“We’re getting to that point.” she said
“What point?” he asked.
“The point where I decide whether to fire you or kill you, of course.”
“Well, if given the choice I would prefer you fired me, Vanessa.”
“The choice isn’t yours, Andrew, I just have to decide.”
Andrew’s face begins to cycle through states. Confusion, surprise, self-pity, back to confusion. He thinks about running for a fraction of a moment then realises where he is.
The room, windowless and sound-proof except for the endless exhalation of the air-conditioning, was designed to be private and secure; in other words, no escape.
“You know, Vanessa, that it wasn’t me who leaked the designs don’t you?”
“This isn’t about that. And yes, I know it wasn’t you.”
“Then what? What is this about?”
“Think, Andrew. And it’s not what, it’s who.”
“I have no idea…”
“Yes you do, Andrew. March 17th, a party.”
“After the Strathgen presentation? At Daniel’s?”
Andrew looks into Vanessa’s eyes as he rubs his chin with his hand, and thinks – hard. The penny drops; it’s in his eyes. Vanessa knows the moment he does.
“Prue..I mean, Prudence. It was the only thing I did at that party that wasn’t just chat.”
“Yes, Andrew, it was Prudence.”
“It was only…”
“I know it was only. To you it was only. To me it was far more than only.”
“Do you mean?”
“You know I do, Andrew, I don’t make a secret of it. Everyone in the company knows.”
“What, about you and Prudence…?”
“No, about me, my..orientation. But Prudence was a large part of it, yes.”
“I’m sorry, Vanessa, I really didn’t know. Prue..Prudence didn’t mention it…”
“That’s a matter for her and me. I’m dealing with it. No, this is about you, Andrew.”
Andrew having gotten over the shock of the situation, feels the anger rising.
“Let me understand this, Vanessa. You are here in this room with me considering whether or not to kill me, based on a casual fuck in a bathroom with a colleague six months ago?”
“With a colleague whose involvement with you was only ever an office rumour, as far as I knew. I’m supposed to be responsible for whatever came after? You’re not serious.”
“I am serious, Andrew. We were waiting for the new marriage laws to be passed and then we were going to be married. You destroyed that, Andrew. You.”
“Listen, Vanessa, I didn’t rape her you know, Prudence was every bit into it as I was. If anything, she almost dragged me into the bathroom.”
“I don’t care about that. She may have been experimenting, I don’t know, but she left me soon after and I hold you responsible.”
“But I didn’t even see her after that night..”
“I don’t care. Something changed in her after you two..afterwards.”
“It’s not my fault, I don’t…”
“That’s enough, I’ve decided…”
“What to do, of course.”
“Wait here, Andrew.”
Before he can move Vanessa slips through the door beside her. Andrew hears the lock click into place. The air-conditioner stops its breathing.
~ ^-^ ~
This is my little foray into melodrama, soap-opera, whatever you would choose to call it. It is fun to write and the cliff-hanger is so delicious. Never thought of myself as a tease, literately-speaking, naturally. I hope it was fun for you too.