Harry and Amy - Cover

Harry and Amy

Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 3

She almost didn’t recognize the man who stepped through the door of her office. It wasn’t that he had physically changed, but he was a changed man. Gone was the arrogance and contempt with which he had normally addressed people. Amy wondered what Richard’s month with Harry had been like to change him so.

Concerned, she said, “Hello, Mr. Montclair.”

“Hello, Amy. Call me Richard from now on,” he replied.

He paused and looked around the room. The picture that Harry had drawn was still hanging on the wall. Next to it was a framed picture of Amy and Harry running in the three-legged race. The expression on her face in that picture was one of pure joy.

Nodding in the direction of the picture, he said, “That’s a good picture of you. You really look happy in it.”

Amy looked over at the picture for a moment with a large smile as she remembered the moment it captured. She said, “I didn’t even know it had been taken until the picture, complete with frame, showed up on my desk.”

“The plants look good. They give the office a softer feel to it,” commented Richard as he took a seat across from her.

That he had taken a seat signaled another change in the man. In the past, he stood forcing the seated person to either stand or look up at him. Everyone knew that it was an intentional power play, but that knowledge didn’t help the poor victim of his games.

Surprised by the direction of the conversation, Amy said, “The secretary said we could rent the plants from a service and that they would take care of them. All I had to do was ask to be put on the route.”

“I should have told you about that before. I guess I just didn’t bother to think about it. Rather inconsiderate of me,” admitted Richard. He wondered how many other little things he hadn’t bothered to think about.

After a minute of silence, Richard said, “Mike was waiting for me outside the building when Harry dropped me off last night. After talking with Harry for a little bit, he talked with me. I’ve been promoted to Vice-President of Business Development.”

Amy leaned forward with a smile and said, “Congratulations.”

“Thank you,” replied Richard.

The promotion had come out of the blue. He had been fighting for it, but after the last month it seemed that his priorities had changed. He had learned so much that month. He’d met a man who had a position identical to his about five years earlier. The man had lost it after his wife died of cancer and he’d gone on a drinking binge that hadn’t ended yet. A half-day conversation with the man had made him wonder what he had been working for in his life.

“When are they going to announce it?” asked Amy. She hadn’t seen anything about him getting promoted in her e-mail.

“After I inform my successor that she has my position,” answered Richard watching Amy for her reaction. A small smile curled up as he wondered how long it would take her to figure out the identity of his successor.

She wanted to ask who her future boss would be, but she knew he wouldn’t tell her until he told that person first. One of the major requirements in this business was being able to keep one’s mouth shut. She said, “Whoever she is, she’s in for a lot of work. I wish her a lot of luck. When are you going to inform her?”

“I’m working on it right now,” answered Richard with a smile.

A puzzled expression crossed her face as she considered the implications of his answer. Could it be that he meant her? Cautiously, she asked, “Do you mean me?”

“Yes, I do,” answered Richard. A month ago he had been willing to get her thrown out of the company after Mike had turned him over to the Druid. After that month, he respected her more than himself.

“No?” she asked incredulously.


The desire to jump up and down, hug someone, and generally express her joy with physical activity remained. Her ruined knees didn’t diminish her desire, but they did slow down her ability to pursue it. Amy grabbed her arm crutches and stood up. She didn’t have to walk to him. He met her before she had taken a single step and embraced her with a good solid hug.

Stepping back, he said, “Congratulations, Amy. You deserve it.”

“Thank you, Richard,” answered Amy. Unbidden, tears started to well up in her eyes.

“Normally, if I promote a married person I send them home early so they can tell their spouse and celebrate. In your case, I’m going to send you to the Homeless Hotel, so you can share the news with Harry before he leaves town.”

Amy was excited and didn’t know what to do next. She said, “Thank you.”

“You’ll need to get someone to help you negotiate your contract. We’ll take care of that over the next week or so,” commented Richard. He was going to be doing the same thing as a result of his promotion.

“Thanks,” gushed Amy. She’d never thought of what was involved in getting promoted into the executive ranks of a company.

