Career Change

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Emma Bezzle

V.I.L.E.
AMA
findcarmen.com
Known Aliases
Emma, Em, Bez, or Bezzy
Color #
A0522D
(Note: This takes place roughly half a year before Emma joined VILE)

Career Change

Shit shit shit shit!

The same word had been echoing in Emma’s mind for the past two hours. It bounced around in her mind even as she laughed with her coworkers, trying desperately to deflect the unwanted attention she brought to herself. It wove itself through the lyrics of a song she couldn’t be bothered to remember the name of on the cab ride back home. And now, in the unnerving silence of her penthouse, she could finally speak it aloud.

“Shit.”

Her thermostat was set at a toasty 75 degrees, but her teeth still chattered with a lingering chill that Emma knew wasn’t from the freezing temperature outside. Leaning against a stark white wall, Emma pulled off her Jimmy Choo heels and tossed them to the side, not caring if they got scuffed.

Her first instinct was to head to the kitchen and open a bottle of a good vintage, but she made it only a few steps before she stopped; drinking was what got her into this situation in the first place and drinking wasn’t going to help her get out of it. Sighing, she continued her path to the kitchen and reached for a mug and the tin where she kept peppermint loose-leaf.

While her tea seeped, she took the opportunity to slip out of her black designer dress and change into her pajamas: too small athletic shorts she’d had since high school and one of her dad’s old flannel shirts. She grabbed a blanket off her bed and wrapped it around her shoulders when the familiar comfort of her pajamas wasn’t enough to make the chattering of her teeth stop.

Emma descended the spiral staircase and retrieved her tea from the kitchen. Bare feet pattering quietly on the hardwood, she forwent the couch and squashy armchairs in favor of sitting on the floor in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows. These windows covered most of the first floor, offering a spectacular view of Philadelphia’s skyline. They were what drew Emma to purchase this particular penthouse from the others that she’d looked at. There was something entrancing about being able to see the whole of the city spread out before her, glittering like a gem that had caught the light just right.

She sipped at her tea. She had been so proud of this penthouse when she first bought it. It was as far from the dilapidated apartment she grew up in as one could get. Everything was clean, everything was new, and there wasn’t a mouse or cockroach in sight. She could keep the thermostat at any temperature she wanted, and the water never turned brown. People were good to her here, always smiling and offering to help with her bags or inviting her around for drinks. Just a few short years ago, these people would’ve sneered at her like she was shit on the bottom of their shoe.

But not anymore. Never again.

Tonight had been a serious screwup. Thinking back on it, the whole thing was so stupid. She had been talking with some coworkers and the topic of cars had come up. Normally this wouldn’t mean anything; she’d offer a few comments, maybe mention that her dad had been a mechanic, and that would be the end of it. But she’d had too much to drink at this point and let slip the fact that she owned a Bugatti. Under any other circumstances her claim would’ve been laughed off as a drunk exaggeration and her blunder would be forgotten by Monday. But then this absolute jackass from HR who had been condescending to her all night made the comment that she wouldn’t know a Bugatti from a Buick and, well…

Emma had dealt with plenty of arrogant pricks over the years. It was par for the course for most of her life. It sucked and she’d hated it, but she grit her teeth through it all and kept pushing through it, knowing that she would be the one on top eventually. It had been a while though since someone had spoken to her that way, and her pride took the hit badly. Desperate to prove herself, she’d pulled out a picture of herself with her Bugatti Chiron.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

As soon as it had happened, Emma realized she had made a colossal mistake. The moron from HR had fallen silent, as had everyone else involved in the conversation. She spent the rest of the party trying to detract from the fact that she owned a $3.5 million dollar car when she only made $50,000 a year. It didn’t take a genius to do the math on that one. She’d put her entire lifestyle in jeopardy and for what?

Well, it was no use dwelling on past mistakes. If working in finance has taught her anything, it’s to always be looking ahead and adapt as quickly as possible to changing circumstances.

Drinking the last of her tea, Emma stood slowly, letting feeling return to her legs. Her blanket trailed behind her as she relocated to her office, a checklist forming in her mind.

