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Fiction Friday/Story a Day: Day 25 – “Moral Dimension”

Today’s Story a Day prompt was to write a story about someone whose boss is doing something contrary to the main character’s morals. I combined this with a prompt I found on Pinterest:

“Why are you glaring at me?”

“I’m hoping you’ll spontaneously combust.”

I went back to Promotion and picking up at the end of that one, told the story from another POV.

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Anita heard the commotion in Leo’s office. She knew Bree had been called in there. She’d told Leo she wasn’t the right one to take over Anita’s position. Not because the girl couldn’t do the job. She would be really good at it. But, she’d seen the way Leo looked at Bree and knew that wouldn’t make for a good situation.
“I gave you a job here,” she heard Leo said. “You owe us.”
Anita’s breath caught. She used to respect the man. But she’d seen too much as his assistant over the years. But, this…no, it was too much. She was so glad she’d be out of here by the end of the month.
“Not this,” Bree’s voice snapped out. “Get out of my way.”
There was a thud, and her boss’s harsh curse, then the door slammed open, and Bree rushed out. Anita saw the younger woman’s face was pale, her lips pressed firmly together. She flicked a glance toward Anita. Anita didn’t meet her gaze, though.
She waited until Bree had moved out of sight before standing up and walking to the office door. Her boss was already on the phone. “Hold her there,” he snapped out. “I’m going to have her hauled in for trying to kill me.”
Anita saw the stapler on the floor at his feet. Well, good for Bree. “You aren’t calling the police on her,” she said as soon as he hung up with security.
“She tried to kill me.” As if saying it again, would make that stapler a more fatal weapon.
“She simply tried to get out of a bad position you’d put her in.”
Leo finally looked up at her. “I didn’t do anything. Why are you glaring at me?”
“At the moment? I’m hoping you’ll spontaneously combust.”
“What’s gotten into you, Anita babe? You’re not usually mean to me.”
“Yeah, well, I’m almost done here. I don’t need to worry about safeguarding my job anymore. Now, call your guard dogs back and tell them to let Bree leave without any trouble. If the police show up here, you can bet I’ll tell them everything I know about you. Your business and personal practices. You won’t be the one coming out on top of this.”
“You’re threatening me?”
“Just warning you what will happen if you don’t let that girl walk out of here. Now, call them.”
Leo fixed a glare on her, but he picked the phone back up and hit the button to call security. “I changed my mind. Just escort Ms. Calloway out of the building. I won’t be pressing charges.”
He didn’t take his glare off Anita the whole time, even to hang the phone back up. “You’re going to regret sticking your nose into this, Anita.”
But, she wouldn’t. She would make sure Leo upheld his end of this bargain, then she wouldn’t be coming back. She’d been planning to leave at the end of the month. What was a couple week early?

Story a Day: Day 3 – “Escorted”

It’s Day 3 of Story a Day. I continue with Bree with today’s prompt:

Write a story in 100 words
(Don’t budget too little time for this. Shorter doesn’t always equal faster!)

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Bree wasn’t surprised to see security officers when she reached her desk. Leo hadn’t wasted any time. “It won’t take long to gather my personal possessions, gentlemen. I planned on leaving today anyway.”
One guard smiled, just a slight lift of lips, but the other scowled at her. “You should be hauled out in handcuffs for attacking Mr. Colson. After trying to kill—”
A laugh burst out of her. A thrown stapler wasn’t a murder attempt. “Trust me, he deserved worse. I’m ready.”
She lifted the box of her things and started toward the elevators ahead of the security guards.

 

Story a Day: Day 2 – “Promotion”

It’s Day 2 of Story a Day. Today’s prompt was:

A _______ (adjective) ________(noun), who _________(verb) ___________(subject), then _________(related verb) __________(resolution)

I settled on: An ambitious woman, who strives to earn a promotion, then realizes she isn’t willing to give all her boss requires.

