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Chapter 20

The Calamity Girl – The Promotion

I spent most of the night crying.  Lori was right Michael did get revenge.  He gave me a taste of my own medicine.  I just knew it.  I got up the next morning feeling exhausted and tired.  I was somewhat angry with Clarice.  She could tell I was irritated the next day.

Clarice asked, “What’s wrong?”

I said, “Were you aware that I have been having an affair with Michael Ferraras?”

She looked visibly shocked, “No I didn’t!  I wondered when I looked at that fax.  I’m sorry, I…”

I said, “I let him down hard and he got his revenge on me last night.  Whatever you do, do not piss the man off.  He can be brutal.”

That was all I said about it.

During my morning meditation, I resolved to keep a cool head about everything.  I had decided I wanted to be single.  I would cut out my feelings for Michael and in time, I would get over the hurt he had inflicted on me.

I wondered if he was trying to teach me a lesson.  Fate would have to decide if we were to be together.  I was sure Michael would spend time with Clarice, just to get back at me.

I called him and left a message, “Michael I need Clarice for an assistant.  I do not want you seducing Clarice to get back at me.  Therefore, if you decide to date her then I will fire her.  If you date anyone, make sure it is no one that I know.  I can be vindictive when I want to be.”

I hung up.  There I felt better.  I set the man straight.  Now he knows I really do have feelings for him, or else I would not care who he saw.

Dam the man, even away from him I was miserable, as hell and it seemed that a dark cloud had settled over me.

We met Clarice’s friend Esther at a small breakfast bar.  I caved in, had bacon, eggs, toast, and home fries.  The other two girls hardly ate anything at all.  Now I knew why they were so thin.

I looked at Esther’s portfolio.  I was impressed.

I said, “Everything looks good here.  You are hired!  Now were going to check out a few furniture stores this morning.  I want you to have an idea what my tastes are.”

I really liked Esther.  She was a blonde girl, with smiling blue eyes.  She was slender and taller than I was.  She dressed in the latest fashions – but was very feminine.  I would enjoy working with her.

I said, to Esther, “Do a good job for me and I’ll get you to design another suite at the condo.  I am sure other people will require your services.”

We went to the furniture shops and I picked out a Sklar Pepplar cream-colored couch with pink and blue flowers on it for the family room.

In the living room, I wanted a burgundy leather couch, love seat, and chair.  Next, I picked out an entertainment center, a fifty-two inch high definition television.

I told Clarice she would have to be there for the cable and phone installations.  I decided to get a new phone number.  I wanted my privacy.

Esther showed me various pieces of art.  I decided we would only grab a few pieces from the art gallery on Queen Street in Toronto and I would add to my collection later.

I picked out a bright, bold, colored painting of the Mediterranean and found a few pictures of my stay in Hawaii, Waikiki and my vacation pictures of Michael and me in Arizona.

I love palm trees and sunsets so I asked for that to be part of my theme.

For the washrooms, we chose Ocean and ships as our theme.  We found some interesting art in a second hand shop.  Clarice was surprised that we were shopping there.

I said, “I love flea markets, you find the most interesting items there.  They are usually one of a kind too.  I sometimes add to my art collection every now and then.”

Esther had suggested that I get my walk-in closets organized and she had a builder design space for my shoes, belts, hats, dresses and suits.  She added built in oak dressers for my casual clothes.

It left plenty of room in the bedroom for a beautiful Queen pillow-top bed and a cherry wood dresser set.

On the wall, I had a lovely picture of an oasis with a waterfall.  We picked out sandy colors for the bedrooms, a warm blue green for the living room and white walls for the kitchen with tons of oak cabinets set to match the cupboards throughout the suite.

I even got a large fridge with the freezer in the bottom.  A dishwasher and a large built in microwave oven.  I found some lovely dishes at the Japanese store and some mugs at Home Sense.  Lori and Esther helped me pack as well.

Two weeks later, I was enjoying a nice catered dinner with my suite full of guests.

Lori and I decided to throw a house warming party and everyone was invited.

Michael dropped by for a few minutes to see my apartment.  He really liked the designs and my furniture choices.

I said, “I’ve created my own little paradise.”

Michael was staring at one of the paintings in my office.

He asked, “How did you get a picture of my ranch?”

I said, “From the real estate office.  Sandy told me where to look for it online.  It was still there from a few months ago when it was up for sale.  Niner Way Ranch was my first real holiday.  I have some very fond memories of the place.”

Michael stared at me, then when he saw the California painting he stopped dead in his tracks and hoarsely said, “And this?”

I said, “It holds a dear memory of my first proposal.  A memory I’ll always cherish.”

Michael did not know what to say.

He said, “I’m heading back to the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.  I’m shooting a movie at the studio nearby.”

