Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'The Greeting Card Princess' by Markee Anderson (Chapter 9)

Chapter 9:

John, also known as Jake, walked into the house and lowered his head as if he was in trouble, which he was.

"She quits." Dave handed John the letter. "I'd say it was a Dear John letter, but your name's Jake."

John read the letter and then lifted his gaze to Violet's face. She crossed her arms. She wasn't falling for this liar anymore.

"I wanted to tell you right away," he said. "But I couldn't."

"Why not? Was it because of Chet?"

He nodded. "You don't understand. Betty called me and told me what you'd told her. I'd always been the 'fixer' in the company, but with Dad being sick, I'm also now the owner. I go by John at work in case anyone reads Dad's bio which includes information about me. I've done all the jobs at that business, but being a 'fixer' seems to be where I shine. I play like someone on their team until I can catch them doing something wrong. Then I leave, have them fired, and escorted out. No one knows who I really am." He sighed. "But then I met you. It made it more difficult, because I have to play two parts with you—your boss that you don't even know exists, and someone who truly cares about you, more than you know. You're extremely talented and had no idea you were auditioning for a promotion that day when we worked on the oakies together."

Dave raised his eyebrows. "Oakies?"

"Greeting card messages," Violet said, crossing her arms tighter. "Someone thinks so highly of themselves, that they have to name the messages after their last name."

John grunted. "That was Dad's idea. Not mine. Mom and he fought over that one, believe it or not. I have to play along until he decides to retire, and then the company's mine. And you can guarantee there will be some changes. Lots of changes. First, I'll get my real name back." He looked down at her resignation and then lifted his blue eyes to see her. "Don't quit. I need you in more ways than one. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me."

She took a step closer. "But you lied to me. How can I ever trust you again?"

Dave sighed. "This is the part I call 'leap of faith.' Now bring it home so I can have a happy ending."

Violet gave Dave an evil stare.

"Or not." Dave chuckled. "Just kiss and make up."

"He doesn't kiss," Violet said. "I'm too ugly and am just being used. I'll be thrown out like the trash when he doesn't need me anymore." She nodded toward the paper. "Well, you don't need me so you can leave now."

John sighed. "I can't kiss you. I'm not allowed to, by my dad's policy. I really want to kiss you, because you're beautiful, darlin'. You wouldn't believe the comments over those pictures, by the way. Some of the upper management want to hire you as our spokesmodel, because you're the girl next door and gorgeous."

She grunted. "I'm surprised you didn't use any of Chet's porn girls."

"No. That's not our image. All of our cards are wholesome and Chet's just about to get canned, but that's a secret." John stared at her face. "Please come back to work. I won't bug you and won't even talk to you unless you want me to. We really need you, because you're excellent at your job."

"She wants a promotion and more pay," Dave said.

John nodded. "Done."

Unbelievable. "No, I don't want that. I'd be using blackmail to get a promotion, and I want to get there with good work instead." Violet took a deep breath. "Hold onto that resignation, but I'll put in my two weeks. That way, you'll have time to find a replacement."

John moved closer. "Violet, don't be like this. Please?"

She tightened her jaw but said not a word.

"Um, let me handle this," Dave said. "John..or would you rather be called Jake?"

"Jake. No more lies to this family. And eventually, no more lies at work, where I'll be known as Jake. Everyone will know me, too. I'm going to have a big talk with Dad. He's not well, so it's really time he retire."

Dave ushered him toward the door. "Let's have a little chat. If I can handle her sister, I can certainly help you handle Violet. She's easy to deal with, but I still think she needs a promotion."

"With her background, you're right."

The door opened and closed. At least they'd leave her alone. But on Monday morning, she vowed to only do her work. No more special projects for anyone, and if they had an employee like Chet or even one that hung from the ceiling, she wasn't about to turn them in. Nope. Jake and his company were on their own.

Stay tuned!  Chapter 10, Friday, November 22!

Copyright Markee Anderson, 2013

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