This story may occasionally include explicit depictions of sexual acts between consenting adult males. If you are underage or it is illegal to view this for any reason, consider yourself warned. If you find this material offensive, I have to wonder why you came here in the first place.
This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence. As author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me. This work is copyright © Fitz, 2013.
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My wonderful husband gets a shout out for being so supportive and allowing me to bounce ideas off of him. I would also like to thank my editor, David. All errors that remain are mine, and mine alone.
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I spent the past couple months thinking a lot about how to continue what I wrote, and I've come to the conclusion I was actually almost on the right track. The problem is the story that needs to be told begins at two separate points. One starting point is when Scott and I got married in 2013. The other is centered on my thirtieth birthday in 2017, when I had finally begun to accept the upheaval in my life, only for it to happen all over again. It is all intertwined, and I can't really look back and think about those periods without thinking of the other.
So here's my decision: I'm going to use a little artistic license, and slightly fictionalize my story. Don't get me wrong, it's all true, but instead of awkwardly jumping between the two periods as if I really have gone senile, I'm going to do my best to intertwine them. Hopefully as I continue, it'll all come together and make sense. Either way, it's a far cry better than stopping mid-thought to change tracks because I get stumped on how to proceed. In the end, it all worked out for the best, so I guess I have to just sludge through everything.
* * *
After safely getting Mike out of the house without disturbing Zach, it was time to wake him up. I was already feeling the effects of not sleeping, but I forced myself to focus on the task at hand. I needed to get showered and changed, before getting Zach up and ready for the day; it was Wednesday morning, and we both had our regular lives we had to slog through before returning to our misery.
I quickly took a cold shower to help wake me up, before throwing on a long-sleeve shirt, a pair of jeans, and sneakers. I snuck into Zach's room as quietly as I could. Beso was sleeping in his usual spot, sprawled over the twin mattress, his head resting on the pillow, while Zach clutched him, scrunched up against the wall. The dog was really out of it, but that didn't stop him from yapping softly in his sleep as I approached.
"Shh, boy, sleep," Zach mumbled.
I gently shook Zach. "C'mon, bud; it's time to wake up,"
"I don't wanna," he moaned quietly.
"I know, but you have to get ready for school."
"I'm not going today. I'm sick again," he replied, still not opening his eyes.
"Yes, you are. You're not sick, and I called in for you too many times already. Besides, I've burned most of my sick days, so I have to go to work, and I can't leave you here alone."
Unfortunately, this had become our regular morning back-and-forth ever since I'd gotten a letter from Zach's school that they would no longer accept absences without a doctor's note. I hadn't told Zach about it, but had finally managed to pull myself far enough out of the depression that fell upon me after Scott left to realize I had to be strong for Zach's case.
"But Daaaaaaaaaaad!" He complained loudly. Suddenly, the room erupted in a cacophony of noise as Beso leapt up, barking loudly as he jumped off the bed and sprinted around the room.
"Beso's up; now it's your turn," I replied calmly. "Now get in the shower and get dressed. I'll go make breakfast."
"Fine,' Zach responded with a pout.
I leaned over and kissed his forehead, ruffling his hair. It seemed like yesterday he was a sweet and bubbly little kid, but now he was a sullen shell of his former self not that I was much better. Fortunately, messing with his hair still elicited a giggle from the boy. I still couldn't believe my little boy was eight.
"I mean it, mister. I'm not going anywhere until you get out of bed, or else you'll just go right back to sleep. You pulled that shit the past two days."
"I said 'fine', Dad! Geez!" At least he obeyed and got up. If the past few months were any indication of what his teenage years would be like, I was in for a world of hell.
It may seem strange to curse in front of my kid, but my filter seemed to have broken over the past few months. When Zach had been younger, he was well-trained to correct us, mostly to keep him from repeating the words. His mother had unintentionally taught him how to properly use a few too many curse words, and we had to teach him they were inappropriate. For the previous year, or so, he had never bothered to correct either of us when we cursed, but I never caught him repeating them. I still tried to avoid using them around him, but Scott had never been able to keep his mouth clean.
Once I heard the water in his bathroom turn on, I went downstairs, and let Beso out back, before starting some coffee and pouring a bowl of cereal for Zach. After a few minutes, the sound of a herd of elephants trampling down the stairs indicated he had arrived.
