Ready or Not!
Ready or Not
Sam called his supervisor and told him he was taking some of that accrued vacation time he was always yelling at him to take. Just a day or two to clean up a problem in New York he told him. Sam was all about cleaning up problems. He was sorry to hear Myka sound upset, but maybe this little taste of New York was just what she needed to realize it would suit her better to be with him. After all, he thought, they made such a great couple. 'You're one lucky sonovabitch,' his friends said after meeting Myka. Sam was sure Myka heard the equivalent from her friends – except when he thought about it – he never really met any of her friends. He met her family, but she didn't really seem to have many friends. She'd make friends in Washington, where Sam was certain she would return after her stint in New York.
As he made his way to the airport, what was going on didn't make sense to him though. Myka's boss seemed to like him even if she was a tad rough around the edges. And Myka was such a nice person, how could she not like Myka. It must be her, he thought. Well, no matter what happened, the federal agent was certain he was the cure for whatever was ailing Myka.
Myka wasn't quite sure what was ailing her. In less than twenty-four hours, she had been threatened to be fired, given unusual assignments and then summarily dismissed when she presented the results, she had been conned and used, she had been seduced and hit on by a woman ….and if Myka cared to admit it, she almost let it happen. That detail bothered her the most. As Myka lay in her bed trying to sleep, all she could think about was how easily she fell under Helena's spell. She expected to admire her boss – her business savvy was well known. She thought she might even feel jealous – the woman was beautiful after all. Myka - never in a million years expected that her boss would make a move on her. And more surprisingly, Myka knew in her heart she had come that close to letting her.
Sixty minutes after falling asleep, Myka woke up startled; certain someone had whispered her name in her ear – someone with an accent.
Helena never felt so alone in her own home and it started to get to her. She rushed upstairs, threw her clothes off, and changed into something more appropriate for her workout. She went into her basement which was part laboratory, part gym and proceeded to warm up for her routine. Then she donned her hands in thick tape and proceeded to pummel the boxing bag. Pete had made a suggestion to her that kickboxing might just be the release she needed and taught her a few things. She was a quick study, and soon Pete refused to spar with her out of fear of damaging himself.
When Mrs. Frederic ordained him Helena's date du jour, it was an attempt to keep Helena's affairs out of the daily headlines. Irene thought Pete would be able to go with Helena and keep her out of trouble. In spite of Pete's military training, that was a tall order. Helena was, after all, his boss. A hot boss, but his boss nonetheless.
Eileen sat on the crowded train on her way home to Brooklyn. 'What do you want for dinner?' her mother texted her. 'Chicken parm, mom, please,' she sent back. She knew it was a lot of work, but she needed her favorite mean after the day she had. She looked forward to the meal that her mother would serve, but not the lecture about how she should quit that job working for that nasty woman.
"Bollocks!" Helena yelled when she remembered the other thing Irene had suggested. She interrupted her workout, picked up her phone, and clumsily pressed the buttons.
Claudia Donovan was at the bar with her friends. After the day she had, all she wanted to do was throw back a couple of cold ones and forget what happened.
"Come on, you can talk to me," her best friend in the world, Steve said to her. He was the closest thing to a brother she had since hers was off in Europe working at CERN.
"I don't want to talk about it. I feel so fracking guilty. This new lawyer, she's so nice. Like from Colorado or somewhere. Really sweet, but really smart, you can tell. And my boss who is a freaking genius – gawd, the things she comes up with. A device that looks like a pen that can pull a video off of any device, scramble it and recode it and put it back so that it infects any other copy of that video? I mean, come on she's like Batman and Steve Jobs all in one," Claudia spilled as she sipped.
"So she made you give the lawyer the pen and you feel bad because…," Steve prompted her.
"I helped with the recoding part. I didn't know what it was for at the time, but then she selected me to work on it with her! I mean come on; the CEO says I want you to program my device? But then, the lawyer figured it out. Not that I wouldn't have felt bad anyway, but I saw the look in her eyes like 'damn, I was duped' when she came out of my boss' office. She told me it wasn't my fault, but it kinda is. Still, you do not want to piss my boss off and some days, breathing can do that. Oh it was a long bitch of an afternoon and you know what that means?" Claudia asked as if Steve would have a clue.
"More Bud-Lites?" he asked as he waved the bartender to bring them.
"It means my psycho brainiac boss will try to break through the security system again. I wouldn't be surprised if she as doing it now," Claudia panicked and grabbed her IPad. Steve grabbed it from her.
"So what if she is? What happens? She gets into her own stuff? You gotta calm down, Claud. This job is eating you up. Why does everyone ask 'high how?' when this woman yells 'jump'?" her friend asked.
He had seen the tech whiz give up weekends, miss concerts and outings because of frantic phone call from someone at work that the boss got through the fire wall…..again.
"She's …..," and Claudia had trouble filling in the next word. There was no denying that her boss was a technical genius and Claudia knew she could learn a great deal from her – if only she could teach Claudia instead of barking orders at her.
"She sounds bored to me," Steve said, emptying the bottle of its cold contents. "Drink up, you're losing."
Claudia did drink up, but she gave serous thought to what Steve had just said. When he excused himself to go to the bathroom, she took back her tablet and checked her emails. Whew – no breaches.
Her boss must be busy with something else.
Steve returned and was glad to see his friend start to relax. Then her phone beeped and she shot up like a soldier at attention.
"Yes, Ms. Wells, I can hear you. No, I can talk, I'm not busy," Claudia said and Steve stood next to her and saluted. Claudia pushed him away and went outside.
