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idioms...sayings understood by native speakers part thirty five
Standing outside his car at the garage, Rick looked at the tall office building he had worked at for so long, he waited as Carl pulled up beside him.
"So, another day at the office." Carl stated the obvious.
"Remember, we do not get along." Rick told him evenly.
"I know. But I wonder if they know different."
"How do ya mean?"
"I mean I bet they had someone at the church, and they probably saw us together."
"Ah, well, you know how that works, right?"
Carl gave him a grin, "That adage about keeping your enemies close?"
"Yeah. That is our trump card." He paused, "How are you going to explain that bruise?"
"My cousin figured out I was playing him and took exception."
"Cool. I can live with that."
The two straightened their ties and headed into the building ready for battle.
Carl printed off the timeline for the product line that Lynn had sent on his email. As he turned and glanced at the clock, he was surprised to see the Chairman standing at his desk.
"My God, Carl. You look like you got hit with a ton of bricks."
"Ah, well, you should have seen the other guy."
"Um, Rick and I had some ....words over the weekend."
"I heard you two were getting along."
Carl gave a half smile. "Uncle. How long have you known me?"
"All your life."
"And since when have I ever been friends with Rick... I mean, middleschool was quite a while ago."
"But you both were together at that church, this weekend."
"He is my competition, after all. What is that old saying, "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer? I did go to the church with him."
"I hear your girl goes there, too."
"My girl? I don't have one, but I will say your message on the programs was a stroke of genius. That blond almost fell apart in front of the whole congregation."
"Ah, you liked that?"
"Sure. She won't have nothing to do with me, so it was like the gift of revenge. Although it left me with a lot explaining to do. Rick was hot. All he wanted to do was to beat up a Matthews."
" I see."
"It took me all freak-in night to convince him I had nothing to do with it."
"And, I'm still alive. Next time you want to help me, Uncle, please give me heads up."
"Well, it looks like you have your priorities straight."
"Uncle, I know what is at stake. I know I am the rightful heir." He looked down at the guidelines he was holding, "Now if you will excuse me, I have some work to do before the team gets here."
"Where is that little assistant you have?"
"She took the day off. That blond in on a suicide watch, so to speak."
The Chairman smiled. "It is good for you to realize that weak people aren't meant to be a part of this family."
"You're absolutely right."
"I was hoping that assistant of yours would be here though."
Carl sat down in his chair, looking at his nails as if it was time for manicure.
"She should be back tomorrow. Anything else?"
"Bye, then." As he busied himself, he heard the door close behind his Uncle.
He sat, taking deep breaths, remembering how he responded when Jenny had called him a liar.
"Only when it comes to important things." He said out loud to no one there.
Rick read the memo and smiled. I am so glad you are not disappointing me, dad. As he looked up and saw his team stream into his office like lemmings.
"Have you seen this?" one said, holding the memo. "It says here our expense accounts are cut in half."
"So, what are we doing here?"
"You are in teams, now. You have the same amount, between the two of you."
The men took a collective sigh.
"You saw this coming, didn't you."
"Yes. Now get your gear. We are going to have a team meeting."
He opened up his mail and smiled
"Boss, the Chairman cut your expense accounts in half and gave the money to research."
Rick deleted the mail and prepared a pep talk as he now pulled off another day on the countdown... twenty two days left...
"What are you doing?"
"Me? I am going to see a guy. Coming with me?"
As the taxi pulled up in front of the house, Lynn piled in beside her friend.
"Who are we going to see?"
"No we, kiddo. Me. A friend of Carl's. I have an appointment with him at ten."
"And you are going to go and get that hair cut."
"You owe it to yourself. I want you to come back and pick me up at around 11:30. Those split ends of yours are driving me crazy. Get your nails done, while your at it."
"Here. This is the name of the salon. Everything is paid for okay?"
"Look, I was pretty rough on you last night. This is just my way of saying I am sorry."
"I do. And you will insult me if you say anything else."
"Can I say, thank you?"
"Anything else but that." Jenny gave her a wicked smile. "And you are welcome."
After dropping Jenny off in front of a clinic, Lynn waved goodbye to her as she gave the address to the taxi. Maxim's Absolute Perfection sign came into view.
