Saturday, January 7, 2012

"She's No Angel" - Chapter Three

Here's the third chapter of my work in progress, "She's No Angel."  Need I say, comments are most welcome.  Enjoy!

     The next day, having decided the thrill of Jamaica had worn off, they decided to go back home.  The news of the death of the young woman they’d only just met, but had come to like, had put a chill on things, and Megan’s stomach kept bothering her.

     She got better after they returned home and back to work, but two months later, began throwing up in the mornings, and feeling moody and out of sorts throughout the day.  A visit to the doctor explained why.

     She was pregnant.

     Their fooling around had struck pay dirt the first time; Winston walked around for days with his chest puffed out and a foolish look on his face.  Megan alternated between looking proud and being green around the gills.  She started every morning on her knees over the commode getting rid of the previous evening’s supper; bugged Winston constantly to stop at the market and buy the strangest things, and rubbed her tummy constantly, even though she hadn’t started showing.

     Winston’s boss, Leland Carter, a pasty-faced blond with a forehead that soared up to the middle of his pate, and who was an inch shorter than Winston’s five-eleven, had taken to punching Winston playfully in the chest whenever he saw him. 

    “Way to go, Win,” he’d say and then smile with a leer that made Winston uncomfortable.

     Carter, until Granny had given him a lesson in spiritual humility, had tormented Winston endlessly; picking on him for any reason, or no reason at all.  After a private session with Granny, a session he still had trouble believing; not being a person who believed in ghosts or spirits, he’d changed, actually being nice to Winston to the point of giving him a raise in pay and promoting him to senior analyst.  Ever since Megan had told her female coworkers that she was pregnant, Carter had been treating Winston like an old school chum.  Sometimes, Winston missed the old days when Carter picked on him; at least that was in character.  Besides, Winston didn’t really like being touched by other men; or, except for Megan, by women either.

     “Morning, Mister Carter,” he said.  “I have that Amalgamated Study ready for you to review.  When would you like me to drop it off?”

     “Hey, Win,” Carter said. “Stop calling me Mister Carter.  It’s just Lee to you, my man.  You can drop the report off any time you like.  In fact, why don’t you go ahead and send it to the clients.  I trust your judgment.”

     He then wheeled around and strutted off to his office, patting the little paunch that pushed his jacket out, and whistling some unidentifiable tune; and off key at that.

     Of course, Mister Carter, Winston thought. 

     As Winston made his way to his office; they’d even given him a tiny space with a door instead of the cubicle he’d once occupied; Archibald DeMille, the CEO of Advantage Consulting, a rotund black man who always wore three-piece suits, stuck his head out of his corner office.

     “Morning, Winston,” he said.  At least he didn’t call him Win, Winston thought.  He hated it when Carter called him that.  “How’s the little woman this morning?”

     “Still a little queasy, Mister DeMille,” Winston said.  “She’ll be coming in late.”

     “Not a problem, not a problem at all.  Maybe she should take some leave; paid of course; until her body stabilizes.”

     Granny, who Winston had called Gran Gran until she threatened to put a hex on him if he didn’t stop, had worked miracles on Advantage’s top executives.  All of them, DeMille included, had used Winston for a verbal punching bag until she dealt with them.  Now, there didn’t seem to be anything they weren’t willing to do for him.

     “I’ll tell her when she comes in,” Winston said.  “And, thank you, sir.  She’ll appreciate it, I’m sure.”

     “No need to thank me, son; it’s the least we can do for two of our best employees.”

     DeMille smiled broadly and ducked back into his office.  The door to the next office opened, and John Park’s broad sallow face poked around the corner.

     “Good morning, Mr. Nesbitt,” he said.  He was the exception among the executives; Park, a second generation Korean, never addressed anyone by their first name.  “How is the Mrs. Nesbitt this morning?”

     “Good morning, Mr. Park,” Winston said. “She’s doing okay, I guess.  Still getting a little sick in the mornings, but otherwise, the doctor says she’s normal.”

     “Ah, yes; you should give her seaweed soup,” Park said.  “My sister eat when she pregnant.  She said it help stop sickness.”

    Winston, who wasn’t exactly an adventurous eater, and had no idea where he was supposed to get soup made of all things, seaweed, nodded and smiled.

     “Thank you,” he said. “I’ll try that when we get home tonight.”

     Park smiled, sucked a hissed breath across his uneven teeth, and went back into his office, to do whatever it was he did for the company. Winston had never figured out what that was, and was reluctant to ask, even with the newfound friendship that seemed to have developed.

     Winston went into his own office, a closet-sized room near the storage closet, which he thought might at one time have been used as a storage closet, closed the door, sat down behind his desk, and turned on his computer.

     While he waited for the computer screen to quite blinking on and off and settle down, he pulled the Amalgamated Report from his desk drawer.  The report represented one of his best efforts to date, and he was sure the client would be pleased.  He was tempted to take Carter up on his suggestion to just send it directly, but prudence was one of Winston’s strong points.  That, and despite his newfound confidence, he was still not one to take too much initiative.  He decided to send it to Carter for review anyway.