Bad Girl Gone Good(4)

By: N. Franko

Now, I get to wake up whenever I want and do whatever I want. I go to bars without a date and come home with one, sometimes two. I live like the tech rock star that I was. Do I want to find love? Sure. Doesn’t everyone? The thing is, I don’t know if I believe in love. Before I had money, women turned me down or constantly friend-zoned me. I wasn’t smart enough, or nice enough or too smart or too nice or some other lame excuse. Then I came into money and suddenly, I had to turn women down. Let’s face it, love doesn’t exist—it’s all about the money. Now that I have plenty of money, I’ve got a lot of lost time to make up for in the women department.

I didn’t need to be in the office anymore. There was a whole team of coders who took care of all the tech stuff now. I didn’t need to work. I still had a job, but algorithms are pretty self sufficient. If something goes wrong with the site I fix it, but that can be done remotely. John calling me in to the office is pretty serious. There must be something extremely wrong.

The eLove office had come a long way from the garage that John and I had started the company in. It went from my parent’s garage to a loft of a converted mattress factory in Corktown district. The neighborhood used to be such a shithole but since the properties were bought up by businesses and real estate developers alike, its really come a long way.

The office itself was a large, open, airy loft buzzing with energy. Employees sat in rows, working away at their computers. John sat with them, forgoing a private office so he could be close to the action. He liked to think he was one of those “cool” bosses who could be buddies with his employees but he was more of an office dad. He was a stern boss but he kept the place running.

“Hello, Mr. Graham,” the receptionist perked up from her screen and greeted me with a plastered, cheery smile I knew she reserved for management.

“Merna,” I said with a salute. “Is everything all right around here? I got a call from John.”

“Oh, I’ll let him know you’re here,” she said and dialed her phone to announce my arrival. That’s not good. The only time Merna is formal is when the big boss is in. “He said you can go up,” she said, hanging up the phone.

“Thanks,” I said. This wasn’t good. The only time the big boss came to the office was when she had a bone to pick with us, usually about how we can increase users.

I made my way to the open office where employees rushed back and forth with papers, boxes and who knows what else. Seriously, I had no idea what any of these people did but the place was busier than usual.

“It's about time you got here,” John said from his computer in the corner of the loft. “Angelina will be here any minute.”

I liked to think I was the big boss but it was Angelina who bought us, which made her the real boss. She was the investor who made us rich and famous overnight. Unfortunately, the catch was that we run the company for her. We get stock options and still make most of the decisions but now we’re held accountable.

Angelina walked in like a bat out of hell with her black trench coat billowing behind her. Her expensive heels clicked as her feet landed one after another on the laminate floor, announcing her arrival. “Let’s get this meeting started, ladies. I don’t have all day,” she announced at our direction as she strolled to the back and into an office that sits unused, reserved just for her. John and I exchanged concerned looks before strolling after her.

Angelina Marco had the confidence of an entitled, rich man and wasn’t afraid to let you know it. To say she was a ball buster was an understatement. She was a straight talker who said nothing she didn’t mean. She was all business, all bark and I’m sure all bite, too. She was not someone you wanted as an enemy.

“Okay, let’s get started,” she said when she settled in to her chair, feet on her desk. “We have a problem. Well several. We’ve been getting complaints about the quality of matches.” She glared at me through icy eyes. Her stare was as stiff as the coif of black hair on top of her head. I couldn’t help but feel like I was being scolded.

“I’m… not sure what you mean by quality…” I began.