|Broken Glass Part 2|
|Written by RHunt|
An hour passed and Adrienne smiled as she stepped back to examine her work. The plastic over the window was taunt and she had thoroughly vacuumed the entire living room. The glass hadn’t reached the other side of the room, but she vacuumed just to make sure. She didn’t want this guy to one day three months later walk into the room and step on the piece of glass.
Proudly, she smiled over her work and turned around. She was startled to see that he was back in the kitchen as she hadn’t seen him there while she was cleaning. “I’m done.”
“Put the broom and vacuum away then leave.” He ordered.
Pressing her lips together, she wrapped the cord of the vacuum back up and put it in the hallway closet. “Hey, Mister Weiss. Can we talk about the price of the statue and everything? You look like a guy that is pretty well off, maybe I could make payments to you for it? I mean you won’t be hurting without it right.”
Vaughn’s eyes slanted as he tried to not anger himself over her words. “I want to deal with you as little as possible.”
“I mean, I could pay you off like a hundred dollars a month. I’m just a college student right now and I’ve only got like a thousand dollars in my account.” She tried to step into the kitchen.
“Don’t come in here!” He barked.
Adrienne stopped moving and placed her foot back on the light carpeting of the living room.
“A hundred dollars a month would take you over eight years to pay back.” He gritted his teeth. How stupid could one person be?
“Well, I didn’t mean forever. I am graduating with my bachelor’s next year and I’ll start a good job, then I can start paying you more.”
“I’ll see you in court, Miss Collier.” Vaughn told her. “I asked you to leave.”
“Leave!” Vaughn screamed.
It scared Adrienne so badly to hear him raise his voice loudly that she took off out the door and left her backpack against the wall. After Vaughn heard the door shut, he turned off his computer and went to examine her work.
Walking into the living room, he placed his hands on his hips. He was pleased to see that she had actually put an effort in, as he turned around to lock the front door, he noticed the black backpack against the wall. “Stupid woman.” He mumbled to himself before grabbing it and heading out to the elevator.
When the doors opened, he noticed a red head talking to the doorman. “Please, just go up there and ask for my backpack.”
“I’m not supposed to disturb the tenants, I’m sorry, miss.”
Vaughn grinned at the fear that he had driven into her heart. She looked so scruffy with her hair a mess probably from cleaning and the obviously second hand clothing that she wore. Walking over to the counter, he dropped the backpack in front of her.
“Don’t leave your trash lying around.” He warned her.
Adrienne’s green eyes turned to look into his light blue, and for a moment he felt a bit of pity for the girl. She couldn’t have been older than twenty one and despite her unkempt appearance there was the makings of a lovely girl in there.
Turning back around, Vaughn headed for the elevator.
“Wait!” Adrienne called out. “Wait!” She ran up to the elevator and put her hand in the door so it wouldn’t close. “Mister Weiss, it’s almost two in the morning. Can you drive me home, please?”
Vaughn was absolutely stunned that her fear was that easily washed away. “Call a cab.” He barked and shoved her hand down so that the doors could close.
“Asshole!” She screamed as the door shut which only caused Vaughn to grin. Adrienne had caught the grin on the man’s face. “What a sadistic son of a bitch.”
“That’s Mister Weiss for you.” The doorman told her.
Turning around in a huff, she looked at the doorman. “He does this often?”
The young man nodded, “He is always bringing girls home and then a couple hours later, there are down here screaming there heads off about him throwing them out after using them.”
“Using them?” Adrienne said with surprise, “You mean like sleeping with them?”
He gave a nod.
“Whoa! No, we didn’t sleep together. I just cleaned up the glass from his broken window.”
“Whatever you say, miss. Should I call you a cab?”
“Please.” She walked over to the counter and placed her head on the backpack, but her eyes remained fixed on the elevator door.
Vaughn woke up to the sound of his intercom buzzing. He walked out to the hallway in nothing but his pajama bottoms and pressed the button after scratching his backside. “What?”
---***---“He seriously threw you out?” Wade asked.
They had met up at a local 50’s diner to enjoy lunch together. It was almost tradition for them to meet on the weekend and come to this diner. They hadn’t been able to do it much recently, which had caused their six week break from even seeing each other.
Adrienne loved the feel of the diner with it’s red plastic upholstery and white plastic table tops. “I left my backpack in his apartment and I begged the doorman to go up there to get it for me.”
