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Discussions - Chapter 5

 
 
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Discussions - Chapter 5

 

By Kudara

 

Disclaimer: All the characters appearing in Gargoyles are copyright Buena Vista Television/The Walt Disney Company.  No infringement of these copyrights is intended as this is a not for profit fan fiction work.  All original characters are the property of the author.

 

Warning:  mild language warning.

 

Notes:  Dominique Destine’s home, and the character’s Candice and Gregory are from ‘The Gargoyles Saga’ world and adapted for use in this story.

 

Rating:  Teen

 

Feedback: Always welcome, feedback is what encourages me to keep writing.  Please let me know what you like and what you dislike about the story.

 

Revision History: 05/29/08

 

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December 8th, 1997

 

Nightstone Unlimited HQ, Lower East Side Manhattan

 

“Mr. Cleveland,” Dominique looked up from the Operations Division report she was reading as the door opened and the division manager of Human Resources entered with a plain manila folder in his hand.  “If you’ll have a seat, I’ll be through here in a moment.”  She barely paid attention to his acknowledgement as she returned her attention to the report in her hand.  It was, as usual, concise and to the point, and she wished more of her division managers showed the same level of competency in writing theirs. 

 

She laid the report down and looked at the division manager sitting in the chair on the other side of her desk.  She took in the ill fitting black suit and slouched shoulders that only made his thin frame appear even weaker, the thin strands of fine brown hair that tried to hide the fact that he was going bald, the sharp beady eyes and perpetual frown.  Mr. Cleveland was one of the division managers that would benefit from looking over and imitating Ms. Wright’s work, and interestingly enough, though most of her employees were annoying her less than usual today, the sight of this one annoyed her just as much as it had before the kidnapping.

 

“That is the employment offer for Ms. Canmore?” she inquired, glancing at the folder in his hands.

 

He opened the folder pulled out some papers held together with a paper clip, and extended them over the desk to her, “This is the employment offer for Ms. Canmore, Ms. Destine.  I wasn’t certain what salary you wanted to offer, so I wrote down the company’s standard starting range for a position of this type.”

 

Dominique took the papers and scanned over them, the salary range was what she had expected; however, there was no mention of any stock options as she had requested.  “Why is there no mention of offering stock in lieu of a portion of her salary?  Did Candice not pass that instruction on to you?”  She knew that wasn’t the case, as her secretary had blind copied her on the email she sent to HR as per her standing policy when her secretary sent out any instructions in her name, but she wanted to see what he would reply.

 

Mr. Cleveland shifted uncomfortably, “Ms. Destine you can’t offer stock options without Mr. Thailog’s approval unless you are planning on offering them out of your own share of the company.”

 

Her green eyes narrowed at the mention of the name, “Ah yes the absent Mr. Thailog,” she commented in a deceptively soft tone, “You are aware, of course, that no one’s heard from him in almost a year.” 

 

It was something, the nervous flicker of his eyes, the little twitch in his face.  Even as he was agreeing, “I believe so Ms. Destine,” she was wondering if she had really gotten rid of all of Thailog’s moles during her reorganization of the company following the miserable male’s betrayal of her and what she had thought was the clone’s fiery demise.

 

“Mmm,” she pretended to return her attention to the employment offer for Kendra in her hand.  Fire him now or see if he would lead to something interesting, Dominique weighed the two options that immediately came to her mind.  She decided to see if he would lead to anything interesting, “We’ll table the stock options for a few months then.  It shouldn’t take legal long to either find him or get the courts to declare him missing and presumed dead, whereupon his share of Nightstone will default to me,” her gaze returned to his face in time to savor the look of surprise and dismay upon his pale, thin face before he smoothed his expression over.  “I believe that settles the employment offer for Ms. Canmore, was there something else Mr. Cleveland?”

 

“Well Ms. Destine, about these changes you want to make to the company’s employee benefits,” the redhead could easily hear the disapproval in his tone as he spoke.  “Nightstone followed standard employment practices for New York City in including sexual orientation in its EEO statement, but offering medical benefits to those people is clearly beyond anything that our competitors are doing.”

 

Dominique leaned back in her chair, interlacing her fingers over her stomach.  Everything had been going so well this morning until now, she had begun thinking that this idea of all humans having inherent worth might not be so difficult for her to accept.  Then Mr. Cleveland had to come along and remind her of why she had been doubtful that she could actually embrace that concept.  “Those people,” she repeated evenly, “by that I’m assuming you mean gays and lesbians.”

 

He was at least smart enough to not mistake her even tone for acceptance, she noticed as he began looking distinctly uncomfortable.  That hint though, didn’t stop him from pursing his lips as if he were tasting something foul as he replied, “Yes, Ms. Destine I meant gays and lesbians.”

 

“I assume by your tone then that you do not actually agree with Nightstone’s EEO statement?” she asked, feigning a lack of real interest in his answer.  Her plan of just a few seconds ago, to let him remain employed while monitoring his activities to see if he attempted to contact Thailog, was no longer an option in her mind.  This human was not going to remain her Human Resources division manager, before she fired him though, she would see just how deep a hole he would dig himself.  If he admitted that he had violated Nightstone’s EEO policy she would not only be able to fire him, but deny him his severance package as well, a thought that gave her a rather vicious sense of satisfaction.  Waiting until nightfall to grab this human and drop him into the Hudson River from very far above the city might not be an option for her anymore, but that didn’t mean she had to let him escape entirely unscathed.

 

She saw the wary expression in his eyes just before he carefully responded, “Of course not Ms. Destine, I fully support all of Nightstone’s personnel policies.”

 

It was all Dominique could do to not reveal her annoyance; Mr. Cleveland’s survival instincts were obviously quite good.  An old memory rose in her mind, it was one of the times when food had been very hard to find, she had been flying over a field when she spotted a hare, unfortunately it had spotted her as well and dived into its hole just before she dove to catch it.  Knowing that it would come out as soon as it felt itself safe, she had altered her course and circled above the field patiently waiting for the animal to appear once again.  She had hare that night and its flesh had tasted all the sweeter for the effort she put in to catch it.  She fixed the human sitting across from her with a stern look, “That’s good to hear Mr. Cleveland, because I don’t care about my employees personal lives only their work,” she stated in a firm tone.

 

He nodded nervously, “I understand completely Ms. Destine.”

 

She continued in the same firm tone, “As for the other, I was asking for a report on the financial cost to the company of such a benefit,” abruptly her tone turned sharply chill, “not anyone’s personal views on the subject.”

 

She could see his prominent adam’s apple bob up and down in his thin throat as he swallowed, “Of course Ms. Destine, I’ll get started on that immediately.”

