Clicks from the keyboard fill the room as Mona types up tomorrow’s schedule. At 6:00 AM she will be at Gov. Anderson’s house with a venti black americano and a lemon bar in hand. His suit will be on a hanger dry cleaned and pressed ready to go for the day. She prepares dry cleaning every weekend to save herself the rush of getting them done daily, along with a couple spares in case of emergency since Gov. Anderson isn’t the neatest. The first meeting of the day is at 7:00 AM, followed by an 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 4:00 PM. The first two are press conferences and the latter two committees for a new bill needing to be passed in the next eleven months. The ideal deadline being the start of the new year.
Each note and time is specific, just how she prefers her schedule to be. Each movement of her crimson fingernails blurring as the taps of the black keys resonate in the silent room, the only other sounds coming from the crisp turns of pages from the patiently awaiting clients. One man flips through this morning’s newspaper, the reporter most likely reporting on the up and coming gubernatorial elections approaching in the nearing months. The candidates are all questionable, a topic highly discussed among groups of the politically educated. This is not a fact lost to Mona, despite her being the secretary to one of the main candidates. Gov. Anderson is a front runner for re-election and a loud one at that, stirring quite a lot of controversy due to his inability to run the state correctly in the current term. Since becoming the governor the state has been struggling, and that hasn’t been ignored.
Each of the clients in the room are there strictly for beneficial gain, all of whom are capable of funding Gov. Anderson’s campaign and strengthening his likelihood of re-election. But despite their importance he still makes them wait, their patience slowly wearing thin; their foot tapping and shifting becoming more prominent by the minute. Mona picks up her phone letting him know they’re becoming restless. Gov. Anderson is never quick to answer, so she places it back down telling herself that she will check on him in a moment if he doesn’t respond or come out to retrieve someone soon.
As soon as she returns to her groove of typing, a man walks in. She can feel a shift in the atmosphere the second he does as both waiting individuals have their eyes glued to him with an expression of shock and awe. She thinks that he must be someone of high importance to get a reaction like that from the other clients, though she’s never seen him before.
He is a tall man, she would estimate 6′2, with long black hair that falls into his eyes and down the nape of his neck. His eyes are some of the prettiest she’s seen; a thin almond with his cheeks and nose freckled. He is extremely handsome even with an air to him that is mildly feminine. A black suit was fitted to his form, showing off a thin frame and long legs. He smiles at her softly, “Hello, Miss-” he looks down at her name plate, “Moore. I am here to see Gov. Anderson. He called me in for a meeting.”
She stares at him for a moment, her boss told her nothing about this. “Yes, of course. Please take a seat and I will let him know. What is your name again?”
“SiWoo Moon, thank you.” He turns and walks towards the chair, getting side tracked by the fish tank instead. He stares into it, observing the angelfish and other kinds of saltwater critters that reside inside. Like the fish, he is also being watched. The eyes of the others in the room rest on him with both intrigue and adoration. Mona picks up her phone again, this time sending the message, “SiWoo Moon is here.”
Within seconds the door to Gov. Anderson’s office swings open, startling everyone in the room with the abruptness. Mr. Moon stands up straight, smoothing down his suit jacket as he looks at the governor. Mona’s eyes move from her boss’s excited face to Mr. Moon’s irritated one. Her boss has never been this quick to run out for someone, and she has never seen someone make a face that disgusted.
“Mr. Moon, thank you for coming,” Gov. Anderson says, gesturing for him to enter his office. They disappear inside with the doors closing behind them. The other clients sigh with frustration at the long wait they’ve experienced, disappointment filling their chests.
One man lifts up his phone to call someone. “You will not guess who I just saw. SiWoo Moon, yes, the writer! The investigative journalist that ruined Governor Marcel’s campaign with just one article. I was so scared being in the same room as him, he can find dirt on anyone. I can’t imagine what he’s doing here...”
Mona pretends to continue on writing the schedule, but she can’t help but eavesdrop. He ruined someone’s campaign? With just one article? Her curiosity gets the best of her so she starts googling. The first thing to come up reads, “Governor involved in drug trafficking.” As she reads through the article she is amazed, everything he wrote was backed up with evidence, the receipts being concrete and air tight. His accusations to the governor were justified and considered truth by most of the public judging by the out-roar of positive reactions to the article. It seems he has a pretty hardcore following. The article even led to the opening of a case against the politician, the evidence found by Moon being used by a prosecutor to charge him.
The York Times calls Mr. Moon the “Lie detector journalist” for his attention to detail and ability to find the truth. She sucks in a breath, what on earth could he be doing here with my boss? Why would Gov. Anderson allow someone like Moon into his office when his practice of Governing is far from conventional? She can’t fathom where this could be going; though she can only hope that it won’t be catastrophic.
Inside the room a storm is brewing over the head of the journalist. “Do you know why I asked you to come in, Mr. Moon?” Gov. Anderson asks, a cheeky smile plastered on his face as his blood rushes with excitement.
“I can’t begin to imagine, Sir.” Moon’s dark brown eyes are far from friendly as he crosses his arms, staring at the swollen faced politician in front of him. He hates politicians with every ounce of his being, especially ones like Anderson.
“It’s in regard to the proposal I gave to you at the conference in Bangkok, you know the one.”
“When you approached me outside and asked for me to help you create a smear campaign against your rival candidate?” Mr. Moon holds eye contact, his glare deepening with each word. He loathes these talks, knowing immediately where they will go.
