Brodie woke up at 2am, his phone having ping’d with an email; force of habit, he sleeps with his phone on and on his bedside bureaux. Another ping another email. Another ping another email.

‘What the fuck?’ he reached for the phone, 22 emails. Ping! 23. All from Blu Braithwaite. Ping! 24. ‘Fucking hell.’ He opens the first one, the attachment downloads, and wouldn’t you know it…‘Fuck.’ He got out of bed. Ping! 25. He got the message. Ping! 26…

*

‘Have you seen your emails?’ Alfred asks Brodie as soon as he walks into his office suite, he’d been waiting because he was on copy of all the emails.

‘I’ve received them but stopped opening at thirty-five.’

‘What happened when you went to their office last night?’

Brodie was not proud of his behaviour; the more he thought about it, the more ashamed he was. Any which way he cuts it he was rude, and downright demeaning with his comment. ‘It wasn’t great. I fucked up.’

‘Man! What did you do?’

‘I called her work subpar-’

‘You did what?!’

‘I know, I was way out of line.’

‘Have you seen the images she sent through?’

‘From what I have seen, they look sick.’

‘They are out of this world and the video content is incredible. You called that subpar and she sends you one hundred images, every single one of them incredible and video content we didn’t even ask for. Yes I have seen all of them. You need to see them.’

‘Set up the conference room-’

‘All set. Cappuccinos and pastries too.’

Brodie spares Alfred a look, irritated. He was too perky for someone who did not get much sleep either, too eager for the, I told you so, dance he was ready to do.

Three hours and one hundred images later, they had enough to run commercial for an entire year without ever coming up short. Blu Braithwaite is anything but subpar and if she wasn’t handing Brodie his balls with her fuck you to him. This was a total fuck you move, he called her subpar and she showed him that she is anything but. Made him eat his words, and if that wasn’t enough, she sent another email.

One hundred and one.

Mr Sterling,

The previous one hundred emails are attachments that cover your previous notes and crosses. This in addition to the 20 previous should total 120 images, which also includes ten video content. If none of these are suitable, it would be best to find another agency to handle the project.

I am more than happy to refund the initial payment, should these come up short.

Please liaise with my head of digital going forward.

Regards,

Blu Braithwaite

CEO, Blu Creative Agency

It couldn’t get more definitive than that, she does not want anything to do with him. He felt like a bigger idiot for the way he’d behaved, and to make it worse, all the images she sent, all of them were perfect, including the initial twenty she sent. Damnit! He called her office three times but she is unavailable, or so her assistant said and why should she want to talk to him, he’d been a jerk for no other reason than he wanted to lash out. His parents were splashed on several of the tabloids front pages with even more gory details of the divorce, more dissection of the family dynamic and as usual they dragged the children into it. Isabel called this morning, she couldn’t leave home without a security detail which their father insisted on. He too hated the limelight but he fell in love and was dazzled by Leila Sterling. Brodie knew his mother did not love his father as much his father loved her, he was not sure she ever did, but they stayed together for thirty-five years. Weird that all five of their children love each other and are incredibly close, somewhere along the way their parents did something right with them.

*

‘He’s called again.’ Rana informed Blu. Brodie Sterling has called for her boss on the hour, every hour all day. He started from 11am and it is now 6pm.

‘I’m not here. And you should have left by now. Go on. Good night, we had a long day yesterday.’

‘And you have not slept a wink since yesterday.’

‘I’ll sleep tonight. I’m not coming in tomorrow so don’t you worry about me. Go on, go home. We’ve had a hard couple days, and you can work from home tomorrow, log off early. That’s an order. Shoo.’

Rana hated to leave her boss, Blu Braithwaite was an incredible boss, gave her time to grow into her role as her assistant, gave her small projects to work on, nurtured her, trained her… nothing was too big or too small for her. She treated her more than an assistant, and she will forever remain loyal to her boss.

Blu was just finishing up a call with a client in Paris when someone walked into her office- Brodie Sterling. Midnight.

‘I see I’m going to have to complain about the night security guard. What are you doing here Mr Sterling?’

‘Please don’t do that, I snuck in when he went to the bathroom. And Call me Brodie please.’

Blu raised a bro, ‘what can I do for you Mr Sterling? Come for another round of put downs? I’ll do a BACs transfer in the morning when my accountant is in.’

‘I’m sorry for being such an arse since this thing started. I’m sorry for my behaviour and for even coming down here in the first place.’

‘You were an arse but I’ll get over it and live. Is there anything else?’

‘I am sorry.’ Brodie said. ‘I behaved appallingly and I am so sorry. You are anything, anything but subpar.’

Blu was trying to keep her cool but she had to let it be known. ‘I work hard, I work incredibly hard and I am brilliant at what I do. Superb at it. Call me conceited, but it’s the truth. My clients know that. What you said? It hurt.’

‘I know.’

‘No, you don’t know. You called my work subpar-’

‘I was wrong. Absolutely wrong. I wasn’t mad at you.’ Brodie sighed, setting down the food he brought with him. Chinese from Mr Chow. ‘My parents…their divorce-’

‘I know. It’s hard to miss it in the press and on social media.’ Blu folds her hands looking at him.

‘My mother said some things about my dad, a reporter picked it up and when things like that happen all hell breaks loose. She calls us, my siblings and me, to rail against my dad. It’s exhausting. That’s what I was dealing with yesterday, and I took it out on you. I had no right to. To be completely honest, the first image you sent over was perfect. And then you sent one hundred and nineteen.’

Blu gave a little laugh, her point proven.

‘I figured you didn’t get any sleep so I at least owe you dinner. I heard from around the way that you like Chinese so I… I got you some.’

‘You brought me food?’ Blu was touched, and warmed by how shy he was in that moment. The real Brodie Sterling emerged, the man beneath the designer suits, over achiever, stubborn and brilliant. Handsome, of course handsome.

Brodie shrugged in answer.

‘Thank you. That was really kind of you Mr Sterling-’

‘Brodie. Please call me Brodie.’

‘And you can call me Blu.’ She held out her hand to shake Brodie’s. ‘Lovely to meet you Brodie Sterling.’

Brodie shook her hand. ‘You too Blu Braithwaite, serial emailer that you are.’

Blu laughs, she’d been lethally serial. ‘Care to join me for dinner?’

‘Miss Braithwaite, are you trying to pick me up?’

‘You’re buried a hundred and twenty emails deep in my awesomeness, so too far down to reach.’

‘Oh… okay. She’s got cheek.’ Brodie laughed.

‘You don’t know the half of it.’

He soon learned all of it…