Kiss A Ginger Day: Chapter 12

One solo meeting with Suzy O’Flannery and Alice understood why the woman had landed on the front page of Entrepreneur Today magazine—four times with headlines like Up and Coming CEO Takes Tech World By Storm and Shrewdest CEO on the Planet?. Now, three days into the CFO-in-training meetings, as Alice had dubbed them, she knew “shrewd” didn’t even cover the woman’s brain.

Suzy tapped her lips.  “See how operating cash isn’t aligning with this number? Our supplier costs are down by 5 percent, production is up so…”

Alice stared hard again at the spreadsheet. She still couldn’t understand how Edison Tech got to this financial place. She’d done her accounting work, made sure everything reconciled. The CFO was in charge of the higher-level reports, and he didn’t tell her half the things Suzy clued her in on.

Alice wracked her brain to come up with an answer to fill in Suzy’s sentence. The answer plunked down into her brain. “Our cash conversion cycle is off.”

“Yes. Very good.” Suzy leaned back, raised the back of her hand to hide a yawn. They had been at it for hours. “Any plans for the weekend?”

That was another thing. The woman’s mind could switch topics faster than a cheetah on the tail of a gazelle. “Oh, not much,” Alice said.

“I haven’t decided, either.”

Alice immediately imagined the options she and her brother had. Whatever it was she’d suddenly had the urge to join.

Maybe they’d fly in their private jet to the Hamptons, decamp to their Pinterest-worthy beach house. Then Suzy would spend the day sailing on their private sailboat in a pair of cute white cropped pants and black and white striped tops, and have glamorous dinners at night in a flowing maxi-dress with lots of chunky gold jewelry that would clink when she raised her champagne glass to her lips.

Never mind it was still January. Alice’s mind filled with the image. Strange. She never had these kind of thoughts but now she couldn’t stop assessing how Suzy lived her life. Alice wasn’t one to pine for the jet set life—and she wasn’t even sure Suzy was part of that crowd.  One thing was for sure: she worked as hard as Alice. Harder.

Suzy closed the folder of reports. “You should get out more. Have fun while you can.”

“I like to work.”

“Well, as our new CFO, you’re going to get a lot of that.” She eyed Alice. “Yes.” She nodded once. “I think you’re going to do great things here. If we keep the company, that is.”

A jolt of panic shot through Alice. “Thinking of selling?” It’d make sense given that’s what the O’Flannery’s eventually did with their ventures eventually and the recent revelations of how bad things had gotten at Edison.

“It’s not in good enough shape. But would that be a problem?”

Ah, testing her loyalty perhaps? “I love it here. I was hoping to be part of it for a long time. What can I do to get into good shape – both profitably and one you may want to grow?”

Suzy smiled. “Good answer. I knew you were a smart one.” She then rose. “I’ve got to run. Theodore awaits.”

Alice’s heart hitched. Of course, it did. All week, when she wasn’t glued to every word Suzy uttered, her thoughts drifted to wondering how he was.  They hadn’t spoken more than a hallway hello since their near-miss against Big Whale. The copier hadn’t worked consistently since. Then, again, nothing in her vicinity seemed to be except for these meetings with Suzy.

Alice straightened some papers, tried to appear casual. “I understand his interviews are over.”

She tried hard to not stare across the cattle pen on the other side of the conference room door at his temp office—like she had been doing every time she got a break. For days, women and some men, paraded into his space for “interviews.”

Every time his door cracked open, a longing—a pining— to be near Theodore arose like a school girl mooning up at a David Beckham poster over her bed. But she knew it was dangerous territory to get closer. So she’d stayed away from him. Even waited until 7 p.m. to leave so he’d be gone by the time she hustled home. He didn’t stop to say good-bye, either, which didn’t bother her. Uh, uh, not her. The Twins were in town so they both needed to be professional.

Suzy rose. “I’ll share today’s financial revelations with the B’s over dinner.” She and “the boys” as she called Samuel and Theodore had lunch and dinners together every day and night. It appeared Theodore had a whole life outside of her. Alice really knew nothing about him—not really. Why did that sting so much? She mentally shook it off—for the thousandth time that week.

