Executive Perks(10)

By: Angela Claire

He’d have to do something about that.

He had given her the standstill, of course, but that was primarily because he didn’t have any prospects of additional stock purchases anyway and he thought it would maybe lull her into letting down her guard. In a business sense, that is. But now, maybe he could use it for something else he wanted.


He didn’t want to go back in the bedroom. He wanted…he didn’t know. Something more. He no sooner had thought it, though, than the very idea pissed him off. Jesus, he was getting soft in his old age.

What was that old song—love the one you’re with? Or fuck her anyway.

He glanced toward the bedroom. After a moment, he headed that way.

Chapter Two

Virginia blankly contemplated the panoramic view outside her office window on the following rainy Monday afternoon. She hadn’t slept that well the night before. It had been a long time since she’d had the dream. A frequent nighttime companion in her childhood that she had finally trained herself to not scream at when she woke up, she hadn’t had it much as an adult. Except right after her parents died, of course. But that was years ago at this point. And then out of the blue, last night she’d bolted upright in her comfortable bed at Bransport. The clammy, drenched nightgown would have told her she’d had it, even if she hadn’t remembered every frame of every scene, which she had, of course. She always did. The dream…

The frigid air penetrated her thin cotton dress, black as befitted the occasion. Wrapping her thin arms around herself didn’t make much of a dent in the chill. She shivered.

The mammoth steel door was shut tight. Tugging on the handle wouldn’t change that. He would come back. He had to. It was just a little joke. She closed her eyes, but then opened them back up just as quickly. She was afraid to keep them closed.

She was afraid to keep them open too.

The glimpse she had caught of the near-dark room before her uncle slammed the door shut behind her confirmed what he’d told her. This was the room where they embalmed dead bodies. One was right in there with her, right on the table, covered with a sheet.

The fear almost paralyzed her. Afraid to move, she stood stock still, until her stick-like bare legs shook with the effort. A faint rustling in the corner behind her made her suck in her breath in horror. Was there something with her in the room? Something other than the lifeless corpse that either just had been or just would be drained of all its blood?

She sank to the dusty cement floor, hugging her knees in front of her. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the drain in the floor. It was there to catch the spilled blood.

The buzz made her nearly jump out of her skin. She had been back in that damned funeral home again. God, would she never put that behind her? It was silly at this point.

She leaned over and pressed the lit speaker button of the intercom on her desk, allowing her secretary’s voice to come through.

“James Minlow on line one.”

“Thank you.” Virginia picked up the line, turning away from the silent thunderstorm bellowing out onto the street below. “Hello, James.”

They exchanged amenities about her weekend at Bransport, his on the Cape, and so forth before he addressed the subject of his call. “Rye tells me that you won’t take Winston’s calls.”

Virginia hesitated before responding. Winston had continued to have the incredible gall to try to contact her directly, phoning again this morning and then having his secretary refuse to put Brendan through when Brendan at Virginia’s instruction tried to return the call for her. “That’s right.”

“I see. What’s the theory behind that strategy?”

“It’s not precisely a strategy, James. We already have the standstill. I don’t want to talk to him. It’s as simple as that.”

“Well, I’m not sure I think that’s wise. You can’t afford to alienate Winston. He has too much leverage over you, especially if we hope to convince him to sell back the stock. Cold-shouldering Winston may be a dangerous move. Call him back, Virginia, find out what he wants.”

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