The Devil and an AngelbyTxRad©
Fred Turner from the legal department stuck his head in the door of the boss's office and said, "The bitch is at it again!"
"I assume you're referring to Jana Davis. Yeah, I know she's a pain in the ass but I wouldn't go so far as to call her a bitch," Tom Green replied.
"What else would you call her? She's filed lawsuit number thirty-four, which means she's batting a thousand on the bitch scale with me. It's another one for the same old EPA compliance and inspection bullshit, only this time she's asked for a cease and desist order until we agree."
"Judge Howard has tossed out the others, so why is this one a problem?"
"She filed this one in district court, above Judge Howard's head, with a Judge Larkin. Larkin is a card-carrying tree hugger from way back, not to mention female. She has issued the cease and desists. I've got forty-five thousand a day worth of men and equipment sitting around doing nothing until the EPA gets off it's dead ass."
"And?" Tom Green asked with a frown. "The cleanup is nearly done on all that stuff we got from Readover Oil. So what is the problem?" As President and principle owner of Green Leaf Oil, forty-five grand was not exactly pocket change. He should know, it was his pocket.
"Getting the EPA off its dead ass and out to do the inspections. That or to get her to drop the suits. You're the boss, what do you want done? We sit still we lose money, we counter sue we lose money. We don't drill we lose the lease. I've already got the legal team working on it but that Judge is denying everything we throw at her."
Tom leaned back in his chair and motioned Fred to have a seat. After a while, he sat up, picked up his phone, and punched the button for Accounting. When Accounting answered, he said, "Agnes, make me up one of those fancy checks we use for new investors. The name is Jana Davis and the amount is five hundred thousand. Send it up to my office when you have it ready."
"She's not going to take a bribe, boss." Fred told him. "She's one of those environmental nuts, through and through. Readover Oil screwed up a lot of good land in her county and since we've bought them out, she's been up our ass full time."
"It's not a bribe Fred, it's a way of getting her attention. You keep doing whatever it is you guys do and let me try something different."
Fred stood up and looked at his boss. "I ain't going to have to bail you out of jail or anything am I?"
Tom Green laughed and shook his head. "Not unless taking a lady out to supper and for a ride in the woods is now against the law. It's been a while since I've done either one, so I wouldn't really know."
"It's still legal on both counts but be careful trying to pay for supper, some of the feminist today will take your head off for being a gentleman. Although I'm not sure this one would come under that category, she strikes me as the good old country girl type."
"I'll keep that in mind, now get out of here and let me see if I can still get a date with a lady, sight unseen."
Fred paused at the door. "You be careful Tom, this one's not as big as a minute, cute as a button, and mean as a snake. She's also nobody's fool and smart as a whip."
Tom nodded as he punched the button on his phone for his secretary. Fred shook his head and closed the door. "Darla, get me Jana Davis on the phone please," Tom said as he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.
A few minutes later Tom's phone buzzed. He picked it up and said, "Ms. Davis, Tom Green of Green Leaf Oil. I think we need to talk."
"Well, Mr. Green, it's about time I got your personal attention," Jana Davis said as she leaned back in her chair, picked her feet up, and propped them on the small desk of her home office.
"It's Tom, there's no need for us to be formal. I'd like a chance to change you mind about our company and our environmental stance."
"Raping the land and destroying forests, fields and streams, isn't an environmental stance, it's suicide for future generations, Mr. Green," Jana said pointedly emphasizing the Mr.
Tom let that slide as he replied, "What oil company are you talking about? It sure isn't mine. We reclaim all lands we use and put them back in the same shape or better than when we started. We use every measure we can to prevent environmental damage as we drill a well."
"You own Readover Oil and we both know what a mess they made in my county alone. They destroyed over four thousand acres and a hundred miles of streams, in that one field. All the data on the other three isn't in yet and probably won't be before the end of the year."
"The data won't be ready even then because there won't be any data," Tom said as he pulled a folder out of a pile on the corner of his desk.
He scanned it a moment and then went on, "According to my information the Wheeler field in your county is complete on cleanup and reforestation. The Franklin field is complete as of the end of last month. The Harris and Anderson fields will be finished by July and August respectively."
