Ciara pulled into the parking lot of her previous boss and friend's brand new building. Her advanced braking system getting a damn good testing as usual. And as usual she managed to land her car perfectly in her chosen parking spot, with some added tyre smoke and Stevie Nicks blasting from her sound system.
She remembered the day, 3 years ago, when she walked out of her boss's office having accepted an amazing offer from another law firm and telling him "I'll be back, honey, I promise". She remembered the look on his face as she hugged him and said goodbye, he had hugged her so tight, like though he couldn't let her go. She blew him a kiss on her way out the door and she was gone. The memory of the look on his face still twisted her heart, ever fibre of her very being had wanted so badly to run back into that office and tell him she'd stay and give up the offer and she would never leave him. But she knew he wouldn't let her and her responsibilities didn't allow that luxury.
She had always told him a building like this would be his someday. He would become one of the biggest law firms in the city, he had worked hard, he had earned it and he deserved nothing less.
She had gotten a text from a mutual friend yesterday with just an address and a "go see for yourself" she had been a little confused by what that meant so curiosity had made her take the day off work to check it out. And here it was, the building she had built into his psyche and his dreams, right in front of her.
Her design of the law practice name laser cut into steel, just the way she had always seen it in her imagination. They had done a beautiful job with her work.
She had always told him "you call, I'm back the next day. They're just money to me, I have no loyalty to them".
"Hahaha" She laughed to herself "and here I am".
She scanned the parking lot, he was always in the office early unless he was in Court then he was at Court early. And if he was here he likely might have heard her, he always said he knew when she had arrived at the office he could hear her music coming from the front gate!
Ha! there it was, gleaming in the sun, the black s600 mercedes.
She called the office reception number "I'd like to find out if Mr Taylor is in?", Yes ma'am he is, but unfortunately he's on his way out to a meeting. Can I take a message for him, or you could try later?" the receptionist told her. "Nah, that's ok, I'll try later" Ciara said and hung up, she had other plans.
She got out of her car and quickly made her way to Steven's mercedes hopping up on the bonnet she stretched herself out on her side facing the front door of the building and rested her head on her hand. Deciding she was comfortable, she waited. He'd forgive her for draping herself across his car.
The wait wasn't long when she saw Steven exit the building, briefcase in one hand, cellphone in the other texting away. He'd have to look up eventually. She watched him walk like that, completely focused on his cellphone all the way to his car.
When he finally looked up to unlock his car, a look of surprise passed over his face for a split second and then he cracked that smile she always loved. "Howdy stranger" she said with a grin. Steven burst into laughter "of all the asses that could drape itself across my car...." "well I had to make an impression" she said "you don't call, you don't write, my broken heart convinced me it was time to stalk you".
"Get your ass off my car Ciara" Steven said swatting her thigh and laughing. "what are you doing here?" he asked putting his briefcase and cellphone inside the car.
"Well" Ciara started "I heard you hit the big time, had to come check it out for myself" and I also remember knowing this amazing litigation secretary that once promised her boss she'd come back....". Steven gave her a silent smile "she's aged slightly but 3 years ain't much, she's relatively young, she's beautiful, her talents have increased, she has more experience, she works damn hard and if I recall, she misses her boss. See you gotta catch me on my way up....". "Yeah, yeah" Steven said shaking his head and walking around the car to give her a hug "I've missed you" he said half lifting her off her feet.
Steven wasn't just Ciara's ex-boss, he was also her best friend and as gay they could come.
Ciara's husband had past away during the year after she left and Steven and his husband had insisted that she and her little boy stay with them for a while, it wasn't that she didn't have anywhere to go they just didn't want her to be alone.
Which was just as well because she was having trouble functioning at all, Steven and his husband had pitched in and arranged the funeral. Steven had handled the Estate.
She remembered letting little Michael sleep with her at night, she had cried herself to sleep most nights clinging to the little guy like he was an anchor. All kinds of thoughts running through her head, how did she explain to him that his daddy was not coming back? thank goodness he was too little at the time to understand but the day was coming.
She had eventually left and moved back to her own place and gotten on with picking up the pieces and moving on. Just her and little Michael.
Life had happened and it wasn't that she and Steven had drifted apart, they just didn't speak every day like they used to or as often and the busier each had gotten the time spans between talking got longer.
Kissing her on her forehead Steven said "I gotta go honey, before I'm late. I'll call you later, go inside, see the building". She watched him get into his car and back out of the parking "I want my job back!" she shouted to him as he began to drive past her, winking at her before he disappeared.
"Really" she thought "typical Steven, never a straight answer".
She made her way up the front stone steps and into the building.
