Back to Work - Seven
“You know, if you wanna go get a drink or walk on the beach or do something else, I’ll be here with Molly.” Alex said getting out of the elevator full of second and third intentions.
Molly looked at me and then at Alex in disbelief. I wanted to say yes and just go to Elizabeth’s room, but Molly’s eyes didn’t let me.
“Yeah. I don’t think so. I need to sleep.” I said looking apologetic to Elizabeth. She understood.
It was a long night. After we got to the room Molly broke down in tears. I tried to calm her down nodding off once in a while. She cried for hours before she fell asleep. The next morning I woke up with someone knocking on the door. I rushed to open it so Molly wouldn’t wake up. I opened and it was Elizabeth.
“Liz. Hey.” I said whispering. She had her bags and was ready to leave.
“Hi.” She said in a low voice walking in putting her bags on the floor.
“Where are you going?” I asked still half asleep.
“Back to Newport.”
“Um, I was staying with a friend” – I was a little jealous, I have to admit – “who needs some help. We came here that night to get our minds off of it for a bit. I said I’d spend two days for the wedding here and stay there the rest of my days off.”
“Oh yeah, you go back to New York Wednesday, right?”
“So you’re staying with what kind of friend?” I asked revealing my jealousy.
She put her hand on my waist – as I was getting used to her doing – and pressed me softly to the wall – as I was also getting used, and enjoying, her doing – and kissed me. “A gay guy friend.” She answered.
“Right.” I said relieved and smiled.
“I have to go.” She said and then gave me another kiss. She grabbed her bags and left. I went back to bed and as I laid down the phone rang. I picked it up as fast as I could, but Molly was already awake. It was Cami.
“Jules?” she said.
“Yeah.” I answered wanting to go back to bed.
“She’s good. Why are you up so early?” I asked as it was something that offended me that she was up and keeping me up.
“I wanted to say goodbye to Ryan before he left for the honeymoon.” As she said it I wished I had gotten up earlier to say goodbye to Ryan.
“Oh. Is he gone already?”
“Yeah. They just left. So Molly’s fine?”
“Yeah. She cried a lot last night. But then she fell asleep.” Molly gave me a dirty look as I said that.
“Is she up yet?”
“Yeah. You wanna talk to her?”
“Yeah.” She said. I handed Molly the phone and laid down again. They talked for a little while, but I was too sleepy to pay attention to what Molly was saying.
“Jules.” Molly called me.
“Yeah?” I wanted to sleep.
“No!” I really wanted to sleep.
“Come on! Breakfast, then the beach, then lunch, then beach again, then drinks.” She had our whole day planned and all I wanted was to sleep through it.
“Are you serious? You planned the whole day?”
“Yes! If I stay in this room I’m gonna be thinking about Roger and that whore. So we need to get out and do stuff to keep my mind busy.”
I wanted to sleep so badly, but she was right. I wanted her to be fine and for that to happen she needed to get over Roger. So we had to keep her busy. “Yeah, OK.” I got up finally. We met Cami and Stew downstairs for breakfast.
“Where’s Liz?” Stew asked as we were eating.
“Back to Newport. Something about a friend. That was her personal problem she had to leave New York for.” I said.
“Really? She has friends?” Cami asked ironically. “Oh sorry I forgot she’s a different person now.”
She was provoking me. I just wished she got over her issues with me and told me that she wasn’t fine with everything. Then again I wished she kept pretending because Cami not accepting me was going to kill me.
“What kind of problem?” Molly asked.
“I don’t know. I didn’t ask. It seemed personal.” I answered ignoring Cami.
The rest of the day went by smoothly. Alex and Dominique joined us. We did everything Molly had planed. Beach, lunch, then beach again and then out for drinks. Dominique turned out to be a very funny girl. We got back to the hotel and Alex escorted us to our room. He was definitely not giving Molly any space. He went in and we sat on the beds and talked for a while.
“I don’t think Cami is OK with me.” I told them.
“How do you mean?” Alex asked me.
“She’s been bitter about everything. I don’t think she’ll accept my gayness anytime soon. I think she hates me now.” I said.
“It’s not like that, Jules.” Molly said.
“It kinda is.” I said sadly.
“Look. It’s just all new for her.” She said.
