“What have you been taking?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I haven’t taken anything.” Chantal replies, sounding especially defiant.
by Sarah Brooke
“Em, please don’t lie to me.” His voice is soft but we’re still able to hear them clearly. Myself, Syndy and Taylor are all parked at the top of the stairs shamelessly eavesdropping on their conversation.
“I’m not lying to you!” She says, mumbling her words enough that I have trouble understanding her.
“Just tell me what you’ve been taking. I told you after last time that this was your last chance. I can’t have you coming in to work high as a kite, upsetting everyone.”
“I don’t know what you mean, no one is upset.”
“Emily. I’m going to ask you one more time. What have you taken?” He says, his voice sounding much more patient than I’m sure he must feel.
There is a pause and she doesn’t answer him at all. He waits a moment before continuing.
“I have no choice, you know that right? You can’t work here if you’re not going to be honest with me.”
“It’s nothing, they’re pills that are prescribed to me, Tim. I’m legally allowed to have them.”
He says nothing for a moment and we hear the creak of his chair as he leans forwards or maybe backwards.
“You’re going to have to leave.”
“I’m fine to work, really I am. I promise.” She says, pleading.
“You can barely focus your eyes on me. Any customer that you see will know you’re high. I have a business to run Emily, I can’t have you here like this.”
“Don’t you fucking fire me, Tim. Don’t you dare.” Her voice breaks mid sentence and it seems likely that she’s about to cry.
“What choice do I have? This was your last chance. Do you know how much shit I got in for letting you come back at all?”
“But baby, I’m fine. I’m just tired that’s all. I shouldn’t have came in today, I’m sorry. I just need the money.” Her voice starts fading and I struggle to hear what she’s saying.
“You’re not fine. Go home and call me when you’ve had a nice long sleep and a hot shower. I’ll come over and we can talk.”
“I’m not fucking falling for that again. You’re going to fire me. I know it. You just don’t want to make a scene here.”
“That’s not true.” He says. I turn and catch Syndy rolling her eyes. She mouths the words “She’s definitely fired” and then turns her attention back to the basement.
“Yes it is, this is just what happened last time.”
“This is nothing like what happened last time because you’re not going to cause a scene. You’re going to get in a cab and leave quietly. You’re going to appreciate the chance I’ve given you here and out of respect for me, you’re going to go. Do you understand?” His voice is rising ever so slightly in irritation.
“Oh, I understand. Just sweep me under the rug, your dirty little secret. Well, I’m not leaving. You’ll have to drag me out of here kicking and screaming.” Her voice has risen considerably and she’s close to yelling now.
“Baby, please. Be reasonable. If you leave quietly then we can continue this conversation later. I’m not firing you.” His voice is softer now and it’s clear he’s trying his best to reason with her.
Finally I feel guilty enough about eavesdropping that I get up off of my knees and walk slowly, towards the couch, stepping very carefully so as not to make a sound. Syndy eyes me curiously as I go, clearly not understanding why anyone would want to miss out on such an exciting exchange. It’s just too personal and it’s weirding me out to hear Tim being so kind and caring when usually he seems to be the complete opposite.
A text comes in and I silence it right away, glad that I chose that precise time to walk away. It would have been very obvious that we were listening in on them at the top of the stairs had my phone gone off a moment ago. I check the text and it’s a request for Chantal. Not sure what to do, I delay answering the text and instead pull out my own cell phone and send a quick text to Mike explaining what’s been going down. When I’m done typing out the text, I copy it and paste it to Sophie. I know she won’t answer right away because she’s in class but I know she’ll want to hear all about this and it can’t wait til I get home.
Maggie appears in the doorway to the leaving room, a quizzical look on her face. I pat the seat next to me and she walks over. She sits next to me but places herself as far into the corner of the couch as she can.
“What’s going on?” She isn’t whispering but her voice is so naturally soft that she’s in no danger of being heard downstairs.
“Well, Chantal showed up randomly this morning high as hell. Tim’s downstairs trying to get her to leave.”
“Oh no! Not again.” She looks towards the door, eyeing the other girls who are still crouched down listening to the conversation going on downstairs. “Was she with a customer?”
“No, she hasn’t seen anyone yet. Syndy called Tim before she had a chance to. I actually have a request for her but I’m not sure what to do. I doubt she should take any bookings, it sounds like she’s going to be going home soon.”