As she entered, she was greeted by two women, dressed in pink.
"Welcome to Maxim's."
"Can I get you something to drink?"
She smiled in appreciation as a tall elegant woman walked up to her.
"You must be Jenny's friend. " Snapping her fingers, the assistants came up to Lynn. Running their fingers thru her thick brunette hair, they exclaimed. "Miss, how long has it been since you had your last hair cut."
"Um, about four years ago... I haven't cut it since my mom died."
Then another inspected her hands. "Ah, you must by on the keyboard alot."
"Girls, what are your recommendations?"
"Oh, at least ten inches needs to go. Conditioner is a given. Perhaps a vinegar rinse to bring out the red?"
"Definitely a full manicure, complete with some nail strengthener."
"Fine. And use the raspberry shampoo. That will strip her hair of the residue."
"Yes. All shampoos tend to leave residue on your hair. We will cut off ten inches and shape your hair to your face. You haven't dyed your hair, have you?"
Lynn shook her head no.
"Good, Then, madame can donate her hair to the wig foundation for children with cancer. Would that be okay?"
Lynn balked, ten inches? She frowned a little...
"Madame, does not want to donate?"
"No, I mean, Yes, Sure, it is for a worthy cause."
Jenny smiled to herself thinking about how confused Lynn would be, wishing she could see, but as she was led to a little office, she took a deep breath to face her own demons as she sat down in front of a kindly, rotund, balding man.
"Miss Lundstrom? My name is Dr. Jerry Thomas. Carl told me of some of the difficulties you have faced. You seek counseling?"
"Yes. I think I might need some help."
"That is the first step, you know. It gets easier from here." The man gave her a gentle smile.
Jenny's eyes teared... she saw the man push the kleenex box closer to her.
"Doctor, I am not sure where to begin."
"It is okay. Begin anywhere... I am just here to help you help yourself. There is no judgment here. No rules of behaviour save hurting yourself or others. So when you are able, just start talking. My first question to you would be what finally made you seek out help."
The bell over the door jangled and four women walked in. Well dressed, in their forties and fifties, the whole relaxed atmosphere of the shop changed.
Lynn was being doused from her shampoo. She felt the assistant who was running her fingers thru, tense.
"Oh, I am sorry, miss." she whispered.
"What is the matter?" Lynn whispered back.
"The fanatical foursome are here and without appointments." As she righted Lynn into a sitting position, she opened her eyes after being handed her glasses. She swallowed hard.
Those four women were at that Easter get together at the Matthews house. Lynn watched as Maxim put on her best smile and started assigning her assistants to the four women.
Lynn followed the girl, pulling the end of the towel around the side of her face, when she heard.
"AJ's wife is such a klutz. I heard she fell down again."
"Well, I heard that she went with that shoe salesman. I wonder if they have something..."
"Please. He is too enamoured by his wife."
"How would you know?"
"Believe me, I know."
"Can't blame a girl for trying now, can you?"
Lynn sat down in the chair and closed her eyes, wishing she could close her ears.
"Miss, I am going to dry your hair first and then braid it. We will send that braid to the foundation."
The hair dresser skillfully dried and brushed the back of Lynn's hair and started to braid.
"Look at that? Her hair is so long." One of the women adjusted her glasses.
"Is that her?"
"That woman that Rick and Carl brought to the swarray," She hit the other woman's shoulder. "You know, the one with that Rain-man guy."
"Ah, yeah, now that you mention it... I think she is."
The braid finally done and measured, the cutter said, "Okay. Are you sure?"
"Yes." Lynn squeezed her eyes shut and felt the weight fall off the back of her neck.
"This will make some tyke smile. Your natural color is rich and your hair is thick. You should feel like a weight has been lifted."
Lynn gave the girl a grateful smile. "Yes. Thank you."
As the girl spritzed her hair and started to cut, Lynn kept her eyes closed.
Taking the dryer, she used the brush and soon, said, "Okay, Open your eyes." Handing her the glasses back, Lynn looked in the mirror. Shoulder length, shining hair lay against her neck and curled around her face.
"Wow." Lynn spoke under her breath.
