Disclaimer: Once again we are here to visit the imaginations of my frantic and fevered mind. This story's premise and characters have been created by myself and no one else has claim to them. Actually created maybe slightly misleading, in other words welcome to my life. :D As always I hope you enjoy the continuation of Business Trip. © February 2006
Language/Sex: We are starting to get a little randy as well as using more expletives. In other words we are getting to the nity gritty, so if you are not 18 yet or the idea of two women hitting the sheets offends you, I advise you don’t proceed. But if that’s why you have come, enjoy.
Feed the bard at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Also I would love to invite you to a group of wonderful ladies, join us at TheRisingPhoenixfirstname.lastname@example.org.
I drove home in a complete and total haze. I didn’t remember even getting into the elevator much less the ride home. One thing I did know was that I had a goofy grin plastered on my face the whole way back to the house. Jacqueline Drakkon is the most amazing woman ever and I think she likes me. Ok, I know that sounds so grammar school, but that is exactly how I felt.
I pulled slowly into the driveway and some how managed to pull the car into the garage without damaging the car or anything else on the way inside. A rare occurrence when I'm at my best. Actually, I’m astounded that I remembered to open the garage door at all before trying to pull into the garage.
The house was dark and quiet which was a wonderful surprise. I really didn’t want to see or talk to anyone just yet. I wanted this feeling to last as long as possible.
As I passed through the kitchen I noticed a note attached to the fridge.I turned on the vent light so I could read it.
“Hey girlfriend. Call me when you get home. I want to know how the ‘big date’ went. I don’t care how late you call, just as long as you call. LU, P”
I chuckled, but I wasn’t ready for this enchanted evening to end. Not yet. So the ever-nosy Patty would have to wait until the morning.
I crossed to the other side of the house in order to at least check on the children before I retired to my room to take things into my own hands. Yes, I am blushing, but the fact of the matter is that I was so…so…. what’s the word I’m looking for?...’aroused’, yeah that’s the word I’m looking for, (I didn’t want to say horny but you know that’s what you were all thinking). I was so aroused that there would be no way I could sleep until I had some relief. Hey, I don’t do it that often! Stop snickering, I’m telling the truth, but tonight I was reaching critical mass and could take out the entire metropolitan area if I didn’t get some relief.
I slowly and as silently as possible opened the door to Ashley’s room. There my beautiful curly topped girl was curled up, thumb in her mouth while at the same time grasping her tattered blankee. I know, maybe she is a little old for a blankee, but hell I know she won’t walk down the aisle with it so what’s the harm if it makes her happy? Besides it’s no ordinary blankee, it’s a piece of her father’s favorite shirt. Even after all this time and washings it still smells like him. Every once in awhile, when no one is looking, I bring it to my face, inhale and remember a good man that was taken too soon.
He would want you to be happy. But I think the thoughts I was having would really put him to the test.
Sorry got off track there.
On to the next room where I visit Mark. As usual he has kicked off all his covers. I tuck the sheet back around him, kissed his head, and leave without him even flinching.
To my surprise there was a light shining out from under Jared’s door. I knocked lightly.
“Come in, Mom.” Came a low voice through the door.
“Hey, big guy, what you doing still up?”
“Had a test to study for in Mr. Brayner’s class. You know how he is.”
“Yeah, so you’ve said. Think you got it down, because it’s getting late?” I look at my watch and see it’s only a little after eleven, but after all it was a school night. “All this studying won’t do you any good if you fall asleep during the test.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” he agreed.
“It happens sometimes.”
After a moment’s pause, “You look nice, Mom.”
“Thanks.” It’s nice to get a compliment from your teenage son.
“Patty dressed you didn’t she?” So much for the compliment.
“YOOOOUUUUUU!” I ran over to his bed and pounced on him. After wrestling and laughing together for a few moments I reluctantly surrendered. The boy was just too strong for me any more. “Ok you, lights out.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Jared smiled his beautiful smile at me. He was a good kid, all three were. I was lucky and blessed to have such great kids.