Gov. Anderson leans forward, his hands clasped tightly as he squints his eyes at Mr. Moon. “Now I wouldn’t call it a smear campaign, it’s just... stretching the truth a little. I heard from some credible sources that District Rep. Roberts has an illegitimate child and I think that is something that should be addressed to the general public. You know how it is, all is fair in love and war. And this campaign is a war, I know you understand given your career. Journalism is equally competitive. That’s why I’m willing to pay you a good amount for your name on an article discussing this... “scandal” that has been discovered.”
Mr. Moon scoffs, leaning forward in a mimicking fashion to that of Gov. Anderson. “While I appreciate the offer, I must decline.”
“Is there anything I can do for you change your mind? I can double the amount initially offered. Four million, what do you say? You would be a valuable addition to my team and campaign. I will do anything in order to have you.”
“Gov. Anderson, unfortunately for you I will be casting my vote elsewhere; on a candidate that isn’t a snake. Now, please. This is the fifth time you have called on me, please stop. Do not force my hand to play against you.”
“Are you threatening me, Mr. Moon?”
Moon stands up, brushing his suit down to straighten it. “I will be going now. If I hear from you again I will release what I know. And I will not go easy.”
Gov. Anderson stands up as well, slamming his hands on his desk with a loud thud. “If you do that then I’ll...”
“You’ll what? Sue me? It’ll be a dent to me financially and a small win for you as you sit in prison. The charges I can file against you are far greater than any amount of settlement, I can assure you. Good night, Gov. Anderson. Don’t call on me again. Or else, like you said, all will be fair in war.”
Mr. Moon leaves Gov Anderson red faced and fuming. Mona watches as Mr. Moon rushes out of the office, surprised by how quick the interaction was. He was in and out in only ten minutes, if that. What was that about? She questions as the doors to her boss’s office slam open, hitting the walls.
“No more meetings tonight. I’m sorry, I must reschedule for tomorrow. Good night.” He goes back into his office, leaving his clients in the waiting room furious as they get up to leave, mumbling curses under their breath.
Mona sighs as she searches through tomorrow’s calender for some room to reschedule the client meetings, her curiosity itching to know what had happened, but she knows there’s no way Gov. Anderson would tell her. She finishes typing up the plans for tomorrow and gathers up her stuff, walking into the Governor’s office to tell him that she is going home for the night.
He is pacing in front of the window that overlooks the downtown area. Blue hues of light pool into his office and onto his suit. She immediately feels uneasy, wanting to leave quickly before his bad mood takes over. “Sir, I will be heading home now.”
“Come here,” he says simply, stopping to look at her. A familiar glimmer twinkles in his hard, green eyes, causing a thick feeling of dread to consume her. She knows what is coming and she knows why. The meeting must not have gone well and when things don’t go well these interactions always end the same. She does as she is told, going up to him with no hesitation. Her mind is already retracting, preparing for what she knows is coming. His hand goes up to her cheek, rough palm cupping her face before he shoves her backwards harshly.
“Bend over the chair.”
The night air is chilly when she finally leaves the building, holding back tears as the wind hits her face. It’s not the first time she’s left the office with welts on her back and lower body- he does it any time he doesn’t get his way. She has contemplated reasons why he would do those things to her, but after minimal thought she decides it’s better for her mental state to just stop questioning it. For the time being she just needs to get through it.
Her bag jingles as she struggles to find her car keys, goosebumps growing on her exposed arms. Once she pulls them out a voice appears behind her, “Hello,” causing her to jump and drop her keys on the ground.
“Shit...” escapes her lips as she tries to lean down to get them, finding it difficult with her pencil skirt and long blonde hair cascading into her face.
“Let me get that for you.” Large hands and thick black hair come into view as Mr. Moon reaches down, grasping her keys then holding them in his hand. “I’m sorry to startle you, I just saw you come out and I couldn’t help but notice the marks on your back.”
Mona looks at him for a long moment, not sure how to react or respond. He’s lying, you can’t see my back with this blouse… “Thank you for grabbing my keys, these skirts are awfully hard to move in sometimes,” she reaches out to retrieve them, but he stays where he is keeping them clenched in his hand.
“I can’t imagine, a pant suit seems much more comfortable and practical. I think you would benefit from switching to that kind of attire, or does your boss have regulations for what you can wear? Skirts and revealing dresses?”
“How can I help you, Mr. Moon?” Mona asks, knowing what he is doing. He is trying to get information out of her, just like he had with the previous politician he wrote about. He is getting incriminating statements, and when it comes to Gov. Anderson there could be many, she KNOWS there are many. “I’m sorry, I must be going now it is awfully late and cold out here. Please, excuse me-” she takes her keys from his hand quickly.
As she tries to walk away he grabs her arm gently, his fingers wrapping around her wrist delicately like he is afraid of hurting her. His hand is there to alert her, not stop her. “Did he do that to you? The marks on your back? I’ve heard things from past secretaries and employees that he lays his hands on people when upset. Is that what he did to you?”
She forces a smile, “Thank you for the concern, Mr. Moon. However, my work life and environment is none of your business. But if you must know, I scratched myself too hard earlier, and due to my fair skin it must be showing too drastically. I appreciate the thought, but nothing like that is going. I am very happy with my job. Have a good night.”
“Ms. Moore-” She walks away before he can continue, her heels clicking loudly on the concrete as she rushes to her car. Chills run up her spine, but she can’t tell if they’re from that night or the cold air.