Underneath I

July 28th, 2016 – cont. 

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Damn.

We sat at our cubicle for a little over an hour in silence. Gen was outsmarted. I just couldn’t figure out how or why. It would be one thing to steal someone’s lunch and eat it, but to throw it out? That’s personal. It made me wonder if her lunch has been thrown out this entire time. And it’s not even about the lunch, it’s about Gen. Whoever is doing this has a vendetta and they expressing it in a petty but obnoxious way. I thought things were different but I was so naive. It doesn’t matter where I go because people will be people, and people are self-serving, rude, petty, and vindictive. I’ve got to get out of this stupid job. If I have to deal with horrible people I should at least have a job I love.

But what am I supposed to do? It’s hard to get an internship in the fashion world. There’s also no way I could find something this late in summer. Do I have to stick it out in data entry? I’ve already established that’s a bad idea, but leaving would make me look like I’m ungrateful. I wish I knew who got me fired or if there was any way to get my intern position back. Considering the company is scrambling for the August White Party, maybe if they lose an intern at an inconvenient time they’d need me to step in. But even if that could work, I’d have to know who got me fired and I’d need some strong evidence.

“That’s it!” I exclaimed. I swiveled around to face Gen.

“What?” she said.

“We’ve been looking at this the wrong way. For one, there’s no way to know if they’ve thrown out your lunch this whole time,” I said.

“Valid,” she replied, “that did cross my mind.”

“And two, evidence should come before justice. We need proof and I have a solution,” I replied.

Gen rested her head on her hand and leaned towards me, “I’m listening.”

“We use wireless live-feed cameras at home so we can check on the house when we aren’t there. I’ll borrow one from home and we set it up in the break-room where they can’t see it. It’ll stream to my phone,” I replied.

I see you.

A smile formed across Gen’s face, “I knew you’d fit in here. Can we do it tomorrow?”

“Sure,” I replied, “is there any way we can get in the office early?”

Gen nodded, “I have a key.”

I wasn’t going to bother asking why.

“Perfect, meet me here like an hour early? Just in case,” I said.

“Sounds like a plan,” she replied.

“But,” I interjected, “I want to know something first. What’s the deal with you and Jessica, and why aren’t you nervous about getting fired?”

“It’s a long story, Mass.” she paused for a moment, “Basically, Jessica is a filthy traitor and also my aunt. My parents own part of Exude and Evelyn Bellamy is my grandfather’s illegitimate daughter. Jessica and her husband also own part of the company and they tried to ruin my father’s life,” the way she replied was so nonchalant. But I was floored.

“Wait, you’re related to Jessica and distantly to Evelyn Bellamy, and your parent’s own part of the company?”

“Yeah, that’s what I just said Mass,” Gen replied, sarcastic as usual.

“You could have any job you want but you choose to work in data entry?”

“Tsk tsk Massie, there’s always more to the story,” she replied, “but that’s for another time.”

“But-“

“Nope, you’ll have to torture me for more information,” Gen said.

“Fine, but if we catch this thief, I want more details,” I replied.

“Deal.”


July 29th, 2016

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go home and google the Montenegro family. There wasn’t too much information on them. Her parents did look vaguely familiar, but I got the sense that they were more behind-the-scenes type business people. What I did discover was that Exude is much bigger than a styling company. There are hints of other business ventures and companies within the same conglomerate, all headed under the Montenegro family name. I even dug up a picture of Gen and her family at a Gala. There were two others, a male and a female, both older, who looked to be Gen’s siblings. Or maybe cousins? I wasn’t sure and I didn’t want to admit to cyber-stalking my friend’s family.

Gen and I met up early at the office to set up the camera. It didn’t take long. I connected my phone to the live-feed, plugged my phone in so the battery wouldn’t die, and had it rest next to Gen’s computer screen.

“When you want to record hit the red button and it’ll start recording immediately,” I said.

“Perfect,” Gen said, “thanks so much Mass. I should have thought of this first.”

“It’s like I said-“

“Yeah yeah, evidence before revenge, blah blah blah” Gen interrupted. I rolled my eyes.

“And now we wait,” I said.

“Better than working,” resting her chin on her hand, she leaned over and stared intensely at my phone screen.

“Ugh, are you just going to stare at it for hours?” I said.

“Never underestimate my pettiness,” she said.

I giggled, “you might consider calling it determination.”

“Determination, pettiness, a little fun in the meaningless void of life…” she paused, “I see no difference.”

“Wow. I’m going to go back to work before I have an existential crisis,” I giggled.

And so we began the long wait. A crime spanning multiple days, a failed attempt to catch the culprit, and a new plan that promised to deliver. It had to. I was dying for more information. How could she drop a bomb like that and then skimp on the details? Sure, it wasn’t my business, but it was damn fascinating. If there’s anyone who understands bad blood, it should be me. My entire life from the third grade has consisted of drama and burnt bridges.