"Where's your tie?" I asked when he showed up in his usual dress shirt, neatly tucked into his slacks. His hair was neatly combed, and he was definitely the handsomest eight-year-old I knew. By the time I picked him up from school, his hair would be going in all directions, and his shirt would be askew and mostly untucked, but he always looked great when I dropped him off. Ever since he started 'year two', he rarely even needed to be helped to get ready, insisting he was all grown up.
"Geez, Dad, it's Wednesday. I only need to wear my tie on Fridays. I've had the same dress code for two years."
"Sorry, bud. I'm tired; I didn't get much sleep last night."
"You ok?" he asked casually. He didn't ask what was wrong, since both of us already knew the reason.
"I know, bud. I wish I knew how to make it better," I confessed.
"Me too," Zach replied, before performing the worst fake-cough I'd ever heard. "I think I really am sick. Can I stay home now? You can still go to work, I'll be good."
"Nice try, Zachy," I said with a chuckle. "I told you that you can stay home by yourself when you're ten, and not a day before. Now sit and eat your breakfast."
While we were eating, I kept trying to engage him in small talk, asking about his classes or his friends, but he always responded with monosyllabic grunts, so I quickly gave up. We ate the rest of our meal in silence.
Once we were both finished, Zach grabbed his enormous backpack, I topped up my coffee, and we walked out to the car. I always felt a bit guilty Zach had to ride with his backpack on his lap, but he loved being driven to school in the Porsche. Even some of the kids of the Buckhead elites didn't get that treatment.
Zach's birthday fell right on the cut-off for school, and Scott and I decided to hold him back a year, hiring a nanny for him that first year. It was possibly the best decision we made; Terry, his nanny, had a few connections of her own, and helped Zach gain admittance to one of the best private schools in the city. It wasn't a perfect solution, but it definitely seemed far better than the horror stories I kept hearing from people with kids in Atlanta public schools. It was expensive as hell, but we could afford it, and we wanted to make sure Zach had as many doors open to him as possible. He knew full well there were no expectations on my part on what he would become. In first grade sorry, 'year one' he told Scott and me how one of his friends was already being groomed to be the next president, and his parents wouldn't accept the slightest blemish on his record, or he would never get into an Ivy League school and 'amount to something'. I didn't give a damn what Zach 'amounted to'. If he wanted to play a guitar at a MARTA station for a living, I would still be proud to have him as a kid. On the other hand, if Zach really wanted to attend an Ivy, I wanted him to have that as a viable option.
Fortunately, for every kid from an uptight snob, there was one like us. Zach had made a ton of friends. Until Scott had left, we carpooled with a few of his friends in our area. The most obnoxious downside of the school is we had to provide transportation. After Scott left, the other families were quick to volunteer to continue to drive Zach for me, since I no longer had access to anything but a two-seater. For a couple months, I took them up on it, but eventually I realized driving Zach to school made it much harder to talk myself out of going to work, so I was stuck commuting out to Buckhead before returning to Midtown for work.
Neither of us attempted to speak once we got in the car. As I drove, my mind drifted back to our wedding.
*** *** *** ***
After we finished exchanging our vows and our first kiss as a married couple, we posed with family for photos. Scott wanted his former in-laws, Lydia and Richard, to be in the photos, but I quickly shot that idea down. The two had been so incredibly helpful to us. Richard, a lawyer, had fought to get Zach out of his mother's grasp, and Lydia had frequently offered to babysit Zach. Scott told me repeatedly how grateful he was to have them in our life. The three all agreed they were closer than they had been when their son was still alive, and I had come to view them as surrogate parents. However, I didn't think it was appropriate to have them pose for wedding photos for their dead son's husband. I was also hurt for Steve at how quickly they accepted our wedding invitation when they hadn't attended either the religious or civil ceremony for Scott and Steve. That said, I was pleased they came.
Since their first wedding had been on a microscopic budget, they relied on a friend to take pictures. The result was blurry and poorly centered wedding photos. Scott always regretted not finding the money for them, so he went characteristically overboard. Every permutation of photos with family members and wedding party was done before Scott, Zach, and I climbed into a limo with the photographer for a whirlwind tour of the city. We carried each other over the threshold of the Swann House. Zach fed the ducks in Piedmont Park. Scott and I kissed in front of the state capitol. We even managed to get nice pictures among the hoards of children playing in the Olympic ring fountain at Centennial Olympic Park. It took about three hours, and I swear we walked several miles, since nothing seemed to be near a parking lot. Of course, the day was far from over.