“Well it’s new for everyone else.” I pointed it out.
“Jules, look, each one has a different reaction. Ryan, Stew and Alex are very fine with it, that’s how they deal. I was very OK with it because of my brother"she said.
“Oh. Right.” I had forgotten Molly's brother is gay.
She kept talking “So I’ve been surprised with this before, Cami hasn't.” She stopped for a moment and then went on “He's my brother and I loves him and we have a good relationship, despite my parents. So just give her some time to process and you guys will be fine.”
"Well, Alex, Stew and Ry are fine with it. And they've never been surprised with this before" I said.
"I know, but it's her way. She'll get over it soon enough. Trust me." Molly finished.
I wanted to believe her because I was too scared of loosing Cami, but I wasn’t that sure it’d be fine. Alex left and we went to sleep.
Monday morning we woke up, packed our things and went down for breakfast and checkout. Ryan’s and Brigitte’s parents were there with Alex and Dominique. Molly, Stew, Cami and I had breakfast together and joined them at checkout. We said goodbye and left Santa Catalina Island. Alex promised a visit, and considering Molly was single, I knew it’d be soon.
Back in New York we got our luggage and were walking toward the exit when I saw what I shouldn’t have. Walking in our direction was Roger with an enormous bouquet.
“That son of a…” Molly started.
“Calm down Molly. I got this.” I told her. I looked at Cami. She knew she had to keep Molly calm, at least try. She stayed back with Cami. Stew walked with me. I walked up to that bastard.
“I just wanna talk to her.” He said looking at Molly.
“No you don’t.” Stew said.
“I got this Stew.” I said calmly. Roger looked at me. I tried talking, but I couldn’t get any word out. It was stronger than me. Anger just took over my body. My hands closed involuntarily into a fist. I lifted it and punched him in the middle of his face. I don’t know where such strength came from but he fell down. My hand hurt so much.
“Whoa!” Stew said holding me back. People were staring.
“Stay away from her!” I screamed at him as he got up.
“Just go away, Roger.” Stew said, still holding me. Roger turned around and left with a bloody nose.
“Oh, that felt so good.” I said to Stew, as we walked back to where Molly and Cami were.
“I bet it did.” He said.
“You OK?” I asked Molly.
“After that punch? Oh yeah!” she looked surprised, as was I.
We’d decided that Molly was going to stay with us for a few days so we could make sure she was OK, but it was still early so before she could get settled in we had to go to work. Stew left to Wall Street and we went to the office. Roger didn’t show up at work. Called in saying he had a personal problem. We knew it was the bloody nose I gave him, but we decided not to let it out because of Molly.
Work was busy. I had to catch up on what was going on while I was gone. Politics can change so much in one weekend. Molly seemed to be doing better. She only stopped by my office three times to talk and two by Cami’s. In darker times it would’ve been six each. We went home and waited for Molly to gather her things at her apartment and come over. She didn’t take long. We ordered Thai food and had a few drinks. Stew got caught up at work so he just went straight home. It was nice having Molly around. She was sleeping on the couch so the living room was a mess, but, then again, it was never neat.
Tuesday was a very busy day. The governor story I was working on was taking some dark turns. We found out that he had transfered a large amount of unidentified money to Switzerland. It had no origin and we could not find out where it was coming from. It was dirty money, and our team were the only journalists in New York that knew about it. We had to be careful and find more information to this story before anyone else did. It would take time and a lot of investigation, but I was determined to figure out what he was up to. So I worked hard. Roger didn’t show for work again.
Cami seemed to be doing better with me. We were working a lot too, so she didn’t have much time to irritate me. She didn’t provoke me that much, until Wednesday morning. I went to the kitchen and Molly had gotten up earlier and bought croissants and muffins. They were eating. I joined them.
“You think we’ll have a meeting today?” Cami asked.
“Why wouldn’t we?” Molly asked.
“I don’t know. We don’t know if Gregory is back from California.” She said.
“Actually, yes.” I said. “She’s back.”
“You talked to her?” Cami asked. I sensed a little anger.
“Yeah. Well she texted me last night.” I said and bit a muffin.
“What did she say?” Cami stopped eating.
I finished chewing “Nothing much, just wanted to know what I was up to and that she had just gotten back.”
