Grin and Bear It
Grin and Bear It
Pete walked Myka to the outside office and tipped his imaginary hat. "Go get 'em," he said and then asked; "You're already on the medical plan right?"
Myka laughed thinking everyone was making such a fuss to be funny – except she was the only one laughing. Surely they weren't all so afraid of the woman in charge? Claudia seemed to have a pretty good perspective on things, Myka thought. That's when the door opened up and the young IT whiz came out – crying. Not a lot – but it was obvious to Myka that she was misty eyed.
"Claudia, are you ok?" Myka asked.
"Yeah thanks, tough …uhm meeting," the youth replied.
Myka looked past her at the door that now separated her from the CEO. Suddenly, there was bellowing and Claudia ran down the hall.
"Is it so bloody impossible for everyone to do their jobs around here? I mean, is that too much to ask? Have a secure firewall? Have a deadline met? Here's a novel idea – how about we accomplish a goal for bloody sake!" Helena yelled into the vast waiting room.
This was Helena Wells? Surely, this was a crazy woman in Helena Wells' office, Myka hoped. The look on the secretary's face told her she was wrong.
"Get Mr. Nielsen on the phone," she barked and walked back into her office, slamming the door without noticing Myka.
Myka had walked over to introduce herself, but the door closed in her face. OK, that was just rude, Myka thought. She looked at the woman at the desk to see if she wanted announce her, but she was busy trying to find the office manager. Myka turned back raising her hand to knock - just as Helena swung opened the door to yell about Artie not being there yet.
"Perhaps we could invent a transporter so people could be where they are supposed to be - on time?" Helena yelled and then stopped when she came face to face with the stranger.
"Well I'm here on time," Myka said in her friendliest voice. It was two o'clock on the dot. Myka didn't do late.
Helena stopped and glared - black eyes that didn't seem to move holding Myka in her stare.
"Who the bloody hell are you?" Helena asked out of frustration.
In spite of the stern look, Myka was taken with just how beautiful the woman – whose picture she had seen many times in the papers or on the internet – was. Straight thick black hair that flowed down over her shoulders and swayed with the slightest movement. There wasn't a split end on her head. Ivory flawless skin underneath it – she looked like one of the models you saw in magazines.
"I am …I am …we have a two …," Myka started to say even though I am Myka Bering was in her head.
The slightest curl of the lip appeared on Helena's face and for a minute Myka thought she was going to say 'oh so sorry, of course, please do come in.'
Instead Myka heard – "I don't' know who you are or why you are standing in my way, but I would recommend that you go back to your desk and rehearse what it is you think you want to say to me."
Myka wasn't only shocked at the works – she was stunned that the door was back in her face. Now she was pissed.
"OK wait a minute," Myka said trying to regain her composure, but this time there were four people coming up behind her swiftly and she was jostled by the group who hustled past her and into the main office. She recognized one of them as Artie Nielsen who apparently believed there was protection in numbers. There wasn't.
As Myka straightened her white blouse and pulled on her dark navy jacket, she approached the personal assistant.
"If you will be so kind as to tell Ms. Wells that her two o'clock appointment is here," Myka said in her calmest voice.
"And you are?" the young woman asked.
"I am Myka Bering, Chief Counsel. I have a two o'clock appointment…..," Myka said patiently.
"Ms. Wells isn't in," the woman said with a straight face.
"Excuse me?" Myka said – thinking maybe she didn't hear her correctly.
"Ms. Wells is not in," came the reply – a pause between each word.
"How can you say that? I practically ran into her as she stood there shouting," Myka said back.
The woman stared at Myka, as if waiting for another answer to be selected in her brain. She glanced away at her computer screen. "I'm sorry; did you say your name was Myka Bering?"
"Yes," Myka said, relieved to clear that up.
"Chief Counsel?" came the next inquiry.
"Yes, Myka Bering Chief Counsel," Myka said, pushing a curl behind her ear. Her hair was pulled back in a bun, but this one curly strand would just not stay.
The woman glanced back at her screen. "Ms. Wells is sorry, but she'll have to reschedule."
"Oh? OK, well what time does Ms. Wells want to reschedule it for?" Myka said, taking out her phone to make sure she put it in there.
Just then the door to the office opened again and out stepped Artie and his three fellow workers who apparently offered him no defense whatsoever. He patted the shoulder of one young man who took being dismantled the hardest. "It gets easier," he lied to him.
Myka frowned and stared at the scene before her. She took a deep breath. She had prepared for this moment – she knew herself well enough to know that she had to be confident and steady her voice, even when she didn't feel so assured.
"Could you please ask Ms. Wells when she would like me to return," she instructed the woman behind the desk.
"Oh," Artie said, stopping to deliver the message. "Ms. Wells said …..and I quote …when hell freezes over."
Myka was stunned. "Excuse me?" she said to Artie who wanted nothing more than to get away from that place.
"She said to tell you that," Artie said, throwing his hands up in the air and leaving.
The administrative assistant shrugged her shoulders as if there was nothing more to discuss.