I crossed the house in the dark back to my room. I closed the door and undressed in the darkness. Now that the mundane was over I turned my mind back to Jac. It didn’t take long to get all hot and bothered again. I could still feel her touch, her arms about me, and her soft lips against my cheek. With each recollection I became more and more aroused.
I slid naked in between the cool sheets of my bed. The slight chill of the sheets was no match for my burning libido. My mind was full of Jac while my hands were full of other things. We all do it, I’m not going to draw you a map. But what I will say is my breathing was labored, my hand and fingers were moving fast, and I was almost there WHEN…
“Oh you have got to be kidding me,” I growled out loud.
IGNORE IT!! My libido shouted. We're so close.
But if I ignore it one of the kids will wake up and then ‘close’ is all you would have. I thought in response to my ravenous sexual hunger.
Reluctantly I rolled over and picked up the annoying phone.
“Hello,” I croaked, my voice still husky with need.
“Kara, it’s Jac. Did I wake you?” Came the smooth velvety tones. Hearing Jac’s voice almost vaulted me over the edge by itself. Almost.
After a few “duh du du da duhs” that sounded stupid and a few “uhhhgruuuh gruuhhhs” to clear my throat I was finally able to answer the woman. “No, just crawled into bed.”
“Oh, ok. I just wanted to be sure you got home safe and sound,” Jac continued.
Clearing my throat again, “Yeah home safe and sound, thanks.”
In an even more velvety tone, if that was humanly possible, she purred, “You know you never did answer my question?”
Confused, “What question?”
“If there was anything more I could do to persuade you to take up this new position and project?” she asked still purring.
My brain was stuttering and sputtering to the point I couldn’t get my tongue to work.
Yeah, you can sleep with me. I think that would cinch it. My libido cried out.
Yeah you go ahead and say that and see if you even have a job tomorrow. My common sense responded.
Oh come on, she wants you. It’s as plain as a pig in a poke. She’s done everything, but throw you physically into her bed. The woman is doing everything in her power to seduce you. Can’t you see that? My libido pointed out.
You do make sense. My common sense could not argue with my libido’s valid points.
But you are so out of your depth. My insecurities chimed in. If you’re wrong, it would be so humiliating.
SHUT UP. No one’s talking to you! My libido shouted at my insecurities.
You all need to shut up. I feel like frigging Sybil.
“Jac, I promise to have the answer for you in the morning,” I finally answered after a short pause. You see going ‘Sybil’ doesn’t take that long.
“Fair enough. Just promise me you will let me take you out for a proper celebration when you accept.” I could hear Jac smile.
“Really, and just what would a ‘proper celebration’ entail?” I flirted.
“Well, that will be my little surprise,” Jac retorted.
“Oh so you think you’ve won me over already hmmm?” I teased.
“Yes I do. You’re a smart woman, Ms. Kara Marlow, and you know opportunities like this don’t come around every day.”
True, this kind of luck is rare especially in my life, but which opportunities are we talking about now- sleeping with Jac or the new job? At this point I really didn’t care which. I wanted both and I would have both. Sounds strong and confident doesn’t it?
“You’re right, they don’t come along every day, and I can be a smart woman at times. None the less you won’t get your answer until tomorrow.”
“Well then I guess I should get to sleep so tomorrow will come quicker. Good night, my dear Kara.”
“Good night, Jac.”
OH MY FUCK! WHAT JUST HAPPENED HERE?
I placed the receiver onto the cradle before flopping back onto my bed. There was no mistaking it now. No matter what my insecurities tried to tell me, this woman was pursuing me and not just for the ‘company’. She wanted me for me. Yikes. You know they’re right when they say ‘be careful what you wish for because you just may get it’. Well I got it and now I’m not so sure what to do with it.
I pulled my hands up behind my head.
