“That won’t work.”
“You don’t know that!”
“Actually, I have a year’s worth of sales numbers to support my stance.”
Silence filled the small room.
“We can’t follow your every whim, just because it feels like a good idea.”
“I do not appreciate your tone.”
To their employees, monthly meetings were something to be avoided. These “conversations” sent shockwaves throughout the small perfume shop. Between Pat’s right brain and knack for business and Lily’s more intuitive nature, their monthly exchanges felt like a cataclysm of philosophies rushing toward an explosion.
Lily’s expression contorted in frustration, a sharp contrast to Pat’s cool demeanor.
Pat jotted down figures on a blank sheet of paper as Lily scowled before turning to their two employees sitting at the small black table.
“Ladies, will you please give us a minute?” Lily strained to keep her voice even.
Their young employees nodded gratefully before quickly exiting the back room.
“What’s wrong with you?” Lily hissed. She knew Pat hated it when she talked to her like a friend in the workplace instead of her business partner, but she knew something was off.
“Nothing,” Pat said, dryly. She continued to scribble numbers across the paper without looking up.
Lily watched her best friend work numbers. Although she couldn’t explain it, things felt weird. She could see Pat’s brain working on more than just the financial figures before her. Pat’s thin fingers moved across the paper quickly, before pausing for a split second too long.
Something was wrong.
“Spill it.” Lily was content to wait her out, but Pat was stubborn enough to drag this silliness out for a day or two.
“We’re wasting valuable time and money sitting here in silence,” Lily said. “And I know how you hate wasting money.”
Pat looked up aggravated, casting a glaring look in Lily’s direction. Lily smiled sweetly, before rolling her chair over to Pat.
“Tell me, my friend…what’s going on that’s got you acting super structured today?”
Pat continued to scribble on the paper without looking up. Her long strokes caught Lily’s attention. Pat had moved from numbers to short phrases. Lily noticed the words “I hate him” and “Death to Mick” decorated the legal pad a number of times.
Pieces fell into place.
Mick was Pat’s new boyfriend, the one Lily thought was too good to be true. Pat had defended him tooth and nail about four meetings ago, but Lily wasn’t convinced by the guy regardless of how kind he seemed. He’d come into the shop about six months ago to buy perfume for his grandmother.
Pat had been smitten. Lily was perplexed.
“That was so kind of him,” Pat had sighed, after he’d left the shop.
“Who buys White Heat for their grandmother,” Lily had challenged, surprised her friend was taken in by someone who didn’t sit well with her.
He had come back two months later, striking up a conversation with Pat that had led to several dates.
After their fight during the staff meeting several months ago, Lily had silently vowed not to bring up his name again at work.
She placed a hand gently on Pat’s shoulder.
“I’m so sorry, Pat,” Lily said.
Pat stopped her scribbling. She nodded, almost imperceptibly.
“You’re worth so much and he’s dumb if he couldn’t see that,” she said. “I’m here for you.”
They sat in the comfortable silence, not needing words to communicate their unending commitment of a friendship that would last beyond boyfriends, monthly meetings, and time.
“Fine…,” Pat said with a sigh, ending the standoff. “We’ll try it for a month, but if we don’t see an increase in sales, then we’re nixing your perfume bar idea without any arguments.”
Pat was all business.
Lily squealed, hugging her friend.
“It’ll work out, I promise,” Lily said, meaning every word. “You’ll see!”