Xander leaned against the filing cabinet in Roth’s office, glaring at the marketeer. Corny was under the desk, connecting the receiver for the new wireless keyboard and mouse.
Roth cleared his throat and ran a hand along the back of his neck and looked down at his shoes. “Look, I didn’t push him into anything.” He turned back to Xander, but whatever he was going to say died when he saw the man’s face.
Corny popped his nicotine gum as he tested the new peripherals, making sure everything worked properly. When he was satisfied, he packed up the old gear and left the two managers alone.
“Don’t,” Xander snapped. “Don’t try to spin this. You should have never started anything to begin with. And once you did, you damn sure should have kept your fucking mouth shut.” Xander crowded him into the corner of the office.
“I know. But you know how he is.”
Xander closed his eyes and turned away from Roth. Yes, he knew how Dub was. And he was not how Roth painted him. He didn’t deserve to be the company mattress based on the rumors this jackass started. He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed.
“Come on, Xander. Look at that hot ass and that sweet mouth.” Roth leered. “He’s a born cum dumpster.”
Xander whirled around, his eyes blazing. Roth cowered back into the corner as the bigger man advanced on him, locking his jaw tight. “Just. Fucking. Shut. The fuck. Up.” His hands were shaking with the desire to rip something apart - starting with Roth’s body. He turned and opened the door, stepped out into the hallway, and nodded to the audience that had gathered looking for dirt.
Roth hovered near the doorway, looking pale and scared. Xander turned to address him directly. He cleared his throat and kept his voice even and clear. “If you need any further support, please call me directly. My team is too busy to clean up after your clumsiness.”
“Man, I wish I could have seen that,” Val laughed as Corny told the team what happened in Roth’s office. “Glad Iceman finally brought him down a peg or two. Couldn’t have happened to a better man. Fucking weasel.”
“Val.” York said, nodding at Dub.
Val put a hand on Dub’s shoulder. “Oh, hey, man. Sorry. It’s just–“
“It’s okay,” Dub interrupted. “Never expected anything from him.”
Everyone looked up when Xander walked into the room and closed the door. “Listen up, guys. From now on, any keyboard calls go to York, Ogilvie, or Corny. In that order. Got it?”
“Why not me?” Milton asked.
“Because you’re still new. The users will walk all over you. And before you ask, Val, they think you’re fun, just like Dub. York’s been here long enough they won’t try anything, and Ogilvie will shoot them down quick if they did.”
“Then why the fuck do I have to do them?” Corny groused.
Xander’s smile was cold. “’Cause they’re afraid of you.”
Corny looked at him for a minute, then shrugged. “Okay.”
“Uh, Boss?” Dub asked from behind him.
Xander nodded and turned back toward his office. “Why don’t you guys head on out? I’ll handle anything that comes up.”
“Don’t gotta ask me twice.” Val stood up and slung his messenger bag over his shoulder. “Coming, guys?”
“Yeah, just hang on a sec,” York said, picking up his backpack and gathering his stuff.
“I’m going to finish up this account list before I head out. I’ll meet you guys at the lake.”
“Just make sure you bring the beer. If we’re stuck out there without any, I’ll be seriously pissed,” Corny said, slapping another patch on his arm.
“You’ll be pissed, anyway.” Ogilvie chuckled and shook his head. “Don’t worry. I’ll get it. See you guys later.”
He waited ten minutes to make sure the team had the chance to clear the parking lot, then he knocked on Xander’s door.
He lowered his eyelashes as he looked into Xander’s eyes.
“Hey, Boss,” he said huskily before stepping inside and locking the door.