There was no time to change, no time to tidy herself up, Ella just grabbed her bag and ran for the car, jumped in and roared down the road.
She parked badly in Gubbins car park and rushed into the offices. She still had her pass which meant she didn’t have to waste time signing in, but she should give it back today; she wasn’t going back to work at Gubbins. Ever.
She dashed down the corridor towards HR, glanced at the clock – just coming up to three so technically she wasn’t late.
Ella glanced down at herself, of course she was still wearing the boiler suit but what she hadn’t noticed was the paint daubs on it.
‘Before you go in, could I just have a word? In here.’ Gwynnie gestured towards the meeting room.
Ella shrugged. What difference did it make now? She followed Gwynnie.
‘The thing is, Ella, your friend Sam could lose her job over this.’ Gwynnie smiled, she been eating that macrobiotic stuff again, some of it was still on her teeth. ‘She shouldn’t have told you my name. And you shouldn’t have told everyone else.’
Ella didn’t say anything.
‘But,’ Gwynnie said, ‘I’m prepared to let the whole thing drop if you agree to come back and behave yourself.’
‘I’m even willing to let you off the apology, even though I do think you owe me one. How does that sound?’
‘I don’t owe you an apology, so don’t ever think you’ll be getting one and why would you want me back?’
‘We’re a good team; we’re doing some excellent work. We’re getting recognition, my,’ she shook her head hastily, corrected herself, ‘our profile has been raised. We shouldn’t let this spoil all that. What do you say?’
‘Are you sure about that?’
‘Your friend Sam will lose her job, and her maternity pay and her maternity leave and she won’t be able to come back. Probably won’t be able to work in HR ever again. Do you want that on your conscience?’
‘She never told me your name. She’s innocent.’
‘The evidence suggests otherwise. It’ll be hard for her to prove. The thing is Ella, you did nasty things in front of an audience, you’re not exactly a person of credit, a reliable witness, are you?’
‘And you are?’
‘I’m a manager. The company will support me over you and your friend.’
Ella looked at Gwynnie’s smiling, confident face. Was that true? Would they?
The door opened and Sally’s face appeared. ‘We’re ready for you, Ella.’
So Ella went with Sally to be interviewed. In the room with Sally was an HR administrator who was there to make notes and, sitting silently at the back of the room, was the HR Director, a man who only made himself visible during times of crisis – not a good sign.
‘So,’ Sally began, ‘I understand that Sam told you that Gwynnie’s real name is Gladys.’
‘Sam never said anything of the sort. Not one word.’
‘So how did you know?’
This is a first draft, so is subject to change and please excuse any errors.
Missed excerpts from previous chapters? Check them out here.
I’ll be publishing an excerpt from a new chapter next week – follow my blog so you don’t miss it.