I SMELL FEAR

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TIME TO ESCAPE

It’s a man’s world.

No matter the century, no matter that some countries have their first female president, the man will always feel superior, a woman should be by the man’s side as he takes on the world, not behind her.

Sintia huffed at the thought, she would show them all.

She sat at her glass desk tapping the end of her pen furiously looking out her roof to floor window over the central park, it was always buzzing with people, she often wanted to get binoculars and watch them, the only reason she hadn’t was the fear of looking at someone looking at her.

She was CEO, her image she had worked so hard to maintain couldn’t be toppled by spying on tourists, what would they say about her in the Times?

She closed that tab in her mind, focusing back on one of her IT managers she had called a meeting with, he was explaining something about coding and she had zoned out again.

“I don’t understand how it keeps getting bugged, either your software is outdated or you want the opposition to get a hold of the latest feeds.” She snapped tapping her pen faster, their internal server kept getting hacked and she had, had enough, files kept disappearing that were there yesterday, viruses munched their way through most of her employee’s emails making most laptops unworkable, thankfully no opposition had gotten a hold of their latest but, it was only a matter of time.

“Why would you think I would sabotage you?” Gary smirked folding his arms leaning back.

Sintia didn’t like him, he was creepy and always went out his way to make her feel as if you were overreacting, and he knew better.

“The proof is right in Infront of you Gary,” She said sliding her iPad towards him to see, “that Is me logging on as an outsider, a 15year old fucking around on his pc at home could hack us in under a minute, how was that big gap in security missed?”

Gary sighed reaching for the iPad scrolling through.

“Ok so there is one little flaw, it will be fixed, your majesty.” He winked at her running his eyes up and down her black-tailer-made suit and white lace blouse.

He made her feel dirty and she wanted to scream, none tested her patience quite like him.

“Gary… I don’t think you understand how ser…”

“I do, you just need to cut me some slack and let me get it done, I can’t constantly be called out to fix everyone’s screens that show duplicate or an odd color, or their fonts aren’t set up right, stupid shit like that delays me in fixing things like this.” He pointed sliding the iPad back to her, she grabbed it flipping the lip closed walking to make herself a coffee, once again turning the tables not taking the blame, not manning up.

“You are supposed to be our top IT manager, if some of the staff have a simple issue, that wastes your time surely you have others working below you to delegate do you not?”

He was quite a long moment and she had the seeking suspicion that if he could strike her, he would. Sometimes reading a person is as easy as saying hello, others you can know your whole life as a good-natured being then Monday they in jail for going on a killing spree.

She wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the papers connected to missing people reports.

“Is there something else you need or may I go?” Gary snapped getting up talking to her back.

Sintia pushed the green “ready” button on her rose gold coffee pod machine waiting for her liquid therapist to give her that perfect healing touch, just the smell of the caffeine gave her the nerve to push on. She stirred her cup extra slow hoping it would piss him off as much as he had her.

“No, you may go, I want my security perfect, you have till first thing tomorrow morning you hear me? Or else you can start sending out your resume.” Sintra sat back behind her desk staring at him, she would not back down enough was enough. Gary looked at her for a long moment, she could see thoughts racing in his eyes and almost wanted to dare him to say something, then he suddenly got up making his way to her door.

“If a man was in charge this meeting would have been an email, and no one’s time would have been wasted.” He slammed her door before she could respond.

Sinita swallowed her scream along with a hot latte gulp, she would not show how he got to her.

Kiki popped her head in then.

“Anything I can get for you before your 10am meeting?” Kiki asked, ah her assistant, what a stroke of luck, she had had countless assistants who all wanted to be her or believe they would someday take over from her. Some had been too scared, others had lacked the experience their resume had said they had, which cost her thousands of dollars on “oops my bad” and none lastest longer than a week. But Kiki was quiet, headstrong, and did everything to the T, she was perfect at her job, making sure she never ran late, never forgot a thing to do.

“Yes, I want my lawyers to see me at 1pm.”

“You have a meeting with advertising then.” Kiki skimmed through her tablet looking for the next open slot, she dared not look up, she knew Sintia had one eyebrow raised wanting for a free slot. “I can book him in at 8pm today?”

“No move advertising to then, move my, I need to she the shareholders before them.”

“But we launch tomorrow on the…”

“Kiki,” Sintia cut her off rubbing her temples, “I did not mean to cut you off, but I know how long my meetings run, shareholders first, the advertising department can wait.” Sintra got up grabbing her bag and phone, it was almost flat again with all the notifications.

“Shell I get your car ready?” Kiki nodded moving her meetings around sending out the notifications of change.

“Well if I mustn’t be late the car should already be waiting.” Sintia walked out of her office giving one last glance at the view, she never got tired of the stunning city.

Sintia walked through her office catching her lift down, it was a normal busy Wednesday and would be till at least 10pm.

She sighed already exhausted, looking at the bags under her eyes through her makeup mirror, a little more base would do the trick, make up was still on point, and luckily no rain forecasted for today so her long black hair was down, sleek, and no fuzz anywhere.

