile, I continued hiding. Yes, at this point, I had to acknowledge that I was hiding and listening. To be more specific, I was hiding and eavesdropping.
I don't know how long I hid in the aisle eavesdropping on my boyfriend and his coworker while he continued to make her laugh. In my opinion, she was clearly flirting with him. I was furious. Didn't she know he had a girlfriend? Hadn't he ever mentioned me?
Her compliments were heavy and constant. Her voice and her giggle were high-pitched. She kept touching him on the arm and flinging her long blonde hair around.
However, I don't believe I caught him flirting with her in return. He was being his typical charming self. Nothing more.
He was a natural comedian, and being funny was his default setting. He didn't say anything inappropriate, didn't touch her or stand too close to her, and didn't ask her out or anything like that.
In other words, I had no reason to be furious, at least not at him. When his coworker finally wandered off to some other part of the store, and there were no customers waiting to have their purchases rung up, I finally emerged from my hiding spot to make my presence known.
He looked surprised and happy to see me.
I kept my visit brief. After all, he was working.
Later that night, over dinner, I told him exactly what I'd done and what I overheard. I acknowledged that I'd been hiding and eavesdropping, and I explained that it hadn't started out that way. I admitted that I'd been furious to hear his coworker flirting with him.
"Was she flirting with me?" he asked. To his credit, he seemed genuinely confused. "I didn't even notice."
I believed him because I'd seen his reaction to her flirtation with my own eyes, and he hadn't responded in kind. However, I wouldn't have felt surprised if he'd been upset with me for eavesdropping. I was lucky that he didn't seem to mind.