 

As soon as the door to her office shut behind his swiftly retreating figure, she picked up the phone and dialed a number.  Dominique could guess that trying to prove Mr. Cleveland was breaking the company EEO policy would be difficult to impossible.  However, if he had been following Thailog’s orders during the past year or attempted during the next few days to contact Thailog to get instructions from him, the HR division manager would be in direct violation of the instructions she had issued as soon as she had returned to work after the Coney Island fire.  Those instructions had reminded all employees that Mr. Thailog had only been given authority to direct the company during her scheduled absence and now that she had returned, he was no longer to be considered part of the company’s management team.  As Nightstone Unlimited’s majority shareholder and CEO, she had ordered all employees to cease following any directives issued by Mr. Thailog as of that date and to report any attempts by Mr. Thailog to issue such orders to her.  If she could find any proof that Mr. Cleveland was in violation of those instructions it would give her the reason she needed to fire him.  “Ms. Conrad,” she interrupted the woman’s standard company greeting, “Has the network monitoring equipment and software I ordered for your department been received?”

 

“It has Ms. Destine, I had the network team install the monitoring devices last week during our normally scheduled downtime and the monitoring agents were installed in the last update,” as usual the IT’s division manager spoke in a brisk, decisive tone that matched her personality perfectly. 

 

The last time the network had unexpectedly went down, Dominique had stormed down to the IT department intending on ripping someone’s head off for the disruption to her work.  Instead, she had stopped in the doorway to watch first in astonishment, and then in grudging admiration, as the slender short woman standing over one of her technicians and watching his computer screen, orchestrated the controlled chaos of technicians calling out information as they typed furiously at their computers and ran in and out of the room to perform the various tasks she set for them.  In between issuing orders and listening to the information she was receiving, Ms. Conrad had given Dominique an update on the source of the problem, a virus ridden personal laptop someone had connected to the network, and the steps she was taking to stop the spread of the infection and remediate the problem.  Much calmer than she had arrived, and impressed despite herself with the petite blonde woman, Dominique had growled that she expected the problem to be fixed as soon as possible no matter how late people had to work, and that she expected a full report on how to make sure this did not happen again before leaving.

 

“Very good,” Dominique almost purred the words out in her satisfaction, “I want all communications to and from Mr. Cleveland monitored and I want all of his computer records searched for any indication that he either has received and acted upon instruction from Mr. Thailog or that he is seeking to contact Mr. Thailog for instructions.”

 

There was a brief hesitation before the woman on the other end of the phone replied briskly, “I’ll start monitoring his communications and searching though his files for that information immediately Ms. Destine.”

 

Dominique warned her sternly, “I don’t want him alerted that we’re monitoring him.”

 

“I’ll do it myself Ms Destine,” Ms. Conrad promised, “he won’t suspect a thing.”

 

As she hung up the phone, Dominique wondered if she had imagined the hint of satisfaction in her IT division manager’s voice.

 

Nightstone Unlimited – three hours later

 

Her stride purposeful, Dominique entered the executive level conference room with Kendra beside her.  The black haired woman paused at the doorway while the redhead took her usual seat at the head of the oval table.  Following along behind them were Ms. Conrad, Mr. Justin Burns, Human Resources Hiring manager and second in line behind Mr. Cleveland, Mrs. Merrill, the Administrative Division Manager, and Mr. Weiss, Nightstone’s Senior Legal Council.  Mr. Cleveland was already seated at the table, unaware that Dominique had just notified the other division managers that the afternoon meeting was running approximately thirty minutes late.  As the last person walked into the room, Kendra quietly shut the door behind them.  Candice would post a notice on it warning people not to enter.

 

Mr. Cleveland looked up from the papers he was reading and glanced around the room with a frown, noticing they were short several division managers.  He cast an inquisitive look at Mr. Burns, who responded with a tense looking shrug as the short, rotund man’s grey eyes slid uneasily away from the hazel one’s of his boss.

 

Mr. Cleveland turned towards Dominique, a wary look on his face, and in a carefully diffident tone inquired, “Ms. Destine I wasn’t aware that Mr. Burns was supposed to be at this meeting.”

 

Dominique glanced at him, “That’s alright Mr. Cleveland, neither did he until a short while ago when I requested his presence.”  The coolness of her gaze was enough to discourage him from asking any more questions and enough to make him even more wary and nervous looking.

 

The redhead shifted her attention from him to her IT Division manager, “Ms. Conrad I requested that you audit Mr. Cleveland’s computer account earlier today,” she ignored the thin man’s violent start at this news as she continued evenly, “If you will share your findings with us.”

 

“Ms. Destine,” Ms. Conrad acknowledged her as she opened up the folder in front of her, “As you requested I monitored Mr. Cleveland’s communications and scanned the files on his computer and network folder for any mention of Mr. Thailog.  At 12:10 pm Mr. Cleveland sent the following encrypted communication from his computer…”

 

“You had no right!” he protested, giving the blonde woman a nasty look.

 

Before Dominique could respond Ms. Conrad looked him in the eye and coolly replied, “Perhaps you’ve missed the notice when you sign on every day that notifies you that you have no right to privacy while using the company’s computers and network?”

 

He flushed, the red extending all the way down his neck.  Before he could say anything more, Dominique interrupted firmly, “Now that the subject of your lack of privacy rights has been covered,” the redhead ignored the angry look the man turned her way, “if you will continue Ms. Conrad.”

 

The blonde nodded, “Normally the encryption would prevent us from reading the message, but as I was monitoring his computer directly, I was able to see the message before it was encrypted.  This is the message Mr. Cleveland sent at 12:10 pm today.”  She picked up a piece of paper and began reading off it, “Mr. Thailog I learned this morning that Ms. Destine is beginning the legal process to have you declared dead so that she can claim your portion of the company.  I would be pleased to assist you in this matter to prevent this travesty from occurring, please send me instructions detailing what actions you wish me to take to protect your interests.  Your last instructions to me were several months ago, it is unfortunate that that woman heading the IT Division detected the monitoring software I placed on Ms. Greene’s computer, but I assure you I can do better if you give me another opportunity.”

 

Dominique could see Mr. Cleveland’s beady hazel eyes darting around the table nervously.  “Mr. Cleveland,” she said, her tone softly dangerous, “Since I discussed the wording of the instructions I issued several months ago regarding Mr. Thailog with you, I’m certain that you are aware of their contents.  Would you care to explain to me why you not only completely disregarded them, but also installed software to monitor my secretary’s computer?”

 

The nervousness in his demeanor vanished abruptly as he glared at her and snarled, “Mr. Thailog explained to me that he was supposed to be the majority partner, that you changed the agreement during the incorporation process without notifying him or seeking his approval.  You had no right to issue those instructions freezing him out of the company’s decision making process since he owns almost as much of Nightstone Unlimited as you.”

