June 21, 2011
I woke up in the morning in a total panic. Well, technically I didn’t wake up in the morning, that was the problem. I looked at the clock, and I saw the numbers 12:08 staring back at me. How could I sleep for that long? I knew that I was concussed but still. That was a long time to sleep.
I hopped out of bed and nearly collapsed. My ankle hurt so bad. I decided against throwing on my high-heel shoes and instead hopped out the door with plans to go to my car, drive home, take a shower, throw on some reasonable shoes, buy crutches and a cell phone, drop off my car at the shop, and then head to work.
When I opened the door to the bedroom, I saw that I had presents on the floor—a pair of crutches, my purse, and a cell phone. A good cell phone at that—the latest top-of-the-line smartphone. On top of these things was a piece of paper. I picked it up, wondering what it said.
The piece of paper was a creamy stationary. I looked at it, and it was blank, so I flipped it over. Still, blank. The only thing that I noted was that the stationary had Maxwell Goodard’s name on it. I smiled to myself.
I’m going to have to thank him later.
I threw the phone in my bag—I could sync it to my email account and update it later on after I deal with whatever work crisis I knew that I would have to deal with.
The crutches made walking so much easier. Now I could travel without feeling like someone was stabbing at my ankle. I soon found my way over to the parking garage and my car. There was a note on that as well. I reached over and picked that up. It was a receipt saying that I got my oil changed, tires rotated and transmission replaced.
That was quick. And not cheap. Don’t these things cost a few thousand dollars? My car’s ancient too. Probably cost more than my car is worth…
I hopped in the car, which was cleaned. My mystery smell vanished completely. I drove over to my house. Driving with a sprained ankle wasn’t too bad. Manageable. Luckily there was little traffic, so I only had to flex my foot a few times. Soon I arrived at my small apartment, and I immediately showered, fixed my hair, replaced my bandages, and put on a clean suit. I decided to go for a soft powder-blue suit. I liked the way it was cut on me, and the coloring had a softness to it. I looked the best in this suit. It sounds foolish, but I wanted to look my best in case I ran into Maxwell. I was a little torn on how I felt about him, but I did know that I wanted him to feel attracted to me.
It was one o’clock when I finished getting ready. Not bad. I let out a loud sigh. Time to go to work and clean up this mess.
When I arrived at the office, the main receptionist—Janelle—immediately shot up from her seat behind the computer like a Jack-in-the-Box springing to life.
“Miss Jones!” Janelle said. She was wearing a white sheath dress with a small scarf tied around her neck and her hair tied in a bun. She looked like a flight attendant today.
“Hi, Janelle. I’m quite sorry about my tardiness.”
“It’s alright. Miss Goodard told me everything. Apparently, Leon tried to kill her and Mr. Goodard? And then you found out and stopped it all? And there was a big brawl between you and Leon?”
Um…well…that’s not exactly accurate.
“There wasn’t a big fight or anything.”
“Oh. That’s not how Harriet said it. This is all that the office has been talking about today. Leon’s been fired and so have all the other department heads involved. And the Vice President too? Who would have thought? Mr. Goodard has cleaned house; fired the whole lot of them. I would have never guessed that Leon could be so evil.”
“Me neither.” I shrugged.
“I mean, he was a creep to all the women in the office. What a letch. But still, other than that he seemed nice. Not like he was going to kill someone.”
“Is the department a wreck?” I asked.
“It’s fine. Linda’s taking over the department. Mr. Goodard announced it this morning. It’s a much-deserved promotion if you ask me. There will be some extra cases for everyone to take on, but other than that it’s fine.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. It looks like the department would be fine after all. Linda’s a very kind woman in her mid-fifties who has been doing this kind of work for years. She’s quite competent, and I knew the department would be fine in her hands.
“I’m glad to hear that. A much-deserved promotion, if you ask me. I’m going to go to my office and get to work. See you around, Janelle.”
I scurried down the hallway as quickly as I could to my office. I saw that there was a horde of police gathered in Leon’s office. They were doing their job and investigating. Good. As long as they stayed away from me.
When I entered the office, I saw Harriet sitting in her chair, typing away. When she saw me enter the room she swirled around in her swivel chair and smiled up at me.
“Mel! You’re ok!”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I hobbled over to my chair and sat down.
“My brother said that you got a concussion and sprained your ankle.”
“Yeah, I did. But it’s fine. I can still drive and get around on crutches. I see that we have a lot of work to do.”
“I organized all the work for you to do.”
“Thanks, Harriet, for holding down the fort. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make a dent in this work so I can go back to teaching you some new things.”
“My brother told me to tell you to take it easy because you have a concussion.”
“It’s fine,” I said.
I sat down in the chair and read through the first file. Seemed simple enough. I spent the entire afternoon working non-stop. There was work to be done, after all. I found it to be quite hard to focus though between my concussion and the events of yesterday. Truth be told, I was relying on my photographic memory and coasting off of that to get my work done.
At four o’clock, Harriet decided to go home for the day. Seemed reasonable, considering the events of the week. I figured that I should take a short break and go ahead and thank Maxwell for his assistance last night and this morning.
This task made me more terrified than anything I’ve done that day so far. Something about Maxwell just made my heart race. I touched up my hair and makeup, so I looked a little more presentable, and I hobbled down the long hallway and followed signs to the elevator and took it up to the top floor and followed signs to the president’s office.
There was a large waiting room foyer, and a petite brunette was sitting at the desk, typing away. She was beautiful and dressed in an orange suit that popped against her olive skin. She was beautiful. Seeing her beauty made me feel quite insecure. Sure, I was pretty. I worked quite hard to be classically beautiful; getting braces, staying in shape, coloring and treating my hair, so it’s always a soft and wavy platinum blonde, wearing makeup, always dressed in the latest fashion… I wish I were prettier.
