Just Lay Low

2814 Words
Jolie knew Mordecai was casting them strange looks from her complete and utter silence and Opal’s fingers twisting nervously as they descended in the elevator. She was usually the chatty of the three and Opal wasn’t afraid of anything. They entered the office and noted everyone was eerily silent as if waiting on them to give them an update. Mordecai sighed loudly as if resigned to the fact he had to educate his staff. “We’ve been bought out by BrixWith Holdings. Our department at this time is completely safe because we do what we are supposed to do. Keep doing your jobs the way you’ve been supposed to do your job and we won’t attract any attention. If you stay off his radar, Brixton Beckwith won’t ever need step foot onto our floor. He pretty much said so himself.” “Wait?” one of the HR girls poked her head up giggling excitedly. “You actually met him? Is he as gorgeous in person as in the magazines?” “If you like huge supermodel types who are powerful and rich, he’s everything your little heart could long for,” Mordecai answered sarcastically. “He gave us three rules upstairs. No stealing. No gossiping. No lying. He’ll fire anyone on the spot for those three things so before you start talking about the boss remember it.” Jolie considered it interesting he took the NDA rule as a gossip rule. It made sense, she supposed. She had presumed it meant they should simply keep their mouths shut all the time. A Cacciola rule Valentin had loved to enforce, even once with duct tape. She pushed the memory away. “I only wanted to know if he’s as handsome as they make him out to be. He’s not airbrushed?” the girl pressed. “No, he’s not airbrushed,” Opal snapped with annoyance. “He’s gorgeous with loads of thick black hair, a symmetrical face, and a body he probably works out for ten hours a day to get. He’s also got a brain in his head and he’s not going to suffer inane stupidity. Get your heads out of your butts and go back to work.” “Theirs is the first department he’s downsizing,” Mordecai grumbled as he pushed through his half of the floor and slammed into his office. “He’s pissed.” “No s**t,” Jolie was fighting her trembling as Opal yanked her into the copy room and locked them in. “What are the chances it’s all coincidence?” “It has to be. He looked at you a couple of times but if he recognized you –” “I’ve never met him in person,” she shook her head. “I told you before. Val kept me in the condo for eight months. The only people I met were the ones going to him and that man,” she pointed to the ceiling in the direction of where the CEO office was, “does not go to anyone. He never set foot in Val’s condo.” Brixton Beckwith was not what she had expected. He had the dark looks of the Cacciola’s but his power and dominance outweighed even the slightest memory of Val. The older brother was definitely superior and she knew now why Val had resented him. “He doesn’t seem like a ruthless killing machine.” Opal whispered. “They share a father and it’s unlikely the acorn rolled too far from the oak.” A memory struck her suddenly and she closed her eyes, “when I was first taken to hospital after Val almost killed me before being murdered, the doctors and nurses were keeping me sedated because he was on his way to come talk to me. They said he had been once but I never spoke to him. My face was pretty battered too. Maybe he won’t recognize me since he never came?” “Maybe? You sure he didn’t?” “No. I dodged the bullet when I escaped.” “I can’t believe you escaped him!” Opal’s eyes flicked upward again. “When I woke the next morning, my father and the cops were in the room. They yammered on back and forth. I told them I wasn’t ready to talk and sent them all on their way. I got out of there an hour later by sneaking out when there was a commotion down the hall. They had called a code red on a patient who was crashing and I took the moment to unhook myself and run.” “You really were brave.” “Yeah, and it’s caught up to me,” she flicked another glance upwards. “He might not have known who I was upstairs but it’s a matter of time. He’ll figure it out and I’ll be fish bait.” “He seems reasonable though,” Opal argued. “He could have told Macey to fire the two airheads outright but instead he is going to let them keep their jobs.” “It costs more to retrain than it would to retain,” Jolie argued. “Don’t underestimate this family. None of them could ever be accused of being stupid. Mean, cold and cruel, a hundred times yes but never stupid.” “Let’s keep our heads down and do what Mordecai said. If we behave ourselves and stay out of trouble there is no need for him to suspect you’re the girl his brother was with when he got executed. We’re a small company in