Richard walked over to the door and paused. Turning to look back at Amy, he said, “I discovered something about the invisible ones that Harry talks about. They are people, too.”

“Yeah. They get to you, right here,” she replied pointing to her heart.

Feeling as if he had been made privy to a great secret, Richard said, “I’ll put out the announcement now. By the time you get packed up to leave, the rumor mill will know about our promotions.”

Amy smiled as the door closed behind Richard. She decided that she was going to enjoy working for him from now on. He hadn’t been a bad boss, but she suspected he would now become a great boss. Upon returning to her chair, she shutdown the computer and packed her stuff to leave. It took her less than ten minutes.

Stepping out of her office, the secretary said, “Congratulations, Amy. We’re all so happy for you.”

“Thank you, Karen. It was totally unexpected,” she replied.

The Saturday following her promotion had been a rather surreal experience. An executive consultant had arrived on her doorstep at ten in the morning. She had been expecting the executive consultant, but not what happened after she had arrived. The woman had gone through her closet separating her clothes into two piles, one containing clothes she could keep and one containing clothes that she was to throw away. After a vigorous argument, the second pile had been separated into clothes to wear only to the Homeless Hotel and clothes to throw away. After that, they had gone shopping for the next six hours. After spending nearly fourteen thousand dollars, they returned to the house where she was lectured on how to dress for success.

Alone for the first time since ten that morning, Amy settled into her comfort chair with a cup of hot tea. She was wearing her fuzzy pink bathrobe, one of the few items the executive consultant had not commented upon other than to say it looked comfortable.

She sighed and said, “What a strange day.”

While she was sipping the last of her tea, there was a loud knock on her door. Wondering whom it might be, she set the teacup down on the table and struggled out of her chair. Using the arm crutches, she made her way to the door grumbling as she moved. It was after eleven at night, much too late for visitors.

Looking through the peephole, she saw that it was Harry. Concerned, she opened the door and said, “Hi Harry. What’s up?”

A figure in an expensive looking suit was on the ground at Harry’s feet. He knelt down and picked the man up. He grunted from the effort and said, “Let me in.”

Amy backed away from the door and watched as Harry carried the man into her house. With the same demonstration of strength that he had shown when he had picked her up, Harry set the man down on the couch. She didn’t recognize the man.

Curious, she asked, “Who is he?”

“I’m not sure. He’s a good man, but I don’t know much more about him than that,” answered Harry with a crooked grin. He looked down at the man for a moment and then said, “It seems that he was rolled. Some horrible person took his wallet.”

Frowning, Amy looked at the man with the kind of eye that came from dealing with the homeless. His clothes were definitely expensive. He was still wearing his watch and it was a designer watch that spoke of money.

She asked, “Did you call the police?”

Uncharacteristically, Harry fidgeted for a second and wouldn’t look at her. Finally, he answered, “I’m sure the person who took his wallet got away. Calling the police wouldn’t do any good. It would be a waste of everyone’s time.”

“If you say so,” she replied, not quite believing his story. She looked down at the man as she pulled her robe tighter. She had more questions than answers. She turned to look at Harry and was surprised to see him standing by the door.

With an apologetic shrug and then a wave, he said, “Well, take care of him. I’ll see you around.”

“What!” She was too late to catch him. He had already slipped out the door and closed it behind him. She screamed, “Harry! Get back here!”

The man on the couch groaned, but didn’t wake up. It was clear to her that he was down for the night. Looking down at him, she tried to figure out what to do. There was no way she could move him from the couch. He’d have to sleep there for the night.

She used her crutch to pull her footstool over to the side of the sofa. She sat down and examined the man smelling the alcohol on his breath. It wouldn’t do for him to sleep wearing his tie. All she needed was for him to strangle himself on it in his sleep. Nervously, she reached out and touched his tie. The smooth silk felt cool to her fingers. Her fingers trembled as she worked it off his neck. She unbuttoned the top button of his shirt.

His suit coat was tangled beneath him. She decided that had to be removed as well. Shaking her head, she struggled to get the coat off him. She flinched when his head bounced off her brace.

