Home' LOTL : October 15 Contents 36 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Executive assistant Alex Young poked her head inside
Jason’s office. She held up a bag.
“Ahh! The finished masterpiece,” Jason exclaimed. “Time
for the unveiling?”
“Yep.” She pulled out and gently unwrapped a tall, rustic
cylinder. On one side was a brilliant yellow flower. The
glaze had cracked in the most astonishing way.
“Oh Alex...” He exhaled. “It’s stunning.”
“Isn’t it?” Alex smiled in delight. “This is the result of
months of night pottery classes and about a hundred
attempts. But it’s gonna be perfect.”
“What? It’s already perfect.”
“So, um, right. I’m doing it.”
Alex grinned. “You’re the best, Jase.” She carefully re-
wrapped her creation. “I just didn’t want to make a fool of
myself, but you’ve said it’s OK, so I feel more confident.”
“Alex, you’re making as much sense as the senator after
her fifth appletini.”
“Uh-huh. When do you ever go drinking with Eleanor
Whitfield? I know for a fact she ‘doesn’t consume any
concoctions that a teenage girl would smuggle into her
school formal’. Direct quote.”
Jason looked sheepish. “You got me – I was guessing.
“Sorry – have to run. Eleanor needs her kale soup in
Eighteen minutes later, Alex rushed into her boss’s office,
poured the soup from its takeout container into a bowl,
placed a spoon beside it, and rushed back to her desk,
making fleeting eye contact with the office assistant
Fiona gave a smirk, which Alex ignored, and set to work
wrapping her present.
She felt the air shift as Senator Whitfield arrived in the
outer office, her cool gaze sweeping the room.
Ordinarily, Alex would take a moment to properly study
the forty-nine-year-old. Today the charismatic blonde had
poured herself into a tight navy pencil skirt and a gray
blouse. Two buttons undone. Pearl earrings.
Alex, however, was too busy hiding her wrapping to do
her usual appreciative glance.
“Get me a meeting with Senator Haverfield,” the sena-
tor snapped. “The cretin wants to back down on my
domestic violence bill. He wants to quibble on degrees
of assault? Then call Richard. He can’t change custody
weekends without notice. Is my lunch here?”
Eleanor peered at Alex.
“Your soup’s on your desk, Senator.”
“What were you hiding when I came in?”
“Nothing.” Alex smiled brightly.
“It didn’t look like nothing. I do not pay you to do arts and
crafts during work time.”
She stalked into her glass-walled office and sat. She made
no move to eat.
Alex jumped up, surprised that the senator wanted to
continue her teardown. Was gift-wrapping at work really
so bad? She scampered into Eleanor’s office and shut
“Sorry, you caught me.” She placed her present on the
“I hardly think the workplace is the location to pretty up
your romantic gifts.”
“You told Fiona earlier that it’s your seventh anniversary.”
Alex suddenly grasped the problem. “Susan and I haven’t
dated since, um, that night at the fundraiser. I told Fiona it
would have been our seventh anniversary, not that it was.”
She swallowed. By unspoken agreement, they never
discussed the fundraiser. Why Alex had quit during it or
why Eleanor had taken her back later without a word.
“Then what’s this for?” Eleanor asked, prodding the gift as
though it were diseased.
“Oh!” Alex grinned. “I was going to give it to you when you
were leaving but, well, here. I made it in class and thought
She watched as perfectly manicured fingers plucked at
“I...if you don’t like it, that’s OK.” Alex bit her lip. “You can
just give it back to me, I’ll understand...”
Oh God, what HAD she been thinking? You don’t give
Eleanor Whitfield home-made gifts.
“Alexis.” Eleanor exhaled, silencing her. She drew out the
pottery, studying every angle. When her eyes fell to the
glorious sunflower, her lips gave an upward twitch.
She placed it on her desk. It wobbled slightly.
“Oh,” Alex gasped. “I can fix that. You just sand it down a
Eleanor flicked her a quelling glance and cleared her
“Why does this make you think of me?”
“Oh.” Alex blushed. “It’s got its flaws, but it’s so intriguing. It
has such heart.”
“You feel I’m flawed?” Eleanor’s eyebrow arched.
“Aren’t we all?” Alex squeaked.
