Cass turned up early at her new office. It was in the same building but on a completely different floor. She used her access codes and could not get in. She was confused because the whole building, so she thought had the same access codes and rights.
She was about to turn around and find someone, when Julian Bauer came to the door.
“I thought I was the only one to get in this early, are you trying to make a good impression?” Julian winked.
Cass was embarrassed, she was not sure how to take him. Partners were not supposed to be funny and there was usually something barbed to the comment. In this case it did not appear to be so. “Coffee, we all deserve one thing in life and that is good coffee,” he declared. “The coffee machine is over there, I will get you one.”
Cass realised he was actually trying to make a good impression on her. It was weird. “No, I will get it for you,” she said charmingly.
“You are sweet, but you will need to know how to use it. I will show you first and then you can make the next cup.” Julian was right about the coffee machine, it needed a Barista’s degree. It was a lot more fancy than the normal coffee machines that were in the other offices.
The office was decorated differently as well. It was in keeping with the Georgian building that the firm had taken over, with antique furniture and beautiful art on the walls. It was divided into offices, rather than the normal open plan. “I like to be able to fart in the privacy of my own office,” Julian explained jocularly as he showed her around. “But in seriousness it is hard to concentrate when there is someone bellowing on the phone, so I prefer the old ways.”
He showed her to her room, “I am afraid you are going to have to share with Dolores, but you should be able to get on fine. She is quite grumpy but has a heart of gold under it all. Odd really, I thought Spanish people were supposed to be sunny,” he smiled winningly at Cass. “I like everyone to get on here, we spend most of our lives at work, so it might as well be an enjoyable experience.”
Cass could not quite believe that this man was real. He was funny, thoughtful and charming. She had never met a partner which did not make her despair of humanity. However here was a boss who actually thought about the needs of staff.
“Oh I forgot to tell you the code to get into the office, 20-04. My birthday, just so you don’t forget!” he smiled at her, but he was looking to see if Cass could find a further meaning.
Cass felt that she was being tested, she did not know whether she should say what she knew. Cass just knew he was testing her to see if she was clever as well as good at her job. So she said it cautiously,”Hitler’s Birthday.”
He laughed loudly and joyously,”You got it!”
Dolores turned out to be as described. She looked at Cass’ outstretched hand as if it was a turd, “I do not shake hands, germs! That is your desk. I do not do chit chat, I am here to work.”
Cass thought fine, at least this woman was honest from the outset. She had seen too many “Work Friends” fall into the pit of sheer hatred and one having to leave.
Julian came into the office, Dolores jumped up like a puppy. “I need to talk to you Julian, we need to make sure that the Anguillan trusts are water tight. I have been making amendments to our current draft.” She waved the printout at him like a newspaper.
“Have you two made the introductions?” Julian asked.
“Yes,” Cass decided to take control. “I think we are going to get on well. Dolores has made me welcome and even shown me my desk.”
Dolores’ tanned and beautiful face now looked like a bulldog chewing a wasp,“I need to talk to you about this draft, Julian.”
“Yes, yes come to my office in ten minutes and we will discuss it,” then he turned to Cass in a pantomime aside. “Lovely isn’t she, but so bossy. Dolores I will need Cass to have a Russian Visa, can you help her sort this out?”
Dolores had obviously bite into the sting of the wasp at this request, “I am not a secretary!”
“I know but you are the fasted person in this office. If I ask Janine, it will take her four hours and then she will forget what is said to her. You can show Cass how to do it quickly and then she can do her own next time,” placated Julian. Cass was astonished at the intimacy of their exchange, like a father soothing a daughter.
“Okay, but she had better be quick, I have no time to waste.” Cass knew it was cliche but Dolores really was sexy in her anger.
Once the door was closed, Dolores spat out the wasp at Cass,” I don’t know why I have to waste my time on this charade, it is not as if you are going to Moscow or anywhere, you do not have the right equipment.”
“Excuse me?” Cass barked eyes flashing, sometimes she found it better to simply get the territorial pissing out the way. Cass could not be bothered pretending to be friends with someone who evidently hated her, just for being in the same room.
Dolores was taken aback. She could not quite understand why this woman was being a bitch. Dolores left the office to follow Julian. All she had meant was Cass did not have a penis. Why did no one get her jokes, she was funny. Her embarrassment made her furious.