First things first, she needed to do damage control at work. There’s no way she could continue on like nothing had happened. She’d have to resign, but not right away. That would only encourage suspicion. She’d start planting the seeds for her resignation after the holidays: her father wasn’t feeling well, doctors think it might be cancer. She’ll mention him being alone, take time off to bring him to his appointments, and after a few months turn in her resignation in order to take care of him on a more full-time basis. No one would dare question a daughter leaving to take care of a dying parent.

Opening a safe concealed inside a bookcase, Emma pulled out her work laptop and settled in at her desk. She booted up the computer and double-checked that her VPN and other encryption software were active.

The next thing she needed to worry about was her income. She had a nice emergency cache stashed away in addition to what was in her different bank accounts, but that wouldn’t last forever. Emma closed her eyes and thought. It might be worth it to start her own practice rather than join another firm. She’d do more research on the requirements later when she had more time and a clearer head. In the upcoming weeks she’d reach out to her clients and feel them out, mention that she’s thinking of becoming independent. Client poaching wasn’t against any laws, but it wasn’t exactly smiled upon either within the industry. She’d have to be careful when broaching the subject with her current clients. If one of them mentioned that she was creating her own practice to the wrong person, she would have a tough time talking her way out of that one.

The third thing she needed to do was arguably the hardest and most sensitive. It would require careful lines of inquiry in just the right places, giving just enough to garner the attention of the right people and avoid drawing the attention of those she’d rather remain hidden from.

Emma had hoped to get by without ever needing to do this, but that had been naivety on her part. Or perhaps not naivety, but overconfidence. There had been two incidents in five years and there was no one to blame but herself; she’d been sloppy, too comfortable with her own cleverness. But, even if she hadn’t let overconfidence get the better of her, how much longer could she really expect to pull this off without getting caught? When she had first decided to venture into this world of white-collar crimes, getting caught had seemed like a faraway concept, hovering on the edge of her subconscious. But now, getting caught – being thrown in jail – felt more like a when rather than an if.

Going about this alone wasn’t going to end well for her.

What she needed was a safety net – something that offered her the freedom to walk unhindered along the tightrope she had made for herself but would keep her from painting the floor should she misstep and lose her balance.

Emma opened a new browser and typed in a memorized website. Embezzlement tended to be a solitary activity, but she did have a few contacts in an underground network. If she was lucky, one of them could get her in contact with someone within the organization.

Messages sent, she wiped the computer and returned it to the safe. Yawning, she stretched, a few joints cracking noisily. She would resume her planning tomorrow after a few hours of sleep.

Emma just hoped that Carmen Sandiego and VILE were all they were cracked up to be.
 
Last edited:

Emma Bezzle

V.I.L.E.
AMA
findcarmen.com
Known Aliases
Emma, Em, Bez, or Bezzy
Color #
A0522D
Thank you everyone for your kind words.

And @Lee, I still have that penthouse. I'm still in town quite a bit and that view really is spectacular.
 
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Reactions: Lee

Patty

Valkyrie
AMA
findcarmen.com
Known Aliases
Patt, Patts, Petite, Amber Cecelia Argos, Valkyrie
Color #
8d8844
Oooh, life choices, thanks for sharing, Emma! Where's the Bugatti now?
 

Emma Bezzle

V.I.L.E.
AMA
findcarmen.com
Known Aliases
Emma, Em, Bez, or Bezzy
Color #
A0522D
Oooh, life choices, thanks for sharing, Emma! Where's the Bugatti now?
She's in a secured car storage facility. I don't drive her everyday for obvious reasons. But on a nice sunny day I'll take her out for a spin on a track.
 

Morgan

ACME
Known Aliases
Morgan Cedesina
I do appreciate that you've researched us prior to joining. Did it really take a year, or were my recruiters slow?
 

Emma Bezzle

V.I.L.E.
AMA
findcarmen.com
Known Aliases
Emma, Em, Bez, or Bezzy
Color #
A0522D
I do appreciate that you've researched us prior to joining. Did it really take a year, or were my recruiters slow?
The delay was more on my end than yours. It took a bit longer to get my affairs settled than originally anticipated. Bureaucracy cares little for personal timetables.
 

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