June 17, 2011
I plugged in the address that Harriet gave me into my smartphone and drove over to the house.
The house looked like a frat house. Was Harriet at a college party? Probably. The Greek letters on the building were evidence of that. I went up to the door and knocked.
A shirtless man wearing a backward flat-topped baseball hat answered the door. Loud pop music assaulted my ears and stale pizza and cheap hard liquor assaulted my nose.
“I’m here for Harriet. Harriet Goodard.”
“Oh, the sloppy drunk girl.”
I stepped inside, avoiding a red party cup that was spilled on the floor. “You’re pretty hot. Wanna party with us?”
Over my dead body, kid.
“No, thank you. Where is Harriet?”
“She’s in the bathroom.” The kid answered. I sighed and walked over to the bathroom door and knocked.
“Yeah?” I heard a voice call from the bathroom. I opened the door and walked in. Harriet was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, holding the porcelain toilet bowl. “I’m going to be sick…”
I took out my hair tie and walked over to Harriet and pulled back her pin-straightened her hair in a bun. I didn’t do a great job pulling it back—tying other people’s hair back is hard. Right after I finished fixing Harriet’s hair, she vomited in the toilet. I winced and looked away. Seeing her vomit made my stomach all queazy. Plus making out with Leon Bradley fifteen minutes earlier already had it on the edge.
“I’m so, so schorry…” Harriet slurred. She went to go stand up and nearly fell over. I walked over to her and helped pull her off the ground. She finally was back to standing on two legs. She walked over to the bathroom door and staggered forward.
I swore that she was going to break an ankle or something. She was wearing six-inch platform stiletto heels—in those shoes, she was almost as tall as Leon; seeing as she was already close to six feet tall already. Harriet was wearing a crimson leather tube dress that ended about mid-thigh. I could see how she was a model; she looked quite lean and elegant, even when she was totally hammered and stumbling around a frat house bathroom.
I managed to guide her out of the bathroom, into the living room, and then out to the car. It was quite difficult; I felt like I was carrying a floppy flag pole. I put her in my crappy car and buckled her in before rushing to my side of the car.
I pulled out a fast food paper bag and handed it to Harriet.
“If you’re going to throw up, please do it in this.”
“Ok.” Harriet rocked back and forth. She plugged in her address into her smartphone and then continued to rock back and forth. “I’m schorry. You probably think I’m an incompetent idiooot…” Harriet broke down and started sobbing—more like wailing—out loud.
The sound of Harriet’s screeches was starting to give me a bit of a headache. “No, it’s ok. To be honest, I was in the middle of a terrible date with Leon Bradley, and you stopped me from having to have some pretty terrible sex.”
I knew that she wouldn’t really remember anything that I said to her so I could be completely honest with her.
“It’s just…” She hiccupped. “It’s just that I don’t want to think I’m incompetent.”
“You’re not incompetent, Harriet. You’re just really drunk.”
“You’re the only one who has ever believed in me….” Harriet continued to sob. “Everyone thinks I’m a stupid bitch.”
“Oh, Harriet, I’m sure that’s not true. What about your brother? I’m sure he thinks highly of you.”
“Yeah…” Harriet sniffed. “But he thinks I’m still just a kid, so it’s like he acts like I’m incompetent but says I’m ‘competent’ and ‘full of potential.’” She slumped down in her seat. “It’s just that you take me seriously and no one else does and now…now” She started wailing again. “You’re not going to take me seriously again!” She burst out into hysterical sobs.
“Harriet. It’s fine. I don’t think you’re incompetent. All I think is that you can’t hold your liquor. And that’s ok. Neither can I; truth be told.”
I pulled up to the Goodard Mansion, and it lived up to its title. It was beautifully landscaped. It was a large, solid brick building with some ivy crawling up the sides. It looked like the size of four houses put together. The whole mansion was surrounded by an iron gate, and I pulled up to what looked like the driveway and a sleepy security guard.
“Hello, Harriet.” The guard said.
“Frankie!” Harriet cheered. She leaned over towards me and waved at the guard. “This is Mel Jones. She’s the best mentor everrrrr. Can you like, give her security clearance?”
“Sure thing, Harriet. Make sure you have some water and food before you go to bed.” The guard replied. He pressed a button, and the iron gate opened. I drove through the long driveway to the parking garage that was below the buildings. There was a flashy red sportscar which Harriet proudly announced was hers. A limo, and a practical mid-sized sedan.
“Whose car is that?” I pointed to the grey sedan.
