A Serial Story by ArtAmbrosia











{November 27, 2009}   The Office – Chapter Four

The Office – Chapter Four

When they reached the alley, John turned Celia to face him and said…”Celia, you mustn’t repeat any of what you have seen or heard today.  My work for the Preservation Society is, well, a sideline, if you get my meaning.”  He did not release her, but continued to regard her as though gauging his chances that she’d reveal him.

“You mean you actually work for them?  And Stone doesn’t know it?  John, you could get fired.  What are you thinking?”  Celia disengaged herself from his grip and walked briskly toward the exit, only then recalling her dress.  She turned quickly, her face as red as a beet.

John just smiled and put his jacked around her again.  “Let’s get you home.”

Celia forgot to be ashamed the minute she saw the laughter in John’s eyes.  He had the most amazing hazel eyes and she’d never noticed them before.  What planet have I been on?

 

John took the driver’s seat again; Celia didn’t complain.  She just explained to him how to get to her little apartment, all the while going over in her head whether she’d put everything that could possibly embarrass her away.

At the door, Celia fumbled with the keys.  She felt awkward like she was on a date and this was the kiss – no kiss moment.  She was immediately greeted by a mewling cat.  John reached down and picked Mr. Baby right up and began to pet him.  Mr. Baby didn’t usually like strangers, but he certainly liked John.

Celia ran to her room to change.  “I’ll just be a minute, John.”

Before she could get her blue dress zipped all the way up, someone started banging on the door.  John opened it.  A woman with tears streaming down her face stood there holding onto two small children.

Celia ran to the door when she heard Ester’s voice asking for her.  “Celia, I prayed you were home.  He’s drinking again.  Please take the children.  Please.”

“Ester, I have to go back to work.  I just came home to change my ripped dress.”  Celia held her hands out to the woman.

“Please Celia, you know what he will do.  You are the only one I trust.  Please keep my babies safe.”  She gave the little ones a push and they both ran to Celia and wrapped their little arms around her.  Then the woman was gone.

John reached over and zipped Celia’s dress the rest of the way up.

“John, what am I going to do?  That man would hurt these children if he knew where they were.  That’s why she brings them to me when he’s passed out.”  Celia ran her fingers through the children’s hair and cupped their little faces with her hands.

“You’re just going to have to call in sick for the rest of the day.  Do you have the time?”  John was reaching for the phone.

“Yes, but I have a project due in two days for Mr. Stone.”  Celia was deathly afraid of the elder Mr. Stone.

John was dialing.  “You’ll get it done.  I’ve never known you to miss a deadline.” 

Celia was flabbergasted!  How did John know about her work habits?

“Hello, this is John Tucker.  Celia Brown has taken ill and won’t be able to return to work today.  I’ll be taking the rest of the day myself.  Thank you Olivia.”  John said to the human resources clerk.

Celia didn’t know how to react.  What was John doing?

John turned from the phone and looked at the children.  Then he looked at Celia.  The look was…protective.  “Celia, whoever this man is, the one you hide the children from, he’s obviously dangerous.  I can’t have you here alone in this apartment if he comes looking.  I mean, look at your locks Celia!  They wouldn’t stop me if I really wanted in.  You need to secure this place a lot better.”

“I’m moving to the co-op on 42nd, remember.  It’s nice and has lots of security.”  Celia didn’t know why she felt so defensive all of a sudden.

John walked to the door and turned all the locks.  Just as he did, something bashed into the door.  John jumped back and got between the door and Celia.  “Go get in the bedroom and lock the door.”  He whispered.

Celia ran to the bedroom.  She got her brother’s baseball bat and told the kids to lock the door behind her.  Crying softly, they nodded their little heads.  The youngest got under the blankets on the bed, eyes wide.  Celia stopped and kissed them both.  Then she ran out.

“I told you to get in the bedroom!”  John hissed.

“I won’t leave you.”  Celia brandished her baseball bat.

John smiled.  Celia couldn’t categorize that smile, but she liked it – a lot.

Something bashed against the door again and the wood around the hinges began to splinter.  Celia was scared.

