This month we are receiving three words from the person in line before us. I received sleeping, stolen and camping from bsolah. Well here goes….  (I have to give a big thanks to my beta reader Tracey. Don’t know what I’d do without her.)

“You.  Have.  Got to be kidding me!” I sat down hard at my desk and stared at the pile of documents and folders neatly stacked in front of me. I was going camping this weekend, if you can call air conditioning, a soft bed and room service camping. I did not want to deal with extra projects today. Last night, when I left, my desk had been spotless. Somehow between when I left and then came back this morning, this mess had shown up. Glancing at the handwriting on the note attached to it, I knew who was responsible.

Tessa peeked her head in the door before walking in. Not two seconds later, Anne came in with tea and shut the door.

“What is all of that Jane?” Tessa asked me, taking her seat in front of my desk. She and Anne were my assistants, slash friends, slash support. Anne handed me my tea and then took her seat. Normally, I would sit in my chair, but the pile of unknown files would be in my line of sight if I did that, so I sat on the desk in front of the pile.

All I wanted was a few moments of stolen quiet. Sleeping. Sleeping would be good, really good. I wasn’t planning to go far, just to one of the hotels in town. I had reserved one of the company’s suites at the Ritz.  I looked behind me and slumped, “Okay, what’s the news?”

“Well Boss is out,” Tess fidgeted, obviously not wanting to tell me something. “So he left Cain in charge.”

I tried, I really tried, but I couldn’t help glaring upon hearing this. “Why wasn’t I told?”

I watched them glance at each other and then me. It was the silent language of friends who have been around each other for a long time. Rubbing my eyes, I held up my other hand.

“Wait, let me guess. Boss was glad,” frowning I rephrased that, “Boss was excited that I was finally taking a vacation and told everyone not to tell me Cain was going to be in charge.”

“Got it in one,” Anne looked at Tessa before continuing. “We were all told to make sure you left the office on time. Looks like Cain didn’t get the message.”

“Does he ever?”

Now there was a rhetorical question if I ever heard one. When Boss left and I was in charge, everything went smoothly. It wasn’t because I was a great leader; I just left things the way  Boss ran them. His nephew on the other hand? When Cain was in charge, everything got very interesting and not always in a good way.

We finished talking about the division of assignments that needed to be handled while I was out the first of next week, and then Tessa and Anne left. And now I had a pile of unknown files sitting on my desk. I did not want to start. So, I had another cup of tea.

Finally, I could no longer in good conscience avoid my work. I got up, started the computer and pulling the note off the top of the pile, sat in my chair. The note, written in Cain’s precise, block print read…

‘Jane, these are the proposals we talked about last time my uncle left on a business trip. Please double check them and provide the supporting data needed to make my numbers right. I don’t remember where you keep all of the statistics in this office. ‘

Didn’t remember or didn’t want to look for the files?

‘I have meetings today so I’ll stop off at your room this evening.


I leaned back in my chair and groaned. This was going to be an all nighter, no sleep. Well, I wouldn’t be where I was if I wasn’t good at what I do. Besides, he didn’t really know where I was staying, did he?

I pulled open the first file and realized that the reports were well put together, just a few adjustments and printing of some of the data was needed. I worked methodically, double checking my numbers, and eating my lunch when someone brought it to me, though, I don’t remember what my lunch was or who brought it. When Tessa and Anne came to chase me out of the office at five, I had completed half of the work, saving the rewrites for the weekend.

Tessa and Anne walked with me to my car. Tessa eyed the pile of files I put on the passenger seat. As I went to get in behind the wheel she pointed out, “You won’t get any sleep if you take those with you.”

“It’s the only work I’m taking with me. I’ll be back on Wednesday.”

I waived out the window as I drove away. By six, I was all settled in my room for the next few days. Feeling hungry, I started to page through the room service menu. I was still searching for something to eat when I heard a knock at the door.

I looked out the peep hole and saw the one person I didn’t want to deal with tonight. Cain. Shoot, he did know where I was. I saw what else he had with him when I opened the door; room service for two and a suitcase.

“Can I come in?”

My words for FreshHell  are : Mabel, teaching, paintbrush.