Please Note: This is a sequel to Jst Some Guy.
That Guy Again
It was pretty neat. I mean I applied for that program at Wayne Corp, where I work and they let me in so I could train as a junior exec and maybe, someday, get a real promotion into a real job there. You know—one where I'm not working in a cubicle in the middle of a big room. Pretty okay for starting as a secretary—I mean assistant. That was like almost a year ago now and now I'm really liking it. I almost have my own office—I share a space with just one other trainee and we get along great. Well, pretty well, anyway. Most of the time.
Sometimes Sarah and I went out for dinner after work and once we went to a movie together. I'm not sure if she was bored spending time with me—I kinda think maybe she was—but she's nice and she never says anything mean or nasty, not like a lot of the girls I used to work with.
I still see those nasty girls, Sandy and the rest, and they're just as mean as ever but they try to hide it because I outrank them now, kind of. I guess they're maybe afraid I'll get them in trouble and it's weird. I wouldn't; well, probably not, but I don't like having people afraid of me. It's creepy. I thought it might be fun but it isn't. I guess some people like it but not me so it's strange when I see them in the cafeteria. Mr. Wayne thinks it's a good idea for everyone to use the same lunch room so you see everybody there—the secretaries and the receptionist and the big guys in their fancy suits. I even saw Mr. Wayne there once and I think he was having a tuna sandwich so I tried one and now they're my favorite.
So, remember the Crown Prince? That's what Sandy and her friends call him but Dick Grayson is his real name and he's Bruce Wayne's sort of son. He was the one who suggested I apply for the program and I thought he was just setting me up or playing a nasty joke or something but it turned out he wasn't. He even sent me flowers last year, really pretty white roses, and then we went out to dinner but that was all. I knew it would be. I mean, it's not like I'm the kind of person he's used to hanging around with, right? I know that and so did he. He didn't say anything—he's too polite to do that but I knew as soon as he dropped me off that was that.
He was nice on our date, a real gentleman, but then he said that he was going to be busy for a while so I might not hear from him. Okay, I'm no brainiac, but I know a brush off when I hear one.
I never heard from him again and I wasn't surprised. I see him sometimes, though. Not often. He stops into the building once in awhile but it's usually to see Mr. Wayne or sometimes Mr. Fox. Once he stopped by and said hello to me but then he went upstairs and I'm okay with that. What would I say to him, anyway? I mean after I said hello and thanked him for like the ten millionth time for getting me my new job. Sometimes I wish he'd called me back. I know he won't, but it would be nice. People like the Crown Prince don't really spend time with people like me, not really. They may be polite and all of that but they stay with their own kind. It's just the way it is.
He's a nice guy, though, even if he doesn't want to go out with me.
Anyway, one day about a month ago there was this really big meeting upstairs and all the fancy-schmancy bigwigs were supposed to be there. It was some kind of merger and on top of that, I heard Mr. Wayne had some ideas about how maybe the company could help the people who live around the headquarters building—like maybe build them a new clinic and a day care center or something. I think it may have really been Mr. Fox's idea but if Mr. Wayne wants everyone to think it was his idea, that's okay. It's his company, right? His name is on the building, even if he's supposed to be kinda a playboy jerk kind of guy.
I wanted to ask Dick about that when we went out but I didn't. That's his father, sort of, and I didn't want him to think I'm rude. I wondered, though. I read the magazines, just like everyone does, standing in the checkout line at the supermarket and Bruce Wayne is always in them with some really pretty society lady, though I think a lot of them look like they're pretty snooty but if that's what he likes, that's his business. I bet Dick could tell some stories if he wanted to, though. I don't know how he grew up so well living with that kind of thing going on and never knowing who was going to be sitting at the breakfast table, but he turned out all right even with that. He's a real nice guy—did I say that? He sure was to me, anyway. Even if he didn't ask me out again, he was still real nice.
I used to think anyone that good looking had to be kind of snooty or conceited or stupid, but he isn't. He's just a real nice guy. I think he has a lot that he thinks about, too—not like some rich, handsome guys. He's smart. He has things on his mind and that makes him even better, if you know what I mean.
So, anyway, I get called to help out with this big meeting. My job was to make sure that everyone had whatever they needed so it could go smoothly. You know, I was supposed to make sure they had pens and pads and water and clean glasses and coffee and then make sure a nice lunch was ready when they took a break. At first I was afraid that I was supposed to cook something or make sandwiches but then Sarah said I should call and have it catered. I think she kind of rolled her eyes when I wasn't looking, but I'm glad that she said something. I mean I probably would have made a bunch of tuna sandwiches because I know Mr. Wayne likes them.
