"There you are!" Graham Wild came out of nowhere like a gremlin. "We are in a private room."
Marsha was momentarily startled, but quickly regained her composure. "Goodness, Graham, how do you do that? You weren't there, and then all of a sudden you were."
Graham smiled mischievously. "If I told you how I do it, would I be as fascinating to you as I am now?" He lead the way across the hotel lobby to a small conference room, opened the door, and politely gestured for her to precede him into the room. Marsha stepped into the room confidently, but her confidence vanished instantly.
"I thought this was just a meeting between the two of us," she hissed. "Why are all the board members here?"
Graham pretended he hadn't heard, and ushered her to an empty seat at the long table. Everyone was there: Joe, Helen, Marvin, MaryLou, Elbert, and even Stanley. They all looked at her mysteriously. Was there a hint of suspense in the room? Or was it suspicion? Or was it pity? Marsha couldn't be sure, but it was definitely making her feel very uncomfortable.
"Make that ball hit the boy behind you." Marsha remembered this advice from a friend long ago, when she was playing dodge ball. When the ball seemed to be coming straight at her, if she could step to the side or duck or squat, it would hit that annoying boy who always managed to hide behind her during the game. Whatever was coming her way at this meeting, perhaps she could dodge it and let it hit whoever was behind her. Hmm, that would be Marvin, as he was a few rungs below her on the ladder of success, not to mention seniority. He was nearly as annoying as that boy in school, and she wouldn't mind letting a hypothetical ball smack him in the face.
Graham was seated at the head of the table now, getting papers out of a briefcase, and carefully stacking them on the table. The other board members shifted in their chairs and leaned forward slightly, looking interested in the proceedings. Except for Marvin. He was trying to look nonchalant, but not quite succeeding. He looked like the proverbial cat that had swallowed the canary. What did he know about this meeting, anyway? Marsha was trying to remember whether anybody else was up for a promotion. That was what she thought she and Graham were going to discuss today. Just the two of them. It could have been a really fun meeting, if nobody else had been there. Private room and all, y'know. Private meetings with Graham had been quite entertaining in the past.
"As you all know, we've been working very hard to secure this big contract, and we are all tired as all hell. I called this meeting to let all of you know that we have accomplished what we set out to do." There was a general sigh of relief, and smiles broke out on all faces, even Martin's. "In celebration of this accomplishment, I am authorized to give a bonus to each one of you." Martin's face fell noticeably, and Marsha chuckled to herself. Yes, Martin had worked hard, but no harder than anyone else, even though he always thought he did, and tried to convince Graham that he did.
"In addition to the bonus, I have been authorized to give a special award to the one person who contributed more than anyone else to this project. That person is.... Marsha!" Applause followed, albeit with reluctance from Martin. Joe, who was seated next to her, slapped her on the back. Graham stood and walked over to her chair, carrying a lovely silver-plated plaque with her name on it. Standing up, she accepted the award, smiled and nodded graciously at everyone else in the room, and then returned to her chair. Only she knew exactly how much effort it had cost her to seal that deal, and how many private rooms she had endured in the process. Perhaps Graham suspected, but he never said a word about it.
This is my entry for the weekend freewrite. The three prompts are in italics. If you have never written one of these, you can find the rules here. Thanks again to @mariannewest for faithfully providing the daily prompts!