Cole will be working the same assignment as Vera at a high school reunion. His loanee won the title “Most Likely to Not Have a Date for the High School Reunion” during her senior year.
“In the senior yearbook, she won ‘Most Likely to Not Have a Date for the High School Reunion,'” said Cole.
“That is highly mean-spirited.” Although Vera had won “Favorite Exchange Student” in high school when she wasn’t foreign. That’s how alien she seemed to everyone for four years.
“I have to meet with her later today. To get our stories straight.”
“Yeah, me, too.” Vera’s loanee Austin Byron wanted to meet for coffee so he could provide details of why this reunion was so important to him.
Vera sighed, looking around the conference room as people dispersed.
“Does Loan Some even need me anymore?”
“Why do you say that?”
“I got offered a job.”
Vera was quiet.
“Oh. Him.” Cole and Greg didn’t get along, mainly because Vera had met Greg on an assignment and Cole disapproved. “What would you be doing?”
“Destroying books? Is he a Nazi?”
“Of course not. It would be for his e-book business.”
“You love those things. You can’t do that.”
“Well, I haven’t said yes yet. Just thinking about it.”
“I don’t think there’s much to think about.”
Vera sat down at a coffee shop, waiting for the meeting with Austin Byron. She looked over his file. Based on the way he described himself in his credentials, she expected to meet a walking disaster. His details were a description of himself in high school. “Acne. A walking skeleton. Shy.” But when he walked in, she was surprised to see a professional—a man in a suit, slightly balding, who shook her hand and made eye contact with her before sitting down.
“So nice to meet you,” he said, his voice falling off at the end. “What can I call you?”
“Dorothy,” Vera said. “Dorothy Shauman.”
“Dororthy. Thanks for meeting with me before the big event.”
“No problem. So what did you want to go over beforehand?”
“I just want to make sure this goes as planned. I had a terrible experience in high school, and I’d really like to impress these people who made my life miserable. I’m sure someone like you probably doesn’t understand.”
“No, no. I understand.” The truth was Vera completely understood. She just didn’t care about that part of her life anymore. “High school can be a rough experience.”
“Milwaukee Joe is our target”
“Milwaukee Joe made my life a living hell. He’s the one that needs to see I’m successful.”
Vera glanced at his file again. Austin owned and operated his own company and had a master’s degree from Cornell. He didn’t need to show anyone he was successful. He already was.
“Is his name really Milwaukee Joe?”
“Nah, just his nickname.”
“He moved from Wisconsin?”
Vera’s eyebrows furrowed, and then she just shook off the confusion.
“So what did he do to you?”
“He never let my most embarrassing high school story die.”
Austin hung his head, unable to look Vera in the eye. Vera prompted him for more details.
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