This picks up where yesterday’s left off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bree grabbed the drink tray and headed into the office building. She dabbed at her shirt with a spare napkin, but that only did so much to get the stain out. She should have been more careful. Now, not only was she going to be late, she was going to show up looking like a slob.
She was never going to get that promotion.
Deep breaths, she told herself. Maybe it would all be okay. Maybe Mr. Colson wouldn’t even come out of his office today. Maybe she could make it until her lunch break and duck out to find a clean shirt. And maybe she just needed to start carrying an extra shirt in her car, and she wouldn’t have that problem any longer.
As Bree got off the elevator on her floor, she was sure everyone was staring at her. Well, of course they were. She had a huge brown stain down the front of her white shirt. Why wouldn’t they be staring?
Even if Mr. Colson wasn’t in his office when she dropped his coffee off, it wouldn’t take him long to hear about this. She might as well kiss that promotion good-bye.
It didn’t matter what her roommate said. Mr. Colson had a business to run, and if he didn’t think he could count on Bree, there was no way he would keep her around. Even if she was Lissa’s roommate. And Lissa thought he was attracted to her.
Bree shuddered a little as she set the drink carrier on her desk and pulled out her boss’s coffee. He had always been a decent boss, but whenever he came to the apartment, Bree tried to make herself scarce. Outside of the office, he just made her uncomfortable.
Sometimes even inside of the office, but she’d always brushed that off as her own issues.
She didn’t understand why Lissa seemed to think there was more to it than that. She didn’t want Mr. Colson’s attentions, didn’t know why everyone thought he was an attractive person. Mostly himself.
The only thing she wanted from him was a better paying position.
She shook off those thoughts and knocked briskly on the office door, hoping there’d be no answer and she could just leave the coffee on his desk since his assistant, her immediate supervisor, wasn’t at her desk yet. Unfortunately, Mr. Colson called out, “Come in.”
Bree pushed the door open and walked straight to the desk. Maybe he wouldn’t notice the stain if she didn’t bring any attention to it. “I have your coffee, Mr. Colson.”
He looked up at her. “I’ve told you to call me Leo. It looks like you wanted me to drink the coffee off you.”
Bree felt heat rush into her face, and she took a step back. “Just had an accident with it,” she said. “I better get back to my desk now. Mr. Colson.”
“Have a seat, Bree. I planned to speak to you today anyway.”
Her breath caught for a moment. Maybe this was it. She’d get that promotion after all. She sat in the chair in front of his desk. But, he didn’t sit back in his chair. Instead he came around and leaned back against the desk. Way too far into her personal space. But, she didn’t have any room to move back.
A smile snaked across his face, and it sent something slithering through her stomach. But, she forced a smile on her own face. “What did you want, Mr. Colson?”
“I’ve heard you’re interested in being promoted to my chief assistant. Since Anita is planning to leave us at the end of the month.”
“Yes,” she said. She practically already did Anita’s job, but didn’t make nearly the amount of money. “Good.” He leaned forward and put a hand on her knee. “I’m glad that wasn’t just a rumor.”
He was way too close now. Bree stood quickly, moving around to the corner of his desk. “What’s the matter, Bree?” he asked. “If you’re going to be my assistant, you have to be used to me standing close.”
“No,” she said firmly. “That’s not what you’re doing. What do you really want?”
“You know what I want, Bree. You’ve always known. You’ve flaunted it.”
That was certainly not true. She’d never done anything of the kind. But some men saw exactly what they wanted. He started to round the desk after her, but she moved farther back. “This isn’t what I want,” she said.
“Then, I suppose you don’t actually want the promotion.”
“Not at this cost,” she said. But, he kept advancing on her. Her throat dry, hands shaking, she grabbed for something that might keep him back. He grabbed for her as she closed her hand over the stapler. When she wielded it at him, he laughed. She took several quick steps back, though. But, he was still between her and the door.
“Let me out of here,” she demanded.
“Not until you admit you do want this. My sister has let you stay in our apartment. I gave you a job here. You owe us.”
“Not this. Get out of my way.”
He didn’t move back, though, instead coming toward her again. She threw the stapler, saw him duck, then she ran for the door. Forget about the damn promotion. She had more worth than to put up with this.

