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The first class & a couple of friends.
"The thing is, you would have wanted him to get that information in a controlled way that was safe for you, possibly she'd make a heartfelt verbal confession to him, but you couldn't have known that Mrs Conlon would have been stupid enough to put it all down in a letter of confession that implicated you in her dirty little scheme!"
Karen realised she had nothing to lose so she replied: "I helped her because I didn't think Gary was ready for his promotion!"
Thomas shook his head. "Damn! Now I see it! You felt threatened by Gary and the promotion that I ordered you to give him! You figured that I would be able to use him to squeeze you out of your job."
She mumbled something about "misogyny" and "the patriarchy" to which Thomas snorted, derisively. "This had nothing to do with 'misogyny' or the 'patriarchy'! Yes, I was grooming Gary to take over your place here, but only because I needed to make sure your role here was left in good, capable hands, after I had promoted you to a position on the board of directors."
Karen gasped in dismay.
He shook his head. "That's not going to happen, now, ever. There's no way that I could trust you to join the board, or even to continue with my company in any capacity, for that matter. You might not have noticed, but I have had all of your personal effects in this office removed. They're being held in a box down on main reception for you. I am not using the "hire and fire at will" aspect of employment law to fire you. I am terminating you for gross misconduct and moral turpitude, and your replacement will be Gary, so, ironically, your plotting brought about the result you were so afraid of.
"Gary has already proven himself to be a better manager than you could ever hope to be. I offered him as the first task in his new role, the opportunity to fire you, but he turned it down. He asked me to fire you, instead. He didn't want to appear vengeful."
Thomas abruptly stood up and clapped his hands, twice. "Go on! Leave! You are now dismissed. Under the terms of your employment contract, I have recorded this interview, so there'll be no opportunity for you to deny any of this. That Bible you had Mrs Conlon swear on? Maybe you'd better actually start reading some of the stuff in it."
Karen stood up, took her purse and left the room. She was too numb to cry. That would come later.
After their breakfast meeting, Gary had sat, lost in thought. He still hated what Vera had done to him, and forgiving her would be a hard, tough road to take, but for the sake of the kids, should he at least take a look at trying to patch things up between them?
Thomas had told him to take a couple of days off until he took over Karen's job, and Gary decided that he should drive to his house and at least try to talk with Vera. Divorce was still his preferred outcome, but he felt it the right thing to give her chance to talk with him, though what she had put in the letter had pretty much told him all he needed to know.
He made up his mind and decided to drive home to speak with Vera. If he spoke with her, he reasoned, perhaps they might be able to salvage their marriage, their family, fill in the crater she had left in it.
As he turned into his street, he noticed that there was, again, a strange car in the driveway. This was no rusty beater of a car. This was a high end SUV. Beneath it he could see a messy puddle of blackened oil, proof of the presence of the wreck that had occupied the same space the evening before.
All the rage he had felt yesterday came back, but at least threefold. It was thrumming in his head.
He parked his car on the pavement in front of the house. All thoughts of reconciliation were now gone. He walked swiftly, but quietly, to the house, he opened the door, stepped into the hallway and stealthily closed it as silently as he could.
He heard voices, happy, laughing voices, from the lounge to the right of him.