"Excuse me? The costs on such a cleanup would be millions and no oil company is going to spend that kind of money on a company they bought. You will just write it off to old business and go ahead with business as usual. I'm no public relations airhead, I deal in facts." Jana told him, her feet coming back to the floor and her redheaded temper rising.
"Actually, it'll be about five point three million by the time we finish."
There was silence on the phone for nearly a minute before Jana said, "I haven't been able to check any of the sites because all the gates are locked, so what am I supposed to do, take your word for it."
"No, you don't have to. Meet me at the courthouse in the morning and I will take you on a tour of anything and everything you want to see. I'll also make a deal with you. If you find any of the sites not as I say they are, then you get a check for a half a million to your favorite charity."
"And if they are as you say?" Jana asked softly.
"Then you drop the lawsuits, give me a public apology, and...." Tom let the sentence trail off, wanting to see her reaction.
"And what?" She asked sharply.
"I haven't decided yet. According to you, I'm the hardhearted oil company executive. After the tour, we'll figure out the compensation you owe me for all the lawsuits, lost time, and revenue. You do realize that you're costing me around forty-five grand a day right now, don't you?"
"No way! You haven't even started drilling the well that's in court," Jana objected loudly.
"I've got a drilling rig with a crew waiting to get on there to drill, plus I have a contractor that's not through with the location. If I don't get the well started by the end of the month, my option to drill will expire and I'll have to renegotiate the whole deal."
Before Jana could say anything Tom went on, "I don't mind paying to do the clean up. It's in our favor, very good public relations, which we have to fight to keep all the time anyway. Plus I don't like to see the land destroyed anymore than you do."
"We can go to any site I pick, even the Wheeler C. location." Jana asked and then waited for his excuse for not going there. It was by far the worse mess she had ever seen in her life.
"Sure, first thing if that's what you want." Tom told her.
Jana was taken by surprise by his answer and wondered if she had made a mistake about this man and his company.
When she did not reply, Tom changed subjects. "Speaking of first things first, would you have supper with me tonight so we can get to know each other better?"
The old wine, dine, and romance thing, flashed through Jana's mind, and anger flared. He was trying to take her out, charm her pants off in more ways than one, and then he figured she would forget the whole thing. Boy did he have another thought coming.
"Mr. Green, who the hell do you think you are and what the hell do you take me for. If you think you can wine and dine me and then I will forget this whole thing, then you are one crazy asshole. As for your half a million, I don't take bribes and I don't lay on my back to make deals, so you can shove it, as far as I'm concerned."
"Ms. Davis, let me assure you that was not my intent in either case. The money was only an incentive for you to meet with me and look the properties over. Dinner was just that, dinner. I do admit that I'm curious as I've never met you personally and you do sound like an interesting person."
Again, this man puzzled Jana. She had expected him to go into a rage and or slam the phone down. His steady polite voice and easy manner did not fit her image of the man she had only seen in pictures. He was older than she was by a few years if the pictures she had seen were current.
They showed a tall burley man with a neutral expression wearing an old beat up cowboy hat. Not what you expected the president of an oil company to look like. No expensive suit and tie. She had to admit she was curious also.
Jana took a deep breath and said, "Maybe I have over reacted a little." She paused a second or two, deep in thought and then went on, "Okay, I'll have dinner with you tonight, say six o'clock. I'll pick you up at your office."
Tom grinned and replied, "I'll be waiting."
"Uh.... Okay.... Uh.... I'll see you at six then," Jana stammered. She was really confused now. He was not supposed to agree with her picking him up. He was supposed to be a power hungry control freak.
"Six it is." Tom told her with a grin at her confusion and then hung up.
The sky was just turning pink and orange as Jana left home. She had spent the last hour trying to figure out what to wear. She wanted to make a good impression but not too good, well that wasn't true either. She could wear the business suit she wore to court but something about that phone conversation told her not to.