 

The redhead leaned back in her chair, she hadn’t expected that this human would have the backbone to do anything other than fold and plead that she not fire him, it almost impressed her.  Even better, however, was the fact that his outburst presented an excellent opportunity for her to make public certain carefully crafted pieces of information that were equal parts misdirection and truth.  “Tell me Mr. Cleveland have you ever met Mr. Thailog in person?”  She already knew he hadn’t, the communications Ms. Conrad had found indicated this clearly.  In addition, she knew the clone had been even more paranoid than she was about letting humans know he was a gargoyle.  Dominique saw Kendra tense in her chair and glance at her quickly before relaxing once again.  She could guess that Kendra had picked up on the fact that she was not worried about Mr. Cleveland’s answer.

 

Mr. Cleveland frowned, “No, but then Mr. Thailog is often out of the country.”

 

Dominique chuckled dryly, “I assure you that during the entire two months Mr. Thailog was running this company he was in this city.”

 

Mrs. Merrill was the one who asked the question Dominique was waiting to be asked, “But then why didn’t he come into the office?”

 

Dominique shrugged, “I’m not certain, but then I’ve never met Mr. Alexander Thailog in person either, as far as I know no one has ever met the man in person.  My guess is he has some mental issue or medical problem that prevents him from leaving his home and interacting with other people in person.”  Everyone but Kendra looked stunned by this information.  “I made that change to the incorporation document because I knew that due to Mr. Thailog’s eccentricity I would be the sole person running the company in its day to day operations.  Mr. Thailog had two weeks to protest the changes; they would have even come to his home if he had informed them he was physically unable to come into their offices.  He let the two weeks pass without taking any action to prevent the incorporation from becoming final.”  She turned back to Mr. Cleveland, “Now, Mr. Cleveland knowing that Mr. Thailog had every chance to protest the changes I made and did not because he refused to leave his home or have anyone come and visit him, would you care to make that claim again that he would be a better choice to run this company?  A man who can’t or won’t interact with any of you or our customer’s face to face?”

 

The man’s pale skin looked pasty as he admitted, “No, Ms. Destine I would not.”

 

The redhead examined him coolly, taking in the defeated posture, the haunted look as he accepted what was about to happen.  “If you had bothered to look up the incorporation process in France, you would have realized that Mr. Thailog was lying to you Mr. Cleveland.  It’s unfortunate for you that you did not,” she turned to the companies legal counsel sitting to her left, “Mr. Weiss would you lay out Mr. Cleveland’s options for him please.”

 

It only took ten more minutes for him to sign the papers agreeing that he would leave Nightstone Unlimited immediately and without any severance package in exchange for the company not pursuing criminal and civil charges against him for his actions.  Dominique sat back in her chair, savoring her victory as she watched the lanky man and the security officer escorting him leave.  During the meeting, one of the technicians in Ms. Conrad’s division had taken his computer to investigate it further, and Mrs. Merrill’s assistant packed his belongings and took them down to the security desk for him to take on his way out of the building.

 

Dominique checked her watch, firing Mr. Cleveland had only taken twenty five minutes, almost exactly what she had expected.  “If you need a break we have five minutes until the afternoon Division Manager’s meeting,” she announced.

 

Mr. Weiss nodded to her, “Do you require my presence any longer Ms. Destine?”

 

“No, I do not,” Dominique responded, “have a good afternoon Mr. Weiss,” she added in a pleasant tone, pleased at how quickly he had gotten together the paperwork to get rid of Mr. Cleveland.

 

He wished her a pleasant afternoon in return and left, and she glanced over at the blue-eyed woman who was regarding her with a mildly amused expression.  There was no one else in the room with them at the moment as Ms. Conrad, Mr. Burns and Mrs. Merrill had taken the offer to take a short break.  “What?” Dominique asked in a low tone.

 

“You’re in a good mood,” Kendra observed with a small grin.

 

Dominique glanced at the door, it and the hallway outside was still empty, “That man’s annoyed me ever since he was hired,” she admitted quietly, “until today though I had no reason to get rid of him, and then he gave me not one but two good reasons.”  Kendra was right she was in a good mood, the obvious defeat in the humans posture had gone a long way to soothe the anger she had felt ever since his statement about offering medical benefits to domestic partners in her office.

 

The redhead glanced over at her lover, Kendra had been a great help to her this afternoon.  It had confirmed in Dominique’s mind that she had been correct to offer Kendra the position she had, and made her hope that the black haired woman would decide in a few months to continue working for her.  Kendra had signed her employment papers with Mr. Cleveland while giving him no hint that he was being investigated and that enough had already been found to fire him.  Then she had then gone down to the IT Division to assist Ms. Conrad with searching through his files for other incriminating documents.  That had allowed Dominique the time she needed to meet with Mrs. Merrill and Mr. Weiss to have them draw up the legal documents to offer Mr. Cleveland the choice of leaving quietly without his severance package or have the company pursue legal action against him.

 

A tall slender woman with long ash blonde hair walked into the room, “Ms. Destine, Ms. Canmore,” she greeted them quietly as she took a seat at the table a notepad, pen and thin sheaf of papers in her hand.

 

“Ms. Wright,” Dominique responded.  The redhead watched as Candice entered the room with a steno pad and pen and took her usual seat at the conference table to take notes.  As soon as all the division managers were seated around the table she began the meeting, “Ms. Canmore you’ve already met Ms. Conrad, Mrs. Merrill and Mr. Burns.”  The redhead began going around the table introducing everyone, “This is Ms. Wright the division manager for Operations,” she indicated the woman who had come in first, “Mr. Takana of the Financial Division, Mr. Pierre of Research and Development, and Mr. Lancaster of Sales and Marketing.” 

 

Kendra nodded to each division manager as they were introduced, her sapphire blue eyes evaluating them briefly before moving onto the next.  Her gaze returned to the large, muscular man Dominique had introduced as Mr. Pierre as soon as Dominique finished the introductions, searching his ebony features.  There was something familiar about him. 

 

He smiled at her, “Ms. Canmore,” he responded in a deep, smooth French accented voice to her searching look. 

 

Kendra’s eyes widened slightly as the distinctive voice along with his appearance jarred loose the memory; yes, she had met this man before.  “Mr. Pierre,” she gave him a brief return smile before turning her attention to Dominique.  The redhead glanced at both of them curiously, but didn’t ask about the brief exchange.  Kendra guessed that she would later when they were both alone.

 

Suspecting that many of the managers had heard about the man’s ignoble departure from the building only minutes before, Dominique started the meeting by announcing, “Mr. Cleveland’s employment with the company ended this afternoon.  Mr. Burns has agreed to temporarily take his position while we go through the hiring process for a new division manager,” Dominique stated, explaining the presence of the rotund man at the table.  “I’ll take this opportunity to remind everyone that I remain quite serious about the instructions I issued several months ago.  Mr. Thailog is not part of the management of this company, and I will not tolerate anyone either seeking him out for business related decisions or following any such instructions issued by him.”

