Riding rough – chapter 2, part 3

Madigan’s head throbbed and her hands kept trembling. She wished the last 24 hours could be rewound and played through differently. The negotiation with Balducci probably wouldn’t end differently, but she would have acted sharper and controlled her annoyance better.

She would definitely have stayed in the town car back to the office and found a bar full of more benign corporate sharks in comparison to the bikers and gunmen of the Narrow. In comparison with the guy that pulled her down the alley.

Madigan had churned the night’s events in her mind, analyzing what happened and how she felt. The conclusion was a killer headache and the dark shadows beneath her eyes.

The memories of the biker guy made her core bothered and needy. He had saved her in a gunfight, manhandled her, and yet she felt her breath quicken at the thought of him. Even before that, the first time their eyes locked, she felt instinctively drawn towards him and at the same time he had scared her socks off.

She needed to get up and push the night behind her, ready to head into the office of Allister Consolidated with her wit about her. Luckily, her agenda was manageable today. De-briefing with Gavin and Jimmy. She needed to do her own documentation of yesterday’s negotiations, and then she had a late lunch with Mr. Ollivers and Ms. Jimenez.

‘I heard there was some kind of shoot out around the place where we dropped you off last night.’

Jimmy prodded as he and Gavin sat down across from Madigan in her office. Madigan gave him an uncommitted reply, feigning ignorance. Gavin raised his eyebrow at her, as if asking if she was okay. Madigan gave him a smile. She knew he fancied her, but Madigan’s priorities were straight. Career first, relationships second, and so far, she had only accomplished the first item on her list.

Getting down to business, Madigan admonished Jimmy for his faux pas yesterday,

‘You do not acknowledge anything your counterpart say. You only listen. Poker face on and you abide by that rule from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. Is that clear?’

Perhaps Madigan was being harsh on young Jimmy, but this wasn’t a Lassie movie, but corporate negotiations regarding billions of dollars.

‘Do you think, Balducci will take the offer?’ Gavin asked.

‘No. He still has a trick or two in the bag. I don’t think we’ll hear from him today. His associates felt the pressure – and so will his chairman.’

Jimmy looked confused.

‘How will you get the information to his chairman?’

Madigan smiled her most benevolent smile. Jimmy had a lot to learn. Mr. Ollivers’ previous mistress, a sultry paralegal, had moved on to greener pastures, but Madigan couldn’t divulge that tidbit to Jimmy.

‘The executive level of the corporate world is smaller than you would think,’ she answered, noticing Gavin’s knowing grin.

Madigan gave Gavin and Jimmy the issues she wanted them to prepare before the next round with Balducci and adjourned the de-briefing.

‘Are you sure, you’re okay?’ Gavin had lingered behind, undoubtedly noticing Madigan’s less than perfect appearance today. ‘You know, I have you back anything.’

Madigan and Gavin had worked closely together for the past six years. She even counted him among her few friends and wouldn’t lie to him.

‘Maybe, I should have had one drink less last night.’

Gavin seemed to call her bluff, but didn’t call her out.

Lunch with Mr. Ollivers and Ms. Jimenez went as well as expected. Mr. Ollivers’ little black book had once again come in handy. Ms. Jimenez with her strong sense of justice and bureaucracy was against the work-around.

‘Linda, I know you, at times, find the corporate world repulsive when even my indiscretions have upsides.’

Mr. Ollivers patted his vice-president’s hand and smiled fatherly to Madigan.

Madigan returned to the office and paced towards her office, when her assistant, Bethany, came running after her.

‘Miss Gardner, someone returned these for you in the reception,’ she said triumphant.

Madigan paled as she stared at her jacket from yesterday and her clutch. This wasn’t a coincidence. The biker guy knew where she worked and lived.



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