Lucien was sitting beside her and shook his head. He had heard this story the night before when he had waited up for her to come home. Of course after hearing the story there was no way he would dump his heart out on the table. She had enough drama for one day dealing with the jerk.
“Was he that bad?” Wade couldn’t believe that the man had treated her like that. It almost seemed inhuman to do so.
“He screamed at me to get out. I’ve never seen such an angry person. I apologized and I want to pay the debt off.”
“She even went to his house at midnight to clean the damn glass up for him and put plastic over his window.” Lucien added, “There was absolutely no reason for him to treat her that way.”
Adrienne chuckled, “Always big brothering me.” She teased, “I think Lucien is more upset about it than I am, and he wasn’t even there.”
Wade caught his friend’s painful expression when Adrienne had said that he was big brothering her. “Maybe it was just on a bad day for him. When you talk to him next give him another chance. People always judge on first impressions, but the truth is you never know a person until you honestly know their past.”
She gave a nod, “Well, ten thousand dollars isn’t something that will just magically appear. I hope he lets me make payments. I went over my expenses and…”
“Let us kick in some cash, Bleu.” Lucien pleaded. “I can offer up a couple thousands, and I am sure the other guys have similar. We could have him paid off by next week and never have to deal with him again.”
Adrienne shook her head and pressed her lips together in a frown. “As much as I appreciate the offer, this is my fault. I wouldn’t want to be in debt to you guys over this. Besides, Darnell and Bastian are both struggling enough, I wouldn’t want to be an added burden.” She slammed her hand on the table, “No, I am going to figure out someway to deal with this guy.”
“Bleu, I really think…”
She placed her hand on Lucien’s shoulders, “Don’t worry and stop trying to help me all the time. I got myself into this and I’ll get myself out.” She stood up, “I need to go get applications for a summer job. I’ll see you two later.”
Wade’s eyes went to the blonde man in front of him when Adrienne left the restaurant. “I’m going to guess that you didn’t say anything.”
“That asshole called when I tried, and when she got back she was bummed out about it.” He bit into his burger.
With a chuckle, Wade reached across the table and took one of the last French fries from Adrienne’s plate. “On the bright side, she’s not so bummed out that she can’t eat a milkshake and a double stack cheeseburger.”
There was a tap on the window next to them and both guys looked. Adrienne pressed her face against it with her mouth open and blew against it several times. She stepped back and waved before heading down the sidewalk.
Lucien was grinning at her display, though Wade was amused but annoyed. “She’s such a child sometimes.”
“That’s what I like about her.” Lucien told him. “She’s always been the one to cheer us up and make us feel better. Remember when my mom died when we were nine and I locked myself up?”
“Yeah, you only came out to go to school because your dad made you go.” Wade took a sip of his milkshake.
“Bleu was the only one that I let into my room. She came every day and never told me that I had to move on. Just sat in there, laughed, and played with me. Whenever any of us feel down, she still does that. Takes our mind off our problems so they don’t feel so heavy anymore.” Lucien had been looking out the window in the direction that Adrienne had disappeared in. “She always knows what we need.”
“Ah, gag me.” Wade stood up and pulled some money from his wallet. “When you trade your vagina back in for your balls call me.” He said teasingly. “She always knows what we need.” He mocked, before heading out of the restaurant and leaving Lucien to his thoughts.
“I guess you know what I want too.” Lucien mumbled to himself, glad that he finally had a few moments alone.
Vaughn sat on the couch as he stared over some applications that the office had sent over. Even though he was paid well for his work and his father even gave him an additional allowance, he didn’t want to pay the price for a fifty thousand dollar a year or more for an assistant. Most of the good ones wanted more and there was no way on earth he was going to suffer another bad one.
---***---“No, mom.” Adrienne said as she walked into the sixth fast food restaurant. With her degree, she could easily get a better job, but she just wanted something part time even if it didn’t give her job experience in her field.
The place had the usual strange mascot, workers with paper hats, and a long line of customers. It smelled like a mix of taco meats and sauce. She had never liked the smell of these places, but it was something one got used to after working there for a while.
“I just don’t see why you are going to such great lengths to not work in a business environment, Bleu. Having job experience once you graduate will help you.” Her mother’s voice said through the cell phone.
“My degree…” She began as she got into line.
“Who would you rather hire; a student straight out of college with no job experience in that field or someone straight out of college with the experience?”
“In today’s market, I’d probably pick the first one since I could hire them on cheaper.”
“You are being indignant.”
