Chapter 2 (Excerpt 3)
The meeting was just a few of us managers. D, myself, Morissa, Andy, and Mark. It wasn’t the most exciting meeting. We talked about the day to day, how many calls we were generating per hour with the workers, any mishaps we felt should be discussed (basically it meant any of the workers who were being pains in the ass and how to go about the disciplinary actions for each case), and then the change in CEO.
Morissa and Andy both were dealing with the transitions inside our company, seeing as how our corporate office was located in damn near Silicon Valley (they both were tech geeks and both had come from corporate so they knew a lot more about the inner workings in that place than any of us did). Morissa the Firehair I called her because she was a tall, ivory-skinned, freckled-faced woman with the reddest hair I had ever seen and piercing green eyes with a cute little up-turned nose and pink lips. A vibrant red, not pale or fading like others, almost as if she colored it but she said she doesn’t. And I didn’t see any reason to argue about it. She normally wore it down, as it was past her shoulders, to the middle of her back. When I first met her, it was a chin-length bob, so it grew quite a bit in the past 2 1/2 years that I was working there. She wasn’t tall and skinny, but tall and full-bodied. Curves. She was proud of it too. She looked like she could fight if she needed to though. Andy was tall and thin, nothing curvy about him, not even his chest or derriere. He was all angles and pointy chinned, wide brown eyes and long, straight nose. He used to have his brown hair long and down his back as well but he since then cut it for a more manageable hair style that he could just run some hair goop through and let go. He got rid of the long hair only to grow out a monstrous beard. I guess it was a choice between the two, not both. He was somewhat handsome, although his lips were a little too thin for my liking, and very homosexual and he let it be known. He had a group of admirers until he brought his boyfriend to a company picnic and they all just fell off like flies.
I was good friends with Andy outside of work but we didn’t talk all the time. Morissa, however, was like a recluse and didn’t speak to anyone from work outside of work. She got on very well with just about everyone, but she didn’t make it a habit to get too personal with anyone. That made me respect her but also not trust her and that was fine with me, seeing as how I didn’t trust that many people anyway. I knew I could trust D though. He sat in his chair like he was a boss indeed. He came from corporate as well. He was the first to come, and just decided to stay.
“So from what we gathered while we were at the corp office, the new CEO is from a bigger company over in Europe. Tech based. Nothing like this that we do here, but very successful nonetheless,” Morissa said as she handed over a packet of paper to D. “He gets results. Why he decided to come over to our company remains to be seen, but then again, no one has told us a damn thing. We’re still a little left in the dark on the minuscule details of the deal, but all we know is he’s a very big deal in London and Japan. The umbrella corp that owns our company and oversees our corp here also was partnering with the company this new guy was head of. I think Andy can probably explain it a lot better because truth be told, I’m still a little flabbergasted about this. I’ve never seen a business make this type of move and not tell their employees or hell, the shareholders about who they’ve appointed to the position.”
I was concerned because Morissa was a self-professed know-it-all and for her to not know much of anything when it came to her job was very worrisome to me.
We all looked at Andy as he cleared his throat. “Well, to be completely honest, all I got was a name. At least I got that. His name is Andrei Vulpes. I can’t Google him though because I didn’t get any pictures-”
“Wait, you were looking for pictures of this guy?” D interrupted Andy, in disbelief.
Andy nodded. “Well, yeah, who doesn’t Google people? Anyway, so I tried to Google him, nothing much came up. It just gave some old man and other mundane information about the old man that was pictured but I’m pretty sure he’s much younger than the man I saw.”
“Okay, so we don’t know who the new CEO is. Why does this matter to us, any of us?” D said. I was almost going to say the same thing but I had my listening ears on, not my turn to speak.
“I feel like we need to put a face to the name. We’re just curious. Aren’t you the least bit curious yourself, Dimitri?” Morissa was playing with her hair but her eyes were all for D’s reaction and response.
D shrugged. “I can honestly tell you that I don’t give one iota about what this guy looks like, what his favorite color is, his favorite music or artist or any of that irrelevant bullshit, I care about what he can do for us. And what he has to offer to this company, to our brand. We generate over $2.5 Billion per year. That’s on average. This is what we’re good at, and all I want to know is if he can keep this coming. If you’re gonna Google him, Google his business acumen, see what his so-called successes are. Can we do that, if that’s what we’re doing, researching people?”
He looked at both Morissa and Andy for an answer. Morissa was the only one that answered because I think Andy was offended. “Of course, Dimitri. Andy and I will do that. Aside from that however, we are still on the rise as far as investors. We’ve just added that new porn star Hailey Storms via the marketing team to our new ads. So far, response has been favorable, more or less.”
I stifled a laugh. D looked over at me with tight eyes. Everyone else just looked at me like I hadn’t been there a minute ago and now I just sort of appeared out of thin air. “Sorry. I had a tickle in the back of my throat. Please continue.”
D gave me full on angry face for a second before averting his eyes back to Morissa. I only laughed because I caught the corner of his mouth twitch a bit when Morissa brought up Hailey’s name because D and Hailey used to have a thing going on for a short while before he and Ana started dating. I just thought it was funny how his ex hook-up was now the face of our company. Funny how life worked. For him, anyway.
“Okay,” D started as soon as he had the floor once again, and everyone’s full attention,”so we’ve got the new face, it’s working out, and that’s great. This quarter looks like it’s bound to be a very promising one. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and continue on our rise. Anything else we need to discuss?”
