Breaking the Ice

Calypso gasped in horror.

Mercury glanced at her, “There’s more sweetness and you’re not going to like it.

“He faced forward again, “Titan’s previous owner, Atticus Titan has been assigned the heavy responsibility of sourcing all fabrics for Z Fashion lines from now on. Given the location of the company’s key suppliers in South-East Asia, India and China, he is on a plane to Singapore as I speak.”

Black dots swam in front of Calypso’s eyes and she focused on breathing as the darkness closed in.

She came to surrounded by Fates with Mercury standing over the top of them saying, “See? I told you to give her some smelling salts.”

“Unless you have more news of use to us, you can go away now you pesky boy. You’ve done all the damage you can do for one day here.”

He smirked, “Not quite.”

He thumped down next to Calypso, “Since you no longer have an office, a company or a Daddy to go back to, you are officially assigned to the reception desk at Z head office, Monday to Friday and modelling for private buyers on Saturday. They have company apartments in a nearby building and they’ve been kind enough to put you up there. The rent and expenses will be deducted from your wages. You need to be there on Monday, 9am sharp”

And so there she was, at 9am sharp and there she still was, two years later, on a dismal Friday afternoon. Marooned on her island desk in a sea of cold marble, completely alone.

At first she’d held hopes for one or two of the jaunty young men who sauntered past her desk each morning with a side grin and a wink. But she couldn’t get away for a quick lunch, and evenings were all too often spent on small duties at corporate events, so their interest waned and she saw them wandering off into the grimy sunset with bright, happy girls from Accounts, or the office across the road.

A throat cleared behind her left shoulder made her jump and turn in her seat. It was a new young man, not quite as jaunty as the others but still trying for the charming side grin.

She sighed, “Is there anything I can help you with?”

“I just thought it would be a good idea to stop and say hello. I’m only here on secondment and don’t know anyone, so am hoping you can be my secret source of all truth.”

She smiled but shook her head ruefully, “To be honest I’m the least in-touch person in the building. I’m not exactly cheek-by-jowl with my co-workers as you can see and, well, I’m not very good with technology, so I usually end up making a mess of group chats.”

His face fell a little but he rallied nonetheless, “Well how about a drink after work and I’ll see if I can help you out with a bit of group chat etiquette?”

“I wish I could, but there’s a shareholder committee meeting in the boardroom and I have to be on hand to serve drinks. I won’t get out until after midnight.”

His eyebrows flew up, “Whoa, who did you upset to get stuck like that? In fact, you remind me very strongly of my Milanese friend, Circe. She’s good value, we still keep in touch. In fact, shove over, I’m going to introduce the two of you on messaging and you can teach each other etiquette.”

Calypso gasped a little as this human whirlwind hurdled the desk and dropped into a chair beside her, nudging hers over to get at the computer.

“Do you mind if I log you out? Don’t want to be accidentally seeing things I shouldn’t.”

“No, no, that’s fine. Um, aren’t you going to be in trouble if you’re late for wherever you’re going?”

“Nah, they’re aware I’m on my way but have no idea when I’m actually showing up, so I can set up your new isolated girl group, leave the two of you to get acquainted and still arrive in good time for my site induction.”

His fingers flew as he spoke and his messenger box pinged, “Ah, good, she’s online, so, what’s your name and username so I can add you?”

“Oh, sorry, my name is Calypso and it’s my username too, it’s not too common so I just stick with it.”

“Calypso delighted to meet you, I’m Odysseus, I think my mother didn’t like me or something, but it doesn’t shorten to anything dignified so I keep the whole mess up front.”

He clattered a bit more at the keyboard, then spun with a flourish, “All done. You can log back in as you now, and there’ll be a group chat waiting. I got Circe to set it up so she can drop me from it as soon as you’re connected.”

And he was gone, her thanks waving in the air after him.

She turned to her screen and logged back in. Circe was amazing.

Another victim of a Z Corp takeover, Calypso remembered her family’s business – Helios – as a resort wear label for the nouveau riche.

Her father had turned his nose up at their whites, golds and blues, all dramatically emblazoned with their sun motif. She on the other hand, had secretly envied their sun and sea filled photographs. Titan model backdrops were most usually dramatic (and cold) heather-strewn mountains or old city streets.

Circe dismissed her father in a single, scornful sentence as a has-been with delusions of relevance and her mother as a professional trophy wife without the brains to make something of it.

Calypso admitted to missing her father but, feeling like a traitor, she did go so far as to hint at a slight feeling of concern that she’d maybe started to grow a little more independent than her father might like.

Her mother, she said, was a witch.

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