Forever Pucked(4)

By: Helena Hunting

I follow Mr. Stroker down the hall to his office. He closes the door behind me and gestures to the chair opposite his desk. I’m totally about to get canned. This is the shittiest sexiversary ever.

“I really am sorry about that, Mr. Stroker. We were being silly. I know it wasn’t work-appropriate behavior.”

He puts up a hand to stop me. “Violet, have you seen some of the clips Jimmy and Dean slip into their presentations? You doing whatever you were doing with that beaver has nothing on those two.”

I know exactly what he’s talking about. Jimmy and Dean are the other junior accountants at our firm. They’re even more ridiculous than Char and me. Last week they threw a slide into their presentation with two hockey players mashed up against the plexiglas with the caption “Happy Hump Day!” It looked like there was a whole lot more than humping going on in the picture. And that’s one of their tamer ones.

“Still, it won’t happen again.” I sag in the chair, unable to mask my relief. I honestly thought he was going to tell me to pack up my office. Then I’d be a famous hockey player’s unemployed fiancée rather than a modest financial contributor to our partnership.

“Sounds good.”

Mr. Stroker shuffles account files around on his desk. I recognize the one on top as one I prepared, because it’s in a violet-colored folder. Alex bought them for me. He thinks they’re cute.

“I’ve reviewed your file for the Darcy account. I think you’ve made some very wise choices in terms of the funds you’ve selected. The returns have been high in the past eighteen months, and you’ve balanced their portfolio well.”

“Oh. Well, thanks.” This isn’t at all what I thought I was coming here for. His praise is unexpected. He’s a numbers guy, like so many of us in this department. It’s always about the bottom line: whether or not we’re making money for our clients or saving their asses from potential bankruptcy.

Mitch Darcy plays defense for Chicago. I met him through Alex. One night after the game his wife was there, and we started talking. She asked what I did for a living, so I told her. She seemed surprised that I worked a job other than servicing Alex’s amazing dick.

Two weeks later, Mrs. Darcy made an appointment and specifically asked for me. Mr. Stroker took a risk by letting me draw up a proposal for the account. Of course he has to review it before anything can be implemented, but it’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have without all my connections. Those sometimes make me unpopular at work.

“This is a big deal, Violet.” Mr. Stroker says, tapping his pen against the folder.

“Yes, sir.”

“You’re aware that Darcy renewed his contract for five more years at four million a year.”

“Yes, sir. He also has endorsements with Power Juice and Sports Mind totaling another two million annually for the next three years.”

“Do you think you’ll be ready to present this to the Darcys next week?”

I sit up straighter. “You want me to present?”

“His wife is rather insistent it be you.”

“But I’ve never presented to a client this big before.”

“You’ve been managing Miller’s account for the past year without an issue,” he argues.

Stroker is referring to my stepbrother, Buck, whose real name is Miller. Everyone has recently started calling him by his given name, but it’s an adjustment for me. I’m not quite there yet.

Usually the accounts I handle are half a million or less. The Darcys’ portfolio is far more significant. Way bigger than anything I’ve touched, apart from Buck’s accounts, and I’ve always had Mr. Stroker look at those before I make any kind of change. I don’t want to be responsible for screwing up Buck’s fortune.

“You’ve got a handle on it. Why don’t you call them and set up a meeting for next week. I’m open most mornings.”

“Okay, great. I’ll consult their game schedule and see what works best.”

“Perfect. You arrange it, check the notes I’ve made on the PowerPoint, and at the end of the week—say, Friday afternoon—I’ll set aside an hour and you can do a dry run for me so you feel prepared. How does that sound?”

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