May was like a banshee on heat this morning, shrieking about how her basketball kit hadn’t been washed like it was the end of the fucking world. I told her no-one would care because it’s only a practice but apparently that was definitely the wrong thing to say because I ended up wearing the coffee I made myself without getting a drop.
Then I get here and ‘trying to pass of last seasons as this seasons Gucci’ over there breaks the fucking coffee machine! I’d send her to the place across the street but Sonya still isn’t here and the phones have been calling all day. We were approaching Christmas season which meant everyone who was anyone wanted us for their Christmas party.
Sonya was always very selective of our clients this time of year. We could never fulfil all the offers so she would only pick the two that would make us the most money and give us the most recognition, but so far she hadn’t even attempted to narrow down the list.
I’d called and called but there was never any answer. It wasn’t unusual for Sonya to flake but she never went this long into the day without checking in and I was actually feeling worried. Maybe it was nearly losing Helena the way I did but I was feeling lot more invested in the well being of the people around me.
Al was low too. Jayce left this morning for training and wouldn’t be back for at least a week, if not longer. It was always going to be hard when he had to leave but she was so far along in her pregnancy now she was finding it hard to even get through the day of attacking hormones when he was here, I’m worried for how she’s going to be now he’s gone.
She was keeping herself busy with the house, work and visiting at the hospital. The clinic ran into some issues so the official opening had been delayed but they were still letting her work from home virtually. I’d bet my favourite pair of boots she’d be sleeping in my room tonight though.
“Do you want me to bother making up files for the charities that want time donated? You know she just says no.” Why does she insist on talking through her fucking nose?
I look at the stack of papers on slut-faces desk. “No, just dump them over here and I’ll see if there’s anything worth doing.” Sonya wasn’t great with doing charity unless it earned her a load of free publicity and a healthy tax break. We’d get offers every month from different places asking if we’d volunteer the time to organise the event but in most cases we just didn’t have the time.
She dropped the pile of papers on my desk with an overzealous smile and the wood beneath groaned almost as loudly as I did.
We were both distracted when the glass doors opened, the lack of tears from the receptionist and no click clacking of stilettos meant we had no warning that Sonya had entered the room.
Fuck. She looked rough.
Not drunk or hungover rough, like she hadn’t slept in a week rough. Although it wasn’t her poorly placed lipstick, red bloodshot eyes or slightly creased skirt that was the most troubling... She was wearing flat’s.
I once saw Sonya attend a yoga retreat and complete every move from downward dog to a headstand still in her six inch Louis Vuitton’s. Something was seriously fucking wrong here.
“Brianna, a word in my office, please.” Please? Did she just say fucking please? Okay this really is bad.
She walks straight into her office without so much as glancing at anyone else in the room, leaving the door open just enough for me to squeeze through before slamming it behind me.
“Sonya, is everything-” I’m cut off as she starts riffling through her drawers, pulling out random objects and shoving them into her purse.
Her back faces me as she begins to talk, now searching through the papers on her desk for something she didn’t seem to want to find. “I need to take a few days off. Maybe a week at most. I’ll need you to cover for me here. I’ll be available on my cell if anything dramatic comes up. I’ll need you to pick the Christmas events and do the initial planning introductions. I trust you’ll be capable of completing that?”
I nod before I realise she can’t actually see me. “Yes of course, but fuck all that Sonya. Are you okay?”
She stops, her head falling into her hands as she takes some deep breaths. “My dad died last night.”
Oh fuck. “Sonya, I’m so-”
She places her hand up to stop me, finally turning so I can see the pain on her face. She looks exhausted, the redness in her eyes hurts to even see in a woman who prides herself on being so strong. She lowers her hand and wraps her arms around herself as she looks away from me and out the window.
“Please don’t Brianna. If one more person gives me a fake bout of sympathy I’m going to hurl them through the nearest fucking window.” She’s pissed and I get it. I don’t handle grief well myself, always flying off the handle instead of actually facing up to it. “I just... He was all I had. He died and I sat alone in that hallway with a phone full of phone numbers and no-one I felt I could or should ring... He was who I called, when things got shit or if things got good, I just called my dad.”
