By Karen Singer
Chapter 33 – Part 1 of 2
All you had to do sometimes to get what you want, is to be firm about it…and stay firm about it. That’s the way Ruth saw it. She had gotten more perturbed by the minute talking with Richard Feinbaum. The man was only interested in what he wanted, and not willing to look at what she wanted. It was her case! Lawyers! All they wanted was to make money. And by the looks of that company, they made tons!
She wasn’t sure about this Mel person that the two lawyers had mentioned. And the part that concerned her the most was the word “kinky” that Richard Feinbaum had thrown out. And the way he had said it, evidently she was notoriously kinky. She couldn’t even imagine what that meant. But in the end, she had finally agreed to at least meet with the woman – after Harry Feinbaum and probably his patsy son too had their little talk with her to get her completely onto their side.
Well, if they called and said the woman would meet her, then she would at least give her a try. She would at least talk with her. If she didn’t like what she saw, she would take her business elsewhere. She was certain that the legal fees surrounding ten million dollars would be enough to catch the eye of lots of decent qualified attorneys – probably anywhere.
The part that Ruth was just as much concerned with now, was all her materials she had put together. Harry Feinbaum had insisted that they remain in his company’s safe. Well, she had all her originals on her computer at home if she needed them.
One way or another, she was going to get what she wanted!
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“But it’s pink!”
“So it’s pink!’
“There’s nothing at all wrong with the color pink!” Diane told him. “Lots of men wear pink shirts all the time. I’ve seen it myself!”
Steve shook his head. “And how about this one? Look at all this design stuff going straight down the button line. How the hell am I going to hide that, even with a jacket on?”
“Wear a tie,” Diane suggested. “It’ll cover it right up. You’d probably look good in a tie anyway. The jackets you wear look nice on you. The new jacket we got you looks really…sharp.”
Steve looked at her. He would have said thanks, but he was too perturbed by everything going on. Not perturbed, just plain angry! “Maybe a tie will work,” he finally conceded. “Maybe!”
Diane shook her head. “It’s your choice Steve. I told you what they want.”
“What you want too!” Steve was quick to point out.
“Well, yeah,” she admitted with a small smile. “I’m afraid I do have my…dominant side sometimes.”
“So I noticed.”
But it was the other side of her that she was thinking about then. The submissive side of her that was so unfilled.
“I guess this other shirt isn’t too bad,” he said as he looked at it. “At least all the lace designs will be hidden by my jacket. And since it buttons down the front like the others, it won’t be too noticeable. I’m just worried about the material being so different.”
“You can wear a tie with it too if it worries you,” Diane suggested. “With any of them in fact. Maybe nobody will notice anything else.”
“I don’t have a tie that will go with a pink shirt!”
“We’ll find you one then,” Diane replied stubbornly.
“I am going to be sooo broke!”
“Hey, at least I didn’t make you buy me my dinner. I paid for that myself!”
Steve only looked at her angrily. “What else do we need to get? I’m embarrassed as hell just shopping for this junk.”
Diane smiled. “Doesn’t bother me in the least.”
“No. Of course not. You’re a woman.”
“At least you noticed,” Diane replied. “Since we’re here, let’s see what kind of pants they have. And after that, I can’t wait to take you shoe shopping.”
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Wednesday morning, Steve took a good look at himself in the mirror. A very critical look! He and Diane had spent another small fortune last night. Money he really couldn’t afford to spend just then. He now had three new shirts – blouses actually. But they were shirts. Just women’s button down shirts. He had two pairs of women’s slacks that Diane had “insisted” he could make work, even though neither of them had any back pockets and the cut of them was simply all wrong. And since the shoe store had a buy one get one free sale going on, he now had a pair of black women’s loafers and a pair of brown “booties” as Diane had called them that she had felt certain he could make “work” as well. She had felt certain. Somehow he didn’t think so. Especially in the case of those dumb booties. He also had a new sport jacket he was wearing just then and a number of ties to go over all his new women’s shirts. He’d rather think of them as shirts than blouses, even though he didn’t know if there was a difference or not.
He studied his image in the mirror. Yeah, no doubt the tie looked pretty good with the jacket. But what would everyone say since he was wearing it? He never wore ties to work. He didn’t used to wear jackets either. But he did now. He didn’t have much of a choice. It was either that or take the chance of someone noticing his bra straps under his shirt. Not a good idea! And now his tie hid the feminine decoration that went all down the button-line of the shirt he was wearing. Not to mention it hid more of the softer material of the shirt itself. So his tie was mandatory as well – not to mention the tie clip to make sure the tie stayed in place. But the tie did nothing to hide the slightly odd shaped collar of the shirt. Hopefully, it wasn’t too bad. Hopefully.
