Today marks my tenth year here at Easton Real Estate. My day begins like every other day. I get to work at 7:00 and start the coffee. By the time that I am making my way to my office, Liza is getting settled into her work area. I stop by to say good morning.
Liza sits at the receptionist's desk. She fields the calls for Benson Real Estate and Double Faced Advertising. Liza works for and is best friends with twin sisters Grace and Faith, who own Double Faced Advertising. She is their assistant, and I am Benson Easton's assistant.
Faith is married to Benson Easton. They met over five years ago when he hired her advertising agency to do some promotional work for his real estate business. They became close and fell in love. Their love only strengthened more when Faith's sister went missing for six months. During that time, Faith moved in with Benson and eventually moved her office here on the third floor of Benson's office building. They married and have three children.
Thank goodness they found Grace. After taking a year off recovering from her abduction, she is back to work with her sister. Grace just recently married her boyfriend, Jeremy Miller, whose ex-wife was the one who kidnapped Grace and just about killed her by almost starving her to death.
The elevator door opens, and Grace enters the receptionist area. "Good morning, ladies." Grace greets us with a smile.
Liza and I both greet her, "Good morning." We say in unison,
It is so nice to see Grace recovered fully and back to work where she can use her gift as an artist to create great ads for her clients.
A half an hour later, my boss, Benson Easton, comes out of his luxury apartment with Faith. Their apartment takes up over half of the third floor. You can only enter it through his office. Their housekeeper also babysits their children. He pops his head into my office to check in with me. Usually, he stops by to say good morning then heads directly to his office. Today is different; instead of leaving right away, he sits down on the chair across from my desk.
"Congratulations on putting up with me for ten years." He smiles.
I return his smile, "It's been tough, but so worth it. I love my job."
Benson continues, "Faith and I were talking, and we would like to send you and a guest on a cruise to thank you for your ten years of impeccable service to both Faith and me."
I was taken aback, "A cruise, as in a vacation?"
"Yes, Cindy, a vacation. You have only taken two long weekends for family events since you started here. You need a break, and if you don't take a vacation, we'll send you on one."
I place my hand on my chest, "I don't know what to say."
Benson smirks, "How about thank you?"
I blush, "Of course, thank you so much for your generosity!"
Benson stands, "You leave this weekend." He states matter of factly.
"This weekend?" I ask in shock.
"Is that a problem?" He responds.
"Um, no sir, thank you, sir!" I quickly reply.
"Good!" He retorts before leaving my office.
I sit at my desk dumbfounded. A vacation, a week-long vacation. This weekend! Well, shit. Panic sets in as I process everything that I need to do before leaving.
First and foremost, I need to decide who to invite to go with me. Right away, my friend Millie pops into my mind. She is a teacher, and I know for a fact that they are on spring break next week. I quickly pick up my cellphone and hit Millie's name in my contacts.
Her phone rings several times. I am about to give up and ready myself to leave a message when she answers, "Hey, Girl! What's up?"
"Hey, Millie. I have a huge favor to ask of you. First, have you made plans for spring break yet?" I ask while praying that her answer is no.
"My only plans are cleaning out the garage and my closets. Trust me when I say that I can easily cancel my plans. What did you have in mind?" She informed me, and I right away got excited.
"I don't know, um, maybe you would like to go on an all-expenses-paid cruise with me." I try my best to sound nonchalant.
I had to hold my phone away from my ear when she screamed, "YES! ... Wait, you are not shitting me, are you? You never take vacations, never!"
"Benson just gifted me with a week-long cruise to celebrate my ten years of service!" I exclaim with excitement.
She replies, "Are you fucking kidding me? A cruise for ten years of service? All I got was a damn pen. I mean, it was a nice pen, but it sure as hell was not a cruise!"
I laugh at her comment, "So does that mean that you are in?"
"Hell, yes, I'm in! When do we leave?" She quips.
"I'll email you the details," I promise her, and we talk a few minutes about what type of outfits to pack. At the end of the conversation, we both decided that some shopping was necessary for the trip.
I met Millie our freshman year of college. We were randomly placed together as roommates and hit it off immediately. She is a little on the wild side and always drags me along on her escapades. She makes me laugh, and I know that she will always have my back. We always joked when we were together living out one of her wild ass ideas that my dad would bail us out.
My father was a detective for thirty years in the San Diego Police Department. He taught me everything he knew, hoping that I would follow in his footsteps. He always told me that I would make an excellent detective. It so happens that the skills that were imprinted on me by my father help immensely in working for Benson Easton.
While my degree is in business management, I do a lot of detective-type work for Benson. He needs to know who he is doing business with at all times. He does not work with anyone who has a glimpse of shadiness. When I interviewed for my position as Benson's assistant and business manager, I had mentioned that my father was a detective. Benson hired me on the spot fresh out of college.
It's funny how I enjoy that part of my job the most. I guess my dad was right. I was born to be a detective. Little did I know that my skills would be put to the ultimate test when my vacation turned out to be anything but a relaxing, rejuvenating cruise.