“Call 911 Celia; do it now!”  John stood unarmed before the door.

“What is the nature of your emergency?”  The 911 operator asked

Celia tried to stay calm, “someone is bashing down my apartment door!”

While Celia was on the line with 911, she tossed her bat to John.  And none too soon.  With one final bash, the hinges gave way and the door broke in.

Celia screamed.  A very angry man with a metal post had just broken down her door and now he had produced a gun.

John didn’t wait; he swung his bat and knocked the gun out of the man’s hand.

Celia screamed again at what she saw next.  “John, look out!”



{August 26, 2009}   The Office – Chapter Three

The Office — Chapter Three

 

“John!  Look out!”

A Mazda Miata was trying to cut them off at full speed.  Celia’s little Ford Tempo was no match for it.  But John was amazing!  He dodged the Miata and made the light just in time.  Celia was starting to get all tingly just sitting next to him.  Wow, he’s really handsome when he makes that face — oh I can’t believe I just thought that!

 

“Look!”  said John, “it’s the same man from the parking garage.  You keep your eye on him.  I’m going to try to lose him in traffic.”

“Oh — okay John” Celia stammered, though whether with surprise or sudden nervous interest it was hard to tell. 

John surprisingly had no trouble and whipped the car into an alley next to a large three-story brick building.

“John, isn’t this –?”

“It is Celia; now give me the deed please.”

Celia complied.

“And, I’m afraid I will be needing my jacket — perhaps you should wait in the car.  Just keep your head down.”  John had the decency to look a bit ashamed at his suggestion.

“I can’t John!  I’m afraid.”

“But Celia, you can’t go in looking like that.  This is critical.”

“John, please,” Celia whispered in distress.

To Celia’s great surprise, John grabbed her by the arm and actually dragged her through the front doors and down the hall.  Then she heard the screeching of tires.  They ducked into one of the rooms.

“We were about to give up on you Mr. Tucker.”  Celia turned to see a row of blue haired ladies seated at a raised table looking down on them.

“My apologies ladies.  As you can imagine, there are those who oppose our request for historical status, one developer in particular.”

“Do you have your paperwork in order Mr. Tucker?”

“Yes ma’am.  You should already have received our petition and here is a certified copy of the original deed to the property.”

Historical status — that’s what all this cloak and dagger was about?!

 

“Five more minutes Mr. Tucker and we would have had to deny your petition and allowed the grandson to sell as he saw fit.”

“Thank you ma’am., you’ve preserved a priceless piece of our local history today.”

Nerd — I was just in a car chase to the Historical Preservation Society! 

John turned to reveal a quiet smile, another expression Celia had never before witnessed.  Was she just that unobservant or was John so very different away from the office?  And what does he do for Stone and Stone anyway?

 

When they reached the alley, John turned Celia to face him and said…

© 2008 TSWitt



{August 12, 2009}   The Office – Chapter Two

 The Office –  Chapter Two 

 

Landing hard, Celia didn’t even notice who was standing next to her or the fact that John’s jacket had flopped open revealing the henna tattoo she’d gotten last night after two cosmopolitans with her sister.

“Well, Celia, aren’t you the wild child?”  Eric laughed as he strode back to his cubicle.

In misery, Celia had just rested her forehead on the floor for a moment to catch her breath when Mr. Stone leaned over and retrieved a document titled “Deed” poking out of the inside pocket of John’s jacket.

“What’s this?”

“Oh, that’s mine.”  Celia lied, relieving him of the paper before he could get a proper look.  “My brother helped me to finally get into that co-op over on 42nd.”  That much was true.

“Well, good for you Ms. Livingston.  Now get up off the floor and explain your attire.”  Snickers ran through the office.  John stepped forward and explained in his sweet, charming, nerd fashion what had happened and Stone sent Celia home to change.  So embarrassing!  Oh, I still have the deed.  I wonder what it’s really to?

 

Just then, John cut off her car in the parking garage.  “Celia, I appreciate what you did back there, but I really must have that deed now.”  Celia had never quite noticed just how broad John’s shoulders were before.  At 6’2″ he towered over her as it was.  What am I thinking?  This is John!