If I got involved with Jac there wouldn’t be anything in my life that wouldn’t be affected. There was so much to be considered. How would the kids feel about it? I think Ashley was young enough to accept it with little or no resistance, but there was Mark and Jared to consider. Being a teenage boy was hard enough on it’s own without throwing ‘my two moms” into the mix.
I was amazed that I had never broached the subject of homosexuality with the boys. Not that I ever had any prejudices against it, but mostly because it was something so foreign to us. Except for Tim at work, I really didn’t know any other gay people. Neither of the boys had ever said anything about gays one way or the other, so I really had no idea what their views on it were.
Then there was Jac’s family. What would Sherri think? Or had Jac been with other women so this wouldn’t even be a surprised to her?
“Shit,” I said out loud.
I couldn’t believe that the idea that Jac may have ‘experience’ hadn’t even crossed my mind until just now. Damn, I hate being so slow on the uptake.
After all she had mentioned dating now and again, but she was never gender specific about it. If she is experienced that brings up a whole new set of issues. I mean I had never been with a woman before, sure I had fantasized about it now and again as all women do. And you ladies know who you are so don’t shake you heads so quick to the negative. But fantasy is a lot different from actual practice. I mean what if I don’t know how to please her? What if my body doesn’t react? Ok, you’re right, there is very little doubt that she will just look at me and I will have an orgasm, but I would like to bring her pleasure and right now I’m not sure I will know how. Maybe I should get a book, Lesbian Kama Sutra for Dummies. But all kidding aside this is an issue.
Then there is the work issue. But then if they don’t ask, I don’t feel obliged to tell. Well, Patty will ask, but I know I can trust her. It’s Bridgette that I worry about.
Finally, but not least, is the distance. We live the width and breath of this grand country apart. I know she couldn’t move here away from corporate, but what if she asked me to move there? What would my answer be? What about the kids and my position with the company here?
“ARRRGGGGGGHHHHH,” I growled in the darkness. “I’m getting a headache. Why worry about all this stuff when we haven’t even kissed yet?”
I got up from the bed and padded over to the bathroom. I didn’t turn the overhead light on, but searched for my Ibu in the dim glow of the night-light offered. Finding the bottle I opened it with a minimum amount of trouble before popping a few pills into my mouth. I snapped the lid shut, and placed the bottle on the counter beside the basin. I cupped my hands with water and used that to swallow the pills that were melting in my mouth. After that I stumbled back to bed and pulled the covers over my head.
So much for this enchanted evening.
I was awakened bright and early in the morning by the ear splitting sounds of morning doves cooing outside my window. I slowly squinted open one eye and looked around before slowly opening the other.
I should never drink that much Sake on a school night. I thought as I pealed my tongue off the roof of my mouth. I took note of the time on the clock and groaned. Guess it's time to rise and shine.
Gradually I rose slowly from the bed suddenly noticing I was naked. I shook my head trying to clear the cobwebs.
What exactly happened last night?
I sat on the edge on the bed calling the memories of the evening before back to my waking mind. Bit by bit pieces of puzzle fell into place. Again I was overwhelmed with all the things that were said and unsaid. My head was spinning again with the entire emotional overload that was going on in my mind.
Through my fog I could hear the kids talking while they ate their breakfasts. Thank god for Jared and his innate ability to pour a bowl of cereal.
In a zombie like state I finally got out of bed and walked into the bathroom. While waiting for the shower water to warm up, I splashed cold water on my face hoping to chase the rest of the cobwebs away. Before I knew it the mirror was steaming up. I stepped in and let the warmth pelt me until I felt somewhat human again.
Stepping out of the steam filled stall I stood on the soft carpet and toweled my body off my mind still turning the events of last evening over and over in my mind.
Well enough of this maudlin crap... I could never think straight before my first cup of coffee anyway.
Wrapping the towel around my waist I exited stage left.
“So tell me everything!!!” Patty ordered while she followed me into my office.
