The Undead Life of Harlow Kaine · Writing

The Undead Life of Harlow Kaine (5)

Autumn 1986

Harlow was rarely rude. She said “please” and “thank you” religiously, she was never late to appointments, she never swore in a professional setting, and rarely in personal interactions, and she (almost) never barged into a room without knocking. It was a silly source of pride knowing that people thought highly of her for the way she behaved. She also knew that it afforded her some believably when she was genuinely upset about something. Since she almost never raised her voice, people tended to take notice when her volume dramatically rose, for good or ill.

On that day in late 1986, anyone visiting the main mansion would have been privy to a side of Harlow that was rarely seen (or heard). Thankfully only Rosemary, August and a handful of staff were present when they were treated to a truly dramatic confrontation.

“YOU BOUGHT A THOUSAND ACRES OF LAND IN OKLAHOMA?!” Harlow shouted immediately after slamming open Olivier’s office door. “YOU WROTE A CHECK FOR $5,000,000?!” she continued, slamming a stack of papers and statements on his desk. “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”

Olivier gaped like a fish as she jabbed a finger towards the stack of papers. “Do you KNOW how much the property taxes are going to be on this?!” her voice pitched hysterically.

“But I’m going to develop it!” Olivier snapped, shooting to his feet, finally summoning up some righteous anger at being imposed upon and questioned for how HE spent HIS money.

“OH, OKAY,” Harlow shot back, just as quickly and MUCH more sarcastically than was proper. “Let me just get back to you on how much that’s going to cost and theorize how much we COULD make if NOTHING goes wrong because we live in some kind of quasi-real fantasy world where all development projects magically make money hand over fist from day one!”

Olivier found himself at a loss for words but quickly recovered. “It’s MY money-,”

“So I should let you get away with making stupid decisions with it?”

“But Jonah-”

“Who you BEHEADED by the way because he tried to KILL YOU, obviously DID NOT have your best interests at heart,” was the immediate and cutting response.

Olivier sat down heavily and glared at the green-eyed vampiress. Her face didn’t soften, she was furious. “Listen to me, if you want to keep making money you cannot invest in projects like this. The annual costs alone are in the tens of thousands of dollars IF we get a good rate and according to this paperwork WE DID NOT. You’re going to sell this land, and you’re going to try VERY hard to make back what you spent or more and from now on, we’re going to discuss shit like this because if you loose all your money in shitty development schemes we have nothing to live off of. Jonah was doing shit all with everyone’s money and we’re cutting it close.”

Harlow knew she was overstepping her bounds by a lot. As an accountant she was really only supposed to file taxes, organize paperwork and figure out ways to reduce various costs across the board. However she also knew that she had an obligation to make suggestions that would financially benefit the company or individual she was working for and that began with making sure whoever was spending the money didn’t make stupid decisions like buying acreages of land in the middle of nowhere. She didn’t break eye contact with Olivier, she needed him to trust her, to believe that what she was saying was correct and that above all he needed to listen to her.

He sighed. “Fine, send August in here and we’ll discuss selling it.”

“Thank you.” Only after the curt reply did she break eye contact with him as she turned her back and left, slamming the door on her way out. The relief she felt nearly lifted her off her feet, she certainly felt buoyed on her way back to her tiny, cramped office down the hall. Perhaps if they could recoup money from selling the land and made some wise investments they could renovate the mansion. Mostly though she was just thrilled that her tactic had worked. Not that she hadn’t been furious but she’d gambled that using that anger to her advantage would get her results right away as opposed to trying to reason with Olivier rationally in a more “professional” manner.

Good thing she’d listened to her instincts.

Prompt generated from this list of 120 One Word Writing Prompts and the use of Google’s Random Number Generator. Number & Coordinated Theme Generated: 104 – Listen.

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