Slipperless #5

By: Sloan Storm



How was I ever going to get the answer I deserved from her?

I chuckled.

I had to admit, even when Fiona was at her lowest point, she found a way to be creative, crafty and resourceful. I’d always known she was special in more ways than one. While her obstinacy aggravated me, the way she’d shown backbone at a time when she could least afford to do it was impressive.

I took another sip of my drink, more like a gulp.

Wincing as the alcohol burned my throat, I glanced toward the large windows in my office. Like the afternoon sun, the future was setting on Hawkins Biotech if we didn’t get things turned around and quickly. She’d outwitted me and negotiated me into a position from which I had only one play.

I shook my head.

I should’ve seen it coming, but from now on, I wouldn’t make the mistake of underestimating Fiona anymore.

As for her demand, well, we’d have to see how things went, but I knew right then and there I’d do whatever I had to get her back.



FIONA

I hadn’t been back to the office at all since taking my leave of absence prior to my grandmother’s death.

Although I told Mrs. Jameson I hadn’t found a specific replacement to fill in for me while I was out, there was a part of me that didn’t see a need for it. This was mostly because I didn’t anticipate being gone very long and also, I didn’t have time to get the team on my level when it came to troubleshooting the clinical trial data.

However, prior to leaving, I did meet with them, and I explained what was happening and how I expected them to contribute. Although the complexities of the problem were mine to deal with alone, by assigning them some supporting tasks, I expected to be in a better position when I returned.

Of course, in the interim Gabe fired me, so I had no idea where things stood.

I meant that both in terms of the work on the Link Protocol and also with the team. I’d had no choice but to disclose the reason for my leave of absence, but whether they were aware I’d been let go and subsequently brought back, I still didn’t know.

But whether they did or not, the work still had to be done. As I arrived in the lab, I wasted no time in gathering the team together for an update.

I was pleasantly surprised by the condolences offered to me. Even Amanda and Melissa seemed genuinely concerned about my well-being. Beyond that, it wasn’t long before it became clear word of my dismissal hadn’t made its way to the team.

That, however, was as far as the good news went.

One by one, I quizzed the team members about their assignments and the progress they been making. To my disbelief, almost nothing had been accomplished. As I stood before them, my stomach began to churn. Thinning my lips, I turned my attention to Amanda and Melissa. I must’ve been a complete idiot to think I could rely on them.

Fed up with the lack of progress, I addressed them specifically.

“As senior team leaders, I expect both of you to not only do your jobs but also to make sure that others do theirs as well. Do you have any idea what your behavior is going to do, not only to the future of the Link Protocol, but probably Hawkins Biotech as well?”

Melissa barked her reply at me without wasting a second.

“Don’t try that, Fiona. Fixing the screw-up was your responsibility.”

“Yeah,” Amanda said. Wagging a finger at me, she continued, “You left all of us in an impossible situation. You know there’s aspects of the research that only you understand. You said so yourself! It’s your own fault you weren’t here and the work didn’t get done.”

“That’s right, Amanda.” Melissa added. “Don’t try to pass the buck, Fiona. It’s not gonna work. Not this time.”

As the two of them ganged up on me, my fingers curled into fists.

I couldn’t believe the nerve of these two… bitches.

They were trying to blame everything on me, when I could just as easily demonstrate they’d done all of this on purpose. Fuming, I hesitated for a moment, searching for the perfect choice of words that would cut through all of the crap and get things moving again.

But, as I stood there, a sudden realization hit me.

There was nothing I would ever be able to say to either one of them that would change the way they felt about me or change how they behaved in the lab as long as I was in charge. And with things at a critical stage, I simply had no time left to deal with their undermining and backstabbing behavior any longer.

The decision became crystal clear.

“You’re fired. Both of you. Get your stuff and get out.”

For emphasis, I straightened my arm and swung in the direction of the lab door.

“Right now. Go.”

They turned and looked at one another, looks of utter disbelief wrinkling their faces.

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