Okay, it's not that I'm dumb. I'm not, but I've never done anything like this before and I was kind of lost. You don't want to walk around asking people what you should be doing all the time because then they think you're a dope, but you don't want to mess up, either. Sometimes it's hard to know what you're supposed to do.
So this big meeting gets started. I guess I should tell you that it was January and the weather was pretty messy. It was supposed to snow later that day but it hadn't started yet so everyone showed up on time. Talk about all your big shots!
Mr. Wayne was there and Mr. Fox and the whole board and then the mayor came in—and he's this really rich guy who owns everything Mr. Wayne doesn't. There were a couple of movie stars—I don't go to too many movies because they cost like almost $10 a ticket, but even I know Brad and Angie when I see them. He was really sweet, but she seemed pretty stuck up. I think they were going to help publicize the new things and that's why they were there. I know they sure got their pictures taken a lot. They didn't have anything to do with the merger, at least I don't think so, but I guess they would help bring in some more money for the charity stuff. I think that's why they were there for a while—they left as soon as the photographers did, though. I noticed that.
That's when the real meeting started and it was kind of interesting. I mean I know Mr. Wayne is supposed to be kinda dumb and he didn't say much but I could kind of tell that he was paying pretty close attention to what was going on. I think so, anyway. He was doodling on his pad but then he passed Mr. Fox a note while I was pouring coffee for people and I think Mr. Fox asked a question that was on that paper.
I think maybe he isn't nearly as dumb as people think he is.
Around noon they all stood up and decided to have lunch. They all kind of wandered into the other conference room and they all found tables and got their food—Mr. Wayne seems to like buffets because it makes things easier and costs less, even though he has all this money. I guess he wants to hold onto it, though. Just as everyone started eating the fancy food I ordered, all this Italian stuff from a real top of the line catering place. There was no baked ziti at all and no pizza—some of the stuff I wasn't even really sure what it was but they all seemed to like it. Then I saw the Prince walk in. He was looking all cleaned up and spit and polish in a dark gray suit and tie. He didn't see me at first, or I don't think he did—okay, not like he'd say anything to me in a place like that. I know.
The Prince—that's what I call Dick because that's what he is. He's the Prince around here and I guess everyone knows it. I think he knows it, even though he tries to act like he's just a regular guy.
I know he was People's sexiest man of the year and all, and my mom used to say that handsome is and handsome does, but he just has this look about him and you know he wouldn't do anything mean to anyone. He's not snooty or anything, either. Oh man, if I'd known who he was that first night when I met him I don't think I could have opened my mouth, I'd have been so scared. I was reading the Inquirer last week and it said he was dating someone from the company, which was creepy, because I didn't think he'd ever talk about that kind of thing to reporters, but maybe I was wrong. I don't think I was, but you never know.
I don't even think he saw me there in the background because he went straight over to say something to his dad and Mr. Fox. They both stood up as soon as he walked over to them and made a big deal over him so they weren't about to even notice me.
Sandy the bitch was one of the workers who somehow managed to get assigned to work the lunch because she wanted to see all the big-shots who were going to be there and, man, she couldn't wait to make some snotty comments about that. I just hate her, I really do. I try not to let her bother me, but sometimes she does. I know I should just ignore her but it's not always easy, you know? Then she said I was even dumber than she'd thought because I could be making a lot of money and I was just letting it slide. Oh, right, like I'm going to quit and start all over somewhere else. I don't think so.
Anyway, the lunch was going pretty well. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and the food was disappearing pretty fast—I was really glad that the caterer had a lot in the back. So everything was fine, even when I was watching Dick get flirted with by that nose in the air vice president—Tracy Wiggins. I don't like her, all tall and skinny and dyed blonde and too smart for her own good. I bet she just likes Dick because he's supposed to inherit the whole company some day but I bet he sees right through her. He's smart like that, smart about people. I think he was happy that she was seated at a different table than he was. I know I was, anyway.
Dessert was just about over and I was out in the hallway making sure that everyone was where they were supposed to be and doing what they were supposed to be doing when I heard the commotion in the dining room.
I went in and there was Ms Snottypants, Ms. Wiggins turning red and holding her throat. Heimlich, anyone? Okay, Dick and even Mr. Wayne were looking like they were trying to clear people away from the woman but they hadn't tried anything except ask someone to call 911. Well, jeez, everyone knows how to do this, right?