 

Ms. Wright straightened her shoulders and met Dominique’s gaze, “Was Mr. Cleveland successful in his attempt to contact Mr. Thailog?”

 

The redhead leaned back in her chair, “Mr. Cleveland hasn’t received any communications from Mr. Thailog in several months.  Neither have I, which is why I have instructed our legal department to try and ascertain the whereabouts of Mr. Thailog.  If they cannot locate him we will report him as missing to the legal authorities and attempt to have him legally declared dead or at least have the courts assign someone to take care of his business interests.”

 

The tanned blonde woman nodded, and seeing that there were no more questions about Mr. Thailog, Dominique continued.  “Also, I expect everyone without exception to strictly adhere to Nightstone’s EEO policy, I will tolerate no discriminatory practices in this company and I would strongly suggest that if anyone has any intolerance toward any group mentioned in our EEO policy that they either start seeking new employment or work on becoming more tolerant.”  Dominique looked around the table, meeting everyone’s eyes.  Some of the expressions on her division manager’s faces were not quite what she expected, given the stern tone with which she had delivered her statement.

 

Mr. Pierre cleared his throat, and Dominique glanced over at him, “For myself Ms. Destine, that will not be a problem, and I would like to thank you for standing so firmly behind Nightstone’s non-discriminatory practices.  Mr. Cleveland’s attitudes towards certain groups of people were well known in the company, many of us found it disconcerting that he remained the division manager for Human Resources.”

 

Dominique stared at the ebony skinned man, reading between the lines of his statement.  What he meant was that many of them thought she agreed with Mr. Cleveland’s attitudes and thus hadn’t come to her with their concerns about those same attitudes.  She frowned, “Now that you know where I stand I expect such matters to be brought to the appropriate person’s attention immediately.  If I had been made aware that Mr. Cleveland's personal views were interfering with his duties as the division manager of Human Resources, I would have terminated his employment sooner Mr. Pierre.”

 

He nodded, “Yes, Ms. Destine,” he easily agreed.

 

She held his gaze for a moment longer before looking down at the first item on her meeting agenda.  “I’m sure that all of you have heard by now of the new division Ms. Canmore heads, New Technologies and Special Projects,” Dominique began, “and you are all wondering what exactly this new division’s role will be in the company.”  She paused only a second to take a glance around the table before continuing, “The division’s primary role will be to research emerging technologies and the businesses developing them for possible acquisition or investment by Nightstone Unlimited.  The division’s secondary role will be as a troubleshooting team, and its third role will be to complete whatever other special projects I assign to it.”

 

Kendra looked around the table and could see a lot of puzzled looks; it was a widely diverse set of roles for a division to be assigned.

 

“As for personnel to be assigned to the new division,” Dominique shifted her attention to Mrs. Merrill, “Ms. Canmore will need a secretary to prepare reports and a personal assistant to carry out research duties.  Until she gets a better idea of how many personnel she will need to carry out the division’s duties that will be all the permanent personnel assigned to the new division.”  The redhead stopped there, and let the silence draw out as she watched her division managers with a small sly smile.  She let them stare at her with puzzled expressions for a few more seconds before speaking again, “The remainder of the personnel for the division will be temporarily drawn from the existing divisions depending on the specific nature of the tasks assigned to the new division.”  Before anyone could voice a protest at having their people borrowed, even temporarily, Dominique continued, “Mr. Pierre, Ms. Canmore will be meeting with you tomorrow morning to discuss which of your researchers would be best suited to evaluate the various fuel cell technologies currently in commercial production and the companies developing them for possible acquisition or investment.”

 

Out of the corner of her eye, Dominique could see Mr. Takana sit up in his chair; formerly she had brought the companies she was interested in directly to the Finance Department to develop a strategy for acquiring them.  “After Ms. Canmore and her team have a short list of companies that fit our requirements she will liaison with the Finance Division to carry out the actual acquisition process.”  The Finance Division manager sat back in his chair, a thoughtful look on his face as he considered this.  “Once the company has been acquired it will follow the normal acquisition process and Ms. Canmore’s division will move on to another task.”

 

Dominique looked around the table, meeting each of her manager’s eyes in turn as she spoke, “Working with Ms. Canmore will be an opportunity for your personnel to use their training and skills in a slightly different manner than they might normally,” Dominique let that sink in for a moment.  “And it will allow your personnel to have a role in deciding which companies Nightstone will attempt to acquire and which technologies we will be researching and developing in the future.  There is also a good chance that these temporary assignments will also include travel.”

 

The redhead could tell from their expressions that they were catching onto the fact that these temporary assignments were meant to be opportunities and rewards for their personnel.  “And, so long as such participation doesn’t interfere with your primary responsibilities, I would suggest that each of you take advantage of the opportunity to stretch your own talents as well when Ms. Canmore comes to you requesting personnel.  Sit in on the team meetings or if travel is involved, accompanying the team to observe a target companies production processes and or research operations.  Just keep in mind that while you are sitting in on these meetings or accompanying Ms. Canmore, she is the senior manager in those situations and I expect you each to respect her authority,” she finished in a stern tone. 

 

The offer to let the division managers participate had almost been their first argument.  Dominique hadn’t wanted to allow them the opportunity, reasoning that they had enough duties of their own and there wasn’t a compelling reason to allow them to essentially tag along for a company paid trip.  Kendra had countered with the argument that the division managers were more likely to assign their most competent people if they had a reason to believe that it would benefit them instead of simply taking away their most productive employees.  In the end, Dominique had acquiesced, yielding to the black haired woman’s argument that it was a basic psychological fact that you could get more cooperation if you offered a carrot along with the threat of the stick instead of just the stick alone.

 

Well she had just laid out the carrot for them, now for the stick, “One last comment before we leave the topic of the new division, I expect each of you to cooperate fully with Ms. Canmore.  I will be extremely irritated with any one of you whom I suspect is not filling Ms. Canmore’s request with the employee that best fits her requirements.”  A quick glance around the table reassured her that they did indeed understand her meaning very clearly, and Mr. Cleveland’s recent firing for disregarding her instructions was most likely uppermost in their thoughts.

 

“The next subject I want to address is the possible upcoming change to our personnel policy,” Dominique moved onto the next topic of the meeting.  “I need each of you to prepare reports detailing the management overhead costs, along with what you see as the possible benefits and possible disadvantages to implementing flexible working hours spanning from seven am to six pm and telecommuting.”  The redhead looked directly at her IT Division manager, “Ms. Conrad I need from you a report detailing the possible security issues related to the company allowing telecommuting, any measures you recommend to mitigate those security issues, and whether you believe the security issues can be mitigated enough to even recommend allowing telecommuting.”

 

“Yes, Ms. Destine,” the honey blonde woman responded belatedly, looking a little stunned.