his roster. He won’t stay in Boston long, right?” Opal shivered, “I can’t afford to go looking for another job or a new best friend. Let’s do our jobs until he leaves and keep our fingers crossed, he doesn’t figure you out.” “Me either. Mordecai pays me well but I’m scared, Opal.” “I understand. I would be too. In fact, I am for you. Why don’t you come to dinner tonight and we can brainstorm ways to keep you out of his path? The less he sees of you, the better.” “I’ll bring the wine,” she agreed and moved to unlock the door. “Opal, you can’t tell anyone. Nobody knows my connection to Vegas or what happened to me six years ago.” “Girl, I’ve never told anyone yet, even after multiple margaritas. You know my secrets. I know yours. I will never talk.” “They have ways,” she whispered. “Hopefully it never comes to that,” Opal squeezed her hands. “We’ll lay low, under the radar. We do such a good job already. We simply need to improve on it and make zero mistakes. Let’s keep him off our floor.” They opened the door and stepped out to find Mordecai leaning on Opal’s desk with his eyebrow lifted. “Did you get whatever it was you needed to out of your system?” “Yup.” Jolie nodded. “Surprised us. It’s all. We’re good. We only need to do what we were doing and we won’t lose our jobs, right?” “Exactly. Speaking of, he wants a summary of the last five years with detailed expenditures of every department on his desk by Monday morning.” “It’s Thursday.” Jolie couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “And we have payroll to reconcile for the last two weeks.” “He’s approved the overtime already,” Mordecai grumbled. “Looks like we’re working the weekend.” “Can I work from home?” Jolie questioned. “No. I already asked and let him know but he said until he completes his vetting process, no company property leaves the building, including electronic files.” “Did he say anything about bringing kids to work?” Opal questioned. “Not a word but I didn’t ask.” “Better to ask forgiveness,” Opal grunted. “I don’t trust my teenager home alone right now for more than an hour or two. He’s in an artistic stage and part of it includes cooking food. Yesterday he made omelettes after school as a snack. My kitchen was trashed. I’m not leaving him for eight hours alone.” “Bring the kids, I don’t care. We’ll set them up with the television and computers and tablets or whatever. I can’t authorize working from home until he’s given the green light.” “I can’t work late tonight,” Jolie whispered. “We know. I got your back,” Mordecai said. “If you can get me the raw data and the reports from the archives, I’ll stay tonight and get things started. You can begin prettying up my findings in the morning.” “I’ll be here by seven in the morning,” she almost gasped in relief. The need to leave the building sooner rather than later was overwhelming. “Good. Why don’t you two take an early lunch?” “You want a sandwich and a piece of cake.” Opal teased him. “Please. Go get me one of those mile high cupcakes from the bakery. I won’t have time to go home for supper so I need the extra sugar to power me through.” He dug into his billfold and pulled out a fifty. “Get yourselves lunch on me. I’ll start looking at the data I already have for this year and the last two. I know where it is since I did the fourth quarter projections based off it.” They nodded and grabbed their coats and without further prompting moved towards the elevator. As they stepped inside Macey was coming out and she grabbed them both, pulled them into the elevator, and glowered at them as she closed the doors and froze the elevator in place. “You two are snitches.” “How are we snitches?” Jolie growled back. “The data was there and we don’t fudge the numbers. Just because Elaine didn’t care if one department ran over so long as another could cover its losses, doesn’t mean the new guy will feel the same. It was in black and white.” “You had to open your mouth and say it was due to overtime.” “You heard him up there. He doesn’t like liars.” Jolie held her own. “He didn’t need to know!” Macey spit. “Two people are going to take a huge pay cut because of you.” “Do you even know who he is?” Opal countered angrily. “Beckwith? Celia said he’s an international CEO who collects real estate and companies like candy. He has properties, resorts, casinos and the like all over the globe. He’s a billionaire. He won’t stay in Boston long. All you had to do was shut your mouth and he would have skated through here and gone back to one his high-priced houses in a fancy city like London or Rome. Now you put my department on his radar so he’s going to go through it with a fine-tooth comb.” “So. What do you think he’ll find, Macey?” Opal’s eyes glistened