With a grimace on her face, she said, “That’s going to hurt in the morning.”

She removed his shoes so they wouldn’t get the couch dirty. Then came the socks although they were a little more difficult to justify. She wondered about his belt and if it would rip the fabric of her couch. By the time she was done, his pants and shirt had joined the rest of his clothes on the coffee table. She found herself staring at his boxers, tempted for a minute, but only a minute, to remove them as well.

Levering herself up from the footstool, she went into her linen closet and grabbed a sheet with which to cover him. She stopped by her bed and picked up a pillow. It was hard to carry all of those items, but she managed. She always managed. It wasn’t as if she had any choice in the matter.

After placing the pillow under his head and covering him with the sheet, she stood next to the couch and said, “Harry, I’m going to kill you.”

Looking down at him, her curiosity got the better of her. She leaned down and ran her hand over the sheet as if straightening it.

Flustered as he stirred, she moved away from the couch. After drinking her tea, she headed off to the bedroom. Locking the door, she sat down on the bed and removed her braces. It felt good to have them off. She ran her hands over her legs, rubbing the soreness out of them. When she realized that her hands had moved a little too far north, she stopped.

She looked in the mirror on the dresser and said, “Get a grip. It’s just a man.”

The words echoed in her mind. It’s just a man. The only men who had touched her over the past ten years were her doctors. Not a single man had been interested in her since her accident. Her body was ready for it, though.

Once again, she said, “I’m going to kill you, Harry.”

Morning came and Amy found that she had gotten very little sleep through the night. Groggy and still tired, she forced herself to put on her braces so that she could go into the bathroom. Even as she put them on, she thought that they were the last things she touched before going to bed and the first things she touched when she woke.

After performing her morning business in the bathroom, Amy made her way into the kitchen. It wasn’t long before her coffee was brewing. Looking around for her pushcart, she remembered that she had left it in the living room. The cart was necessary since she couldn’t carry a cup and move at the same time. Disgusted at herself for having left it there, she headed to the living room.

She stared at the pile of clothes on the coffee table for a minute trying to remember how they got there. A male head slowly rose up from the couch, surprising her. She screamed. He moaned as his hands flew to his head and he dropped to a fetal position on the couch. It was only then when she remembered the events of the previous evening. It took her another second to realize that she should probably stop screaming.

Clutching her robe tightly to her chest, Amy waited to see what he would do. After a minute, the man’s head slowly rose up from the couch. He paused in fear of evoking another scream and looked around. Even moving hurt his head. Confused, he wondered where he was and how he had gotten there. He turned his head by turning most of his body until he saw her standing at the entrance of the living room. He started to speak, but the first noise that came from his throat was more of a croak than a word. It was loud enough to drive nails into his head.

“Good morning,” she said. He winced and she dropped the volume of her voice.

“Morning,” replied the man although it hurt to say it. He looked down at his body and realized that he was undressed. In a move that was too fast for his comfort, he looked back at her wondering if he had taken advantage of her the previous evening. She didn’t look familiar to him.

The pair stared at each other for a full minute. Neither one knew what to say to the other. Finally, the man grunted, “Bathroom.”

Pointing down the hall, Amy said, “That way. There are fresh towels if you need to shower.”

He stood up to head to the bathroom. She stared at his boxers. He looked down at his boxers and turned red. She stared at his boxers some more. He looked up at her. He looked down at himself. A second later he was scrambling for the sheet to cover his body once his barely functioning brain had processed what had happened. Flustered, she fled to the kitchen while he ran off towards the bathroom.

She laughed once she reached the kitchen as the humor of the situation finally came to her. As she poured a cup of coffee, she said, “I imagine there have been worse ‘first encounters,’ but I’ve never heard of one.”

Deciding that he would be busy in the bathroom for a while, she returned to the living room and fetched the cart. Pushing it back to the kitchen, she wondered what she should do now that he was awake. It had been years since she had a hangover, but she remembered that some coffee and a couple of aspirin would help.

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