The elevator paused on the 24th floor, and Pippi tried to keep her face blank when she saw Millicent Longbourn step in, followed by an older woman.
As the doors closed, Pippi couldn’t help noticing the way the other women began exchanging looks as their lips curled in patronizing contempt.
Pippi slowly lowered her head even as shame engulfed her. It wasn’t her place to interfere, and yet…
“Don’t you think it’s started to smell?” one of the women asked loudly.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Her teeth gnashed.
Don’t interfere. Just don’t.
“Now that you’ve mentioned it,” another woman drawled, “it does seem like it.”
“And if I’m not mistaken,” the third woman in the group added snidely, “It’s a rather whorish smell…”
Millicent is a big girl, Pippi tried to convince herself. And a really tough girl, too, she added desperately in her mind as the insults continued and Acheron’s former lover refused to answer back for some reason.
“I truly feel for you, Mrs. Longbourn, to have been forced to move out of town—”
Pippi’s head jerked up, and this time everything became awfully clear. The older woman who had followed Ms. Longbourn inside was none other than Millicent’s own mother, and the way she was looking at her daughter made Pippi realize why Millicent wasn’t saying a thing.
Don’t let get them to you.
And the plea seemed to have done its job, with the way Millicent was visibly struggling to control herself.
Good for them for taking the higher road, Pippi thought, and if she were smart, that was exactly what she should do, too. Just let this one go, and find another subtle and discreet way to help Millicent Longbourn.
Pippi began chanting the words in her mind.
Let it go.
Let it go.
Let it go.
But when she lifted her gaze anew and saw how Millicent’s own eyes were smarting with tears of anger and pain, something in Pippi just snapped. Maybe it was the combination of stress and heartbreak, maybe it was her needing to let out steam after so many days of lying and pretending to her family that everything was still okay between Acheron and her, but she just couldn’t take it anymore.
“So people saw her blowing the man she loved,” Pippi heard herself yell all of a sudden. “What’s so shameful about that? Or is it that you’re really all just secretly envious because none of you are married to men you want to blow every night?”
Gasps filled the elevator, and not all of them were from the set of catty, spoiled wives presently turning purple with rage.
“What are you staring at?” Pippi snarled.
Shut up, oh my God, just shut up!
But her mouth continued to run away from her.
“Did you really think people would keep giving you all free passes just because your husbands have ‘director’ added to their names? Well, guess what?”
Shuuuuut up, Pippilotta Jones!
“You’re so fucking wrong.”
OH MY GOD.
“And by the way, you’re the ones who smell. You all smell like women whose vaginas haven’t seen a dick since World War II!”
The elevator made it to the lobby just as she spewed the words out, and when Pippi turned towards the doors, she realized too late that everyone outside had heard every single thing.
A moment later, and she heard someone worse. It was someone sniggering from the back of the crowd, and even though the sound was abruptly cut off, it was too late. The others had also started sniggering even as they did their best to hide this, and soon everyone was looking away as their shoulders betrayed themselves with a telltale rock.
“You bitch.” This was from Wife #1.
“You’re going to pay for this.” This was from Wife #2.
“Should shut up,” Millicent finished for Wife #3 in a fierce tone, “since your wrinkled pussy’s rotting by the second, and I’m having a—” Her words ended in an unceremonious yelp as the other woman shoved past her so hard it almost sent Millicent flying.
As Pippi watched the three women walk away, reality was beginning to sink in, and she could feel herself starting to lose color.
Gareth Evans had told her to make things happen, but she had a feeling getting into a fight with the wives of the company’s board members wasn’t what he meant.
“Thank you so much!”
Pippi suddenly found herself engulfed in a tearful embrace, and it took her a moment to realize it was Millicent’s mother trying to choke the life out of her.
“Let her breathe, Mom.” After drawing her sniffing mother away, Millicent gave the younger woman a wry look of inquiry. “Are you okay?”
It was still the only thing Pippi was capable of thinking.
Realizing that she was the only one able to function normally at the moment, Millicent quickly took charge and ushered both women away. The crowd around them was noisy as ever, and the looks on their faces made them seem like they were on a high.