Friday, December 07, 2007

Face Value Pt. 13

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of


An elegantly dressed receptionist buzzed Natasha into Whittaker Mason Sealy’s law chambers and Natasha wasted no time in asking to see her former boyfriend. She gazed around the tastefully decorated lobby as the woman called upstairs to Matthew’s office.

“Ms. Taylor? Mr. Sealy’s secretary will be here shortly to escort you up,” the woman smiled warmly, indicating that she could have a seat.

Surprised, Natasha thanked her and sank into a plush loveseat. She had come to the firm expecting obstacles to be placed in the way of seeing Matthew; lawyers' secretaries were notorious for closing ranks around their bosses, especially if guests didn’t have an appointment.

She turned when she heard footsteps approaching and smiled broadly at the plump, dark-skinned woman before her. No wonder she had gotten into the inner sanctum so easily, she thought.

“Pamela? You’re his secretary now?” she asked in surprise, throwing her arms around the woman.

Pamela Archer rolled her eyes and returned the hug. “Girl, I’m the only one left who can work with that pompous fool.”

Pamela was a junior secretary when Matthew first joined Whittaker Mason, and she and Natasha had developed a friendly acquaintance. When Pamela and her family lost all their possessions in a fire, Natasha had pushed Matthew to organise an in-house donation drive to assist the family, and had personally driven around to collect clothing and food items for the Archers. Pamela had never forgotten the young woman’s selfless efforts, and had stayed in touch with Natasha for a few years after she and Matthew had parted ways.

The two women walked arm-in-arm up the staircase, chatting animatedly and catching up on each others’ lives.

“You two aren’t getting back together, are you?” Pamela asked suddenly, clutching Natasha’s arm. “I hear he and Eve fall out and heading for divorce court.”

Natasha made a face. “Trust me, this visit is strictly business,” she retorted dryly.

Pamela escorted Natasha into her small, tidy office just outside Matthew’s private chamber. “He has a group with him now, but as soon as they leave I’m going to sneak you in before his next appointment.”

The sound of a heated argument could be heard coming Matthew’s office. Natasha raised an eyebrow and nodded towards the closed door. “Someone else decided to kick his *ss before I got my turn?”

Pamela looked up from pouring a cup of tea for Natasha and snickered. “Girl, they’ve been at it for the past hour. Some business deal or other.”

Natasha accepted the cup of tea gratefully, sipping lightly as she gazed out the window of the office on to busy Pinfold Street. In the distance, she could see a man on a small crane stringing lights in the trees across from the Magistrates’ Courts, preparing for the lighting up of Bridgetown in blue and gold in another week’s time.

Suddenly, the door of Matthew's office was thrown open violently, shattering the tranquility of the room. A man stormed out, rage plastered across his face.

“If you do this you’re on your own. Count me out of it!” he shouted angrily back at someone inside the office. He stopped abruptly in his tracks as he saw the two women staring at him.

“Natasha? What are you doing here?” Michael gasped, a stunned look on his face.

Natasha set down the teacup and saucer on a nearby table with an unsteady hand. She took in the guilty look on his face, then looked behind him to see Goddard, Jasmine and Matthew entering the room. Goddard frowned in her direction, while Jasmine tossed her a hostile glare. Matthew’s look of puzzlement to see her in his office gave way to an undisguised smirk.

“I could ask you the same question,” she replied quietly, a sense of apprehension growing in her stomach. “Although I have a feeling we’re here for the same reason.”

More on Monday. Have a good weekend!

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