After Shattered

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Chapter Two

After a fun weekend out and about with Mike, Monday came and work started in earnest the moment Yvonne entered the building. She went straight into a meeting with the managers of finance from the other departments.

Music had gone up; Sports and Apparel along with Computers had positive results. Insurance had remained the same, whereas the smallest department Transport and Travel had dipped ever so slightly. It was, overall, doing better than budgeted and well on track with targets. Presently Paxell was a good place to be working and there were no signs of the company slowing down.

Earlier in the year, the finance team had nominated Yvonne as the head of the ‘Finance Board’, so whenever the Executive Board needed representation from the financial or accounts teams, she would have to attend the meeting. Today was one such day, so it happened that ten minutes after her first meeting, she had to fulfil that role. Because of this, it was late afternoon before Yvonne encountered her new superior, the nameless 'Techno-Freak'.

Returning from her very long second meeting, she got whispers from the females in her department that the freak was, in actual fact, not a freak but very hot. There were also grumbles from the men, including Jean-Luc of Paxell Apparel, that he wasn’t too bad but was either too this or too that. All to his discredit, naturally.

Michael had not been in their shared office the first time she had stepped in to do a bit of desk work. She spent the rest of the morning working flat out to produce the results discussed in her two meetings. This work delayed her from getting to her own immediate workload so she ate lunch at her desk in an effort to catch up.

By the time she managed to rest a few minutes, she was weary and thinking of a hot bath once she got home. Leaning back in her chair, she closed her eyes for a moment. Michael walked in then.

She heard the door open behind her and him say, “Hello, Eve.”

Her eyes were still closed as she spoke. “Met the Freak yet?”

Michael cleared his throat and laughed softly. “Actually he wants to meet you.”

She moaned and squeezed her eyes tight. “Now?”

“Right now.”

That wasn’t Michael’s voice.

Yvonne took a deep breath, opened her eyes and turned her chair around. She registered a grinning Michael whom she vowed to kick the hell out of and an interested tall, handsome, athletic-looking man who now seemed a bit surprised.

She was used to that reaction so she stood up and smiled. “Hello. Yvonne Baker.”

She let him take in her appearance. Her slim yet shapely figure. Long legs standing in designer shoes, slender waist, ample bosom, hazelnut complexion and striking face all making up this lovely woman.

To his credit, he didn’t ogle like a complete idiot. Her extended hand was received firmly by the man who Michael now introduced. “Terence Matthews, the new SECD.”

Terrence smiled too. “Pleased to meet you.”

Michael made himself comfortable on the edge of Yvonne’s desk. “Hey, Yvonne, remember what you were saying about SCU?”

Her eyes narrowed slightly, “Yeah.” Pause. “Why the hell are you still grinning like that, Mike?”

“I went to school with this man! The academic accomplishments he acquired that Paxell was talking about? I have some of them too. We did them together, Eve.” He slapped Terrence on the shoulder and received a grin in response.

Yvonne kept a straight face and said drily, “Great. You’re both techno-geeks and you both wear glasses. How am I supposed to tell you apart?”

Terrence just stared at her. If she had had lighter skin, she would have been blushing. Instead she just said, “I’m sorry, it’s an office joke. No offense.”

Terrence merely shook his head. He hadn’t been offended by the statement about his looks, he had been looking at her eyes. They were a stunning hazel colour and he couldn’t help but be drawn to them. It’s like they could really see him. Obviously they couldn’t or she’d have known that the reason he was staring was her.

It was five o’clock.

Michael watched Yvonne’s end of day routine and asked her, “You coming for the wind down?”

She shook her head and said, “Ken is finally back in town.” She said her next words, tongue-in-cheek. “There is no way I am passing him up for you.”

Michael rubbed his jaw. “Ouch.”

She rounded the desk, where he was still seated and kissed his forehead. Then she smiled at Terrence again. “Nice meeting you. See you tomorrow, gentlemen.”

“Love that toffee booty.”

Curious as to how Yvonne was going to respond and not in a position to comment on that particular feature, Terrence just looked on.

Yvonne looked over her shoulder and winked at her workmate and friend before walking out the door.

For the entire week Michael and Yvonne barely saw each other until the last day when they were meant to clinch a major deal with the Charity Circle. Terrence opted to take a back seat during negotiations and watch whether Yvonne Baker and Michael Zimmerman were a pair worth keeping together, let alone in the same office.

As it happens, he was impressed.

They knew enough about the client to make the whole presentation relevant and completely applicable. It seemed, the two of them also had taken time to get to know the people they were meeting with today and their delivery was all about making their jobs easier and their net worth larger.

He watched them complete each other’s statements without overwhelming the prospective clients.

“You see, ladies and gentlemen,” Yvonne began one such statement, “Paxell can offer you twenty-four hour- and I really mean round-the-clock- benefits. Not only will your appeals to sponsors work on after you go to sleep…”

Michael picked up. “They will bank and invest the money as well.”

The duo explained the services and how they were programmed to work and Terrence could see that he wasn’t the only one taken by their efficient teamwork and clarity. As a result, the pair managed to get an extra amount of money from the founders. The deal was now worth one billion dollars.

After agreeing to have an appropriate contract drafted, Terrence Matthews walked their clients out, but not before he saw his new colleagues high five then withdraw their hands as if they were hot to the touch. He smiled slightly and left the room.

After traditional Friday night drinks, Mike and Eve didn’t see each other the whole weekend. Apparently Ken had other plans for his woman. Michael’s last words of farewell were, “Don’t worry, I’ll tell Terry all about you.”

“Ha-ha,” Yvonne’s eyes twinkled. “Then don’t forget to tell Matthews about the time I kicked Chad’s ass for you,” she said, referring to an ex-boyfriend of hers.

Michael came into their office on Monday morning whistling the SCU basketball team’s anthem. Yvonne rolled her eyes, saying wryly, “I see you two evoked the memories of them good ol’ days, huh Mike?”

He merely grinned. “Heads up.” He tossed her a packet of Rolo’s chocolates.

She jumped up from her desk and hugged him. “Oh, you’re my lifesaver Mike.”

His smile just widened. “I know.”

“Anymore hugs going around?” a voice asked from the door.

Yvonne smiled with a rueful shake of the head. “Sorry, boss. We try not to condone inter-company relations.”

Michael snorted and exchanged a manly handshake with Terrence.

“And Mike is an exception because..?”

“Well,” she affected breezy coquettishness, “me and Mike, we have a history.” She winked at Michael.

He smacked his lips in response, clearly pleased with the favour bestowed on him.

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