The Office Wife, Issue 3
The Office Wife, March 11, 2017, Issue 3, Olivia Gaines
Manigault Hurley, R & D
A quiet Tuesday morning ensued as Vicki made coffee in the breakroom for whichever members of the board who were in the office that day. Although the suggestion box requested, almost daily, the purchase of one of those machines with the little pods, it was not economical to purchase so many expensive packages, to make one cup of coffee at a time. Besides, the pods left a medicinal taste on her tongue. It wasn’t as if she were a coffee purist, but there was no reason to ruin a good cup of Joe, with a plastic cup of ground nonsense.
Speaking of nonsense, Vicki checked her inbox to find five invitations for lunch from Konnie with a K who had an unnatural fascination with personal organizers and Washi tape. Twice in the last two days, Vicki found stickers with Washi tape in her office mail box. Konnie was like a naughty little cat who liked to leave dead treats on your pillow. There was something odd about the young temp in a not so good way. The Washi tape felt like little dead bodies in coils of bright colors left for her to see every other day. To make matters worse, somehow, Konnie found out today was her birthday.
A roll of Washi tape with little balloons and cakes sat on her desk with a card, when opened spit out a puff of multi-colored confetti. It was all over her desk. By the time lunch rolled around, Vicki’s futile attempts to rid herself of the meddlesome colorful dots only resulted in confetti in her hair and stuck to her neck and face. Taneeka, her office best friend of only a month, sent her a text message with an image of her face, frozen in laughter.
Vicki’s phone binged. It was another text with an image from Taneeka.
This image was of her nose, taped upwards, Miss Piggy style with a bright strip of Washi tape. It was comical. However, it wasn’t as comical as the image of Manigault Hurley, standing in front of her desk dressed like a character from Monty Python.
“Allow me, Ms. Lawrence, to take you to lunch on this special day of your birth,” he said with his lips pressed together as if her were holding in a wad a slobber and a chunk of peanut butter in his cheeks like a deranged chipmunk.
“Thank you Mr. Hurley, but I can’t today,” she tried backing away from the offer.
“Nonsense,” he said, leaning back rubbing his little flat stomach. “It is your birthday. If you don’t have plans, and based on that lunch bag, I can only assume you don’t, then allow me to treat you to a lovely lunch at my club.”
He was right. Her lunch bag held left over take out from the Chinese restaurant around the corner from her house, which always had too many onions, which gave her horrific gas. She didn’t want to eat what was in her bag any more than she wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon finding discrete places to poot.
“Come, it will be grand. My driver will take us over to the club, you can order whatever you want, and I will have a lovely cake ordered just for your special day,” Manigault told her.
He seemed like a nice man who reminded her of Grandpa Lawrence. She hoped he didn’t have the same sense of humor though. Her Grandpa Lawrence, for fun, enjoyed taking his teeth out in church to make lewd gestures with his tongue to the ladies in the choir, but he never followed up on any of his suggestive behaviors. She prayed Manigault was the same way.
“Sure, it would be nice to join you for lunch on my birthday. I am certain you are going to make this a day to remember,” she responded.
“No, I am going to treat you to a good meal,” he told her with an expressionless face.
Vicki was just crossing into the three-month mark at American Conglomerate. Thus far, based on what she’d seen, clicks and grouplings were formed, but Manigault stood out from the crowd. He was a man of what appeared to be impeccable breeding, ridiculously good taste paired with a reputation without flaw. From what she could gather, his private life, was indeed very private. His desk held no personal photos, momentous, only documentation of his life at American Conglomerate.
“Perfect, I will meet you downstairs at my car at 11:45, please don’t be late,” he cautioned.
Vicki looked down at her watch. It was 11:15. She had thirty minutes to prepare herself for what she knew was going to be a drawn-out conversation on his bug collection from New Guinea or worse, a long-winded montage on the down fall of the black man. This was usually followed by an invitation to make her life easier by offering her a key to his love pad downtown, or worse, a tiny ranch house in the Valley right below Rancho Cucamonga. Suddenly her appetite waned the same moment her desk phone rang. It was Taneeka.