“There's nothing to tell,” I teased as I rounded my desk, and sat down in my chair.
“Oh come on, Kara, tell me everything starting from the beginning and don't leave out one little detail,” Patty said while sitting down in the chair in front of my desk.
I laughed and leaned back in my chair. “Ok, ok. I owe you for pushing me into this 'date'.”
Patty scooted to the edge of her chair like an eager child waiting for her turn to play a game.
“Well, to sum it all up we had a great time together. ”
“How great?” Patty growled a Cheshire cat grin plastered across her face.
I couldn't keep a goofy grin from inhabiting my features.
“Wow that good huh? Details I want details,” Patty gushed.
“Well.....” My phone interrupted me. I put up my finger to indicate 'I'll be right back'. Patty pouted flopping back into the deep chair.
“Kara, do you have a moment to come down here?” Jason asked somewhat gravely.
“Uh, sure. Anything I should worry about?” I squeaked. I could feel my stomach dropping. You know that sinking feeling that brings you to the brink of vomiting and then lets you languish there? Yeah, that one.
“I would rather talk when you get here.” With those words I felt my face pale. Panic began to rise within me. Something was wrong, very wrong..
“I'll be right there,” I said and hung up the phone.
“What's wrong, Kara?” Patty asked.
“I don't know, but I'm going to find out. That was Jason...uh Mr. Kimbrough. He wants to see me like now,” I answered struggling to keep my heart out of my throat.
“He just wants your answer about the new job, right?” Patty weakly commented.
“I don't think so. I'll be right back.” I stood, walked around my desk, and left the room without even looking at Patty.
Trembling I entered the elevator. By the tone of Mr. Kimbrough's voice I was in deep shit, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what I had or hadn't done. What could have happened in the last twenty-four hours to change my status from 'Miracle Worker' to “problem child”? Whatever was going on was not good and it was scaring the crap out of me.
Quaking in my boots, I knocked on the huge mahogany door.
Tentatively I opened the door a peeked in. A very stern Jason motioned me in. “Close the door please.”
My heart was beating so fast and so hard that I was sure I would pass out at any moment. I turned from him in order to try to compose myself while I softly closed the heavy door. Without a word exchanged I took the chair on the left hand side of the desk. He looked up at me with cold blue eyes. I felt myself shrink underneath his chilled gaze.
“I wanted to talk to you before HR did,” Jason started.
“HR? Why does HR want to talk to me?” I asked my voice shaking.
“They want to talk to you about your team and the charges that were incurred during the Jamestown build.” He continued, “Specifically they want to talk about some suspect invoices and Steven C. Roberts and Edward W. Underwood.”
“Who??” I asked.
Jason looked back down at the papers in front of him before reiterating, “Steven Roberts and Edward Underwood.”
“Why does HR want to talk to me about them? I have no idea who they are,” I said. I was more confused now than before I had entered the office.
“They were on your team...”
I interrupted, “No, they weren't. I have no idea who they are.”
“Then why did you authorize their time sheets?” he asked pushing some papers in front of me.
I looked over the papers and then looked up at Jason in disbelief. “I didn't authorize these. This is the first time I have even seen these.”
“Isn't that the job number, the accounting number, and the authorization code? Your authorization code?” Jason asked.
“Yes it is, but Jason, I have no idea who these guys are or what is going on here. I can't authorize what I didn't know about.” I was peddling as fast as I could, but I felt like it was a lost cause. I'm sure that my explanations were just sounding like excuses to the president of my company.
“Then how do you explain this email? It was sent to Jamie Vargas in payroll a couple of weeks after the beginning of the project.” He pushed another piece of paper in front of me.
Email? They are into my email? How long has this little witch-hunt been going on?
I read the paper carefully several times to be sure I understood what I was reading.
I've just added a couple of new techs to my crew on the Jamestown project. I will be authorizing their time sheets instead of Patty. Since they are new in town just send their payroll checks to me and I will distribute them.
