The Present

The first day back at work in the New Year was surprising for Cass.  The beautiful Russian New Year card, given to her by Ivanna contained $5000.00 in green crisp $100.00 bills.  The first time that this happened for her birthday, it was shocking to her.  She tried to give it back in embarrassment.  Ivanna had laughed and pushed it back to her.

She found the paralegal Becky crying in the toilet. Becky had been given her notice. Cass had seen Caroline gleefully conduct the career execution behind the glass of her office. Caroline’s office always reminded Cass of the glass cells for truly dangerous psychopaths.

Cass held Becky, feeling the childlike sobs of desperation and crushed dreams. Cass explained that it was not Becky’s fault.   Caroline did this every year and Becky was the sacrificial lamb.  At least Becky was out of the vipers den.

Cass went back to her desk and found the card with the money and gave it to Becky. Cass rang Jens. His Chambers needed a clerk and she recommended Becky. The money would not be brilliant but it is always easier looking for a job when you have one already. Cass could not change what had happened to her, but at least Becky would not think that the whole world is full of arse holes.

She had decided to wear the dress that Ivanna had bought her.  Caroline kept shooting disapproving looks at her from her glass cage as she pretended to work. Cass ignored her. Caroline stopped when  a    girl from accounts saw Cass, squealed that it was a Westwood Anglomania. Caroline decided not to send the link to Reiss to Cass. Cass smiled to herself, thinking, “Who would think that black and white stripes could be so subversive.”

About midday Julian Bauer walked into the cage. He was average height.  He was neat and contained. He had thick black wavy hair, which made him look younger than his fifty plus years.  Cass watched uncomfortably as there were gesticulations made in her general direction.  Caroline was  so annoyed, she somehow managing to crack the botox in her forehead. She threw a pen down on her empty desk and then paged Cass, “In here, now”.

Cass got up, cursing Ivanna to herself.  How did she do it? Ivanna was a combination of fairy godmother and wicked witch.

“Did you know about this?” barked Caroline at Cass. Caroline turned viciously to Julian, “No she can’t be used by you.  Cass is mine and I will not have her changed departments.  I can’t believe that you plotted this behind my back, after all that I have done for you Cass.”

Cass decided not to defend herself. She willed herself to stay impassive.  The best thing to do with a toddler tantrum is to ignore it. The thought of Caroline trying to scrabble to keep on Becky, would give Cass a warm glow for weeks.

Julian smiled, cooly ignoring Caroline’s toy throwing,”Well that is sorted, you are moving to my office next week. I will need you close to assist me in looking after Ivanna and her friends. You speak Russian, don’t you?”

“Well enough. I can’t write it though.”

“Good, contact my secretary and she will sort out a visa for you,” he turned to Caroline and teased ”I cannot believe that you have been keeping this one from me. So so greedy.”

“Get out Julian!” Caroline snarled. Cass was shocked at Caroline’s familiarity with him.  He was much more senior than Caroline. “And you get out too, Cassandra. Just a word of warning, don’t be vanilla, he bores easily.”

Cass returned to her pod, she just wanted to work without drama.

Cass told Jane her news, when she had a moment.

“Cass you are so naive! How do you think someone that lazy gets to the position of partner?”, Jane laughed.

“Caroline did not do that! She may be lazy but she knows her stuff.” Cass was surprised at how much she did not want this to be true about Caroline. Caroline was a psychotic bitch but Cass did not want her to be a cheap psychotic bitch.

“She knows her stuff, but to get to the top, she danced on top of his cock. I thought you knew about this,” Jane winked. “She was his trainee. When the relationship broke down, she was given partner rather than her suing.”

“Gross, I think I have been sick in my mouth.”

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