 

Dominique enjoyed the surprised looks on the faces of the division managers who hadn’t already known about the proposed changes.  “Comments anyone?”  There were a few, mostly about when telecommuting would be authorized and how they could make sure that people were actually working instead of simply logging hours.  Dominique let them discuss the matter amongst themselves for ten minutes while limiting her comments to what she expected the policy change to accomplish.  Finally, after listening to almost the same concern from Mr. Takana and Ms. Wright, the redhead called the meeting to an end, realizing that continuing it any longer would no longer be productive.

 

Dominique waited until Kendra and she were in her office and the door was closed behind them to say, “I’ve ordered groceries,” she looked at her watch, “they should deliver them around 6 pm, I thought we would have beef stroganoff tonight?”

 

Kendra chuckled, “I guess that means you’re inviting me over tonight?” she said with a smile.

 

The redhead glanced over at her, suddenly uncertain as she realized she had assumed that the black haired woman would be coming over.  “I’m sorry, did you have other plans for tonight,” she asked, unable to keep the disappointment from showing in her tone.

 

Kendra gave her a gentle look, “No,” she responded, “I was just going to point out how very cliché we are being.”

 

Dominique raised an eyebrow, “How so?”

 

The grin came back, “There’s an old joke, what does a lesbian bring to her second date?”

 

Seeing Kendra’s mirth, Dominique’s lips curved into a smile even though she wasn’t certain what exactly was so amusing.  Her brow rose even higher, “I have no idea,” she said regarding her lover curiously.

 

“A U-Haul,” Kendra said and then chuckled as the redhead flushed.

 

 

5:15 pm Wyvern Castle atop the Eyrie Building, Upper Manhattan

 

“Detective,” David Xanatos greeted Elisa as she stepped out into the main hall of the castle from the elevator.

 

She eyed him coolly, “Xanatos,” she replied wondering what he was doing here.

 

“I believe you’re on your way to speak to the clan,” he commented, a gleam of interest in his dark eyes, “about Macbeth showing up at Nightstone this morning?”

 

Elisa scowled suspiciously, “How did you know that?”

 

He smirked, “You weren’t the only one trying to find information this morning,” he said and motioned toward the stairs leading up to the battlements, “Shall we?  It’s almost sunset.”  Reluctantly she began to walk with him, “I suspect you weren’t much more successful this morning than I was Detective.”

 

She gave him a narrow eyed look, “We got a little,” she reluctantly admitted knowing that with him she would have to give something to get something, “and were there when Macbeth arrived,” her voice trailed off as she remembered the less than friendly greeting she had gotten from the ancient king.  It stood in stark contrast to the greeting he and Demona had given one another.  Each time Elisa remembered the friendly way the two had gripped each other’s arms, she felt shocked that it had actually occurred.

 

Xanatos nodded, “Unfortunately someone informed Demona that questions were being asked, and Nightstone security discouraged any further information gathering attempts.  We had better luck this afternoon when Demona fired her Human Resources Division manager for attempting to contact Thailog.  Mr. Cleveland was very eager to talk,” he smirked, “with the proper monetary motivation, of course.”

 

“Of course,” Elisa echoed, as they stepped out onto the battlements.  She lifted her collar against the chill night wind, “And what did Mr. Cleveland have to say.”

 

He glanced at the sinking sun, “It’s only a few minutes until sunset, I think I’ll wait until everyone is awake if you don’t mind Detective.”

 

Elisa grimaced, but looking at the sinking orb, she knew he was right, it would only be a minute or two more before the clan awoke.  The two waited, staring at the sinking sun until the slight sound of crackling stone caught their attention, with roars the gargoyles awoke, stretching and shattering the stone encasing them.

 

Goliath turned, noticing the two humans waiting for them, “Elisa,” he greeted the detective first sounding relieved, then with a curious look, “Xanatos.”

 

Elisa glanced at the tall man standing next to her, “We both have news of Demona.”  

 

The clan gathered around them curiously.  “Mmm,” Goliath rumbled, “You and Detective Bluestone went to see her today.”  It had been the last thing on his mind when the sun rose, and the first thing he thought of when he awoke, which was why he had been relieved to see her tonight.  “I gather your visit did prove useful.”

 

She grimaced, “Let’s say it was interesting,” she decided not to mention how Demona had called them on the fact that they had no official reason to be there asking questions.  “Macbeth showed up while we were there,” the entire clan looked shocked, “he wasn’t very happy with me,” she stared into Goliath’s eyes, “or you.  He told me that we didn’t have the right to make decisions about their lives or about what they were allowed to know, then he said that we didn’t understand the damage we caused that day.”

 

Goliath frowned, “The damage we caused?” he repeated in a puzzled tone.

 

“Let me tell you the rest of what I saw before we discuss what Matt and I think might explain their behavior,” Elisa said.  She told how Demona had immediately cleared her schedule for Macbeth, how the two of them had greeted one another in what she thought was Gaelic and had clasped one another’s arms.

 

“Do you remember anything of what they said, lass?” asked Hudson.

 

Elisa shook her head; she had been too shocked at seeing Demona and Macbeth acting like old friends to really pay attention to what they were saying, “Not really.”

 

“What thoughts did you and Matt have about the reason for their behavior?” asked Goliath.

 

The dark haired woman turned back towards the big lavender male, “That somehow Macbeth and Demona have remembered their time on Avalon.  That the Weird Sisters mentioned something while they were entranced that when they remembered it caused them to set aside their hatred of one another.”  She looked around at the clan, “it’s the only thing that makes sense, only we have no idea why they would have remembered Avalon, or what they remembered that would have such a…” she hesitated searching for the right word, “profound effect on both of them.”

 

“Interesting,” noted David Xanatos, thoughtfully.

 

His comment reminded Elisa that he had information about Demona as well, “You said you had some information to share,” she stared at him challengingly.

 

“I do,” he confirmed, returning her challenging gaze with an amused smirk, “Demona’s been quite busy her first day back at work.  She’s started her Human Resources division into looking at the costs of adding several new employee benefits, fired her Human Resources Division manager for working for Thailog and quite possibly for failing to fully support Nightstone’s EEO policies.”  He paused for a moment to look up at the stone figures of the clones, “and started her legal department looking into having one Alexander Thailog declared legally dead.”  He turned back to the clan, “I suspect she’s fully aware that he’s unable to protest.”

 

“Why would Demona wish to do that?” Goliath asked looking puzzled.

 

Xanatos explained, “Because he owns forty-nine percent of Nightstone Unlimited, and I suspect she wants to be the sole owner of the company instead of just the majority stockholder.”

 

The entire clan still looked puzzled, Elisa explained, “If the courts decide there is reasonable cause to suspect that he’s dead and his body just hasn’t been found, then they can declare him dead and issue a death certificate.  Then his estate would go to whoever is in his will, or in this case I suspect that he and Demona declared in the incorporation documents that the other shareholder would get all their shares if they died.”

