Candy’s Fashion House Ch. 18


The next morning I overslept and had to rush like crazy again. As I arrived at the office I saw Siobhan arriving at the same time. I gave her a hug and she apologised for being late. I laughed “Don’t worry I’m late as well.” She giggled and picked up my hand and we walked in together hand in hand. Bugger me there sitting outside my office talking to Maddy was Lauren. The moment she saw us together her face dropped.

Siobhan disappeared as soon as she saw Lauren. I ushered Lauren into my office. She sat sternly in the chair glaring at me. “I thought you said there was nothing going on between you two.”

“Lauren my private life is none of your business anymore. I am free to do whatever I want.”

“But you promised.” She snivelled sulkily. “You promised.”

“I am sorry Lauren but as I said. It’s none of your damn business.”

“Why her? Why that bitch? I would have been there for you.”

“Lauren you have your own relationship. You have Alecia.”

She ignored me and hissed. “So is it serious? Are you in a relationship?”

Enjoying her discomfort I lied. “Yes I like her and she has always been there for me.”

Laurens face tightened into a scowl. “And what I haven’t?”

“No Lauren I never said that. I am just trying to explain. I like Siobhan and yes I will be seeing her again.”

We sat for a bit in an uncomfortable silence before she mumbled. “I need your advice but you probably don’t care about me now that you have that sneaky bitch in your bed.” I barked. “Cut it out Lauren. Stop calling Siobhan names. Our problems aren’t her fault.”

She sulked. “Whatever but I am in trouble at work. I know you don’t care but basically I am screwed. There’s no way they are ever going to consider me for partner now. From the gossip I heard at work they’re going to get rid of me anyway.” Her resolve broke and she sobbed. “What am I going to do?”

“Lauren you haven’t done anything wrong. Alecia can prove that she followed all the proper due diligence protocols.”

“I know but you know how it works, mud sticks. The accusations have been made and on the face of it. It looks bad.” She burst into tears. “What am I going to do Michael? You know how much I love my job.”

Fuck what is it about this woman. Our whole relationship has been the same. She bats her eyes and I can’t say no.

I moved around my desk and pulled her into a reassuring embrace. “The way I see it is you have two choices. Stay and fight. Make them change their minds and prove them wrong. Or if you are so sure they are going to get rid of you then leave. Offer them a deal.”

She rocked back. “What do you mean a deal?”

“Well tell them you will leave if they make you a decent redundancy offer. Collect the money and start your own business. You must have clients. Well talk to them. Explain the circumstances. Tell them you are going out on your own. Get stuck in build your own empire.”

She looked at me with big sad eyes. “I couldn’t, I’m not like you Kelli. I am not brave enough.”

“Bullshit you are one of the brightest cleverest people I know. You are great at your job. You have hundreds of satisfied clients. You are great at finding business solutions. You have your first client right here. I will hire you. We have made use of your skills up till now at no cost. Well that could change right now. We will take you on to manage all our legal requirements.”

She smiled coyly. “Thanks baby but that’s only one client. I can’t run a business on one client.”

“As I said Lauren it might be a bit under hand but that doesn’t seem to bother you.” I saw her wince as I said the last bit. “Talk to your existing clients. Let them know you can still represent them and for far less money.”

She looked scared. “God I don’t know that I am brave enough.”

“What if I go with you to see your boss? I can represent you.”

Her face brightened. “Would you? Would you do that for me?”

So that’s what I did. We drove straight to Laurens firm. I waltzed in and forced a meeting with Laurens seniors. They weren’t happy but in the end to save face they did want to get rid of Lauren. We negotiated a decent settlement for her. I helped her clean out her desk and pack it all into her car. We drove back to our old place and I helped her inside.

We sat with a cup of tea and she broke down and cried and cried. “What am I going to do?”

“First off pick up your lip and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Spend the rest of the day ringing round your best clients. Be business like, explain you can now save them a lot of money yet still provide the same excellent service.”

By the time my taxi arrived she was feeling brighter.

Back at the office I spent the rest of the day working on a business plan for her. Looking through the real-estate pages I found her a good office space. It was a great starter with lots of storage a separate office for an admin person. I rang the realtor and organised for us to have a look tomorrow. I organised for office furniture and computers. fikirtepe escort I even rang a local temp agency and found her an assistant.

