What's a Nice Person LIke You
What's a Nice Person Like You Doing in a Place Like This?
Myka realized the shift to calm in her boss and responded accordingly. She opened the leather binder on her lap again and took out the complaint by the disgruntled employee.
"I noticed that Mr. Sykes was not the first person to bring these charges and yet, the others seemed to have accepted a settlement and gone their way. Mrs. Frederic tells me Mr. Sykes alleges he has evidence. A recording perhaps?" Myka asked gently.
These were tough questions Myka thought, but it was her job to ask them.
"Does he now?" Helena asked and Myka was surprised she did not confirm nor deny it.
"I thought Mrs. Frederic would have shared her findings with you," Myka said.
"What kind of recording?" Helena asked.
"Oh, well let me see," Myka said looking through her papers. "I'm not sure Mrs. Frederic said, but can we assume it was perhaps a video he made of you while….?" Myka asked and then looked up. She had expected her boss to find these questions uncomfortable, but instead there was a smug look on her face. "I intend to speak to Mr. Sykes myself – today if I can – to ascertain what evidence he has and what he wants," Myka said clearly.
"Ah but he cannot have what he wants," Helena said assertively.
"Oh? What does he want? Is he looking for a position on the Board? More money? I mean, Ms. Wells, however you look at this, it's extortion. Whether or not he has evidence of any impropriety on your part….," Myka said and Helena took offense at her wording.
"Ms. Bering, he cannot have what he wants because he wants.... me. He wants a relationship based on the passion he thought we shared one night when I had one too many wines at a charity benefit. We had a few hours of lust and craving, but only one of us left satisfied in the morning. And now he wants something I rarely give anyone," Helena said looking directly at Myka.
"A good reference?" Myka blurted out.
"A second chance," Helena retorted without smiling. "So think of this as your chance, Myka to impress me. Speak to Walter, find out what he wants in terms of compensation, procure the evidence if you think it's necessary and then – make-this-go-away!" Helena said slowly.
Reading those words in the file did not prepare Myka for hearing them uttered by her boss. She was being summarily dismissed and she knew it. She sat there for a few seconds as Helena returned to her computer screen and typed furiously on the keyboard.
"Ha! Bravo Ms. Donovan, now that's a firewall," Helena said to the screen.
Myka gathered her papers and hesitated for a moment. Should she point out that it sounded as if that was Claudia's second chance? She shook her head no deciding against it.
"Ms. Bering?" Helena called to her as she neared the door.
"Yes?" Myka said hoping she would discuss something else about this case.
"When you assume anything, you make an ass out of you," Helena said, changing the idiom to suit her. She was referring to Myka's statement about the evidence.
Myka bit her lip. She had used that word and she knew it. "I'll get the facts," Myka assured her boss.
"Good, now you can present them to me at dinner tonight. Eight o'clock at Daniel's," Helena said making a note on her phone.
"Tonight?" Myka said.
"Is there a problem?" Helena asked and her tone was definitely 'there better not be'.
"Sam is …my boyfriend is ….coming in tonight. He hasn't seen my place and he called to say he was free…" Myka said cringing inside at how awful that sounded.
"Then do bring Mr. Sam along," Helena said already spending too much time on this.
"Bring Sam? But I can't discuss a company case with sensitive information in front of a stranger," Myka said, and suddenly Helena became very interested in Myka's choice of words.
"I'll tell you what Myka Bering. You bring him, we'll have dinner and then you and I can go powder our noses in the ladies room where you can regale me with how you solved this issue," Helena said smiling.
She had thrown Myka a curve ball and Myka was caught between playing along and getting hit square between the eyes. She smiled uncomfortably and left the office, muttering to herself about what had transpired. She smiled at Eileen as she passed her desk. The woman didn't say anything, but handed her a card with the address of the restaurant on it.
"How?" Myka asked, looking back at the office and at Eileen who was already busy with something else.
Myka asked her assistant to set up a meeting with the accuser. He agreed to see Myka at his apartment at five. That would give her enough time to meet him, get him to sign some release documents, get the video, go home and change and get to the restaurant. As Myka went through the list, the one thing she forgot was Sam. And before all of that she had to meet with Mrs. Frederic.
Helena waited until her new employee closed the door and then she smiled broadly. She wasn't sure yet what it was about her that she liked. She was impressed with the way she pushed her way it and didn't take no for an answer. She felt intrigued by Myka, but wasn't sure why. In all the time Helena was working with people, she could count on one hand the people she felt close to - and even they were afraid of her. Except for Mrs. Frederic. For some reason that woman had no fear in her entire body.