I gave him a hug and peck on the cheek, “Don’t be a stranger.”

Then I turned and walked away.  Michael headed for the door.

Clarice had been watching and so was Lori.  They both saw how flustered I was.

I quickly recovered when Roy asked, “My dear you did a fabulous job, who was your decorator?”

I said, “Thanks for reminding me, I’m going to announce it.  Everyone can I have your attention please!  I would like to introduce you to my newest Personal Assistant Clarice and this is Esther my interior designer.

On the table, you will find her business cards along with a brochure that I have designed for her.

I am sure each one of you has someone who would be delighted to use her services.  I’ve decided to invest and start a new company and call it Esther’s Interior Designs.”

I pulled out a picture of an office building with displays in it and the new company sign.

I said, “Esther this is my gift to you.  You are a fine artist and very enjoyable to work with.  This is your own company name.  I’ll own the business until you buy me out.”

Esther was flabbergasted.  She had tears of joy in her eyes.

She turned to Clarice and asked, “Did you know something about this?”

Clarice was just as shocked and said, “Not a clue.”

I smiled, “Its okay girls, I have many business acquaintances, but actually Sandy helped me with this surprise.  One of her clients was selling their business so we got it for a good deal.  Your office is located next to my newspaper building.  I bought the whole block.  They wanted to retire so they offered me a deal.”

Roy gave a toast, “To Rachel for expanding her horizons.”

Everyone said, “Here, Here to Rachel!”

Later that evening when everyone had left Lori asked if she could stay over because she was too drunk to drive home.

I said, “You are my first guest!  Now that I am unpacked, we will be heading over to your place this week.  Esther has promised not to schedule anything for the next few days, so she can help too.”

Lori was relieved, “I was panicking, and I haven’t had any time to pack.  I’ve been working constant double shifts.”

I asked, “How is Dr. Norton these days?”

She grinned, “He is passé.  He has found a little petite nurse that is more to his liking.”

I grinned then Lori said, “Todd came over the other night.  We ended up in bed together.”

I said, “No way!  Are you serious?”

Lori grinned, “It seems that he has been missing me.  I guess he realized sex is not everything.  I have missed him too.  We were having lunches together while I did the background check on Clarice.

We enjoyed each other’s company without the sex.  We never took the time to talk.  My schedule was somewhat crazy at the time.  I found out that Todd really wants to start a family.  We never discussed it before.

You know you and Michael taught me that communication is important.  Clarice and I watched you two, you guys love each other and do not even know it.  Actually I think Michael knows it but you’re the one in denial!”

I said, “Honestly when I looked at my paintings with Michael beside me; I felt like I was right there with him.  It brought back a flood of memories.  I just need some time away from him.  If I do decide to commit to him, I have to make sure it’s the right thing for me to do.”

That is when I sat back and looked at the living room.

Suddenly I sat bolt upright and exclaimed, “My God I have almost mirrored the look of Michael’s ranch in Arizona!

No wonder he was looking at me so oddly.  Lori I am so confused!  You know I am just going to try to forget about him.  I figure that out of sight, out of mind will help.  I’ll work on getting you settled into your new place then I have to tackle David’s problem with Global Data Services.”

Lori was grinning, “I thought you were going to quit that job?”

I smiled, “I can’t quit.  It is against my religion.  I do need to find out what David means by if I fail — I will have to take the fall.  The only thing I can think of is that it might have something to do with the shareholders.  Why else would Michael be involved?”

Lori said, “Tune into your intuition.  It will tell you where to look.  If Julie was stealing money from the company – maybe she dipped into the shareholders funds somehow?”

I said, “That’s it!  David could not balance the books.  Everything was in disarray in Colleen’s books.  I wonder if Julie claimed to pay a certain amount to the shareholders and kept the money instead.”

I made a phone call, “Hi Roy its Rachel.  I have a hypothetical question to ask you.  If I were Julie and I was stealing money from the Shareholder’s funds where would I bank it?”

Roy said, “Probably in Switzerland.  Drew owns a villa there.  He runs and hides there in times of trouble.  You know that Julie is out of jail now.  She ratted out Colleen who will be taking the full brunt of the charges.”

I said, “Thanks for the warning.  How can I find out if Julie has an account at the bank there?”

Roy said, “I already sent my detective there to snoop around.  I had the inkling you’d be investigating Julie for something or other.”

I said, “Great did he make contact with Julie’s assistant Helga?  She likes to talk.”

Roy said, “I believe he has.  I have had to be careful trying to get reports from him.  He does not want to blow his cover.  I’ll send you word once I know what’s going on.”

Lori was grinning when I got off the phone.

She said, “You never stop working do you?”

I said, “Nope never.”

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