By six o’clock I had it all mapped out. I called her and invited her to dinner.

We met at a little bistro not far from my apartment.

Lauren was already there when I arrived. She welcomed me with a kiss and a cuddle. She thanked me for helping.

We talked in general terms during dinner but afterwards I pulled out my lap top and showed Lauren my business plan. I showed her the office we were going to see tomorrow and showed her the resume including pictures of the temp who was starting next Monday.

Lauren was blown away the look on her face showed her dismay. “How did you do all of that? I have spent the whole day doing nothing but cry.”

I chuckled. “Well don’t tell my boss but this is all I did today.”

“God baby you are fucking amazing you are a genius.” She leaned across the table and planted a kiss on my lips. She shocked me as I wasn’t expecting it. The kissing continued and she wouldn’t stop I was trying to fight her off but she slipped her hand behind my head and held me tight. I suppose I wasn’t trying too hard to fight her off. I pulled back untangling myself from her arms.

She looked wistfully at me. “Baby don’t please, don’t pull back.”

I shook my head. “No sorry but I have to leave. I will see you tomorrow morning to view the office.” I had to get away before my emotions took control. Much longer with that kiss and I wouldn’t be able to leave.

In the morning I picked her up in my car and we went to visit what was going to become her new office. The moment she saw it she cried. “Wow holy crap, how the hell will I be able to afford this?”

As we walked through it she smiled. “Its perfect baby, absolutely perfect but how am I going to afford it.” The estate agent had all the papers with her. With my encouragement Lauren signed. While Lauren was wandering around shaking her head in amazement the removalists arrived with the furniture. Laurens look of bemusement was a joy. She looked at me with shaking head. That changed as the furniture was being carried in she took control and started arranging everything. She wanted this here and that there she was in heaven. Within an hour it was set up and ready to go. While the furniture was being arranged there was another knock on the door. I had organised for the IT guy to bring the gear over and complete the install. By four O’clock she was ready to go. As we walked into the café a few doors down she grabbed me and kissed me. “Thank you baby, you are the best. I still can’t believe you did all that in just a day. I guess now it is real”

We sat in the café nibbling on our lunch and she sobbed. “Kelli what if I am not strong enough? I am not like you. It was so easy working for someone else. Shit I don’t even know where to start.”

I gave her a fierce scowl. “Who is your best client?”

She looked up at the roof thoughtfully. “I guess it would be Atkinsons. I have done a lot of work for them.”

“So do you have their number?”

She nodded hesitantly. “Yes.” I reached over and grabbed her hand reassuringly. “OK then ring them.”

She recoiled. “What right now?”

I nodded. “Yes right now and be strong, be assertive but not pushy. And don’t put down your old company. Be positive; explain that you think you have an offer they will be interested in.”

So while I sat there holding her hand she rang them, and sure enough they were interested. She arranged for a meeting at her new office for Monday. Afterwards she peeked cheerfully across the table at me. “My god they are interested, god this might actually work.”

Over the next week I called into her office regularly and we had lunch. Her new temp was great and they got on well. Lauren was like a different person. She was alive and invigorated. Friday I called in for our usual lunch date and she was different. She was down and a little sullen. “What’s the problem?”

She bit her lip. “You don’t want to know.” She turned away to talk to Anne her temp.

I grabbed her hand and pulled her around. “Come on Lauren spit it out. What have I done wrong this time?”

“It’s not you it’s just Josh got laid off yesterday.”

I sighed sucking in a deep breath. “Oh I see. That’s not so good.”

She snatched her hand away angrily. “Not good! Not good. He is fucking devastated. That job meant everything to him. He lived for that job. That project was his big chance to make his mark. Now he has been fired.” Anne looked really uncomfortable and excused herself just to get away.

Fuck sometimes she was like a light switch, happy one minute explosive the next. “There’s no need to be angry with me. It’s not my fault.”

She spat angrily at me. “Of course it’s your fault. If you hadn’t given up on us and run away, everything would be different. Of course it’s your fucking fault.”

I turned and walked out slamming the door behind me. gebze escort Fuck her she could rot in hell.

