Chapter 81:

Interlude: A game of Kath and Bernie

The Y-files [GL]

Bernie Lourdes' POVBookmark here

One day! I was gone for one bloody day, and I came back to a mess, where the stress of resolving it would probably take some weeks of my life.Bookmark here

Claire was not really to blame. It was that woman again. Kath Lyst really was a troublesome partner for the CYA. Well, for Claire it was out of my hands, but for the other girls, I could do a career survey and offer a direction for their apprenticeships that way. It should help Fien, that way she at least will get to do something in the direction of what she wants herself.Bookmark here

I thought a while about how I would present this to Kath. I would not make the same mistake as Claire. After all, the Lyst group would have to pay and provide their education, as we contractually agreed, so I could not just take action on my own without her consent. When I thought things through, I called her.Bookmark here

Even though I was calling her mobile, I was directed through several secretaries before I finally got her on the line.Bookmark here

“Hi Bernadette, I hope this isn't about my deal with Claire. Because that is between me and her.”Bookmark here

Defensive from the start. I guess she knew I was going to try something.Bookmark here

“No, of course not. I told her the same thing.”Bookmark here

I could hear the relief in Kath's voice when she replied “Then to what do I owe the pleasure?”Bookmark here

“I want to discuss some actions that I want to take concerning our contract that also involve you. So I really wanted to hear your thoughts and give you a heads up for our meeting next week.”Bookmark here

“Oh, I'm all ears.”Bookmark here

I started explaining how I wanted to hire all the FBY girls on apprenticeship contracts, and that I would hold career surveils to decide the direction their careers would take. I did my best to make it sound like really standard school stuff so that she would not get suspicious of Fien's case.Bookmark here

“That sounds reasonable, but I want you to take their school results into account too. Sometimes people want things that just are not for them.”Bookmark here

I would have to agree with that point, it was only logical. It was a bit less good for my plans for Fien, because she was mostly brilliant in math and the sciences, not that she was poor at languages, she was still among the best at school, but you could easily see that that was through hard work and not because of her talents. It would be up to Fien, to write something smart on that surveil.Bookmark here

“You make an excellent point. Of course, we will take the girls' abilities into account.”Bookmark here

“Oh, and I will offer all of them an extension of 4 years to their apprenticeship contracts after their regular high school. If they succeed they will be provided with a master's degree, issued by our corporate university in the US.”Bookmark here

This sounded very nice. It would be a nice opportunity for the 6th graders, but I am sure this would not come for free.Bookmark here

“And what do you want in return for your generous offer?”Bookmark here

Kath started laughing.Bookmark here

“You don't disappoint. I am impressed that you knew there would be some conditions attached. But nothing special. Just that if they agree, at the moment they leave the CYA or FBY, they need to work for the Lyst group for at least as long a period as the education we provided. It is our return on investment, so to speak. In the end, it is up to their individual choices. But a career start in the Lyst group, and a master's degree issued by our university would look good on any resume. I believe this is a win-win situation.”Bookmark here

I had a lot to consider. This would mean that Claire would be bound for four more years after high school, but as long as she worked for the CYA, she would be safe from clutches Kath's clutches. But her dream to become a professional chef would have to be delayed. I hoped I did not make things worse for Fien with this call.Bookmark here

I was taking too long to respond so Kath said “I will put all of this in writing and send it to the school board. I am sure they will be delighted with the support from the prestigious Lyst group.”Bookmark here

Well, I already knew I could not really refuse the offer, but now it was final. She outplayed me again in the exact same manner as last time. Infinite capital is a powerful ally.Bookmark here

“We will be happy to receive it, Kath!”Bookmark here

“I am glad I could have been of service. It is always a pleasure doing business.”Bookmark here

After I put down the phone I felt like I had just run a marathon. Well, at least we made some headway.Bookmark here

Now I had to put it all into motion. Make those surveys, and make sure everyone had done them before the end of the school day so I could work on some contract propositions over the weekend.Bookmark here

But first I needed a recharge. I decided to call Lisa, to see how she was doing.Bookmark here

“Missing me already?” She said teasingly after she picked up the phone.Bookmark here

“Of course. After last night, you are the only thing on my mind.” Last night was incredible. It was everything I ever dreamed of, and more.Bookmark here

“After everything that has been happening, I just needed a recharge,” I saidBookmark here

“So I am your gas station? You know they are heavily taxed, don't you? And I just thought of an ideal way for you to pay those taxes.”Bookmark here

We both giggled like little girls. Lisa turned into such a tease. But she was super cute at the same time. I could not wait for us to see each other again.Bookmark here

“Claire asked some questions, I avoided them for now, but don't wait too long with telling them, because it won't be long before she figures it out herself. She would have already figured it out if she was not so trusting of me.”Bookmark here

“I will have a talk with her when she gets home. I will keep who you are, a surprise until I can present you though. I want to see the look on my children's faces when they realize.”Bookmark here

“You know you can be such a bad girl sometimes.”Bookmark here

“Oh but you love me for it.”Bookmark here

“You know I love everything about you.”Bookmark here

We continued our silly lovers' talk for a while. When we hung up I felt completely recharged and pumped up to get my work done. “Ok Bernie, time for some action. Let's get this show on the road!”Bookmark here

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