November 15, 2018 by Patrick Starks
Only keyboards and coughs were heard in the background. From cubicle to cubicle we all sat like rats in a maze. And word on the floor was that Kyle Skyward was being promoted to executive assistant. For years on end a few of us had waited patiently for the position to open, yet there it was a man who’d only been with the company for as good as a year, reaping up all the benefits most of us would’ve killed to have. And what man, what a man, what a mighty good man he was, to suck up to our Vice President to obtain such a title. It was easy to say that Kyles’ lips had tasted many cheeks in his lifetime, and I wouldn’t be talking about the ones on our face’s either.
The stock markets were crashing, and all that was left was the high class, and sadly, the low class—no middle class. A meeting was needed to take place, everyone needed to attend, even the temps. And if you didn’t, well, let’s just say you’d better had filed for unemployment that same day—although some might call America the land of the free, it was best you didn’t press too much of your luck for not many took well to the rebels of conformity.
“Gather around everyone, I’ve got some surprising news!” yelled the Vice President, with dimples in both of her cheeks and chin.
We all paused and pulled away the coffee from our lips. Many eyes rolled around the room. Huffs and puffs—we all knew exactly the surprise she’d be telling. But still, for our life sake, we were all ears.
“I want you all to give a warm round of applause for your new executive assistant! Annabelle Cortez! If there is anything that you need to know, anything at all, please go to her for further guidance,” said the VP, clapping by herself.
Jaws dropped, coffee spewed on the back of heads, crickets. We were all shocked. We’d never seen nor met the woman before, she must’ve come from another agency or something. But whoever she was, she must’ve had one hell of a resume or was one hell of a bum kisser to beat Kyle at his own game.
If one were to walk into a twenty-one and forever or an H&M, then Kyle easily would’ve been depicted a mannequin. He didn’t say a word—only a smile that looked like it hurt—teeth grinding better than the coffee grounds that rested at the bottom of all our cups. It was like watching a mom tell her child everything’s going be alright after she wasn’t able to get them the toy they’d wanted—broken promises.
After a few irrelevant conversations with the team, next time I look and Kyle is in the back gripping the edge of his cubicle ready go Ultimate Warrior on the whole damn floor. But thank god he wasn’t a man who got off to guns, or the meeting would’ve probably taken a bad turn. I’d try my best to get Kyle to join in with the rest of the guys on some late-nights of Call of Duty, but he always refused to play anything that correlated with gun violence. Kyle was more of a Nintendo kind of guy.
“Good afternoon Mr. Motoki,” said the new executive assistant. “I’ve heard many great things about you from the VP. It is a pleasure to meet you. Annabelle, at your service.”
I’d met a lot of women in my life, but none like Annabelle. Her perfume was subtle and just right for a nose as sensitive as mine. But the thing that really locked a man like me onto a woman was really all about the smile. I just couldn’t stand a woman with a blank face because at the end all it did was make me feel more down about the way the world was becoming-soulless. But that’s another story.
Annabelle’s teeth weren’t exactly what many would call perfect—there were a few gaps, but still, they were white as snow, that of which compliment the red dress she wore, although, the red lipstick in some ways interfered with that. However, Annabelle had a smile that made even a blind man smile—just the person Hekami needed as their face for the company. As popular as it was for an innovative company, Hekami needed a plan B, if they wanted the boat to stay afloat.
“So, I see that you’re a football fan,” said Annabelle, flipping my decorative tie up and over my shoulder, teasing.
If there was anything good to say about her, or besides her beautiful smile and magnificent fragrance, Annabelle sure did know how to dig straight to a man’s heart. For once, someone had said football, instead of soccer. We’d talk for half an hour about it, and apparently, she was quite the jock in high school—playing varsity, on the boy’s team. But not long after the party would be over and we’d all go back to our cubicles, and Annabelle to her new office which was as big as a one bedroom apartment.
My eyes were strained. Case after case would all keep popping up on my computer screen, but I guess that was what they called the rat race.
“As if no one else has time for this,” I said.
I’d planned on leaving much earlier than eight P.M at night, but it was beginning to be a far stretch from all the work I needed to catch up with. I loved everything about my job, but Hekami was pretty bad about covering staff members that they knew three months in advanced were going on vacation. Sons of B… No, I’ll keep my mouth clean for now.
