Chapter 5: I'm Who?
Bruce followed Andrea into the unfamiliar law offices of Tate and Tate. Glancing around, he saw a large desk centered in the middle of a sizeable lobby-like area. On each side of the room was seating, consisting of four chairs on each side. Behind the receptionist’s desk was a hallway with doors down each side.
“The first set of doors are the offices of Mr. and Mrs. Tate, his on the right, hers on the left. Next are the conference rooms, again, his on the right, hers on the left. Last is mine and Janie’s office on the left, and Charles and Ronald’s office on the right,” Andrea explained in a low tone of voice, “and in the very back is a breakroom of sorts.
Bruce nodded his head in understanding as he focused on the grey-haired receptionist.
“That’s Nelda. She’s not very friendly,” Andrea said in the same low voice. She then put a smile on her face as she moved forward across the lobby and said, “Good morning Nelda.”
“Morning Andrea, who is this you have with you?” Nelda inquired with a frown as she looked at him over the top of her glasses.
“This is Bruce. He’s—” Andrea’s voice tapered off as if she weren’t sure exactly how to explain Bruce’s presence.
“I’m a friend, and Andrea is helping me out,” Bruce answered suavely with a killer smile. “Don’t worry. I won’t take up much of her time.”
Nelda snorted, not charmed by him at all. She then went back to her crossword puzzle, saying, “No skin off my nose what she does. They come, and they go. Why would I care?”
Bruce looked at Andrea with a raised eyebrow.
Andrea just shook her head and led the way to her office.
They stepped inside, and Bruce once more looked around. The ample office space had been divided between two desks. Each desk had a computer sitting on it and two chairs in front of it. It was simple and quite dull, as if no one could be bothered to decorate.
“Yeah, I know, it isn’t much,” Andrea said as she sighed. “I was told we could have a small frame on our desk, but that was it as far as decorating. Apparently, people don’t stay long, so Mrs. Tate doesn’t allow anyone to settle in.”
“Ah… that explains so much,” Bruce murmured.
Andrea moved around her desk and sat down.
Bruce started to move to her side of the room, thinking he’d look out her window for a time just as a buxom brunette came in. So, he stopped just to the left side of her desk and politely looked the woman’s way.
“Andrea girl, it is gonna be a good day. I can feel it in my bones. I read my horoscope this morning, and it said I was going to meet new people, and—” the woman stopped talking and stared. “Holy dynamite, Batman! Where have you been hiding this handsome man Andrea and why have you been hiding him?”
“Jeannette,” Andrea groaned as she put her head in her hand.
“Relax, Andrea,” Jeannette huffed. Then strutting over to stick her hand out toward Bruce, she asked, “My name is Jeannette, yours?”
“Mine is Bruce,” Bruce answered back with a slight snicker at the “Batman” comment and shaking her hand politely. He then thought this must be the co-worker Andrea was talking about when she mentioned where her outbursts had started.
Jeannette turned to walk back toward the door as she wiggled her eyebrows at Andrea.
Andrea laughed and said, “Yes, Jeannette, I think he’s cute too, and no, I’m not sleeping with him.”
“Yet!” Jeannette exclaimed.
Andrea just shook her head at her friend.
“Okay, so what is his reason for being here exactly?” Jeannette asked then as she crossed her arms and gave them a stern look.
Andrea looked at Bruce then back at Jeannette as she said, “I found him in an alleyway Saturday night all beaten up. I took him home, fixed him up, and now he’s here because he doesn’t know who he is. All we know is that his name is Bruce and that he seems to be uber-rich.”
Jenette’s eyes widened, and she swallowed hard as she whispered, “Rich AND his name is Bruce?”
Bruce and Andrea nodded.
“Are you sure about the rich part?” Jeannette asked.
“I’m pretty sure the silk shirt and tie he was wearing when I found him cost more than I get paid a week,” Andrea informed Jeannette.
“Holy nightmares Batman, this is not good,” Jeannette muttered as she flopped down in the seat in front of the desk. “Andrea, if he’s who I’m pretty sure he is, he’s Bruce Wayne!”
Andrea’s eyes widened then as she stared at Bruce. Finally, she whispered, “I thought he looked slightly familiar… I mean, I haven’t been here in Gotham long, but everyone has heard of Bruce Wayne, billionaire, even where I’m from. I had no clue what he really looked like, though.”
“Try googling his name, girl,” Jeannette murmured as she fanned herself, “you’ll find all kinds of pictures of him.”
Andrea waited for her computer to boot up as Bruce walked around her desk. Once the computer was loaded, she typed the name in and waited.
The first thing that came up was an article with the statement, “Billionaire Bruce Wayne has disappeared, and no one seems to know where he is.”
“Oh, boy,” Andrea almost whimpered.
“As I said, holy nightmare Batman,” Jeannette said again. “You’ve been hiding Gotham’s playboy extraordinaire for two days and didn’t even know it.”
Bruce ignored the two women as he stared down at the picture and newspaper article about him. There was no denying it was him in the picture, yet he felt no recognition at all to anything that was said. It didn’t jog his memory in the slightest.
“Do you remember anything, Bruce?” Andrea asked.
Bruce straightened up and let out a slow breath before saying, “No. I can see that I look like that picture, but it brings me no memories. Perhaps I should go talk to Alfred, who is, apparently, my butler, and see if that will jog my brain.”
Andrea chewed her lower lip for a moment, then softly asked, “Would you like for me to go with you?”
Bruce studied Andrea’s face and saw nothing but compassion. He didn’t see anything that made him feel as if her feeling about him had changed with her finding out who he was. So, he nodded and said, “I would, but you have to work.”
“I’ll tell ol’ lady Tate you got a migraine and had to go home,” Jeannette said with a grin.
Andrea stood and said, “Thank you, my friend.”
“Hey, I’m all about the love, and you, my friend, need the love of a good man,” Jeannette said, then frowned. “I don’t know if playboy Wayne is it, though.”
Andrea snickered and teased, “Well… I wanted Batman, but…”
“Whoa! Hold on, girlfriend, the bat is mine, you hear me?” Jeannette growled with her hand up. “You better back away from him, sister, unless you want to see the bad side of me.”
Andrea laughed. “Fine, Batman is all yours.”
Bruce huffed and muttered, “I wish someone would tell me who this Batman is.”
Jeannette grinned and began, “He is only the greatest hero ever to walk the earth wearing a cape. That’s who he is.”
Andrea grabbed Bruce’s arm and began to drag him from the room as she said, “We need to go before she really gets wound up.”
“I wasn’t finished, Andrea!” Jeannette exclaimed as she followed them to the door.
“Migraine, remember Jeannette?” Andrea said with a fake groan as she grabbed her head. She then continued to pull at Bruce until they were almost jogging toward the door.
“And where do you think you’re going?” Nelda called out.
“I’m taking her home because she has a massive migraine,” Bruce answered and led Andrea out the door before they could be questioned further. “I hope you don’t lose your job over this.”
Andrea sighed as they climbed back into her car, then said, “It really wouldn’t be any great loss, truthfully.”
“Be that as it may, I still wouldn’t want to be the reason you lost your job,” Bruce informed her.