“Follow-Up Pending” Chapter 1 – An excerpt of Otter Holmes’ “The Cubicle Diaries: Friends Close, Co-Workers Closer”

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This is far from over, Derek thought, revengefully. Payback was the only thing on his mind. Derek was reluctant to return to work. He didn’t want to have to face the Shady Bunch. He didn’t know what story to give when people asked him how the weekend-getaway-from-hell went. Derek didn’t know whether he should give the real story, or the short one of, It was something to do. He wasn’t sure if it was it going to be an instant showdown, or if anything would go down at all. Derek knew he had to go to work because he didn’t want the Shady Bunch to think they had won, and that they had scared him away. One thing was for sure, besides his appetite for revenge, Derek was uncertain about EVERYTHING. As Derek parked his sports coupe in The Firm Firm’s parking lot, he assured himself he was ready to face the music and see how the Shady Bunch would act toward him come first contact.

Jack and Derek were the first to cross paths. Jack had the audacity to smile right in Derek’s face like nothing ever happened, just like a little bitch he was. Jack and Derek didn’t exchange any words. Derek looked at Jack and completely ignored him when he saw that stupid-ass smirk grow right across Jack’s young looking, clean shaven face. The fucken nerve! Derek thought to himself. But deep down, everyone from that weekend knew nothing was “OK.” No one was ready to throw in the towel, or wave the white flag.

Emily was there to be a shoulder to cry on for Derek, and she did what she did best: lead Derek on that she was there for him. Emily comforted Derek. After work, Emily went to Burberry on Rodeo Drive and bought Derek an expensive wallet to cheer him up in lieu of the one he lost. Emily told Derek he needed a change. “No more Gucci!” Emily demanded, as she handed Derek an off-white colored box that had a deep red bow perfectly wrapped on it. Derek didn’t tell her the casino called him back and told him his wallet was found, and that they were going to be mailing it back to him that day. Derek only gave Emily the watered down version of everything that transpired that night at the whackass Las Vegas club for Jack’s birthday because they were at work, and he didn’t want to get into detail at all. Plus, Derek wanted Emily to see what the Shady Bunch had to say first, and see how they were going to try and win her over before he did.

Derek’s poor choices opened him an economy sized can of worms. Derek felt forced to isolate himself at work. He pulled himself together and told himself to stay strong and try not to make his emotions looks so obvious. The last thing Derek needed was to have more fake people up in his shit asking him more questions about his personal life acting like they cared when in reality all they wanted to do was have something to gossip about, and make their own irrelevant lives relevant. No one at The Firm Firm seemed to remember that personal lives should not bleed into their professional one. Derek knew he should’ve not gone to Vegas. Derek was down in the dirt. He felt like maybe he was being a little too dramatic. And to have to sit there and still be productive in his cubicle acting like nothing was wrong when really shit was all over the walls because it did more than hit the fan, Derek was out of it. He might as well been the President of the United States.

Jack-Ass was getting exactly what he wanted: fame in the office. Jack was ready to tear Derek an entire new one, and make him completely irrelevant in the office. Jack even started to consider transferring to Derek’s department to recruit his immediate co-workers, position, and pay next. So far, Jack-Ass and his minions succeeded at what they wanted. Derek felt out of place and not welcomed despite feeling on top of the world just over a week ago. And if Gwendolyn was involved, she was bound to make someone’s life miserable out of it. That was her specialty. Gwendolyn was bitter inside and out. When she wasn’t trying to ruin Emily, she plotted to take her next victim down: Aubrey. The grin that appeared on her face when she saw Derek and Aubrey leaving the office suggested only one thing.

Derek and Aubrey went to lunch. He broke everything down to her about what really happened at the “weekend-getaway-from-hell” as he described it. Derek was raw. He sugar coated nothing. He wanted to be honest and upfront. He didn’t want to look like a liar because he had no idea what was already being said about him. That was the last label he needed. Many stories could’ve circled around already, and Derek didn’t want to take any chances. The Shady Bunch acted like they had said nothing, but looks were deceiving, especially at The Firm Firm. There wasn’t something in the coffee, there was something in the air ducts; these people were full on infected. It was definitely now a game of friends close, co-workers closer. Everyone was an enemy, and everyone was willing to do anything to be on top. Derek was the victim in this matter, for once, but he was not crying for aid, he was striving for one thing only: revenge. Derek found warmness and compassion in Aubrey. Aubrey was sympathetic. Not once did she express like she was judging him. This tragic event for Derek brought them together, besides their fondness for marijuana. Aubrey knew the rules of Vegas: anything goes. She knew what Derek was all about, and what the Shady Bunch lacked. Aubrey even said herself she wasn’t feeling the group that was going. Aubrey knew they were not “her crowd.” She knew that the first day they all started at The Firm Firm.