She ended up with a full Mexican skirt and a peasant blouse in browns with yellow accents. Her short red hair was down and in a scarf because she had the top down on her car. The high heels felt strange on the pedals of the car, as did the thigh high stockings on her legs.
Why heels and stockings she really did not understand but the phrase, girl clothes, kept running through her mind. She wore them so seldom, only to court it seemed as she thought about it. She would have been much more comfortable in her normal jeans and a western shirt but that was a little too informal.
She shifted in the seat and felt the back strap on her bright yellow thong sink deeper between her nether cheeks. She should not have worn that, she thought for the tenth time. The matching bra felt funny also as it cupped her tiny breasts tightly. She normally never wore a bra, as she really didn't need one for her mosquito bites as she called them.
She frowned as she pulled into the parking lot at Green Leaf Oil; it was too late to worry about any of it now.
Tom was leaning on the rail that ran around the reflecting pool in front of his office building. He had shaved and showered but wore his clothes from the office instead of going home to change. He smiled as he watched the powder blue Mustang enter the parking lot and accelerate his way. The tiny redheaded woman driving was almost hidden by the dash and steering wheel.
The car came to a stop with the passenger door to the curb. Tom walked over and opened it. "Jana Davis, I presume," he said with a smile.
"That's me." Jana replied as she held out her hand. "A pleasure to meet you Mr. Green."
"Call me Tom, please," he said taking her hand.
His eyes were on the bright green eyes and flaming red hair of the tiny woman in front of him. She was even lovelier up close. His angle above her gave him a nice glimpse at the light yellow bra as the top of her blouse sagged open. The long skirt was a shame though. He would have made a bet with anyone for any amount that she had fantastic legs. She was the type.
Jana was taken a little aback by the size of the man. His hand engulfed hers in a modest grip that hid hers completely. "Okay Tom, I'm Jana."
Tom released her hand and got in the car. He filled the passenger seat and had to slide the seat back to get his legs inside. He did it as if it was a normal thing, something he had to do to get in any car. Jana wished she had driven her truck so he would be more comfortable.
"Where would you like to eat?" She asked.
Tom grinned at her as he settled in. "You're driving, you decide. I'm up for just about anything except sushi, that's Japanese for bait, where I come from."
Jana laughed as she put the car in gear and accelerator away from the curb. She was trying to decide between seafood and Italian as she crossed the parking lot. As she hit the street, she changed her mind to a small Mexican restaurant a few miles north of town.
Tom watched her carefully as they covered the ten or so blocks to the freeway. The little car had power, speed, and handling, and Jana used it all well. Her hands worked the wheel and the shifter on the manual transmission smoothly, as her feet danced on the pedals.
She had managed to hit all the lights green except the last one. As they waited for the light, Tom said, "I'm glad I didn't wear my old hat."
Jana looked at him and smiled. If the top had been up, he would have had to slouch down in the seat. As it was, his forehead was about level with the top of the windshield. Any hat would have been long gone if it had been on his head.
"I would have brought my truck if I'd known you were so tall." She told him.
"I'm use to it believe me. Anyway, I like the way you drive this thing. It's fun to watch and one hell of a ride."
Traffic started to move and Jana grinned as she made the turn and accelerated hard up onto the freeway. Her take no captives driving style was one vice she loved and exercised as often as possible. She had even taken a road-racing course at one of the best schools just so she could go faster and do it safer.
If Tom had any complaints, the rush of air over the windshield would have made it hard to voice them as they blasted north out of town. Actually, he was quite impressed by what he had seen so far. A cute feisty redhead that was confident in what she did and followed through on her decisions. He relaxed back and let her lead.
Fine food, good conversation about anything but the oil fields, good Mexican music, and plenty of margaritas. Overall, they were both having a wonderful time. Then it was time to leave as the place was closing.
When the waiter brought the check, Tom looked at it and then at Jana. "I invited you out so it should be mine, but you'll object to that, so lets split it if we must. The only thing is, you need to do the math. I think I had one to many margaritas."
Jana laughed and picked up the bill. She squinted at it a second and then closed one eye. Looking back at Tom she whispered, "Uh.... Houston, I think we have a problem."
