tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 09

Life as a New Hire Ch. 09

byFinalStand©

This story plays fast and loose with Ancient History and Linguistics; be warned.

Thanks to Chopperfan and MH aka Anonymous for combining on the editing.

Living every moment like it is your last is less attractive tomorrow.


*****

(Still Wednesday)

Katrina had left for wherever she snuck off to - I suggested to Aya it was a game room, Aya suggested it was as torture chamber - only to return when the next turn of the screws came. I was informed I had a visitor coming up by the name of Libra Chalmers plus a guest. Quickly enough they appeared. The guest turned out to be Brooke Lee.

"Who are these two?" Aya glibly spoke as the two Vassar girls walked into the room.

"Hello Libra," I greeted my almost date from last night. "Hello Ms. Lee," I said to Brooke.

"It's Brooke," Brooke smiled at me - she was hungry and scenting around for something remarkably like me.

"I'm happy to see you - oh - this is my guardian and protector, Aya Ruger," I made the introductions. "No lie, Aya has been keeping up with my workload while I've been on 'light' duty. Aya, this is Libra Chalmers and Brooke Lee, both from Vassar College. Brooke is Trent's friend and Libra had mercy on me Tuesday night and kept me from being a 'fifth' wheel."

"I'm actually Trent's fiancé," Brooke corrected.

"Fascinating," I lied. Oh fuck, that was NOT good.

"Cool. I'm happy to see the both of you, but what brings you to my office today?" I continued.

"Well, I showed up to ask for Trent and Libra asked for you," Brooke gave a sly smile.

"The thing was," Libra picked up the tale, "they were looking up Trent, but the front desk knew exactly who and where you were - so we came here first." My mind was busily working out how to pull Aya aside to give her a friendly warning when Katrina waltzed in.

"Ladies, this is my boss, Katrina Love, Head of Executive Services for Havenstone," I plastered a smile on my face.

"Katrina, this is Brooke Lee and Libra Chalmers. I met them Tuesday night," I kept things simple. Doom was impatient.

"Brooke is Trent's fiancé," Aya chimed in gleefully. She wasn't being malicious. She just didn't know any better. Katrina had been in the process of giving some congenial nods.

She stopped and turned on a dime. Damn it.

"Really?" Katrina's interest was piqued.

"Yes," Brooke beamed. She brandished her engagement ring in Katrina's face. Better yet, Katrina 'ooh'ed and 'aah'ed then spun on me.

"Cáel, I didn't know Trent was engaged," Katrina pierced me with those lethal ocular devices.

"Yeah, I bet you didn't," I groaned. "I only found out a moment ago." Trent had lied on his dating survey - slash application to Havenstone. They kinda/sorta made damn sure we had no external female attachments. It meant less bodies to dispose of if things went wrong.

I couldn't understand how they missed it then a curious custom/lifeline reared its ugly head.

"Brooke, that's your 'promise' ring, right?" I probed. "I'm sure Trent would get you a bigger rock for the actual engagement."

"Yes," Brooke confirmed. "We've decided to make the official engagement when our families take the Christmas Holiday at Hilton Head."

How could I express to Brooke that Christmas with Trent at Hilton Head was a rapidly vanishing dream? Katrina resumed her stroll to her desk.

"Katrina," I started my appeal. My argument was going to be that 'promise' rings didn't really count even though I knew her omission on his survey/application was bad enough already. Brian was different. If he chose to 'follow his career', she'd shed the prerequisite 17 tears and happily get on with her life. Girls like Brooke came looking and that wouldn't do.

"No," Katrina didn't even turn around. When she got to her desk, the phone calls began. Brooke was starting to realize something had happened. I gained a level of importance that extended beyond my bedroom sexpertise.

"Cáel, is something wrong?" Libra took my hand in hers.

"Trent may have neglected to mention some things during his job interview," I explained.

"Like?" Libra was getting concerned.

"Like the existence of Brooke," I answered. See, if Trent had written down his acquaintance to Brooke, Havenstone would have investigated her in the same way they investigated my mentor, Dr. Kimberly Geisler. She had admitted to the length, depth and termination of our affair.

The issue of her teaching me anything besides sex had never come up.

"What?" Brooke grew indignant. Not with Trent, but with me. See, I was still a peon in her eyes and casting dispersions on her guy, who she knew and trusted.

"Brooke," I sighed, "did any Havenstone personnel talk to you about Trent?"

"No," she admitted.

