Dub stewed all the way to Mandy's office. He was so tired of this shit. The bright smile and wave he tossed the guys across the courtyard was completely fake. Just like most everything else about him. Roth had made it clear that all Dub was good for was releasing some tension during the work day. Couldn't even be bothered to go out for a drink.
He took the long way around the building to clear his head before knocking on Mandy's door.
"Dub, come on in. Can you close the door?" Mandy greeted him, pushing back from her desk a little, but not leaving her chair. She had pushed her skirt up past her knees, and her shoes were kicked off.
He suppressed a sigh and walked to the desk. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Mandy looked up at him through lowered lashes, pouting. “Why not, Dub?”
Dub shook his head. He really didn’t want to do this. Sure, Mandy was pretty, and he wasn’t against the idea of being with a woman – he’d been with plenty. Hell, he’d been with plenty of men, too. In almost any conceivable combination. But it was never enough.
“Do you still need your keyboard fixed?” Dub steered the conversation back to the reason he was there.
“Yes,” Mandy said with an exaggerated sigh. She stood up to trade places with Dub.
When he crawled under the desk to reattach the cable, he noticed she had removed the cabling from the tray he had installed to prevent the cord from getting caught. He closed his eyes and counted to ten, then re-ran the cabling. When he spun around crawl back out, she had sat back down, hitching her skirt up. He didn’t need runway lights to see the landing strip.
“Mandy, please.” He kept his distance, but she moved the desk chair forward. He put his hands on the arms to hold her away.
“Come on, Dub. Just this once?” She whispered, giving him her best sultry stare.
He shook his head. “No, Mandy. I can’t.”
“That’s not what I hear.”
“Well, you heard wrong.”
“I won’t tell anyone.” She tried to push forward again, but Dub held the chair still, his knuckles turning white with the effort to control his anger.
“Mandy, I’m going to leave now. Please do not pull the cable out again.” He pushed the chair back far enough to get out and left the office. He made it out the courtyard and took a seat on one of the benches away from the smokers. He took his cell phone out and dialed with shaky fingers.
“Hey, Boss. It’s me.”
Xander glanced at the display on his desk phone, noticing the call came from an outside line. “Dub? What’s up? Are you on your cell?”
“Yeah. I need to talk to you. Got some time?”
“Sure. Let me close my door.”
“Wait. I’ll be right there.” He hung up and walked back into the building, wandering through the café, and around the cubes on his way back to the Stable. He needed to clear his mind before talking to the Iceman.
Xander just stared at the phone for a minute. Why would Dub need to call him from an outside line if he was still on site? He knew what Dub was going to bring up. Ogilvie stopped by to debrief him when the team returned from their break. Well, their coffee time – they always seemed to be on break, chatting and laughing at their desks while they worked on their projects. He hung up and had cleared off his desk when Dub came in and closed the door.
“What’s shaking, Dub?” Xander asked with a smirk.
Dub gave him a tired smile. “This keyboard thing is getting out of hand.”
Xander noticed the normally playful tone was gone from Dub’s voice, and he looked rattled. Very few things ever rattled Dub. “What happened?”
“Nothing, really. You may get a call from Mandy. Or from HR.”
“Look. Nothing happened. She pulled her cord out of the track and unplugged it. When I fixed it, she kind of came on to me. I pushed her away. I never touched her.”
“Dub.” Xander shook his head. He knew Dub would be telling him the truth, but the problem with larger than life reputations was they were often the only thing people believed. If Mandy was going to file a compliant, the burden of proof would be on them to prove it was a lie.
“Seriously, Xander. I only touched the arms of her chair, and that was only to get her to stop wheeling into me.”
“I believe you.” Times like this are what made Xander hate being the boss. Sometimes he’d love to go back to be being a tape monkey, just to not have to deal with the people issues. He exhaled and looked at Dub. “We’ll figure something out, if it comes to that.”
“Now, what do you want to do going forward? How do you want me to handle all the keyboard requests?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you want me to come down hard on the users for unplugging them? You know most of them are doing it on purpose. I can tell them they’re on their own.”
“No, I don’t think we need go that far.” Dub thought about it for a moment. “I don’t think I can go out there for a while, though.”
Xander smiled and pulled a box off the top of his filing cabinet. “Let’s go.”
Dub furrowed his eyebrows together. “Where? What’s in the box.”
Xander just smiled and entered the Stable.