TQB Base, Colorado – USA
Bethany Anne and John walked over to the main offices and through where Cheryl Lynn should have been, but wasn’t. Then she passed where Michael should have been and wasn’t as well. John reached ahead of her and put out a hand.
She stopped. She could hear everything in the room ahead, and there was no indication of trouble, but she had learned it was easier to be obedient to the hand than to give him too much lip. Besides, she was saving up all of these little indignities for a time when she could get him back.
Your time is coming, Mr. Grimes, she thought, oh yes, your time is coming.
Satisfied that everything was safe inside the room, John stood back, and his body posture told Bethany Anne she could walk ahead. Bethany Anne stepped around the corner into the room to find her two missing people. Cheryl Lynn was blushing furiously on the back row, and she noticed Michael sitting next to one of the lawyers. From his profile, he would be Jakob Yadav. She walked down the steps and into the main pit area in front of all of the chairs. She turned around and leaned against the table with her arms crossed.
“Welcome,” she started. “I understand from the people who vetted you before you arrived that your firms met all of our specific requirements.” She turned to the group from Thuresson and Guaran, “Unfortunately, I don’t recognize any of you. I will presume that Misters Thuresson and Guaran have justification for missing this meeting?”
The people at the table quickly looked to each other before the person in the chair closest to the aisle spoke, “Hello, Ms. Bethany Anne.”
Bethany Anne put up a hand, “It is just ‘Bethany Anne’. No honorific necessary.” She nodded for him to continue.
“Certainly. My name is Will Sethi, and I’m here on behalf of the firm. Misters Thuresson and Guaran were called away on urgent business for a senator and respectfully ask your pardon.” Bethany Anne caught Michael’s slightly negative shaking of his head out of the corner of her eye.
She pursed her lips.
ADAM, can you tell me where Misters Thuresson and Guaran are presently?
>>One moment, Bethany Anne.<<
“Will,” she said, “would you introduce me to the team?”
Before Will finished, ADAM came back to her.
>>Both Thuresson and Guaran are presently at a hunting lodge in Western Canada with two clients and a significant number of single ladies.<<
How the hell do you know this? I’m not doubting you; I’m just curious.
>>Mr. Guaran has the location on his personal itinerary with two client names and what company employs them. I found one of his clients are presently sending pictures to a password protected social board of the events for a group of men to view.<<
“Thank you for your introductions Will, but unfortunately, I was premature when asking for them. I don’t believe in wasting time, nor do I believe in falsehoods as a good way to start a relationship. It breeds distrust. As Thuresson and Guaran are presently not on the East Coast of the United States, but rather up in Canada enjoying themselves I can only surmise that either you don’t know, which means they lied to you. Or, you do know, which means that you lied to me.”
She looked up to John, who started walking down the steps to stand on the floor with her. “Mr. Grimes here will make sure you get to the front gate correctly.” John was talking on his little mic. He was calling Eric to come in from outside to help the people.
Will looked like he wanted to argue the point, but then just grabbed his laptop and started shoving his books, writing pad and mouse into his bag.
“Michael,” she spoke very quietly.
Yes? He replied in her mind.
Would you check out the third lady from their group? Bethany Anne noticed Michael purse his lips and look like he was studying the whole group.
She is upset. She had hoped to help win this account so she could work, at least tangentially, with this team because Jennifer loves what she has seen and learned to date. Hmmm, it looks like she has a crush on you.
She has a professional crush. She has researched everything that is known about you. My, did you know how many websites have sprung up about you?
God, yes! It’s like the more I try to hide, the more they dig. I’ve had ADAM go through and leave behind some fake crumbs at times and delete stuff occasionally. He has found over seventy-two websites and four Facebook groups.
Hmm, Michael sent.
It seems she has a crush on me as well, he replied.
How could she have a crush on you? What business information is out there on you?
Not that kind of crush.
It was a second before Bethany Anne came back to him.
I will rip your dick off.
Michael pressed his lips together trying to keep his humor in check. Bethany Anne had become more and more jealous sounding in her comments to him in the last three to four weeks. She never showed anything externally, but occasionally she would make comments like this one to him personally.
She had apparently decided he was off the market.
This was all right with him; he had already decided he would focus all of his attention on Bethany Anne. Should I be jealous of all the men that find you attractive?
