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wilcard by juleshg

9 Oct

Marcy whistled as she walked home from the dry cleaners.  Earlier in the day she had been nervous as she headed off to her lunch.  June had sounded so distracted when she called to invite her to lunch that Marcy had wondered if the gig was up.

Marcy had been friends with June Watkins for three months.  She had first seen her picture on Iain Sommers’s desk one afternoon when she had gone in to get an expense report signed.  As usual, Iain had barely glanced at her as he looked over the paperwork, so she took the opportunity to look around.  On the credenza were two framed photos:  one of Iain and Emma Stone, his then girlfriend, and one of Iain with June Watkins.  While the photo of the mother and son was a few years old, Marcy immediately recognized the woman as one of the ladies-who-lunched who visited the yoga studio at her gym.

Well, well… it looked like she and Iain Sommers were about to have something in common.

Marcy had been fascinated by Iain since she first laid eyes on him on her first day as an administrative assistant at Marsters, Stone and Shore but Iain had never given her a second look.  Her colleague Susan shook her head and smiled.  “That’s Iain Sommers, don’t bother.  First, he is living with the CEO’s granddaughter and second, he would never stoop to dating someone from the secretarial pool.”  Marcy simply nodded and thanked Susan for the warning.

Maybe Marcy-the-typist was beneath Iain but Marcy-who-lunched-with-his-mother was going to be a whole different story.  The next day she unfurled her brand-new purple yoga mat on the floor behind June Watkins and complimented her on pants she was wearing.  The week after, she positioned herself next to June and commented on how gracefully the older woman moved from one position to the next.  Within the month they had been regularly meeting for coffee after class and June was telling Marcy all about her wonderful son.

Their first set-up had been a disaster.  Iain had been cold and just short of rude when he saw that his mother had invited Marcy to dinner.  A few moments into the evening she overheard Iain in the kitchen with June as he accused Marcy of using his mother to “improve her station in life”.  Marcy feigned horror and embarrassment as she apologized profusely to June.  “I am so sorry June,” she lied.  “If I had any idea that your son was Iain Sommers I would have never agreed to come to dinner.  He is practically my boss.”

In the end June had sided with Marcy and told her not to be ridiculous.  She was her friend and she was staying for dinner – June would hear no arguments about it.  She also apologized for Iain’s behaviour and told her privately that he was under stress because things here not going well with Emma.

The lunches with June continued and Marcy did her best not to meet Iain’s eye as he gave her dirty looks at the office.  Whenever she had documents he needed to sign she asked a colleague to go for her.

Three weeks later she received the corporate memo from Marcus Stone announcing that Emma was moving to Chicago.  Iain returned to the office looking sullen and tired but no one dared to mention it.  Usually the women in the office noticed every move Iain made but since the break-up everyone was careful to keep their eyes on their computer monitors when he passed by:  everyone but Marcy.  She would simply look up at him and smile sympathetically before returning to her work.

At their lunch date Marcy nodded quietly as June told her about Emma and Iain breaking up during their trip to Europe.  “That’s horrible.  I noticed that he was looking distracted but I had assumed that he was just finding it difficult to manage their relationship over a long-distance.  What a shame.”

June looked up at her coolly.  “Really?  You and I both know the truth Marcy.  You don’t feel bad at all.”

“Well, she is all wrong for him,” Marcy said quickly.  “You have said it yourself, he deserves better.”

“Someone like you?”

“Yes,” Marcy said holding her head up high and staring the other woman in the eye.  “Someone just like me.”

June laughed.  “I was right.  I wondered at first if you had it in you.  I even talked to Marcus Stone when I realized that you and Iain worked in the same office.  He assured me that you had a good background, a good education and some interesting references.”

Marcy was relieved.  Apparently June had figured out her scheme and approved.  June Watkins would make and excellent mentor and mother-in-law.   She would also be a formidable opponent if crossed and Marcy knew that she would have to be very careful.  A starter-husband like Iain would only be around for a few years before she would move on to someone more successful.   I would be a difficult transition to manoeuvre without making an enemy of June.

