It was Friday afternoon. Tess had spent a couple of days of calm and quiet hidden among the filing cabinets at the recruitment company, before being hauled back down to the temp agency’s basement office. Hauled because this time they actually had something that needed doing. So Tess spent most of Thursday and Friday stuffing envelopes, which was kind of relaxing actually, especially since the office was completely quiet. There was no one, anywhere, and it was kind of tempting to swing on her chair and sing Bon Jovi out loud. She didn’t, but she came close a couple of times.
She was lolling in the last few hours of the day when a bustle of people arrived. Kate, Corrine, and the rest. There were sounds of crying but this time it wasn’t Kate, it was Alice; a very tall, pale girl who always looked at Tess like she smelled of something really bad, like microwaved fish. They all gathered around a desk as Alice garbled about ‘that arsehole upstairs’. Tess knew that name; she pulled out her ear plugs but remained quiet as the group talked on.
There was Corrine, Alice, Kate, Sam, and Geri, and for the first time they weren’t bitching, they were angry, and kind of sounded like they had cause to be. Whatever had happened with this guy upstairs he had upset Kate again, then Alice had gone up to cover the next couple of days. Whatever happened next happened pretty quickly because now Alice had been kicked out of the office to. Tess knew she should feel bad for them but this all made Tess feel pretty great.
After a few moments the temp agency’s put upon managers, Pam and Eric, came in to fuss around the group. Tess had no idea where they had been, and was kind of pleased she’d nix’d that Bon Jovi idea. It appeared that the agency had hit a bit of a dead end, it seemed that they’d sent every new temp upstairs and all of them abandoned the job or were kicked out. The girls who’d been here longer no longer wanted to work for the guy in question, basically he was done. Or he should have been, but the company was kind of a big deal and the temp agency couldn’t be seen to be refusing them service.
Tess leaned on her desk, and tried not to smile. This was actually a lot of fun, watching all the scary people implode. It was like the denouement of a horror film. If this was a horror film Tess was pretty sure that Corrine would get killed first, maybe even she could kill her? Tess pondered this when her name wafted into the air. ‘Tess?’, Pam had turned to face her, the rest of the group stared. ‘Um, yes. Something I can do?’. Pam walked over, slightly flustered. ‘We have this client upstairs, now if you were to stay-‘. Pam was cut off by a patronising ‘ha’ from behind her. Tess and Pam glared at the group as Corrine turned her head to whisper to Alice. Pam frowned and turned back.
‘If you were to stay, which I’m going to be honest with you, most people don’t. It might end up as a permanent thing’. Tess mumbled in agreement ‘hm’, but wasn’t really listening. What she was mainly thinking was: would working for a tyrant be better that being shunted around, occasionally bumping into these arseholes?; arseholes who were currently smirking at her. ‘Yeah that sounds great’ Tess said loudly, surprising herself and everyone else in the room. Pam was both pleased and very shocked, even Corrine looked surprise. Sure she might end up hating herself for embarking on whatever doom there was on floor thirty-one, but Tess imagined anything was better than this. At least if this guy hated these people, maybe he wasn’t so bad.
After work Tess met with her friend, Sarah. One of only a few friends, but special, that’s why Tess kept her. ‘His name’s Tobias Sinclair’ she told Sarah. ‘Is he a Bond Villain?’ Sarah asked. ‘I don’t think so, but I like to think he was the sort of man who could get people killed. I like to think he might fall madly in love with, and kill all my enemies’. As Tess drank from a quickly decreasing Long Island Ice Tea Sarah raised an eyebrow, ‘you have to stop holding grudges against people’. Tess grimaced, ‘they’re not grudges. They are well-educated opinions based on the fact that people have been shitty to me’. Sarah looked at the table for a moment, ‘it’s making you cynical about people’.
Tess wondered for a second, ‘having grudges doesn’t make you cynical, meeting the people who create the grudges you have against them, makes you cynical’. Sarah let out a little sigh, Tess rolled her eyes. ‘I’m not that bad’ Tess said. Sarah looked at her. ‘I’ve just had a lot of bad luck’ she retorted. At that Tess felt her voice break, and she decided to change the subject. She thought about it on the way back home though, she had become cynical. Second guessing everyone and everything made you that way, and there really wasn’t any way back now.
To read from the beginning go here.