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Authors: Annie Jocoby

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BOOK: Broken
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Chapter 38


I had just gotten out of my meeting with Portia and her evil bunch, and I was sitting at my cubicle just staring at the little walls. I had tacked up pictures of Jack and me all over the cubicle walls, and a few of Aaron. Usually seeing those pictures comforted me, but not today.

Today would, no doubt, be the last day for me at this firm. I wouldn’t have any more lunches with Nick to look forward to. No more running into him while I’m going from office to office. I would only be able to see him in class now. But I wouldn’t be close to him anymore.

I realized that I craved seeing him. Craved being near him. I was excited, every single day there at work, just because he was there.

Now I wouldn’t have that anymore.

That devastated me even more than knowing that losing this internship would certainly mean a black mark on my professional record. I doubted that I could even list the job on my resume any more. I had learned a lot, even in just the short time I was working for the firm. So, the internship wouldn’t exactly be all for naught. But, as for it being a feather in my cap, a way to show to the world that I worked for a prestigious firm, therefore I was somebody – eh, not so much.

Now, I would probably have to go back to bartending, at least until I found another internship position. But, no, on the other hand, I couldn’t afford another internship position. The only reason why I was able to work
internship was because Nick, personally, was paying me. So, assuming that all other internships were the same, or were low-paying, I would have go back to bartending to make ends meet.

My depression, however, wasn’t over the sudden knowledge that I was out of a job, and I would therefore be broke and possibly homeless again. It wasn’t over the fact that I wouldn’t be able to list the firm on my resume.

My depression was over not getting to see Nick every day anymore.

I sighed. There was nothing that could be done about that. So, I might as well suck it up and call my old job to see if I could get my bartending position back.

I rang them, and Ralph picked up.

“O’Connors Bar, may I help you?”

“Hey, Ralph. This is Scotty.”

“Scotty! How’s it going? We were just talking about you. Here, do you want to talk to Dee? She’s been asking about you.”

“Maybe later,” I said, feeling so down that I didn’t even want to talk to the woman who used to be like a mother to me. “I actually needed to see if you guys are hiring for bartenders.”

“Oh, Scotty, no. I wish you would have called last week. Michael up and quit, but we hired somebody who just started yesterday. So sorry.”

I nodded my head.
And the hits just keep on coming.
“Hey, that’s ok, Ralph.”

“You ok, Scotty? Dee wants to know if you’re eating enough, by the way.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I’ve been eating fine.” Then I started to feel guilty about refusing to talk to Dee on the phone. “Go ahead and put Dee on the line.”

Dee got on. “Scotty? How are you doing? How is that fine young man who likes you so much?”

“What young man is that?”

“That professor of yours. When he came in, it was obvious to all of us that he liked you.”

I thought back. That was even before I had any inkling, at all, that Nick had a thing for me that went beyond professional.
Was I missing the cues all along?
I felt so naïve, not seeing what everybody else clearly did.

“He’s fine, Dee. I’m fine, too. How are you?”

“Oh, well, you know. The usual. The bursitis has been acting up, and I’ve been nursing one helluva cold. But, other than that, I’m still kicking.”

I smiled. I really did miss those people. I worked at that bar for two years, and everybody there was like family to me. I started to feel guilty about losing touch with them.

Dee and I chatted for about ten minutes more, and she gave Ralph back the phone.

“So, Ralph. Uh, will you call me if something comes up?”

“Sure, Scotty. But I thought you had that big-shot job in Midtown with that high-falutin firm. Why would you want to come back here?”

“Long story. But I do miss you guys.”

“We miss you too. At any rate, don’t be a stranger, allright?”

“I won’t. I’ll come visit sometime, I promise.”

I hung up, and continued to stare at the walls. Every minute was dragging. I couldn’t really leave until I found out my fate. I couldn’t work, either, until I found out my fate. I was in limbo, and the crushing depression and doubts were threatening to overwhelm me.

Shane came up to me. “Hey,” he said, “I heard what was going on. Pretty much bullshit, huh?”

“Good news does travel fast around here, huh?”

“Yeah. But, if it’s any consolation at all, you aren’t the first that Portia has done this to. Word is that the reason why there are so few women around this firm is because she gets rid of all of the attractive ones. Also, I heard that she’s been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, which would explain a lot.”

I giggled in spite of myself. “Yeah, that would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?” I shook my head. “How does this firm let her get away with that nonsense? I mean, she’s just one woman. Does she really have everybody else around here by the balls?”

“Something like that. Of course, it helps that she looks like a Victoria’s Secret model, but I know what you’re saying. She shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what happens around here like she’s some kind of queen.”

“Yeah, well, it looks like I probably won’t have to worry about her and her tyrannical ways after today.”

“When do you find out about what’s going on?”

“They’re in a meeting about it right now.”

“I wish you luck,” he said, taking a sip out of the coffee cup in his hand.