“That’s Maxwell’s. Usually, he uses the limo so he can do work in the back of it but he likes to have a second car just in case if the limo driver is busy or something.”
“Oh, it just seemed out of place.”
“My brother likes practical things. He’s going to be furious with me.” Harriet started crying again.
“Why?” I asked.
“I told him that I was sleeping over a friend’s house. He has no idea that I went to a college party.” Harriet opened her car door and stumbled out. I quickly rushed to her side to prevent her from stumbling into who-knows-what and breaking her neck. “He can’t know. We gotta sneak in.”
“Ok, Harriet. Now sneaking in means being quiet. So no crying, OK?” I guided Harriet over towards the garage door which, I assumed, lead to the house. I entered it, and the two of us stumbled in. I used all my strength to stop Harriet from crashing into the other end of the hallway. The hallway was very nice; it was a cream hallway with a mahogany trim with fine art on the wall. The hallway had over a dozen different doors.
“Take a right,” Harriet whispered. I took a right down the hallway. The left side of the hallway turned from a mahogany wall to a study with large, glass French sliding doors. The study was beautiful—two of the walls were made completely of glass, and the other two walls were bookshelves. There was a large desk that sat in the middle of the room. And I saw a man sitting at the desk. Not just any man—Maxwell Goodard was sitting there. He was so deeply focused in whatever it was that he was doing that he didn’t look up from his desk and see Harriet and I sneaking over to her room. I had to admit—Maxwell looked incredibly handsome doing his work. His dark chocolate brown hair was tussled about, and he had his suit jacket and tie slung over the back of his chair. His sleeves were rolled up so I could see his muscular forearms and the top buttons of his dress shirt were undone.
Harriet and I turned the corner and eventually passed the glass study. “Oh, thank God,” Harriet said. “I would have been so busted if he saw me sneaking in drunk.”
“Yeah, I would have too.” Harriet opened the door to her room and staggered inside.
Her room was stunning; it was probably the size of my entire apartment. It was surprisingly tastefully decorated too, well, for Harriet’s standards. On one side, there was a sitting area with white leather furniture and television. On the other side of the room, there was large canopy bed with a pink bedspread. Harriet walked over to her bed, swatted the canopy aside, and collapsed face-first onto the bed. One of her legs was still touching the ground.
“I’m sleepy.” She announced.
“You have to have some water and food before you go to bed. You’ll thank me later.
Harriet pushed herself up into a sitting position and groaned. She eventually took off her insanely high-heals. “Can you go over to the kitchenette I have?” She pointed in the general direction of her white leather sofa.
I walked over. Sure enough, she had a mini-fridge and a microwave in the room. I opened her refrigerator and pulled out a water bottle, and I grabbed the bag of chips that was sitting atop the microwave. I returned to her and handed her the chips and water bottle.
“Make sure you drink the whole thing and eat lots of chips, so you’re not hung over.”
“Ok.” Harriet unscrewed the water bottle and took a large swig.
I walked over to the sitting area and plopped down on the couch. I didn’t want to leave just yet—I wanted to make sure that Harriet wasn’t going to vomit and choke on it in her sleep.
After about fifteen minutes, Harriet finished her water bottle and polished off her chips.
“I’m going to have to spend extra time at the gym tomorrow.” Harriet laughed. I pulled out another water bottle and handed it to Harriet. She looked at the water bottle dejectedly and laid down in bed.
“Make sure you sleep on your side, alright?” At this point, I didn’t think that she’d vomit and she was slightly more sober than earlier
Harriet rolled over. “Ok…” She mumbled. “Goodnight Mel.”
“Oh and Harriet, one more thing…”
Harriet mumbled something.
“Be careful. I think that someone might be out to hurt you.”
“Psh.” Harriet raised her hand dismissively before flopping it down on the bed. “I’ve heard that before. We’re fine.”
“Seriously, be careful. I overheard Leon saying something about taking you out.”
“Don’t worry. Leon’s my brother’s friend.”
“Just please be careful this weekend and on Monday.” I pleaded with her. In the back of my head, I knew that this conversation was going nowhere—Harriet was two sheets to the wind.
“Kay bye.” Harriet curled up in a ball on her side. “Can you turn off the lights when you leave?”
“Alright.” I pushed myself up from her comfortable leather chair and turned off the light switch. Before I turned it off, I checked my hair in the mirror. It was a disaster. I quickly brushed it back with my fingers, so it looked slightly better. My lipstick was still smeared from my ‘passionate’ kiss with Leon. I fixed it up, and I finally looked presentable. Tired, but presentable nonetheless.