Somehow, we managed to be on time for the reception. The one thing guaranteed to get me anxious and irritated is running late. In high school, my football coach lived by the mantra 'early is on time, on time is late, and late is inexcusable'. If we were not in position to start drills the minute practice began, we were in for an hour of hell afterwards. It was so ingrained in me for those four years that I had never been able to get over it.
The limo pulled up to a hotel in downtown, and we were whisked to a private elevator to the rooftop space we reserved for the reception. Even then, Scott was complaining how we should have used the available helipad to make our grand entrance. I bit my tongue, so as not to ruin the surprise I still had up my sleeve. Yes, I'm aware I regularly enabled my husband's dramatic ways.
The three of us arrived after an hour of cocktail and hors d'oeuvres. I would've called them appetizers or finger food, but at the prices they were charging, they could call them whatever they wanted. I still had trouble grasping how much seven million dollars was, and Scott had to show me how little of a dent the wedding was actually making on his pocket book before I was comfortable with some of the choices we made. Actually, with some smart investments, Scott had made enough in the year we had been together to be able to afford everything without touching his savings. He always called it 'our' savings, but it wouldn't be until I started receiving my own paychecks, a year later, before I truly began to think of it that way.
As the event coordinator, had explained, the elevator doors did not open when it stopped its rapid ascent. The staff was busy corralling the guests for our entrance. We got in position, as we had been instructed; Zach stood between us, each holding a hand. After a few minutes, the doors slid open, as the DJ announced over the speakers, "Introducing in their first public appearance as husbands, Mr. Scott Hudgins and Mr. Noah Hudgins, and their son, Zach Hudgins." I'll admit I teared up a bit as he said that. I've always been such a sap when it comes to the mushy romantic stuff. It was a bit early to introduce Zach and I as 'Hudgins', since our names wouldn't be legally changed until after Scott and I got back from our honeymoon, but it was a semantic detail I could care less about.
We stepped out of the elevator to a two-story space with floor-to-ceiling windows offering amazing views of downtown and midtown. Even Stone Mountain was visible in the distance. Even though we had seen the space several times before that night, it was the first time we saw it with our color choices, baby blue and silver, and our flowers. My breath was immediately sucked out of my lungs as I stood in amazement. The venue had cost a small fortune, and we were going to take advantage of the huge space. Cocktails were served on the rooftop patio; dinner was served in the ballroom. The lower floor served as a dance floor, and the smaller, near-catwalks on the upper floor provided people to step back, take everything in, and mingle. If I remember right, we even had four open bars. We wanted to ensure if anyone wanted anything, no one had to venture far for a refill. To encourage everyone to go crazy, we even paid for rooms in the hotel for anyone who wanted one. To my relief, most of the guests turned us down since they were local. When we received the bill, I was surprised how few guests valeted, so they must have arrived in cabs.
We spent the next hour mingling. Zach was immediately swept up by one relative or family friend after another, so Scott and I found ourselves free. Waiters wandered throughout with trays, but we had our own private butler, who even retrieved drinks for us as requested. The event coordinator had strongly suggested we take advantage and try to fill up during the cocktail hour, and Scott took her advice to heart, but I really was looking forward to my filet mignon, and only picked at the hors d'oeuvres.
That turned out to be a major mistake. Immediately after the salad was served, when we no longer had our own butler, I wandered over to the bar to get us drinks. It took me nearly twenty minutes to return to our table, and my salad, of which I had a couple bites, had been taken. I had eaten about half of my filet, when Zach had to go to the bathroom. I instructed Scott to make sure they didn't take my plate, but he got engrossed in conversation, and didn't notice when they did.
After dinner, Will and Ethan gave brief toasts. I don't recall what either said, but Ethan included a couple anecdotes from when Ethan and Scott were kids, and Will's barely managed to stay on the appropriate side with a risquι story. Finally, it was the part of the reception we had been looking forward to the most. The DJ announced the dance floor was open, and he was taking requests.
We had gone back and forth several times on what type of entertainment we wanted. We almost hired a live band, going so far as to audition several, but finally decided to do something much more 'us'. That's how we ended up having 'Wedding Karaoke'. Miranda, the DJ at our usual karaoke cafι was a little put off when we didn't ask her to be the DJ, but we explained we wanted her to be able to enjoy the reception, instead of having to work.
