Her Toy

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'Tis the Season to be Merry

“Okay, tell me again why Jason is involved?” Jade asked for the third time in between bites of her burger. The heat finally kicked on and started to warm up Jason’s workroom.

I sighed, “We need his signature.”

She looked between me and Kitty, “We can’t just forge it?”

“That’s illegal,” Sarah chimed in from across the room.

Jade rolled her eyes, “Only if we get busted and I don’t see Jason checking forms around here.”

“It’s not that easy,” I took a handful of fries and stuffed them into my mouth.

Kitty laughed at my eating habits, “That’s so classy.”

“I know,” I mumbled through the fries. I couldn’t help that I wasn’t fed all day. After dreaming about Jason I lost my appetite but it came back suddenly with a vengeance.

“A full mouth is such a turn on,”

Jade took a sip of her soda, “Your brother certainly thought so.”

Sarah choked on her milkshake and nearly coughed up a lung.

“Ew.” Kitty scrunched her nose at the image.

I wanted to be upset for being the punchline but I couldn’t keep myself from chuckling.

Kitty shook her head, “I’ll make him sign at Christmas. I’ll put a bow on it and everything.”

“You sure he’ll do it?” Sarah asked, “You know how weird he gets about this stuff.”

Jade scoffed, “He left. That means he forfeited his right to say no to this.”

“Regardless,” I said as I kicked my shoes off and tucked my feet onto the bed, “He owns the place and by law my company needs his signature.”

“And we’ll get it,” Kitty added.

“We better. I’m not working my fingers to the bone for nothing.”

Sarah nodded, “Yeah, you’re totally gonna tap out my wedding tailor.”

“Is that all I am to you people?” Jade waved her burger around as she talked.

I couldn’t help but smile, “We appreciate all the sewing you do. It’s going to save us a fortune.”

“Does Ethan know what he is signing himself on for?” Everyone seemed to get quiet at the mention of his name but Sarah continued, “I mean this is pretty big. The elves, the santa, not to mention the toys.”

“Define know about.” I looked anywhere but her eyes.

Jade groaned, “Oh Shit, you haven’t told him yet.”

“I haven’t yet, but I will.”

“When?”

I hoped they wouldn’t ask, “Next time I speak to him.” I knew it might be a while before that happened.

Jade narrowed her eyes, “How long has it been since you last talked to him?” Fuck, she was onto me.

I swallowed and glanced at Sarah and Kitty who were also waiting for my response when the phone rang.

I gave them an apologetic smile and pulled my salvation from my pocket. Speak of the devil, “Hey Ethan,”

The girls sat back in their chairs as I shot them a thumbs up and slipped into the hallway.

“Are you with the new client?” Thankfully, he received my email.

“I sure am,”

“Wow,” I could hear the surprise in his voice, “That’s three days in a row.”

“Yeah,” I cleared my throat, “Listen, there’s something I need to tell you.”

“Before you do I need to apologize for what I said in the elevator the other day,” My heart warmed and suddenly I felt guilty for standing under Jason’s roof. “Even though I don’t believe I was entirely wrong, the office was no place to discuss it. It was unprofessional.”

I struggled to find a answer other than “Okay”.

Satisfied with my response he urged me to go on, “So what is it that you need to tell me?”

I ran my finger tip against the chipped paint on the wall. The same wall that Jason pushed me up against with my shirt pulled up around my waist. “The new client is Pink Cherry. They’ve run into some financial trouble recently and I’ve offered to help out.”

“Wait, that’s where you are right now?”

“Yes,” I rested my head against the wall, “Don’t worry, Jason isn’t here.”

I heard him shuffle over the receiver before responding gruffly, “I wasn’t.”

“Good,” I nodded even though he wasn’t able to see me.

“The numbers predict a large scale budgetary renovation. How long do you think this will last?”

“Mid-February at the latest,”

He sighed, “Fine, I’ll stall the board until after the holidays.”

The sound of footsteps set me on edge. Pink Cherry was already closed and the only people who would have a key were in the room behind me.

“Hey, I gotta go,”

I backed into the door, “Alright but keep in touch on the progress,”

“Will do,”

“Because the numbers don’t look good,”

“Got it.” I ended the call and ducked back in the room with the girls. They all peered up at me. “I don’t mean to alarm you but there’s someone outside.”

Jade munched on her fries, “It is a public street. That tends to happen.”

“No, like, inside the building.”

“That’s impossible,” Kitty said, “We’re the only ones with a key to get in.” I knew from personal experience that it wasn’t too hard to squeeze in through a window.

I glanced up at the one above the desk and noticed that it was unlocked.

Sarah pushed herself into the circle, “About that....I gave a key to Adam.”

Kitty turned to face her, “What, why didn’t you tell me?”

“He needed it to work on the stage and since we’re all on a time crunch I said he could work on it after hours.” She shrugged.

Jade shook her head, “This is why pretty girls get murdered.”

I stood there waiting for someone to explain what was happening. Instead they just bickered amongst themselves.

I coughed to get their attention, “Can someone please tell me who Adam is?”

Kitty opened her mouth to answer but a knock at the door cut her off.

I stared at them, “Well I’m not answering it.”

Sarah removed the food from her lap and brushed past me. She pulled open the door and went back to her seat while I watched a guy walk into the room.

“I thought I heard noise back here,” He said as he looked around, “So this is what this room looks like.” I glanced at Kitty but she was too busy staring at Adam.

Jade noticed and decided to cover for her, “Yeah, we were just discussing the plans for the Christmas party.”

“Oh that’s right,” He said while pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket. “You must be Tara.” He motioned towards me and I nodded.

I gave him my best smile, “What can I do you for?”

“One-fifty.”

Jade scoffed, “Don’t mind him, he’s little cheeky every now and then.”

Adam grinned, “Only on the weekends.” His response caused Jade to nearly roll her eyes into the back of her head. He turned his attention back to me, “These are the measurements I came up with for the stage,”

I leaned forward to see the sketches on the paper, “Do you think you can get this done in time?”

“It’s just a simple expansion,” He raked his fingers through his chocolate brown hair. “I might need some help with the props though.”

“That’s not a problem,” Kitty interjected. “Just let us know when you need help and we’ll work it out.”

“Cool.” Adam tucked the plans back into his pocket and nodded at the girls. “I better get to work.”

No one spoke for the next minute after he left us. Of course the first one to break the silence was Jade, “Just let us know when you need help and we’ll work it out.” She mimicked Kitty in a teasing voice.

“Shut up,” Kitty threw her bunched up wrapper at her.

I felt like I was missing something, “Who is he?”

Sarah grinned, “He’s our Merry.” I looked at all three of them.

“What?”

“A male cherry. The very first.” She added when she saw the confused look on my face.

My mouth nearly dropped open, “Why wasn’t that the first thing you guys told me?”

Jade shrugged, “We didn’t think it was that big of a deal.”

“Does he-”

“Not yet,” Kitty must have read my mind, “but he will.” What a wonderful world.

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