I finally turned off the light switch and left the room. When I got back into the cream and mahogany hallway, I tried reorienting myself to the location. I knew that I had to turn a left, walk past the glass study, and then make another left. I started walking towards that general direction. I got to the glass study, and I peeked my head in to make sure that Maxwell was still focused on his work. I didn’t want to have to have the conversation about Leon with Maxwell now—I’d rather have it on Monday morning. Maxwell would want to know why I was in his house late at night on a Friday and then I’d have to explain that I was picking Harriet up from a party and that would be a nightmare.
Sure enough, when I peeked around the corner, Maxwell was looking down at his desk. I began to walk, all while keeping an eye on Maxwell, praying to God that he didn’t look up from his desk. Unfortunately, my prayers were not answered.
Maxwell looked up from his desk. Our eyes locked. I felt a sudden rush of panic rush through me. Maxwell shot up from his desk—his rolling chair nearly crashed into the bookshelf behind him. He quickly walked over to the glass doors, shoved them open, and walked right up next to me.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” Maxwell asked, looking down at me. He was about a foot away from me. At that moment, I take it that he didn’t recognize me from orientation. My heart sank a little bit because the arrogant part of me wondered why he wouldn’t remember me of all people—I’m a brilliant, attractive attorney, after all! Although in Maxwell’s defense, he met several people that day and had about a thousand employees.
“I…” Words could not leave my mouth. I had no idea what to say! I was terrified but, oddly enough, slightly aroused by him. Standing so close, smelling his musk, and seeing his muscular arm grip the door just made me wish for nothing else that he would grab me and kiss me and…well, other things.
“Well?” Maxwell impatiently demanded.
Alright, that feeling of arousal turned to terror and irritation. He was looking at me like I was some sort of criminal who walked into his house and he was mad.
“Harriet called me and ah…well…I.” I looked down at the ground blushing.
Get your shit together, Mel. You’re a brilliant lawyer, form words, dammit.
“Is Harriet ok?” Maxwell asked. I could tell that he sounded a bit concerned about his sister, but that concern was masked by a general coldness.
“Yeah…um…she’s intoxicated and I…um…I….she’s here.” I stammered. Usually, I’m more eloquent, I swear. Maxwell closed the door and stepped into the hallway.
“I’m going to check up on my sister.” Maxwell started to swiftly walk down the hallway.
“Wait!” I called out. Maxwell spun around.
“What?” He flatly asked.
“Um…you’re going to die on…on Monday. I think. At three. Um…Harriet too.”
Why are you so awkward? Why can’t you form words like a normal person?
Maxwell slowly walked back over to me. I looked down at the ground.
“I don’t know who you are.” Maxwell started to say in a slow, even, and angry tone. He was about six inches away from me now and leaned over. I took a half a step back. “I don’t know what you’re getting at either but don’t you dare threaten my sister and I. Especially in our own home. And if I find out that you did something to my sister, I swear to God that I will track you down and ruin you. So you and whoever you’re in on this with can forget your little Monday afternoon plans, OK?”
I opened my mouth and shut it. I didn’t know what to say at this point in time, so I elected not to say anything. Instead, I took a few steps back and bolted down the hallway and towards the garage. It was either fight or flight, and I chose flight.
Luckily I remembered how to get to the parking garage very easily. Once I hopped into the car, I quickly put my keys in the ignition and sped off into the night back to my apartment. My heart was racing a mile a minute. I felt panicked the whole car ride home. Was I going to get fired? What was going to happen to me? My feelings alternated between terror and irritation. I was afraid of losing my job, but I was also pretty pissed at Maxwell Goodard for assuming that I, of all people, was going to kill him and his sister. What the hell? He didn’t even give me a chance to explain. He was just rude about it. I still didn’t want to see him die, even though he was an asshole.
I got back to my apartment and signed. It was one in the morning at this point. On the bright side, it was a new day. One of the worst days ever was over. I survived my date with Leon. I survived drunken Harriet who did not puke in my car. Lastly, I survived an awkward encounter with Maxwell Goodard who was accusing me of threatening him and Harriet because I was too awkward and nervous to articulate what was actually going on.
Eventually, the big, fluffy, pillows and my squishy mattress enveloped me, and I fell asleep. Nightmares involving trying to stop Leon from stabbing Harriet and Maxwell plagued my sleep.