She, Suze, and Solice dominated the karaoke, each singing several songs. Suze never missed an opportunity to be the center of attention, but it was the first time I saw Solice or Miranda take the stage for a solo. The DJ was quick to put on popular dance songs whenever there was a lack of requests, which was rare, as most guess seemed to enjoy having the opportunity to put their own personal touch on our day.
When it was time for our first dance, Will took the stage, and sang "Now and Forever" by Richard Marx while Scott and I slowly spun on the dance floor, whispering sweet-nothings back and forth and lost in each other's eyes as the crowd of onlookers disappeared. When Will finished, we kissed. The applause slowly pulled us back into the real world.
We spent the night dancing and mingling, sometimes side-by-side, but often on our own. As I expected, Scott spent most of the night on the balcony. I really wanted to remind him how much I disliked his smoking but decided it wasn't worth the usual argument that ensued, so I let it go.
All too soon, it was time for us to depart on our honeymoon. Scott gathered up Zach, who was asleep, from his parents, and started walking towards the elevator as the DJ announced it was time to bid us farewell. He was still under the impression we were leaving in a limousine. The plan, as far as he was aware, was for us to take the limo back to the house, wait for Lydia and Richard, who would be watching Zach while we were on our honeymoon. From there, the limo would take us to the airport.
When the DJ added, "Please make your way to the helipad," I was surprised Scott didn't get whiplash and he swung around to look at me. I simply nodded my head, and his face lit up even more than Zach did when he was excited.
I gently poked Zach a few times to wake him up. It was my first time in a helicopter, and I definitely wanted to share the experience with my son. He finally opened his eyes sleepily and looked at me.
"What's up, Daddy?"
"We're going on a helicopter ride, and I wanted you awake for it, okay?"
He looked at me confused, too tired to figure out what I was saying.
"Remember those planes with the spinning wings you like?" Scott prompted.
"Well we're going to take a ride on one. Where are we going, tiger?"
"To the airport. Lydia and Richard will meet us there."
"What about our clothes? They're all at home."
"For once, trust me that I've thought of everything," I said with a grin, hoping he wouldn't think I was starting an argument. "Will was tasked with taking everything over to the airport. The bags have already been checked in, and our carry-ons, and a change of clothes for each of us, are waiting with the concierge. Lydia and Richard will take our tuxes back to the house."
"Sorry, I just"
"Don't apologize. You're just being you, and I love you," I said, kissing his forehead.
We climbed aboard the helicopter, and donned the provided ear protection and mics so we could talk to each other. Zach squirmed happily on my lap, and Scott leaned up against me as the rotors kicked in and we slowly lifted off the roof.
"This is the best surprise ever," Scott said, as we slowly made our way through the skyline of downtown Atlanta. "It's the perfect end to the perfect day. I love you so much, tiger. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you."
*** *** ******
A car honking behind me pulled me out of my head.
"Dad, pay attention! The light is green," Zach scolded me.
We were getting close to the school, so I didn't allow my mind to drift back to happier times. Before long, I pulled into the front drive of the posh school.
"Bye, Zach," I said as he opened the door. "Gimme a kiss before you go."
He was already approaching the age he wanted to avoid affection in public, and he let out a sigh but did as I asked.
"Hey, maybe you want to see if Tommy wants to come over and play after school. You haven't had him over in a long time."
Tommy was his best friend, and they were constantly spending time together during year one. I know they were still friends, and he went over to Tommy's occasionally, but Zach hadn't had Tommy over since the beginning of summer.
"We'll see," he responded noncommittally, before shutting the door and dashing off to the main building.
With a sigh, I put the Porsche back into gear. It sucked having a powerful car in the Atlanta traffic, but no matter what was going on in my mind, I always managed to relax a bit while driving it. Traffic was heavier driving back towards the heart of the city, but that didn't prevent me from losing myself to my memories again.
*** *** *** ***
When the helicopter landed, we climbed out. It had been a real thrill, and the three of us wished it wasn't over yet. We were met by the concierge, who had our bags in his hands.
"These belong to you, as I understand it. Congratulations, sirs."
"Thank you very much," I said, slipping him a tip, and taking our bags.
We retreated to the bathroom. Scott and I changed into more comfortable clothes. I was grateful to be out of the damn dress shoes and choker, although I was still jealous of Zach, who got to change into his pajamas. We sat in the waiting area, and did not have long before Lydia and Richard showed up. Of course, by that time, Zach had fallen back asleep in Scott's arms.
