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And So What?

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“So you’re dating that Chimney guy?” Maddie replies cautiously “Yeaaah…”

“You’re ATTRACTED that guy-really?” Maddie puts the veggie wrap she’s eating onto her paper plate. “Just exactly what are you getting at, Kay?”

“I mean…the guys’… ASIAN” in a quasi-whisper…as if what she’s just stated needs no further explanation.

“You’re being super offensive right now, you know? I’ve lost my appetite, and so I’m going now. I won’t
report this to HR, as long as you never speak to me again.”

“Suits me. The President is working on getting rid of all these…PEOPLE who don’t belong here, anyway- MAGA, Bitch!, she hisses, careful to make sure that she’s not over-heard.

Stung and un-believing, Maddie quickly gathers her tray and rushes out of the break-room. As quickly as she can, without running, she heads down to find Chimney…

The minute she spots him, she takes him by the arm and leads him to a discreet corner, snatching him into her arms in an almost painful embrace.

“Hey, Hey, Babe, you okay?”

“Just HOLD ME…I can’t talk about it now…I WILL…but for now-just hold me-hold me TIGHT,” she says, her words muffled by his chest.”

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"Howard-I wanna go to H.R. about this. I needed to ask you first, get your thoughts on
it. I made up my mind when I left my marriage that my days of being someone's doormat are over.
I'm hoping that you agree, because I kinda already made up my mind to do it anyway."

"Mad-I support any action you want to make. Clearly, this really upset you. Do you know where H.R. is
located? Maddie verifies that she does, and after a quick, but passionate good-bye kiss, she heads off.

"I'm Human Resources Director Mike Lorens; here with me are Madelyn Buckley, the Complainant, and Kay
Wychofski, the employee accused of the Violation of Department Policy.

"I was eating lunch in the cafeteria when Kay approached me. She sat down at the table I was sitting at and
after a few minutes of small talk, Kay made the comment 'So you’re dating that Chimney guy?', meaning Howard Han.
"Sorry to interrupt, but how do you know that 'that Chimney Guy' is Mr. Han?"

"It's well known that Howard's nickname is Chimney."

"Very well. Please continue."

"I said that I am, and that's when SHE asked 'You’re ATTRACTED that guy-really?'...I asked what she meant exactly, and
that's when she commented 'I mean…the guys’… ASIAN'...I told her that I didn't appreciate what she said, and that's when
the statement about the President. Her exact word were: 'Suits me. The President is working on getting rid of all these…PEOPLE
who don’t belong here, anyway-MAGA, Bitch!' "

i

"Mrs. Wychofski, please state for the record YOUR version of this discussion.

"I asked her if she's dating 'that Chimney Guy', she said yes, and that's it."

"You did not mention Mr. Han's heritage? Disparage the fact that he's of Asian decent?"

"Do you deny saying The President is 'going to get rid of these people who don't belong here anyway?' "

"I DID NOT say that."

"Liar!"

"Please, Ms. Buckley...let's keep it CIVIL...Mrs. Wychofski, what about 'MAGA', Bitch?"

"NO, Mr. Lorens. I can't believe that Maddie brought something like this this to you. I should file my own
complaint."

Lorens makes some notes on a pre-printed form, then says to both Women: "We'll investigate further, and
and bring you both back in with this results. Thank you both, have a good afternoon."

Maddie waits, lets Kay leave ahead of her. Once Kay is halfway down the hallway, she walks away in the opposite
direction.

Chapter Text

Maddie Buckley bangs around the kitchen, slamming drawers and cabinet doors with equal aplomb.
Chimney knows enough to keep quiet and out of her way when she's like this, which is actually very rare.

"They're NOT going to ruin my fucking Christmas!", she mutters, yanking the refrigerator door open then wrenching
it closed. "Tea?", she not quite snaps. "Uhhhh, yes please," the veteran EMT replies cautiously.

When she brings it to him, she surprises him by sitting on his lap and looping her arms about his neck. "Don't mind me;
I'm frustrated about that HR thing," she murmurs, kissing his cheek.

'I know. I've learned to just let you work through it on your own."

"Lets start a Han-Buckley Holiday tradition: during the twelve days before Christmas, each of us is allowed to indulge our
deepest, most secret desires as a sort of bonus...what do you think?"

"Can we start NOW?"

"We certainly CAN!"