DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Shed, I will return them after I have borrowed them.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
2pm arrived without further incident Helen had enjoyed her first shift far more than she had expected she would, she already felt part of the team,
"Time for you to leave us Helen." Selena smiled at her warmly, "you've done really well, picked it up a lot quicker than me!"
"Thanks but I'm sure you're just being kind!"
"What? Oh no, ask anyone, I still can't use the phone properly I always connect people to the wrong line! Why don't you go and swipe out."
"Should I let Nikki know?"
"No, you're alright I'll let her know. She's in a foul mood anyway." Helen nodded and made her way through the store to swipe out. She looked back down an aisle, past the tills to where Nikki was stood behind the supervisor desk. She was deep in conversation with a blonde haired lady who Helen suspected was Karen Betts. Nikki was gesticulating wildly with her hands, Karen had obviously told her something she didn't want to know. Helen smiled to herself, it was good to work for someone who was passionate about their work. She sighed heavily, as passionate as she used to be.
"Harbourne Supersavers store, Selena speaking, how can I help?" Selena twirled a piece of hair around her finger as she listened to the woman on the other end of the phone. She did care about her job and she believed in good customer service, but when someone rings to complain your prices are too high when compared to the local Tesco all you can do is listen and make sympathetic noises. The woman had moved onto dairy products, Selena turned round so that she could watch the comings and goings through the automatic doors. She was roused from her semi-comatose state by an attractive, tall man walking into the store. He was broad like a rugby player, and his hair was a sandy colour. He was holding a baby, what is it about men with babies thought Selena, damn sexy. He was wearing a pair of faded jeans which had clearly seen better days, and a bright white polo shirt open at the neck, he walked over towards the desk.
"I'm terribly sorry you feel so aggrieved madam, I'll pass your concerns on the management. Have a good day now, bye bye. Can I help sir?" Selena flashed her winning smile in the stranger's direction,
"Mmm maybe, er, Helen Stewart is she around?" An accent! Selena was struggling not to swoon,
"Yes, Stirling, has Helen finished?"
"She has, how are you two connected?"
"I'm her .."
"Duncan!" Helen rushed up and was enveloped in a hug by the attractive man, "and how are you sweetheart?" Helen plucked the little girl out of Duncan's arms and kissed her, "have you been good for daddy?"
"No, she's been a right little madam!"
"Duncan! Right let's go, bye Selena, thanks for today. See you on Monday?"
"I'll be here, nice to have met you Duncan."
"And you Selena." Duncan smiled, he had a lovely smile, it reached right up to his eyes and was obviously genuine. Helen and Duncan left, leaving Selena at the customer service desk.
"Well aren't they a lovely family unit."
"A bit harsh don't you think?"
"At least I'm not swooning over someone else's husband."
"Might not have been her husband."
"Oh please, they couldn't have looked more 2.4."
"What's the matter with you, not that bitter and twisted doesn't suit you." Nikki glowered but didn't get a chance to respond as Karen Betts approached,
"Here you go Nikki, the paperwork you needed."
"Look I'm sorry but I can only put orders through when I get the instruction." Selena looked up,
"Apparently when I was on holiday, paperwork wasn't filled in meaning orders for carrier bags weren't logged. No carrier bags have been delivered, what's out is what we've got."
"But I filled in the orders." Selena looked towards Karen,
"Selena I know you probably did, you lot down here on the front end are more organised than most, just look at Kristen Yates and her monkeys on produce. Like I said to Nikki, I'm not portioning blame here I'm letting you know what's going on. Between you filling in the forms and them getting to me something happened to them."
"I know what happened." Nikki grabbed the phone and began to punch buttons, "staff announcement Jim Fenner contact line 206 please." She slammed the phone down, "he's done this to make me and this department look stupid." Selena looked towards Nikki worriedly, she was probably right about Fenner but losing her temper with the store manager was not going to help matters. She exchanged a look with Karen and shrugged slightly, as though to say, 'what am I meant to do when she's like this'. The phone issued a lengthy ring indicating an internal call, Nikki grabbed the phone,
"Front end. Fenner what did you do with the carrier orders last week? Selena did them, well frankly I'm more inclined to believe her than you. I know it's my department but this actually isn't my problem because you caused it. Fine, I'll deal with it."
"I take it he admitted to nothing?" Karen tapped her pen on the pile of papers she had just deposited the only outward sign that she too was incredibly pissed off. Nikki shook her head and chewed thoughtfully on her bottom lip.
"Selena, would you please go along to each cashier and tell them what the situation is. Get the porter packers to help you take all the bags off the ends of the tills, the cashiers are to give the bags out to the customers." Selena dashed off to let the cashiers know what was going on.
"I've put an emergency order in. If we're lucky we'll have some for Monday."