"Thank you so much for watching him. We wanted to bring him, but that's a lot of school to miss," I told them.
"You have his schedule, and all the emergency contacts?" Scott asked nervously.
"Boy, calm down," Richard said with a laugh. "We'll be fine for two weeks. Just make sure you don't forget the little guy, because I'm sure he'll miss you something fierce."
"We'll miss him, too," I assured Richard. "Are you sure you don't want to stay at our house?"
"No, we'll be fine. Tom has been gracious enough to let us out of the basement apartment while we're sitting. Besides, that house still has a lot of painful memories for both of us."
Our house was the same Scott and Steve had shared. It was also where Steve was killed. It was no surprise staying there would be painful for them, especially Lydia, who had taken longer to recover from her depression after Steve died than even Scott.
Oh, and we'll probably take Zach to our house for the weekend, if that's ok with you," Lydia added.
Richard picked Zach up, and grabbed our tuxes. Before they left, he added, "Congratulations again to both of you. I really mean it. Scott, you deserve to be happy, and I'm glad you managed to find it again."
"Thanks, Dick," Scott said, wiping a tear from his eyes. He never said it, and would have denied it if I said anything, but Richard and Lydia's approval of our relationship was very important to him. Of course, the irony is neither fully approved of Scott's relationship with Steve. Once they left with Zach, it was already approaching the time we needed to go through security and make our way to our flight. We had gone back and forth on when to fly out, but had decided it was better to rush from the reception, rather than try to rush out of bed in the morning.
We had timed everything fairly tight, and it was only thirty minutes before they announced boarding for our flight to JFK. I had always wanted to visit New York, so I took the window seat, anxious to catch my first glimpse of the iconic skyline. The big splurge I had insisted on for the trip was flying first class. Scott, despite all the money we spent on everything else, had wanted to save a few bucks by flying coach. I reminded him we didn't have to stay at the Waldorf-Astoria, but apparently that was non-negotiable for him. As long as it was clean, I could care less where we stayed; I just wanted to travel in comfort; I only planned on using the room for two things, and both involved the bed. I was a little anxious when it came to flying this was only my second trip by plane and, for some reason, it made me feel a little better being close to the front. The free alcohol and roomy seats also helped.
Once we landed, we gathered our luggage and flagged a cab. Even Scott agreed we didn't need to go overboard and get a limo to the hotel. I was so exhausted by the time we got to our room, I just wanted sleep, but Scott had other ideas. I definitely wasn't complaining, and we made love for several hours in just about every position imaginable. That was the first night I'd ever had a hands-free orgasm. I don't know what it was, but sex after the wedding was always so much more intense than it was before, not that I often had complaints in the bedroom with Scott.
In the morning, we made love again in the shower, then once more in the bed, before deciding to venture out into the Big Apple. We did all the typical touristy stuff, strolling Central Park, and taking the boat out to the Statue of Liberty. Scott was sometimes a pain to travel with, since he got so easily distracted by things, but he was also a shutterbug, so I was always guaranteed to get pictures of everything. That day, however, he kept his full attention on me. Often, while walking, he'd just point the camera at me and start taking pictures. It was cute, and definitely made me feel special, almost as if I had my own personal paparazzo. In the evening, we took in my first Broadway show, Chicago. Despite everything I knew our honeymoon had in store for us, it was one of the things I had been looking forward to the most. Afterwards, we took full advantage of the city that never sleeps by finding a random hole-in-the-wall restaurant I'm not even sure it had a sign, now that I think back where I had the most amazing Italian I've ever eaten. Even then, I knew I would never be able to find it again. Every time I've been back in Manhattan, I've tried, but have never been successful.
Monday morning, our first stop was the Manhattan branch of the city clerk's office. Even if Scott claimed a legal marriage didn't mean anything to him, it meant something to me, and it was another of the few times I refused to back down. Actually, that was the whole reason we went to New York at all. We went back to the hotel, our marriage certificate in hand, and spent most of the day in bed, alternating between napping and making love. We also Skyped with Zach for over an hour.
Zach didn't tend to fair well when we left. This was the first time he was away from either of us for longer than a night, and his insecurities and abandonment issues were something I worried about a lot when planning our trip. Even if he didn't have school, I wanted to be able to spend time alone with my new husband, and I was grateful Lydia and Richard had been willing to watch our son. He had been calling them 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa' for as long as he'd known them. If there was anyone who could keep his insecurities at bay, it was them. The fact that his 'Uncle Tom' would also be around really helped. However, at least a few days into our trip, he seemed to be doing well. He missed us, but that was understandable; we both missed him as well.