But June of all people knew this marriage would not last forever.  June herself was already working on her next trade-up and Marcy wondered if she would still be in the picture when June finally landed Marcus Stone.  Marcy was glad that she did not have to tip her hand and admit that she already knew about the budding relationship between June and her son’s boss.

Marcy had a lot to learn but she was no amateur.  It was nice to have a wildcard up her sleeve.

gigglink on job by ingridfnl

3 Oct

The day after meeting Iain’s mom, Marcy couldn’t stop herself from giggling. She giggled in ER. She giggled when the a patient coughed up phlegm. She giggled when a small boy kicked one of the other nurses.

She just couldn’t help herself. She and Mary, well they’d gotten on like a house on fire. After Iain left, Marcy had managed to maintain the pseudo-Polish accent for a little while.

They entered Iain’s apartment and she said to Iain’s mother, “You sit hard workink mama. I make you some strong tea. Put hair on chest.”

“Oh thank you dear. None of Iain’s other cleaners ever made me tea before, I must say.” Mary then busied herself emptying out her bags of “goodies for Iain” and Marcy set up the kettle.

“He is nice boy, your son,” said Marcy.

“Yes yes, but he never seems to settle down. You know, when he was a boy, we worried about this. He was forever taking off his clothes in front of company. Obsessed with nudity,” Mary said, filling the cupboards with cans and boxes of cookies.

Marcy stifled a laugh and busied herself at the counter.

“He does this still,” Marcy mischievously asked Mary. “The stripping? In my country people would say, ‘He is strange one that boy.'”

Iain’s mother laughed. “Well, yes, they still do. After all have you ever seen a grown man spend quite so much time on his hair? It’s quite unbelievable. I keep telling him, you put that much product in your hair you will be prematurely bald. Premature, I tell you. But he doesn’t listen to me. No, I’m just a nuisance I think. I think he needs a good woman. One who cleans and makes tea…” Mary paused, “You know dear, there is on thing in particular I think that the right girl for Iain really needs.”

“What is that,” asked Marcy, “good vacuum cleaner? To pick up hairs on floor in bathroom?”

“No,” answered Iain’s mother, “a sense of humor and a great fake polish accent.”

Then the two of them drank some hot cups of tea and planned Iain’s week.

(Continued from Cleaning Lady)

the heir apparent by juleshg

26 Sep

“Have your earrings back.  Will bring them tmrw.  Flght lands @ 3”

June read the text quickly and smiled before slipping her phone back into her handbag.  Usually she ignored incoming messages when she was on a lunch date – after all the chime of a cell phone did not give one the permission to dispense with good manners – but she had been rather anxious to hear from Iain.

“Good news?” Marcy asked from across the table.

“Sorry, dear.  It was a message from my son Iain.  He had to fly to Chicago on short notice.  He wanted to let me know he would be home tomorrow.”  June smiled and nodded at her purse which lay on the table.  “I must admit that I never believed I would use text messaging.  But, Ian insisted on showing me how it worked and it has proved to be quite convenient.”

“I am very impressed.  My mother doesn’t even have a cell phone,” Marcy said closing her menu and looking up at June.  “It sounds like you and Iain have a wonderful relationship.  Have you always been close?”

“Iain’s father died when he was quite young so for a few years it was just him and me.  When he was a teenager I re-married and he pulled back a bit but we have always stayed in touch.”  June made it a habit to be vague about her background when she was with new people. It was hard to explain to explain four marriages in twenty-five years without sounding like gold-digger.   To some, she was a widow and a divorcee several times over but in her own mind June was a business woman: pure and simple.

She looked at Marcy and saw herself twenty years ago.  Marcy had sought her out at a yoga class a few months back and the two women became fast friends.  On several occasions, June would return from a lunch date and tell her husband Stanley how Marcy would be the perfect match for Iain.  At the time her son was living with Emma Stone but June knew that relationship would never last.  She may be the granddaughter of the successful Marcus Stone, her son’s mentor, but Emma was not cut out to be Iain’s wife.