“Hey!” She said to Vicki.
“Hey back,” she said slowly.
“Happy Birthday,” Taneeka said quickly. “Drinks on me after work if you can make it.”
“If it is close by at a local watering hole and on my way home, I could sip on something to cut the edges off my glitter infused morning,” she replied.
“Just don’t sip or suck on anything during lunch. I heard old men give you bugs,” Taneeka joked.
“I think he is just being nice, considering he knows no one else on this floor or team is going to do anything for my special day,” Vicki mumbled.
“You never know,” Taneeka said. “No seriously, you never know, he could be taking you out to set you up for the old rope a dope.”
“As in…a surprise on my desk when I get back?”
“No, he is going to show you that an old stove still has a hot pipe,” she told Vicki.
“Just when I started to like you a little,” Vicki chided.
“Well, hurry up. Manigault hates it when people are late plus, I am dying to find out what this lunch thing is about,” she said.
“Okay…whatever, have fun at my painful expense,” she said before saying goodbye and ending the call.
At least I get a decent meal out of it. Hurrying to the ladies to room to take care of her necessities, she washed her face, fluffed her hair and applied a little lipstick before heading to the first floor. Manigault had said driver. She failed to ask what his driver would be driving. Once she stepped out of the door, she quickly saw.
The classic Bentley was manned by a very large Asian gentleman who remined her of the James Bond villain with the bowler hat that could decapitate a man. I wish I could remember the villian’s name. Her fingers involuntarily went to her neck, caressing the soft skin. The door was opened for her as she tugged a little on the red dress she chose to wear this morning, even considering it was bordering on too little for her curvy body. The dress made her feel pretty even if on the inside, she felt like sludge. The three-inch heels added a bit of height to her frame, as she slid her bottom into the car seat first, swinging well-toned legs around to face the front. Manigault appeared to be pleased. It was more of a move to protect her modesty from the eyes of the driver. He didn’t need to see the hot red lacy undies.
“Thank you for joining me,” Manigault told her.
“It is I who should be thanking you,” she said sweetly.
He only nodded, pulled out his phone, and began to make notes in a pocket note book as they drove to the Lakeside Country Club in Burbank. The drive was short, his body was tense as the car came to a stop in front of what looked like the main entrance. His glasses came down from his face.
“Wait for me to come escort you,” he said.
The driver opened his door first. Manigault inhaled sharply, exhaling what sounded like frustration as he stood, leisurely walking around the car to open Vicki’s door. A well-manicured hand reached inside the car asking for her to join him. Luckily, she’d just gotten a mani and pedi herself as her hand slid into his, coming out of the car, to stand at his side. He wrapped her arm into his as they made their way into the main building.
Vicki learned something new about Manigault that day. She found out that he was Hollywood royalty. Everywhere he turned, people were bending over to almost kiss his ass. He held his head high, walking as if he didn’t see any of the little people as they passed making their way to a private dining area. This pushed Vicki to do the only thing she knew to do, play along. Whatever was happening here was in the now. She was being audition for a role she wasn’t certain she wanted to play.
Over lunch of rock crab claws, something drenched in champagne, and a dollop of mashed potatoes, she said nothing as they ate in silence. On occasion, she would look up at him in well placed intervals and smile. His face did not move the first time she did it. The second time she smiled at him, she added a wink.
It got a reaction out of him.
Brief, but small, Manigault’ s eyes smiled back at her.
Three young men, all waist staff, were gawking at them all throughout lunch. Someone snapped a photo which infuriated Manigault to no end, who raised his hand, and three managers materialized like ghostly apparitions awaiting his bidding.
“My lady friend and I value our privacy. Whoever it was who snapped the photo, I know you will assure me it will not be seen anywhere?” He asked the manager as he got to his feet. He held out his hand for Vicki to come to his side in a show of outrage by the staff’s actions.
