“Mr. Lexington, would you like me to order you some lunch? Your two o’clock just called and is running a half hour late, so you have a little break.”
“Why can’t people ever be on damn time?” I grumbled and pushed the button to the intercom to speak to my assistant. “Can you please order me Boar’s Head turkey and Alpine lacy swiss on whole wheat?
“And tell them one slice of swiss. The last time we ordered from the deli, the guy who made my sandwich must’ve been from Wisconsin.”
“Yes, Mr. Lexington.”
I opened my laptop to catch up on emails since my back-to-back meetings had turned into back-to-wait yet again.
Scanning for anything important, my eyes stopped on one particular name in my inbox:Ireland Saint James.
The woman was obviously a drunk, or nuts, possibly even both. Though her email had been more amusing than half the mundane shit waiting for me. So I clicked.
Dear Mr. Lexington,
Would you believe my email was hacked and someone else wrote that ridiculous letter?
I’m guessing probably not. Considering how well educated, intelligent, hardworking, and successful you are.
Am I pouring it on too thick?
Sorry. But I have a lot of shoveling to do.
Is there any chance we can start over? You see, contrary to what you probably think, I don’t drink that often.
Which is why when a very unexpected termination letter showed up at my door, it didn’t take much to bury my sorrow. And apparently my sanity.
Anyway, if you’re still reading, thank you. Here’s the letter I should’ve written:
Dear Mr. Lexington,
I’m writing to request your assistance in what I believe was a wrongful termination of my employment. As background, I’ve been a dedicated employee of Lexington Industries for nine and a half years.
I started as an intern, received promotions through various news-writing positions, and eventually reached my goal of on-air reporter.
Recently, I went on a much-needed vacation to Aruba with eight women for a bachelorette party. Our hotel had a private section of the beach reserved for nude sunbathing.
Though not generally an exhibitionist, I joined my friends for a few hours of topless tanning. A few innocent photos were taken, none of which were posted by me, and my on-air name was not tagged.
Yet somehow, I returned home to a letter of termination for violating company policy regarding lewd behavior.
While I understand the reason for having an inappropriate-behavior policy, I adamantly believe my conduct while on a private vacation, on a private beach, was not what it was meant to protect Lexington Industries from.
As such, I respectfully request that you review the policy and the termination of my employment.
Ireland Saint James (Ireland Richardson, on air)
Saint James. Why do I know that name? It had sounded familiar when the first email arrived, so I’d looked her up in the company directory.
But she was in the news division, which my sister ran and I’d avoided like the plague since I took over as president when my dad died eighteen months ago.
Politics, propaganda, and bureaucracy weren’t my thing. Though I was president in name, I generally stuck to the financial side of Lexington Industries.
I dug out the first email I’d received from Ms. Saint James and reread it. While the newest one was certainly more appropriate, the first amused me more.
She’d signed the letter with the closing,Bite me…which had actually made me chuckle. No one talked to me like that. Oddly, I found it a bit refreshing.
I had the strangest urge to have a conversation with Ms. Richardson after a few drinks. She’d certainly piqued my curiosity. I pressed the button of the intercom on my phone again.
“Millie, could you call down to the Broadcast Media division—the morning news segment producer? I think it might be Harrison Bickman or Harold Milton…something along those lines.”
“Of course. Would you like me to set up a meeting for you?”
“No. Tell him I’d like to see the personnel file for one of his employees—Ireland Saint James. Her stage name is Ireland Richardson.”
“I’ll get it taken care of.”
My afternoon meeting only lasted fifteen minutes. Not only did the guy show up an hour and a half late, he was also completely unprepared.
I had no patience for people who didn’t value my time, so I’d called it quits and walked out of the conference room after telling him to lose my number.
“Is everything okay?” Millie looked up at me as I strode past her desk. “Do you need something from your office for your meeting?”
“My meeting is over. Hang up on anyone who calls from Bayside Investments, if they ever call again.”
“Uh…yes, Mr. Lexington.” Millie got up and followed me into my office, holding a notepad. “Your grandmother called.
“She said to tell you they don’t need a security system and she sent the installer home.”
I rounded my desk and shook my head. “Great. Just great.”
“I retrieved Ms. Saint James’s file for you and printed it out. It’s on your desk in a folder. There’s also a video of some sort that was on file in Human Resources, which I emailed to you.”
“Thank you, Millie.” I sat down at my desk. “Would you mind closing the door on your way out?”