"Every single woman I was ever with was questioned about me and my relationship to them," I explained. "Trust me; that was a really long list." Libra had the answer to that confusion. She pulled out her phone and got a busy signal - that would be Havenstone' now-active jamming devices.

"What's the number?" I asked Libra. She was momentarily annoyed - then suspicion kicked in. She gave me the number. Caller ID indicated it was Marla, Libra's sister. I gave the phone up.

"Marla," Libra began, "did anyone from Havenstone Commercial Investments ever talk to you about Cáel?"

"Ummm, is he in trouble because of what I said?" Marla asked.

"What did you say?" Libra eyed me.

"I said he was a total asshole who broke my heart and given the opportunity I wouldn't mind watching he die a painful death," she confessed. "Only later did I realize I missed him and felt sorry about what I said."

"Do you know if they talked to any of his other former girlfriends?" Libra inquired.

"I am absolutely sure they talked to at least one other person," Marla mumbled. Her Aunt.

"Who? I need to talk to them," Libra continued.

"That wouldn't be wise," Marla responded. "Suffice it to say they didn't give a glowing review either." Libra hung up and gave me back my phone.

"Cáel, do you have a problem with women?" Brooke glowered at me.

"Yes, there are so many of them," I shrugged. "That seems to be my main issue."

"Cáel, how many women have you been with?" Libra mused.

"Around 200," I acceded.

"200! Holy Shit!" Libra gasped. Out of the blue,

"Of those, how many have dumped you for cheating only to come back to you later?" Katrina postulated.

"Around 40," I recalled.

"That's my Daddy!" Aya crowed proudly.

"What?" Brooke boggled.

"Not what you think!" I insisted. "Not what you think!"

"Aya is my niece," Katrina explained. "Cáel is not her biological father. He is her friend, paternal guide and guardian."

"Aya and I are in negotiations about me eventually marrying her mother, but I have assured her that is years and years off," I added.

"Cáel is not my real Daddy," Aya clarified. "He lets me pretend that he is."

"Besides Cáel, does that 200 include the past month?" Katrina diverted the conversation.

"Well...200 as in closer to 200 than 300," I grinned weakly.

"How did you graduate?" Libra followed along.

"I have a lot of stamina," I pointed out. Tessa Carmichael glided into the room.

"Brooke Lee?" she greeted the not-here-for-me girl.

"Yes? Do I know you?" Brooke was getting nervous and snippy.

"I'm Tessa Carmichael, Director of Human Resources for Havenstone. I handled the final interview process for Trent Grant," she smiled with deceptive warmth. She was furious. I could tell, having a long history with women in such moods.

"Is that Lee - L-E-E?" Tessa continued.

"Yes, what is this about?" Brooke persisted.

"You and Mr. Grant are in a long term relationship?" Tessa asked next.

"Answer my question," Brooke snapped. Thankfully Tessa wasn't Elsa.

"Trent lied on both his initial application and then twice in the interview process," Tessa relayed calmly.

"About dating me?" Brooke was confused.

"We will explain in a moment," Tessa smiled and patted Brooke on the upper arm.

Brooke and Libra were more poised than I believed was warranted. Suddenly, I peeled back eleven days of experience and realized they assumed that Aya's presence was some sort of armor against violence. Whoops. Olympia Shore entered the room followed by Trent. Bright yet careless, he immediately clued in on the crisis.

"Brooke..." Trent mumbled. Olympia shut the door once Trent was too far inside to run.

"Trent, what is going on? They say you didn't list me as an acquaintance and somehow that's important," Brooke grumbled.

"I - um - I can explain," Trent was addressing...the room?

"Be at peace, Trent," Tessa took over. This was her job and her fuck-up. "We only need your assurance that your relationship with Ms. Lee was terminated before you signed your contract with Havenstone Commercial Investments." Trent was looking for the right answer that would make everyone happy, but there wasn't one.

Had he warned me yesterday that Brooke was his lady, I could have warned Brooke to NEVER come here. Trent hadn't done that because it would have necessitated him explaining to Brooke that he had denied her existence in order to get a cushy job. Trent had deluded himself into thinking he could have it both ways, probably because lying had always worked before.

"I think there has been a misunderstanding," Trent began. The most important thing in the world to Trent was Trent and he could outfox these backwoods feminists. "I am willing to submit my resignation immediately over this unfortunate mistake." That was a feint. Sadly, the important ladies had zero faith in his words and had already decided his fate. Moron.