“So the Dragon is back.” Cami said putting down her croissant.
“She’s not a Dragon anymore.” Molly said sensing the tense moment.
“We don’t know that.” Cami said looking at me. “I mean, she told you that she was nice outside the office and that she had to be mean at work.” That actually made sense. I didn’t say anything. We just left.
I knew Cami was trying to irritate me, but what she said made sense and I hadn’t thought about it. I didn’t know how work was going to be after all that happened. I was concerned after breakfast. “Would she really go back to being a bitch? Would she go back to being the woman I hated?” I though. I just wanted to get quickly to the office and find out.
We got in and went straight to the conference room. It was just a meeting we had every week, but this one was terrifying me. I didn’t know what to expect from Gregory, or Elizabeth, or Liz. I didn’t even know what to call her. We sat where we did usually. On the other end of the table from where Gregory sat. We waited for about five minutes before she walked in. She looked like the old Gregory, beige pantsuit and her hair up in the perfect bun. Her attitude was the same as the old Gregory. She walked in, no “good morning” or “hello”. But something was different. She looked at me. She stared at me. And her eyes said something. I knew what it meant. She sat down.
“Where is Wilkerson?” she said in an arrogant tone. She was definitely a different person than the one I’d spent the weekend with. No one answered.
“I hate to say ‘I told you so’.” Cami whispered to me. She was awfully full of herself.
“I’ll make sure Michelle lets him know that he is unemployed.” Elizabeth continued with an even more arrogant tone. Michelle was her secretary. I stopped to process for a bit. Roger was missing a weekly meeting without any notice or any reason. It was not an option to miss a weekly meeting. Not with notice. Not with a good reason. Sometimes not even with brain surgery. She was that demanding. Roger couldn’t be missing it because I punched him. I mean, it was shameful, but to risk his job because of it was too much. It couldn’t be. I tried to get over wondering where Roger was and what had happened with Elizabeth and me and go on with the meeting. It wasn’t easy, but I did fine. Molly and Cami handled it well too.
As the meeting was over, Elizabeth walked out of the conference room with her superiority. I got back to my office. Molly and Cami followed me. I sat down on my chair. They sat across from me.
“I told you Dragon would be back.” Cami didn’t even wait for me to properly sit to start.
“Yeah, Jules. I’m sorry, but she does seem like the bitch she was.” Molly added.
I was about to speak when my phone vibrated. I picked it up. It was a message from Gregory.
THAT LOOK MEANS I WANT YOU NOW! – I smiled shyly as I read it to myself.
“What is it?” Cami asked.
“Nothing. It’s just Ryan saying they’re having a great time in Italy.” I lied as I texted her back. “I’ll just tell him I’ll talk to him later.” THAT WAS ALSO WHAT MY LOOK SAID. BUT I HAVE TO WORK, BOSS. – I wrote her.
I put the phone down. “You know, maybe she just has to keep up with her character. She did say she wasn’t gonna let it affect work.” I said getting back to their subject.
“Yeah. But that just makes her fake. She’s a fake bitch.” Cami wouldn’t let it go. I was about to speak again when my phone vibrated again. It was Elizabeth again.
LETS GET TO WORK THEN. – her message said. I didn’t know what that meant so I just put the phone down.
“Just Ryan saying OK.” I said before they asked me again. I was about to speak again when the office phone rang. I picked it up.
“Julia Walker.” I said.
“Miss Walker, Miss Gregory would like to see you in her office.” It was Michelle, Liz's secretary.
“OK. I’ll be right there. Thanks Michelle.” I said and hung up. Now I knew what the text meant.
"Gregory needs to see me" I told the. Cami and Molly just stared at me. “Probably about the the governor story.”
I lied again. They seemed to have bought it. They left and I went to Elizabeth’s office. I was going to tell them later. I just couldn’t take the judgment at the moment. Specially from Cami. I greeted Michelle as I passed her. I knocked on the door and opened it.
“You wanted to see me?” I said walking in. I closed the door as she was getting up. I walked to her and I took the lead and put my hand on her waist. I pressed her gently to the desk and pushed me closer to her. She smiled and I kissed her. I had missed her truly. We had a very pleasure-full meeting. And we did not once talk about the governor. I didn’t know what we had and I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do, but it just felt so good.
To be continued....