She stood in the entry way marveling at what looked like a cathedral. Floor to wall to ceiling dark marble, edged with solid gold trim, not too much to be over done just enough to make it beautiful.
Columns of marble strategically placed just so as if they were holding up the roof, also edged with just enough gold outline.
The staircase was done in dark solid oak and finished with just enough gold trim and seemed to spiral up into eternity. This was every dream she had had for Liberty Alliance Attorneys, elegance, class, professionalism and power. Thank goodness there was an elevator, her tendency for exercising at every opportunity had limits.
She noticed the receptionist staring at her with a sarcastic glare, Ciara walked over to her with a smile, and was greeted with a very snappish "may I help you?" as the receptionist deliberately stared over her glasses examining her up and down. Ciara decided she was going to have to fix this woman's attitude.
"Yes" Ciara started slowly keeping her smile in place and her annoyance under control, she assumed the woman's attitude was due to the way Ciara was dressed, skinny jeans, knee length boots and a tank top were not exactly the way one dressed in a law firm, but that would change when she actually started work, for now "you can start by telling me your name, then move onto addressing your boss with a little more respect, and then tell me, where has Steven made his office? I expect mine will be the one next to his" which she ended with the bitchiest smile she could possibly muster.
The woman began to speak, but her voice came out in a muffled whisper, she cleared her voice and began again "excuse me, my name is Kara, I apologise if I seemed to snap at you its been a busy morning and I'm a little run off my feet...." "answering phones too much for you to handle?" Ciara asked raising an eyebrow "oh no! ma'am not at all" Kara stuttered "it's just uhm" she had talked herself into a corner she couldn't get herself out of, the ability to do this to people was an art Steven had taught Ciara very well.
Steven had taught her everything she knew about the legal field and had trained her into an over qualified litigation secretary. She had become his right hand, if it wasn't for him, and what he had done for her she would never had been able to land the job she did when she had no choice and left him.
Ciara had always told him he'd get here, she had always believed in him even when he didn't and in those times she would never let him doubt himself. Even after she left she never stopped driving him.
A good woman behind a man (gay or not) has the same effect regardless of the relationship.
"Top floor last office at the end of the corridor" the receptionist had finally composed herself to say. Ciara didn't miss Kara's look as she headed towards the elevators "but you can't go up there!" Kara's feeble attempt fell on Ciara's deaf ears "you'd be surprised what I can do lady" Ciara thought as the elevator doors closed behind her.
As Ciara walked along the corridor she admired the detail and fine expensive elegance of the decor. She noted that he had had a number of her professional photographs printed and placed as wall art, they really did print beautifully.
Ciara pushed open the door at the end of the corridor "whoa!" Ciara thought as her mouth dropped open "is this mine?!" she thought with a cheecky grin, batting her eyelids "hahaha you wish!" she thought "nope, the mess should tell me its his". This was not an office this was a house! ok seriously, this office was definitely the office of the boss, senior partner, owner, founder, chairman what else does one call him. Steven had bought himself a huge mahogany desk perfectly polished Ciara swore she'd see her face in it like a mirror. Moving people were busy positioning Steven's bookcases while a young girl was sitting on the floor sorting through his books and packing them. First by field then alphabetically, then she'd move onto the Court indexes, Directives etc. Huge job for her.
On the other side of the room other movers were busy position his brand new leather lounge suite, coffee table, wall unit setting up an entire living room in his office. "Consultation area, have your clients talk to you in comfort...nice" Ciara thought "boardroom tables are so cold and impersonal".
She spotted a door a few metres away from his aftrr door few metres from his office door and swung it open "ta da! this is mine" she thought with a smile" and this door is my private entrance to Steven's office.
Ciara nodded her head and walked into her office, damn! she never expected it to be like this. Not as big as Steven's but definitely nothing to sniff at.
All black and chrome office furniture, Steven knew her so well. Black leather L-shaped couch in the corner with excess space to spare. She noticed the brand new laptop on her desk and the flatscreen tv on the far wall. She smiled remembering how she had joked with him a few years before about another company that put tv's in for their staff....he remembered.
And as she turned to her left the view! The back wall of the office was floor to ceiling windows and a complete 180 degree view of the city. It was breathtaking! Oh man! getting here had always been a dream and stuff they would imagine and only talk about and now it was here, the dream was reality and she half thought any second now her alarm would go off and it would be morning and she'd have to get up and go to work.
"Is this really real? tell me I'm not dreaming!" She whispered to herself.
"And I'm back" she said with a smile "I home".
As she stepped off the last step into the reception she saw Kara staring her over her computer screen. Ciara walked out the door with a smirk, "you'll be my breakfast tomorrow morning Missy."