Emma was a weak, timid, little woman who carried around that small, ugly dog as a security blanket.  Not willing to waste time waiting for Iain to see sense on his own, June set up a dinner party with both Iain and Marcy one weekend when Emma was out-of-town.  She had invited two other couples so her intentions were not painfully obvious but she had no doubt that both Marcy and Iain knew what she was up to.

The dinner had not turned out the way June had expected.  Iain was reserved and sullen.  Apparently Marcy worked as an administrative assistant in Iain’s office and her son was convinced that Marcy’s newfound relationship with June was no co-incidence.  “She is using you to get to me mother.  I think she sees me as her ticket out of the secretarial pool.”

Iain had demanded that his mother cut off ties with Marcy but June only smiled and changed the subject.  If this were true, if Marcy had orchestrated the entire relationship with June to get to her son, then perhaps the younger woman was more like June than she had previously thought: a kindred spirit.  Emma Stone did not have the wherewithal to get things done.   Clearly a woman like Marcy had some potential.

June smiled and looked up at Marcy imagining her wearing the pearl earrings she had sent Iain to retrieve.

cleaning lady by ingridfnl

26 Sep

Iain called his mother for the third time that day. After five rings he impatiently snapped his cell phone off.

Iain was panicking. By accident, his mother had met Marcy as they were leaving Iain’s place one morning.

“Yoohooo!” his mother had yelled. She approached them carrying two large bags of groceries. “Hello sweetie!”

Marcy stood like a dear in headlights. She’d wanted to take things slow. Meeting his mother was not in the cards.

“Mom,” Iain walked briskly toward his mother wanting to intercept. “Mom, it’s good to see you, I wasn’t expecting you. I’m just on my way out.” Iain attempted to turn his mother around back to her car and away from Marcy but she was too slippery for him. As she deaked out from under his guiding arm she walked briskly towards Marcy extending a hand from around the grocery bag.

“Heellloo! My name’s June, and you are?”

“I’m Marcy, I’m…,” Marcy stuttered.

“My cleaning lady,” interrupted Iain.

Marcy was in her nursing uniform so this was somewhat plausible. Iain thought he was doing what Marcy wanted, diverting the inevitable “meeting the mother” moment. But this seemed, now, to not be the case.

“Oh! Oh how nice! You are a very beautiful cleaning lady, I must say,” said his mother. “I may have some work for you. Let’s let Iain to to whatever is so important, and we can have a nice chat.”

Marcy sent Iain a passing glare and then, taking the groceries out of Mary’s arms said in a sudden Polish-sounding accent, “We go to Mr. Iain’s apartment, yes? We have some coffee. You tell me about your busy son.”

“Marcy, you don’t have to…” said Iain.

“Is no problem. You go,” and Marcy waved at him while winking.

Now, three hours later, Iain could not reach his mother or Marcy. No doubt his mother was scheming a setup with his supposed cleaning lady. And Marcy, she was going to sap this for everything it was worth.

He sighed and attempted to call Marcy yet again.

successful mergers by pheonix.writing

19 Sep

“Can you give me five minutes?”  Iain sighed as he heard Emma’s voice coming through the intercom.   “I am just finishing off an e-mail to Chris about the quarterly reports then I will be right out.  Perhaps Mr. Sommers would like a coffee.”

The grey-haired lady with the pinched face looked up at Iain and pointed to the leather chair in the waiting area beside him.  “It appears that Ms. Stone is running a little late this afternoon.  If you take a seat I will get you a coffee if you would like.  I am sure it won’t be long.”

Iain unbuttoned his jacket and sat down in the chair laying his briefcase on the small table beside him.  “Coffee would be lovely.  Black, please.”  While he had just finished his third cup of coffee on the way over, Iain could not imagine sitting there for five minutes under the watchful eye of Emma’s new assistant. If it was not for his mother – whose disapproving gaze could easily put this woman to shame – he would have left without even seeing Emma.