He paused for a little while, just looking at me. Then he took a deep breath. “Anyhow….I was wondering if you’d maybe like to have a drink after work. You know, take the edge off of your stressful day.”

I just looked at him for a moment, contemplating it. Shane wasn’t the first guy to ask me out, of course. Guys had asked me out, constantly, since I was in my teens. I never gave any of them the time of day because of what happened to me with Mr. Lucas. Now, I realized something.

I didn’t want to go out with Shane not because of Mr. Lucas, but because of Nick.

Still, I guessed it wouldn’t hurt. I had no feelings for Shane. I mean, he was a cute boy, and seemed very nice. But I was feeling
so strongly for Nick that I couldn’t see Shane as anything but a co-worker. So, it might not hurt to go out with him strictly as a friend.

“Uh, sure,” I said. “Where would you like to go?”

“How about Mother O’Leary’s?”

“Yeah, ok. I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right?”

He smiled. “Cool. Uh, I’ll come and hit you up before you leave.”

“Well, about that. I might be leaving at any moment. So, maybe I should just meet you there.”

“Ok, meet you there, then.”

Shane went back to his cubicle, and I was left to, once again, stare at the walls sadly. I glanced at the clock. 3:30.
They had been in their meeting for an hour and a half.

Finally, about fifteen minutes later, I saw some of the partners who were in the meeting streaming into their offices. I held my breath, waiting for the ax to fall.

Portia came up to me. “Well, Scotty, it looks like you’re going to be here after all. But I’m watching you. Fair warning.”

“I’m sorry? You mean I’m not going to be fired?”

“Nope. Not unless I want to be witness to a mutiny. You have some powerful friends in this office, I’ll tell you that.” Then she chuckled and walked away.

A mutiny. What did that mean?

I needed to talk to Nick. So, I made my way to his office, but he wasn’t there.

George came up. “You’re looking for Nick?”

“Yeah. Do you know where he is?”

“I think he had to leave early for some reason. He mentioned something about having to meet with a student who has been having some issues. Is there a message I can ge
t to him when I see him next?”

I shook my head. “No. I, uh, just wanted to see what happened in the meeting.”

George put his hand on my shoulder. “You’re going to be working here for the foreseeable future. That’s all you need to know.”

Then he smiled and walked away.


Chapter 39


I had to leave work before talking to Scotty, because I was running late for a meeting with a student who was having problems and needed to talk to me. I don’t usually leave work early, but, when this student, Brent, called me, it sounded pretty urgent. I had already agreed to meet him at 5 PM in my Columbia office, so I had to rush out of the meeting.

Turns out that Brent really needed to talk about the possibility that he would have to drop out of school because of the fact that his mother was sick. I think that he really just needed a shoulder to cry on, so I gave him this. I always have had a soft spot for my students. I was them once. I always had a ton of self-confidence, but I remember the stress of being a graduate student, so when a student had a serious problem, I tried to meet with them whenever I could.

After the meeting, I thought seriously about stopping by Scotty’s apartment.

Then I realized that I would be pushing her into something that she clearly didn’t really want from me. I had no idea how it was that I would be so pussy-whipped, when, all my life, I was the one who was in control. I literally always had my pick of women, so I never concerned myself with the ones who gave me a hard time or weren’t interested. I could just move onto the next conquest without looking back.

I never would have seen myself begging for scraps the way that I was with Scotty. And I wasn’t liking that part of myself. So, no, I wouldn’t show up at her apartment like some whipped puppy who wanted to be loved. Leave that to the Ryans of the world. That was always the way that he was with Iris. Yeah, he’s finally happy with her, but, lord, what it took for the two of them to get there!

So, I decided to bite the bullet and actually give Ava a shot. Nate had called me three times over the weekend, wanting to know when I was going to give Ava a call to go out. I put him off every time, not really wanting to do that. But, Ava was interested, and Scotty wasn’t.

Love the one you’re with, as the old song goes.

On the way home from Columbia, as I was stuck in traffic, I gave Ava a call.

“Hi, Nick,” she said, a little too eagerly, as she picked up the phone. “I was hoping you would call.”

“Yeah,” I said, not really sure what I was doing. “Um, Ava, I was wondering if you’d like to have dinner with me tomorrow night.”

“Sure,” she said. “How about
Per Se
at 8?”

Deep breath. “Yeah, ok. I’ll see you then.”

We hung up. Getting into
Per Se
might be a problem, but I had connections there, so that was taken care of. What was a problem was that Ava was shaping up to be just like every other woman I had been with –
Per Se
was known for its $300 prix-fixe menu, which was divine. But I really wanted to be with a woman who was simpler than that. Somebody who I knew wanted me for me, and not for my fat wallet.

Ava suggesting this place did not bode well.

Still, it wasn’t like I couldn’t afford it. I had done so well with my investments, thanks to my father’s shrewd skills when I was young, and his helping me to invest, that I had amassed a fortune that was, the last time I had an accounting, well over a billion dollars. The paintings and sculptures I owned, alone, almost equaled a billion. Buy low, sell high, and that’s what I did. I had made millions in my position as a world-renowned architect as well, but having the skill to invest the millions was what made one a super-rich person.