 

“They did,” confirmed Xanatos.

 

“So she’s trying to steal his part of the company from him,” Brooklyn growled, looking over toward Thailog’s still stone form.

 

Xanatos’ eyebrow rose at the brick red gargoyle’s comment, “Actually,” he commented, “since Thailog stole the money he invested in Nightstone from me originally, it would be more accurate to say she’s stealing my part of the company.”

 

From the expression on Brooklyn’s face, it was quite evident that he had forgotten that particular fact, “Uh, yea I guess so.”

 

Angela took a few steps toward Xanatos, attracting his attention, “What are EEO policies,” she asked with a confused frown, “and why would Demona fire this man for not following them?”

 

“EEO stands for equal employment opportunity,” Xanatos explained, “it’s a company policy that states they don’t base their employment decisions on race, religious beliefs, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  Demona didn’t fire him for that, but he seemed convinced that it was one of the reasons she went looking for evidence that he tried to contact Thailog in the first place.”

 

Elisa frowned, “Why would she be able to fire someone for trying to contact Thailog if he’s an owner of the company?”

 

“There’s a difference between being an owner and being a manager,” Xanatos stated, “I’m both the owner and manager of Xanatos Enterprises.  Demona is the majority owner and manager of Nightstone Unlimited, whereas Thailog is only a shareholder, he has no authority to make management decisions.  Mr. Cleveland made the mistake of following Thailog’s directions for the company, and quite frankly I would do the same thing as she did if I found one of my employees following some shareholder’s instructions instead of my own,” he said with a hard edge to his tone.

 

“So it wasn’t that he contacted Thailog, it was what he contacted him about,” said Hudson, who was pleased that in all the strange talk of ownership and management that he understood that you didn’t go behind the leaders back and follow someone else’s orders.

 

David smiled, “Exactly.”

 

Lexington asked curiously, “If she fired him for trying to contact Thailog, then why did this manager think that one of the reason’s she fired him was for not following Nightstone’s equal employment policy?”

 

David smirked, this had been one piece of information Fox and he had found very interesting, given what Fox had observed over the weekend.  “Because one of the employee benefits Demona is considering is extending medical coverage to the partners of her gay and lesbian employees.  Mr. Cleveland made the mistake of stating that he didn’t believe that they deserved such coverage.”

 

The green gargoyle’s eyes slid over towards Elisa, she had lectured the clan extensively about the rights of all of the city’s citizens to be treated equally.  That discussion had come about as a result of Angela, Broadway and Lexington saving two men from a group of thugs who were calling them names and threatening them with tire irons and bats.  For all but Lexington, who had already come across both terms and even met some gays online, it had been the clan’s introduction to the concepts of homosexuality and hate crimes.  The web-winged gargoyle knew that Goliath especially had trouble with the concept, but even he had simply shrugged and agreed that no one deserved to be beaten or killed just because of whom they chose to love.

 

“I don’t understand,” said Angela, “why don’t they have this medical coverage already?”

 

Xanatos looked over at Elisa, “I believe I’ll let you explain this one detective.”

 

The dark haired woman grimaced, “Thanks,” she said dryly.  She took in a deep breath as she turned to face the young female, “Medical coverage usually applies only to a legally recognized spouse and your children.  Since gays and lesbians can’t marry, they don’t have legally recognized spouses and thus can’t get medical coverage for them from their employers.  What Demona’s considering is extending that coverage to them anyway.”  Elisa frowned, there was no reason she could think of for the gargoyle to do something like this.

 

“I don’t understand,” said Broadway looking puzzled, “why would Demona do something like that?  She hates humans.”

 

“This is getting us no closer to understanding why Macbeth and Demona are no longer enemies,” interrupted Goliath.  Everyone turned toward him, “What Demona is doing with her company is separate from determining what has happened between she and Macbeth.” 

 

The big lavender male and Elisa shared a long look, “Be careful,” she said, “he is rather upset about whatever it is that he remembered.”

 

“We’re going to visit Macbeth,” Brooklyn guessed.

 

Goliath nodded, “I see no other way to find out the information we need other than to ask him.”

 

“Before you go,” Xanatos interrupted quickly before the gargoyles left, “There’s one other thing I learned today that you might find interesting.”

 

Goliath frowned, he didn’t like the smug smile on Xanatos’ face, it meant that the man had purposefully kept this piece of information from them until now, “What?”

 

“Along with everything else she was doing today, Demona hired Kendra Canmore to head up a new division of Nightstone Unlimited, New Technologies and Special Projects,” Xanatos announced.  “I don’t know yet what the new division’s role will be in the company, but I’m sure that won’t be too hard to find out in the next few days,” he said confidently.

 

Goliath stared at him, a deep frown creasing his brow; nothing that Demona was doing lately, starting with the fact that she had helped Kendra Canmore make it though the wilderness after their kidnapping, made sense to him.  Though it had hurt him deeply, he had finally come to terms with who his former mate had turned into over the centuries, but ever since the kidnapping Demona had been acting in ways that kept catching him completely by surprise.

 

 

Destine Manor – Forest Hills Gardens Long Island

 

The quiet rumble of the garage door opening drew Dominique’s attention.  She put up the can of tomato paste and closed the cabinet door before walking over and opening the door to the garage, Kendra’s Jaguar was just pulling in.  Dominique smiled warmly, glad that she could drop the distant behavior she had adopted towards her lover while they had been at work.  They hadn’t spent much time together today, and that perhaps had been a good thing given how many time she had to remind herself not to reach out and touch Kendra or look at her too tenderly.

 

Kendra got out of the car and leaned on the black top, “Hey,” she said huskily a slow smile curving her lips as she stared at the redhead over the top of the vehicle.

 

Relieved there were no curious, watchful eyes on them, Dominique allowed herself to stare at her lover the way she had wanted to all day.  After several seconds, the redhead chuckled, realizing how silly they were both behaving, “Are you going to stay there or come in?  I’m about ready to start dinner.”

 

With a grin, Kendra shut the car door and walked around to the other side, opening it and pulling out a large bag.  “This is not my entire closet,” the black haired woman assured her as she hefted it.

 

Dominique shook her head at the other woman, “I know I’ve seen your closet after all.”  The redhead stood still as Kendra approached and then, as the black haired woman dropped the bag she was carrying on the steps and wrapped her arms around her, the redhead sighed in pleasure.  Dominique closed her eyes and buried her face in her lover’s neck as she wrapped her arms tightly around the black haired woman in return.

 

“I missed being able to do this today,” Kendra whispered into her hair, “I hadn’t really considered how hard it would be to be around you and not treat you like my lover.”

