Slipperless #5By: Sloan Storm
“Y-You can’t do this, Fiona!” Amanda exclaimed, as she shook her head. “We haven’t done anything wrong. You can’t prove anything.”
I sniffed in defiance and walked towards both of them, stopping within a couple of feet.
“Did you not understand what I just said? Get. Out.”
By now, the entire lab team sat, looking at me in slack-jawed disbelief. Something inside of me snapped. I couldn’t explain it, but I literally had no emotion left to spare for anyone, except anger.
Pity and sadness were useless to me now.
Just then, Melissa spoke up once more. “I’m not going to stand for this, Fiona. I’m going straight to Gabe and tell him exactly what you’re doing.”
I nodded, and stepped aside, making the way to the lab door clear for them. With a sweeping gesture, I pointed in the direction of the exit.
“Be my guest. I could care less what you do. But make no mistake, this is my lab and this is my project. It’s my reputation on the line and it’s my career at stake if this fails. I’m not going to allow you or anyone else here to interfere with me doing the job I have to do. So, you are welcome to run to Gabe and tell him whatever it is you want to, but—you will leave. If you don’t, I’ll have you thrown out. Do I make myself clear?”
A hush of silence fell over the room.
I stood in place, arm extended, ramrod straight. For another moment or two, Amanda and Melissa looked at each other.
“Now,” I said, with an edge in my tone.
Not long after, the two of them stood and, after gathering up their things, made their way past me and towards the lab door. I watched them, tracing their steps like a determined predator watches its hapless prey. Soon, they opened the door and disappeared into the hall and hopefully out of my life forever.
In the aftermath, I dismissed the remaining team members with the instruction that once I’d been able to figure out exactly where things stood, I would delegate responsibility among them where appropriate.
I stormed back to my workstation and picked up the phone. I dialed Mrs. Jameson, not only to tell her what I had done, but also to demand immediate replacements for both Amanda and Melissa. After a brief conversation, she informed me she would have to consult with the rest of the Human Resources team and let me know what they could do to help.
After hanging up, I collapsed into my chair with a thud.
As I did, I felt the adrenaline that raced through my veins during my confrontation dissipate. In its place, a sudden wave of exhaustion overcame me. Perhaps I’d gone too far, but at this point I just didn’t care any longer. As I thought about what I’d done over the next ten minutes or so, my phone rang.
I noticed it was Mrs. Jameson calling.
“Yes, Mrs. Jameson?” I said as I picked up the phone.
“Fiona,” she began. “In order to help you with your request as quickly as possible, we will need to meet with you in the conference room so we can detail your requirements.”
“I don’t have time for that right now, Mrs. Jameson,” I scoffed. I wasn’t trying to be rude, but at the same time, every minute I wasn’t in the lab was a wasted one. “Isn’t there any way you can do this without my involvement?”
“No, I’m afraid there isn’t,” she replied. “The longer you delay in making your requirements clear to us, the more time it’s going to take us to find you suitable replacements for Amanda and Melissa.”
I hung my head and my hair closed in around my eyes. This couldn’t possibly be any worse.
“Fine,” I grumbled. “When would you like to meet?”
“How about fifteen minutes from now?”
“All right,” I said, with a long exhale. “Do I need to bring anything?”
“No,” she answered. “We’ll have everything ready go.”
And so, exactly fifteen minutes later, still borderline furious from everything that had happened, I made my way to the conference room. Just before entering, I paused for a moment to collect myself.
“Deep breath, Fiona. Stay calm, professional and just get this done.”
With that, I pushed open the door and immediately turned to close it behind me. Spinning in the direction of the conference table, I noticed it was completely empty.
That is, except for one occupied chair at the head of it.
In it sat Gabe.
My mouth watered as I looked at her. Something about her energy seemed electric and wild. Fiona’s eyes sparkled with defiance, and she glared in my direction. I stood from the chair and started to walk towards her.
“I swear to God, Gabe, if you touch me—I’ll scream.”
I licked my lips as I looked at her in silence.