Thirty minutes into Aisha and Fredrico’s impromptu meeting,
Fredrico suppressed a grimace at the appearance of the salon’s nosiest employee.
If Fredrico had had his way he would have fired
Brown noser. Little errand boy, Fredrico thought with disdain as he watched Berry suck up to the new owner the same way he’d done with the old one. Feeling his acid displeasure sour the milk in his belly, Fredrico turned to look out the window least he throw up his entire breakfast.
“I thought you two might like some of our delicious tea,”
“Why thank you,
Fredrico just shook his head at
“You’re welcome, Ms. Burgess.”
“Actually, it’s Ms. Norwood. Dominic and I had different fathers.” Aisha took a sip of tea. It tasted delicious…and expensive, which was yet another reason to look at the books.
The salon had to be doing pretty good to afford specialty tea from overseas. Not to forget the large, custom-made aquarium, chic entertainment set, and fully-loaded computer equipment nestled in Dominic’s office.
“Different fathers, huh?”
Aisha laughed, too. She needed that laugh after the rough couple of weeks she’d had. And also after the tense meeting she’d just had with Fredrico. It had been like talking to an automated recording – Press 1, if you want to know how many suppliers we have. Press 2 for a list of vendors. Just cold and unfeeling with no personality at all.
“No need to suck up, Berry. I already like you,” Aisha said. Actually she’d liked the outspoken man from the moment she saw him out front.
“You do? What a relief.”
Aisha laughed again. She imagined it was hard for anyone to dislike
“That suits me just fine, Ms. Norwood,”
“Great.” Then Aisha turned to address Fredrico. “I have no more questions for you at this time. You may leave now, Fredrico. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to continue to use my brother’s office for the rest of the day. I want to meet privately with everyone before we have our first staff meeting tomorrow morning.”
Aware that he was being dismissed, Fredrico rose to his feet with a stiff nod. He did his best to hide his anger and disappointment. He was angry about being told to leave the office he’d occupied over the last two weeks. The office he’d basically claimed as his own. He was disappointed at not being able to talk to Aisha longer.
Fredrico would have liked to pick her brain about a few things since the last half hour had consisted of her asking all the questions. He particularly wanted to know why Aisha was named owner over him when she knew next to nothing about running a salon. Surely Dominic hadn’t put that much stock in his sister’s business degree, which by her own admission, she hadn’t used in years.
“I’ll have those records you requested by lunchtime,” Fredrico replied through a tight mouth before leaving the room. Then he walked out just as stiffly as he’d spoken.
“Is he always so easily offended?” Aisha asked when she and
“Of course,” Aisha agreed with a grin. She liked
Always ready to gossip,
Aisha instantly frowned at this admission. “Why didn’t anybody say something? Or rather do something about it? Were you all that scared of losing your jobs?” she asked, quite aware of the full benefit package the salon had.
Aisha nodded in understanding. She remained silent while
“The second reason I kept my mouth shut is because Dominic seemed like he had a good handle on things,”
“Dominic didn’t miss payroll, Berry, because he constantly borrowed money from me and no doubt a few other sources,” Aisha disclosed, though she had yet to prove the latter. However, one quick look in the company books would definitely confirm her suspicions.
Aisha patted him on the hand in comfort. “Don’t beat yourself up too bad,
Aisha smiled. “I’m far from perfect, but it’s nice to know that he thought I was.” Her brows creased briefly in grief. “If I had been perfect, I would have picked up on his problem without having to be told, considering how close we were.”
“To be honest, Ms. Norwood, I don’t think we would have picked up on Dominic’s addiction either, if he hadn’t been so accommodating to the women of a known drug dealer in the area.”
“Who is this drug dealer?” Aisha asked, feeling her temper rise hotter than the tea she consumed a few minutes ago.
“Some guy named Bonz,”
“When was the last time you saw this Bonz guy?” Aisha asked, trying to maintain her calm. Her hands clenched and unclenched on the desk.
Remembering the exact date,
“I see,” Aisha replied quietly, allowing her anger to fester in a pool of bitterness. “That’ll be all for now,
“You’re welcome, Ms. Norwood.”
Pushing her bitterness aside for the moment, Aisha smiled up at him. “Enough of that Ms. Norwood stuff. Call me Aisha,” she said. “Besides the fact that I like you,
“All right, Aisha.”
Aisha’s smile only lasted for a few seconds after
At this moment, Aisha could care less about building a successful film career via commercials and modeling. At this moment, she knew exactly what it felt like to want to kill someone in cold blood.
© 2005 by Suprina Frazier