Derek and Aubrey had a long Mexican lunch at Casa Vega. They had a few margaritas to loosen each other’s nerve up. The restaurant’s low lighting made it all the better. Derek promised Aubrey, and himself, he was going to get the last word out of it all. He promised, and said out loud to her in a deep stare that even scared her, “They are all going to pay. Each and every one of them.” Then he took the last sip of his margarita before they headed back to work. With the tequila from his margaritas running through his hot, lean body, Derek was given a strong boost of confidence. He was ready to go back to the office, and show them all who the real was boss. He was going to show them he was Derek Johnston. He wasn’t going to let the Shady Bunch get the best of him, or the worst. He was going to refresh their memory on why they were afraid of him in the first place. Derek stood up, he shook himself off and said confidently, and hotly, “Let’s go, I have follow-up pending.” Aubrey smiled and grabbed her oversized purse.

Derek acted like none of the Shady Bunch existed when he crossed paths with them back at the office. He acted like the weekend-getaway-from-hell was just a nightmare he had in his cubicle, versus all the fantasies he usually had in it. The Shady Bunch was shocked to see Derek’s reactions upon arrival back to work, late, and his sudden change of confidence in everything. Derek didn’t care about going back to work late, he had Pasqual to take care of things like that for him.

Derek called Emily on her extension to tell her about his reclaimed confidence, and that he felt a little better, but she didn’t answer. Derek purposely walked by Pasqual’s office to see what he was doing. Like the slacker he was, Pasqual made it very obvious he was on a personal call, a lengthy one as usual. Derek quickly put two and two together and let it go. Emily never called Derek back either.

Before the weekend-getaway-from-hell, Ghetto Gwendolyn let everyone know in advance what her plans were for her birthday. She told everyone early, and made it clear that she wanted no excuses on why no one could attend. Ghetto Gwendolyn wanted everyone there and wanted everyone to accommodate everything around her and her day, like an over the top diva. Gwendolyn was under the impression she was the queen bee and wanted everyone to bow down to her. Mainly she just wanted people to rave about her birthday to everyone so she could look cool and boost the confidence she lacked. Ghetto Gwendolyn wanted to overrule Jack’s birthday by one-hundred-ten percent, and with the Shady Bunch beefing it with Derek they were going to prove their “friendship” was securely bonded by throwing an event that did not contain a dramatic ending scene with him in it. Ghetto Gwendolyn wanted attention and attention was what she was going to get.

Gwendolyn originally included Derek in her gathering, but given what happened at the weekend-getaway-from-hell that all changed. In reciprocation, there was no way in hell Derek was going to show his face around those “inexperienced losers,” those “social imposters” as he put it. Derek called them that from now on whenever he referred to them as a whole. Derek saw them all as “pathetic posers,” too. He knew there was no real bond there. There only bond was trying to tear him down.

While in his cubicle pretending to work as usual with a slight buzz from lunch, Derek plotted on his soon to be rampage against the Shady Bunch. With her birthday just around the corner, Ghetto Gwendolyn was first on his list, besides having Jack always at the top of it. Drama was all over the office and it was planning to staying, permanently.

Since Gwendolyn gave away her plans already, Devious Derek decided how he would ruin them inside and out. He had a backup plan for his backup plan just so he could for sure have Gwendolyn squirm on the day she opted for the most attention. Like everything else, it all practically fell right into Derek’s lap.

Devious Derek planned a fake event at the same place where Ghetto Gwendolyn was having hers. Of course The Noir Bar, the place where Gwendolyn was planning to have her shindig at, already told Derek they were booked, but Derek worked his skills to get what he wanted. Derek managed to buy out the entire venue. Derek had a hacker friend hack into one of his beloved co-worker’s account and run a tab, a very large one, on their dime. Derek’s hacker friend told Derek he would increase the credit card limit so the lucky victim would possibly have to file bankruptcy.

