Anastasia checked the cubicle. The small, unoccupied space was perfect for the meeting with Fiona. There were no staff gathering in the area, it would be quiet and, if Fiona cried or stormed off, at least she could do so without the prying eyes of the other employees.
Anastasia had never actually had to fire anyone before. Her insides were like washing machine. The churning and spinning made her feel wary, increasing her nervousness and, honestly, she harboured a tiny concern that the draining cycle would spring itself upon her during the meeting, and she’d have to rush to the toilet. As if on cue, her gut gurgled. Looking to her left and right, discovering she was alone, she relaxed, and…parp! Ah, a small relief.
Anastasia sniffed the air around her and screwed up her nose. She heard footsteps approaching. Oh God, Fiona! Her face burned with embarrassment; how could she conduct this kind of meeting with any high ground if Fiona could attribute this odour with Anastasia. Quickly, she sneaked behind the nearest partition and hoped she wouldn’t be found. Opening a filing cabinet drawer, she pretended to look for a file.
What the hell! It couldn’t be…
Anastasia lifted the manila folder from the hanging divider in the cabinet and opened it. Her heart pumped hard in her chest. It was a bass drum, pounding a steady beat as the rhythm of this discovery played out in front of her eyes. There, she saw her handwriting, mark-ups in red pen, the date across the top of the page. It was no surprise to Anastasia that this typed report was authored by Fiona; missing for months, the reason the business had lost its most lucrative client and also the point behind the planned encounter with Fiona in—Anastasia checked her watch—ten minutes.
Confident the air had cleared, Anastasia stood from her hiding spot. She carried herself ramrod straight, with a new confidence and ruthlessness. There was no explanation necessary for how the lost report got buried in the disused filing cabinet, and it wouldn’t save Fiona now, regardless.
Opening the door to break-out cubicle, Anastasia noticed Fiona on the chair, shoulders sagging, head lowered.
‘Fiona, thank you for meeting with me,’ Anastasia said curtly. This was going to be a lot easier than she first thought.