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I wrote the story, Looking Up, last September which is the aftermath of this.

 

Story a Day: Day 1 – “Three Parts”

I just wrapped up the A-Z Challenge and Camp NaNo yesterday, so I guess it’s time to jump into something else. (Take a break? I’m sorry, I don’t know what those words mean). I’ve done Story a Day the last few years. In fact, today’s story is a lead-in to one I’m planning to flesh out from two stories I wrote for last September’s edition: Looking Up & Slanting Sunlight. Today’s prompt was:

Write a story about someone who leaves the house for work, and on the way has some kind of accident.
This is the Main Character. The accident can be anything from spilling coffee on an interview suit to getting hit by a car.
The story is written in three parts of approximately 300 words.
The first part will be told from the point of view of a family member, friend, or lover who shares a home with and loves the Main Character, but knows his or her flaws (POV Character 1).
The second part will be told from the point of view of someone (a waiter at a diner, the lady who works security at an office building) who sees the Main Character occasionally, but isn’t a friend (POV Character 2).
The third part of the story is from the point of view of someone who has only just met the Main Character for the first time during or just after the accident. This character (POV Character 3) can be involved in the accident, or only a bystander.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lissa watched as Bree seemed to fly through the apartment. She wasn’t sure her roommate ever seemed to slow down. “Just calm down, Bree,” she said from her place on the couch. “You’re not even late.”
“I am calm,” her roommate said, barely glancing at Lissa. “And I will be if I don’t get out of here in the next couple minutes. I still have to stop and get Mr. Colson’s coffee on the way to the office.”
Lissa laughed and shook her head, her eyes rolling slightly. “Leo isn’t going to fire you if you’re late with his special coffee. You could show up without it, and he still wouldn’t fire you.” Bree’s cheeks flamed, but she turned away. “And I’ve told you, Bree, you don’t have to refer to my brother as Mr. Colson in this apartment. He’s just Leo.”
The other woman shook her head and only seemed to move faster. “He wouldn’t fire you for being late,” she said then let out a sound of triumph and held up the heeled shoe she’d obviously been searching for. “But, I’m not his twin sister. And I’ll certainly never get a promotion if he doesn’t think he can depend on me.”
“Oh, trust me,” Lissa said, her lips curling up, “he’ll give you that promotion. He wants you to stick around.”
Bree stumbled a bit as she put on the high heels, her face turning even redder. She turned away and grabbed her purse. “I’ll be back tonight,” she said without another word about her boss.
Lissa waited until the door had closed behind her roommate again. She grabbed her phone and brought up her brother’s number. “What is it, Lissa?” he asked. “I’m just getting to work. I’ve got a lot to do today.”
“If you plan to offer Bree that promotion, I’m pretty sure she’d be open to your conditions. I brought you up, and she got all flustered. Trust me, she wants it, too.”
“Good,” he said, and she could nearly hear the smug smile in his voice. “That’s good.”
Lissa smiled as she hung up the phone. Yes, it was. She liked her roommate, but she loved her brother. Having the two of them would be perfect.
***
“Hey, Bree,” Tiso said as the woman came into the coffee shop. “I wasn’t sure you’d make it in today. You want the usual?”
