Episode 13: "Redhanded"
Part One

Ember Ridge Apartments

Mae wrung her hands nervously as she paced in front of the door to Simon’s apartment. Oliver’s right, she thought, It’s about time Simon knew how I really feel about him. How else am I going to know how he feels about me? She ran her hands through her choppy, wild red hair and exhaled an exasperated sigh. But once I say those words, there’s no turning back. She bit her bottom lip. Yet look at what we’ve already done. It’s not like we haven’t even crossed the line between friends and lovers. I mean, we’re practically married! Though I usually end of going home the morning after we spend the night together…


Mae shook her head. No, I can’t do this. If I say something, the wrong thing, then it’s over and Simon won’t ever speak to me, again! But why should he do that? I haven’t done anything wrong, only fallen desperately in love with him. I’ve been everything for him, his shoulder to lean on, and his last comfort. Surely he appreciates everything that I have done for him.


Mae turned to the door. Simon has to know, now, before things go any further. I need to know how he feels; he needs to know how I feel. Okay, here goes. She quickly knocked on the door and jumped back. Nervously, she stared at the peephole until she heard footsteps approach the door. She nearly gawked at the sight of Simon standing before her in only his boxer shorts.


“Mae? Geez, it’s 7 AM. What are you doing here?” Simon brushed the sleep from his eyes.


“Simon, hi,” Mae smiled nervously. “Uh, I was hoping that we could talk.”


“Talk? Haven’t you ever heard of a phone?” Simon replied grumpily. “I hear it’s a quicker, easier way to do that.” He motioned for her to come inside anyway and shut the door.


“Um, well, I thought maybe you’d like some breakfast.” Mae fibbed.


Simon saw her empty hands and gave her a quizzical look. “You don’t have anything with you.”


Mae panicked, not knowing what to do next. She knew he probably wasn’t in the best of moods to have a deep, serious conversation. Her courage quickly diminished. She looked down shyly at her feet. "I wanted to talk about us."


"Talk about us, huh? Talk, talk, talk. That's all we ever do, Mae. Well, besides one other thing," He grinned mischievously. "I don't know if I'm up for a 'talk', Mae. I had this really stressful argument with Bryce last night and I think I've said all that I've wanted to say, for now."


Mae's face fell and she found difficulty meeting Simon's eyes. Now she didn't know when she would ever get to discuss her future with Simon.


Simon noticed the sad look on Mae's face. He leaned forward to wrap his arms around her. As he pulled her body against his, the contours of her curvy body turned on a sudden urge within him. “You know what I want for breakfast?” Simon whispered thickly into Mae’s ear, running his fingers through her air, then holding her face in his hands. “I want you…here…now…” He brought his lips close to her lips, breathing in the scent of her soft skin. He stared at her full pink lips then met them with his own. Clenching his eyes tight, he kissed her hungrily and ran his hands slowly up and down her back. Mae felt herself melting against him, losing control in the web of passion within which she now found herself entangled and forgetting her prior agenda. She kissed him back, gently curling the hair behind Simon’s head around her fingers. Breathing deeply, she moaned in euphoric satisfaction.


Simon pulled away and looked into her eyes with hearty desire. Taking her hand, he pulled her toward the couch. Mae felt a flush deepening in her face as Simon unbuttoned her lilac-colored blouse. She shivered as he pulled the fabric from her shoulders and left a trail of caresses with his lips down her neck. He reached back and deftly snapped her bra with his fingers, pulling it off and tossing it to the floor. As Mae lay down on the couch, Simon removed the only article of clothing he wore before joining her.



Part Two



Ember Ridge Apartments


I’m such an idiot, Bryce thought to himself as he poured a cereal into a bowl in the kitchen of his one bedroom apartment. I shouldn’t have accepted that job for Kendra Blake. I’m already swamped with work for Grayson Realties, but that’s beside the point. Kendra’s for Simon and the last thing he needs is me spending so much time with her.


