As expected Sofia didn’t take the news of me becoming the new boss over her all that well. She didn’t say anything at first, she just avoided me whenever she could and I didn’t try to talk to her either because I knew it’ll just irritate me. I get that it must have sucked hard for the position you wanted to be taken away from you and given to someone you don’t even like so I didn’t want to rub it in.
A part of me wanted to feel bad for her but she’s too despicable for you to feel any kind of sympathy for her for too long because just when you think she’s down, she just gets back up and starts firing right at you again.
“I didn’t think you had it in you, Sloane. What did you do? Bribe them with your family money so they could all turn on me.”
“It’s Doctor Sloane to you, or you can just refer to me as ma’am,” I smirked as I repeated her own words to me not so long ago which only irritated her even more.
“You think you’re such hot stuff, don’t you?”
“I’m not cocky Sofia. That’s your problem, not mine. You just skate by thinking your last name is enough to carry you but it isn’t. Unlike you, I’m actually working my butt off for this place and producing some innovative technologies while I’m at it.”
“Working your butt off? You basically steal other people’s ideas and just because you get them to work, you think you’re so great?”
I laughed. “That’s how science works in case you didn’t realise. Someone does research and someone does development. You’re just bitter because I know how to take someone else’s research and do something with it other than filing which is the only thing you’re good at!”
“I do more than just filing! Who the hell do you think kept this place running while Papa was busy pampering you and the others?”
“So, you’re saying you’re a glorified assistant?” I laughed even harder.
“I’m saying that you need me more than you even realise.” A smug grin slowly plastered itself all over her face. “Who has a relationship with the vendors that supply our equipment and raw materials? Who ensures the paperwork for them to receive payment is handled?”
I stopped laughing. “Are you making threats?”
“Of course not. I’m just informing you of all the duties around here that I handle. That I handled in my father’s name because he hated doing that stuff. What do you think will happen if all that paperwork just disappeared?! I mean, the auditors will need those files Ivy…I mean, Doctor Sloane…and then if they’re gone who will be responsible for that? I think it will be the person left in charge, don’t you think?”
“Oh, and don’t forget I’m the one who makes arrangements for the inspectors from the Scientific Council. I have a personal relationship with Frederick, the supervisor. I tutored his daughter when she was in high school and got her into her first choice college. He owes me. And he might do just about anything I ask him to do, including shutting down some of your projects for safety reasons or whatever. Oh well by the sound of it, I guess yes, you can say I’m making threats!”
I sighed in frustration. “What do you want, Sofia?”
“What do I want? I want my job back!”
“Not a chance. The only way that can happen is if I step down or resign and neither one of those things are happening.”
“Are you certain? Because at least if you step down you can keep working here and if you resign while in good standing you can get hired by any other lab in the world but if you manage to get yourself fired for mismanagement then that might look bad on your record. I don’t think any other lab will want you.”
“So quit or step down otherwise you’ll sabotage me?”
“You think I’ll allow you to bully me into giving up dream job because you’re a spoiled little snot who can’t accept the fact that she lost? Well think again, Bjergsen! You can threaten me all you want. I’ll have you fired before you can do anything!”
“You can’t fire me. I have tenure and if you try to fire me, I’ll sue and say you have been victimising me. The board of directors will quicker get rid of you before they go to court with me.”
I wanted to walk away and I actually started to do so. I strongly resisted the urge to pummel her to the ground. I couldn’t believe the audacity of that woman to try to coerce me into quitting. But I didn’t grow up playing all those video games for no reason. I know how games are played, and I was gonna win this one!
“Well played Sofia but you forgot one thing.”
“No one likes you. Not a single person in here is your ally. I, on the other hand, have plenty. As quick as you can sabotage me, they can sabotage you, then neither one of us will have our way. And don’t forget, most of them have tenure so you can’t get rid of them that easily either.”
She looked as though she never really considered that fact.
“So how about this,” I continued. “You do your work honestly and to the best of your ability and I’ll do mine. Oh and by the way, I will be taking over all the administrative work from now on. You just focus on your own projects which are…what exactly? Hmm, I don’t think you have any projects in the pipeline. You haven’t had any for a while now. I think that’s one strike against you when it’s time to do an employee review. I mean, if you’re not useful then what’s your purpose here? Perhaps the board should reconsider your tenure. I might have to put in a recommendation.”
“You wouldn’t! But I…”
“Oh, what? You know people? I know people too. Frederick’s boss, Steven, he was good friends with my father. He still calls to chat with my brother every now and then. I might have to call in a favour as well. With you in charge, I think the lab will have to get inspections done regularly!”
“No! This… this is not how this was supposed to go!”
“Like I said, you do your job and I’ll do mine and neither one of us will have to get our hands dirty.”
She didn’t answer. She just stormed out and went back to her desk. I took a mental note to revise her security access to ensure she didn’t have access to any important files. I also knew I would have to monitor her closely until I could figure out a way to get rid of her. I couldn’t trust Sofia anymore now that she made her wrongful intentions clear.
From now on she would stick to experiments. Any administrative work or access she had before was delegated to others I could trust. I wasn’t going to give her an opportunity to sabotage me. Unfortunately, somehow, she found a way.