 

The redhead couldn’t believe she was about to do this but… she pulled away slightly and looked into Kendra’s face, “If you don’t want to I’ll understand,” she said softly.

 

Kendra was already shaking her head, “No, I want to stay, today was hard, but it also showed me how much you need someone there that you can trust.  You would have had a much harder time coordinating everything so you could fire that asshole if I hadn’t been there to help Jordan go through those files instead of you having to try and do that as well as meet with Mr. Weiss.”

 

Dominique snorted in amusement, “You figured that out in just the short amount of time you spent signing papers in his office?”

 

Kendra grinned, “Not exactly, Jordan wasn’t shy in telling me about Mr. Cleveland’s less than tolerant views about women and gays.  In case you hadn’t figured it out already, she really disliked that man and was quite happy to be the one you asked to find the information to fire him.”

 

The redhead tilted her head to the side, “I had wondered, she sounded very satisfied when I asked her to monitor his computer,” Dominique commented.  She looked inquisitively into Kendra’s blue eyes, “You seem to have made friends with my IT Division manager rather quickly.”

 

Kendra gave her an odd, searching look, “Dominique, if she’s not a dyke and didn’t immediately identify me as one too then I need to tear up my lesbian union card.”

 

Dominique’s green eyes widened.

 

Kendra began laughing, “No there’s not a union,” she finally managed to say in between chuckles.

 

The redhead slapped her very lightly on the back, “I didn’t think there was,” Dominique defended herself, “I was just surprised that you would say Ms. Conrad is a lesbian.”

 

“I’m almost certain that she is,” affirmed Kendra.

 

Dominique’s green eyes narrowed in anger as a possibility of how her lover would know this raced through her head, “did she make an advance toward you?” she growled.

 

“Whoa,” said Kendra, looking at her with a frown, “slow down on the green eyed monster; Jordan did not hit on me.”  Feeling embarrassed, Dominique flushed and tried to pull away, but Kendra wouldn’t let her.  “Dominique,” the black haired woman said gently, “I don’t have a sign floating above my head that says taken, so it’s not really fair of you to get jealous just because someone tries to figure out if I am or not, much less when they’re just trying to figure out whether I’m gay like them or not.”

 

The redhead knew Kendra was right, but she still felt embarrassed and slightly angry although she wasn’t entirely certain why.  She pushed lightly on Kendra’s arms to get the black haired woman to release her.  “Let’s go inside, now that you’re here I want to go and change for the evening.”  By the time they had hung up the clothes Kendra brought and she had transformed into her true form, Demona had calmed down enough to understand why she had been angry.  “I don’t like the fact that I can’t just let everyone know that you’re my lover,” she said to Kendra as they went back downstairs.

 

Kendra, who was going down the stairs in front of her, paused when she reached the foyer, turned to look at her.  Pointing at the gold headband around the gargoyle’s head she said, “Why don’t you take that off for a second.”  Curious, Demona did as her lover asked, the black haired woman moved very close and then reached up with both hands to pull the flame haired gargoyle’s head down, “let’s try this again now that you have a brow ridge,” Kendra said softly as she brought their foreheads together.

 

Demona’s eyes half closed at the wonderful feel of Kendra’s smooth soft skin rubbing so gently along her brow ridge.  She drew in a breath, threaded her hands through her lover’s midnight black hair and brought her wings forward, wrapping them around Kendra and completing the connection between them.  Her heart thudded in her chest and she fought the desire to say aloud what her heart was telling her, we are one.  She had said those words to Goliath and Thailog and they had turned out to be lies both times.  Now when they felt the truest she hesitated, the words felt tainted by the times she had uttered them before, and she couldn’t get out of her mind Kendra’s words about ownership assertion.  The last thing she wanted to do right now was to trigger her lover’s instinctive need for independence.

 

“Easy there,” Kendra’s gentle, worried voice broke Demona out of her thoughts.  Belatedly, the gargoyle realized that she had been holding onto her lover rather tightly and pressing her brow ridges into Kendra’s forehead hard enough that it couldn’t have been comfortable. 

 

Demona immediately released Kendra’s head, pulled her wings away from her lover, and took a step back.  “I’m sorry,” she apologized.

 

Kendra stared at her with concerned eyes, “Demona what’s wrong?”

 

“Nothing,” the flame haired gargoyle winced as she heard the lie in her own voice, knowing that the black haired woman would hear it as well.

 

Kendra’s head tilted just slightly and a crease formed between her brows as she looked at the gargoyle, “Did you not want me to continue working at Nightstone?”

 

Before she could say anything more, Demona responded firmly, “I want you there.”

 

“Then what’s wrong my love,” Kendra spoke so softly that the gargoyle wasn’t certain at first that she had heard the words correctly.  The black haired woman’s brow raised and her lips curved in a crooked smile, “You look so surprised,” Kendra noted, “After last night, I decided it was past time for me to just admit that I’ve wanted to call you my love for several days now.”

 

“After last night?”  Demona repeated, feeling as if she were missing something because it was hard to concentrate on the conversation with all the emotions rushing through her body.

 

The smile on Kendra’s face grew, “You don’t remember calling me that in between directions?” she asked, her eyes beginning to dance with amusement.

 

Demona felt her face heat; she did remember after a certain point telling Kendra rather specifically what she wanted her lover to do to her.  What she didn’t remember was calling Kendra my love during that time.  “I don’t remember saying it, but it doesn’t surprise me that I did,” the gargoyle admitted softly.

 

The merriment in Kendra’s eyes softened and gentled, “I understand, even before we came back to New York City I wanted to tell you I was falling in love with you, but it just didn’t seem real to me that it could happen this fast.”

 

The gargoyles breath left her chest in a relieved exhale, it wasn’t just she that felt that everything was happening very quickly between them.  “It took me years before I felt ready to become Goliath’s mate.  I already want everyone to know you’re my lover and that I’m yours and my heart tells me that it will not be very long before I want to be your mate.”

 

Something flickered in her lover’s blue eyes, Kendra’s nostrils flared, and a low rumbling purr vibrated from her chest.  Then Kendra’s hands were holding the flame haired gargoyle’s head still while the Jaguar’s chosen brought her face up and firmly rubbed her cheek along Demona’s face from the corner of her mouth to her ear and then repeated the process on the other side, ignoring the startled, wide-eyed look she was getting from the gargoyle at this behavior.

 

“What just happened?” asked Demona once Kendra released her.

 

Kendra flushed, “I’ve never had the jaguar in me become active quite like that,” she cleared her throat unnecessarily, trying to buy some time before she had to explain what had just occurred.  In many ways, it stunned her just as much as it had Demona.

 

Seeing the mixture of embarrassment, confusion, and surprise on Kendra’s face, Demona pulled her lover into her arms and hugged her tightly.  She hadn’t watched cats that often, but she had watched them enough to suspect what had just happened, “Did the jaguar in you just scent mark me?”