I looked up at Jason in full carp mode. After a few seconds I pulled myself together. “Jason, I have no idea what this is. I never sent this email, I never authorized any pay sheets, and I definitely didn't receive any checks for these guys.”
“Well everything here says you did. The auditors have also found...”
“You mean it gets worse?”
“I'm afraid it does. There are distinct discrepancies between your material invoices and the actual allocated funds for the same materials. Can you account for the differences?”
“No of course I can't, because I have no idea what 'are talking about. I don't get kickbacks from jobs I never had.”
Again Jason pushed a different pile of papers in front of me. There was so much information laid before me that I was saturated and couldn't decipher any of it. It was as if it was all written in Latin, none of it made sense and it should have. But what I did understand was another email that I had supposedly written to Dennis Sharp at Jamestown.
Be a love and send the contractor and material invoices directly to me and I will forward them on to allocation as soon as I approve them. I just want to keep my eye on the bottom line to be sure we don't go over budget.
I could feel tears stinging my eyes. “Everything here is a lie. I never did any of this.”
“Kara, give me something- anything- to take to HR, so I can prove that all this bullshit,” he implored.
“Jason, I don't know how to prove this is bullshit. All I have is my word to you that I didn't do any of this. I'm being railroaded and you know it.” I paused in order to keep my tears in check. “Hell, I can't even balance my own check book, do you really believe I could engineer all this? Jason, you have known me for years I could never pull off anything this cloak and dagger. Knowing me I would trip over the cloak and stab myself with the dagger.”
“I don't know, Kar, none of this makes sense to me either, but computers don't lie.” Jason sighed in despair.
“I'm paid well for what I do, I love my work and the commission from this job was going to be sizable, why would I risk it all for some stupid scam?” I sobbed. “So am I fired?” I asked my voice shaking and cracking.
“No, but you will be suspended until the end of this investigation,” Jason said flatly.
“Till the end of the investigation, what the hell else do they expect to find?” I asked. I just couldn't get my mind around any of this. Had I had some sort of brain malfunction to such magnitude that I actually did all this and didn't remember any of it? No, that was stupid. I didn't have anything to do with any of this, but on the other hand I had no way of disproving any of it either.
“So what happens after the suspension?”
“Depending on the findings, you could be asked to leave. Kar, I hate saying that, but I wanted you to know the worst case scenario,” Jason replied.
“Worst case scenario, huh? Jason, I don't think it could get much worse. After all of the years I have given to this company, after all I've done for you and everyone else...” I paused to get myself back in control, “After all this time... it's easier for y'all to believe what these stupid papers are telling you about me then what you know is true. On top of all that, instead of having the balls to just come up to me and ask me what happened, you just slink around behind my back to gather more evidence against me. I know I've already been judged and there is nothing I can say or do at this point to change anyone's mind.” I stood and flipped the papers back in his face while I spoke. “Well, I'll make it easy on everyone. I quit. Find yourself another whipping boy who can save your collective asses the next time Russell puts them in the fire.” I stormed to the door before I had a chance to reconsider what I had just done.
“Kara wait! Don't do this...” Jason begged but he was cut off when I slammed the door closed behind me.
I was walking quickly, but soon started jogging to the closest ladies' room I could find. I ran into the stall closest to the door and vomited for all I was worth. I wretched and gagged until there was nothing left in my stomach to release. Then came the dry heaves, by that time I was on my knees leaning against the cold tile of the stall. My mind was going ‘tilt’ ‘tilt’ ‘tilt’. I couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. I was being accused of embezzlement. I was being accused of padding the expenses for this job to line my own pockets.
This had to be some kind of sick joke. Or maybe this was just a gruesome nightmare and all I needed to do is wake up and it will all go away.
But it wasn’t a nightmare this was real. They had accused me and had irrefutable evidence to back up each charge.