“Not really, mom, no. I need to go, I’ll talk to you later.” She heard her mother threaten some punishment if she dared to hang up on her as she flipped off the phone. Adrienne smiled at the white haired woman in front of her, before her phone rang again. “Hello?”
“Do you have the money?” Vaughn asked.
“Who is this?” Adrienne asked sincerely.
The color nearly drained from his face, only to be replaced by annoyance. “How many people do you owe money to?”
“Oh, Mister Wesley.”
“Weiss. Now, do you have the money or not?” Vaughn asked as he looked up at his sister who was standing in front of him with her hands on her hips. She slowly shook her head at him.
“It’s only been like ten hours since I last saw you, what do you think?” Adrienne smiled at the old lady who looked behind her again, she was becoming annoyed that the girl behind her was talking on the phone.
Deciding that she would come back to this place later when they weren’t having a rush, Adrienne stepped outside after telling Vaughn to hold on for a second.
“Ok, back.” She said as she slipped in between two buildings so she wasn’t in the way of the sidewalk traffic.
“Come over, we can talk.” He told her.
“Well, I can’t right now, besides last time I went over to your house you threw me out at two in the morning. I had to pay money for a taxi that I couldn’t afford!” She snapped, but then tried to calm herself.
“I am not your chauffeur. You offered to come over at that late of an hour, no one made you do it.”
She opened her mouth to argue, but she didn’t have anything that she could say. He was right after all, she had been the one to make the suggestion.
“Come over now.” He ordered sternly.
“I can’t!” She barked. “I am over at the shopping district right now and picking up applications. I’ll try to come over tonight, call me around five.”
“I feel like I am in the mood for coffee. I’ll meet you at the coffee shop on third.” He hung up the phone.
“What coffee shop?" She asked then realized the bigger issue, "Third is too far!” She waited for his response, but got none. “Hello? Hello?” Hanging up the phone, she stomped her foot. “Damn it!” She didn’t want to stand up the guy that she owed so much money to, especially since he seemed willing to work something out with her.
Offering a heavy sigh to the world, she walked to the nearest bus stop. Everything had to be put on hold because this was a much bigger deal than finding a summer job. She could only hope the end result was better than the last time she met with the evil man.
Walking up and down the sidewalk between where she knew the stores and small restaurants were Third Street, Adrienne tried to find the coffee shop. The shopping area here was a little more upscale than where she was on the other side of town. It would have taken her less time to go to the guy’s house than to get here.
---***---Adrienne’s apartment was small and could barely fit her, but it was all she could afford on both her student loans, summer time jobs, and financial aid that she got from school. Her mother would send her money from time to time, but Adrienne didn’t want her parents to suffer. She had chosen to go to an expensive school without any grants or scholarships offered to her, and she wanted to pay for it all herself. The boys had been lucky enough to get in through their sports, all but Wade who had made it through high test scores.
She had been accepted due to her test scores, but hadn’t scored high enough for them to offer her anything. The boys worked jobs in the summer mostly to keep themselves busy when they weren’t practicing, which they continued to do throughout the year at school. They thought she didn’t know, but they would often bring by food for her and leave it in the fridge without a word. They all had keys to her apartment so it could have been anyone of them, and none of them would own up to it even if she asked. So, she played along like she didn’t even notice the household items appearing in her house.
Her apartment consisted of a bedroom, bathroom, and combination living room and kitchen. There was nothing separating the living room from the kitchen, except a two person table and chairs that had magically appeared one day. The dark wood chairs were more like stools because of how tall they were, but they matched with the table.
She looked behind her as she prepared some coffee to see what her two friends were doing. Darnell and Lucien were both law students, and she wanted them to look over the contract that Vaughn had given her. The two were talking to each other in a low voice so that she couldn’t hear them. When she brought out the coffee and set it on the coffee table, she kneeled down on the dirty brown carpet in front of it. The small, torn brown love seat was the only place to sit other than the floor.
The walls in the room were not painted when she moved in and so they retained a yellowish brown color from the previous smoking tenants that had lived there for several years. Behind her was the small television that she never had on, and was pretty much only there for when the guys decided to come over.
Darnell shrugged, “Besides that he is ripping you off, there is nothing that seems illegal. You are paying off a debt owed through labor, and as long as he follows labor laws…” He shrugged.