 

The black haired woman slipped her arms around the gargoyle’s slender waist, “Not exactly,” she confessed, tucking her head underneath Demona’s chin, “When cats form social groups they mark each other to create a group scent, its called allomarking.”

 

Without any conscious thought on her part, Demona’s wings extended forward and wrapped around the woman in her arms as Demona silently absorbed this information.  “So does that mean the jaguar spirit in you thinks my being your mate is a good idea?” she asked after several seconds, a pleased smile curving her lips at the thought.

 

Hearing the happiness in the gargoyle’s voice, Kendra leaned back enough to see Demona’s expression.  A matching smile curved her lips upon seeing the joy there, “Yes, that’s what it means.”

 

Each time she thought she couldn’t feel happier something happened to show her that yes she could, thought Demona to herself, it was almost the exact opposite of what she had come to expect in the past, that things could, and usually did, get worse.  Not that she suddenly thought that bad things wouldn’t happen to her, the gargoyle reminded herself, she was just starting to think that her personal life was just starting to go right and actually had room to improve.  Demona bent her head, meeting Kendra’s lips with her own in a slow, gentle kiss that turned achingly sweet.  When their lips parted, it seemed only natural to the gargoyle that they pressed their brows together and tenderly brushed them against one another.

 

“This is a little more than just a kiss isn’t it,” whispered Kendra, her breath warm against the gargoyle’s lips.

 

Demona grinned, feeling only a little embarrassed at being caught, “a little yes, usually only mates or pairs that are certain they will be mates will stroke their brow ridges together like this.”

 

Kendra chuckled lightly as she drew away, “I thought it might be something like that,” she said with an amused look.  The two of them stared into each other’s eyes for a long moment before Kendra snuggled into the gargoyle’s arms once again, resting her head on Demona’s shoulder as the flame haired gargoyle’s arms tightened around her.  They stood like that for several minutes, enjoying the warmth and feel of each other, and silently thinking about what all had been said between them.  It was Kendra who finally broke the comfortable silence, “You said something about beef stroganoff?”

 

“I did,” commented Demona, releasing her lover reluctantly, but knowing that Kendra was likely getting just as hungry as she.  On the way to the kitchen the gargoyle inquired curiously, “so why do you think Ms. Conrad…Jordan is gay?”

 

“She told me she liked Kate Delafield mysteries by Katherine V. Forrest,” responded Kendra with a grin.

 

It took Demona a second to connect the authors name with two of the books Kendra had given her, but she had yet to find the time to start.  One of those had been a mystery novel she remembered, “So the books you gave me are part of a secret identification code between gay people?”

 

Kendra shot her a startled look, for a second the black haired woman looked like she was going to break into laughter, and then an odd look crossed her face.  “You know,” she said thoughtfully, “I was about to say no, there’s no such thing, but perhaps informally there actually is, people mention books by certain authors, movies that are popular in the community, places such as Rehoboth Beach, Provincetown and Fire Island to see if the other person recognizes the significance of them.”

 

Demona pulled the cutting board out of the cabinet and put it on the counter; she turned toward Kendra with a smirk, “So you are saying there is a secret way of identifying yourselves to each other,” she said with a note of triumph.  Before the black haired woman could respond the gargoyle pointed to the refrigerator Kendra was standing in front of, “Could you hand me the sirloin, I need to slice it.”

 

“You don’t count yourself as part of the community?” asked Kendra as she opened the refrigerator and pulled out the large slab of meat and handed it over.

 

Demona was silent for a moment as she unwrapped the piece of sirloin and placed it on the cutting board, “I don’t know,” she said selecting a knife from the cutlery storage block on the counter, “I was never attracted to one of my rookery sisters like I’m attracted to you,” she started slicing the meat into strips.  “I guess I’m bisexual, and it’s a little difficult for me to think of myself as belonging to any human community.”

 

Kendra smiled, “it’s called les-bi-gay for a reason, but I do see your point about not being human though I suspect you would find more welcome in the community than you think you would.”

 

The flame haired gargoyle stopped slicing the sirloin into strips to stare at her lover incredulously.

 

Kendra shrugged, “I’m not saying you should show up as a gargoyle at the next Pride Festival wearing an ‘I’m here, I’m queer, Get used to it’ shirt, but I suspect you would find more acceptance from the community than a random selection of humans on the street.  That is after all, why Gregory didn’t accept that bribe and why he called me to tell me that someone had tried to bribe him.”

 

It took a long shocked moment for Demona to get past the idea of wearing such a shirt no matter whether she was a gargoyle or not, to realize what Kendra was saying, “Gregory is gay.”  She stared at the black haired woman, her mind trying to wrap around the concept that her driver hadn’t accepted a large sum of money simply because both he and she had same sex lovers.

 

Kendra nodded, “He is, that’s why he didn’t accept the bribe and when he went home and told his lover about it, Michael insisted that he call either you or I to tell us about it.”  The black haired woman smirked, “for some reason I think he felt safer calling me.”

 

Well that answered the question of why Gregory had called Kendra instead of simply informing the security guard, thought Demona.  She turned back to cutting board and started slicing the meat again, “I don’t understand though why you couldn’t just tell me that at work.”

 

“Ahh well,” Kendra’s voice was amused, “exactly how I learned that Gregory was gay and that his lover Michael was the reason we got called is why you needed to be here instead of there.”  Demona finished slicing the meat and laid the knife on the counter before she turned toward her lover with a raised eyebrow.  “I was talking to Gregory when Michael spoke up to first tell me exactly what the guy trying to bribe Gregory was asking.  Then Michael spoke up again to let me know that Greg was calling because Michael told him that he’d need to go out and buy a dildo with a suction cup to get any in the next month if he didn’t.”

 

It took Dominique’s mind a second or two to put together everything.

 

“So that’s what you look like when you blush as a gargoyle,” noted Kendra with a wicked smile.

 

They were eating dinner when Dominique thought to ask Kendra how she knew her Research and Development Division manager.

 

“I met him and his lover out at club a few years ago, I didn’t talk much to Jean at the time, but I did dance quite a few sets with Andre.  He’s a wonderfully elegant dancer, and even thought I wasn’t interested, I was very flattered that he thought I was good enough to try and talk me into dancing regularly with him so we could enter ballroom dance competitions.”

 

The main thought that was running through Demona’s mind after hearing this was that she really should have guessed this during the meeting.

 

Kendra gave her a sly amused look, “You do realize that three of your eight division managers are gay?  I highly doubt there is another major company in this city whose senior management staff is over forty percent gay or bisexual.”

 

Demona gave her a startled look before realizing that her lover was of course counting her among the senior staff, making the current tally four of nine senior management personnel.  “I suspect you’re probably correct,” she bemusedly agreed.

 

 
 
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