His mother was the one who had insisted he take the flight to Chicago in the first place.  He had wanted to call Emma but his mother had vetoed that idea immediately.  “These things must be handled delicately.  You have already made enough of a mess out of this situation.  Let’s not make it worst.”

The directive had come when he returned from a two-week trip to Europe and announced that he and Emma had split up.  “You did what?” she asked when he told her the story.

“I broke up with her.  We were sitting in the cafe in France taking a quick break and watching people walk by.  There was this one couple that was holding hands and laughing as they made their way up the street.  They were tourists, you could tell by their clothes and the huge camera hanging around his neck.  Anyway, the man stopped for a minute then leaned over to whisper something in the woman’s ear.  She laughed and he put his arms around her and they just stood there holding each other for a few moments before they kept walking.”

Iain took a deep breath before continuing.  He knew his mother would never understand how he felt.  Since his father passed away twenty-five years ago his mother had made her way through a series of marriages, each husband slightly more wealthy and successful than the last.  June Watkins did not believe in romance.  She believed in practicalities and marrying well.  Until that moment in Paris he had thought that he felt the same way.  It was why he had approached Emma Stone in the first place.

“It is hard to explain Mother.  This couple just seemed so at home with each other, so comfortable that it did not seem to matter what city or what country they were in.  They just wanted to be together,” he sighed knowing that he was doing a poor job of explaining such a pivotal moment in his life.   “I looked over at Emma and realized that I had never felt that way with her and I never would.   Before I knew what I was doing, I was breaking up with her.”

His mother remained silent on the other side of the line and Iain closed his eyes waiting for the inevitable disappointment in her voice.  “Iain, dear, that is all well and good but one cannot just leave a relationship without any thought.”

“Mother, I am not going to change my mind.  Emma is just not the woman for me.”

“Of course she is not; I had trouble ever believing she was.  But you insisted on moving in with her and I know you feel about her grandfather so your step-father convinced me to keep my opinions to myself.  I wondered if you had finally given up on your crazy romantic notions and realized that marriage was a business arrangement like any other.”

“Maybe I haven’t given up on romance.  Maybe I finally understand that there is more to relationships than a ‘successful merger’,” Iain said.  “I’m sorry that I hurt Emma but Mr. Stone understands and has made arrangements for Emma to move to another office so we don’t have of face each other every day.”

“… and the earrings?”

“The earrings?  Mother, I broke the woman’s heart in a city halfway across the world.  Since then she has had to leave her home and her friends and start a new job and a new life in a city sixteen hours away.  I think it would be a little much to call her now and ask for a pair of pearl earrings that I gave her on our six-month anniversary.”

“You listen to me Iain Sommers.”  Iain was silenced by the sudden icy tone in his mother’s always-calm voice.  “Those earrings were a gift from your father to me on our wedding day.  To be honest I was hesitant when you decided to give them to Emma but I assumed that you had made your decision and that an engagement was around the corner.  If Emma Stone is not going to be part of this family then those earrings should be returned to me.”

“But Mother…”

“But nothing!  You will call her, explain the sentimental importance of those earrings and get them back.”

Iain sighed.  Emma tended to be emotional and would never understand the cold-blooded logic that framed his mother’s view of life and love.   He looked up to see Emma’s assistant coming back to the room with a steaming cup of coffee.

“Thank you,” he said as he took the mug from her.  “May I ask a quick question?”

The woman nodded.

“Did I hear a dog earlier?”

The grey-haired lady smiled slowly.  “Yes, you did.  Snookie is here today for a visit.”

Shit, this was going to be even worse than he had imagined.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained by phoenix.writing

19 Sep

Iain was annoyed.  Whoever’d said “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” was an idiot.  No, wait, he knew who’d said it.

This was all his mother’s fault.

He’d spent his formative years listening to how risks needed to be taken to get what you wanted, how he was a clever and handsome, how lover conquered all, and—

Okay, so he wasn’t actually sure that he was in love, and he knew what his mother would probably say, but how the hell was he supposed to tell if it was love or not unless he had the chance to actually get involved?