“I really need Theodore’s management take on how we got here—soon.” Suzy then, oddly, glanced at her sideways. Checking to gauge her reaction to the mention of Theodore? Or wondering if she’d had anything to do with their dismal financial performance? Neither was good.

Alice schooled her features. “Have everything you need from me then?”

“I do. Thanks, Alice.” Suzy then left her alone in the conference room to clean up the various folders, excel spreadsheets and click off the wide-screen projecting their accounting database.

“Okay, I’m staging a jail break.” Patty leaned against the conference room doorframe. “The GOAT. It’s Rugby appreciation something night and you and I are going to go stare at their fine butts.”

The last thing Alice wanted to do was sit on a hard bar stool at the GOAT Grill to deflect sloppy drunk thirty-something guys who played on Saturdays and thought they could have been the next Jonah Lomu “if only they had the support.”

“I can’t. I’m way behind on the books and the end of month—”

“Will come and go like it does every month. But Rugby night only comes during season. Besides…” She pushed off her lean. “…something tells what’s in those…” her eyes dropped to the mess of papers strewn about. “… will ensure you prematurely need Botox. You frown anymore over those and I’m carting you off to Suzy O’Flannery’s plastic surgeon.”

“So sure she’s had some?” Alice had to admit Suzy looked amazing, not that looks were everything. But honestly, if a woman wants to freshen herself up, then she should be able to do whatever the hell she wanted with her own body.

“Not yet.” Patty examined her manicure. “But there is no way that woman looks that good naturally so I’m on the hunt. Ya’ know for the future. Anyway. Don’t be late. I’ll be in our usual spots.” Patty liked the corner of the GOAT bar, mostly so she could stare at whoever was coming in.

Alice didn’t need a rugby player but a drink did sound pretty good. Now that she was changing Edison’s accounting from an accrual basis to a cash basis, at Suzy’s request, she’d surely have more bad news to report. Why rush it?

When she got to the little bar, The GOAT was packed. She never could understand the appeal of the place. It served the usual overly greased burgers and chowders at a long bar and strategically placed wood tables to every seat could get a look at one of the dozen of TV screens blasting various sports channels. The Greatest Of All Time was etched in old English letters above the bar, and the host always welcomed patrons at the front of house with a “Welcome to the GOAT’s of the sports world.”

“You’re late,” Patty slapped the bar stool next to her dramatically. “I had to fend off two other femmes to keep this stool. And fighting is not a good look on me.”

Alice put her purse on the sticky bar. “Hey, Abram, stow this for me?”

The bartender holding two beers lifted his chin. “Sure thing, Alice.”

“How do you know his name?” Patty asked. “We haven’t been out in forever.”

“I remember everyone’s name. Suzy says names are important.”

Patty groaned. “We’re not going to spend all night listening to you crush on Suzy, are we? Because I need a night of pure testosterone. Ooo, like that guy.” She eyed a man in a blue and white rugby shirt who slapped the back of another guy in a polo shirt. Naturally, her object of interest had a thick shock of black hair. The more active hair follicles on a man, the greater her desire for him.

Someday Alice would have to uncover why. For now? She needed liquor. Right before she left, she’d spotted Theodore leading Tricia with his hand on her back into the elevator. Maybe Tricia scored an invitation to dinner? It’d make sense to have the head of HR there given that Theodore would be reporting his findings tonight. Her reaction didn’t. The ridiculous ache that started in her chest required tamping down.

“Shot of tequila, Abrams?” she asked as he darted by.

That got Patty’s attention from the “Zac Efron” she eyed. “Make that, two.” She placed her hands on her lap. “Okay, you only drink tequila when something bad happens. Come to think of it, you’ve been on edge lately. It’s not like you and the office is unnerved. I mean, you’re the heartbeat there.”

She scoffed. “Yeah, right. Because I have jumper cables?” More like she hadn’t gotten jumped lately—by a certain management consultant. And right then she realized what had her on pins and needles. It wasn’t a bad financial report. Or even Theodore’s lack of attention. It was because she’d become someone she didn’t recognize. She didn’t walk around like a bag of lit-up hormones. At least not until she’d been acquainted with Kiss A Ginger Day.

