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I was a little flustered, but returned to the kitchen to start working on supper. While it's true that I could have just hired someone to do all the work, the kitchen actually provided an escape. This gave me an out if any of the interactions got to hot or I was asked to talk about something that I wasn't comfortable with. I knew how intense this weekend was going to be, so it was nice to have a metaphorical bomb shelter ready, just in case one was needed. Another part of my plan was to recruit anyone who dared to stroll through or into the kitchen and tell them to chop something up for me and be a little helper. This not only helped with the food prep, but allowed me to mingle and fish a few of the worker bee for Intel. We all have our own way of getting people to talk, and this was clearly mine. It worked more often than you think, as for some people are at ease whenever they're in the kitchen. Their defenses are a little lower, and are open to more subtle attacks.
As my husband walked into the kitchen, I looked up at him with that eye I usually give him. A strategy that often works on significant others.
"Well," I started, "Whose car is that?"
"Oh, the Ferrari?" David asked, pretending that he had forgotten about it.
"Yes, the Ferrari." I repeated, "The half million dollar monstrosity in our driveway."
"That's Gerard Wilson's Ferrari," he answered, "He loaned it to Nicholas for the weekend cause his own car broke down and is in the garage."
"Wilson loaned it to him?" I said, as I could hardly believe it. "Why would he do that?"
"Well, he and Nicholas are good friend apparently, since college." David informed me, "And when has Gerard ever passed up on a chance to show off how well he's doing?"
"Oh," I said, pausing for a moment. "That does sound like something he'd do."
"Learn something new everyday," David said, looking out the window. "And it's his wife that's the vegan. So no need to worry about making veggie options."
"Really?" I asked, somewhat surprised. "What do we do with all the tofu?"
"I already tossed it," David answered.
"David," I started, "You know how much I dislike wasting food."
"I know," David said, smiling back at me. "But tofu doesn't qualify as food. I also cleared more space in the fridge for real food and storage for leftovers."
"Well, that does help." I said, going back to my work. "Just go somewhere else, unless you want to help with the chopping?"
"Nope, I'm outta here." my husband said, taking the opportunity to bolt.
I chuckled as he left the kitchen, as that was my favorite way to get him out of my hair. Just offer to put him to work, and there wasn't a way to make him bolt for the hills faster.
This was when one of the ladies strolled into the kitchen, and I could swear she was probably looking for my husband. Despite her ability to not look so obvious, sometimes this girl was just as bad as the other she claims to dislike so much.
"Hello Rachel," I called out, since she didn't seem to notice there was someone in the kitchen.
"Oh, hey Grace." Rachel said, smiling back.
"I could use a little help," I said, gesturing to a station I had prepped with a cutting board and a veggie I needed diced. "Take a seat."
"Well, I'm..." Rachel tried to start. I could see the wheels in her head turning to think of something.
"I'm sorry," I said, interrupting her. "I didn't mean to give the impression that you had a choice. That was not a request, so sit your ass down."
Rachel's eyes widened a bit, but she quickly walked over and sat down.
"Cut the celery into small pieces," I started, "And when you get to the bigger side, you'll need to cut them down to similar sizes. Okay?"
"Yes, Ma'am." Rachel replied, picking up the knife and getting to work.
"Try to relax, girl." I said, realizing the tension between us. "You need to realize that you don't have to kiss just one ass to get somewhere in this company. There is more than one way to get ahead in this world."
"I don't get you," Rachel said, looking down to make sure she didn't accidentally amputate a finger.
"Sometimes when my husband gets flustered, and is unable to decide on something," I explained, "He will often turn to me and say, 'Honey, what do you think?' You'd be surprised how many big decisions in this company were decided that way."
"Oh," Rachel said, as she seemed to understand. "That's fascinating."
"Yes, it is." I concurred, "But this also means if I don't like you, I also have the ability to sabotage any efforts any of you make to climb the corporate ladder. No one gets clears to move up unless I'm on board with it too. Catch my drift here, sister?"