A part of Myka – maybe the part that always took the polite way out of things – or who deferred to authority quickly – or the part that placated Sam when he droned on and on about what life would be like for them if they got married – exploded inside and took hold.
She knocked on the door and pushed it opened without waiting.
"You might want to get your coat Ms. Wells," Myka said as she walked through the doorway. "The temperature is about to drop."
"Excuse me?" came the British accent from the other end of the office.
Suddenly, Myka's knees felt a little weak. Is this how she was introducing herself to her boss? Myka took a couple of steps inside.
"I am Myka Bering, your new Chief Counsel and we have a two o'clock appointment," Myka said clearly even though her throat felt like it was closing.
Upon seeing Myka take things into her own hands, the young assistant flew from her seat and now stood in the doorway. She had allowed someone to pass without warning her boss.
"I am so sorry, Ms. Wells, I tried to stop her ….," the woman said and Myka felt sorry for her. It was obvious the woman was truly scared.
Helena glared from behind her desk. This was an unusual situation for her. Not the cowering worker – she saw that every day. No, it was the woman who had barged into her office even though she was told not to. Helena stared Myka up and down. She noticed the body language – she was holding herself stiffly as if digging in her heals. This was a change of pace indeed and one that Helena thought she just might make time to enjoy.
"It's okay Eileen, apparently my new Chief Counsel is anxious to see me," Helena said standing and walking to the front of the desk. She leaned back and sat on the edge and crossed her arms.
"You can go Eileen," Helena said to the woman still frozen in the doorway. "And what can I do for you? Mi-ca is it," Helena said on purpose.
"My-ka," Myka said and approached the woman. "Myka Bering," she said extending her hand to her new boss. Helena took it – not so much as a shake, but held onto it.
"Oh good, you're not wearing your law school ring. So often I find that Americans from the Ivy's and top law schools insist on wearing gaudy school rings as if this is supposed to tell me something," Helena said in a calm, low voice.
"No, no ring," Myka said slightly uncomfortable that the woman was still holding her hand.
"Good. I imagine you think your résumé will speak for itself then?" Helena said letting go and taking her seat behind the desk.
"Well … yes I do," Myka said taken aback by the sudden change in demeanor.
"Too bad for you then that I haven't seen your resume," Helena said and she still hadn't indicated that Myka should sit down.
"Ms. Wells if you need to reschedule, I can …," Myka was saying trying the diplomatic approach. She didn't want to seem unreasonable. Myka Bering never wanted to seem unreasonable which is why she and Sam usually wound up doing things that Sam liked to do.
The phone rang and Helena put her index finger up to halt her intruder.
"Put him on," she said to her assistant. She looked up at Myka and pointed to the chair to sit down. Myka did.
"Jack darling, it is good to hear from you. What did you decided to do?" Helena said in a friendly lilting voice. So she could be friendly.
Myka watched as her boss listened and played with the phone cord. "Jack, I think I made it perfectly clear on Monday when we spoke. You can do your show using the character, but I insist on seeing the scripts before, and she must be portrayed as a woman, Jack," Helena said.
Myka opened her portfolio in her lap to appear as if she wasn't eavesdropping – which she was.
"Jack, I am not a patient woman. I do not have time for this banter. Let me …how do you say it ….bottom…..?" Helena struggled with the idiom and looked at Myka.
"Bottom line it?" Myka answered saying the first thing that came into her head.
Helena smiled. "Let me bottom line this for you dear. HG Wells is played as a woman or I rescind the rights to do the show. If you can't make that story line work, then you're not creative enough to handle the stories," Helena said and listened to the man quiver on the other end of the phone.
"You have till five o'clock Jack. Call my Chief Counsel and let her know your decision. And Jack? Do not call me back. I have wasted enough time on our questions," Helena said and put the phone back down.
"The producer of a show they want to do about HG Wells," Helena said smiling.
"HG Wells is a woman?" Myka asked with a big grin on her face. "I'm gonna have to process that."
"Well process away, Ms. Bering," Helena quipped and yet she was interested in the fact that Myka seemed to have such a strong reaction to hearing that bit of news.
"I love HG Wells. My father used to read me War of the Worlds at night before I would go to sleep," Myka shared.
Helena didn't say anything. She just took in the pleasant expression on Myka's face.
"And can you see the character of HG Wells portrayed as a woman?" she asked. Myka had no idea that her answer would determine whether or not she was fired. Fortunately for Myka, she picked the answer Helena wanted to hear.
"Actually, I can. I totally can. I think HG Wells was a brilliant writer and I always thought there was collaboration perhaps with his sister. I mean – I read research papers that suggested that. Well, I'm not telling you anything you don't know," Myka said laughing nervously that she had said more than she needed to.
"Not yet, Myka Bering. Not yet," Helena said her lips curled just the littlest bit as she lowered her head and locked eyes with Myka. "Now what can I do for you?" she asked leaning over the desk towards Myka.
The new employee smiled cautiously aware of what was going on.
Myka knew she was being welcomed by the polar bear... to meet the hedgehogs.