Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands
"Are you insane?" Pete asked his HR Director when she told him Eileen had just walked into Helena's office.
"Mr. Lattimer, have faith in the girl," Irene said.
"Who's her next of kin?" Claudia asked in her droll voice.
"Mrs. F – have your seen Jurassic Park – the scene where they are lowering the goat into the pen with the T Rex? Does that image not come to mind here?" Pete asked amazed at Mrs. Frederic's lack of concern.
"Pete, you gave her advice and it didn't work. Ms. Donovan hacked, reprogrammed and invaded firewalls and it didn't help," Irene said.
"Hey, the book helped. Well, I mean, we found the book," Claudia said.
"And even I told her to be humble and none of it worked, so what do we have to lose?" the older woman asked.
"A really good executive assistant?" Pete replied.
"Where is the first aid kit?" Claudia asked.
"Can you get in there?" Pete asked waving his finger at Claudia's phone.
"Oh, so now you want me to invade someone's privacy," the Techie said smartly.
"No one is going to hack or invade anywhere. We will sit here and wait," Irene said, as Pete paced the waiting room like an expectant father.
Fortunately for Eileen, Helena wasn't paying the rest of humanity any attention today and so she didn't comment on Eileen's directive.
Eileen took that action on impulse and now that she was facing the tall dark-haired woman, dressed in the colors that portrayed her gloomy mood, she started to second guess herself. No! She had to help the woman she greatly admired ….and greatly feared.
"I have your tea," Eileen said to Helena who didn't turn around when she thanked her and told her to put it on the desk.
Suddenly the walk from the door to Helena's desk seemed like a city block in length. At one point the only sound Eileen heard was the rattling of the tea cup on the tray from her hands shaking.
Helena ran her hand through her hair and it cascaded down her shoulders. She stood there with one hand on her hip, leaning against the window. Even depressed, her boss was stunning. Eileen set the tray down and now there was no noise at all. Then the brave intruder remembered she didn't really have a speech prepared.
"Ah…..," Eileen started and suddenly felt like the air was being sucked out of the room. Helena didn't move.
What would help? What would help? The question kept being repeated in her head. She took a deep breath.
"When I was in junior high school, I loved Tommy Boy Lopez. His mother was Irish and his father was Puerto Rican," Eileen said as if Helena questioned his name. "He had the most beautiful blue eyes. And he was a nice boy. Not great in grades, you know? But a nice kid. I drew hearts with our names in my notebook about a billion times, " Eileen smiled reminiscing and then caught the steely dark stare from her boss who had turned around.
There wasn't one thing about Helena's expression that said 'please tell me more', but Eileen had a point to make, so she looked down at the desk.
"So, Mary Ellen Flanagan liked him, too and so she and I were in a competition I thought. But I thought he liked me more so while Mary Ellen sent him funny YouTube videos and jokes on Facebook, I coasted," Eileen revealed.
"Is there a point to this story you insist on sharing with me?" Helena asked unable to placate the tale that had no end.
"Yes, there is," Eileen said swallowing hard. "Mary Ellen fought for him and I didn't. Today, she is Mrs. Tommy Boy Lopez and her kids are gorgeous."
"You want me to go get Mr. Tommy Boy Lopez for you?" Helena asked confused by the point.
"No! I want you to fight hard for Ms. Bering," Eileen said emphatically.
Now Helena's expression changed from mild annoyance to anger.
"Darling, I appreciate that you worked up the nerve to come into my office and share that story and make your suggestion. Now that that exchange has concluded, I would appreciate it in the future if you refrained from making comments about my personal life," Helena said sharply.
Why couldn't people just leave her to lick her wounds?
"Do you know what I like most about you?" Eileen said ignoring her boss' last comment. She was so nervous that her hearing was going.
"That I haven't killed an employee….. yet?" Helena said.
"You get what you want. You inspire us to go after the things that seem impossible. People are afraid of you, don't get me wrong," Eileen said, sharing too much, "but we admire you, too. You don't stop until you get something."