I lost my nerve. Suddenly I realized how foolish that I’ve been to think that I had a chance with Maxwell Goodard. Plus I’m a little rude and frank with him. Why would he want to be with the average looking girl with the quick fuse and the loud mouth when he could be with a model who worships the ground he walks on?
Girls like me are probably a dime a dozen in his eyes.
The woman behind the desk stood up. Ah, she was in such good shape. I wondered how often she goes to the gym.
“May I help you with something?” She asked. Even her voice sounded sweet and melodic.
“Oh. Hello. I just wanted to stop by Maxwell Goodard’s office for a moment.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No…I just wanted to thank him for his help with something.”
“Mr. Goodard takes visitors by appointment only.”
I pursed my lips together. “Alright. If you could, could you let him know that Mel Jones from the legal department stopped by to say thank you.”
“If you’re from the legal department then he might want to see you. There have been some issues coming from that department today.”
She sat down at her desk and pressed a button on the phone. “Mr. Goodard?” Pause. “Someone from the legal department is here to see you.” Pause. “Mel Jones.” Pause. “I’ll send her in right away.” The woman hung up the phone and looked over at me and smiled. “Mr. Goodard would like to meet with you.”
“Thank you.” I hobbled over to his office door. God those crutches were a pain. My armpits hurt from carrying my whole body around. His beautiful secretary opened the door to Maxwell’s office, and I went in.
Maxwell looked up from his desk, and I shuddered. His sleeves were rolled up, and his suit jacket was slung over the back of his office chair. He looked so handsome being hard at work.
I gave Maxwell a taught smile and entered the room.
“It’s good to see you, Ms. Jones. Please, have a seat.”
“Oh. I’m only here for a minute. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon.”
Maxwell folded his arms and leaned in on his desk.
“Alright, what are you here for?” He asked.
My mouth felt so dry. “I just wanted to…oh God, how do I say this? I wanted to thank you for your help last night and for the phone, crutches, and fixing my car.” I pulled out a check from my bag and placed it on his desk. “This should cover all of it.”
Maxwell picked up the check and ripped it in half. “I’m not going to take your money. Consider this a gift.”
“That’s quite a lavish gift.”
“I wanted to get you a new car, but Harriet said that would be a bit too garish,” Maxwell said. “Please just take it. It’s the very least I can do after all that you’ve done for Harriet and me. I don’t like being in debt to others.”
“Well thank you, Maxwell.” I bit my lip and looked down at the ground. “That’s everything.”
I spun around on my crutches and began to go towards the door.
“Before you go, Ms. Jones, I heard an update on the case.”
I half-turned towards Maxwell. “What happened?”
“You might want to sit down,” Maxwell said slowly.
Maxwell walked over to me and pulled out a chair for me. I blushed at him standing so close to me. “Ms. Jones, please sit.”
I glared at him but plopped down in my seat nonetheless. Maxwell walked over to his desk, hovered over his chair, and then walked back across the room.
“Aren’t you going to sit too?” I asked. Following his pacing was making me nervous. Maxwell let out a heavy sigh, and he plopped down in the chair behind his large desk. “What is it that you need to tell me?”
“Leon cut a deal with the police and prosecution. He ratted out his co-conspirators and the charges against him have been dropped.” Maxwell crossed his fingers and rested his chin upon the bridge that he made with him.
“He’s going to walk? That’s bullshit.” I exclaimed. I wanted to hop right out of my seat, but my ankle hurt too much. “After trying to kill you and Harriet? After trying to pressure me into his fucked up deal in exchange for sex? This is bullshit!”
“I know, believe me, I know.”
I let out a groan of frustration.
“Do you need a security guard?”
“Do you feel unsafe? Do you think he’ll try to retaliate against you?” Maxwell asked slowly.
“Oh, I’m fine. Don’t worry. Mad, but fine.”
“Please let me know if that changes. I do not want you to be retaliated against for helping me.”
“I’ll be fine. Look, I’ll let you get back to work. Um. I’ll see you around, Mr. Goodard.”
“I’ll put you on my list of allowed visitors for my secretary.”
“Thank you,” I muttered as I looked down at the ground.
He shot up from his chair and swiftly walked to the door. “Let me get that for you.” He muttered. I thanked him again and exited the room.
I sped out of there as quickly as possible and headed back to the office and spent the remainder of the afternoon doing work until about ten o’clock at night.
Right when I was about to leave the office, my cell phone rang. I pulled out my phone. The number was anonymous. I wondered if it could be my sister or something.
“Hello? Mel Jones?”
Nothing. No response. Just the sound of someone breathing on the other line. I hung up angrily. The cherry on top of a crappy day.
During my drive home, I found it to be hard to focus on the road. I was too busy replaying the events of yesterday in my mind and thinking of Leon. Wow, he turned out to be a scumbag, huh? I was worried about him being released by the police. I should have expected that with his connections. Would he try to retaliate against me? And what was up with that weird phone call I just got?
At any rate, I decided that there was nothing I could do about it now. And besides, these things have a way of working themselves out. I was just mad, though—this wasn’t exactly the outcome that I was hoping for. Oh well.
End of Part I
Author’s Note: Hello, everyone, thank you very much for reading. Special thanks to my loving husband, to whom this book is dedicated. Thank you also to my amazing family and friends.
Please be sure to check out the sequel—Fortune Favors the Bold (and the Strong). It is currently available for purchase on Amazon. Email me at or check out my blog for more information.