Emma had been very good at ignoring his behaviour in the office, and he had waffled between thinking that she was uninterested and that she truly had no notion of his being interested.  He did have a tendency to flirt on automatic.

The cabin had seemed like the perfect solution. It had been something she wanted, and that hadn’t been easy to find; she already had a family, had a son and a dog she adored. She already had a career and she really knew her stuff.

That was how this had all started. Iain had been in awe of her knowledge, had appreciated all her help … and had finally noticed that he gravitated into her company whenever possible. It was hard to miss that she was gorgeous and everything he wanted in a partner, and who the hell cared if she was a bit older than he was?

The only thing that really mattered was that the people involved in a relationship cared about one another.

Iain had been quite sure that he had that one down, and the cabin had seemed the best way to discover how Emma felt.

It hadn’t exactly started off auspiciously. Well, that wasn’t really fair; she had been happy, and that was all that really mattered, but she had laughed off his suggestion of staying without even thinking about it.

He had left her there for her two weeks, therefore, knowing that she had more than earned them, knowing that it was a minor miracle that she had let him talk her into it, that she had really unplugged from work that completely.

But he had gone back with a plan, that refrain playing in the back of his head. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Away from the office had seemed like the perfect solution, and the alcohol, well….  He could hardly claim that the alcohol was innocent because it really wasn’t. He’d brought it absolutely with the intention of getting Emma to lower her guard a little.

Seeing her in a bathing suit dripping wet had only ensured that he didn’t feel at all guilty about what he was doing. He’d been perfectly willing to ensure that he was in the same sort of state and thus equally vulnerable.

He still couldn’t actually work out which one of them had moved first; he had wanted to wait for her, but he’d been horny by then, and there had been no doubt about her response, any of her objections seeming to be in form only, and it had been fantastic.

It had been even better the next morning when they had been sober—if a little hung over—and she hadn’t told him off.

He hadn’t been annoyed with his mom then. He’d actually thought that she was pretty clever.

And then they’d come back to the office.  Iain hadn’t made any attempt to bother Emma when she first got back; she’d be swamped, and the last thing he wanted to demonstrate was that he couldn’t behave professionally; he knew how important that was to her.

When they did finally cross paths—and he would never admit out loud just how anxious he had been by then—she had not been alone, and since he had made no secret of the fact that she was using his cabin and he had driven her there and picked her up, he couldn’t act like an idiot, overjoyed to see her again.

But he had been counting on the fact that they would get together afterwards. No matter how busy she was, she had to eat; that was the excuse he had used in the past, and he had thought that this time he wouldn’t have to pretend that it wasn’t a date.

But she had been cool and just shy of frosty in a way that told him that he was in serious trouble. He’d tried so hard for this, and now she wouldn’t even talk to him. Not only did he not get what he wanted, he’d totally screwed up their working relationship too.

This was why Iain was annoyed with his mother. She had acted like it was worth so many risks, and look at what had happened. Iain had screwed up his life completely.

Of course, his mom had also said that sex ruined many a good relationship, so it was possible that he should have paid a little more attention to some of her advice that wasn’t an excuse to have sex.

What was that saying about making your bed and having to lie in it?

Iain sighed.  Yeah, his mom had favoured that one, too.


Emma had her holiday in Away from It All.

prompt: iain is annoyed

13 Sep

Continuing from last week, tell a story about Iain. Iain is annoyed with his mother. That’s all. 😉 (Oh, and his mother’s name is June.)

Side comment: Bravo to pheonix.writing for completing last week’s on time! You are shaming the rest of us (or at least me). I promise I will write Emma. I want to write Emma. I was just a bit sick last week. I promise I”ll catch up!

Submit your story about Iain for this week by September 19th and I’ll publish them all at 9pm, CET.

Drop me a line with a character prompt suggestion at prompt AT icecreamisnicecream DOT com. ‘

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