I went right over, didn't even think about what I was doing or anything, and grabbed the skinny bitch from behind and wrapped my arms around her diaphragm and gave her a couple of good hug and jerk. This really big hunk of shrimp came flying out of her mouth like it was spring loaded or something. It was pretty gross but it's not like the poster isn't on the wall of every restaurant in the universe, right?
Oh man, you'd have thought I'd just done something amazing and I know I didn't so it was kind of embarrassing. I just did what anyone would, y'know? Ms Snooty Blonde started crying and then thanked me and thanked me and thanked me again. Mr. Wayne and Mr. Fox both made a big deal over me and insisted on shaking my hand and hugging me and stuff—it was kind of disconcerting. Even Dick looked at me like I was a real person instead of someone invisible most people walk past and never even notice and that bothered me. I thought that of all the people there, he would be the one who would see me as a real person anyway, even if I hadn't helped Ms. Snottypants.
I guess that's what I'm used to, being invisible, I mean, so this having all these important people making such a fuss was kind of uncomfortable, if you know what I mean. But Dick gave me this really nice look, like he was proud of me or something and it made me feel really good, all warm inside and happy.
Anyway, Dick went over to his dad and kind of spoke quietly to him while the paramedics arrived and then Mr. Wayne came over and said that, if I was free, he'd like me to join him for dinner that night. I mean, ciminey. Me and Bruce Wayne? Talk about your Mutt and Jeff, right? Then he said that, if I'd be more comfortable, Dick could join us and I guess I knew he didn't really want to have dinner with me and was just being polite after I did the Heimlich on Ms. Snottypants.
That's okay. I know he was jus being polite but it wasn't like I could turn him down or anything, could I?
I wanted to just thank him and say I had to wash my hair or wait for a phone call or something when Dick said that they'd really like to have me join them and had something they wanted to discuss with me. Well, golly—what was I supposed to do? I pretty much had to say I would, right?
So, okay. Lunch ended and I was pretty much done after I made sure that the meal was cleared away and everything was cleaned up. The meeting went right on almost as if nothing happened and I was back in my shared office with Sarah when Sandy the bitch stopped in to ask if it was true that I was having dinner with both the boss and the Crown Prince. I think I said something real sharp like 'Uh-huh' and she just gave me this nasty look and said something about how nice it was that father and son liked to share.
I swear, I really hate her. My mom always said that we aren't supposed to hate anyone, but—golly, I make an exception for her. She's so nasty, trying to ruin it for me. People like that; they're just so—awful. They just can't let you be happy, can they?
I more I thought about it, I knew that going to dinner was a great big mistake. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be a huge mess. It wasn't that I thought that Mr. Wayne and the Prince would try anything gross like Sandy said but I just knew they were going to take me to some really fancy hoi-poloi place and I'd end up spilling everything and dropping my fork. I just knew it and even though they'd be too polite to say anything, as soon as they got home they'd laugh at me.
And I didn't know what to wear or anything and it wasn't like I could run home and change into my brand new Paris original. Golly, I get most of my things at Marshall's and TJ Maxx and on the clearance racks over at Casual Corner. This whole thing was just going to be a disaster, I just knew it.
I was practically crying and about to pick up the phone and call Mr. Wayne's secretary to tell him I couldn't make it when Dick just kind of appeared in front of my desk. I swear, I thought Sandy would drop her teeth when she saw that. He even kind of casually sat his hip on the edge of the desk and smiled at me and leaned in like we were friends. I know I was turning red, blushing to beat the band, but he just talked to me like it was the most normal thing in the world.
"So, we had Italian for lunch, what would you like for dinner? What's your favorite restaurant?"
Like I have a favorite restaurant, right? Wendy's? The Anchor Diner? I think he knew I didn't have a clue so he kind of saved me.
"How about a really good steak; does that sound okay to you?"
I couldn't find my tongue too well and I think I just kind of nodded and he smiled at me but not nasty—more like he was being really nice again.
"So we'll pick you up at your place at seven. Is that good for you?"
"We?" I think I kind of croaked it, my throat felt like it just wouldn't work.
"Bruce and me. 'Seven all right? And don't bother dressing up—just wear what you have on, it's a really informal place but it has the best steaks you've ever tasted."
I know I just nodded and he left, but he leaned over and gave me this peck on the cheek first.
Dick knocked on my door at seven on the dot. He was just wearing jeans and they were even Levi's, just like I figured he'd wear. None of those fancy $400 blue jeans for him, thank goodness. Mr. Wayne was in the car and he was even driving instead of having some flunky at the wheel. Of course it was a fancy-schmancy Bentley but what would you expect, right? I know I shouldn't have, but I looked it up the next day and the silly car cost almost four hundred thousand dollars. For a car! A convertible—it wasn't even a hard top. Golly, if my mom ever saw that I know she'd give him a talking to about being a spendthrift, no matter how much money he may have in the bank, for goodness sake. I guess the other half really are different and it was a really nice car, but good lord!