All she cared about was herself. My world was in turmoil as well. Siobhan was cold and distant. She had her own issues with Maddy. Candy was in la la land cock struck by Brent. Maddy was bitchy as well and I assumed that was just an extension of her issues with Siobhan. Siobhan had slipped back into her shell and was not talking to me. It seemed the harder I tried the further she pushed me away. Maddy was driving me crazy as well she was spending more and more time on her phone. I was sure it was Alecia. Lauren hadn’t said anything about it. I am sure that if Maddy was participating in their twisted little circle she would be rubbing my face in it.

I was glad the weekend was here. I decided to just take a day at home to chill and relax. I even bypassed my yoga class.

Monday was crazy at work. We were growing so quickly that we couldn’t keep up with our orders. I found myself forever on the phone apologising to customers for late deliveries. We were going to have to look at another expansion.

The easy answer was we needed to expand production again. There were as always several options. The one I liked the most was to push production out into the storeroom dispatch areas. We could easily fit another six seamstresses into that area. Then we could build a separate dispatch logistics storeroom and delivery area in the land adjacent to the back of the building. By adding the extra production room we could easily meet our targets and by building a separate logistics area we could improve shipping and goods movement. We could move in a transportable building for storage. It would make for difficult goods movements in the short term but the trade-off was we wouldn’t interrupt production. Once the new dispatch building was complete we could join them together later. I did all the usual things. I rung around Construction Company we had already used. I contacted the city about building consents and permissions. Then I put together a financial plan to allow for the expansion.

Of course it was going to require agreement from everyone. I called a meeting and started the preparation.

That night I got a tearful call from Lauren. The moment I picked up the phone I could hear anger and sorrow in her voice. “Kelli is Alecia there with you”

Wow that surprised me. “No Lauren she isn’t. I haven’t spoken to her for days, why would you think that?”

She sobbed. “She hasn’t come home tonight and I can’t get hold of her.” There was a bite to her anger as she scoffed. “I thought she might be with you? If she is that’s OK. I am not angry, but could you tell her to call me.”

“Lauren she isn’t here. I haven’t seen her I promise.” We talked for a few more minutes before she moaned. “Well if you do see her could you get her to call?”

I took the day off before the meeting and had a full facial including a new hairstyle. I wanted something chic and ultra-modern. As I was in the salon the stylist showed me a photo of a stacked Pixie-Bob with Long Bangs. She explained with maximum volume build up around the crown it would be balanced by the extra-long bangs, the overall look was ‘urban cool girl.’ I loved it especially with the colour she wanted me to use. It was blonde silver but with dark roots. I was excited with the new look. Following what was a really relaxing visit and a full makeover I was feeling totally relaxed and at peace. I stopped on the way home for a manicure and pedicure, which made me feel even better.

As I was getting ready for the meeting I went through my wardrobe and had just about everything I owned spread over the bed and floor. I finally found something that worked. I had picked up a floral silk print frock which looked lovely. I had never found the right opportunity to wear it. Well today was the day. It was a little risqué for work. It was very low at the front and showed a lot of flesh. I had to wear a little push up bra so it wouldn’t be seen. As I walked around in front of the mirror I fell more in love with it. I loved the way it flared out and flowed as I swayed. I took extra care with my makeup. I didn’t want anything to slutty, but I did want sultry.

I finished of my ensemble with pantyhose, a lovely shear nude look with a pair of white open toed sandals with a three inch heel. I loved the way my freshly painted toenails were visible. All in all I thought I looked sexy yet demure.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the meeting. I didn’t know whether Lauren and Alecia would turn up or not. I organised catering and drinks. This needed to be a celebration. The reason for the expansion was we were so damn successful.

It turned out to be a full meeting, which pleased me. The reception Lauren and Alecia got wasn’t exactly warm but nothing untoward was said. Alecia held her head high, refusing to bow for anyone. Lauren on the other hand looked embarrassed. The way they looked at each other it was apparent they weren’t Seeing içerenköy escort Eye to eye either. We started with the food and drinks. By the time we were finishing the second bottle everyone was warmed up. Siobhan and I ran them all through the production and social media pages. I gave them a full financial run down. When I mentioned the figures there were some happy faces.