"Ms. Donovan, it has been brought to my attention that you were perhaps regretting your involvement in acquiring the video from Mr. Sykes," Claudia heard.
"No, not at ..I mean…. It was… you asked….I … a little," Claudia said, grabbing her face at how terrible that sounded.
"Well, I would like to relieve you of that guilt Ms. Donovan. It was upon my instruction that you presented that pen to Ms. Bering and I asked for you to provide a program that would accomplish what I needed it to do. You were complying with my instructions as you should. Had you not complied, I would have fired you, so there is nothing to be upset about. We're all big girls here," Helena said.
"Yes, big girls …yes we are," Claudia said because she was close to driveling.
"Do you feel better?" Helena asked and the impatience was clear in her tone.
"Oh yes … guilt free…just like low-fat Oreos," Claudia blurted out and knew she lost her boss on that.
"Oh, thank God. Very well. I will see you tomorrow then," Helena said and hung up.
Helena hated cleaning up problems. Isn't that what she had a staff for? Did she have to do everything herself?
Helena pushed against the large punching bag just enough for it to come back at her. The animate object suddenly reminded her of everything and everyone who was coming back at her today.
That started the self-talk – along with her physical workout ….
Really, Helena, next you'll be visiting the sick and poor if it's up to Irene - (DOUBLE KICK). You're not a social worker for God's sake; you're the bloody - (WHAM) CEO -(KICK) of the whole -(WHAM) bloody -(KICK) company -(DOUBLE KICK). Play nice or fight fair my arse -(WHAM). You didn't get to where you are by playing nice -(KICK). Playing nice got Charles famous -(WHAM). Fighting fair got you bloody bronzed for a century (KICK) only to be released when they needed YOUR bloody time machine - (DOUBLE KICK). You did not get Wells Corp in the Fortune 500 - (WHAM) by playing nice dammit! Now all of a sudden everyone's feelings are hurt - (WHAM). Well damn their feelings (KICK) and damn their guilty consciences (WHAM)…..) and DAMN YOU MYKA BERING!
Helena pushed so hard against the heavy bag that it swung back with force and knocked her over. Anger spewed as she glared at the object as if to say 'how dare you!' She pushed the bag with both feet from the floor and turned over to get up ….forgetting Newton's laws of motion ….
The bag ….swung back and knocked her down ….again.
The neighbors on the 12th floor in the apartment building next to Helena's Townhouse dialed 911 – certain that a murder was being committed next door to them when they heard the screams. When the cops arrived ten minutes later, they were assured by the owner of the townhouse that everything was just fine. They were easily convinced when they saw the tall dark haired beauty in shorts and sports bra, covered in sweat. Had they inspected the premises, they would have in fact seen that the punching bag had met its demise.
Pellets poured out on the floor from the wound Helena had inflicted upon it with the knife from her laboratory. She went up and took a cold shower.
Myka woke up from her restless nap. The day seemed surreal to her now. She decided a hot shower would help. Then she pulled something out of her closet to wear to dinner with very little thought. As much as she wanted to see Sam, she wanted to just stay home and curl up in a ball.
Then Myka's self-talk started –
Oh that is just what Sam would like to see, isn't it? You curled up hiding from the world because you got knocked down once! So what? Lots of people get knocked down and get back up to fight another day. Get up Myka and show them what you're made of. Don't be the wuss who can't take a little confrontation. Push back Myka. Don't let Sam think he can rush to your rescue. You do not need to be rescued, Myka! You need to fight back and stand up even if it is to that crazy bitch of a boss of yours. DAMN YOU HELENA WELLS!
Myka brushed her hair so hard while having this conversation with herself that her hair was completely straight – the way Sam hated it. She got ready and read the text from Sam that said he landed and would meet her at the restaurant. His second text said to pack an overnight bag.
"Overnight bag? For what?" Myka thought. Then Myka reflected back to the romantic evening Sam wanted last night. She was torn … did she want a romantic night with Sam? Maybe that's what she needed to forget about today…and this morning ….and last night …and yesterday afternoon. While Myka was busy trying to decide, she found she had thrown a few things in a bag. Myka didn't know what she wanted.
Sam got into a taxi and settled in for the forty-five minute ride. Feeling a bit like a knight in shining armor, he smiled to think how he was coming to Myka's aid.
Sam was ready for tonight - of that he was certain.
Myka knew she felt mixed up and was angry now at Sam and the world. No wait. It wasn't Sam – he was trying to be nice. And it wasn't the world. It was Helena! If she got the chance to tell Helena what she really thought of her, she would. Maybe even tomorrow! She was in the cab on the way to the restaurant – still rehearsing what she would say to her boss. 'Are you insane? You can't treat people like that. I won't stand for it,' Myka said in the tiniest whisper, but loud enough for the cabby to glance back in the rear view mirror. He had seen worse. Myka got out of the cab with renewed vigor.
She was ready for tonight whatever it brought – of that she was certain.
Pete picked Helena up at 8 as instructed. "Wow," Pete uttered when he saw her.
She even looked like she was in a good mood. Amazing what a Donna Karen dress and Jimmy Choo shoes can do to lift your spirits.
That and the self-talk that convinced Helena she was done playing nice …. And fighting fair. Helena G. Wells got to where she was by going after what she wanted ….and getting it.
"All ready for the mayor, boss?" Pete asked.
Helena's eyes gleamed at him from the back seat.
"Mr. Lattimer, I am ready for anything tonight, of that you can be certain."