“Do whatever you need to do and send yourself to Europe,” Derek told his anonymous hacker friend on his cellphone in his car in the parking lot with the windows rolled up and air conditioner on. The hacker friend owed Derek big time, and this was just considered a small favor. So many people owed Derek favors, and this was just one he thought of that he could cash in on. Derek had connects, and now, for Derek it was the best time to start cashing them in. All those nights partying in Hollywood and networking had really paid off for Derek. Derek didn’t just meet groupies, whores, and celebrities; he met people, useful people, real people.

As soon as Gwendolyn learned her party plans were ruined, she not only threw the biggest bitch fit, she had no other choice but to have to come up with a plan B. Her problem was, she had no plan B. She was so confident that everything was going to work out she thought, why bother!? The Noir Bar didn’t tell Gwendolyn until the last minute, the very last minute. Literally. They didn’t even want to refund her the deposit she put down either. The ghetto in Gwendolyn erupted when she got the news via text as she painted her eye brows with an imitation sharpie. The Noir Bar didn’t text her until a half an hour before her event started. Since Derek’s “payment” out ruled her by one-hundred percent, she was one of the first to lose out. “Fuck responding, I’m calling these mother fuckers!” Ghetto Gwendolyn said as she clenched her cellphone. The Noir Bar also told Gwendolyn she couldn’t go and try and crash the place as a guest either. “We’ve met capacity,” the bartender said before he hung up on Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn was so pissed that she messed up her eyebrows and now she looked more surprised than ever.

“It’s Gwendolyn’s party, and she will cry if she wants to,” Derek said to himself happily as he got ready for the last minute party he planned, courtesy of Gwendolyn. “Happy Birthday, G! This one is for you!” Derek added, cheerfully. He picked up his Jack and Coke and toasted to himself in the mirror. Derek was suited in a black Armani long sleeve. He thought it was the right call for the occasion.

Gwendolyn’s tragedy not only burned her out, but all her little shady-mates, too. On the contrary, it gave Derek much pleasure. Gwendolyn was forced to call off her event over all. The tears that formed in her eyes smeared her ganster-like eyeliner.

Some of the people who were going to attend Gwendolyn’s party still found something to do. They ended up going their own way and didn’t opt to party with Gwendolyn at all. MC and Oscar, who had been secretly hooking up since he and Celia called it quits, decided to meet up. Oscar was planning to “accidently” run into MC at The Noir Bar, but now they didn’t need to put on a charade. They simply made plans of their own. MC was really being hush about her affair because of Oscar’s latest scandal, but most of all she was hush about it because she didn’t want Gavin to find out. It would’ve devastated him. Neither of them would know where to start when it came to explaining how they came to be. MC and Gavin were supposedly BFFs, best frienemies forever, but everyone knew that when people became BFFs, courtesy of The Firm Firm, it was a friendship that consisted of secrets that the other kept from the other; the validity was more than questionable.

MC and Oscar started hooking up after the Employee Appreciation Party at the Chophouse. They crossed paths at the bathroom before MC left. She decided to hang out with Gwendolyn as she tried to make the moves on Oscar. MC laughed because she knew Gwendolyn wasn’t going to get anywhere with Oscar, but she gave her friend the boost of confidence she all so lacked. MC went to the bathroom, again, before she left, and Oscar followed her. He waited outside until she was done dropping a bomb, and then decided to hit on her. MC reciprocated. She hoped she didn’t smell, and flirted right back. She gave him her number, and Oscar said, “It’ll be our little secret.” MC made Oscar leave first so no smell followed her.

Minerva called Derek to see what he was doing. She invited him to the bar she was going to be at. Derek hopped on the invitation, especially when he knew Luke was going to be in attendance. Plus, Derek was happy because he knew his plan had successfully worked. Minerva’s call was confirmation. Derek called Emily to see where she was at, but she didn’t answer. Derek gave Emily the benefit of the doubt and called her again, twice. The calls went straight to voicemail. Emily had her phone off. She was obviously hiding, and she didn’t want people to know where she was or whom she was with. Derek became very annoyed. His teeth gritted, he thought evilly, this is only the beginning… Evil thoughts ran through Derek’s mind while on his way to meet Minerva and Luke. Derek reminded himself, everyone is an enemy.

“It’s not over,” Derek said to himself as he pulled into the parking lot of the bar where Minerva and Luke were at. Derek played dirty and did whatever he needed to for revenge. No one knew what Derek was capable of, not even him.

Copyright 2015 A product of OHMG Publishing

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