Don’t play Mr. Logical with me – I’ll just go illogical on your ass. I’m not the one reading all the minds finding out just how bad these ladies want you.
I thought we had this conversation already? Tabitha was a fast-track course in not reading minds unless needed.
This time, it was Bethany Anne’s turn to press her lips together. When Michael finally came clean about all of the ways Tabitha had burned him when she believed he was reading her mind, Bethany Anne couldn’t stop laughing. What should have taken him at most fifteen minutes to tell took him over an hour because she would start laughing again.
God, she sent to him, don’t you dare say a word about Tabitha! It wasn’t that her mind reading and sending wasn’t considerably stronger since working with Michael so closely; it’s just that she didn’t use it often for philosophical reasons.
If you can get past your jealousy, what do you want to do about this lady?
I’m not jealous! Ok, I can’t sell that. I’m only a little jealous and to be fair, you’re my first long term boyfriend in years. You are hunky, rich, powerful, and you’ve got a nice ass. So yeah, you’re all mine.
He caught her eyes, and she quickly flashed a little red in them.
Just how fast can we get this over with? Michael asked.
Why? She asked.
I want you. Michael answered directly.
Oh. She mentally paused then asked, give me your rundown.
Jakob here is ethical, smart and he has honor.
And? She followed.
The two dill-weeds, as you are fond of saying, in front of me are thinking how much money they can fleece from the company. The other one here on the right of me is fronting another client as a spy on this trip. He is hoping for a short trip around the premises so he can drop another three listening devices around the base. There is already a bug planted in the first secretary’s room up front.
Boy, wouldn’t he be surprised to learn that room is not occupied? She quipped. She turned to look at John who tweaked just a little when ADAM came over his earpiece asking him to find a bug planted in the front office.
He took off up the stairs at a steady pace, two steps at a time. Everyone was startled at his sudden disappearance around the corner and Eric’s appearance right as he left to escort the group out. Jennifer Tehgen was surprised when her personal phone beeped with a text. She mumbled an apology as she was confident she had told everyone not to communicate with her while in this meeting unless it was an emergency. She quickly glanced at the phone and then did a double-take.
You are invited to apply personally for a position for in-house counsel with TQB Enterprises.
The text said and provided Cheryl Lynn’s contact information. She dropped the phone into her purse and turned to stare back at Bethany Anne, who winked at her.
She left the room more confused than ever. How the hell had they just pulled this off?
Jennifer passed by the man of muscle in the hall who was marching back towards the meeting room.
John stepped into the room and walked down the steps and then to the bottom floor he turned and leaned on the table across from Mr. Brimer. Mr. Brimer tried to look affronted with the expression perfected in front of judges from California to Maine. Those men of the bench had honed Brimer’s ability to stand stern in the face of adversity.
But he was sweating looking at someone extremely pissed with him who looked like breaking his back was the least painful thing he wanted to do.
“What is the meaning of this?” Marcus Mills asked. “This isn’t how you treat invited representatives from a firm as prestigious as ours!” He turned towards Bethany Anne, who was walking towards John with her hand outstretched. He didn’t look at her, but he did stick his arm back towards her and dropped something into her left hand. She caught the little item and then stepped over in front of Mills.
She placed the bug on the desk between the two men. “I will treat spies like I treat vermin, Mr. Mills.” Bethany Anne replied. “I have a very, very short fuse when it comes to shit like this.”
Mills was caught by surprise as he turned towards his partner, “Bill? What’s the meaning of this?” He reached towards the bug, but his hand landed on Bethany Anne’s.
“No, no touching the evidence again, Mr. Mills.” She replied, “We can take genetic swabs and prove who has touched it. If you do so, we will be forced to bring you up on charges as well.”
“Bullshit!” Brimer said, “There isn’t any way that you have…”
“You fucking idiot.” Sethy interrupted him, “They are on the Moon right now, and you want to argue whether they might have some other forms of advanced technology?” He had been staring at Bethany Anne’s hand before turning to his partner, “How many more do you have on you?”
“I don’t know what…” he started.
This time, it was John who interrupted him. “You can answer truthfully, or I will take every bit of pleasure out of strip searching your ass right here.” he growled.
Brimer started to splutter, “I will sue you so badly you will…”
He wasn’t having any luck at all completing a sentence, “Oh, I’ll be more than happy to represent him in court, Martin.” Jakob Yadav spoke from behind him, “So please, please sue him so I can make it four out of four wins against your useless ass!” Bethany Anne looked up to see Jakob’s face alight with open glee at the idea of being able to go to court against Martin.
