Obscene Gestures

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Chapter 1

“Dear God I hate my fucking job!” Tess grumbled to Meda on the phone. She just suffered through the longest meeting of her life. She was convinced it was the biggest disaster since the bombing of Nagasaki. “That fucking Ansel did it again, Meed! Right before the big presentation with Mr. Winslow! Ugh! Girl I worked my fucking ass off on that and already cleaned up his mess twice before. What the serious fuck!” The top was down on her convertible, her big Hollywood style sunglasses perched on her nose with her floral silk scarf flapping in the wind as her auburn hair whipped behind her.

“Aw honey I’m sorry. I’ve got the shots set up waiting for you to get here. We will drink, then we will plan Ansel’s demise.” Meda let out an evil cackle which made Tess giggle at her friend’s silly attempt to make her smile. Worked every time though.

“Thank God for you, girl. Tell my future ex husband to line ’em up double tonight because Mama needs to bust some heads!” Meda laughed through the Bluetooth. “Almost there. Byeeee!” Tess took a deep breath and blew out her cheeks as she weaved through the late afternoon traffic. Her destination was Micky’s and some much needed time with her BFF. She squealed into the parking lot and slammed the car into park. After the day she’d had, she didn’t care who was here or how fucked up she got. She needed this release damn it!

“Hot stuff coming through!” Tess shouted as she threw open the door to the Irish pub she’d practically grown up in and sashayed her way to the bar. “Hit me hard, handsome!” she winked at Marcus. He really was a total babe, she thought to herself. Why couldn’t she have fallen in love with him instead of that jack wagon Apollo fucking Dakiedes? Shaking her head, she slapped a loud sloppy kiss on Meda’s cheek and slammed back her first shot. “Aw yeah!” she sighed as she sank down on the bar stool. “Just what the doctor ordered!” The girls giggled. Tess leaned over for Marcus to plant a kiss on her cheek.

“What’s got you on a roll tonight, beautiful?” Marcus shot her his sexy little lopsided grin that had all the women at his beck and call. Tess rolled her eyes and lowered her head to the bar.

“Only the biggest fuck up in the history of all fuck ups…and it wasn’t even my fault! Ugh!” Without another word, she downed two more shots and proceeded to sip gingerly on her martini. “Oooh extra filthy, you hot hunk of manmeat! You know me so well, Marcus my love!” Marcus winked and sat the bottle down between the two women.

“So now tell me what happened,” Meda said. “I want to hear every juicy detail. It will help us in our plans of devastation.” She wiggled her eyebrows, making Tess burst into giggles again.

“You are the best, girl,” she said. “I don’t even know how the hell it happened. I kept such tight control over the material to prevent something like this. Somehow the little pointy eared weasel got a hold of it and changed everything. Everything! Like ten fucking minutes before the meeting! To say that Winslow wasn’t happy is a fucking understatement. He was livid.”

“Did he do the whole forehead vein popping thing?” Meda asked, sucking her vodka tonic through her straw.

“Oh God it was worse! He was so pissed he was stuttering. Stuttering, girl! Winslow doesn’t stutter! He’s probably one of the most well spoken people I’ve ever met, like perfect grammar every damn sentence. Dude was seriously freaking the fuck out. It was horrible.” Before she could set off on another tangent, her phone rang. “Hello?”

“Pritchard?” Oh shit. It was Winslow. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath.

“Hello Mr. Winslow, what can I do for you sir?” Her voice surprised her. It was smooth and even while her insides were erupting like Mount Vesuvius. Her boss began rattling off about incompetence and her inability to perform to expectations. Tess just sat there, her jaw almost in her lap.

“Hold up, homeboy,” she cut in. “Inability to perform? Are you serious right now? I have spent the last five years of my life slaving away at your shitty firm, pulling you out of mess after mess after mess. If anything, I have made your tired old ass look damn good. So good in fact that your stockholders have upped their percentage of financial investments by ten percent! Today’s fiasco had nothing to do with me and everything to do with that idiot you insisted be hired.” Tess’s face told Meda everything she needed to know about the conversation on the other end of the phone.

“You know what? I don’t need this job so badly that I put up with your sexist bullshit. I fucking quit!” Meda and Marcus eyed each other with shock. Marcus carefully poured three shots.

“Holy shit, Tee!” Meda laughed. “You just quit your fucking job! You are so badass!” She reached over and pulled Tess into a tight hug. “You did the right thing, babe. They didn’t deserve you. I’m so fucking proud of you for standing up for yourself.”

“Well I have to say, Tess Pritchard, you are one sexy beast of a woman when you’re angry. I could get down with that.” Marcus leaned over the bar, sliding a shot in her direction. “Like way down, baby.”

Tess giggled. She grabbed her shot and lifted her glass in a toast. “To saying goodbye to the shithouse!” The three friends toasted and downed their drink. “Ok I’m like seriously not going to be able to drive home so one of you bitches has to make sure I get in my bed.” The girls talked and laughed as if nothing was wrong in the world. They were just two friends having a great time.

“Oh oh oh!” Meda jumped in her seat. “I have a great idea! Come work for me!”

“Um, I’m not sure that’s possible babe,” Tess giggled.

“No, not on the ice. Come work for my foundation. I need a really strong public relations director and I can’t think of anyone better than you, my darling best friend.” Meda just started her foundation to promote equality in sports and creating a positive image for female athletes. Tess was speechless for a minute. Public relations director for her best friend’s foundation, doing something for the good of women athletes everywhere and the little girls who wanted to be them? She certainly had the skills and the connections, thanks to her father, and she would love nothing more than to be a part of raising women above the sexist standards that currently populated the world. That little voice in the back of her head nudged her to say yes. Giving Meda a big smile she threw her arms around her.

“I don’t know what to say, Meed!” She squeezed her hands together, her eyes shut and scrunched up her face. Then she literally exploded into Meda’s lap, almost taking the woman out of her barstool. “I would love to!”

“Yay!! Now we really have to celebrate! I’ll call the guys and…” she stopped when she saw Tess’s face fall. The sparkle dimmed in her eyes and her smile went lax. “No no, baby, I don’t mean he who shall not be named. I mean the others…that we both like.” Sighing deeply, the relief was abundantly evident on the redhead’s face.

“Personally, Tess baby, I think he’s a douche. Fucking stupid. If I had a woman like you wanting me, you can bet that amazing ass of yours you’d never want for a damn thing.” Marcus leaned over and kissed her forehead.

“Thanks, Marcus.” Tess leaned up on her knees and hugged the beefy bartender. It wasn’t long before the bar filled up with more Sounders as the guys came in one by one. The drinks were flowing and the music was loud. Despite the awful events of her day, Tess found herself having a great time. She didn’t think about the one person who was missing. Max and Nico didn’t let her. They kept her booze flowing and her ass grooving. When she found herself sandwiched between the two hot Russian heartthrobs, she deeply wished she could let herself give in to one of them.

The end of the night came. Max was going to drive Tess’s car home. Blake had scooped up Meda and after many flamboyant hugs and kisses, the women parted with drunken giggles. Nico gently tucked Tess into his car. She was happily humming to herself while he buckled her seatbelt, smiling when he dropped a kiss on her head.

“Oh Nico, you are so pretty!” she gushed. “I mean I know men don’t like to be called pretty but you, handsome belong on a fucking statue!” Nico laughed as he cranked the car and put it in reverse.

“Well, I don’t mind being called pretty,” his rich baritone caressed her ears. “Especially by someone as beautiful as you.” With a wink, he set off down the road.

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