Read Hurricane Watch - DK2 Online

Authors: Melissa Good

Tags: #Lesbian, #Romance

Hurricane Watch - DK2 (2 page)

BOOK: Hurricane Watch - DK2
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You know the drill. Nothing exciting happening around here, I guess.”

She gave Kerry a faint, speculative smile.” Though I hear there might be some action over in Sales coming your way.”

Kerry shrugged. “Show me the money,” she remarked. “Then we can talk. So far all I’ve heard is some pretty unrealistic projections.”

Margie got up and brushed off her silk dress. “Well, that’s not my area,” she said. “See ya.” She detoured around where Kerry was standing. “Nice shirt,” she added. “Doesn’t Dar have one just like it?”

With a grin, she walked out and left Kerry alone in the break room.

“HELLO, STEVEN.” DAR stood quietly behind her desk, her hands resting on the surface, as he entered. “My assistant said you wanted a minute. That’s all I’ve got.”

”Well, well, well, look at what we have here. If it isn’t my old and best buddy, Dar Roberts.” Steven sauntered in, shutting the door behind him as he crossed the room towards her.

He hadn’t changed much, Dar noted. Still tall, with a sleek, runner’s physique, and thick, dark hair. His hazel eyes studied her as he 6

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came forward, and that slick, toothy smile creased his face as he held a hand out. ”Been a while, hasn’t it?”

Not nearly long enough. Dar reluctantly took his grip, and returned the strong handshake with one of her own. ”Certainly has,” she’d replied evenly. “I believe the last time I saw you was right after you were thrown out of school that last semester.”

”Mm...yes, and you enjoyed engineering that, didn’t you?” he chuckled. ”That’s okay, no hard feelings. After all, things turned out all right, didn’t they? Here we both are.” He’d spread his arms out. ”My office isn’t as nice as this one.” Now he turned his eyes on her. ”Maybe that’ll change soon.”

Dar had merely lifted an eyebrow and refused to take the bait.

”Well, best of luck to you,” she’d said, keeping a neutral expression.

A knock came at the inner door. “C’mon in,” Dar called out, half turning her head to watch as Kerry entered.

Kerry had passed through the sunlight pouring in her window, burnishing her pale hair, and highlighting her graceful physique. ”I’ve got those reports,” she said, giving Steven a curious look, then turning her attention to Dar. ”That New York center is going to be almost impossible to complete. Verizon is projecting sixty days to pull the circuits.”

”Not good enough,” Dar had said, tersely. ”I’ll see what I can do.”

She turned to where Steven was watching with interest. ”Kerry, this is Steven Fabricini, José’s new AVP,” she stated. ”This is Kerry Stuart, my right hand, and our Director of Operations.”

Kerry almost, almost smiled at that. Dar could see the crinkling of the skin around her eyes as she extended a courteous hand to Steven.

”Pleased to meet you.”

”Likewise, I’m sure,” he said lazily, giving her a charming smile.

”We’ll be working very closely together, I can see that.”

Kerry merely nodded, then turned and slipped out, leaving them alone again.

”Well, well, Dar, you old whore. Your taste certainly has improved.” Steven laughed. ”That’s a nice piece of ass.”

Dar felt an odd, cold flush come over her, and she realized almost too late he was trying to get under her skin. Her jaw tightened on her first, instinctual reaction and she used leaning against her chair back to give her a moment to revise it before she answered. “Discriminatory comments about employees are against policy, Steven.”

He laughed. “That’s right. Straight arrow stickler for policy, weren’t you? How could I forget?” His expression shifted. “She know you’re gay?”

Dar merely stared back at him. “Your minute’s up.”

”Ah now, Dar.” He stood up, that obnoxious smile sliding onto his face. ”You’ve got everyone here so blinded by that kiss my ass attitude, but I know better.” He pointed a finger at her. ”I know you, and that’s
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how I'm going to beat you.”

Dar looked at him coolly. ”Steven, I’m not the person you knew back then. Be careful you don’t promise things you can’t deliver.”

“Aren’t you?” Fabricini asked. “I guess we’ll find out. I know I’m a lot smarter than I was back then,” he said. “Smart enough to know a status quo that needs rupturing when I see it.” He turned and sauntered out, waggling his fingers at her as he left the office. “Do yourself a favor, and just stay out of my way.”

Dar sighed, and sat down in her chair. “I swear I should go run a taco stand on South Beach.” She propped her head up on her fist.