“Did Suzy do something?” Patty asked. “You get as much as time with the topic as it takes to throw down our first shot. Then we’re talking about something else.”

Talking about work would be better. “No. She’s great. Been a kind of mentor, actually.” She took the little shot glass that Abram had filled for her. The golden liquid shone in the low bar light. “And she made me CFO.”

Patty slapped her arm, and she nearly lost some of the tequila. “Bury the lede, will you? How cool!”

“Yeah, I guess.” She shot the amber liquid back, the burn and warmth making a long trail down her throat.

“You guess? Take the win. I swear Alice, sometimes I feel like nothing’s good enough for you.”

Alice dropped the glass to the bar. “What do you mean by that?”

“I mean. You’re kind of a glass-isn’t-the-right-kind person.”

Alice dipped her chin. “What?”

“Some people are a glass half full. Some half empty. You’re like, why’s the glass so small? Has the glass been tested? Did we run all the data?”

“Are you saying I’m suspicious? Because that’s a good thing for an accountant.”

CFO. And no. It’s just when things are going well, you tend to doubt it. And then wonder when things will go wrong. It’s why I think you’re out to solve everyone’s problems. You have a nose for them.”

She chuffed. “If that was true, I’d have questioned our reports more over the years.” She slapped a hand over her mouth. “Oops. Shouldn’t have told you that.”

Truth was, she was mad at herself more than anything about how bad things had gotten. She’d known the numbers weren’t good. But Roger kept telling her it was all fine. They were a young company. They often ran “hot” as he liked to call it.

Patty waved her hand. “I know Edison isn’t doing well. I mean, the way Roger runs things…” She rolled her eyes and then squared herself to Alice. “Do you know that he gave that big project with Chainlink Logistics to Daniel. Daniel! Who started six months ago. I could program circles around him.”

“You’re the best programmer we’ve got. I’m so sorry.”

She sniffed. “I know.” Now it was Patty’s turn to chug back her tequila shot. “One more Abram,” she called. “We’re about to go into how to dismantle the patriarchy.”

He had them refilled in seconds with a smirk. “Best of luck to you.”

Patty pursed her lips at him. “We don’t need luck.”

Alice lifted her glass. “To significant change at Edison.”

“Yeah.” She clinked her glass against Alice’s. “Now, please tell me Suzy’s going to quell the most out-of-control male patriarch, also known as Roger.” She tsked. “Always, thinking he knows better.”

“I have no idea. But I can tell she’s not happy.”

“Good.” She lifted her shot glass again. “Say it with me. Here’s to better days, and fuck the patriarchy.”

Alice clinked her shot glass. “Fuck patriarchy privilege.”

“Except Theo. He can power over me anywhere, anytime,” she sang and swiveled on her stool.

“I hear he has an opening at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Get in line early.”

Patty slammed her glass down, sacrificing at least half the liquor to the bar. “I was right. You are in love.”

Alice frowned, reached for a napkin. “Am not.”

“Are too. You were about to throw down with me thinking I might get under that fat fountain pen he’s been using.” She leaned forward. “Tell me. It’s thick isn’t it?” She waggled her eyebrows.

Alice threw back her shot. She knew exactly the dimensions of his fountain pen – and what it could produce.

“Oh, I see.” Patty nodded slowly. “He’s been withholding his … instrument from you.”  She quickly glanced down at her glass. “Abram? You’re slacking here.” She held out her shot glass, and he refilled both of theirs.

Alice took the refilled glass. “Okay, but you have to keep this under your hat.”

Patty straightened, adjusted her glasses. “I am the soul of discretion. Now spill.”

Discretion? Not true, but Alice had little choice. If she didn’t get a handle on her Theodore obsession, she’d have to admit she’d finally lost her damned mind. Talk about bending to a patriarchal cliche. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve turned into a… lust bucket.” She whispered the last few words.