The first order of business was 6taking on Laurens new firm for all our legal requirements. I didn’t expect any dissent I thought it would be plain sailing but Karla was not so sure. The looks exchanged between the two of them explained that all was not rosy there. In the end I put it to the vote and of course with Alecia and Candy voting in favour it was a fait accompli.

I then ran through my plans for the new extension. Everyone agreed. As I started to go through the plans Alecia intervened. “Who is doing the drafting?” I replied that the construction company had their own drafting office and gave us good rates.

She wasn’t happy. “Kelli can I suggest we employ our own draftsman. That way we will have a good understanding of the costs, and whether we are getting a good deal.

I took that as a bit of a slap in the face. “Alecia I understand the construction business and I can assure you the price is right. I will get extra quotes if you want.”

She focused her glare directly at me. “Well I was just thinking that Josh has just started his own business and it would be a good opportunity for him.”

Sneaky bitch now I was angry. Lauren joined in and supported her. “That’s a great idea yes it makes good sense.”

“Actually no it doesn’t. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. The cost of drafting is included in the quotes I have already tabled.”

Alecia interrupted. “But wouldn’t it be good to get a new perspective from a fresh set of eyes?”

Karla interjected. “I’m with Kelli, I don’t think there’s any need to spend money we don’t have to.”

The meeting broke into raucous upheaval. I had to slam my hand down on the table and scream to get their attention.

After we got back on track everyone but Lauren and Alecia agreed with me. Alecia’s eyes spat daggers at me for the rest of the night. As we left and I was getting ready to climb in my car Alecia caught up with me. “Why did you shoot me down in there? Would it have hurt to throw Josh a crumb? God what would it have hurt.”

“Alecia it just doesn’t make sense OK.”

“Don’t be childish, why couldn’t we throw Josh some business. You were quick enough to throw Lauren a lifeline.”

“If you weren’t happy with me using Laurens firm you should have said so. I will employ someone else if you would prefer? Her old firm would probably love the business.”

“Don’t be preposterous that’s not what I meant. You are just being childish. I just thought it would be a nice gesture.” I slammed my car door shut and backed out leaving her standing there looking very pissed off.

The next day I got a visit from Lauren who seemed in a pretty buoyant mood. She came in and sat across my desk. “Hi baby how’s your day going?”

“Good thanks Lauren, how can I help.”

“Baby I just stopped by to talk. You stopped coming to have lunch with me and I missed your company. I just wanted to catch up.”

I leaned back in my chair. “Lauren that was your fault. You were the one who yelled at me remember.”

She chewed her lip. “Yeah I know, I am sorry for that I was angry and upset and like always I took it out on you. That was wrong. I am sorry but you know what I am like. It wasn’t your fault and I apologise for taking out my frustrations on you.”

“Her apology stunned me. “Thanks Lauren I appreciate your honesty.”

She still had a huge smile on her face. “The reason for my visit was to say thank you for helping me set up. You won’t believe it but it’s going really well. I already have a bunch of clients and it is going really great. I just wanted to say thank you.”

I smiled. “That’s OK I am glad it’s working out.”

She nodded. “I miss you so much, could we go back to having lunch dates?”

I agreed it would be nice to go out for lunch. I knew there was more to this visit she was just keeping me in suspense.

She leaned closer as she toyed with her hair. “Baby would you reconsider helping Josh?” I chuckled. “Lauren he is on his own I am afraid.”

“Surely we could give him some work. There has to be something you could give him during the extension?”

I nodded. “I could introduce him to the construction company. They are always looking for labourers.”

She recoiled and spat out with a scathing retort. “Labourer… Josh is an architect not a labourer.”

I groaned. “Well it was good enough for me wasn’t it. That’s how we got started if I remember correctly. If he thinks he is too good for that then I guess he will just have to remain a gigolo.”

She could see that she had offended me. “Sorry baby I didn’t mean to offend you. All I meant was he really needs something to get his teeth into. Something that could help launch his business.”

“Lauren I take a lot of pride in the projects we have undertaken and I think I have managed them pretty well.” She nodded in agreement. “So I don’t think I need any more help with drafting.”