“Worst thing I’d have to worry about there is drunken rollerbladers.”

Her phone buzzed. “Dar?” Maria’s voice echoed softly. “Are you ready for the conference call?”

“Yeah,” Dar said. “It’ll go through lunch. Mind bringing me back something?” She looked over at the fish, studying their twitching motions. “Too bad they don’t have sushi.”

“Como?”

“Never mind. Put ‘em through.”

THE MEETING ROOM was small, only an oval table, with six chairs around it, and a whiteboard against the beige corded wall covering. Currently four people were seated around the table, three of them staring across the table at the fourth.

”I’m sorry. I’m not sure I understand the question,” Kerry stated, turning her pencil in her hands, and peering patiently across the table. José, Eleanor and Steven rounded out the participants, and Kerry had the very uncomfortable sensation of being a rabbit in a cage with three hungry snakes.

Fortunately, she sighed, rabbits did have claws, and teeth, and could use them when needed. ”What does half a dozen prospective leads that haven’t even gone to bid status have to do with projections from last year?”

Steven Fabricini had been very obviously miffed that Dar had sent her, Kerry realized, but she also understood why her boss had done so.

She had the answers to their questions, and it prevented the meeting from appearing to be a forum where Dar would be pushed into the defensive, attacked by the three sales and marketers.

Now Steven stood, walking to the whiteboard. ”Well, as I see it, if we can show that kind of potential, then facilities has the obligation to add bandwidth so we have the ability to close the deals.” He held his hands out. ”What is there to understand?”

Kerry cocked her head. ”That’s like saying you’re going to buy six hamburgers at McDonalds because you might be hungry,” she stated.

”Upping bandwidth on the network is done via a formula based on your department’s past performance. If you want that changed, you need to 8

Melissa Good

close more contracts, because we are not going to acquire hard circuits on the possibility of leads.”

She consulted the information Dar had printed out for her.

”According to the last five years projections, infrastructure is increasing the acquisition of circuits based on a new account rate of ten percent.”

She looked up. ”Are you saying we’re going to close more new accounts than that?”

”We have no idea!” José threw his hands up. ”But we can’t sell the accounts if we don’t have the bandwidth to handle their demands immediately.”

”Don’t you see, Kerry?” Eleanor added smoothly, smiling at her.

”We have to have a bargaining chip.”

”Ah,” Kerry stated, folding her hands over the papers. ”Okay, so what happens if we don’t add that many accounts and we end up with a negative balance we have to compensate for?”

”See? That’s your problem, cupcake. You can’t think like that. You have to think positive.” Steven pointed the marker at her. ”You’re too conservative, and it’s killing our potential to sign new business.”

Kerry propped her chin up on one hand. ”No, we’re just following the written guidelines for new business, as set down by corporate in Houston.

If you have an issue with how the business case has to be structured, you need to address that with Alastair McLean, since it’s his model.”

She neatly flipped the tables on him. ”And those five accounts you tossed into this issue do not adhere to that standard. In fact, two of them show significant potential for our taking a loss on the overall account, despite the bonus you all will get for signing the new business.” Her voice was gentle, and almost pleasant. ”So, as you can see, I’m really not convinced we should go to Infrastructure on this, and ask them to accelerate their program.” She stood up. ”Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have a lunch meeting I’m due at in twenty minutes.”

José grabbed his papers and left with a disgusted look. Eleanor trailed after him, leaving Steven and Kerry in the room. He sauntered over to her. ”You’re pretty sharp.”

Sea green eyes regarded him. ”Thank you.” She picked up her papers. ”Excuse me.”

”Hey, hey, hold on.” Steven circled around and perched on the table. ”I’m not going to bite you.” He smiled. ”Unless you want me to, of course.” He flicked the papers. ”No need to be hostile. We’re on the same side, remember?”

”Are we?” Kerry asked. ”Then why accuse our division of deliberately sabotaging yours?” She held up the printed out email. ”Or didn’t you write this?”

”Aw, c’mon,” Steven chuckled. ”It’s just a game, loosen up.” He slapped his folded papers against her arm lightly. ”We’re both pretty new here, right?”

”More or less,” Kerry replied relaxing her pose.

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”So, we can talk. Look, I’m not here to make trouble, okay? I’m just trying my best to jump-start some sales here. It’s to all our benefit, remember?” His brows lifted. ”We can help each other. Things are kind of stagnating, and if we work together, maybe we can get things moving again.”

