It’s not fun to sit in the office. It’s not fun to file paperwork, and so, I get that cute brunette with hips for days to type my shit up. Not that I can’t do it myself, but she’s keen on me, and it makes it easier than having to do it myself.
I pay for it of course. As I have paid for many a thing as only someone handsome and without decency can pay. Generally kisses, when the report is bigger or it’s something that takes too much time out of her busy day, maybe more.
I don’t hate it. I don’t like it. It is what it is and she thanks me. I raise my brows as Claudia sits next to me, drawing a chair and placing her rear on it, the chair moving gently. How it can accomodate dat ass is beyond me.
“You need this typed up, Ethan?” She asks me, her red mouth curling into a smile that may in fact be crooked. Not crooked visually, but some small tug of the corner of her mouth makes me think she gets some sick glee out of having me owe her favors. Of course she would. I was trained for this, once.
I’m apparently being fickle today and she bites her lip, leaning towards me but not far enough to key anyone into the fact she exchanges work for booty currency. If the Chief knows, he doesn’t mention it. He might just think I get around. Which is not untrue.
“Are you sure?”
I’m conflicted. I enjoy it enough, and it would let me steal away an hour to have lunch with Hen or Christine or even James, but at what cost? I’m not sure I’m in the mood for this and last time I was thrown out of my comfort zone.
She forced me to make eye contact.
There’s something personal about eye contact. When you are with someone you care about, not even in the animalistic sense of going at it like a pair of burgeoning rabbits, it’s intimate. Christine is our main secretary and a darling, with deep red hair and freckles dotting her nose and cheeks. Sunkissed. I wouldn’t dare go after her, as she is so infinitely kind, and somehow too perfect to tarnish. I gaze at her, we exchange glances, and she turns eight shades of red. Shy, introverted, and amazing at her job. One of my favorite people to ever walk the earth. And she knows how to save my ass when I’m in a bind.
And so, she gets the look. That look that I can give. That look that any person who loves another can give. Genuine affection.
Hen doesn’t get those looks. I avoid his eyes nine times out of ten, or steal glances. I don’t want him knowing how much I care.
I think that’s probably a problem. I have no issue showing anyone else that I care for that infinitely small glimmer of attention that spells ‘you mean something to me’. But him? No. He can’t have that.
Because if he did, it’d be real, and I’d be stupid enough to fall into the void again of having to orient my life around him even more. He’d know me.
Knowing me, truly, causes some hefty…complications.
James is another matter. Smart, an older man with a balding head, and glasses. He’s sour to Christine’s sweet. He’s sardonic, sarcastic, narcissistic–but somehow underneath all that he cares. He got the look once, and even an arm around the shoulder when his wife divorced him.
I am a bit too handsy. It’s not really my fault. I don’t have a good sense of boundaries.
Another puzzle, problem, enigma, and damnation I have to slog through.
It’s hard to have boundaries when you were taught that yours were rightly able to be obliterated at any given time.
Christine is my saving grace right now. As Claudia is some kindof demon harpy hell-cunt succubus, she walks up us and pushes a report into Claude’s hands.
“I need you to fill this out correctly. Going forward, you need to sign here, here, and here. The description field is mostly blank. I need it done better, so…could you..please..?”
Her resolve fades, her cheeks and nose beginning to glow a faint pink. Like a blooming magnolia unfolding from a tree. She’s beautiful. I think I’m incredibly damaged because I often think about ruining how perfect she is.
Even if I’m not going to, I still think about it.
The fade comes on as Claudia stares at her, but relinquishes this fight. Christine 1, Claudia 0. I beam with pride, on the inside, and begin to flitter my fingers over the papers in front of me, finally erking out a pen. I chew the pen cap, nervously, hunched over like some kindof high school kid over a test.
My ADHD doesn’t ever allow me to complete these effectively, or efficiently.
Pretty soon I’m surfing facebook and the Chief–Laurence Brown–taps at my headphones that are now stuck between my ears. I don’t notice and he quietly shuts off the monitor.
“The fa–oh. Hey Laurie. Sorry.” I pull the earbuds out and look at him.
He knows why I have this position. Even if I’m an amazing shot, perfectly adept at piecing together evidence like some sortof mastermind genius on those CSI shows, I am not the right fit for the job.
He knows that there was some kindof nepotism. He’s not sure what, despite the tales we’ve concocted. And it doesn’t sit right with him. Though he never mentions it, just gives me the opposite look I give Christine, James, or Hen when he’s not looking.
“What happened today?”
“Renaldo is filing a grievance. Officially. He’s got a wound the size of Texas on his forehead–”
“Casualties of war.” I am quite literally apathetic. I can’t get fired. Every time he makes a push to reassign me or demote me, something happens that makes him withdraw.
That something is an exorbitantly large sum of money. And this is a petty thing to bring up, as I’ve done far, far worse.
The nepotism isn’t known by anyone else. Hen, Claude, Chris, and James have no idea. Neither does the rest of the department. That’s also a clause with our situation.
The money appears in his bank account with a word. OFF means to step back from the situation. UP means to promote me in some way. And TIED means to blame the trespasses on someone else.
At this point, he’s realized he cannot go any higher up the food chain. We’ve concocted the idea that I’m a secret member of some special USA forces or some shit. And therefore he has to comply. We have fake papers and everything. NDA agreements. Official looking documents. There’s a reason for this.
The reason is that I’m close to law enforcement. Therefore, I can get our people off the hook. Which I do often. Fudge evidence and the like. Brown is complicit in this because he knows something is happening, but he can’t draw the conclusions together like a fine web.
He’s a shitty cop. But also, we don’t tend to let people know what we’re up to. Or who we are.
It’s all a farce. And it’s going to fail. Very, very, soon.
I don’t know this yet.
“…very good.” He says.
“Tied.” He sends me a glance and looks around the room. “Not #2.” Henry.
“#8? Wasn’t in the batting range.”
“Make something up.”
Our words are hushed, no one can hear us. And I’m fine with that.
But Henry is finally starting to suspect something, and he has his headphones out of his ears, with the earbuds between his fingers. Staring.
I shoot him back a look. Something cheeky, but also…
Filled to the brim with knuckle-white fear.