On Wednesday, Leah heads to Midtown to meet Tracey McIntosh, who she finds seated outside at the Starbucks at Colony Square. Leah’s planning on viewing office space, and Tracey offered her assistance in their conversation the afternoon before.
“I appreciate you meeting with me on your day off,” Leah says as she sits at Tracey’s table.
Tracey laughs. “Wednesday’s the day my husband and I play Bridge. But that’s in the evening. When Cairo made his offer, I asked for the day off and he didn’t even flinch.”
“Good for you.”
“No, good for him,” Tracey replies. “It gave him immense pleasure to take me away from Bickering. He was only slightly exaggerating when he said Marty was pissed. I keep getting offers to come back and every time I do, I show them to Cairo and he increases my salary.”
“You probably know where most of the bodies are buried at Bickering,” Leah says.
“Who do you think brought the shovel?”
“I imagine working for Cairo is an experience,” Leah says.
Tracey shakes her head. “That’s one way to put it. I’ve raised three kids. I never thought I’d have to raise another one. But it has its moments.”
“I’d think someone like you would get bored with a job like that,” Leah says.
“It started getting old after about the first month. I like to be busy, feel like I’m challenging myself. Here, I just know if I wasn’t doing this, he’d have someone else in there doing the same job with about the same success rate.”
“I’m going to have all the challenges you could handle, if that’s what floats your boat.”
“Ah yes, let’s talk about that,” Tracey says. “I think we might make a good team. So far, I’ve been very impressed with how you’ve gone about your plans. Not many would be able to walk into the lion’s den and come out unscathed.”
“It was either that or deal with Dad’s old-boy contacts who’d go on about ‘little Leah’ finally trying to make it on her own, along with all their tired clichés about what it takes to succeed.”
“So, the real question is, when do we get started?” Tracey says.
“I think we already have,” Leah says. “Shouldn’t I make some sort of offer first?”
“I know how much you’re getting from Cairo, remember?” Tracey says.
“True,” Leah says. “What else do you need besides a salary that’s probably nowhere near competitive to what he’s paying?”
“As I said, I love challenges, and this sounds like a great one,” Tracey says. “NSA is small potatoes. I can bring in all the government work you can handle and round up all the warm bodies Bickering has to spare.”
“Perfect,” Leah says. “Anything else?”
“I can be your full-service, one stop shop,” Tracey says. “Office management, bookkeeping, facilities management. You make the top-level decisions and I make sure they get carried out. You’ll never know I’m there and miss the hell out of me when I’m not. If it will sweeten the deal, I speak French and Spanish and learned Korean from my mother.”
“That would come in handy,” Leah says. “I have a working proficiency in Korean but I’m not bilingual. Bet Cairo’s going to miss you.”
“He’s rich enough that it doesn’t matter,” Tracey says. “Half the time, the only reason I’m there is so he doesn’t have to talk to himself all day. Besides, my middle daughter is graduating from Georgia Perimeter and needs a job.”
“Think she can handle him?”
“She was a babysitter in high school. She’ll be fine.” She rises. “Let’s go find us an office, shall we?”