The time was 10:45, just an hour and fourty-five minutes into our day. Gen stared at the screen, unwavering in her determination. I tried my best to focus on my work but it was hard with the anticipation eating me up. And in an instant everything changed.

“It’s Jessica!” Gen yelled.

“What?” I flung around.

I moved my chair next to hers. Sure enough, the stream showed Jessica returning Gen’s lunchbox to the fridge, as I missed the bit where she threw it out. I could see it was already recording. Just as Jessica slammed the fridge shut, Gen popped up out of her chair and blitzed towards the break room.

“Why am I not surprised?” she yelled down the hallway.

I jumped up quickly and followed, nearly tripping in my heels.

Gen

Gen nearly collided with Jessica as she exited the break room, clearly in a hurry to leave the scene of the crime.

“You are unbelievable and petty!” Gen roared.

“Good god, what are you on about now?” Jessica replied.

“Oh I’ll show you,” Gen went into the breakroom, Jessica turned around to view Gen. I stood just a bit back from Jessica. I wasn’t surprised it was her, given the bad blood Gen had described, but I was concerned that a woman in her early 30’s was doing something so childish.

“This,” Gen grabbed the live feed camera out of it’s hiding spot, “is a live-feed camera. And I caught you, bitch.”

Jessica didn’t reply immediately, instead she just stood there speechless.

“Well?” Gen demanded.

“Oh, go to hell, you’re just like your mother,” Jessica replied. Yet another detail about the mysterious Montenegro family drama.

“Resorting to low-blows, how pathetic. I caught you, and I have video evidence of you being the scum that you are,” Gen replied.

“I-” Jessica started.

“Save it!” Gen interrupted, “throwing out my lunch? Really? That’s the best you could do? What’s the point?”

“You-“

“Save it!,” Gen interrupted again, “this is going to look really bad on you.”

Jessica tightened her lips, clearly nervous.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with this, but at the very least, I think Massie and I have earned a paid vacation today. We’ll talk later. Problem?” Gen said.

Jessica and Gen stared at each other for what seemed like ages. But Jessica broke.

“Fine,” she mumbled.

“Great, see you Monday,” Gen said, dramatically flipping her hair and sauntering out of the break room. I glanced at Jessica quickly before following.

“Mystery solved. Too bad it wasn’t more interesting,” Gen said, “of course it was Jessica. I just couldn’t accuse her without proof.”

“Wait, did you really think it was her the whole time?” I asked. We arrived at the cubicle.

“Mhm,” she replied, “I didn’t look around much after my wings were gone. I was watching Jessica.”

“What? Why didn’t you just tell me that,” I asked.

“Just in case, you know, covering all the bases,” she replied, “now, how do I save this recording?”

“First of all it’s still recording,” I said. I picked up my phone and ended the recording.

“You can plug it in and download it right? I want to send it to myself.” Gen said.

“Sure.” I said. I plugged in my phone to the computer, downloaded the file, and then Gen saved it and backed it up.

“Perfect,” she said, “let’s get out of here.”

“Wait,” I replied, “maybe you can leave but I can’t.”

“Yes you can, you won’t get fired. Promise.”

“Maybe not but that doesn’t address why you kind of lied to me,” I said.

“I didn’t lie I just didn’t throw out any baseless accusations,” she replied.

“They wouldn’t have been baseless if you had clued me in a little earlier.”

“Mass! I’ve known you for what? A couple weeks? Did you want me to introduce myself like ‘Hi, I’m Gen, and Jessica is my bitch aunt!'”

I paused. Gen’s eyes softened up. I could tell she didn’t mean to yell.

“I’m sorry I’m being so nosy,” I said.

“Look, let’s leave, get coffee, and get to know each other more,” she replied.

“Sounds great,” I smiled. I grabbed my stuff and we headed out of the office. Jessica wasn’t at her desk. We hopped in the elevator.

“I know this adorable cafe we can hang at,” Gen said.

“Sweet,” I yawned.

“Tired already?” I said.

“Just relived. That was intense. You are intense,” I replied. Gen smirked.

Ping!

The doors opened on to the main floor. It was also the reception area to the fashion/styling floor. And that’s when my life changed.

“Alicia,” I said. There she was. My so-called best friend. She was waiting for an elevator with another intern, but that’s not what ticked me off.

“Massie, what are you doing up here?” she replied.

“I don’t know, why are you with two of the clients I tried to book for the August White Party? You know, the ones who were called and told I didn’t work here?”

My Word is my Bond, 

Massie Block


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2 thoughts on “Underneath I

  1. Mass,
    I love your plot! I had a feeling it was Alicia since day 1 and now it’s confirmed! This vicious beta better have a good reason… Gen’s family sounds complicated and big.
    Always wanting to read more,
    xoxo,
    Olivia

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