I like this guy! She sent to Michael.
Why do you think I’m sitting next to him? He mused.
He probably told you to kill someone. She replied. Michael failed to respond in time, so she added, please, tell me he didn’t suggest you kill someone!
No, he didn’t tell me to kill anyone. Like I’m the problem child here – which one of us has a problem with her anger?
Oh, shut up. You’re getting me riled up and every time you do that before sex, blood ends up everywhere.
Like that is a problem?
No, I guess it hasn’t been with you. It just drives me nuts and then I wake up, and it just seems so…so…
No, more Clive Barker.
Haven’t read him.
Don’t worry about it. ADAM supplied the response for me.
That’s using my assets.
Those are some very attractive looking assets.
My mind is up here, mister!
You keep telling me to catch up to the present generation and to stop being so stodgy with my actions.
Need I remind you we are in the middle of getting rid of a nationally-known and respected law firm?
Who brought up sex first?
Instead of answering, she spoke. “So you have two options. Admit to how many you have or you will be forcefully searched by Mr. Grimes here.”
“Three.” He admitted, his shoulders slumping a little.
“You chicken-shit!” Mills had started before Bethany Anne put up a hand.
“Eric will be here shortly to escort the three of you back to your vehicle. While Mr. Brimer here will be relieved of his bugs and he will provide the name of the company who employed him to accomplish this, you may all go once that is complete.”
It took another five minutes to get through the final effort by Brimer to get out of it. By the time the three left, they were yelling at each other. Eric was careful to make sure nothing else was left behind.
Bethany Anne watched the three exit the room. She turned to Jakob, “And then there was one.” She smiled at him, and he looked back.
“I don’t suppose you want me for my body?” He asked with a slowly forming smile and all five of the people left in the room cracked up.
Cheryl Lynn came walking down from the top. “That was well worth the price of admission!” She exclaimed and sat in the chair just vacated by Mills.
“I’d ask what suggested something might be going on, but I already know the answer to that.” Bethany Anne said, “So, Jakob, what brings a horned unicorn to TQB Enterprises?”
“A horned unicorn?” he asked, perplexed.
“Yes, I figured I would meet an ethical lawyer about the time I met a horned unicorn.” she stated.
“Well, I’m not sure I know what to say to that.” he replied. “But before we go further, I have to tell you I don’t know how many days I have left. I explained to Mr. Michael here that I mainly wanted to see the fireworks happen.”
“And offer to represent me if I punched out a paparazzi,” Michael smiled to Bethany Anne.
“That doesn’t sound very ethical to me, Mr. Yadav.” Bethany Anne responded.
“On the contrary, my dear. It is an effort to teach the young hooligans the fine art of minding their own damned business!” He grinned up at her, and she had the hardest time not smiling back. This man’s good humor was contagious.
“And if you were healthy enough to do this yourself?” she continued.
“Well, you know that the first rule of lawyers is to never represent yourself. So, since it looks like Michael here is in great shape, and I have the mind for it, and you carry the interest of half the world, we have a real shot at teaching a lot of young hooligans!”
At this, Bethany Anne gave in and started laughing. First, she snorted, then put her hand up to her mouth and shook herself before the chuckles became outright laughter. It took a moment for her and Cheryl Lynn to quiet down.
At this point, the two men were looking at her as if she was the mom, and the two of them were guilty of something, but both looked so damn cute, you just told them to go play outside again.
She sighed out loud, “Mr. Yadav, how much would it cost me to hire you so we have client confidentiality?”
“Well,” He started, “While I would do it for free, let’s say a dollar so we have financial consideration in place.”
Bethany Anne looked to Michael, who rolled his eyes and started reaching for his pocket. “I told you in London that carrying cash wasn’t a bad idea.” He pulled his wallet out and reached over to give her an American dollar. She told him ‘thank you’ and moved her hand a few inches and deliver it to the chuckling Yadav.
“So, what is it that needs my confidentiality?” He asked while pulling out his wallet to nicely place the dollar inside.
“Well, let me introduce you to the General. You might notice something about him that would encourage you to listen to the pitch for you to start up my In-House counsel…”
With that, the five of them stood up and left to go find her father.