"You know how busy Sunday is Karen I can't leave Cassie and Dominic with that to deal with."
"What are you going to do?"
"I'll ring around. I know most of the local Front End managers I'm sure I can get hold of a few boxes, enough to see us through anyway. I'll have to drive around and get them but that's all I can think of."
"Ok try all the people you know. If you have to leave early I'll sort it out."
"Cheers Karen." Nikki turned towards the phone flicking through the speed dial list at the side, sometimes she did wonder if it was all worth it.
In his office at the back of the store Jim chuckled to himself. He watched the cctv camera trained on the front end. He could see Selena, Karen and Nikki all in conversation, no doubt about him. He had to admit losing the carrier order had been somewhat juvenile, but oh how amusing! Always a pleasure to see the usually unflappable Nikki Wade get into a spin. It would take more than a few messed up orders to rescue his career at Harbourne though if Frances Myers snooped around too much. The door to his office suddenly flung open, Jim winced as the door handle hit the wall deepening the dent already there.
"Are you proud of yourself Jim?"
"Karen, how are you?"
"Cut the crap Jim, you might be a monumental failure at your job, but there's no way you're going to drag the rest of us down with you."
"I wish I knew what you were talking about Karen. Perhaps we could go out for a drink after work and discuss it."
"You're unbelievable, you never stop. I have never and will never be interested in you Jim. I'm warning you, back off Nikki or you'll have the rest of us to deal with."
"I wouldn't threaten me Karen if I were you."
"Oh I'm not threatening you Jim, I'm just letting you know what to expect. Frances Myers will see right through you. You know that and I know that." Karen smiled triumphantly and without waiting for a response left the office,
"Shit!" Jim swore quietly under his breath. All of them were in it together, their little group. Jim briefly felt like the child who had not been asked to play. He knew full well he was on the outside looking in, in his own bloody store! Sod it!
"I'm the bloody manager it's my store." Jim didn't care that he was talking to himself. He glanced at the cctv cameras, Shell it seemed was on her way up the store. She must have been given a break, she'd have to walk past his office. Jim got up and stood by the door, Shell appeared at the top of one of the aisles. She neatly side-stepped a customer who was clearly looking for assistance and entered the staff only area.
"Shell, a delight as ever, a word please."
"I don't think you have anything to say Mr Fenner that I would want to listen to."
"Oh I think I do Shell, believe me." Jim winked, "trust me love, you want to come in." Shell smirked and edged her way past Jim into the office ensuring as much of her body came into contact with his as possible. Jim shuddered, women like Shell shouldn't be allowed. How on earth was he meant to stay faithful. It was his duty really, he licked his lips in anticipation and closed the door firmly behind him.
"Coffee Karen? Karen?" Karen suddenly realised that someone was talking to her, "do you mind if I sit?"
"No of course not, I'm sorry Mark I was miles away."
"Anywhere but here would be nice at the moment. How do you think the inspection will go?"
"I'm not worried, you shouldn't be either. The store's doing well, our turnover this quarter is more than at the same time last year."
"I know, it's just "
"Yes Jim. He's a bloody tosser Mark, he could drag the lot of us down with him."
"I'm sure we'll be fine. Frances Myers seems to know what she's doing, I'm sure she will put any faults down to the individual not the whole team. Look let's not worry about that now I should have finished an hour ago and I think you've finished now haven't you?"
"I have but I'm going to hang around a bit and make sure that Nikki's ok on the front end."
"Ok well if you are ready to go in about an hour do you fancy going for a drink? Day off tomorrow, I'm buying."
"If I'm ready that would be nice Mark thanks."
"Good, I'd better finish of my emails. Don't worry Karen we'll get through fine." Mark smiled and squeezed her shoulder as he left the canteen, Karen sipped the coffee Mark had placed in front of her. She stood up slowly and walked to the smokers area, once she had a lit cigarette in her hand Karen felt much calmer. Mark was so nice to her, to everyone, but he was an example of how the good guys often finish last. Someone as talented as Mark should have been store manager if not area manager, yet Mark had been overlooked countless times. He was only assistant manager because Karen had turned it down, he didn't know that and Karen hoped he never would. Karen enjoyed being amongst the staff and being on the shop floor with the customers. Being the manager or assistant often meant hours in meetings, and mountains of paperwork. There was no harm going for a drink with Mark, he was such a gentleman. Karen knew he liked her but with her divorce only just finalised she just didn't feel ready for anything else. It was nice though, having an attractive man like Mark looking out for her. The attention was flattering and the gentle flirting that often sprung up between them was a welcome distraction within a work environment that could sometimes be oppressive. She finished her cigarette and then left the canteen she decided to make sure Nikki was ok on the front end before she left. She'd be damned if she was going to let Jim get the better of any of them.
To Be Continued
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