"My dear, sometimes no matter how hard you try to get something, you come up empty handed," Helena said and the sadness in her voice was palpable.
Eileen knew failure when she smelled it, and right now the room was rancid with it. She had one shot left.
"Even the great HG Wells understood romance," Eileen shouted and caught Helena's attention. "Sure he wrote about the destruction of the world or civilization, but in between those lines of our annihilation are stories about heroes. About people who rose above the odds and went after what they wanted," Eileen said and lost her breath.
She took one longer gasp.
"Fight harder, damn it! You're Helena G. Wells, for God's sake. If you want her, go after her!" Eileen said pounding her fist on the desk.
Helena sat back in her chair, surprised by the brazen move of the timid woman. She looked at the pleading expression in her eyes as they fixated on her and didn't move.
"Thank you, Miss Sullivan, but unfortunately …that is not what Ms. Bering wants, and I have given my word," Helena said – sharing more than she ever expected to.
Eileen watched as the defeat washed over Helena again and pain etched her face.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Wells. Really I am," Eileen said voicing what she thought was a huge defeat for what was left of romance in the 21st century.
"Thank you," Helena said turning her back on the woman who had never acted braver in her life.
Eileen walked out feeling she had failed in her mission. "I didn't help at all," she said to Mrs. Frederic and dissolved into tears in the older woman's arm.
"There, there, Eileen. I'm sure Helena appreciates knowing how concerned you are for her," Irene assured the youth.
Myka had a quiet dinner with her parents where she patiently explained again that she and Sam had broken up, and that she disagreed with them that he was her one chance at happiness. Her response that in fact, she was her own chance at happiness simply bewildered the couple. Jeanne couldn't seem to let go of it and while doing the dishes she tried one more time.
"Myka, don't you want to be happy?" her mother asked.
"Of course I do," Myka answered.
"Then go with Sam on this vacation, talk things through," Jeanne said washing the dishes that were going to go into the dishwasher because plates could never be too clean.
"Mom, I don't know how to get through to you. I don't want Sam," Myka tried for the umpteenth time.
"Oh Myka, you don't know what you want," Jeanne insisted.
Myka had enough.
"Mom, surprise! I do know. I want someone who makes every part of me feel alive and beautiful. I want someone who when they look at me, across a crowded room even, my heart starts to beat faster. I want someone who when they speak with that freaking adorable accent, my core melts. And when they touch me, sparks erupt in parts of me I never even knew. And Mom, I want the person who when they whisper my name in my ear, I would follow them body and soul to the ends of the earth," Myka sail with great feeling.
Her mother tried to get what she was saying.
"He doesn't exist, sweetie," Jeannie said, thinking Myka was describing romantic movies, not real life.
After a long time, Myka said - "You're right, Mom, he doesn't," and Jeanne was glad she was coming to her senses. Myka suddenly dropped the plate back in the sink.
"…but she does." Myka stood there stunned at her own admission.
Pete took Helena home to the townhouse after Mrs. Frederic put Eileen in a cab back to Brooklyn. Irene had forgotten in all the drama to mention that Helena had a new employee. What she did remember was to tell Pete he was not to leave Helena alone that night.
Helena hardly raised an eyebrow when she saw Leena standing there.
"Hello, Ms. Wells, my name is Leena….," the new employee started, but never got to say her last name.
"How do you do?" Helena said and walked past her.
"Rough day," Pete said introducing himself.
They watched as Helena went up to her library and closed the door. Within moments, they could hear yelling coming from the room. Pete took the steps two at a time to listen.
"What the bloody hell do you mean you cannot rebronze me?" he heard Helena yelling.
"You would think she'd be platinum," Pete said out loud and softly, thinking his boss was talking about her club membership somewhere.
"You listen to me you overpaid, under-worked warehouse babysitter, don't think for a moment I don't know your boss, Mr. Kosan has something that belongs to me," Helena yelled as she slammed down the phone.