"All we need is for you to verify your relationship, Trent," Tessa remained congenial.

"I said I will quit," Trent asserted. Trent was probably curious why his concession wasn't working the way he'd planned.

"It is not that simple," Tessa sighed. "You see, when you submitted your final work contract, numerous people co-signed your accounting of events. These people will now be subject to severe criminal, financial and civil penalties."

"What?" Trent gulped. "What do you mean?"

"Trent, we gave you a substantial signing bonus plus benefits and salary. Those people who verified your application are liable for fraud. That would be two of your professors, the Dean of the School of Economics at Carnegie-Mellon, your father, uncle, both the current and previous fraternity presidents and a State Senator."

"You can't...that won't fly. My family and those organizations have lawyers and they'll fight this in the courts for years," Trent rallied.

"Because they all want fraud cases hanging over their heads," Tessa looked at Trent as if he was an unruly schoolboy. "You, of all people, should appreciate how aggressive our Financial Investigative department can be."

"They are going to crawl over all the finances of everyone who we bring suit against. It will be a very public fight that we will gladly bring to the press. Professors will lose their jobs, election campaigns opened to public scrutiny and your personal banking - and everyone they have financial ties to - will be equally targeted."

"If you want, your termination papers are on the way. We have already contacted Legal, who are preparing briefs to file with the District, State and Federal Courts," Katrina simmered.

"Trent," Tessa closed in for the kill, "if you state to us here and now that you are not now in, or plan to pursue a relationship with Ms. Brooke Lee, we can keep this indiscretion in-house."

That was the crux of the matter. At this point Felix and I would have fallen on our swords, admitted to the lie and stood by the lady. Felix was an asshole, but he was a 'face the world on his own terms' asshole. I admired that about him. Brian and Khalid would have evaded, leaving Brooke to swing in the breeze, because that was the kind of men they were - they had a Life Plan and no silly emotional attachment was going to slow them down.

Trent proved to be the latter type of 'man'.

"I decided to not continue a romantic entanglement with Brooke some time ago," he blatantly lied. The sharks in the room nodded politely. Brooke's mouth opened in outrage. Libra was rallying to Brooke and I was rallying to them both.

"Look, it is a 'promise ring', not an engagement ring," Trent created excuses. My arm wrapped around Brooke constricted painfully enough to distract her from Trent's cowardice so she focused on me.

"Wait," I whispered. "Please wait." My eyes must have projected my warning of caution.

"So," Tessa nodded sagely. "Your romantic relationship with Ms. Lee ended some time ago - say a year - and you were so past the relationship you forgot to include it on your list critically important people to be interviewed; the list you created and your sponsors signed off on." Run, Trent! Sense the trap and make a break for the door. Go down swinging like a man!

"Yes," Trent gratefully agreed. Chicken-shit. What mattered here was Trent, followed distantly by Trent's family name, buddies and academic mentors. I was willing to bet it was facing his family's disappointment was the deciding factor for Khalid. Sure, he had an ego. We all did, but Khalid was equally proud of his parentage and racial background.

He'd even had an ancestor in the 54th Massachusetts regiment in the Civil War. His ego had gotten him in trouble and he'd taken responsibility. Poor bastard. The girl was irrelevant. He'd have gladly bought his way out of the trouble if he could. Havenstone knew his weaknesses and dialed up the pressure until he acquiesced.

"Trent!" Brooke squawked. Trent got points for hutzpah.

"Brooke," he patiently regarded his discarded baggage, "it has been over for some time. College is over and I let you know we had to move on. Please, it is time for you to let go." Brooke's mouth fell open and a tear streaked down her eye.

"So Trent, Ms. Brooke Lee's absence was more a matter of a well-established emotional detachment, not a personal oversight. We believe you," Olympia agreed.

"That would be correct," Trent jumped on the life preserver offered by his boss.

"I disagree," Katrina stood up angrily. Nice acting. I would have believed it if I hadn't already figured out the script.

"Katrina, Trent is an indispensable member of MY team and his progression is something I am paying close attention to," Olympia protected her body-shaped sperm dispenser.

"No," Tessa joined the attack.

"I'll take responsibility for this," Olympia challenged her associates. "I'll have Trent relocated to our East Asian section so he'll no longer be a worry for you two."

They even used the word 'relocate' and Trent was still grinning like a Christmas Elf on the 26th of December. Idiot.

"Trent, how about we get you out of this poisonous atmosphere for a year, or two, and move you to a place where you can shine?" Olympia asked her victim.

