I woke up Monday morning feeling well rested, but I knew I had to go into the office and see Lauren, my dad, my stepdad, and Zach. I was not ready to confront any of them, especially Zach, who had ignored all of my attempts to contact him.
            I dropped Gabi off at school and headed over to the office. When I got there, it was 8:48 a.m., and everyone was in a meeting that I had conveniently not been informed of. All relevant personnel from both practices were gathered, including Zach, who scowled me as I walked in.
            "Lateness will not be tolerated. That goes for executives as well. Explain why you finally decided to bless us with your presence forty-eight minutes late, Ms. Winterfield." 
            Attitude, huh? I'm the one who should have the fucking attitude.
            "Had I known about the meeting I would've been here on time."
            "No. This isn't the first meeting you've been late to, and everyone got the memo. I sent the message to Lauren last night, and she forwarded it to all employees."
            "I didn't get the memo," I countered with equal grit in my voice.
            "So you say, Ms. Winterfield," he responded.
            That son of a bitch. How dare he take that tone and attitude with me? I guess it was all about the sex with him. And me freaking out was a perfect way for him to make his escape. Damn, I am so stupid. I knew he was only after one thing. I hate him. Hate yourself for giving in to him so soon and without knowing him.
             "Page thirty-three, and don't worry about him. I heard he's some kind of demanding control freak—a real jerk," Timmie whispered when I sat down beside him so that only I could hear. Timmie was one of the administrative assistants. He had an athletic build and a medium stature. He was perfectly tanned, with brown hair and blue-gray eyes, and was very bi.
            "I'm sorry. It looks like Ms. Winterfield and Mr. Goldstein are having their own meeting. Care to discuss what you two are talking about while I'm trying to head a meeting here?" Zach demanded.
            Timmie frantically tried to tell him that he just gave me the page number, while I said nothing. I stared at him and rolled my eyes.
            "Mr. Goldstein, you are excused from this meeting. And do leave your employee badge with security after you clean your desk. Ms. Winterfield, do I have your attention now? And don't roll your eyes at me again. It's childish and something that you should've left at the playgrounds of your elementary school years ago."
            He just fired Timmie to prove a point to me! You evil bastard.
            "How dare you fire him for telling me a damn page number? What the hell is the matter with you?" I yelled at him, jumping from my seat. Everyone gasped as I stood to take on Zach McConnallay. My dad came over and tried to make me sit back down, but that didn't help. My mind had been made. I was going to defend Timmie.
            "Ms. Winterfield, are you being insubordinate? You are the president of this company and should carry yourself as such. Or did I make a poor decision when I promoted you?"
            "Did you make a poor decision in promoting me? Hell, yeah, you did, especially if you think I'm going to sit back and allow you to fire someone for telling me a damn page number."
            "Enough, Abigail," my dad whispered angrily in my ear.
            "You know this shit isn't fair," I said to him, loud enough for Zach to hear.
            "What's that, Ms. Winterfield?" Zach looked at me wrathfully.
            "Do you stand behind your bullshit position to relieve Mr. Goldstein of his position? For mentioning a goddamn page number?" I moved directly in front of Zach. He remained seated with his right leg over his left and both index fingers brought together, forming a triangle over his lips.
            "Yes, I do," he answered, shifting the triangle to the left of his lips and looking up at me. Sitting there with that smug-ass look.
            "Fine. That's hogwash, just like you, and you know it. You spew what you are. I guess you won't mind having this one as well." I took off my badge, dropped it in the middle of his lap, where his penis was, and turned quickly on my heels.
             My dad and stepdad ran out after me . "Have you lost your damn mind?" my father asked.
            Uncle Ernie was quick behind them, yelling loud enough that everyone in the conference room could hear us. "Do you know he can liquidate every goddamn thing we worked hard for in a matter of seconds? Get back in there and apologize to him." 
            In an equally loud tone, so that everyone could hear, I responded, "You should know me better than that by now, Uncle Ernie. I will not apologize for standing up to that asshole prick. He fired Timmie for no damn reason. For telling me to turn to page thirty-three. Come on now. I have standards, and I believe in what I just did. And if either of you think that hogwash-spewing jerk of a douche bag deserves to have his ass kissed to prevent him from liquidating the hell out of the company, then you can have my lip gloss and do it yourself!" I reached into my handbag and held up my lip gloss. Tossing it to Uncle Ernie, I turned away to get on the elevator, yelling, "Feel free to kiss away, gentlemen."
            "Abigail, what did you do? Why do I need to help you clean your desk?" Tim asked with narrowed eyebrows, following me into my office.
            "I quit. I'm not going to sit back and let him fire you for no damn reason. Fucking asshole. He did it to get back at me."
            "No, Abi. You shouldn't have. I can find work anywhere."
            "And what, I can't?"
            "I'm not saying it like that. This is your family's business, and you worked damn hard to get it to where it is today. That's all I'm saying."
            "My dad and stepdad should've never merged with him. He's a fucking asshole!" I blurted again. When I looked up, Zach was there.
            Zach looked intensely at me and then over at Timmie, who was trying to back out of the office.
           "Goldstein, you still here?" Zach asked.
            Tim turned and left my office to finish cleaning his desk. I stood there face-to-face with Zach and looked at him abhorrently. He slammed the door, closed the chocolate-brown linen blinds that hung on the wraparound glass wall, and came close to me.
            "Please step away from me," I said.
            Zach stepped back and sat on the corner of the desk. "Abigail?" he called out in a mild tone.
            "That's Ms. Winterfield to you, sir," I snapped.
            "OK. Ms. Winterfield. Look here, we have business to discuss."
            "Which part of 'I quit' don't you understand? If you want an official resignation, then I'll forward one to you this evening, via Lauren. Really, there's nothing here to discuss." I turned my back to him and began removing my belonging from the cabinet.
            He sighed deeply and seemed to be thinking hard about what to say next.
            "Abigail, sit down."
            "Excuse me?" I snapped, turning to face him.
            "Sit your stubborn ass down. My God, you are so goddamn stubborn, Abigail," he gritted through his teeth.
            "I told you it's Ms. Wint—"
            He cut me off. "Yeah, yeah. I know, it's Ms. Winterfield. Note well taken."
            "You don't know a thing about me to call me stubborn or address me as Abigail."
             He sat back down on the corner of my desk with an impish grin, shaking his head. I wanted nothing more than to slap that grin off his face. 
            "I bet you want to slap my face, don't you, Abi…um…Ms. Winterfield?" he asked devilishly. 
            I ignored him and asked, "Are you done?"
            Sensing I was serious, he pressed the intercom on my phone to Timmie's desk...

             I went down to the office where Timmie was cleaning his desk. I apologized to him and asked him to help me clean my desk as well.

Copyright © 2017 V. R. Avent. All Rights Reserved.