But overall, as he studied his image, he thought he looked…pretty darn good. As long as he ignored the fact that he was wearing a women’s shirt under his jacket, a new matching bra and panty set, a garter belt, and stockings attached to the garter belt as well. The shirt he was wearing he considered to be the lesser of all the evils the darn witches had thrown at him. And in truth, it wasn’t much less at all. Hating his entire life, he fearfully went to work.
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Mr. Carter noticed it immediately, shortly after Steve got to work. “Steve, you’re looking good today,” he said as he happened to run into Steve early that morning. “New jacket? And I like your tie.”
“Uh…thanks Mr. Carter,” Steve replied, somewhat happy for the compliment, and even happier that his boss didn’t notice what kind of shirt he had on under his jacket.
Mr. Carter didn’t mention it of course, but he was sure that the tie was another move on Steve’s part as a sign that the guy was looking for a promotion. Well, he had already done his part for that. He had already submitted Steve’s name. It was time now for Steve, and as far as he was concerned, Steve deserved a promotion. A small one anyway. But even small ones could lead to bigger things in the future.
As he walked back to his own office, Carter thought about the nice tie and jacket that Steve was wearing. But even more, he was thinking about the collar of the shirt Steve was wearing under his jacket. It had looked…different. Perhaps a bit more feminine. But then, that’s the way the styles seemed to be going lately, and he knew that Steve had always prided himself in trying to keep up with the latest men’s fashions. But as far as Carter was concerned, for himself, he’s stay with the old stuff he was more comfortable with. He supposed he might be getting old.
Ten minutes after Steve got back to his desk, he got a text message from Carla, asking him to photograph “everything” feminine that he was wearing and send the pictures to all four of the witches. Wishing he still had his gun, and wishing even more that he could use it, he took a break and went into one of the stalls in the men’s room to do just that. Witches! Who would ever believe? But he believed. He knew what they were capable of doing for a fact! And he was still over-awed by their power.
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You don’t say no to Harry Feinbaum. That was the old adage in the business. What Harry Feinbaum wanted, he got. To a point. But Mel had said no to him once. So had her father. Neither of them wanted to work directly for him. And both of them had wound up instead with a very lucrative partnership with Harry’s company doing contracts and mergers between huge corporations.
Not that Mel really needed the extra money. She didn’t. Despite the way she lived, she was one of the richest women in the state. Actually, since her fortune was now growing faster, she was edging up the list of the richest women in the country. She just didn’t believe in living that way. She believed in working and earning what she got. She believed in…respect. Earned respect! It was just parts of her life that tore much of that respect away. Parts she would never conceive of doing without anymore.
It was the middle of Wednesday morning by the time she “got around” to striding down the hallway toward Harry’s office. The business suit she was wearing was a new one. Very conservative, but still elegant. Her stupid heels though were new and hurt. Not that it mattered that much. They matched the deep mahogany tones of her suit.
As she proceeded down the hallway, she saw Dick Feinbaum come out of his office and turn towards her. Dick was a fine looking man. Very fine! They had somewhat grown up together. She had even dated him back in High School. But he was married now and had a real nice family. She was married too, just no family. Dick was more family oriented than she was. But she had everything she needed or wanted at that point in her life.
“Dick,” she said pleasantly to him as she got close.
“Mel,” Dick returned politely. “Dad’s waiting for us.”
Mel didn’t miss the fact that Dick was going to be in the meeting as well.
The door to Harry Feinbaum’s office was open, waiting for them to arrive. They walked in and Harry immediately stood up from behind his desk. “Mel,” he greeted her. “Good to see you again. How are things?”
“Good,” Mel replied. “Very good. And you and your wife?”
“Couldn’t be better,” Harry replied. “And your husband?”
Mel smiled broadly. “Trust me, couldn’t be better. Now what’s this big deal that Dick mentioned over the phone? Who’s buying who now?”
Harry gestured toward the large seating area in his office by the window. “Let’s sit. It’s no merger. It’s nothing like this company has ever handled before, and it’s nothing we’re going to get involved in this time. At least not that directly. We’ll partner in the back instead.”
“And you want me to take it?” Mel asked skeptically as she headed for the seating area and sat down on the sofa.
“We’re…hoping,” Dick replied as he took one of the single chairs across from her. “We had a client bring us some…materials she had collected. Mostly recordings and all the transcripts she made of them, detailing what’s been going on inside the company she works for.”
“Sounds like something for the FBI, not us,” Mel pointed out.
Harry nodded. “It is actually. But the problem is her list of demands.”
Mel’s eyebrows went up. “Demands?”
Harry nodded, but it was Dick who answered. “I talked to her until I was blue in the face yesterday, but she wants to pursue this case as a sexual discrimination case.”