“So, is anyone else having issues with their servers? Or is it just me?” I asked.
“Mine is running great.” D said.
“I don’t have any issues with mine,” Andy gave his answer. D rolled his eyes. For some reason, Andy was seeming to annoy D lately. I wondered why.
“It better be working fine, what with you Googling people.” D fired out.
Andy gave him a death stare. “I’ll pretend like I didn’t hear that.”
“Mine is running well as well. Have you downloaded anything, or opened up any files in emails lately?” Morissa seemed to be the only one who was somewhat concerned. Whether it was genuine or not, I couldn’t really tell.
“I haven’t. Just the usual emails, no files that seemed to be corrupt. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
Mark smiled. “Well have you been watching any porn lately?” He was trying to be funny and I wanted to throw something at that smug face of his. He reminded me of Matt Bomer with his dark hair and light eyes, great cheek bones and very nice, full lips, but his attitude was down-right deplorable. Very hoity-toity. He was a trust-fund baby and his father just so happened to be one of the chairmen for the company. He was very good to look at but he was just one of those guys who felt they deserved absolutely everything for nothing. He had no problems letting people know his grandmother was legendary screen siren Margot Rudebaker. He mentioned it at least three to four times a day. As handsome as he is, he can’t seem to keep a relationship for more than 3 months. That and he is just a playboy, a huge playboy. He admitted that if he could marry three women at once, he would in a heartbeat. He and D were very good friends. That should’ve made me wary of D but D wasn’t like him personality wise. Plus, D was getting married so he was definitely nothing like Mark.
I almost ignored him because that’s what I usually did with Mark because he really had nothing to lend to the company except for his lovely face, but I was in a charitable mood and decided to give him an answer. “No more than you have, my dear.”
“And yet my computer is working just fine. So, what did you do to make it not run smoothly?” He leaned back in his chair in a dark navy cashmere sweater that probably cost more than my entire outfit put together.
“It doesn’t matter,” D interjected. “You already called IT, right?”
“Yes I did. They’re sending a guy today before 2.”
“Perfect. Problem solved.” D smiled. He was so handsome sometimes but I had to remind myself not to look too hard.
“We just have one thing that I’m a little worried about. There’s been some creep calling and the girls have blocked him but he still keeps calling, maybe from a different number every time. It’s making them on edge. Two women have even said they won’t be able to work here anymore if it happens again.” I told D, well, everyone, but more pointedly D.
“I think Ana brought that to my attention as well, so I don’t know what exactly we can do about it except for report it to the police since he’s basically harassing the girls. Other than that, that’s the best we can do at this present time.” D looked around the room at each of us. I think he was just trying to see if anyone would bring up Ana. Maybe I was being paranoid, like it was my news. “Anything else you guys want to bring up or can we go back to our day?”
“Congratulations?” Morissa smiled. She knew. I just looked at her and waited to see if she’d finish it.
D played confused. “Congratulations? What do you mean…”.
“I mean…you’re engaged, aren’t you?” She asked.
D almost didn’t answer. He just shook his head. “I don’t want to talk about that but I am indeed engaged, yes.”
Morissa laughed. “Why are you acting like no one would’ve found out? My God, you’re so weird! It’s not a secret that you and Ana have been seeing one another, I saw you two out and about. And I ran into her last night and she showed me the ring. I just put two and two together, just like everyone else. That, and she is telling some of the girls in the office building.”
Mark let out an uproarious laugh. “You just got bagged! I can’t believe it! You, engaged! I thought you were going to be a bachelor for life.”
“Yeah, yeah, get it out, get it all out,” D smiled but his energy said peeved. He really didn’t want anyone to know. I almost felt bad for him. This is supposed to be a joyous moment and here he was acting as if it was a taboo thing. “I’m in a good place in my life and I just so happened to have met a wonderful woman so I made the call. And I’m not regretting it.”
“Your parents must’ve been giving you shit for not being married already with at least two kids,” Mark told him. He was a dickhead. “Well, congrats, and with every fallen soldier, that leaves me millions more women.”
“Okay, that’s enough, let’s end this little meeting. Good chat, you guys.” D rose up from his chair while everyone followed suit and gave him their congratulations and handshakes. I just smirked and started walking out. As soon as I was walking back to my office, I saw a few girls and a guy gathered around Ana’s desk, and I could hear her talking about how D popped the question and her reaction and all that great stuff. They should’ve spread like mustard but instead they pretended not to notice me coming their way. I cleared my throat and that garnered me a backward glance or two. “I don’t think it’s break time yet, is it?” I asked them as they all started to stand up. They realized I was serious and told Ana they’d talk to her later. I just looked at Ana while she pretended to be reading whatever was on her monitor. “Ana, did the IT guy call yet?”
She looked like she was startled. “Oh, um, no, no calls yet. Not for you, but I do have something for Morissa. Can I go tell her?”
“Yeah, of course.” I started walking through my office door when I heard her get up from her seat. I closed my door and rummaged through the packet of paper Morissa had handed out. I was barely reading anything on it because I was too busy wondering what was so good about Ana to have her receive a ring in eight months? Was it true love for them or was she just some conniving little wench? And why was I so damn perturbed by it, by her? I just couldn’t put my finger on it but I didn’t trust her, no matter what, and I was feeling guilty about it. But then again, like I mentioned, I hardly trusted anyone anyway. And then I thought to myself, maybe I’m just jealous. Jealousy tends to be an ugly monster, and here I was letting it lead me by the hand.