Kerry studied him. He was charming, he knew it, and she could feel the allure of that engaging smile. ”I’d be glad to help in any way I could,” she answered, carefully. ”Without compromising our standards.”

He moved closer, in a casual way. ”Ah, now Kerry, would I ask you to compromise your standards?” He grinned. ”I heard you say you have a lunch meeting, maybe tomorrow we could grab a bite in the cafeteria and chat. How about it?” Steven captured her eyes, and his lips twitched a little.

”All right,” Kerry said, quietly. ”We can do that.” She shifted her papers. ”I have to go. I’ll be late for my meeting.” She favored him with a gentle smile.

He winked. ”Go on, cupcake. See you later.” He watched her leave, and then smiled to himself, letting out a low, soft chuckle. ”Now that is a nice piece of ass just waiting to be led out of the cesspool.”

THE CAFETERIA WAS crowded with the early lunch people, staff who came in before eight, and by noon were more than ready to eat.

Kerry picked up her tray, and wound her way through the room. She spotted Maria and several other older women seated near the back where a window allowed a view of the water. ”Hi,” she greeted them, putting her tray down by an empty chair. ”Looks like we’re going to get some rain.”

”Si,” Maria agreed, looking out at the threatening clouds. ”How are you, Kerrisita? Did your meeting go all right?”

Kerry seated herself, and picked up her silverware. ”More or less.”

She took a sip of her iced tea, and speared a piece of lettuce. ”We agreed to disagree, you know?” She gave the older woman a wry look, then glanced around casually. ”Boss get stuck again?”

Maria nodded. ”Si, a conference call from France. She asked me to bring her a sandwich.”

Kerry clucked and shook her head, but didn’t say anything. The table talk turned to the latest episode of a favorite TV show, and she joined in cheerfully, pausing to acknowledge the arrival of newcomers at the next table. “Afternoon.”

“Good afternoon, Kerry.” Duks Draefus settled his tray down, one of his staff at his side. “You are here early today also.”

Kerry gave the Finance VP a brief grin. “I take an early lunch any time I can. Everything tends to fall apart in the afternoons here.” She turned back to Maria. “Right?”

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“Always,” Maria agreed. “Tomas and I will go see the movies tonight. Have you seen that new one, Kerrisita? With the pig?”

The others at the table chimed in, and Duks was left to dissect his meatloaf with his staff.

”Guess that honeymoon ended fast.” The faintly sarcastic remark made Duks raise his head, and regard the speaker coolly.

”Excuse me?”

Comptroller Selene Advosan leaned closer. ”C’mon, Duks. When she first started, she and the ice princess were tighter than a champagne cork in a bottle. I haven’t even seen them eat lunch together since the New Year. I guess the novelty wore off.”

The Financial VP chewed his corned beef sandwich thoughtfully.

”Never noticed.”

He shrugged, then glanced over at Kerry, who appeared perfectly at home with her tablemates, and was laughing at something Maria had said. ”Maybe they’re just busy. Dar never did lunch much anyway, and they seem friendly enough.”

”Yeah, but I thought we had a juicy one going there for a little while.” Selene sighed. ”I should have known better. Dar’s way out of her league.”

”Mm.” Duks dismissed the subject, and concentrated on his lunch.

Kerry put her tray away, and joined Maria as the secretary ordered a sandwich for their boss. The older woman checked the available options, then glanced sideways. ”What you think, chicken salad?” she inquired, her brow creasing.

”Tuna melt, on raisin toast,” Kerry murmured. ”With French fries.”

”Aie, Kerrisita!” Maria winced, and gave her an appalled look.

Kerry shrugged, and smiled. ”Dios Mio. All right.” She ordered the sandwich, and gathered some napkins as it was being made. She took the bag the counterman handed her and clucked, then followed Kerry out the door and to the elevator, which swallowed them up along with several other staff members. At the last minute, running footsteps and a hand between the doors delayed them as Steven Fabricini slid in.

”Well, hello there.” He sorted his way through the mailman and two administrative assistants, choosing to lean against the same wall as Kerry. ”How was lunch?”

”Fine thanks,” Kerry replied readily. ”This cafeteria’s really not bad. It’s better than most of the restaurants around here.”

BOOK: Hurricane Watch - DK2
13.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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