“Celia, please, this has nothing to do with you.”

“Oh, of course John, I’m sorry.  I just spaced out.”  But when she reached in the jacket, the deed wasn’t there.  “Oh John, it must have fallen out somewhere!”

“No, dammit!  This can’t be happening!”  John paced menacingly toward Celia.

 “We just have to retrace our steps, that’s all.” Celia offered weakly.

“You don’t seem to understand the fix I’m in Celia.  My little act of heroism today could have just cost me the biggest deal of my career!”  Strangely, Celia didn’t even know what John did for the company, and they had been working together for three years.

“Wait!”  Cried Celia.  Look over there, where I was parked.  Is that it?”  John took off at a dead run without answering.  He bent over and picked up the folded pages.  “Well, I’m glad that’s over.”  Muttered Celia.

“Not so fast Mr. Tucker.”  A man in a shiny business suit was walking toward them with a briefcase in his hand.  “I believe my employer has an interest in what you have there.”

Before she knew what was happening, John had pushed Celia into her own passenger seat and was backing the car away from the shiny suit man.

“John, where are we going?” 

“Just don’t lose this deed again Celia and everything will be all right.”  I’ve got no time.  How on earth am I going to explain Celia?  She’s a wreck!

 

“John,” Celia ventured, now more than a little afraid, “I really need to get home and change.”

“Celia, I don’t have time for your little fashion emergency right now –”

“John!  Look out!”

© 2008 TSWitt



{July 26, 2009}   The Office – Chapter One

The Office – Chapter One

Celia flowed through the office toward her very handsome co-worker in her very clingy designer dress, turned on her very best sashay – and heard the unmistakable sound of ripping fabric.  John was there before she could take another step, wrapping his jacket around her.  Sweet, dependable, John.

“Oh, John, thank you.”  Celia was totally chagrined and completely deflated; her tone making both evident.  By now, everyone was beginning to stare.

“Not at all, Celia.  Always glad to help a beautiful damsel in distress.”  John was such a nerd, but a sweet nerd.

Celia sighed.  Eric hadn’t even noticed her approach and the ensuing fuss was little more than a passing curiosity to him.  He was already back on the phone.  Eric was next in line to head up the acquisitions division at Stone & Stone. He definitely had a silver tongue.  Celia would listen to him from her cubicle and dream of having all that talent and attention trained on her alone.  She’d finally gotten up the courage to ask him to a party that some of her non-office friends were having.

Celia sighed again as she entered the ladies’ room digging in her purse for a safety pin or one of those little pocket sewing kits she was always collecting.

*****

“I said I would handle it and I will!”

“You just see that you do, John.  We can’t afford any mistakes on this one.”

“No sir.  I understand.  John hung up the phone in disgust.  I will handle it.

*****

“Celia?  Is everything alright?  Damn, Marge is the worst gossip in the office!

“Sure, Marge, thanks, I’ve got it. ”  Of course it was hard to sound very confident while experiencing a crawling sensation where the rip in the fabric was continuing up and over her derrière.

“I can look at that if you want?”  Marge volunteered.

“No, really, it’s fine, I’ve got it.”  No way is ‘Marge in Charge’ getting one peek!

“Fine then, I’ll just tell the others you’ll be out in a few minutes.”

“Oh, thank you so much, Marge.”  She had suspected before, but now Celia was sure that everyone in the office knew what had just happened.  She was never taking John’s jacket off!  If I hurry, I can just make it home, change and get back before Mr. Stone gets back from his lunch meeting.

Celia blasted out of the bathroom forgetting that Sandra had a bad habit of rolling her chair out from her cubicle while on the phone.  Today was no exception.  Celia’s shoe caught on one of the casters of Sandra’s chair and she was suddenly airborne.

“Celia!”  Sandra cried in alarm.

Landing hard, Celia didn’t even notice who was standing next to her or the fact that John’s jacket had flopped open, exposing…

©2008 TSWitt



et cetera