“I’m running behind, but yeah. Thanks, Ti.”
“Not a problem,” they said as they started getting the fancy coffee and a simple tea ready. Bree got the same thing every morning, unless she wasn’t working, so it wasn’t difficult to remember the order. “Everything okay? You seem frazzled.”
“Like I said, I’m running behind. But, I didn’t want to show up without the boss’s coffee.”
So, the tea must be Bree’s. It’s what they’d figured, judging by what they knew of Bree. Not that it mattered, but Tiso liked knowing these little things about the regular customers.
Just like they knew there was something more bothering Bree than just running a little late. There’d been something bothering her almost every morning this week. They didn’t know Bree well enough to dig into what it was, though. They did know enough to see Bree didn’t present the same on weekends as during the work week. Which made Tiso wonder if anyone knew Bree’s true self.
Instead of digging for that, Tiso put the cups in a carrier for her and slid them across the counter.
“Have a good day,” they told her then looked past to greet the next customers coming up.
“I’m sorry,” a little voice squeaked just as Tiso saw the drink carrier tip over. Right onto the front of Bree’s dress shirt.
***
“Do not run,” Nita’s father reminded her as they headed into the coffee shop.
“I know, Daddy,” she said. “You tell me every time.”
He tugged gently on one of the pigtails he’d put her hair into before they’d left the house. “They why do you end up running every time?”
“I don’t every time,” she said and pushed through the door. She saw one of her favorite people behind the counter and rushed toward them. “Tiso,” she called, “wait til you see this.” And she started to spin on one foot just like she’d learned in class the night before.
But, halfway through the turn, she ran into something and looked up. That something was a person. “I’m sorry,” she squeaked out and jumped back. But, it was too late. The drinks had spilled down the person’s shirt. “I’m so sorry.”
“Nita, I told you,” her father said, coming up behind her.
“I wasn’t running, Daddy. I was spinning.”
From the sound of his sigh, he didn’t see the difference.
“I’ll buy you new drinks,” he said. “Just give me a minute.”
“No,” the person said. “I have to get to work. It’s better if I show up on time without coffee than late with nothing.”
“You won’t be late or have nothing. Tiso is fast. We’ll get you on your way in a minute.”
“I really should just go,” the person said.
Nita studied them as they shifted away from the dropped drinks. “I really am sorry,” she whispered.
They smiled down at Nita. “It was an accident. It’s fine.”
“Here’re your drinks, miss,” Nita’s father said.
Nita was still watching them and caught the person’s wince. “Daddy,” Nita said. “You know better. Aunt Jen hates when people call her mister. You’re supposed to ask, not just assume.”
Tiso grinned at her. “You’re a good girl, Nita. You better get on your way to work, Bree.”
Bree smiled at them and picked up the drinks. “Thanks, Ti. I’ll see you Monday. Same time, same place.”
They chuckled and waved then looked back at Nita. “I know. A hot chocolate—weirdo, it’s blazing out— and an iced tea for you, Jeremy. I’ll get them right up.”
Nita glanced back at Bree as they headed out the door. “I think Aunt Jen would like Bree,” she said.
Tiso laughed. “Looks like you’ve got a little matchmaker on your hands, Jeremy. What are you going to do with her?”
“That’s what I ask myself every day.”
Nita stuck her tongue out up at her father, but she held on to his hand. She knew the answer to that. He’d keep her.