"Do you think there's any chance Mr. Sykes will accept a cash settlement? Are we prepared to offer that?" Myka asked Irene after she left Helen's office.
"Whatever it takes ….within reason," Mrs. Frederic answered.
"There is no reason with extortion," Myka pointed out. "You know, I got the impression Ms. Wells is not really concerned about the ramifications of this."
"Ms. Wells believes this is an occupational hazard," the HR Director pointed out.
"But how do we protect her and the company and all the good work she's done?" Myka asked.
"Protect her?" the older woman asked giving that simple question deep thought. In all the meetings the woman had ever been in, this was the first time anyone asked how to actually help Helena. Usually, they were trying to save their jobs.
"You see this as a bigger problem don't you?" Irene asked relieved someone else did.
"Yes, I do. If we don't remedy this at the highest level, we'll be including release from sexual harassment claim forms in the New Employee kits," Myka said.
"What are you proposing?" the HR Director asked.
"I'd like to review our policies on office dating, and anything else you think might apply," Myka said.
"Oh I think you will find our policies are robust and in order," Irene said confidently.
"So you don't have this problem….," Myka started and Irene finished …"…..anywhere else."
"I have a meeting with Sykes at five and then I have to report to Ms. Wells at eight …over dinner," Myka said.
"She wants you to go to dinner?" Irene asked.
"Yes, is that a bad thing?" Myka worried. Is that where the family of hedgehogs attacks, she wondered?
"Only if you don't like the food," Irene said, trying to play it down. "I'll let Mr. Lattimer know."
"Does he go everywhere with her?" Myka asked out of curiosity, but Irene didn't answer. She told Myka she looked forward to hearing how her meetings went and left.
Her cell phone rang and then is when she realized the wrinkle in her plan for that night. It was Sam.
"Hi Sam," Myka said into the phone, but she was thinking did you have to call now.
"How's my girl?" he asked and Myka scrunched up her face at the sound of it. "Sam, I sound five when you say that."
"Oh I'm sorry, I thought you liked my terms of endearment," Sam said defensively.
"Sorry Sam, I'm just distracted. Oh listen, we're invited to dinner with my boss tonight. I tried to get out of it, but she was pretty insistent," Myka said.
"Oh Myka, we haven't been together in so long. I was really hoping we could just grab some Chinese food and stay in tonight," Sam said.
Chinese food? Stay in? This is what Sam liked to eat and liked to do. "Yes, well not tonight," Myka said assertively. "I have to go to dinner with my boss. Now if you can't make it…," Myka hoped.
"No, I can make it. I'd like to meet the woman lucky enough to have you working for her," Sam said. "I'm landing at seven."
"OK I'll text you the information, you can meet us there," Myka said.
All of a sudden her day was getting very hectic. She read through all the HR material and Irene was right when she said everything was in order. They had all the right policies in place for issues dealing with office dating. She was about to leave for the appointment with Sykes when Pete came into her office.
"So Mic…Myka…Mrs. F tells me you're going to dinner with Ms. Wells tonight right?" he said and it was evident he was nervous by the way he kept picking at an invisible piece of dusk on Myka's desk.
"Yes, well Ms. Wells insisted," Myka said pleasantly.
"Where exactly are you going?" Pete asked because the answer made a big difference in what he shared next. 'Please say Francesca's, please say Francesca's,' he repeated over and over again in his head.
"Let me see, " Myka said looking at the card. "Daniels?"
"Oh man," Pete said hitting his fist in his other hand.
"Is there a problem, Mr. Lattimer?" Myka asked noting his discomfort.
Pete liked Myka the minute he met her. She seemed like one of those wholesome Midwest girls who had a big heart. The fact that she was dead drop gorgeous didn't hurt either. She was friendly and sweet. Now he felt like he wanted to help her, but didn't want to get his ass kicked from one end of the City to the other. He had information that could really help her, but worried about what price he would pay. He didn't know Myka well enough to know if she would even appreciate this inside tip or not. He paced around the room, the turmoil evident on his face. Myka looked at her watch. She had to leave to meet the complainant.
"Mr. Lattimer, I really have to go…," Myka said apologetically.
"I go with Ms. Wells a lot when she goes out to dinner. You know the paparazzi, the crowds sometimes, people want to talk to her…..," Pete tried to get his bearings.
"Oh well I'm glad you will be there then," Myka said as she started to walk toward the door.
"That's where she takes people when she's going to fire them!" Pete blurted out when he realized he had no time left.
Myka stopped in her tracks and looked at Pete. "She asked me to go to dinner so she could fire me?" she asked incredulously.
"I think so," Pete said slowly.