She turned to face me, sitting back on the edge of her desk. The tears were now hurrying down her face like track marks through her foundation. “Who do you call in the darkness when you no longer have your light?”
That’s the thing with this world, I saw it at the mansion too. They have money, so much money, but it can’t by them what they really need in these moments.
I step towards her with my arms extending on instinct, but she stiffens and forces her way further back into the desk. “You dare fucking hug me Brianna and I will fire you.”
I shrug, she couldn’t do this shit without me and she knows it. “Fire me then, but girl, you need a hug.” I pull her into my arms before she has time to protest and hold her tight. She stays stiff as a board but I just stay there, I know she needs this.
Just as I prepare to feel her smack me away she crumbles, her body hanging loose in my arms until finally she begins to sob.
I don’t know how long it’s been since Sonya has been held but the way she’s gripping onto my shirt right now tells me it was too long. She becomes so weighted in my arms we both fall to the floor but I refuse to let go, her head heavy with the tears she’s been holding back and becoming lighter with every strangled sob.
People often forget how strong women can also be so vulnerable. Right now all she needed was for someone to be there for her, someone just to tell her it was okay to cry or scream or smash something if that’s what she needs. She doesn’t have that, the world has alienated her to the point she can’t let her guard down until someone like me forces her too.
“Your dad is so proud of you babe. He showed me how much he loved you within five minutes of meeting him. Every step you take from here on out you have to remember who you’re doing it for. You walk with your head held high because that’s who he raised you to be. You are strong and beautiful, him not being here doesn’t change the person he always knew you could be. You just have to keep proving it, every single fucking day, you prove to every fucker who ever said you can’t that with a man like that in your corner, you fucking can.”
I swear for a moment, just a single moment, there was a hint of a smile on her lips. It’s gone quickly though as the cries return.
We sit on her floor, me cradling her head to my chest and just letting her get it all out. I see her phone light up from its position on the rug with a text message from Peter, making me smile until I read what it says.
‘Sonya, call me. I don’t give a fuck about the job, I just want to be there for you. Please let me.’
What about his job? “Sonya, what happened with Peter?”
She begins to sob harder, her body stiffer than it was before like she’s trying to fight off the emotions trying to take hold of her. She stutters as she speaks, the words hurting as she tries to push them out.
“I fired him.”
I pull her away from my shoulder to look at her face. “What the fuck? Why?”
She just shakes her head. “He was the only one I wanted to call. When I was staring at my phone he was the only voice I wanted to hear... I knew I had to get him far away from me. He’s a good man, kinder than anyone else I know. His life would be ruined being with someone like me. I’d only fuck him up... he deserves better.”
Oh girl, been there done that and well on my way to owning the fucking t-shirt store. She doesn’t even see it does she?
“Sonya, you stupid cow. You are his fucking world. You fired him a few hours ago from a job he’s stayed in for eight fucking years just to be close to you and yet what’s his reaction? He still just wants to be here for you... I’m calling him.”
I snatch the phone from the rug whilst Sonya attempts to wrestle it from me. “You’ll do no such thing! BRIANNA!”
Oh yeah? Watch me. I slam her tiny body down to the ground and pin her arms under my knees whilst straddling her chest as she screams in protest. Slutty no boobs attempts to get into the room but I pop my head up from behind the desk to tell her to fuck off.
Grabbing hold of her hand I hold her thumb to the phone and unlock it while she attempts to claw at me with her acrylics. Clearly she didn’t grow up with a little sister because otherwise she’d know my skin is immune to the attacks of a bitch-fight.
“Brianna I swear to all that is holy, if you press one button on that phone I will dgdhshsbd!” I lose the last part of her threat as I hold my hand tightly over her mouth as the phone starts to call Peter.
“I’m doing this for your own good. You better thank me in your wedding toast.” She glares at me and attempts to bite the palm of my hand just as Peter picks up the call.
“Sonya, thank fuck. Are you okay?”
Bless, he is so panicked. “Actually Peter it’s Brie, you took me to the hospital the night of the engagement party? Look, Sonya needs you. She won’t fucking say it but she does and I know you want to be with her right now too. How quickly can you get to the office?”
