“Johnnie Walker Black neat.” It’s only 4:30 p.m. and the office is the last thing on his mind. He steadies the phone. Does it ever stop? A message from his mom of all people. Must be something wrong. She never calls. He hits the green button. “Yes, hello yes mom? Mom it’s me you called?”
” Yes , it’s me I didn’t think you would call so soon. Did you listen to my message?”
” No mom I just hit redial. Is there something wrong?” The bartender looks his way and he nods his head for another.
” Well not really but I had a doctor’s appointment and they want me back in for more tests”
” Tests? What kind of tests? ”
” I don’t know they just said tests.”
” Did they say anything specific?”
” No, they just said tests”
She must know something and she’s not saying. She never would. He would have to have his wife call and try to find out. Maybe she just wanted him to know that something may be coming. They had barely communicated at all the last few years. He had bought the expensive as hell condo she was living in as a “gift” and she seemed happy enough. There was more than just the distance of miles between them. It was probably his fault. He didn’t really try that hard. She didn’t either.
” Is there something I need to do?
” No, I just thought you might like to know I had been to the doctor.” This was her third time back. Why tell him. He was busy. He was always busy. Just like his father. Tall built beautiful head of hair and those eyes. Just like his father. Gorgeous. His father long since gone. His father distant and ambitious. His father gone too soon.
” Ok, well thanks. Again is there anything I need to do?”
” I said no.” She was silent and then a breath. ” Say hello to the kids for me .”
” Yea, mom ok I will.” More silence.
” Ok, bye.”
” Yea, ok bye.” He lays the phone on the bar and nods at the bartender again. He looks up and sees her pulling off her scarf showing that dark blue dress. She does not smile when they acknowledge each other. He has seen this all before. It’s almost five and the bar is starting to get busy. The bartender slides another one in front of him and glances her way.
” No thanks, I will maybe just take water with lemon no ice. She hangs her coat and pulls up a stool.
” So it’s not a drink night?”
” I have some other things I need to take care of later.”
” So what the hell was that this morning?”
” That was me telling you that you are fucking up. That’s what that was.”
He is still not use to the language. ” Fucking up. That’s not something I want to need to or usually ever hear.”
” Well may be you need to hear it more often.”
” No, wait I will not hear it from you or anyone else. That’s not how it works. I make the deals I create the deals I put the deals together and I make us millions. Millions and have been for years. Our firm if you want to call it that was built on me making deals.
” You are not the only one making deals.”
” Really, that’s it. I’m not the only one. Go look at your little charts and data sheets and see where those numbers really come from. They come from me.”
” I realise that you do a lot of deals but you are not going to get this deal done. I was asked to sit in on this deal for a reason.”
” You were asked? Asked by who?”
” You know who.”
” Fuck him. He’s only in a management position because I put him there. I asked him to take that position years ago and I pushed it thru the board. One thing he is not is a deal maker and he sure as hell is no threat to me.”
” I’m not suggesting there is a threat but I am in on this deal to help make sure it happens and I will make it happen.”
” So, you think I am the reason that this deal will die?” He slides his glass forward and gets the bartenders attention.
” Right now you are the only reason.”
Holy shit. Maybe he was off his game a little bit. He sure as hell did not see this coming from her. What was her angle? She was in a senior position. It was only a couple of more steps to the top but hell women never made it to the top in this business. She knew that. So why come after him? She wasn’t the first one to take a shot at him. He could handle her just like all the rest.
” Let me make this clear. I can and will make the deals that matter at our firm. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”
She looked at his half-empty glass and tried to remember the last time they were out of the office and she didn’t see him with a glass of something. It was expected she thought at the time. It’s business. It’s networking. It’s how it’s done. She had heard of him long before she joined the firm. Everyone has a reputation but his was legendary. The biggest deals in the city. The biggest deals in the firm. That’s why she had been attracted to the business in the first place. He had told her he would show her how the deals got done and he had. She had also seen how some of them did not get done. She busted her ass and had earned every position she got. She had done some major deals on her own but she had also seen the changing business climate and the changing office culture.
” The firm can and will make deals without you. Start to come to grips with that. We are a strong independent firm with many talented and brilliant people not just you.”
Holy shit. She is making a play. She’s going to try to bury my ass and move up in the firm. So how much time did he spend looking at her legs and spectacular ass? She was using it and using it all but so what that’s all she had and that wasn’t going to be enough. There were a thousand sets of tits out there trying to climb up and he had handled them all. Easily.
” I do know a little bit about the firm. I helped build it. I help pick the people to run it. I helped pick the people who own it. I even picked you did I not?
“Yes, you did and I think I more than held up my end.” She thought back to their first meeting and she remembers being nervous and almost speechless. He was intimidating funny friendly attentive honest professional and gorgeous. It was those eyes.
He looked straight at her. “You think what you are doing is for the best interest of the firm. I know what you are doing is wrong and it’s going to end your career. I may be the one who makes sure that will happen.”
She starts to stand up and look for her coat. ” I did not want this to be a personal attack and make it difficult.”
Still staring. “That’s exactly what you have made it.”
She wraps her scarf and lifts her purse.” I want us to do the right things and get this deal done.”
” Well, if you wanted to get my attention it worked. If you wanted me to apologise and say you were right and I blew it yesterday. That’s not going to happen. What you have done is make sure you pissed me off.”
She looks directly into his now blurry eyes. “We’ll see.”
He watches her work thru the crowd and disappear. He motions to the bartender. ” One more and then the tab.”
As she gets to the street and waits for the car she digs and looks for her phone to check the time and thinks ” God what a prick. What a gorgeous prick.”
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinopinto/4374025690/