After waiting the twenty-four hours, as required by New York law, we had our legal wedding ceremony. It lasted less than five minutes; we exchanged vows and rings, and were pronounced legally married in the eyes of New York State. We had hired an officient online, and the 'ceremony' was held in Central Park. As soon as it was over, we grabbed our bags from the hotel, and flagged a cab to take us back to JFK. It was time for our 'real' honeymoon to begin.
Our plane landed in London, and it wasn't long before we settled into our hotel. We weren't there long, and quickly headed out to hit the sites. We spent two days there before taking the Chunnel into France. Part of me had always wanted to spend a few months backpacking across Europe, and doing it in style was nice. We spent ten days in Europe. Scott had been to Europe before, but it was part of an organized tour and a far cry from the fairly unstructured honeymoon. Basically, we had to be at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to catch our return flight, but otherwise, we were free to go wherever the wind took us.
I had really been looking forward to the City of Love, and expected to spend most of our trip in Paris, but it was dirty, and the people seemed rude, so we moved on after catching the big tourist destinations. Also, the Mona Lisa was tiny; I wasn't expecting that. Scott was also mildly frustrating much of the trip. He was far more interested in finding out-of-the-way spots than the big tourist destinations, so I'd think I was telling him about how cool it was to be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, for instance, only to turn and find I was talking to open space, or worse: a random stranger. Invariably, he'd gotten distracted with a small cafι or side street that caught his eye. Fortunately, he usually answered his phone right away, and rarely ventured far. Of course, one time in Zurich, it had taken us about three hours to find each other. I was so pissed, but he more than made up for it that evening in the hotel.
If I had to choose, my favorite city we visited was Prague, which had managed to largely survive World War II intact. Scott, on the other hand, preferred Berlin, and was fascinated by the still-visible scars from the Cold War. Despite our frustrations, it was an amazing honeymoon. I got to see a part of the world that had always fascinated me, and I got to do it with the man I loved more than life itself. Unfortunately, the time seemed to fly by, and before we knew it, it was time return to Atlanta and the real world. We never made it to Italy or Spain, two places we both wanted to see, so we vowed to return to complete the tour of Europe in the future.
*** *** ******
Suddenly I realized I was parked in my space in the garage beneath the office building that housed Hudgins Design. I needed to get out of my head. I exited the car, got on the elevator, and quickly ascended to the twentieth floor. When we first decided to expand to the point we needed an office, Scott would only be happy with a top-floor, but Tom and I put our feet down. Our views weren't that much worse than on a higher floor, and the rent was significantly less. The local clients that came in for appointments never expressed disappointment that we lacked a penthouse view. Then again, for some reason most of our local clients didn't quite seem to grasp that they never needed to come in for appointments, and we could handle everything online.
"Mr. Hudgins, I have your messages," the secretary announced as soon as I walked into the office.
"Anything important, Heather?"
"A couple clients want updates when you get the chance. Ms. Johns wants to talk to you about the casual games in the works at some point today, and Mr. O'Neil wants to see you ASAP. Be careful, he's in a mood."
"When is Tom not freaking out about something?" I asked more to myself than anything. "Thanks, Heather."
"No problem, Mr. Hudgins. Have a great day, and let me know if you need anything," she said chipperly. She probably had the worst job in the office. All she did was route phone calls, and occasionally get coffee for a handful of us. Somehow, she was the bubbliest and cheeriest person there, and seemed unflappable. She had worked for us for nearly a year, and I made a mental note to make sure she got a promotion when she came up for review.
With a sigh, I walked towards my office, greeting the few workers milling by the coffee maker. I unlocked my office, and saw Heather had placed the final earnings report for February on my desk. I grabbed the sheet, and dropped off my messages before leaving my office, and walking two doors down. I hadn't even looked at the report yet, but I already knew why Tom had demanded a meeting. I'd like to say I entered his office without knocking in order to take control of the meeting from the beginning, but the reality was just that I was tired and didn't think about it.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Here's chapter two. Still no major answers and a few new questions raised. This chapters shows how the story will play out for the next chapters: jumping between the past and present, but focusing a little more on the past than on the present.
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