“And what does it...do?”
“Well it’s a container. You could put your red pens in it. You
go through so many,” Alex suggested cheekily.
“That I do,” Eleanor confirmed, amused. “Alexis?”
“Yes?” Alex asked breathlessly.
“Take my soup and warm it up. It’s gone cold during this
show and tell over your...silly little pretty flower.”
Alex gasped, crushed. Then she grabbed the bowl and
rushed to the kitchen.
By the time she returned, she felt humiliated. She
dropped the soup back on Eleanor’s desk, careful not to
look at anything beyond her own feet. She heard her boss
pick up her spoon and hurried out again.
She was derailed by the sight of Fiona, who was pum-
melling her things into a box as though packing were a
“What are you doing?”
“She FIRED me!”
“What? I was only gone five minutes!”
“Well she only needs five seconds. And screw you. God,
that innocent act of yours has everyone going – hell, even
she buys it - but not me.”
Alex counted to ten. “How did your getting fired become
“Ask HER. And I know you think the sun shines out of her
smug ass, but she did just throw your stupid flower thing
just now. She’s pure bitch.”
A security guard arrived. Fiona sneered, snatched up her
box, and clomped out.
Alex blinked. Threw her flower thing? THREW IT?
“Alexis...” floated from the office.
She ran inside, her gaze searching.
“When you’ve done gossiping with the former help, I need
you to track down Jason. We need...”
Alex’s mouth fell open. Shards of smashed pottery were
piled on the desk. Shoved to one side.
“You b-broke it?”
Eleanor paused. A faint redness spidered up her neck.
“There is business at hand.”
“If you didn’t like it you could have said. You didn’t have to
Eleanor’s eyes hardened. “You believe I felt strongly
enough about your trinket to destroy it? I don’t have time
for this, especially now I am down an assistant.”
“But it was a gift!”
She couldn’t believe how foolish she’d been. Caring for
the ice queen and thinking that just maybe...
“I did not ask you to do anything for me but your job.
Failure to understand this simple task...“
“I know,” Alex murmured. “You’ll fire me like Fiona.”
“You are nothing like that creature. Count yourself lucky.”
“Lucky? I see. Well, I’ll be going.”
“I haven’t finished...”
“Yeah, you have. I didn’t get it before, but now I do.”
“What?” Eleanor demanded. “What exactly is it that you
Alex stroked a piece of pottery. “I thought you were
someone else, and that’s why I went back the night of the
fundraiser. Not for the job. Hell, my old journalism position
paid more. I went back for you.”
She lifted a shard with a petal on it and turned it to
Eleanor. “A flower is beautiful but it’s fragile. It has to
be treated with care to thrive. Otherwise it dies.” She
dropped it. “Do you need a month’s notice?”
“I...” Eleanor stopped, voice strangled. “You can leave
when you wish. I won’t stop you.”
Alex looked at her boss sadly. “OK. I’ll miss...” She didn’t
finish. Saying ‘I’ll miss who I thought you were’ was a little
She felt Eleanor staring from her office as she packed up
her things. Four years crammed into one little box. Her
broken heart squeezed under the cardboard flaps.
She hefted the box and turned to go. Eleanor’s face was
set in stone.
Eleanor Whitfield had never been more enraged by a
staffer in her twenty-five years in politics. Fiona had been
lucky to escape with her shapely neck unthrottled.
The assistant had slithered into her office just after Alex
left. The soup hadn’t needed heating, of course, but
Eleanor needed a moment to collect herself. Her gaze had
fallen to the pottery the second Alex had left, clutching
She’d sighed. Why did the silly girl have to go and do that?
Her mind returned to the day, a year ago, that Alex’s
shock resignation had robbed Eleanor of her presence
for an anxious eleven hours. They never spoke of it. Their
fight about Eleanor firing a close ally to ensure a bill she’d
championed passed. It was just politics. The ally had
understood; Alex hadn’t.
Their fight had almost peeled the paint off the ceiling of
her suite. It felt so personal. Alex’s hurt brown eyes had
looked so betrayed. That was another of the things they
never discussed. Which was how Senator Whitfield liked it.
SILLY LITTLE PRETTY FLOWER BY LEE WINTER
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