Dick nodded. “Believe it or not. The problem is that she’s recorded conversations detailing some very illegal activities going on inside her company, particularly in regard to governmental contracts…”
“And that’s not the worst of it,” Harry added. “She’s got recordings of…I guess we can call them henchmen, detailing things they’ve done to politicians and other major players, including a few that sound like murder. And it’s all material that now that we’ve seen it, and know about, we could be libel in the end for having that knowledge and not doing anything with it.”
“And you’re still trying to pawn this thing off on me?”
“The woman won’t see reason!” Dick replied. “She wants this to proceed as a sexual discrimination case and nothing less. If we won’t help her, and you won’t help her, then she’s going to go looking for someone else who will.”
“What she wants,” Harry told her, “really amounts to blackmail, not any kind of legal proceeding.
Mel smiled. “Harry, I’m surprised at you. You should know that the heart of every sexual discrimination case, is blackmail.”
“Will you at least look at the case? Talk to this woman? She’s too determined with what she wants. Yes, some of it I can see, although to be honest, no judge anywhere is going to award any of it. But there’s also a few things in her list of demands that I can’t for the life of me understand.”
“One thing in particular,” Dick added.
Harry nodded. “Yeah, one thing in particular. Her number two item.” He shook his head. “I’m afraid Mel, that that one may be more up your alley than mine.”
That got Mel’s attention. “What is it?”
“I’d rather let you see it, along with everything else. I just suggest you keep it all under a very strong lock and key. In fact, I’ll have a currier deliver all the materials to you later today. Maybe you can meet with her and talk some sense into her.”
“I have to see what I’m dealing with first.”
“Someone…adamant!” Dick replied. “You’re dealing with someone adamant. Too adamant.”
Mel nodded. “Call her. Give her my number. Send her in.”
“Most likely Mel, she won’t come until after she gets off of work,” Dick told her. “She seems to be very concerned with her company finding out what she’s doing.”
“I can see that,” Mel replied. “Especially if you’re talking possible murder implications. Tell her to give me a call. I’ll warn Andrea to expect it.”
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Ruth got the call late in the morning from Richard Feinbaum. She took the number for the new attorney and recorded it on her phone. Then she went and found somewhere more private where she could talk. She phoned the new number and got through to the attorney’s secretary…she supposed. But the woman seemed to be expecting her call. A minute later, an appointment with the new attorney was set up for as soon as Ruth could get to her office after work that evening. Ruth got some vague directions, and realized immediately that she’d have to call her husband once again to pick up her kids. He wasn’t going to like that, but at least he was still backing her all the way in this quest of hers. For that, she was fully grateful. Her husband really was a gem.
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A tie? Mike noticed it from all the way down at the other end of the room. He didn’t miss of course the fact that Steve had begun showing up to work in a jacket every day now. But now a tie as well? It wasn’t a good sign as far as he was concerned. Not when he was out to get himself a promotion. Obviously, Steve wanted that promotion as well.
Still wondering just that, Mike made the trek to Steve cubicle at the other end of the room. “Steve!” he said as he got to Steve’s desk.
“Mike!” Steve replied, turning quickly in his seat. He wasn’t happy at all to see Mike there. Mike’s presence immediately made him all too aware of the woman’s shirt he was wearing under his jacket, and he was all too worried that Mike might notice.
“What’s up with you lately?”
But with a question like that, Steve wasn’t sure what Mike was referring to. Had he heard about the club Friday night? “Um…what do you mean?”
“A tie?” Mike asked. “A damn tie as well as the jacket?”
Steve breathed a bit easier. “So? I want to wear a tie. What’s your problem?”
“I want that promotion too!” Mike told him. “And I’m working hard to get it.”
Steve hadn’t even thought about any kind of promotion – which would certainly be nice. Not to mention how much he needed the extra money lately. “Uh…whatever it takes,” Steve replied, a grin actually coming to his face.
“Well tie or not, I’m working my ass off to get it,” Mike told him. “So don’t go planning on just a stupid tie to do all the work for you!”
“Oh,” Steve replied, a sly grin now on his face. “Trust me, I’m not. But I’ve been working my butt off too, and I really need that promotion.”
“Yeah, to pay for all the new clothes you buy all the time. Another new jacket?” Mike asked. “And that shirt, no doubt the latest fashion as well. Damn, the collar looks different. Latest fashion no doubt.”
“Uh…maybe…sort of…something like that,” Steve replied nervously.
“Well, I just want you to know that all your new clothes aren’t going to get you that raise. I earned it! I deserve it!” He walked out angrily and headed back to his own desk. Damn Steve. Trying to use something so callus as what clothes he wears to get the promotion. But as far as Mike was concerned, it wasn’t the clothes you wear that mattered. It was the job you did! Unless of course you were talking about getting a woman. But in that case, he’d never buy himself a shirt with a collar that could look that…feminine.
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