Jesus Christ. Now I remembered her. It was a long time ago, but her story wasn’t one you’d forget too easily. Back when Ireland Saint James was hired, my father was still running things.
I’d been sitting in his office when Millie had brought him the file on her. He’d used her story as a teaching example—an example of decisions you sometimes have to make to protect the company image.
I leaned back in my chair. Every employee gets a background check—the extensiveness of it depends on the position.
The more visibility someone has, the more their name and face can affect the brand of the company, so the deeper we delve. Human Resources and an outside investigation company usually do the vetting.
When a person comes back clean, a manager does the hire with a signoff from the division’s director.
For the most part, senior management isn’t involved—unless someone poses a possible threat to our name and a department head still wants to make an offer. Then the file gets sent up the flagpole.
Ireland Saint James. I rubbed at the stubble already forming on my chin. Her first name was a bit unusual, so that was probably what rang a bell. Though I blocked out a lot of shit from ten years ago.
I flipped through the pages of her personnel file—her background summary was barely a page. Yet the file had to be two inches thick.
UCLA undergraduate with a major in communications and minor in English. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism with a postgraduate fellowship in investigative reporting. Not too shabby.
Never arrested, and only one parking ticket. We’d done an update to her background eighteen months ago, when she’d gotten the position she was in now. It seemed she was dating a lawyer.
All in all, her investigation was unremarkable—she was an ideal employee and an upstanding citizen. But her father was a different story…
The next fifty pages were mostly about him.
He’d been some sort of low-level security guard in an apartment complex here in the city—though it was the time after his departure that was the focus of all of the news articles.
Flipping through, I scanned the pages, letting them fan slowly one at a time until I got to one with a photo of a little girl in it.
When I lifted it closer, the name in the caption confirmed it was Ireland. She had to be about nine or ten in the picture. For some reason, I stared at it like a bad car accident.
She was crying, and a female police officer had a hand wrapped around her shoulder as they walked out of her house.
Good for you.
Good for you, Ireland—getting where you are today after that start.
As fucked up as it was, I smiled at the picture. Things could have very easily gone the other way for her. It made sense that she’d written me a second time now—she was a fighter.
I hit the intercom on my desk phone, and Millie answered.
“Yes, Mr. Lexington.”
“Would you get me some recent segments of the morning news with Ms. Saint James? She’s Ireland Richardson on air. Have them email up a link from the archives.”
I might’ve paid more attention to the Broadcast Media division if I’d known it looked like this. Or I could have at least watched the morning news.
Ireland Saint James was a damn knockout—big blue eyes, sandy blond hair, full lips, white teeth that showed often because she smiled a lot.
She reminded me of a younger version of that tall actress from the last Mad Max movie.
I watched three full segments before clicking back to the email Millie sent me earlier—the one from Ireland’s HR file. Three sets of tits greeted me when the video opened. I pulled my head back.
Definitely not the news. The women were on a beach, wearing nothing but skimpy bikini bottoms and sipping drinks from coconuts with a straw.
I forced my eyes up to examine their faces—none of them was Ireland. But a few seconds before the end of the short video, a woman walked up from the beach.
Her hair was slicked back from the water and looked darker wet, but the smile was unmistakably Ireland’s.
With the other women, I’d noticed their bodies first, yet it took me until the video ended and froze on Ireland to even look down—and it wasn’t because her body wasn’t impressive.
Her breasts were full and natural. They went with the rest of her luscious curves. But it was the curve of her smile that made me feel like I should suit up in armor.
I shifted in my seat and toggled to the X at the corner of the video to close it. Though she’d suggested I add it to my spank bank, I wasn’t going to be disrespectful.
Now, if she’d sent me the video herself, that might be a different story.
But I certainly wasn’t going to work up a stiffy in my office replaying the video a dozen times—no matter how tempted the asshole part of me was.
I turned in my chair to look out the window. Ireland Saint James. You seem like a real handful. A woman I should steer clear of, that was for damn sure. Yet I felt compelled to learn more.
For a few minutes, I debated digging further, maybe listening to more of her side of the story. But why would I be doing that?
Because I was curious about Ireland Saint James, that’s why.
Though was it because I wanted to ensure fairness at my company?
Or because she had a mesmerizing smile, a killer rack, and a fucked-up history that made me curious?
After a few minutes of deliberating, I knew the answer. Every warning sensor in my brain told me to delete the emails and run the personnel file through the shredder.
That was the smart thing to do…definitely the right business decision to make. Yet…
I hit the space bar to power my laptop back up and opened a new email.
Dear Ms. Richardson,
After further review…
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