Wolf and I just finished mixing a new serum. It needed testing and since we didn’t have any test subjects that day I applied to be the test subject. Wolf did the blood work for me so the testing would be done as per protocol and then it was time for me to test it.
I expected nausea or dizziness as side effects. What I didn’t anticipate was catching on fire!
“Hey, what’s that smell?” Wolf asked before he turned to look at me. “Is that…? Oh Watcher! Ivy! You’re on fire!”
“DUH! I KNOW!
“What should we do?!” He squealed.
“I gotta put this fire out!” I managed to say as calmly as I could as I could smell the fabric of my lab coat burning and knew it was only a matter of time before it burned through the coat and got to my skin. “Get everyone else to safety!”
The fire was spreading to other areas of the room. I couldn’t risk it spreading to other parts of the lab putting everyone else’s lives in danger so I told Wolf to evacuate the building.
As I was running towards the showers to put myself out I saw the look on Sofia’s face. She was frightened but she also looked guilty! I knew for sure she had something to do with this!
Everyone ran outside to the muster point. Thankfully no one was hurt, not even me.
I ran to the showers just in time to douse the flames on my lab coat. Then I went back to extinguish the fire before it spread further. Good thing I had the SimRay handy. The cold air doused the flames within seconds.
Unfortunately, the microscope couldn’t be saved. It was burnt to a crisp. That device was the most expensive piece of equipment we had and it wouldn’t look good if I had to go to the President with the news that in my first week of running the place I managed to destroy an expensive microscope!
After the smoke cleared and the fire department confirmed it was safe for everyone to re-enter I was finally able to calm down and think through the details of what happened.
There was nothing added to that serum that could potentially start a fire. Clearly, it was sabotaged and I knew who had done it. It had to be Sofia but how? I tested the remaining contents in the beaker and realised there was the presence of Peryllium, a substance that can blend in with the roses that were added to make the serum but causes a flammable reaction when exposed to oxygen over a prolonged period. Sofia snuck that Peryllium into my flask while I wasn’t looking and she had to have known that such a reaction would occur during the testing stage. She set a trap for me, one that could have killed me and hurt others.
“You psycho!” I screamed at her. I found her sitting at her desk with this doe-eyed look on her face. “You tampered with that serum! You could have killed me and burned this whole place down!”
“Just shut up! I want you gone, right now!”
“You can’t fire me! You have no proof that I even did anything!” She growled.
“You’re such an idiot! I don’t even know how you managed to graduate high school early and get this job because you sure aren’t smart enough to realise that there are surveillance cameras right outside the storage room. That’s right, we have footage of you going in there and then coming out with a vial of Peryllium. You tried to frame Mary by using her ID so the log would show that she went in there but you forgot about the cameras you inconsiderate, stupid…”
“Shut up! Just shut up!” She screamed. “Don’t call me stupid! Don’t you ever call me stupid you spoiled little rich girl with your perfect life and your perfect family! You don’t know what it’s like to have to constantly prove yourself to your parents and then still have them favour your younger sister over you! Everything was always Elsa this and Elsa that! I was the smart one! I always got good grades but I was always second place to Elsa at home and then I come here to work with my Dad hoping to finally get him to praise me and instead he favours YOU!”
“So this is what… all my fault?”
“YES!” she yelled. “This is all your fault! You brought this on yourself. All I wanted to do was make my Papa proud of me and then you came along and suddenly you’re his pride and joy! You’re the one he talks about! You’re the one he allowed to help him on his projects when he wouldn’t even let me touch his files!”
“I don’t care about your Daddy issues Sofia! You were reckless and you could have killed me. I have half a mind to call the police but instead, I’ll just fire you and make sure you never work in another lab again!”
“You can’t do this to me! You can’t!”
“Get out of here before I call security!”
“Please Ivy, please! This will ruin my career!” She begged.
“You should have thought about your career before you tried to hurt me. Now leave!”
“I am not going ANYWHERE!” She screamed before she began hitting me.
I tried to push her off but she just kept pushing and hitting at me until we were both rolling on the ground. A good old fashioned catfight! Wolf used to make jokes about that whenever Sofia would do or say something to piss me off. He used to say we should just have a catfight and get it over with but I never imagined this would actually happen.
I was in an actual fight! And to my own surprise, I was holding my own.
When it was all over and I came out the winner, I didn’t need to say anything further to her. She quietly went to her desk and packed up her few belongings and left without a word. I think she was embarrassed or maybe too dazed from getting her butt whipped. Either way, I was glad to be rid of her.
Everyone encouraged me to press charges against her for sabotaging the serum and for starting the fight with me, but I couldn’t. It was bad enough that her career in science was over. I really didn’t want to ruin her life even though I’m sure that’s what she believed. Besides her father had done a lot for me over the years so I felt like letting Sofia go was my way of returning his favour.
“I am so relieved to see you right now,” Cyrus said to me as he held me in his arms. “When you called and told me what happened I wanted to rush over there but they wouldn’t have let me in since I don’t work there anymore.”
“It’s okay. I was too busy after it happened anyway. With Sofia’s termination, dealing with the fire officers about the damage and sourcing a new microscope, I had a pretty busy and stressful day.”
“Well, I have something to help take your stress away.”
Cyrus’ kisses never get old. They always manage to make me feel like everything is alright in the world. Now with all that work drama behind me, I can focus on another important task – making this man my husband!