Hell, I would convict myself after seeing all that, but I DIDN’T DO IT. I wouldn’t, in my wildest fantasies ever-even think of doing such a thing much less plan and execute it. What the hell is going on here?
I jumped when I heard a disembodied voice asking if I was ok. It was Janice, Jason’s secretary. It took me awhile, but I know I mumbled something to the effect of being fine. I heard the door whoosh open and then softly close.
I don’t know how long I was in there, my face pressed to the cool tile before I heard another familiar voice float over the partition.
“Kara, you ok?” Patty asked before lightly knocking on the door. “Kara??”
“Yeah Patty.” I stood up, flushed the toilet, and unlocked the door. I knew I looked like shit when Patty gasped as I emerged from the stall.
“Kara, what the hell happened to you? Janice called me and told me to get here P-D-Q.” Patty put her arm over my shoulders and guided me to the basin. She turned on the water, regulating it to cool. I leaned over the flowing water, and cupped it in my hands before bringing it to my face. I did this a few times and then took in a mouthful of the liquid, swished it, and spit it out. I took the paper towels that Patty offered and wiped the excess moisture from my face. I felt like I was going to die, and the reflection in the mirror confirmed this.
After all that I finally started talking, “Well it seems that I have been embezzling funds from the company.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Is this some sick joke, because if it is, it’s not funny,” Patty replied.
“Ohhhh, nooo. It’s no joke. That’s what Mr. Kimbrough wanted to talk to me about. Something about padding the expenses for the project and putting two phantom techs on the payroll and taking their check and cashing them,” I explained.
Patty’s concerned face morphed into a mask of confusion. “Kara, I don’t understand any of this.”
“Neither do I, but this is what I was just told.”
“But it doesn’t make sense. I do all the book work for you, even balance your check books, if you were getting kick backs I think I would know about it,” Patty snapped.
“I know that and you know that but they don’t.”
“Who is ‘they’?” Patty inquired.
“HR, the company, Mr. Kimbrough…you name it they all think I’m guilty.” I leaned against the counter my arms crossed, and my head down.
“Who is accusing you?” Patty asked.
“No one, it’s apparently what the auditors found when they were closing the books. Pat, they have this evidence…”
“What evidence?” Patty interrupted. I could tell by her stance she was getting angrier.
“Hell Patty, I don’t know. They have some emails, some time sheet authorizations…hell I don’t know.” I was shaking my head.
“When were these ‘emails’ dated? And these time sheets, where are the hard copies? What are the names of these techs that you supposedly fabricated out of thin air?” Patty asked.
I know she just wanted to help, but right now it felt like another interrogation and I just wasn’t up for it. I snapped my head up and glared at her with tears running down my face. “I can’t remember any details. All I know is one was sent to Jamie in payroll, another was sent to Dennis from Jamestown, and the guys names were……..” It took a few seconds to recall, “One was Steve something and the other was Edward Underwood.”
“So have they suspended you?” Patty asked her voice more tender than before.
“Yeah they were going to, but I beat them to the punch. I quit.”
“YOU WHAT?! Have you completely lost your mind? You have to fight this. You're being wrongly accused. Quitting is like admitting you're guilty.”
“Patty, all the evidence is on their side. There’s no way I can prove I didn’t send those emails or take those checks and kickbacks. Like Jason said, ‘computers don’t lie'.” Patty was going to protest some more, but I barreled through her defenses. “Look, it was fun while it lasted, but it’s over now. I’m going home. Do me a favor and gather up all my personal shit and bring it by the house tomorrow.”
“But nothing. Just do what I ask. Please,” I pleaded while handing her my badge and cell phone. I was so tired. Emotionally spent to the point of exhaustion. I wanted nothing more to do with this place, NOTHING. All I wanted to do was go home and just stop thinking about any of this mess. I wanted to go to my room and shut the door on reality.
“Ok,” Patty said reluctantly receiving my belongings.