“Yeah, don’t book her. Tell the client that she’s had to go home. Make up an excuse. You should take her ad down too.” Maggie turns her attention to her phone and we both sit silently for a moment. All of a sudden Syndy and Taylor shoot up out of their crouched position and in a flash they’re gone, having ran down the hall and back up the stairs. Maggie and I don’t have the time to do the same so by the time Chantal has stomped to the top of the stairs, we are still sitting there, trying not to look directly at her.
“I’m not high. Did you tell everyone that I was high?” She directs her question and her fury to me.
“What? No. Of course not.” I feel like I should say more but I have no idea what to say so I just shut up and try to look innocent.
“I’m not leaving so you can all go fuck yourselves.” With this she turns on her heel and rushes upstairs. Tim is not far behind her. Before following her up the stairs he walks towards me. “Hey Roxy, could you please take the ads for Chantal down? She won’t be seeing any customers today, thank you.”
Once he’s left the room Maggie and I look at each other. I shrug my shoulders and head downstairs. I see that there’s a chair overturned but no other obvious signs of a fight. I set the chair back up and settle myself down in front of the laptop. The first thing I do is remove her ad from the two sites I’ve put them up on. I then log-in to our email address and reply to the few emails we’ve received.
I decide not to go back upstairs and instead I log-in to my personal email and get to work on responding to inquiries about the vacation rental. I’ve lost myself in my task when I hear yelling upstairs. I try to ignore it, not wanting to get involved, but soon the loud yelling comes to me. Chantal storms down the stairs and right past me, heading into the laundry room.
Tim follows her down and shoots me a look of apology. I smile sweetly at him, not quite sure how to respond and not sure if that was the correct way. Maybe I should have look concerned instead? Who knows.
“Emily, just let me in.” He knocks on the door to the laundry room but doesn’t bother opening it although I doubt there is a lock on the door.
“No. If Taylor has a client coming soon, I can’t be upstairs. I’ll just stay here.”
“Em, let me get you a taxi.”
“I’M NOT LEAVING.” She screams at the top of her lungs.
He grabs a chair, the same one she had knocked over and pulls it up next to the door. “Don’t say that. You don’t want to make a bigger scene than you’ve already managed to make. Look, I’ll go with you right now. Do you want to go grab something to eat? Or we can go to my place and order in.”
There’s no reply and I realize she must be considering his offer.
“We can go to that sushi place you love downtown. I just want to talk.”
“Do you promise you won’t fire me?” She replies, her voice soft and meek.
“I promise.” He looks at me briefly and rolls his eyes. Slowly, the door opens and her pretty little head pops out.
“Can I order whatever I want?”
“Whatever you want.” He grabs her hand and she falls into him. “Come on, grab your things and lets go.” With that they walk up the stairs, hand in hand. I smile to myself, glad that the situation has been defused. A moment later I hear footsteps pounding down the stairs and look up and see Syndy staring back at me.
“Oh shit Roxy, you missed out!”
“What do you mean?” I ask as she walks over and throws herself down on a chair.
“She was calling the fucking police, telling them that she knew where they could find a drug dealers house and that it was full of cash and cocaine.”
“No! She didn’t.”
“Oh, she did. Tim grabbed the phone from her and tossed it in the toilet.”
“Seriously? Did she give them the address?” I ask, worried that a SWAT team might already be on its way.
“No, he got the phone from her in time. What happened once they got down here?”
“She went into the laundry room and he persuaded her to go out for lunch with him. She agreed and then they left.”
“He is so fucked. I told him when he first hired her that she was a time bomb waiting to go off. There was just something about her, you know?” Syndy’s eyes are wide and it’s clear that this whole situation has excited her.
“Clearly he didn’t take your advice at all because he started screwing around with her anyways.”
“I know. It’s one thing to hire a girl who is a bit on the crazy side, it’s another to start banging her. Apparently she’s broken up with her boyfriend too. I bet she wants to make things official with Tim.” She says.
“Okay, that can’t be good. What will Dixie think of that?”
“We’re lucky she wasn’t here today or blood would have been shed.” Eyes wide, Syndy looks down at her phone. “Come on, let’s go grab lunch. It’s dead today, we might as well go get some food. We’ll bring something back for the other girls.”
Not wanting to turn down her offer, I smile and nod. “Sure, let me get my purse.” Looking down at my phone I see that Sophie has replied, asking what else has been going on. I send out a quick text to her, telling her that crazy face called the cops telling them this was a drug dealers house but that everything appears to be okay. I’ll have a lot of story telling to do once I get home. For now, I had better accompany Syndy on her mission to get food.