The lift stopped at serval floors going down and every single time it opened the person who was about to enter had suddenly forgotten something or didn’t need the lift anymore or just stood there too stunned to function an excuse to not be in the same lift as the CEO alone.

Usually, she would have her assistant with her but with financial year-end and all the new launches, she was more useful at her desk assisting in running the show, perhaps she needed to look at a second assistant, the constant phoning and emailing was getting to her.

Ding, finally the doors opened on the ground floor she walked out greeting her doorman, and climbed into the open back seat of her sleek black C63 Merc.

Yes, it was a bit outdated, but it was a limited series, and the roar it gave soothed her soul.

“Where to miss?”

“Joe, you don’t need to ask me each time, I know you have my schedule on your dash.” Sintia smiled at him putting on her sunglasses, she knew he was only asking in case she wanted to stop and get a bite to eat, apart from Kiki he was the only other that checked her eating schedule too. She never stopped him asking, it helped when 11am came and she was shaking from the lack of food and overdose of coffee.

Joe put the car in gear and slipped into the traffic. Sintia sighed looking out over the central park, she had lived here for 8 years and still hadn’t walked through it, she knew her schedule only had a few random hours open in two months’ time and wondered if she could book time for herself, but FOMO was a real fear of hers and as Murphy would have it, the day she took off was the day aliens visited or a new governor was elected.

Tall trees swished past and she recalled the tall acorn trees that lined the edges of her parent’s farm, they barricaded the strong winds from breaking the crops, and as a kid, her brother and her would climb them looking out over the world playing all sorts of games in them; marooned pirates and the acorns were crocodiles were their favorite, those dam crocodiles never stopped attacking.

A distant memory but one of the few she hoped to hold on to forever, She missed her mom and brother, since getting on a plane, she hadn’t gotten on one back yet and from what she had read about how things were going in her home town she didn’t want to, they had had countless fights over the phone trying to get her back and she had fought back just as hard to get them to sell the dam farm and move here with her.

Her brother was aging faster than he should and their mother was still unable to assist with anything, but Sintia wasn’t a complete bitch, once she had reached the top she had set up endless appointments for her mom to see the best doctors, to get her nerve system fixed, sadly the damage done was irreversible and her mother needed a full-time nurse, which Sintia provided and paid for in full. Sintia had also sent enough monthly money to her brother to assist with the farm as well as hired enough staff to help despite his protests.

She really did miss them, thankfully as stubborn as the South African blood was in their family, her brother had finally given in and taken their mom and himself to a much-needed holiday to the sea which Sintia paid for in full.

When last had she had time off? All the money, no vacation? She shook her head, there was no time for a vacation now, was there?

The saying went something like if you love what you do you never work a day in your life.

Then why was she so drained, surely one needed a break, whether things were going great or not, a getaway for the soul was needed? She frowned pondering the thought

The faint smell of the most mouth-watering frying steak came through the aircon and her stomach growled, it was only 9:45am she hadn’t had breakfast but her lunch was defiantly planned.

Pulling up to her 10am meeting Joe opened her door helping her out, “Joe order us a Medium rear rump steak with cream spinach from that place we passed.” She nodded draping her handbag over her making her way to the lobby, she didn’t need to explain herself she had seen Joe’s nose left to the air sniffing the same dish.

“Yes ma’am” Joe bowed getting back into his driver’s seat getting on his cell to find Sintia her lunch.

The morning flew by and there had been no breathers between her meetings, so when she got back to her desk after starting up her never-failing rose gold liquid therapist she smelt it, ah the perfect lunch.

“Kiki you are a star” Sinita started walking back to her desk glancing at the clock it was almost 3pm and her next meeting was in 35minites. Kiki placed the plate in Infront of her making sure to line up the knife and fork as well as her crystal glass of water.

“Anything else?” she asked about to head back to her desk.

“Yes, when is my schedule clear?” Sintia asked starting her meal, Kiki looked at her confused.

“Free? Uhm, well, I have a few spots next month.”

“No I mean as in a week with nothing, no meeting, no urgent anything’s.”

Kiki looked at Sintia waving her hand and couldn’t help but snort a giggle, totally unprofessional of her but she knew Sintia having an empty schedule was as likely as rain on Mars, never.

“Uhm, if you looking to book someone in I can move your meetings around but, you don’t have any free days, and even if you did I have a secondary waiting list of meetings we need to attend.”

Sintia sighed picking at her steak, she had been so hungry but now, her appetite was gone. Why was she so down? She had everything she ever wanted, she could buy an island if need be, then why was something missing?

“Kiki I need a holiday.” She blurted out before she could process the thought. Kiki’s brows furrowed, it was only March, December was a long, long, long way away. “Don’t look at me with those crazy eyes, you know I haven’t taken a break in a few years, I just need to get away, somewhere quiet, somewhere I can rest my soul a bit,” Sintia said getting excited, yes a brake a little mini getaway to find my energy again.

“You, want to book, something for now?” Kiki asked stammering a bit, she knew her boss, sitting still somewhere quiet would drive her insane, “Now is not the best of times though, we have…”

“It’s never the best time, but I need some peace, find me what you can somewhere far away from the busy and rush my meetings up, I want to leave by the end of next week.”

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