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Episode 1: Part 3

Nicole is in the back of her driver’s Mercedes when her phone rings. She gets it out of her bag and discovers that it’s Paul. After a good ten seconds of strongly considering just letting it ring, she ends up answering after all.

“What?” she asks.

“‘What?’ You have a lotta nerve,” Paul says, out of breath. Rapid footsteps can be heard in the background.

“Are you running or jerking off?”

“Ha-ha, Nicole,” he deadpans. “Very funny. You know how much I enjoy your locker room talk. But how about ‘Oh, Paul, I’m so sorry for pawning off a client that I have a clear rapport with on Holden Vega, whose mother has a hard time liking him’?!”

Eyebrows raised, Nicole assesses the situation. This is the angriest she’s heard Paul sound in all the years of working with him. With how much she has pulled, the man is a saint, if you really think about it. One time she fucked the wife of some startup CEO just to prove a point that no, he does not have his shit together. But with that situation, the ends did justify the means — because it both worked, and he didn’t give a shit. In fact, he offered her a threesome.

“Okay, Paul,” she starts, calm as if talking to a cornered animal. “I know it looks bad, but you know I’d never compromise DL’s integrity. Right?”

“I don’t know,” Paul says and lets out a sigh. It’s followed by the sound of him chugging something from a plastic bottle. “You know why I pushed to make you partner, and not Matty? Because I got your back. But you need to have mine.”

Before she can make any promises, Paul hangs up, leaving her in silence for the rest of the ride. As benevolent as he is, he knows how to punish people. “I’m not angry, just disappointed.”

Don and Jacob meet Nicole on the first floor. They’re in the middle of arguing about whether Jacob’s Starbucks drink counts as coffee when she comes up to them.

“Besides, it doesn’t even fucking matter,” Don says. “My roommate at NYU used to brag about jizzing in people’s orders cause he was bored. So who knows?”

“I—” Jacob stops. A multitude of emotions crosses his face one after another. “No he didn’t. Don, that’s just—”

“You know you don’t have to wait for me, right?” Nicole interrupts, pressing the elevator button. The doors open immediately.

“I know, just seemed like a nice thing to do,” Jacob says as they walk in. “With the Holden situation and stuff.”

Pressing the button to go up, Don elbows him in the ribs.

“Fine, Jacob, I’ll bite,” Nicole sighs after a while. “What Holden situation?”

“He keeps telling people that you’re sabotaging DL and Paul is pissed at you.”

“He’s not pissed— Alright, he’s a bit pissed at me.”

Don and Jacob exchange a look.

“It doesn’t matter, Holden is a fucking drama queen,” Nicole says. “Anyone with a functioning brain is gonna take what he says with a truckload of salt.”

When the doors open, the gang heads to Nicole’s office. Aside from a few random looks, it doesn’t look like anyone knows or cares about what happened yesterday.

But as luck would have it, they stumble on Holden Vega himself (and his team) in one of the halls. It feels like a full on stand-off; you can practically hear the theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Strangely, Holden hasn’t thought of that as one of the nicknames.

“Oh hey, it’s the diversity pod,” he says in a sing-song voice. His crew chuckles approvingly, despite it being old material.

“How’s your wife, Holden?” Nicole deadpans. “Still dead?”

Jacob chokes on his coffee; Everyone else looks completely unperturbed.

“She is and will stay that way, God willing,” Holden mutters. “So what’s up with you and Johnny? I get you, you’re like two engagements away from retirement. Why’d you suicide bomb dumb and dumber over here?”

Nicole sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose.

“We don’t do this. You wanna Pretty Woman his shitty little snake oil company this bad? Be my guest, but do it in your spare time, because it’s not our job. We’re not a fucking PR firm.”

“We are, if the client wants us to be.”

“You’d make a good hooker, Holden.”

“Thank you, I’ve always thought I had the legs for it.”

Fed up with the conversation, Nicole walks past him, but stops and turns around for a moment.

“You know there’s no hope for him or any company he starts, right? He’ll fuck it up. You’re free to have my sloppy seconds, but think about it.”

“Oh, okay. Just one more thing,” Holden says, running up to her. “Johnny wanted me to give you this.”

He hands her a white envelope. When Nicole unwraps it, she expects something like a piece of paper with “fuck you” on it. Or anthrax. What she doesn’t expect is an invitation to a dinner fundraiser hosted by none other than Johnny. It’s surprisingly classy, with gold lettering on a black background. There’s a handwritten message in the corner saying “thanks 4 believing in me! c u soon, bring the boys”, written in white marker.

“See, he wanted to give you this after the meeting, but then you told him off, so…” Holden clicks his tongue, self-satisfied. “But anyway, first rule of Vega PR — make amends.”

“That’s Alcoholics Anonymous, dipshit,” Nicole says.

Drowning any guilt rising to the surface, she shoves the invitation card in Jacob’s chest and walks off. With some trouble, Jacob catches the card before it falls to the ground, dropping his drink in the process. Doesn’t really matter, as Don snatches the invitation from him anyway and gives it a brief scan.

“Child cancer,” Don muses. “Pretty serious. And uh, Lil Jon is performing. Apparently. Think we should go?”

“I’m not doing anything,” Jacob says. “Are you doing anything?”

“Always. But not on… June seventh at six p.m.”

They consider the idea. Would it be weird to go without Nicole? Because it’s kind of like going to hang out with your friend’s ex and not mentioning it.

“Are we disinvited?” Jacob asks Holden.

“Johnny said you’re all good. Bring mommy too, once she signs the divorce papers,” he answers. “I don’t want to see a Parent Trap situation though, okay?”

“Didn’t even consider it,” Don says, honestly.

“Yeah? Well, don’t start to,” Holden mutters. “Shoo. Go get a nice suit or something. I’m talking to you, Bradley. Or whatever the fuck your name is, four-eyes.”

Not waiting for a response, he walks away; the associates follow after him, obedient and cult-like. Jacob looks at Don with some confusion.

“What’s wrong with my suit?”

“Do you want a brief rundown, or should I just load up PowerPoint?”

“Alright, noted,” Jacob mutters, about to say something when Don stops him.

“I know a guy,” Don starts.

“A guy?”

“Uh-huh. He makes suits. And he’d be willing to give you a discount of zero percent ‘cause we’re not friends and he knows his shit.”

“Do I have to—”

“I’ll text you the details,” Don says, completely ignoring him as he catches up to Nicole. “Listen, you have money now, it’s about time you stop wearing your dad’s suits to work!”

“I told you that in confidence, and I did it once!” Jacob cries after him. “Where are either of you going?!”


2 responses

  1. Jack

    “one time she fucked the wife” OH, NICOLE. HELLO.

    Please, I need to know Jacob’s Starbucks order to live. Is it a Frappuccino? Is he drinking a milkshake in the morning?

    GOD HOLDEN IS SO GROSS, I’M ENAMORED NGL.

    So stoked for this party. Need to know how Don and Jacob fare, and if it’s poorly. Is this where the boner pills come in? God I HOPE.

    1. honestly nicole is probably bi (and aro) but with the compartmentalizing never even thought about it, not once

      chocolate chip frappucino hands down – he’s a baby boy!!!!

      holden is worryingly fun to write, there’s really something about a gross man with a dead wife

      lmaooo if i named parts the boner pills would definitely be in the name
      it’s gonna be fun! also these comments really make my day, so thank you :^)

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