The weekly board meeting was turning into an embarrassment. The company had just lost its biggest client and predictably, James was white with rage. He, not surprisingly, vented most of it on his daughter.
“It is your job to keep our clients! That is what you do! You’ve been trained to do it all your life. How could you possibly mess up this bad?” James asked, pounding his fist on the desk.
Nikki, unmoved, shifted forward and cleared her throat. “We simply didn’t have what they wanted anymore. They don’t want us to advertise for them, and they won’t return our calls. It is simple as that. I have tried every trick in the book, but it just doesn’t work.”
“Well try something else then! People,” he said, now addressing the room in a mock caring tone, “this is the kind of thing that loses jobs at Wilson.” He turned back to Nikki and pointed at her. “Fix it!” James picked up his suitcase and stormed out of the room.
Brooke brought in Nikki’s customary morning coffee and sandwich, when she noticed that she was slumped in her chair, looking out the window. She was drinking scotch and resting her head in her hand
“Ummm, Ms. Wilson?” Brooke asked, in trepidation.
Nikki wiped her face before turning around. She looked up to Brooke and her eyes were still slightly moist.
“Why do I even bother with this place? I could have been so much more…if only he had let me pursue my real dream…ballet dancing.”
Brooke’s mouth dropped open and Nikki laughed at her expression. It was the first time Brooke could ever recall seeing the bright side of Nikki.
“It was a joke,” confirmed Nikki, still with a smile.
“Oh ok,” Brooke said nodding. It was all she could say.
The smile faded away. “Wow, what a day. I could have done without that,” Nikki said.
Brooke decided to be brave. “Ms. Wilson…Why does he treat you that way? After all, you are his daughter.”
Nikki’s eyes narrowed at the intrusion. “I don’t like to discuss family affairs. I am just another worker to get shit on.”
“I know how that feels,” Brooke murmured, but Nikki caught it.
Brooke closed her eyes. Wrong thing to say, wrong time. Now she was in for it.
Instead, Nikki smiled. “Yes, I know…” leaning forward. “Things get a little stressed. He demands results that I just can’t give him. He hates failure; its too bad he never took a look in the mirror,” Nikki said, taking time to enjoy the stab at her father.
“Is there anything I can do, Ms. Wilson?” Brooke asked, hopefully.
Nikki huffed. “Yes, get my client back so that I can get rid of this headache.”
Nikki turned off her lamp and headed out of her office, another work day over with. She noticed Brooke was still in her office and tapped on her door.
“Go home, Brooke,” Nikki said gently.
Brooke, engrossed, jumped at the voice.
Nikki chuckled. “Hey sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”
Brooke turned and smiled. “You won’t believe this!” Brooke exclaimed, jumping up with excitement.
Nikki leaned against the doorway. “Okay, I probably won’t but go ahead anyway.”
Brooke sat on the edge of her desk. “I managed to get Birmingham Architectures & Construction to meet with us. You know! The client your Father was angry about.”
Nikki’s eyes shot wide open. “Yes! Yes, I do know. Go on.”
“I scheduled a lunch with them tomorrow at 1 p.m. I already jotted down some ideas that may just tempt them back to our company.” Brooke handed over the notes to her boss.
Nikki looked them over. “Don’t play with me Brooke. This is too important.”
Brooke smiled. “I’m not…I got you in, tomorrow you just have to sink it.”
Nikki laughed sarcastically. “Yeah right, that’s going to be easy.”
Brooke continued. “Just take my ideas home and look over them. But…I do ask one tiny favor.”
“That I be allowed to sit in on the lunch.”
“I will think about it, Brooke,” Nikki said and left for the evening.
Brooke looked down disappointed. That response was as good as a no.
The next day, Nikki slipped on her jacket. “Brooke, you ready to meet with Birmingham?” Brooke was shocked, but smiled and grabbed a few things.
As soon as they went to the restaurant, Brooke went to the bathroom. Nikki sat nervously tapping the table. Nikki looked over at the bath room and her mouth fell open in shock.
Brooke returned to the table with several shirt buttons undone and cleavage spilling out. She had let down her hair, and Nikki distinctly smelt perfume. Nikki was so engrossed in the sight that she barely heard the voices until Brooke elbowed her.
Both of them were middle aged men, in expensive business suits. They sat down and chatted and looked over the menu. Brooke leaned in and suggested an item to one of the men, who predictably was more interested in what was down Brooke’s front.
The other man praised Brooke for her offer, and said that he was looking forward to being dazzled by Ms. Wilson’s ideas. Nikki looked nervously at Brooke, and Brooke shifted to one side of her seat, crossing her legs, showing everything up to her thighs. Both boys were transfixed on Brooke, while Nikki tried to begin the presentation. She was pulling out draft programs when Brooke jumped to her feet.
“Let me, Ms. Wilson,” Brooke begged.
Brooke bent over to remove the draft programs, igniting the boy’s interests. Nikki was feeling a little uncomfortable, but was slow to notice that she herself was staring too. Brooke looked up, expecting Nikki to start. Nikki blushed and coughed, and began flicking pages, not getting anywhere.
Brooke sat down slowly and thought…Hello, someone else is interested in the little show I am putting on. A surprise, but a nice one.
After an hour, Nikki realized that the boys were more interested in Brooke than her ideas, and just about gave up when one of the boys spoke.
“We would be willing to consider a contract, if Ms. Davies…”
“Call me Brooke,” she cooed with a suggestive smile.
“Umm, yes, if Brooke would personally handle…the project.”
Nikki nodded in agreement, trying not to crack up. “We will draw up the contracts and have Brooke bring them over.”
Brooke interjected. “Oh, I took the initiative to have the contracts already drawn up and ready to sign, just in case. Damn, I can’t find my pen.”
Both men had their pens out of their pockets quickly. Nikki scoffed silently. The guys thanked them both, but predictably most attention went to Brooke. Brooke went to leave shortly after when Nikki asked her to stay on for an extra drink.
“That was the most unprofessional, un-business like display I have ever seen in my life…”
Brooke’s face turned pale with horror after all her work.
Nikki shook her head and laughed. “I can’t believe they fell for it. I could have said anything and they wouldn’t have noticed. You had their full attention.”
Brooke flicked her hair back and looked at Nikki, biting her lip. “And not just theirs either…” she added.
Nikki blushed but quickly regained composure. “Well…Well done Brooke. You better get to it, it’s your baby now.”
Back at the office James personally praised Brooke in front of the company for getting back their biggest client. “This young lady is a shining example to us all. Take notice…she will probably have my job in ten years.” James laughed.
The company gave her a round of applause, and she smiled ecstatically.
Most of the people left the boardroom, but Brooke walked over to Nikki, who was waiting for her, leaning against the doorway.
Nikki looked up at her. “Don’t let it go to your head Brooke. You’re good, very good. But, he will cut you down if you make even the tiniest mistake.”
Brooke nodded, her happiness vanishing.