Patty gasped. She then clasped her hands together, drummed her fingers excitedly. “My girl is finally growing into her full womanhood! Oh my god, it’s about time. Listen, I know all the best lubes…”


“Don’t Patty me. I have been waiting for this day. Now we can talk about sex!” Again with her fingers.

Alice grasped them, lowered them to Patty’s lap. “This isn’t good.”

Patty pursed her lips and cocked her head. “It’s what we’re designed to do. Do not let a good clitoris go to waste.”

“Uh, no I think we grew out of the caves and moved into cubicles as the good lord intended. Fuck the patriarchy, remember?”

“That means, we don’t grovel at the ego alter. This, however…” She pointed at her crotch. “…must be serviced to be healthy. I don’t know why you’re upset. He seems to be a really good guy. And he’s into you. I can tell. Have a fling. Enjoy life.”

“I don’t want to be just a fling.” She could admit it. She wanted National BAE Day – every day.  Theodore introduced her to that, and now she couldn’t stop thinking about what it’d be like. But Theodore was on the road all the time, and he clearly loved women. The logical conclusion was he was just here to have fun.

For one, as much as Theodore talked about waiting in the beginning, how they’d delay acting on their chemistry until his management consulting gig was up so they didn’t have to sneak around, she’d allow their attraction to one another get out of control. She didn’t indulge in out-of-control anything—ever. Until she did. Dammit. He was not good for her. Not at all.

Patty sighed. “Who says you’re just a fling? Like I said, I think it might be love.”

“He can’t be. We’ve known each other for a week.”

“Insta-love. My favorite!”

Patty fell in love regularly so her assessment did not quell her fears. “That makes no sense. It has to be just an office daliance in his mind. I tried. For one weekend—”

“I knew it. Stroll around the Jefferson my very fine ass. You were coming up for air. But go on, go on.” She waggled her fingers.

“I can’t. Go on, that is.”

“Have you asked him? Point blank? Is this just an office fling? Are you dating anyone else? Am I the only one?  Can I be the only one? Because trust me, if he runs for the hills by you asking those questions you got your answer. If he answers the way you want, which I take would be no-no-yes-yes, then you get what you want.” She shrugged like it was the simplest thing in the world. Alice’s head swam. She could barely match up Patty’s “no-no-yes-yes” to the questions.

She’d almost outright asked him, with Big Whale as a witness, but then it just seemed silly to ask him to nail down something that even she didn’t fully understand.

“Do it,” Patty urged. “Call him right now.”

“What? No.”

“True, not from a bar. Go to the ladies room. It’s quieter.”

“No. He might think …”

“What? That you’re into him? Maybe he’s been waiting for a sign from you.”

What Patty didn’t know was Alice had pretty much thrown herself at him a few times. He took her up on her offer but then what red-blooded guy wouldn’t? Maybe he thought she was using him.

Alice scratched her head. “I’m so confused.”

Patty hopped off the stool, grabbed her hands and forced Alice to stand. “Then go get unconfused. I’ll hold the bar stool. That brunette over there keeps eyes us, just waiting for us to fall off them so she can nab them. Not on my watch. So hurry.” Patty pushed her in the direction of the ladies room.

Alice made her way, slowly. Her head swam a bit thanks to the tequila. It’d been at least seven hours since she’d had food, and tequila always had made her loopy.

Of course, there was a line to the bathroom. Maybe she could text him. She unlocked her phone.

<<Hi. Watch doing?>> Stupid auto correct changing “watcha” to “watch.”

Floating dots appeared. <<7:20. Think it’s a bit slow.>>

He was teasing her. But at least he answered. <<busy?>>

<<Me or my watch?>>

Heat built in her belly. She was tired of him turning everything into a joke – or a national whatever day. <<hard hard>>  Shit. She means to write har-har. “Damn, you auto correct.”

“Happens to me all the time,” a woman next to her who was leaning against the concrete wall said to her. “Boyfriend?”

“No. A maybe.”

“Yeah, I got some of those, too.”

Alice didn’t really want to know about anyone else’s love life. She had her hands full with her own. Thankfully it was the woman’s turn to go into the ladies room next so she left Alice standing alone in the hallway.

Alice lifted her phone when it pinged. Theodore had answered.

