In response to Linda G Hill’s stream of consciousness prompt: some/sum
Something was coming. She felt it in every pore of her being. Never had she experimented such a powerful thing. It was worrisome even for Erin who had a happy and positive disposition. Everyone agreed she was a ray of sunshine, she who could turn accounting and its sums or subtractions into something less dreary than it actually was. Not that Erin knew anything others didn’t but she’d always been intuitive. Some people found it creepy, others awesome. She’d only learned to live with it and to trust it.
Yet today was one of those days. You know how sometimes you feel you should have remained in bed? Well that day was one of those. She woke up shivering despite the 24C outside at 7am. She hit her foot against the night table before dropping a teacup in the kitchen causing the mug to burst into dozens of dangerous pieces that she had to clean out before leaving. To top it all, she broke her heel in the subway as she went to work. At least she didn’t injure herself but she had to buy a new pair of shoes that would fit. Skipping work today was impossible.
So yes, some might think her intuition was tied to the crappy morning she’d had. And most days, you’d be right. Yet, as probability would have it, this time you’d be wrong. Still by the time she made it to the office, Erin had reached the sum of frustration… well she might have been exaggerating on that count but how would you feel?
Then best of surprises, her computer didn’t work and of course no one from the IT department worked on Saturday. Lucky boys and ladies. She was expected to run a meeting at 2pm and she didn’t have access to her file. She’d have to run everything by hand from scratch. Erin knew very well she couldn’t come to that meeting empty handed. It was for one of their bigger clients. And the more she thought about that meeting the more worried she was. Something was coming. She felt it in her very core. It was a troublesome case to start with involving lawyers and potentially a court case. Her job was to ensure it didn’t go that way. But something nagged at her. She couldn’t afford missing a crucial element that could potentially ruin her career or worse her client. She’d worked too hard on this.
She spent three hours going through every single expense report and receipt that she’d already looked at on her computer. She must provide a thorough and wholesome analysis of the numbers. If her intuition was good – as it tended to be although today was a little weird – she would find in the paper trail anything she might have missed in the scanned documents.
She was about to give up when she found it: a tiny $1 discrepancy in one of the accounting sheets. She knew from experience that this could hide something bigger. She pulled the receipts for the months concerned and went through once more. The firm’s accountant indeed messed. Now the big question: did he do it on purpose? And if that was the case, did his employer know? It seemed unlikely: Mr. Gordon approached their firm because he believed some fraudulent activities might have happened as he slowly delegated responsibility for the company to his son. He wouldn’t have if he was in on it.
As she uncovered different files, Erin realized there was no possible way for this to be a mistake. The $1 discrepancy hid four major expense reports that couldn’t be justified for a 2 person trip. Erin found herself frightened and confused. How could she have missed that information? She was fairly certain these receipts hadn’t been in the folder her colleague emailed her. They hadn’t been scanned. What did that mean? She hesitated calling her boss… instead she called her client.
“Hello, Henry Gordon.”
“Mr. Gordon good morning. This is Erin Shaw from Lyles and Associates.”
“Ah Erin, are you ready for our little meeting? Can I expect to have these lawyers off my back?”
“I intend. That’s why I’m calling. I’m sorry it’s so last minute but I have just recovered a file I didn’t realize I was missing. You travel quite a lot for business but do you recall some expenses in Washington DC last year in April or June?”
“No… that doesn’t seem correct. Denise and I spent the entire month of April in Paris: our thirty year anniversary celebration. We hadn’t gone since our honeymoon. And in June our daughter Leah got married in London. We were there a month to prepare. What’s this nonsense Erin?”
“Well I’m afraid you were right sir.”
“Damn it! Does your boss know?”
“I called your first sir.”
“Good girl. Conference call him for me please.”
She didn’t hesitate even though John would hate her for it. It was his first free weekend to spend in the Hamptons with his wife and kids.
“Erin? What the…” She interrupted him.
“Hi John, I have Mr. Gordon on conference call.”
“Sir? How may I be of assistance?”
“By coming to the meeting Lyles. And by assigning Ms. Shaw as my personal accounting consultant to work with me only starting now. I’m her only client.”
Eh! That wasn’t fair. She had other files to take care of.
“She’ll move to my payroll.”
“Are you on your way.”
As if in answer to that, the sound of an engine resounded in the phone.
“I’ll see you at 2pm.”
“Good. Drive safely Lyles.”
John hung up.
“We’ll discuss the details of your job and new salary after our meeting but you will be moving to our property. Have your things ready. I need you to work from here. And don’t tell your colleagues what you found out. It’s possible someone is in on it since you weren’t the first to take a look at this. Not a word. You’re working for me now.”
And he too hung up. Well something had indeed been coming. It had happened. Somehow it made that meeting a little bit less daunting to wait for. She was now working for one of the richest men in the country. But if he expected her to relinquish her apartment he was mistaken.