Stephanie blew into the Daily Show offices with a rush of cold fall wind, glared daggers at Jo when the Brit made the mistake of saying hello with a bit too much cheer (plus, would it kill the woman to pass a comb through her hair once in a while?), and made straight for Joan's office, ignoring the protests of the hapless stagehand who attempted to inform her that Joan was off getting some location footage filmed. As if it mattered! Joan would be back eventually, and Stephanie was going to be there when she showed up. There was no time to lose.
Something had to be done about that new girl. The sooner, the better.
Oh, Stephanie had been suspicious from the start. Nobody that young and pretty, with her silky hair and slim hips and dazzling smile, could have enough talent to fill a job title once held by Stephanie herself. No loving God would create a world where that was possible. And it didn't help that Olivia, according to certain parts of the blogosphere (which Stephanie routinely would not have touched with a ten-foot pole thanks to their refusal to recognize Sarah Palin as the pinnacle of modern feminism, but which her gut told her were on to something this time), apparently had never done anything in her entire previous career except some kind of unspeakably lewd performance with a hot dog. A hot dog! Was there no decency on television these days?
("No, Joan, it's nothing at all like that bit I did with the banana," she had explained patiently, though she could see Joan wasn't getting it. "When I did it, it was classy.")
But Joan had gone and hired Olivia anyway, and it had all been downhill from there. Stephanie had sent her a perfectly civil message after her first piece, just the usual pleasantries: congratulations on your hiring, good luck with the job, if you make those big doe-eyes at Joan in any more segments I will hurt you.
Judging by her response, Olivia did not consider herself appropriately lucky that the world-famous Stephanie Colbert was paying attention to her in the first place.
The latest missive between them had been the worst yet. Stephanie had taken the time to type up a long and thorough email detailing all the perfectly logical reasons why, if Olivia continued in this direction, Joan ought to take her over her knee and teach her a lesson. Olivia's response had been curt to the point of rudeness: Meet me in Joan's office in fifteen minutes. Don't bring underwear.
And so it was that Stephanie had headed straight for Joan's office. Not to meet Olivia — she couldn't imagine that Joan would let Olivia sneak off with a key, the way she had with Stephanie. The place was just a coincidence. The point was to meet Joan, and have her straighten this mess out.
She whisked through the door, slammed it shut, and looked around for a place to hang the double-breasted coat she hadn't bothered to take off....
Stephanie nearly choked. Silhouetted against the window, so quiet that Stephanie's eyes had passed right over her, stood Olivia, looking almost professional in a dove-grey blouse under a charcoal jacket with matching slacks. Her arms were folded, with something dark clutched in one hand, but her grin was downright cute.
"I'm glad you showed up," she said brightly. "That's going to make this all so much easier."
"I didn't do it for you," warned Stephanie. "I'm here to see Joan. That's all."
"Sure you are. Take off your coat."
The burgundy fabric slid easily over Stephanie's shoulders, a gesture which would have been casual if not for the way Olivia was looking at her. "I was going to do that anyway," she glaring right back as she tossed it over an armchair. She was wearing a perfectly modest dark-rose power suit underneath — it wasn't like she was stripping.
"I like the suit," said Olivia, completely unintimidated as she looked Stephanie up and down. "Classic. Timeless. A good style for the mature woman."
Stephanie bristled. "At least I understand what's appropriate for the workplace! Not like you and your..." She waved vaguely in the direction of Olivia's neckline, sinking as it did a few inches below her collarbones. "...breasts."
Olivia rolled her eyes. "Look, it's not my fault if you can't stop staring at them."
Even when Olivia's jaw dropped it was cute.
"I mean—" blurted Stephanie, scrambling for a correction.
"No, no, it's all right." Olivia tapped the object in her hand against her arm. "Maybe I won't even have to use these."
Stephanie caught her breath. The younger woman was gripping the blades of a wicked-looking, gunmetal-grey pair of scissors.
"I mean, these are just insurance," she continued, nonchalant as ever. "In case you decided not to be a good girl. You're going to be good, right, Stephanie? Have you done everything I asked?"
"I didn't..." Stephanie took a step back, instinctively closing her legs and pressing her thighs together. Olivia couldn't really have expected her to walk over half-dressed! Sauntering down the street with the cold air brushing between her legs, wind playing with the hem of her skirt as if to tease the passersby with glimpses of her bare bottom, nipples straining against her blouse as it hugged her curves and left nothing to the imagination...okay, technically the heavy coat might have kept any of that from being a problem, but that hadn't stopped her from imagining it. "Don't be ridiculous! I'm decent."
"Oh." Olivia's face fell into an adorable pensive pout as she thought this over. "I guess we'll have to do some of this the hard way after all."
"I don't know what you're—"
"See, I have a theory," continued the younger woman, ignoring her. "I mean, you've been acting kinda like you hate me, here. And I was thinking, how can that be? She doesn't even know me! And then I figured it out. Either you are, like, ridiculously jealous..."
Stephanie's heart galloped in her ribs. "I'm not jealous! What would I be—"
"...or you need someone to teach you a lesson."