He remembered Simon’s angry words. I’m sick and tired of you squashing any chance with a woman I want…It irked you to see me with a woman who didn’t go for you first…I knew it was a mistake to bring you here. Bryce tried to recollect himself from the hurt of Simon’s bitterness. He knew deep down that he didn’t want anything more than a business relationship with Kendra, but it was obvious to see that any kind of relationship with her would be painful for Simon, who had yet to develop even an acquaintance. Above all, he was grateful to his cousin for convincing him to move to Palm Terrace. For the last couple of weeks, his mind never once drifted toward the agony of memories regarding his last relationship. Without those painful reminders, Bryce had felt better than he has felt for the past year.


And what did I do? Upset Simon within the first two months after I move in. Some grateful cousin I turned out to be. He slammed the cereal box on the counter. I need to set the record straight. I need to come clean and let Simon know that I will have nothing to do with Kendra Blake ever again. Leaving his cereal on the kitchen counter, he retreated to his room. He pulled on sweat pants, a t-shirt, and running shoes.


As he sat on his bed tying his shoes, Bryce thought about calling Simon instead. He had never been one for confrontations and perhaps a phone call could be enough to ease the situation. He lay back on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. No, I have to see him face-to-face. It’s the most effective way to apologize and it should tell Simon that I’m serious about mending things between us. Bryce sat up. Newly energized, he leapt from the bed and headed out of his apartment.


Simon lived in the same building as Bryce, only on the floor above Bryce’s apartment. As Bryce walked toward apartment 422, his heart quickened its pace. Why am I so nervous? Bryce asked himself. Just an apology, it’s just an apology. His hand rose to open the door to the apartment. Maybe I should knock first. He tapped his knuckles on the door a couple of times. He heard some noises on the other side of the door. He opened the door himself. “Simon? Hello? Hi, I wanted to…” Bryce trailed off as his jaw dropped to the floor at the sight of Mae and Simon naked on the couch.


“WHAT THE HELL, BRYCE!! WHO SAID YOU CAN JUST BARGE IN??” Simon yelled, jumped from the couch and scrambled for his boxers. Mae couldn’t meet Bryce’s eyes and she quickly picked her clothes up from the floor and fled to the bathroom.


Bryce turned deep red and could not speak. Finally, he cleared his throat. “Well, I see you’re over Kendra. That was quick.”



Part Three



Grayson Realties, Blount Building, Downtown


Nina pressed the equal sign button on her calculator and briefly shut her eyes. Please, please, PLEASE don’t have a zero balance. I need tires for my car, not to mention food for my refrigerator…She opened one eye to peek at the calculator. Sixty-three dollars and thirty-two cents might as well have been zero. She threw the calculator aside.


Her embezzling of Grayson Realty petty cash funds had tremendously eased her debts. She narrowly escaped eviction and was able to pay two-thirds of the balance on her nearly maxed credit card. Nina had already cut back on her personal spending since she fell into financial calamity. She purposely avoided shopping trips with Kendra to escape witness Kendra making lavish purchases for herself in expensive designer clothing boutiques. She even found herself staying home on weekend nights watching reruns of The Cosby Show and Cheers on “Nick at Night,” just to avoid wasting valuable dollars on drinks at the In Field Fly.


Though one problem was all but solved, she had yet to figure out a way to replace the money in the fund. But Nina couldn’t think ahead to that solution and decided to continue borrowing. With millions of dollars in the account, Nina felt deservedly entitled to the money in the long run. After rescuing the Realty from previous disasters, without much of Penelope Grayson’s help, Nina felt her dedication to the company was critically underappreciated. She blinded her logic with this justification and proceeded once again to access the petty funds.


Clicking away on the website, Nina had grown used to the heavy-handed process of wiring the money to her bank account. Her fingers flew through the keystrokes and mouse clicks until the transaction was complete. With a satisfied smile, Nina closed the window of the browser. Just as the desktop appeared on the screen, Nina caught side of a mysterious shape of a person reflected on the screen of her monitor. Nina recognized the person and jumped from her chair. Spinning around, she found herself face to face with her supervisor Penelope Grayson.


“Well, it looks like I’ve finally found the petty thief,” Penelope spoke coldly, folding her arms in front of her and glaring triumphantly at Nina with her disdainful gray eyes.


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