"Okay, I can fix this," Tom said slowly. "I'll put the bill on a credit card and we'll split it later."
"That's one problem solved but how are we getting home?"
"I'll call a cab," Tom told her.
"You'd better make that two cabs. I live about forty miles north of here and you live.... Uh, where do you live?"
"About thirty miles south and east of my office. Of the three, my office is the closest."
"Nope, no way. I've had too much to drink and so have you. I should have been paying more attention but I was enjoying myself too much."
"Uh, the same here," Tom admitted. Then he sat up a little straighter and leaned over toward Jana. "There's a motel across the highway, I saw it as we came in."
Jana tried to stifle a giggle and only partially succeeded. "Are you trying to proposition me?"
"Well.... Uh.... It is a nice idea but..." Tom said a little flustered.
Jana laughed. "I'm teasing you. I can drive that far and we can get a couple of rooms until in the morning."
The waitress was picking up the bill and Tom's credit card, and overheard the last of the conversation. She looked at the clock across the room and shook her head. "You might get one room over there if you hurry but I doubt if they'll have two. The bar down the road closes in another half hour and then that place will be packed with drunks not wanting to drive home."
"Then we better hustle it," Tom said standing up.
He swayed a bit and then offered his hand to Jana. He normally did not drink much and the tequila in the margaritas had snuck up on him. As Jana stood up, he realized that she wasn't in much better shape. Together they made it to the cashier's station and then outside.
At her car, Tom shook his head and said, "Put the top up and lock it, we're walking from here. It's a quarter mile tops and the air will do us some good."
Jana looked at him sharply and then nodded. "Yeah, we're both way to toasty to risk it. Walking is going to be hard enough," she said and then giggled.
With the top up on the car, they headed across the parking lot and toward the overpass over the highway. By keeping in contact with each other, they didn't stagger much, it was more of a sway as they crossed over to the motel parking lot.
At the desk, they got a shock. The clerk had one room available, a single with a double bed. "Beggars can't be choosy," Tom said as he held out his credit card.
"Drunks can't either," Jana added with a snicker.
The room was in the far back and upstairs. Getting there was no problem but things got a little difficult at the stairs. One of them would climb a couple of steps and then the other would stagger back, progress was slow to say the least. Finally, Tom solved the problem by picking Jana up and tossing her over his shoulder.
At the top of the stairs, he sat her back on her feet and nodded. "Sorry about that but it seemed to be the easiest way to get up here."
Jana looked at him wide eyed for a second and then nodded back. "It was different," she said almost to herself. "I've never ridden a mountain before." A memory from her past crossed her mind. Her daddy had carried her up the stairs like that once.
Tom found that funny and was laughing as he fumbled with the key to the room. "What's so funny?" Jana asked taking the card key from him, flipping it over and reinserting it in the door.
"I've never been called a mountain before." Tom replied as he got the door open for them to stumble inside. "I also think we're a lot drunker than we thought we were."
Jana flopped on the bed and groaned softly as the room tried to spin. "What was your first clue, the spinning bed or the double vision?"
"Well, I ain't quite seeing double yet and I haven't made it to the bed. I was talking about neither of us complaining about the single room and double bed."
"I don't see any problem, I have the bed, and you have the rest of the room. No problem," Jana said with a chuckle.
"I see it from your point of view but since I'm bigger, I should get the bed. You can sleep on the two chairs comfortably."
"Are you afraid to sleep with me?"
"Uh, sleep, no, that's not a problem. It's the possible other things that scare the hell out of me." Tom told her as he sat on the edge of the bed and started pulling his boots off.
"Don't flatter yourself bozo," Jana said getting off the bed. "I still don't trust you any farther than I can throw you."
"Then why are you sharing a room with me?" Tom asked with a hint of confusion in his voice.
"Oh no, I trust you, I just don't trust your oil company. It's not the same thing."
"Uh, yes it is. I own the company and set the policies, so if you trust me in one, you should trust me in the other, since I'm the same person both ways." Tom replied in a drunken rush. He paused and shook his head. "I think I said what I meant but I ain't sure it came out right."