The lights then all went out. Probably could’ve just got up and triggered the sensor to turn them back on, but at that point, even two steps was a bit too much—too much work and disappointment for one day—I guy had his limits, and I’d exhausted them all that day. Besides, my computer screen was all the light that I really needed, illuminating the room like a group of Illuminati holding candles, along with dark hoodies, in a single file line. But this is only an assumption. The Illuminati, I mean.
Glass then broke in the background. I peeked around the corner. Must’ve been from the lunchroom, possibly Jeffrey the janitor, I thought. Wouldn’t be the first time he’d been caught spending the night at the company, but who wouldn’t with showers, a sofa, cable, and a few boxes of leftover meat lovers pizza.
The thought was too bothersome. I was without a doubt curious but my name wasn’t George, but my Russian blue at least was. I put my computer into sleep mode, deciding to bravely go over and take a gander, but we all know how these scenes usually play out—someone getting chased, or worst, death. My back was against the wall, literally, and I wasn’t taking any chances. I then looked around the corner. Dark brown hair, and childbearing hips, followed by legs more chocolaty and creamier than the inside of a milky way. As much as I paid attention to a woman’s smile and eyes, I wasn’t one to forget a beautiful woman’s frame. No doubt in my mind, it was Annabelle.
“Hello,” I said.
My voice echoed. There was no response, only that Annabelle stopped eating whatever she’d dug up from the refrigerator. Two-week-old cupcakes couldn’t have been easy on the stomach, I thought. And trust me there was no pizza, Jeffrey must’ve eaten or hidden them all for I’d already checked.
“Hi Mr. Motoki,” said Annabelle, still with her back towards me. “Shouldn’t you be off right now?”
Annabelle then shifted her hips a little. Was she trying to flirt with me? Ugh… the teasing. But I couldn’t mix business with pleasure, no matter how much I knew something about us just clicked. If anything, I was still trying to process how she even knew it was me, without turning around—mom always did tell me about wearing Axe body spray around pretty girls.
“Oh, well… I’m just here catching up on work. After my vacation there was a lot that didn’t get done,” I said sarcastically.
Annabelle then turned around. I never knew how fluorescent her eyes were until then—somewhat like a cat it seemed, somewhat like George’s.
“I like that,” said Annabelle. “Mr. Motokii, please take a seat. I’d like to ask you a few questions.”
Great, just what I needed—a nine o’clock interview in the P.M. But I knew more than anyone that conversing with women wasn’t a department I was really strong in, so, this was going to be good practice. But easier said and done, when there’s already a connection of course.
“First, is Motoki really your last name?” she asked, with a puzzled face. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, but you don’t look exactly…”
“Asian, Japanese. Yeah, I get that a lot. My parents are Japanese. I was adopted, to simply put it.”
“Oh, well that’s different. Never knew a black guy to have Asian parents,” she smiled, taking a sip of the same cup of coffee she’d been drinking earlier that day. “So do you speak Japanese?”
“Anake wa kire des,” I said, smiling like a child with his fingers crossed behind his back.
“Arigato, Kakko ii,” she replied, with a smile and wink.
“What the… how did you?”
“Two words—Military, Brat.”
We both laughed. Of course. I should’ve known. Who goes from speaking Spanish to Japanese anyways. I know that might be an assumption, but come on, her name was Annabelle Cortez, not Rosetta Stone.
Annabelle then stopped smiling. She gave me a cold stare as if she had a revolver sitting nestled by her waist side. But all that ran through my mind was the ‘sexy when your mad song,’ by Neyo. Even in her final form, she was still gorgeous as ever.
“Let’s get to the point of why we’re sitting here,” she said. “What all do you know about Kyle Skyward?”
I paused on the thought, for only a minute. Other than the fact that he was a complete douche, I honestly had no idea. Like I’ve mentioned before, he wasn’t really the social type—all business and no play.
“Here, take a look at this,” said Annabelle, sliding over a manila folder out of the blue.”
The first thing I noticed, F.B.I. The second, a picture of Kyle paper clipped to the edge of it. He was the usual clean-cut hot shot, who drove a Tesla at age twenty one. No, this was a different Skyward, Skyward 1.0. He had a full beard, sharp eyes, and hair that enough dandruff in it to use as garlic salt for bread.
My mind was racing, just who the hell was Annabelle Cortez? And most importantly, who the hell was Kyle Skyward?