“Of course, Mr. Hurley, we will take care of it,” the manager lied.
Vicki held his arm, lips pouting out like an upset child, looking at the manager. In a childlike voice, she asked him, “Manigault, they are not going to sell our pictures to the papa-pazzi are they?”
“Paparazzi dear,” he said to her.
“Oh yeah. Pappa-prazzi,” he said trying to mimic him.
Manigault looked at the manager, “See that they don’t.”
Vicki, to add fuel to the fire, pushed up on her right breast with her hand, as if to shift its attention toward the door as she took Manigault’ s arm squeezing it for support, she held her head high and walked out the door. She added a bit more swish to her hips, stomping her feet like a runway model until they reached the car.
Bottom in first, she swung her legs around as the driver closed her door. She waited patiently for Manigault to entered the other side of the car, turning to face her with a gigantic grin on his face. Vicki shuddered. In three months’ time, she’d never seen him so happy.
“Mr. Hurley, you do know that photo is going to be everywhere by 6 am. It will be all over social media and every one will be trying to figure out who I am,” she said to him. “It never dawned on me that you were the Manigault Hurley.”
“One and the same. I love my job at American Conglomerate and I am very good at it. I allow my family to handle the Hollywood stuff and I make public appearances with unknown pretty girls on my arm to keep the family’s name in the papers,” he said.
He’d told her enough, she understood.
“How many country clubs do you belong to?”
“Unfortunately, four. I visit one each week,” he said. “I love the months with five weeks because then I get a break.”
Vicki started to smile.
“Why are you grinning?”
“Because, if I get three nice wigs, I get a free lunch at an exclusive country club for the rest of the month,” she said with a wink.
“You’re good,” he told her with a larger smile.
“I thought you’d get a kick out of my Papa-pazzi comment,” she grinned.
“That was a nice touch,” he said patting her hand.
The drive back to the office passed in silence until they reached the front door of American Conglomerate. Manigault touched her hand.
“Ms. Vicki, you are a very astute young woman. I trust the details of our day will be kept in confidence?”
“Mr. Hurley, in my current position, everything I see, touch, feel or understand goes to my grave.”
“So, this is safe with you?”
“It will be as safe as the three wigs you hide under the driver’s seat for the next few Tuesdays,” she said, as she opened her door and stepped out into the Burbank sun.
Vicki did not see Hurley for the remainder of the day, but at 4:45, she’d trained her body to hold on, to make that last stop to the ladies’ room before she headed out at 5:10 each day to sit in traffic trying to get home. She returned to her desk to find a cupcake along with small black box on her desk with a diamond ring, nothing flashy, but classy in all the right ways. It had a simple note in bold script.
Keep it in your drawer for our once monthly first Tuesday outings. Enjoy your birthday. – Hurley
She’s passed the test. Whatever the test was, in Manigault’ s eyes, she’d passed it with flying colors. Once monthly outings. So once a month, on the first Tuesday, she was having lunch or making the rounds with him. Uncertain, yet sure as the corn on her left toe aching when it rained, she had just become something special and significant for Manigault.
Oddjob. That was the Bond character’s name with the bowler hat!
She’d been given an odd job herself. Once a month she would wear a pretty dress, don the ring and escort him on his rounds to ensure he got his name and the family brand on a social network site. Eyeing the ring a final time before securing it, she stood up and stuck it into the office safe for the next first Tuesday of next month. However, right now, she was ready to have a drink, celebrate her day of birth first with Taneeka, then her friends at home.
Vicki shrugged. Technically, Taneeka would be the third person she celebrated with since Konnie had been the first. Either way, it sure beat spending her birthday alone. In her heart, she knew much of his private life, he’d spent that way. If lunch or an outing once a month took some of the pressure off him to be a certain something for his family, she could do that for him.
Everybody needs some body.
She had just become a somebody for Manigault Hurley.
Oddly, I am okay with that.