"That would be great, Olympia," Trent's relief came through. Cowardly, selfish smuck.

"Well, this meeting is over," Olympia declared. She took Trent by the arm and led him out of Katrina's office. I resisted the impulse to request Trent tell Khalid 'hello' for me. Brooke turned to Libra, leaned into her and started sobbing.

Why all the drama? Now Brooke and Libra, outsiders and long term associates of the vanished, could testify that Trent WILLINGLY threw himself off the face of the Earth. Khalid's relocation might someday be a problem. No one would come looking for Trent after Brooke and Libra got done with him socially - and it was all self-inflicted, the ignoramus.

It was all about loyalty here at Havenstone. My steadfast loyalty to Katrina, paid for in blood, was why I was still running around with the knowledge I possessed. For all my numerous, obvious flaws, there was a sliver of my personality they could identify with. Stepping in front of Leona wasn't solely a matter of bravery.

They acknowledged I was brave for doing it, yet the factor that mattered to them was that my bravery's source was my loyalty to Katrina and her house. No one assumed I was suicidal - there was confidence that Tessa and Katrina would have screened for that, even though the majority of the Amazons didn't like what they were doing.

Khalid had let his balls outweigh his reason. Trent hadn't shown physical cowardice; he was probably martially proficient. His flaw was a weakness of character. He saw every organization as nothing more than a vehicle for his personal advancement. In the rest of corporate civilization, that wasn't so bad, but he wasn't in the sane, morally-compromising, big business world.

He was in Havenstone. They tossed a truckload of money his way, lured him away from other promising offers to reel him - all of us - in. They expected honesty (from us lowly males), loyalty to their company and devotion to their cause even though they had no intention of telling us what it was for some time. Fair - it wasn't.

"Katrina?" I got my boss's attention.

"Take the rest of the day off, Cáel," Katrina responded. "Aya, you will be staying with me tonight. Cáel you need to be at Medical 11:00 pm."

"Thanks Katrina," I nodded her way. I retrieved my crutches, gave Aya a kiss on the top of her head, another on her forehead, sealed with her hug.

By the time we reached the elevator, Brooke was transforming from shell-shocked to righteously pissed. HE (whose name it wasn't safe to mention) had the temerity to dump HER. She was going to socially BBQ his ass with the hidden benefit that ole Trent was about to be incommunicado for the next few months.

"Cáel, what just happened?" Libra asked softly. "Who do you really work for?" Suddenly that little 'corporate confidentiality' discussion I had with Trent had a new, sinister implication.

"That bastard dumped me in front of a bunch of strangers!" Brooke seethed. If there was any doubt, I am a bastard too.

"It was worse than that," I consoled Brooke. "He lied about your intimacy so he could get this job." I didn't bring up the crap I went through because I didn't matter in her world.

"Did you lie about anything?" Libra asked.

"I didn't describe any of my relationships, but I did list everyone I had contact with," I answered.

"Why would they do something so bizarre?" Libra hugged Brooke.

"I haven't seen inside the minds of Human Resources, yet I get the feeling that Havenstone is a very closed system. Personal loyalty, honesty and accountability all rate highly with them. Havenstone doesn't worry about personal embarrassment. The only people who are going to know are their staff and they don't use such things in inter-office politics," I explained.

"How did you get a job here anyway?" Brooke snapped. She meant was, how did a knuckle-dragger like me get the same business opportunity as Brian, Felix, Khalid and Trent? She was lashing out in anger at the closest male - my background and name were irrelevant. I had nailed girls like this all the time. Anger leads to poor decision making which leads to her hectic hunt for her clothes in my domicile sometime after us having sex.

"I proved to be just as good, if not better, than every other candidate," I glared right back. Brooke didn't want me apologetic, joking, or silent. She wanted me to be a strong, solid and unyielding. Why? Trent had just shattered the bedrock of her future and she was desperately seeking any foundation to set down on. It could be temporary, but had to be quick.

"I don't see how that is possible," Brooke glared. Brooke was used to being pampered and catered to. It was her birthright.

"That's the difference between you and me, Brooke," I met her stare. By Brooke, I meant Trent and we both knew it.

"I have fought for everything I've earned and if I've learned anything it is to appreciate my good fortune." Meaning women. The supposition was that I would never have undervalued, or abandoned, a woman as wonderful and complete as Brooke. I could see the mathematical calculations going on behind Brooke's eyes.

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