We were driving and Dick sat in the back so I could ride shotgun but Dick said, pretty quietly so I almost didn't hear it, "I can't believe you brought this stupid car tonight." And Mr. Wayne gave him this sort of warning look in the rearview mirror and said, "Just drop it." I saw Dick kind of look annoyed but he didn't say anything else about the car.
He drove us to this little hole in the wall place near Bludhaven, the kind of place I'd be afraid to go into by myself, let alone with a super expensive car parked outside. I almost said something, but neither of them seemed worried and so I figured I shouldn't worry either. I think it was a silly thing to do, though—it could have been stolen but then Dick whispered that it had a really good security system and so I should just relax and enjoy myself.
"Besides, it's insured." That made me laugh and Mr. Wayne turned and looked kind of mad at Dick, but he didn't say anything and we went inside.
Anyway, the place was all dim lighting and kind of a dive but the owner knew Mr. Wayne. They shook hands and the owner made a big fuss over him and made sure that he liked the table and everything but he did it in a way so that other people didn't stare or anything. I got the feeling that he'd been there a lot and that maybe he liked being a regular or something.
I felt pretty awkward but I didn't say anything and we sat in a booth and it was all dark wood and seemed really old. Dick and Mr. Wayne kept up a line of talk about the meeting and how impressed they were with me but it was kind of embarrassing. They were both drinking beers—did I mention that Dick was sitting next to me, across from his dad? He didn't try anything like pressing his leg against me or anything but I really knew he was there, if you know what I mean.
We all ordered steaks and potatoes—plain stuff, and then started on the salads. It was all really good but I knew that there a shoe waiting to be dropped and sure enough, about halfway through our steaks, Mr. Wayne really casually asked me if I'd be interested in being his personal assistant.
I think I managed to not actually say 'Huh?, but I'm not sure.
"I'm looking for someone bright and committed to the job—it wouldn't be a regular nine to five thing; I'd need you available evenings when I have to entertain and you'd have to come in early sometimes for meetings. My last assistant is out on maternity leave and I strongly suspect she won't want to return to the workforce when it's over so I need a new right hand assistant, someone I can count on—think it's something you might be interested in?"
Mr. Wayne waited for my answer right that moment and I swear, I didn't know what to do. I think I just stared at him and that was kind of embarrassing and I know he probably thought I was just plain stupid. I almost started crying but then Dick, who was watching this, chimed in. "The starting pay is—what did you say, Bruce? I believe it was a hundred a year with full benefits and there's usually a pretty decent Christmas bonus, too. Plus you get to travel when he does, usually Paris, London and Tokyo but that can change so you have to be flexible—and you'd have to get a passport if you don't have one. There's also a pretty good clothes allowance, right?" Mr. Wayne just nodded, waiting and I think he was getting kind of annoyed that I was keeping him waiting.
"But what made you ask me, Mr. Wayne? I mean you never even met me." Oh jeez, I hope that didn't sound like I thought he'd try to hit on me or something, even though I kind of wondered if that was what he was thinking—of course then I thought another second and realized that about the dumbest thing I'd ever thought of.
"Dick suggested that you'd be the right person for the job and I trust his judgement."
Oh my gosh, I just knew I wasn't the right person, but golly—if I said no then he'd think I was just a real jerk who never wanted to do anything more than run a Xerox machine. Even if it only lasted a couple of weeks, it would be a pretty neat couple of weeks. "It sounds wonderful and I can start whenever you want, Mr. Wayne. Thank you!" He gave me this smile and I just knew that the prince had something to do with this. I just knew it. If it were anyone else I'd think it was just some mean joke, but this was different and maybe, if Dick thought I could do it, well, maybe.
I guess the rest of the evening was pretty much of a blur but later, when they dropped me off at my apartment and I was alone again I started to really get the shakes. I mean, golly—what was I thinking? What was Mr. Wayne thinking? It had to be Dick, the prince must have said something and I guess that was really nice, but I just know that I'm going to mess it up and then I'll get fired and everyone will laugh at me again, just like always.
Maybe it wasn't too late, maybe I could call early in the morning and say it was all a mistake and that I had some time to think about it and it just won't work out. Or maybe I could just write him a note and give my notice to HR at the same time. That might be better, that way I won't have to actually talk to him or anything because he sort of scares me. He scares me a lot.
