An Opportunity Arises
"Mae..." My eyes focused onto the creased dark brows in front of me.
"Huh," I reply, brushing my hair behind my ear as Leo sighed heavily.
"In light of what's happened, I want you to take the rest of the month off, maybe even till the trial ends. Full pay, of course." Leo twirled the pen between his fingers before tapping the tip onto the paper. It was my contract, he perhaps read over it before deciding whether they could afford to pay me during everything.
"Why?" I whispered. Half to myself and half to whoever bothered to listen. Social distancing was the last thing I needed. "I live ten minutes away. I moved so that I wouldn't have tha-... this problem again."
This was a half-truth. I moved because I couldn't bear being near that alleyway again let alone have to travel through it, I moved because I wanted to distance myself from it albeit in doing so distanced myself from my mum. Though I earned just about enough to pay for a carer, it was still very much just her at home.
My mother thankfully didn't argue with me. I wasn't sure whether it was because she could see how broken I looked or that she'd been persuading me for the last few months that I need to start thinking about my life and not worry about hers. Having her own carer meant that some of the burden would be lifted.
Leo pushed his hands towards me with all the intention of being comforting but retracted it in the last moment afraid that he'd get a sentence in an association.
"I know, but head office believe you need time to heal away from any triggering places, this is one of them. And I agree."
"I like being here." I felt like I was whining, somehow I had convinced myself in two seconds that I was being childish, that if I had been more vigilant and careful, I wouldn't be in this mess.
"You were attacked, Mae." The words stung, and I could feel a warm sensation in my throat. Bile? Blood? The feeling of a knee being pressed down on my neck. "Two weeks ago, you need time to...process."
This meeting was not debatable, Leo was merely informing me of a decision that happened several days ago. He just gave me the courtesy of doing it face to face than in a poorly written text.
"Sure." I stand up holding my things in my arms. I knew I should've been more concerned when I came in this evening. The hush in the staff room, the dense cloud that seemed to drench the entire place.
I opened the door out of his office.
"When this is all done Mae, we can get back to normal."
What is normal if not a false sense of hope?
The door creaked open, and I snuggled further under the covers trying to appear asleep. It was four in the morning, and the sun was beginning to rise, marking the start of summer. I had been staring at the growing lines of light for the last ten hours. Seeing the transition between night and day through the layers of a fluffy duvet.
"Work was shit if it's any consolation. No big spenders today."
I remained silent, trying to uphold the assumption I was asleep. A body slumped against me before limbs started to wrap around me.
"There was nothing in the dishwasher. You either tidied up after yourself, or you haven't eaten." Dark blue hair brushed against my forehead as Adele placed her head on top of mine.
"Talk to me please Mae, even if it's to say that I'm being annoying."
I rolled over, pushing the covers down as I spoke, "of course, this had to happen to me. I should've just moved here from the start to avoid the whole commuting. I mean what the actual fuck was I thinking, I mean money alone, nearly half my wages was on travelling."
"Living in the centre of Scotland is bloody expensive babe," Adele replied.
"You do it just fine," I counter, and that was true a two-bedroom apartment in Glasgow was pricey, and Adele had a luxury apartment—two bedrooms, one ensuite, a balcony, parking. She was living the dream.
"And you do it on a part-time wage. My mum couldn't help me the way your parents do. You know our situation."
Adele pulled away from me, I looked to her to find her biting the inside of her cheek.
"My parents don't help Mae, they have their own bills to pay. I work two jobs."
"I thought you were studying?"
"I know student grants, they don't pay enough."
"They don't true, but my other job does. It's fun, and I enjoy it. If you are so concerned about money and the trial coming up, then I can ask my manager if we have any openings. Maybe you need a change of scenery to start again somewhere fresh once everything is all done."
I thought about it for a while. Adele noticing she had made an impression got up off the bed, she pushed an unopened box out of the way before playing with her chipped nails.
"I'll set up the meeting, you can decline if you want when you get there but least you have the opportunity to do what you want," Adele said.
I fell back onto the bed, and Adele took a seat next to me.
"What happened to you was inexcusable, and how you reacted was just. I know your worried, with the trial, your mum, and everything I don't get it but I get it. You got me, you know that, right?"
I opened my eyes sighing heavily. Adele was my closest friend since I moved to Scotland, meeting her at the bar was the only reason that I decided to continue working there. Her energy transpired through her bright blue hair a contrast to her pailing skin and smokey orange eye shadow. I should've listened to her when she said I could move in with her the first time.
"You're right. I need to take control of this situation. There's a good chance I won't find any employment after this. If you could set up an interview, at least I can get ahead of it."
"Anything for you, babe." Adele slid off the bed, pulling her phone out of her back pocket. "Now, the real important question." I sit up. "Pizza or Chinese."
A.N. We are getting a bit more information on how Mae found herself to become an employee of FW. Just how Lincoln brought Dominic, Adele has brought in Mae.