Lucien nodded in agreement and picked up his cup of coffee when she pushed it toward him. After taking a sip, he set it back down. “I mean I could see ten thousand dollars for maybe a third or even half of the year as just the maid, but his assistant too and for an entire year, it’s a rip off. However, there is nothing that can be done once you sign it and agree to the terms.”
“I think that I’ll tell him that I’ll be the maid for a year and his assistant throughout the summer, but I am not going to continue doing that once college starts.”
“I still think it’s a rip off.” Darnell looked down at his coffee mug, “Is there sugar in this?”
“Four scoops as per usual.” She told him with a smile.
He grinned and picked it up.
“I agree, doing it that way is still a rip off. I don’t know what this guy does for a living, but if he just had a statue laying around that cost thousands of dollars…” He cut himself off, “Has he given you proof that it costs that much?”
“No, I told him that I needed it though.” She drank her own black coffee, even though she made it stronger than she liked. The two guys always made fun of her see through coffee, and called it brown water.
“Do not sign this until you have seen it, and bring a copy back to us, ok?” Darnell demanded as he set his own coffee down.
“I promise.” Adrienne sighed as she took back the contract, “It’s a major rip off, I know, but if it saves me from having to actually take money out of my own pocket, then it’s all I can do.”
“What will you do about a summer job? You need that money for the school year.” Lucien asked.
She gave a gentle shrug, “I’ll just take out another student loan.”
“See you two later.” Adrienne waved from her door as her two friends headed down the stairs.
---***---Vaughn stood up from the couch to answer the door. He had been expecting the girl to come and meet him after her classes that day, at least that was what she had said on the phone. Since he didn’t have an assistant, he hadn’t bothered to show up for work that day. No one had called him to ask if he was alright nor had he called in sick, everyone just assumed that he was throwing another temper tantrum over his father’s decision or whatever other reason he might have.
Adrienne smiled at him as he opened the door, but he greeted her with a leer. Even on his day off, he was wearing a suit and tie. He left the door open and walked back over to his couch. Shutting the door behind her, Adrienne followed him into the living room and sat down on the floor in front of his cracked glass coffee table. She had noticed that his window was now repaired and was happy that it had been taken care of.
His eyes slanted when he watched the girl chose to sit on the floor instead of on the couch like a proper lady should. “Is there a reason you have chosen the floor?”
“I just prefer it.” She informed him as she began to dig through her backpack.
“All good slaves do.” He spoke derisively.
Adrienne giggled at his words as if she thought he was jesting with her. He didn’t like the fact that she didn’t take his insults or rudeness to heart. She seemed perfectly accepting of his behavior, even when he had ignored her the entire time she cleaned the living room.
“I had some lawyers look over your contract…”
“Lawyer?” He asked disbelieving that she had access to such resources.
“Ok, fine, law students.” She admitted playfully then smiled, “I think the contract is completely unfair. A year of work for ten thousand dollars for doing two separate jobs, no one gets paid that little and you know it.”
Was she calling him a cheat? He was about to open his mouth and object to her outright rudeness, but she continued to speak.
“Do you have proof that the statue was worth the amount you said it was?”
Vaughn licked his bottom lip, and went through a file that he had sitting on the coffee table. “Receipt for the coffee table, final receipt for the window repair, and final an note of authenticity about the statue and it’s estimated price from an art dealer. It comes to around twelve thousand, five hundred and thirty eight dollars.”
“You don’t have the receipt for the statue?” She asked as she took the paper work from him.
“It was a gift.”
“Oh.” She frowned as she looked over the receipts, “I feel worse now knowing that someone gave it to you. Are they still with you? I would hate to know I destroyed a present from a dying relative.”
Vaughn wasn’t going to answer that question and instead glared down at her.
Her mouth dropped open as she looked over the receipts, “What kind of coffee table costs two thousand dollars?” She looked at the broken table in front of her, then back to the receipts, “And could you have found a more expensive window repair? My goodness, I could have gotten that done for under four hundred.”
“You look at cost, I look at quality of product and work done.” He turned his neck to the side to crack his spine. “Now, the question comes down to what are you going to do about this?”
“Can I get copies of these receipts?” She offered them back to him.
“Those are your copies.”
Adrienne smiled, “Oh.” She giggled, “Alright then. Well, I was thinking that I can work for you for the entire year, but only as a maid. If you really need me to, I guess I can work as your assistant for the summer, but I do have school. I can’t miss it.”
He sat back on the couch, obviously uninterested in the deal.