But then the next morning I went to my old desk—I was supposed to clean it out so I could move to an office upstairs next to Mr. Wayne's and it was already packed up. Some guys were putting a couple of boxes on a dolly to set up fifteen floors above us. Golly, I just followed them and when I saw my new office my eyes just about popped. It was kind of nice, though. Someone had put a big vase of fresh flowers on the desk and there was this big window that had this amazing view and I could hardly believe it. There was even a note with the flowers from Mr. Wayne—or his secretary, and it said "Welcome and I'm thrilled you've agreed to take me on. Lunch at one so we can get you up to speed. BW.
But that afternoon, when I was leaving the building because I had to get a cocktail dress so I could take notes at a fancy dinner meeting Mr. Wayne was having that night, I ran into Sandy the bitch and she was her usual really mean self. She made all these nasty remarks about how I got the job and the 'benefits' and she was just so awful when she said it. She even made sure that some of the other nasty girls were standing around and they were all laughing and I wanted to cry.
Instead I just took the elevator downstairs so I could get the dress and the shoes I didn't want now. I'd tell Mr. Wayne in the morning. I just couldn't do this, I wasn't the right person and I was silly that he'd even considered me at all.
So the next morning I went to my new office and was about to see if Mr. Wayne had a minute when his secretary, Carol, came in and said she needed to ask me something. She said she'd heard that some of the pool secretaries were causing problems and selling stories to the tabloids. She wanted to know if I'd heard anything because, even though the stories were all false, they were becoming an annoyance. Then she said they were about how Mr. Wayne and his son were hitting on some of the women in the company—which was false. It was becoming enough of a problem that they had to be dealt with. Golly.
They wanted me to spy?Carol said no, they were just wondering if I'd heard anything.
Then she asked me how the dinner meeting went last night and I was about to tell her that I was going to hand in my notice. Then she started talking about how Mr. Wayne was saying he was really pleased with how I'd acted last night and I thought that was really nice so I didn't quit just yet and I guess I changed my mind, at least for now. I did almost cry though. She said—and she was really nice about it, but she said that when I as out doing errands or whatever, I should really think about stopping in at Calvin Klein or Dona Karan and get some new work clothes. I almost asked why, but I didn't bother. I know—this is the big time and stuff left over from college just weren't going to cut it. She even said something about knowing Mr. Wayne always gave a generous clothing allowance so, well, you know.
Gosh, it was so embarrassing.
Later, at lunch in the big lunchroom I was sitting with Sarah over by the window when Sandy came over with her salad and made this really crummy remark about how nice it was that my benefits were starting already with that fancy dinner last night. Sarah was quicker than me and asked how she knew about it and Sandy just gave her this nasty look and said that she had her sources. Then she said I should be really making some realmoney now and changed her mind about what table to sit at. I think—well, golly, the way she said it made it seem like I was being paid for more than just being Mr. Wayne's assistant, if you know what I mean and if that shows up in those awful newspapers…well. That would be terrible. My mom reads those things and I know she believes everything in them like it's gospel.
I think that's when I finally figured it out and I felt pretty stupid it had taken me so long. So after lunch I went over to Carol's desk and said that I might have an idea about who was selling stuff to the grocery store papers. That's all I did, I swear. I just said I thought it was possible it could be her and before you could say Jack's your brother, Sandy was fired and headed out the door and I think she's being sued for breach of contract and whatever else they're going to sue her for.
I never got anyone fired but it turned out she'd been going through all kinds of things to get her information, even though most of it was just nothing—like me and Dick going out one night she turned that into some creepy one night affair. Then the strangest thing happened and I could hardly believe it; Mr. Wayne came out of his office a few days later and walked right over to my desk around the corner from him and thanked me personally and even had some really beautiful flowers sent to my apartment. He was just so sweet; really nice and I think I maybe don't think anyone ever sees how nice he can be when he wants to.
I know he has this reputation for being kind of a dope, but he really isn't. Sometimes he says things that make you wonder what on earth he's thinking—or if he even is thinking, but I guess he's a lot smarter than he lets on.
I think Dick is more handsome, though. I know a lot of people don't agree and that's okay, I don't mind or anything.
I know neither of them thinks anything about me at all, aside from me being one of the girls in the office. It's not like I ever thought they'd end up being a couple of white knights swinging in to rescue me or anything—that's the junk that only happens in movies or comics books or something but that's okay, too.
It would be kind of cool if it really happened, but I know better.
And I have this really neat job now.