He pauses. “I’m actually on my way there now, I wanted to make sure she’s okay. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“Okay, hurry.” I hang up the phone and toss it across the room so she can’t call him back and end this.
I look down at her below me, her face contorted in anger but I know it’s not real. I’ve seen her pissed but right now this is just a mask for fear... a fear I know well.
“Sonya, I don’t know what happened or why you feel this way but I going to tell you something so many women need to hear but rarely do and I hope you can find it in that pig headed skull of yours to listen... You deserve to be loved Sonya. You are worthy of it. It will not lessen your value as a strong independent woman to have someone support you. You are valuable enough to be someone’s everything. You are not so broken that no-one will be able to find a place in their heart for you. You can let yourself be loved Sonya, he will love you if you let him.”
She stops fighting me. Her body relaxes and I can see the tears forming in her eyes as she swallows my words. I see the fear mix with the desire to let herself feel what he has to offer in her eyes. She wants to let him in, she just doesn’t know how.
“One step at a time. Right now just let him be there, like he wants to be. Let it come naturally. It could change your life.”
She nods under the hand I still have placed over her mouth, a single tear falling to coat her cheek.
“Okay, if I let you go do you promise to behave? I mean, I’m sure Peter isn’t the type to judge when walking in to see a bit of girl on girl action but I don’t know it would give the impression you’re looking for in this moment.”
She glares at me and the growl she let’s out against my hand tells me I’ve used up all the slack she’s ever going to give me.
I jump up quickly and pull her onto her feet to face me. Her usually perfectly placed hair is now stuck to her cheeks in a mixture of tears and sweat, I brush it away and attempt to tuck it behind her ears before she swats me away and does it herself.
“You ever tell anyone you saw me cry Brianna and I’ll-”
“Have my nipples pickled and kept in a jar on your fireplace. Yeah, I know.”
She smirks at me. Whether she wants to admit it on not, she likes me.
A strong nasal voice comes from outside the frosted glass doors.
“Excuse me, you can’t just walk in there!”
The doors swing open and Peter steps through without a care for the bitch behind him threatening to call security. He looks at Sonya and in a moment of complete surrender she runs into his arms.
I realise I’m nothing to them anymore, just a blurry chocolate blob in the haze that surrounds their vision of each other. I leave the office to let them have their moment together but the unmistakable sound of tongues lapping against each other as I exit the room leaves little to the imagination.
You get it girl.
Settling back in my desk chair I smirk over at Brittany 2.0 who still seems slightly lost about what the hell is going on here. It doesn’t take too long for Sonya to re-emerge, her face clear of tears but her clothes even more dishevelled than they were earlier. I look down to where her hand sits in Peters, his eyes completely locked on hers as she stands with all the authority of the boss bitch she is.
“I won’t be staying at home Brianna, I can’t go back there. We’ll be at my suite in the plaza if you need me.” I wiggle my eyebrows at Peter when she uses ‘We’ll be staying’ which he responds too by looking at the gorgeous woman next to him with a face of pure awe. “Just pick two parties, get the ball rolling and stay the fuck out of my office.”
I nod, excitement bubbling within me already at the thought of sitting in her chair the minute she leaves here.
Peter opens the door for her to leave.
“So, should I get them all to start calling me boss now?”
She flips around quickly and gives me a glare that stares directly into my soul with a choke hold. She may be open to the love of a good man now but she’s still not a bitch to mess with, I just needed that reminder.
“Don’t make me regret this Brianna.”
“You won’t.” She walks through the office with her head held high and so much authority in her presence that I doubt anyone was able to look her in the eye long enough to notice her ruined make up or her hand in her drivers one.
I’m fucking proud of that woman.
“Brianna? She left you in charge?”
That’s right bitch. I lean my legs up onto my desk and cross my ankles as I stare at her.
“Just call me the fucking queen.” She starts to throw a tantrum like a toddler, swinging her arms and shouting curses at me while I just bask in the power of my self appointed authority.
Staring at the pile of papers on my desk my eye is immediately caught by the one on top.
‘Offer to organise the charity Christmas gala for The Westbrooke Dementia Support Society.’
A smile crosses my face, my heart filling with joy as I remember Sonya’s father’s happy light.
We’re gonna do this one for your dad Sonya.