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I may end up rewriting this from Bree’s POV for the opening of the fleshed out story.

Story a Day: Day 13 – “Slanting Sunlight”

This is a continuation of an earlier story. Bree and Jenny just may become an actual story for me to work on.

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Bree groaned and rolled over, nearly falling off the couch. Why had she fallen asleep out here? Lissa hated it when she fell asleep on the couch. Especially if she was bringing a friend home after a night at the club.
Bree opened her eyes and instantly knew something was wrong. Either Lissa had rearranged the living room while she slept or…no, this was definitely not her apartment.
The sunlight slanting in through the window, linger on a bowl of fruit on the coffee table in front of her. A bookshelf actually stuffed full of books instead of pictures and knick knacks sat on the other side of the room. And that same window letting in the light currently searing her eyeballs looked out on a grassy area across the quiet street. This definitely wasn’t the third floor apartment she’d lived in for the last year.
Then, the memories of what happened the day before came back to her. Leo calling her into his office. She’d thought he was finally considering her request for a raise. And he had. In exchange for her…No, she wasn’t going to give that memory any thought. She’d picked up the closest thing at hand, the stapler from his desk, and she’d thrown it right at her head. Him ducking in time was probably the only reason he hadn’t pressed assault charges. But, he had called security to escort her out of his office and the building after letting her grab her personal effects from her desk.
And Lissa had kicked her out of her own apartment. Thrown everything outside and had the locks changed. Then, Bree had met Jenny.
“Good morning,” a voice said from behind her. “How are you feeling this morning. After finishing off most of that bottle of wine, not good, I’m sure.”
Bree pushed herself up to a sitting position on the couch then braced a hand against her reeling head. “That’s what I figured,” Jenny said, holding a couple small pills out to her. “These should at least help the headache. I told you you’d regret it this morning. But, I guess after your day, you deserved to indulge a bit.’
“Should have listened to you. I really don’t do that often.”
“I believe you. Just like I did all the times you said it last night. And sleeping on the couch? I did remind you last night you have a perfectly good bed to use.”
Bree felt a smile pull at her lips. “Yeah, I do that more than I should. It drove my roommate crazy. Apparently finding me on the couch put a damper on the mood when she brought someone home.”
“That won’t be a problem for me, don’t worry,” she said.
Bree wasn’t exactly sure what she meant by that, but she had time to figure it out. As long as she didn’t do something to screw it all up. Jenny smiled at her, almost brighter than the sunlight. But, this didn’t hurt Bree’s eyes.
No, hurt wasn’t even close to what she felt when Jenny smiled at her. She just hoped that wouldn’t come to be a problem between them.

Story a Day September: Day 4 – “Looking Up”

I fell a bit behind. I had a bit of an off day and looking at the computer felt like more energy than I had. I spent most of the day reading. All better today, though, so I got another story written. Some new characters here. But, I’m definitely thinking this could lead somewhere interesting.

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Bree walked down the beach, watching the water lap a little farther into the shore. It hadn’t reached her feet yet. She wasn’t sure she cared if it did. She’d taken her shoes off, and her capri pants left her lower legs bare.
She could hear the seagulls crying. Or were they laughing?
She shook her head. Even thinking that probably proved she was losing her mind. Just like her boss had accused her of an hour earlier. Former boss, Bree reminded herself. And yeah, throwing that stapler at his face then storming out of the office probably hadn’t been solid proof of her mental stability.
But, he’d had it coming.
Of course now she had no job. She hadn’t been able to bring herself to go back to her apartment either. Considering her roommate was her boss’s sister, she’d already heard his version of what happened. And had probably changed the locks on her. Now, what was she supposed to do?
Her phone buzzed in her pocket, and she drew it out. One new message. Your shit’s on the lawn. Key won’t work. You still owe this month’s rent.
And that was it. One moment of lost temper, and she was unemployed and homeless. “ Great,” she muttered, digging her big toe into the sand. “That’s just fucking dandy.”
“Those two words don’t tend to go together. If they’re sincere, that is.”
Bree turned to see another woman walking toward her. She was smiling, her light brown hair scraped back into a pony tail, glasses slipping down her nose. She wore denim shorts and a tank top and looked like most of the other beach goers. “Oh, I was perfectly sincere,” Bree said, even though her throat had gone slightly dry. “At least when I told my boss where he could shove his indecent proposition. And that sincerity got me escorted out of the office and his sister kicking me out of our apartment. So, as you can see, everything is just fucking dandy.”
The woman winced. “I would have shoved one of those heels you’re carrying up his ass.”
Bree laughed. “Don’t think I didn’t consider it.”
The smile returned to the woman’s face. “Jenny Crocker,” she said, holding a hand out. “I have a small house just about a mile east of the beach. I’ve been looking for a new roommate since the last one moved in with her partner.”
“Bree Calloway,” she said. “And how do you know I’m not some serial killer.”
“Because you didn’t use that heel to punch your asshole boss in the throat. I don’t see how you would have resisted unless you believe murder in general is offensive.”
Bree couldn’t help another laugh. “Well, apparently my former roommate did me the honor of throwing my stuff outside, so it won’t take me long to pack. If you’re sure.”
Jenny smiled at her. “I am. Lead the way, and I’ll help.”
Well, maybe this day was looking up after all.

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