Scarlett did not look directly at the painting next day morning. It was like she was avoiding a real person, stealing surreptitious glances all the while. Maybe she was really was drunk yesterday night. With another sneak at the painting, she left for the office. On the other side of the frame Tristan was anxious. She wouldn’t look at him. Not a good start for the day.
Scarlett didn’t know how and when she reached office. Her mind was plagued with the thoughts of supernatural and things which defied logic and science.
“Madam, You are in the wrong building. Your elevator is on the other side of the block. ”
Scarlett looked at the security and around the lobby for two minutes. “What? I am wrong right? ”
“Excuse me ma’am, what is wrong?”
“Huh… Wrong is what is not correct . That’s right. Aren’t we all wrong once in a while? But I know I am right. No one will believe that I am right, that’s another thing. What is right will be right, even if you don’t agree in the beginning. That correct, right, you get what I mean?”
“I think so, Ma’am.”
“Nevermind. You are right. It’s the wrong building. Thank you.”
Lost in thoughts, she had reached the Block C of Century Tech Park. Her office was on the other side of the building and she had to take the elevator for Block B. Not a good start for the day at all.
Scarlett reached her cabin and dumped her bags in the draw, and was about to start the system, when Leah Marshall from the Communications knocked, “Hi Scarlett, good morning.”
“Hi Leah, good morning. Whatsup..”
“Eh, aren’t you forgetting something?” Leah asked gingerly, bracing for all types of reactions. Scarlett was known for her unpredictable responses.
“What am I forgetting?”
“You really don’t remember?” Leah’s eyes looked ready to fall out of the socket if it got any more bigger. Scarlett felt a wee bit uncomfortable. What was she supposed to do today?
“Scarlett, we are meeting at the Kvenland hall to discuss the negotiations with Cosmos, you the one Mathew screwed up. And the meeting is up in like 10 minutes, 12-to be precise.”
Now it was Scralett’s eyes that threatened to fall off. How could she forget. She was the one who called the meeting. She had planned to work on the presentation once she reached home. Instead she had a rendezvous with the devil. Well, maybe not the devil, she didn’t really know. Now what was she going to say in the meeting?
“Oh yes, Leah, of course I remember, I remember. I thought you came to tell me something else. I’ll be there in some time.” She had already lost precious three minutes and Leah was still standing at the door, not looking convinced at all.
“Yes Leah? Anything else?”
“Well, no. I mean, not really. See you at the meeting then.”
With the door safely closed now, Scarlett groaned, her hands pressing into her scalp, in an attempt to wake up her brain cells and her lost presence of mind. “Focus. Focus. I need to focus. What do I need? What do I need? Answers, actually. Maybe a psychiatrist wouldn’t be bad either. Or maybe a mystic seer or a lesson on witchcraft… NO.. NO.. Don’t go there.. Not now.” Scarlett stood up, combed her hair with her fingers, smoothed her dress, wet her lips, and took a deep breath, ” What I need is not to panic and discuss with the rest of the team on how to go about to win the deal with Cosmos. I could really do with a little of divine cosmic intervention now… No. No need. I can do this… ”
She looked into the reflection into the glass and said, “I don’t do this. This kind of days. I don’t start my days with such confusions and mess. I don’t need a presentation. I have it all in my head.” She closed her eyes and sighed only to jerk open her eyes and gasp. All Scarlett saw in her mind was Tristan Chase’s painting and his shoulders twitch and move under her fingers. “Damn…”
The telephone on her desk rang. It was Leah again. “Hi Scarlett, come down to the conference room when you are ready. We are all here. ”
“Yup. Be there in two minutes. Thanks.”
James Nissim, the Managing Director, Kelly J. Margi, and Sonia Aggarwal from Corporate Affairs, and Leah were already in the Kvenland meeting hall when Scarlett reached. She did not take the laptop with her. Her presentation was incomplete. This was a first for her. But there was no need for the others to know that.
“Good morning everybody. Sorry got a bit caught up. ”
Kelly was in her late forties, cool and tactful. Scarlett aspired to be like her someday. But her impulsiveness had other plans. James was nearly sixty and a sharp and shrewd man. One stern look from him, and Scarlett would zip her mouth shut and forget the art of speaking. That is why she always liked to be prepared and have all the answers. To be one step ahead of them and better than them. She didn’t want to be ill-prepared and say I-don’t-know to any queries. Scarlett was a woman with a vision and a mission and insights. But today she didn’t have any of it with her. Only her wits.
James started the meeting with the obvious, “What is the deal with Mathew? The damage is too much. I want all your ideas and strategies on how to salvage the situation. None of the VCPs are happy. Hell man, why would they be happy? So come on team, tell me what you have got.”
So the next one and half an hour passed with everyone contributing their theories and suggestions. Instances of Mathew and his mismanagement came out in the open. Everyone shared something or the other occasions where he did not cooperate in work. Scarlett also voiced her doubts about him sabotaging the deal. She didn’t really think that he would use the corporate communications for any underhand works, but still it was worth a try. They decided to check his mails to look out for any clues that would raise a red flag of danger. The conditions and clauses for the deals were revised again. Leah said she will get in touch with the PR of Cosmos and fix another date for meeting, probably by next month because its new year and lots of holidays were coming up. James and Kelly also thought the short gap will give them the time to reconsider the offer and not take a hasty decision.
James looked directly at Scarlett and said earnestly, “A lot of the success of the deal is riding on your shoulders Scarlett. Be focused and keep us in the loop in all the communications. Reach out to us anytime for any help regarding this. We need to get this done really. If we fail to get this deal signed, the next one is with the Chase Holdings. It is a much much larger fish in the market and they will probably throw us even before hearing us out. That company is not the type to tolerate any sort of crap. But if we have the backing of Cosmos, we can take up Chase.”
Kelly pitched in, “Yes. The future of the company is invested here. Tristan Chase may not be there to oversee the business, but the company is still alive and kicking and doing some -whats the word… some badass business. Our aim to get on that band wagon and we need to hitch a ride from Cosmos.”
“Tristan Chase? That missing billionaire?” Scarlett blurted out. The name was jinxed. It had come back to haunt her and this perfectly normal meeting. Her Tristan, named after this very same Tristan Chase was hanging on the wall in her house. Now she knew two Tristans, one who had moved inside the painting and another who supposedly evaporated from the face of the earth. Neither of them real or normal. Her concentration, attention and presence of mind, all pilfered and pillaged with just the mention of this name.
Something was not really right about that name. Even that painting moved after she had named it. Was it in the name then? Tristan Chase?
Whoever the hell said what’s in a name?