September 22, 2015 – Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six, Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine, Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve, Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen, Chapter Fifteen, Chapter Sixteen, Chapter Seventeen, Chapter Eighteen, Chapter Nineteen, Chapter Twenty,Chapter Twenty-One, Twenty-Two,Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six,Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, Chapter Thirty
Jenny couldn’t stop replaying the horrific scene in her mind over and over again. From Andrew running off like a wounded puppy, which disappointed her more than she realized, to Fiona screwing her over, she wondered if she knew these so called friends at all. She did not respect them any longer and didn’t want to be a part of their world.
Fiona had not looked over and waved when she walked past on her way to work this morning. She looked sad though, and deservedly so. Jenny had thought about evicting her to rid her from her life forever, but she couldn’t do that nor she didn’t have just cause. Making out with a man she was interested in didn’t stand much chance in a court, but in the court of public opinion, Jenny knew she could round up a posse of women who hated Fiona just as much as she did.
Getting dressed this morning seemed like more of a chore than usual. It took time to put make up on and look presentable, and she didn’t have the energy much less the will. Instead, she reverted back to her old habits, dressing in a loose sweater, skit and ballet flats. She hadn’t bothered with jewelry. Why bother? She didn’t want to be attractive to the opposite sex.
“So tell me everything,” Charlotte said bursting into the store with a huge smile. Charlotte had a hand in pushing both Andrew and Jenny together – to work on his speech for the gala, and she wanted all of the juicy updates of her current project. That was exactly how she put it, too. Between Mr. Hiller fixing her and Charlotte fixing her up with Andrew, she wondered if she ever had any positive traits at all.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing more to report,” Jenny replied. She wanted to let it all out to someone who was unbiased and get an opinion, but she knew that she would regret it if she had. “He didn’t stay long.”
It was difficult to overlook the negativity in the room. Jenny tried to cover her feelings, but Charlotte was smart. She had to know that something terrible happened, but to her credit, she acted classy and didn’t say so.
“But he did come over?”
“Yes, but it was business as usual,” she said, feeling bad about lying to the only friend she had left.
Charlotte smiled and patted Jenny’s hand. “Hey, it takes time, you know. At least he came over, and he is going to be at the benefit. That should be exciting.”
“Speaking of the benefit, have you found anything you can share?” She desperately wanted to change the subject to something that would take my mind off her current predicament.
Charlotte smiled. “Oh, you bet I have. My PI faxed this over to me this morning.” Charlotte pulled the paper out of her handbag and passed it over.
Jenny began to read the juicy gossip. What was on the page was shocking, indeed, and she wondered what Charlotte was going to do with it. It was so juicy she read it twice. “This is a great read for sure,” she said, “but it’s all personal. We can’t get them on that.”
Charlotte nodded. “It’s not against the law, you’re right about that, but I plan on having some fun with this information. And I’m saving the best for last.” She handed Jenny another piece of paper, and Jenny took it in.
“Wow,” she said after she finished reading. “I’m not sure what to say.”
“You know, Ms. Carrie Grant may want to work a little of this into her speech. Delicately, of course. It will scare them silly, and it might be a real hoot.”
Jenny nodded. “I could, she said. “It’s kind of mean, but I’m feeling mean spirited today, so why not.” Jenny realized that news like might help her avoid using the information Mr. Hiller provided. “Can I ask you something, Charlotte? Why are you doing this? What did they do to you to cause such drama?”
Charlotte looked at her new friend quizzically. “They’ve done nothing to me, but they’ve made some terrible mistakes running this organization, and they deserve to learn a lesson from it. They both need to be knocked down off of their high horse, Jenny. Don’t you agree?”
“That might be true,” Jenny continued, “but why not just confront them personally. Why embarrass them in front of a crowd of people?”
“You don’t have to mention them by name,” she said, sounding a bit annoyed. “I just think it would be a little interesting to play with them a little so they know someone else knows what they’re up to. I assure you that any confrontation of real facts will be handled privately. Be clever about it and the crowd won’t realize you’re on to them, but the ladies in question will get the message.”
Charlotte smiled. “Good. I’ll let you strike while the iron is hot,” she said. “I’ll call you later. I have to run.”
Jenny laughed. “You always have to run.”
Charlotte ignored the comment and walked out the door leaving behind the two pieces of paper. Jenny assumed they were copies for her, and added them to the secret stash Mr. Hiller gave her that she still had not mentioned to Charlotte. The first piece read:
“Elyse Walton is trying to stop a messy divorce by black mailing her husband to stay with her. His latest charades have her running to mommy for money to pay him off, and the law for her daughter’s pot troubles, and a videographer for her other daughter’s sex charades that she wants to publish on YouTube.”
However, it was what was on the second sheet that made her shiver:
”Martha — accused of treating herself to luxury hotel stays, limousine rides, and Botox and spa treatments on the company dime. That spells extortion. See attached for proof.”
Jenny laughed nervously about all of the dishonesty around her. For years, she must have lived in a naive dream world where she did not notice all of the backstabbing and horror people pulled on each other. Now, faced with making a few small changes in her life, she became part of that world. She did not know how long this mood would last, but she almost welcomed it today. For some reason, it gave her the strength she needed to say yes to the speech she had to make, and there was no better time than now, at her lowest point yet, to start preparing it.
With one minor exception – she would do it her way.