I turned to look in the mirror. I was pale and gaunt and my eyes were red from crying. I ran my fingers through my hair, readjusted my jacket, stood straight with my chin up, and exited the bathroom praying that I wouldn’t see anyone I knew before I had left the building.
I did manage to get out of the building without incident. Once situated behind the wheel of my car I felt safe. I started the engine and drove slowly from the parking lot. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone about anything right now, but to insure my solitude I had to make a few calls. I reached into my jacket pocket and retrieved my personal cell phone. I called Marilyn and asked if Ashley could spend the night with her little Kathy. Marilyn was a southern belle and as sweet a woman as they come.
“Why that would be just fine Kara.” Marilyn’s thick southern accent came clearly through my earpiece. “My lord you work too hard, don’t let them keep you to long this time y’hea?”
“I won't. Thanks.”
“Any time suga’, any time.” Click.
Next I called Renee to see if she could pick up the two boys and take them for the night on the same pretext I gave to Marilyn. And like Marilyn Renee was glad to help.
That was easy. Now let me just get home. There is a bottle of Crown Royal waiting for me.
I drove the rest of the way in blessed silence trying desperately to adopt the Scarlet O'Hara method of dealing with extreme circumstances and catastrophes.
”I’ll think about it tomorrow.”
MEANWHILE BACK AT THE RANCH
Now you know as well as I do that there is no way on god's green earth that Patty was going to take any of this lying down even if I had. No sirree Bob, that is just not who Patty is. She was not gong to give up without a fight. So while I was home getting plowed, Mrs. Patricia Ambrose was very busy trying to clear my newly sullied name.
To the best of my understanding this is what transpired once ‘Kara Marlow’ had left the building:
Patty stood in the middle of the ladies' room fingering the items that Kara had laid in her hand. All that Kara had told her just left her with more questions.
“Well, the best way to get answers to your questions is to go to the source.” With a nod of her blond head she left the ladies' room and made her way to Jason Kimbrough’s office. In the reception area Janice sat.
“Is Kara ok? She was awful upset when she left here,” Janice asked concern evident in her voice.
“Yes, as ok as she can be. Do you know what’s going on?”
Janice looked one way and then the other before motioning Patty to come closer. Patty leaned over her desk Janice’s desk. “All I know is something big is going on. Mr. Kimbrough is all upset.”
“He’s upset? What about Kara? He called her down here to fire her.” Patty knew what she was saying was untrue, but she wanted to goad Janice into telling her everything she knew.
“That’s not true. HR wanted to suspend her and then fire her or force her to resign. Mr. Kimbrough was fighting to keep her. He doesn’t believe the accusations for a moment, but the evidence is pretty damaging. Computers don’t lie,” Janice almost snarled. Yes, we admins are pretty protective of our bosses.
“Well they are lying now. Something's up, and I'm going to get to the bottom of it. Can you give me copies of all this quote end quote evidence and all the players that are involved?” Please please please don’t let me down, I need your help.
Once again she looked to the left and right to be sure no one was listening before leaning in again. “I could get fired for this you know it.”
“So could I, but we're talking about an innocent woman giving up her career for a pack of lies.”
Janice sat silent for a moment. “Look Mr. Kimbrough will be leaving for a meeting in a few minutes…”
“A meeting with who? Is it about this? Will Ms. Drakkon be there?” Patty pummeled the unsuspecting Janice with questions.
Stunned by the barrage Janice paused before answering. “No, it’s not about this. It’s his weekly execs meeting so I don’t think Ms. Drakkon will be there.”
“Phew, good. Sorry to interrupt, go on.”
“What I was going to say is once he’s gone I'll copy the files and hand deliver them to you. Fair enough?”
“You're a doll, I could just kiss you,” Patty gushed.
“Hey, let’s not start another scandal? You better leave before he sees you.”
Patty reached down, squeezed her hand, and mouthed thanks. She turned to leave before she was detected.