So, going to one of the most expensive places in town was never a problem. The problem was finding somebody who would be just as happy going to Burger King.

Something tells me that Ava had never set foot in a Burger King in her life.

And I wouldn’t be seeing Scotty again until Monday at work. At least I would be seeing her, though, which was a good thing.

So, that Saturday night, I shined up my shoes, put on my coat and tie and headed over to
Per Se.
I had Charlie drive me there, as I anticipated drinking pretty heavily. I probably would get the wine pairings with the menu, and Ava probably would as well.

Ava was there when I arrived at the restaurant. She was dressed in a sable coat, high heels and a glittery dress with a plunging neckline that showed off her toned and beautiful body. Her face was heavily made-up, even though she didn’t need all that makeup, and her hair was put in a chignon.

No doubt about it, Ava was a beautiful woman.

So why was I not feeling in the least bit excited to be with her?

She smiled. “Hello, Nick. I’m so happy you wanted to go out. Nate thought that you might be able to.”

I nodded my head. “Yeah, I had a good time on Thanksgiving with everybody, so I thought, what the hell?”

The maître d’ came over to seat us, and the waiter was there immediately pouring the water and the wine for the first pairing. Both of us chose the Chef’s Tasting
Prix Fixe
menu, which was eight courses of tiny, but delicious, portions of seafood, tomatoes and other vegetables, with a dessert at the end. With each course there was a wine pairing, which was chosen by the chef as well.

Over our first course, which was oysters and caviar with pearl tapioca, Ava asked me how things were going at work.

“Things are going ok, I guess,” I said. “I had a rather unpleasant meeting yesterday, as everybody was trying to railroad my intern out of a job. But, other than that, things really couldn’t be better.”

Ava narrowed her eyes. “Your intern. What happened there?”

“Well, she was accused of stealing from the firm. Which was total bullshit, pardon my language, and Portia and everybody who was in on the attempted railroading knew it.” I shook my head and took another swig of wine. “I told them if they wanted to oust Scotty, go right ahead, but I was going to quit too. That shut them up real fast.”

Ava looked a bit pissed. “So, tell me about this intern, Scotty is her name?”

I waved my hand in the air. “What is there to tell? She’s my intern, or she will be soon, and Portia wants her gone just because she’s jealous of her. Anyhow, I don’t want to talk about that tonight.” I took a deep breath, and tried to focus only on Ava, without obsessing over Scotty. “Tell me what’s going on in your world.”

She sipped her wine, then put her perfectly manicured hand on mine. I thought about Scotty’s hand, with her bit nails that she covered up with a pretty shade of pink. Ava’s nails were long, red and perfectly sculpted. Just like the rest of her – a beautiful sculpted statue she was, but a little cold.

“I really like you, Nick. I mean, I really like you.” Her suggestive look told me that I could bang her tonight if I was into that. And, really, since when was I not into that with somebody beautiful who wanted in my pants?

Since Scotty, that’s when.

I didn’t say anything back. I was calculating if I wanted to bed this woman. I was being stupid for not doing it. After all, Scotty was showing that she wanted nothing to do with me outside of our professional lives. Yeah, Scotty had her reasons. And they were good reasons, too. But I was starting to not be able to stand myself, being so whipped about that girl.

Sleeping with Ava might prove to myself that I was still Nick, as opposed to being this sniveling, love-struck wimp that I was rapidly becoming.

As the night wore on, and more wine was being consumed, I started to see the logic in taking Ava home that night. She was beautiful, and sleeping with her would make me feel more like myself. Of course, if she was like most women who looked like her, the sex wouldn’t be very good, but if you knew that going in, there wasn’t a problem.

Over dessert, Ava made her move. “So, Nick,” she said, daintily eating her assortment of fruit, ice cream, chocolates and candies that made up the dessert assortment for the evening. Unlike Scotty, this woman’s manners were impeccable. As they should be, considering her mother was a Baroness before coming to America with Ava’s father, who made his billions the old-fashioned way – by inheriting it from a long line of railroad robber-barons. “What do you say we go to your place after this? If you could call your driver right now, we can make it back to your loft before midnight. Nate told me that you live in Tribeca. Very chic.”

Ok, Nick, time to make a decision on this woman.
I had been wavering all night about it. Wavering all night between my desire to feel more like myself again, and my desire to stay devoted to Scotty. Devoted to a woman who wanted nothing more to do with me than be my student and intern.

“Sure, Ava, let’s go back to my place.” After all, I hadn’t been laid since I kicked Penelope out of my life, so I was raring to go in that respect.

Ava smiled, clearly pleased. “You won’t regret it,” she said. “Trust me.”

“I’m quite sure that’s not true,” I said, trying to make a joke, but really stating what I was feeling. “But let’s do it anyhow.”

So, we headed back to my place.


BOOK: Broken
12.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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