A Festivus Miracle, a Tempting Jo Prequel

tjfestivus

I sit at my desk, glaring at the door, waiting on my morning newspaper and daring someone to interrupt my foul mood. Why did the Boss have to choose that do-good fucker, Raphael, to interfere with my plans for the lovely Jolene? Why not Remiel? At least he has a sense of humor.

As expected, the timid knock sounds. I envision fire erupting from my mouth, as I command, “Enter.”

Jolene pokes her head through the door. “Uh, Mr. DeVille, sir, I, uh–” Her unintelligible speech is interrupted by an infuriated feline screech.

“Why is there a cat in my office?” I narrow my eyes at the squirming white beast in Jolene’s arms. The impertinent feline glares back and hisses.

“M-my cat, Atticus escaped, and I uh, have to take him home.”

Her eyes are wide and the pulse in her neck pounds. I eye the white fur on her black sweater with distaste. Jolene inches toward me trying to control the growling, hissing, fractious feline. She places my morning paper on my desk.

“Get that disgusting animal out of here,” I snap. I’ve never been a cat person.

Apparently, the feelings are mutual. For at that moment, the animal leaps from Jolene’s arms on to my desk and proceeds to hack up a fur ball the size of a golf ball on my pristine paper.

Jolene’s face pales and her hands shake as she picks up the puker, cooing at him as if he was the one just wronged. “I-I’m sorry, sir. I’ll clean it up, just let me take him home first.”

“You expect me to sit here with the stench of cat puke permeating my office while you take your cat home? I’m not cleaning this, you are. Now.” I roar.

“I’m sorry, he didn’t mean it, sir. I would’ve taken him home first but you insist on having your paper on your desk precisely at 8:01.” The smug cat appears to be grinning at me as he purrs in Jolene’s arms.

“Get out.” I keep my voice level, face impassive. I don’t want her to know how much pleasure I get watching her squirm.

She lifts that stubborn chin. “Make up your mind, sir. Clean the mess first or take Atticus home?”

I love her gumption, it’s part of her appeal. I fold the vomit-soaked paper and shove it in my garbage. “Take that animal home and then you and I are going to have a nice little chat.” I smile, but my displeasure colors my tone of voice. I turn my chair and in the reflection of the window, I see my assistant bob a smart-ass curtsy. I bite my lip to keep from laughing. She never fails to intrigue me. Her cat flicks his tail with feline disdain, as if to say fuck you.

***********

Good grief, of all days for this to happen. The day of the stupid office Christmas party. I’m both relieved my cat’s okay and furious with him for putting me in this predicament.

Atticus had shot out of my basement apartment as I was leaving for work this morning. No amount of coaxing had drawn him back to me. I’d been sitting at my desk folding Mr. DeVille’s paper and crying, thinking my beloved, mean old cat was gone for good. I heard him meowing and looked up to find him in a co-worker’s arms.

“Lose something?” He’d teased. I didn’t take the time to ask how he knew it was my cat.

Everything would have been fine if I’d just given my friend the key to my apartment and asked him to take my cat home. I need to learn to think! I unlock the door to my apartment and Atticus marches in as if he hasn’t just cost me my job. I run to the corner newspaper box, but of course, with my luck, the box is empty.

No! I stomp my foot and look around, wondering where I could find another paper. I see a business man at the bus stop scanning the last page of the paper. I approach him.

“Sir? If you’re done with your paper, may I buy it from you?”

He looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Which I probably have. Giving Mr. DeVille a used paper? I truly am going to be fired… I turn to walk back to the office, mentally packing my desk.

“Miss? You can have it, but I have to keep the coupons for my wife.”

I spin on my heels and shake his hand, thanking him profusely. Coupons aren’t a problem, Mr. DeVille makes me remove them, anyway. Maybe this will at least buy me some time before I’m fired. Folding the paper the way my finicky boss likes it; I scurry back to the office.

I knock, but there’s no answer. Cautiously, I open his door and peek in. He’s gone. The office smells of Clorox. I tiptoe in and place the paper on his desk. I glance at his notepad and giggle. He’s drawn a pretty good likeness of Atticus, even if it is mean-spirited.

atticus

I pick up the folded note with “Friday” written on it. Mr. DeVille isn’t listing things for today. It’s what he calls me because he doesn’t remember my name.

Reschedule my barber appointment. I’ve been called to an emergency board meeting. I expect the files for the upcoming merger on my desk when I return. Make sure all plans for tonight’s mandatory Christmas party are in place. No mishaps will be tolerated.

I smile. I’m not fired. It’s a Festivus Miracle! And I didn’t even have to hear the airing of his grievances!

© Nancee Cain 23 Dec 2016

tjcoversmall
 

Forbidden love is hell…

Confident and quirky, Jo Sanford thinks her boss is God’s gift to women–and she couldn’t be further from the truth. Devilishly handsome, Luc DeVille will stop at nothing to lure his administrative assistant right into his arms–and bed.

Over Rafe Goodman’s dead body…

Rafe, Jo’s best friend, refuses to sit by and watch as Luc tries to win the heart of the woman he’s always protected. After all, Rafe is her guardian angel. Suddenly, Jo’s caught in the middle of a battle between good and evil. But the closer she gets to the fire, the hotter it burns. Now, Jo’s going to learn that when love battles lust, Heaven and Hell collide.

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