<<Not hard yet but keep texting me and it won’t take long.>>

The man also turned everything into sex. Then again, so had she.

She furiously typed back in case she lost her nerve. <<What are we drawing?>> Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. <<DOING>> She might as well just launch into it, as Patty suggested.

<<Sexting. Which might be awkward given Samuel is sitting next to me.>>

Dammit. <<No, we’re not. Not now.>> There. She took control.

<<If only that message worked with my growing hard on>>

<<Samuel turn you on?>>

<Knowing you’re on the other end of the phone does.>>

He really could be charming. <<Are you dating anyone?>> She had to keep her head, now swimming a little, focused on the task at hand. A row of infuriatingly blinky dots floated on her screen. Then they just disappeared.

Ghosting her? Ha. She angrily typed out his number and raised it to her ear. A rustle of fabric sounded. “Well, this is awkward,” he said.

She knew it. He had someone else. She was an office fling. No, worse. She was the office sweet butt—the girl passed around among the motorcycle gang members. Tequila always had ignited the strangest part of her imagination but there was no stopping the spiral. Her thoughts ran over one another like lemmings seeking their death off the cliff.

“Awkward? Guess you are dating someone,” she gritted out as she caught the swinging ladies room door. The woman she‘d been chatting with before was exiting. Good, because she really, really needed to pee.

“Just tell me the truth. You have a woman in every office, don’t you?” She regretted her tone the instance the words came out. She should hang up. Take the time to gather her more logical thoughts.

“Yes. There are women in every office I’ve ever been in.” More laughter came from him.

She balanced the phone on the toilet roll holder, and angrily hiked up her skirt. She didn’t know why she was suddenly so irritated. How about because he thought this was one big joke?

“Alice, Alice.” Theodore’s voice sounded very far away.

“Wait a minute, I’m peeing.” She let it fly. If he couldn’t handle a little reality, then tough noogies, as her dad used to say.

No more words from Theodore came through the phone.

She leaned forward, got her ear close to the phone. “Oh, so you’re silent now?”

“Seemed proper given Niagara Falls has got nothing on you.” His low chuckle ratcheted up her anger.

“Oh, funny guy. Well get used to it because real women pee.” She reached for some toilet paper and her phone promptly fell to the ground. “Dammit.” She finished up, yanked her panties back up and grabbed her phone. “Ewww, disgusting.” Dark streaks lined the glass – grime from the bar’s floor.

She held it a safe distance from her ear as she exited the stall. Two women stood there, staring at her aghast. She pointed at her phone. “Dropped it. In mid fight with the guy I’ve unwisely slept with at work.”

It was time to start telling the truth everywhere.

“Happens all the time,” one of women said.

And there was the problem. It might happen to other people, just not with her.

“Alice, Alice!” Theodore’s voice called.

She quickly cleaned her phone, which essentially killed the call. He rang back in seconds, and didn’t wait for her to say anything when she accepted it. “Where are you?”

“The GOAT. With Patty. Meeting all kinds of hot rugby guys.” The floor was floating a little. She tried to stop swaying with it.

“I’m coming to get you.” Theodore killed the call.

She stared at her phone. “Oh, really? We’ll see about that.”

She took her time washing her hands – and her phone. She needed a minute to assess the situation. Her brain was having none of it, refusing to have one single coherent thought rise. Time to call it a night.

When she got back to the bar, Patty had been true to her word and had her legs propped up on Alice’s seat.

“Well.” Patty dramatically swung her legs back toward the bar. “I see you got your answer.”

“Don’t let my face fool you.” She dropped to the seat, swiveled her head to the bartender. “I need water, Abram.”

Patty held up her phone. “Theodore says he’ll make sure I get put on the Chainlink project if I keep you here until he gets here.”


She shrugged. “He called. I negotiated. Now, get comfortable because I will tie you to this bar if you make one move for the door. I’m going to program circles around Daniel.”

Alice closed her eyes, which was an epic mistake. She nearly toppled from her seat. She snapped them open to find Patty smiling over at her.

“Told ya’ about Theodore,” she said. “Insta-love.”



Read Chapter 13 here!