curiously. “Is he going to find out your HR diploma is incomplete and you got your job screwing Solomon’s nephew?” “f**k you.” Macey hissed. “This is a family run company.” “No, it’s not. There are maybe eight people in the entire building who were here solely out of nepotism,” Opal insulted her openly, “and two of them no longer own the company and got kicked out a couple of hours ago. Two more are going to get raked through the coals shortly. It leaves four left and three of them work on the real estate floor directly. It leaves little old you. Some of us,” she waved her hands between her and Jolie, “were actually hired on merit with glowing recommendations from prior employers,” she looked the woman up and down, “for your sake, I hope you’ve been doing online studying to complete the diploma like you had promised you would ten years ago when you were hired.” “I have experience now,” Macey folded her arms furiously over her chest. “Mr. Beckwith isn’t going to question my skills because I know how to do my job.” “Then maybe you should do your job better,” Jolie snapped at her furiously. “I don’t want him digging around here any more than you do. I need this job though and I’m not going to lose it because you’re going to get called out for not doing yours. I suggest you start doing more than a light google search on the company employees if you think he’s simply some fancy billionaire who was going to skate through this office and not do his homework.” “Are you telling me to research the new boss?” “I’m telling you,” Jolie stepped closer to her, “he is not a man to f**k with and I am not risking my neck in order to cover your ass. You heard him. No stealing. No lying. No gossiping and you have to keep your mouth shut. Sort your department out or he will and I would much prefer you keep him off our floor until he leaves Boston, like you said. Our department has already had a meeting and outlined the best way to keep our jobs is to keep our noses clean and our work cleaner. Perhaps you and your college credits can do the motivation thing you like to tout so well and encourage your team to do the same. They were already out there talking about the new boss. He didn’t beat around the bush. NDAs will be coming all the way round. If he finds out you have chatterboxes, he’s going to be breathing down your neck. Get your department in line.” Jolie reached out and took the elevator off hold and waved for the woman to get off. “Now if you don’t mind, my boss needs me to get him lunch because we’re all working overtime because the new guy upstairs wants a breakdown of every department’s fiscal outline for the last five years. Five, Macey. Does this sound like a man who skates through?” “Why do you know him so well?” “I don’t,” Jolie refuted the question. “I observe. Go back to your office and recall every single word, movement, and nuance of the meeting we were in. He didn’t raise his voice once but the entire room was spellbound. He had three men with him who I’m assuming were his security, his lawyer, and his banker. None of them asked questions. Only he did, which tells me he has a firm grasp of all three subject matters when it comes to his business. He didn’t touch the coffee which was placed in front of him because he was too intent on the conversation and mannerisms in the room. He missed nothing. Not a damn thing. You however missed everything.” “You didn’t miss a thing either,” Macey scoffed. “Interested in the boss?” “Not in the least.” She tried not to vomit at the thought. A Cacciola was the least thing she would ever be interested in. He might have his stepfather’s name but she knew without a doubt to whom he belonged. “I’m good at my job and I want to keep it. It’s why I know what Mordecai needs before he needs it. I have been doing this kind of work since I was a teenager. I know what to watch for and who to watch. If you were stupid enough not to observe the most powerful person in the room and read him, then what kind of HR person are you?” Jolie c****d her head in a snarky manner to the woman’s surprise. Opal pushed the close door buttons and the expression on Macey’s face as they shut in front of her made both women grin. “Holy s**t that was intense,” Opal whimpered. “I don’t like confrontation.” “Me either. I’ll probably cry into my bubble bath later tonight over all of it but it also felt good to put her in her place just one time.” “It felt good though to tell her off,” Opal giggled suddenly as they entered the lobby of the building and made their way towards the doors. Jolie hoped the high she was feeling from maintaining her anonymity thus far was not going to evaporate any time soon.
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