“You know you are cheating me!” She snapped, “I am willing to work more hours than the cost calls for, just because of the inconveniences that I have caused you!”
He clicked his tongue as he looked at the girl in front of him. She was no push over, at least she had that going for her. “How about this then?” He leaned forward with his hands on his elbows, “You cook, clean, and do my household errands for one year. You have to promise to be on call, and we won’t worry about the assistant business.”
“It won’t interfere with my classes?”
Her eyes looked down at the table as she thought it over, “I’m not a very good cook.”
“Then you’ll be heading out a lot to pick up my meals from restaurants, won’t you?” He raised an eyebrow.
Adrienne didn’t really understand what this man had to gain by her doing this for him. He seemed dead bent on keeping her around his apartment for some reason. Even though in the back of her mind she was screaming that he might be a pervert or rapist, she gave a nod. “Alright.” She answered, as she didn’t want to deal with paying actual money to this man. “But I get to eat too!”
“Fair enough.” Vaughn sat back on the couch again, “Anything else?”
“Not at this moment. So, are we going to write up a new contract then?” She asked as she stood up and picked up her backpack.
“Shall we do it now?”
With a nod, she watched him stand up and head into his office. She followed closely behind him and sat down in front of his desk to wait for him to discuss what would be included and when she would start.
---***---Dwight looked to be in his late forties, but in truth he was a man in his early sixties. The resemblance between him and his son was uncanny, and there had been times when people had confused an earlier picture of Dwight for one of his son’s. His dark hair was short and brushed back, but it was his piercing blue eyes that held all attention. They could make a lady swoon or a business partner shiver in fear. All eyes could be held in those eyes, and to anyone who didn’t know him when they first laid eyes on him they would feel intimidated. That would be until his friendly and playful attitude sprouted. As great of a person that he was, he was still a hell hound of the business world.
Saul smiled at a man that he considered to be his own father, since his true father had abandoned him when he was young. Dwight had always taken good care of his mother and him, and Saul grew up almost as brother and sister to Vera and Vaughn.
Sitting down in the rather cold looking office, he opened his suitcase as Dwight waited for him to gather himself together. “I talked to Vaughn about hiring his own assistants, and he took it pretty well.”
“How much is pretty well?” Dwight asked as he sat back in his leather executive chair.
“Almost like a human being would.” Saul responded in a teasing manner that made Dwight grin. “I also have gone over his records like you asked. He catches the majority of mistakes made by his employees and is overall a great worker despite his personality flaws.”
The older man stuck up his bottom jaw slightly and he began to chew on his inner lip. His right hand that rested on his desk next to his keyboard began to gently tap the wooden desk with all four fingers.
“I did find out one thing of interest. Vaughn started working here right after college, and he got his MBA during those years.” Saul explained, “That means he has been working here for nine years, but there is no record of him ever taking a vacation.” He offered the paperwork over to Dwight.
Taking them from him, he began to look them over even though he knew that Saul had checked it over multiple times.
“With two weeks of paid vacation ever year, he has racked up eighteen weeks.”
“They don’t transfer over yearly, you have to use them or lose them.” Dwight informed him, even though the young man already knew.
“Yes, but I don’t think Vaughn knows that. I think everyone here, especially on his floor could use a few weeks without him, and you are looking to get him out of here for a while.” Saul held the file to his chest as he waited for his boss.
Dwight began to chew his inner cheek now as he continued to read the small stack of papers in front of him.
“And if I can speak more personally.”
The piercing blue eyes looked up at him.
“Vera has informed me that he hasn’t had a steady girlfriend in five years.”
Sitting back in his chair, he crossed his ankle over his knee. “You’ve known my son almost all your life. Tell me what do you make out of all this?”
“I don’t want to speak poorly of my friend, but I think since Dawn screwed him over he is getting exponentially worse.” He dropped the folder to his lap, “He’s always kept to himself and it was to healthy doses. Like you have always said some people just naturally prefer to be alone, but Vaughn is losing touch with reality now.”
“Do you think he is drowning himself in work as a substitute for human interaction?” He asked as he continued to read some of his son’s files.
“It’s a possibility. I personally think that he doesn’t want to go on vacation because he has no one to go with. I think that after he finishes up with his current project, we should give him those eighteen weeks. He really needs them.”
“He’ll probably just stay in his apartment all day.”
“Only he can fix himself, but this entire building needs time off from him.”
Dwight looked up at him and gave a nod, “Alright, we’ll do this your way.”