"OK, back to normal on the business front," Pete said as he sat down in a straight back chair that lined the walls.
"Should I prepare Ms. Wells some dinner?" Leena asked Pete unsure of the routine yet.
"Nah, we'll just open the door and throw some raw meat in and see how that goes," he said smiling uncertain of the mood in the room behind him.
The mood was not good.
Helena sat in a room filled with reminders of what could have been in her life. Pictures of Christina adorned the desk and piano. Her original notebooks, many of which were the basis for the books that Charles got the credit for, lined her shelves. She finally awoke in an age where people could believe HG Wells was a woman, but it still could not be her. Things like this taunted Helena for months after she was released from South Dakota, until she founded Wells Corp and put her energy into research and philanthropy. Helena's self-confidence, brilliance, and lack of emotion brought her great success in the business arena. Now wallowing in the only defeat that mattered to her, Helena believed she needed to escape. The Time Machine failed her, the Government refused to put her back in holding, and she knew she could not stand this pain much longer.
"I need something that will offer a lady time to think," Helena said to herself begging the idea to come to her.
If they wouldn't do the job for her, she would have to do it herself. It's not like she didn't know the back way into the facility that previously housed her Time Machine. Helena planned her journey quickly. She would leave Mrs. Frederic a note saying that she needed a vacation. Then she would leave very early in the morning, before Pete or her new housekeeper could interfere. She would drive to South Dakota and do the job herself. She set out to working on a device that would ensure the stupid agents in charge could not undo her work for a set period of time. Helena fiddled with the clock that would guarantee her slumber could not be disturbed.
She knew an eternity was not long enough to ever forget Myka Bering, but hoped the time set on the clock was long enough to help her forget her defeat and the emotions that raged within her.
Eileen simply could not accept Helena's defeat that night as she picked at her food her mother prepared. She didn't really believe she could march in there and make her boss do something, but she just felt so compelled.
"Why does life suck so much?" Eileen inquired and her mother asked her not to use that language.
"What do you mean?" her mother asked trying to slip another piece of steak onto her plate. The girl was too skinny.
"Why when two people are meant to be together, aren't they together?" she asked playing with the mashed potatoes.
"You're not talking about Tommy Boy, are you?" her mother worried.
"No, mom. I'm talking about my boss. She's meant to be with someone – I mean we all see it and I just know it in my heart and yet they're not together," Eileen said playing with the peas now.
"How do you know they're supposed to be together?" her mother asked pouring more milk in her glass.
"Cause you can tell they drive each other crazy. And you can tell it's just a cover up because they can't admit it," Eileen said with the wisdom of Ann Landers.
"Your Aunt Rose was like that with your Uncle Danny before they married," her mother said pushing the plate back when Eileen had pushed away a little.
"Really? They're like the most romantic couple I know," she said of the middle aged twosome who held hands throughout Mass every Sunday. "He adores Aunt Rose."
"Yes, well they almost didn't make it down the aisle. We could all tell she was crazy about him, but she's thick Irish, too much pride. And him – he broke up with a girl and didn't know what he wanted," her mother shared.
"So what happened?" Eileen said interested in her untold family history.
"We kept putting them together. Your father would bring Danny to a dance, and I'd bring Rose. Or we'd go to Coney Island and have them meet us there," her mother and laughed out loud.
"What happened?" Eileen asked wondering if she should write this down.
"We kept putting them together until they just stopped denying the fact that they were in love," her mother said.
"That's it!" Eileen said jumping up from the table and kissing her mother's forehead.
"You didn't touch the peas," her mother yelled as she made her way up to her bedroom.
Eileen got out her work phone and dialed a number. She might be going from the frying pan into the fire, but she thought it just might be worth it. She knew romance wasn't dead.
"Hello, Ms. Bering? This is Eileen Sullivan from Wells Corp," Eileen said into the phone.