‘Computers don’t make mistakes’ that’s the second time I’ve heard that phrase in the last fifteen minutes. Well if this issue has anything to do with ‘computers’ I better get Tim involved. He had something he wanted to tell me anyway.
She entered the quiet office and closed the door. She was startled by sounds emanating from Kara’s office.
Excellent, Kara’s back.
“Kara!” she called while prancing through the adjoining door.
BANG!! A young man stood rubbing the back of his head with his hand. “Don’t do that, you scared the crap out of me,” said the young man still gingerly touching his bruised head.
Patty recognized him as Dean, a young tech from the IS department. “Sorry Dean. What are you doing under Ms. Marlow’s desk anyway?”
“I’m reconnecting Ms. Marlow’s computer. It’s all fixed and ready to go.” He grinned at Patty.
“Oh, ok, thanks. I’ll let her know she’s good to go. By the way is Tim in?” she asked.
“Yeah.” Was the monosyllabic answer.
“Are you heading straight back to the IS offices?”
“Can you tell him I need to see him right away?” Patty asked exasperated by his sluggish replies.
“Yes, Ma’am.” And he was gone, cart, tool belt and all.
Ma’am, geeze. What could I expect? Hell I have sweaters that are older than he is.
Patty crossed around the desk and sat in Kara’s chair. She pressed the ‘on’ button and she was delighted to see it spring to life so quickly.
Excellent. Now the password…
Confidently she typed in the password. A chime sounded and a dialog box came up saying that the password was incorrect. Blonde eyebrows knitted together. Slower now she typed in the password and hit enter. Again the machine chimed denying her access to Kara’s computer.
“What the hell?” Patty stood and walked back to her desk. She leaned over the desk, and pulled out the center drawer. Fishing for a few moments she finally pulled out a torn piece of paper. “Yeah that’s the password. I knew I didn’t have it wrong,” she growled. She needed to get into that computer, so she could get into Kara’s emails.
Well I guess I have to wait for Tim. I have to get a hold of Ms. Drakkon anyway. Patty thought as she sat behind her desk and looked through her Rolodex. Damn it, I never got her number but…looking down at her hand. She held Kara’s badge and phone.
“Excellent,” The blond growled. She flipped the phone open and went straight for the phone book. When she found Ms. Drakkon’s private cell number she pushed the call button, and prayed that the stunning woman had her phone with her.
“Answer. Please answer.”
<<<ri…..”Hey there sexy…”
Patty interrupted the woman before she could go on. Stuttering she spoke into the phone. “Ummm…Ms. Drakkon, this is Patty Ambrose, Ms. Marlow’s AA.”
Pause. “Yes, Patty what can I do for you? Where's Kara?”
“Ms. Marlow’s not here, Ms. Drakkon.”
“Where is she? We have meetings scheduled all afternoon?” came the terse answer.
With that tone it was no wonder that this woman struck fear into the hearts of so many. “Ummm…Ma’am,….there’s been some trouble this morning and …ummm Ms. Marlow quit.”
“She WHAT? Why??” Ms. Drakkon cried out. Patty moved the phone farther from her ear to avoid hearing damage. It was obvious to her that Ms. Drakkon had no idea of what had transpired just a few minutes ago. She heard Ms Drakkon quietly curse before continuing. “Do you know what is going on, Patty?”
“Right now all I know is that the company is accusing her of embezzlement.”
“That’s preposterous. Kara…uh, I mean Ms. Marlow is one of the most honest people I know. Who is making this kind of allegation?” Ms. Drakkon asked.
“I don’t know, but I have information coming to me so I can try to piece this whole mess together.” As Patty uttered these words Janice poked her head in. She motioned for the timid woman to step in. Janice handed her a manila envelope and was gone. “As a matter of fact the information I was looking for has just been handed to me.”
“Are you in your office?”
“I'll be right there.”
Patty opened the envelope, turned it over, and spilled it's contense all over her desk.
It's time to piece the puzzle together. Now where are the corners?
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