I can see Lake Superior in the distance from one of my office windows. This, as far as I'm concerned, is the true perk of my promotion. Overseeing our three teams is more stressful than overseeing just one, which I did as team leader, or watcher, as we call them internally. I suppose my teammates had less kind words for me when I suggested to our previous VP that we shake things up, but after two years and the resulting benefits, everyone apparently gave me a good review, or I wouldn't be sitting here today.
I look down at my desk, see the photo of Wynn, and smile at his furry face and bright eyes looking eagerly up at the camera and me. I can run the vid on the photoframe, but for now the stillness is reassuring to me, given that the R-H2O campaign is meeting in the conference room. Amber told me yesterday that there were some differences of opinion in the team, so they are presenting three instead of our normal two ideas. Rainwind Corp is one of our major clients, given their homeland status, and if the big dogs in Turkey aren't pleased, no one's allowed to be pleased. I draw my fingers across his face, and the image then moves, his head tilting to follow my finger before returning to the static pose. He pouts--foxmorphs are very needy, I'm learning--but I think about how at home, I don't worry about whether or not a client is going to keep investing in us. I do worry about this executive meeting coming up in Egirdir, Turkey, a concern that makes me frown until I hear my door sigh, signaling someone is coming inside.
I look up as Lindsey enters with a cup of steaming mochaid. He hands it directly to me, then moves behind me and starts rubbing my shoulders. "Tight much?" he comments as I make a pained sound. In a few minutes his gifted hands have me relaxed enough that I can enjoy my drink.
"That's better then, boss," he decides and moves to perch on the edge of my desk. "Nothing yet from the pit, but they did send out for more drinks, so they are still talking."
I nod my head. "That means they either narrowed it down, or they aren't arguing as loud as they were yesterday. Hopefully not at all."
"They aren't arguing because I made sure both Vartan and Maggie had an extra treat in their mochaids this morning," my executive assistant tells me with a grin.
I look at him over the edge of my glasses, and he waves one sparkling nailed hand dismissively. "Just enough to tone them down; got to put my chem degree to some use."
Oh, that's right--before he just gave up, Lindsey had been one of the top students in a highly-rated pharmaceutical program, India maybe, hard to say, since he also came with the promotion. A year in tech school and a few years here, and he's up to First Executive Assistant for the Vice President of Administration. Looking at him you'd think he was a boytoy, but I know he's smart enough to be more than this. I don't bother with another suggestion for him to check out our education program, because that only gets me cool mochaids and warm water for a few days. He's content where he is behind a desk, making drinks, ordering meals, and filtering anyone who wants to get through my double doors. He leaves the actual filing and data work to Connie, who likes to hide out behind her screen.
"Emily, they are going to be a while, and the other teams are active as ants," Lindsey says as he slides off the desk onto his knees. "Shall we see if your feet are bit tight as well?"
This, too, is part of his job, and until I got Wynn I didn't hesitate to use his full services, as he calls them. The world's a competitive place where those not on the top find themselves doing things that my grandmother tells me could get you thrown in prison when she was my age. As long as there is a legal contract and you are a signatory, why should anyone care? If you can't pay your way, you'll find yourself outside the cities, outside the agribusinesses, and life is damned horrid beyond those zones. Of course that makes me think of the R-H2O campaign, and my body tenses again, so I nod my head and turn my chair so he can get to my feet better.
"Excellent," he says as he grins up at me, flashing his brilliant teeth that offset his tan and blond hair to the fullest. "I was starting to worry that you weren't going to use the full facilities and thus be wasting Inandirmak's money," he comments, just loud enough for me to clearly hear as he slips off my shoes.
"That would be foolish, so when you finish down there, go lock the door," I tell him with a deep edge to my voice. My eyes lock onto his when he glances up, and his smile fades into his face, though his eyes light up more. "Yes, boss," he says as he starts to tend to my left arch.
After a few moments I try to relax more, but my mind keeps wandering back to how much better Lindsey is at this than Wynn. That's unfair on so many levels that my eyes glance over at the furry face in the photo frame. My pet didn't know how to do much of, well, anything when I got him--and then there was my wanker stepbrother--and he's smaller; his hands are shaped differently; there's the fur.
"I know I am good at this, Boss," intrudes Lindsey's voice, drawing my attention down to him on the floor. "But you have to do your part, too. Try and relax. Deal?"
I give him a tight smile and lay back my head, closing my eyes, trying to focus on his firm, smooth fingers working the muscles, caressing my skin, moving my toes back and forth, side to side. A gasp releases further tension in my body as one of my toes pops and Lindsey makes a sound of triumph.
Wynn would be asking questions right now instead of just watching my body, feeling it change under his care, listening for heart rate and breathing to give him clues. I open my eyes again and look at his furry face. He doesn't seem to know how to read humans at all. He's constantly messing up pronouns when we watch television. I wonder if there's something I can do to help him with that.