"I take it, you like it?"
"Oh, yes. Thank you."
"Great, now I will take you to Liz. She is a sculptor when it comes to nails."
Lynn sat back as the lady in question placed her hands in two bowls. "This will soften your cuticles."
Then all of a sudden she felt the chair go backwards and a soft vibration. "It will take about five minutes. How about a relaxing a little?" Liz got up to help out with the four women.
She nodded off.
Lynn woke up with the chair being lifted to a sitting position.
"Yes." Lynn yawned.
Lynn looked down at her hails, and wondered if they really belonged to her.
"I went with a neutral color. I hope you don't mind. I just thought it matched you."
As Lynn saw the shimmering brownish tan color on her nails, she smiled.
The girl returned her smile and said, "We are done. Those four other women are busy in shampoo. Escape while you still can."
Lynn nodded gratefully as she went up to the register.
"I hope we served you well, Madame." Maxim smiled at her.
"Yes. Thank you. Here... I want to..."
"No. Your friend took care of everything. And tell her thank you."
"Because... we needed someone like you here today."
"Me? I did not..."
"You were kind and gracious. And I want to thank you for that."
Confused, Lynn headed out the door. As she closed it, she pulled up short.
"Aren't you Jenny's friend?" Millie asked as she and another woman in dark glasses and an obvious bruise on her right temple approached the shop.
"Yes. My name is..."
"Lynn, right?" Millie smiled broader, "Or should I say LI LI, your brother kept talking about you when we played Dominoes."
She paused. "Sara, this is Lynn Johnson. She is really good friends with Jenny."
"You know, that girl that came with Carl when you met at my house."
"Oh? I am sorry, I really don't remember. Carl has a girl friend?"
"Ah, well, Jenny is a girl and a friend." Lynn stated quickly. Then held out her hand.
The woman timidly took Lynn's hand and gave it a slight shake.
Lynn said, "So Millie, where are you two going on such a pretty spring day?"
"Oh, we are going to get manicures and massages. We have a twelve o'clock appointment."
"Um, Please would you like to have lunch with me and Jenny instead?" Lynn paused, thinking, I can't let them go into that shop with those barracudas in there.
"But it is so hard to get an appointment...I don't know."
Millie's cell phone rang.
"Yes. Really? Oh, I understand. I guess it can't be helped." she paused. "Yes, yes. We can come then. Thank you, Maxim."
She hung up and smiled. "Sara, this is our lucky day. Maxim called to cancel our appointment but there is another one at three. So we can go with Lynn and her friend Jenny and then come back. How does that sound?"
Sara gave a quiet nod.
"I was just going to get a taxi."
"Oh, no. We have the car. Jerome will take us."
"Yes, he is our driver. My husband is dead set against servants. But Jerome is our one luxury. Oscar doesn't want me to go around unescorted and since I don't drive, he did not want me to feel like a prisoner in our home, so we have Jerome." As she pulled out her phone she called him. A tan continental pulled up and a tall African American got out of the driver's side, and held the door open for the three ladies. Lynn looked back at the shop while she was getting in. Maxim simply bowed her head to her and mouthed the words, Thank you.
"Jerome, we will be picking up Lynn's friend Jenny."
"Yes, madame. And the address?" He looked expectantly at Lynn.
"Er, she is at the Clinic on Elm."
"I know the place."
"Jerome is in law school. We will miss him when he becomes a lawyer."
"Ah, Ms. Millie, you just have to call, I will change my schedule."
"Ha, ha, ha.... He is such a kind young man."
Lynn watched the miles go by. Jerome cleared his throat. "Miss Lynn, you might want to call your friend and tell her we are coming."
She grabbed her phone. "Thank you. I should have thought of that."
"Jenny, it's me. You will never guess who I ran into at the beauty shop."
Jenny hung up looking at the phone. The counselor told her that right now her emotions would be very close on the surface because of all the years of keeping them buried. Now she was to be with one of the sweetest ladies she ever met, and that victim in designer clothes, Carl's mother. She sighed deeply trying to stay focused. As the car pulled up and the driver got out to hold her door open for the front seat, Jenny thought to herself, at the very least, this should be interesting.
to be continued.