Chapter 1: The Interview
The massive steel and glass building sends currents of trepidation to the pit of my stomach, I feel like a tiny ant trying to make my way to the top of a great mountain. With a nervous groan, I smile at one of my best friends, Marisa, before stepping out of her car. Slowly I make my way inside the large glass tower. Wishing I had prepared more adequately for the interview, I clench my empty hands together behind my back. Groaning I look down at Marisa’s black knee-length pencil skirt and white silk blouse, accompanied by strappy silver heels, I look every part a secretary... The only problem being; I’ve never been an assistant to anyone in my short twenty-three years of life.
Marisa works in the company as well, she’s the only reason the international business had even considered someone like me. My heels click softly against the marble floor and my eyes scan the surroundings, beautiful. The building is magnificent, inside and out. I head to reception where I’m greeted by a beautifully tanned raven haired beauty. The name tag informs me of the receptionist’s name; Amelia. “What can I do for you?” The lady questions after ending her call.
“I have an interview at nine.” I clear my throat.
Amelia smiles brightly, her teeth gleaming as she stands to an impressive height... Then again everyone seems tall compared to me. The black haired woman hands me a folder and directs me towards a set of elevators, “twenty-ninth floor. I hope you get the position, good luck, Julia!” She squeezes my arm comfortingly before pressing the floor level for me as the elevator doors open.
I lean against the cool metal and sigh, closing my eyes I mumble out a curse. I don’t know why I allowed Marisa to convince me to apply here instead of a smaller company. “Nervous?” A deeply accented voice startles me, instantly my eyes snap open.
I look to my left and crane my neck slightly to catch a glimpse of the tall, muscular specimen next to me. Dark eyes glare down through my being, his jaw tenses and a strained look seemed to conform his expression. The man wore an expensive suit, black material accenting his features further. “I have an interview in ten minutes,” I mumble out, feeling like I have to answer the dominating man.
“For what position?” His voice rumbles out deep and exotic, I clench my legs together and push harder against the metal.
I notice the number above the doors flicker to; ten. “Secretary. Do you work here?” I question.
“You could say that.” His reply is awfully vague.
Sensing the opportunity to interrogate the employee, I straighten up, “is the boss strict?” I blurt unable to even edit the sentence before spewing it out.
“Yes. Then again this company is where it is for a reason.” The man’s eyebrow raises, he runs a hand through his dark hair. “I wish you all the best, Miss. Julia Williams.” He nods towards me just as the metal box opens. I watch as he passes another small reception and multiple offices, finally disappearing through large glass doors. That’s when something clicks, how’d he know my name?
Shrugging, I head to the front desk and inform the clearly professional red head of my interview, she smiles and suggests I take a seat. Five minutes later I find myself being led to a door next to the glass one the mysterious employee from earlier had disappeared into. The red head escorts me inside.
“Please take a seat, Miss. Williams.” A mid-aged blond holds her hand out towards one of the chairs opposite a dark grey glass desk. I wipe my sweaty palms against the pencil skirt currently clinging to my shaky legs and take a seat.
The woman settles down on the chair behind the desk, “my name is Fiona Jenkins and I will be your interviewer today. I’m Mr. Alfonsi Vice President of operations and have worked for this company longer than I can remember. But, enough about me, what I really want to know is who are you, Miss. Williams?”
Swallowing hard, I put on a brave face, “who am I... I’m determination and commitment. You could say it’s become an obsession, the need to ensure productive outcomes-”
The interview was long and nerve wracking, Mrs. Jenkins seems like a gentle woman based on appearance, but behind her soft features is a strict professional woman. I gave it everything I had, and can only hope it’s enough... My savings are dwindling as it is and returning home to face my parent’s disappointment isn’t an option. They already despised my decisions to move to the city and had planned for me to join the family law firm. I, however, have other dreams, which consist of working in the architecture industry.
I smile at Marisa who is leaning against her vehicle outside the large company, she instantly comes to greet me, “how’d it go?”
“Fine, I guess... I spoke with the Vice President.” I reply.
Marisa looks at me confused, “of marketing?”
“Operations.” I correct.
We both slip into her vehicle and she begins driving home. We’d bought an apartment together after defying our parents and deciding to make it on our own... Okay, admittedly Marisa’s relationship with her parents is the polar opposite of mine. Her's are supportive, mine anything but. Sighing I answer her questions about the whole ordeal. Ten minutes later she parks underground and we take the lift to our apartment.
I remove her suit and exchange it for a pair of sweats and singlet. Marisa begins preparing lunch just as the front door opens and Robin stumbles inside with stacks of scripts. “What are you doing?” I laugh. Robin completes our trio, she also lives with Marisa and I... We’d met her four years ago when she was struggling to become an author. Robin has just been promoted to assistant editor, the lady is an exceptional writer and I honestly do not know why she hasn’t been published yet.
“Karen’s a bitch!” She pouts, Karen being her boss.
I laugh, “what’d she do this time?”
“She’s dumped all her workload on me so she can go on vacation!” Robin slouches on our sofa and slams her fists against the cushion. “What am I going to tell Daryl!?” She grumbles.
“I’m sure lover-boy will understand.” Marisa teases from the kitchen.
Robin sits straight, “keep mocking me, Miss. I’m-in-love-with-my-brothers-bestfriend.”
“Low blow, Rob!” Marisa flings a piece of bread towards Robin.
I roll my eyes at their antics and take a seat on the bar stool in front of our kitchen island. Opening up my laptop, I check my emails. “I think I’m going to hold off quitting on Marco.” I lean against my palm, on my elbow.
“How come? Didn’t you go for an interview today?” Robin pipes up.
I nod, “sure did, but what are the chances of them hiring me,” I mutter, already feeling the depression sink over me.
“Chin up,” Marisa pats my back before walking past me and placing a jug of juice on the table. She then continues setting the table with salad, grilled chicken and potatoes. Robin jumps to her feet and instantly begins serving herself— never get in between Robin and food. “Fatty!” Marisa scolds.
I chuckle and join them, we eat while laughing about Marisa’s complicated love life. She should seriously just put her foot down and stop sneaking around with Jason, I’m sure her brother would move on... Eventually. Marco is like a brother to Robin and I, he helped us move, gave me a job in his cafe and introduced Daryl to Rob.
After eating I volunteer to do the dishes while Robin and Marisa get ready for a day out, I’d rejected the idea, primarily due to the anxious need to find out the verdict of my employment. The two girls emerge from their rooms and both laugh realising they’d worn matching sundresses. Marisa’s Mexican tan and dark hair contrasts strongly with Robins fiery red hair and pale skin, yet somehow both women are gorgeous individuals.
The two head out and I dry my hands before heading to my room. I pick up my dirty clothes and place them in the washing machine before returning to my bed and checking my phone for any messages. Still nothing. It’s been a couple of hours... Calm down. My subconscious flicks through pages of a mystery novel. I groan and flop down on my bed, annoyed.
Then my phone buzzes, I sit up quickly and answer it eagerly, “hello?”
“Hello to you too, sweetheart.” Marcos deep voice greets me. “You free tonight?” He questions. “I’m low staffed. Come on... Help a man in need.” He pleads.
I smile fondly, “you know I can’t say no.”
“Cheers Jules, I owe you one.” He ends the call and I lay back down. Closing my eyes, I allow images to form in my mind. Surprising the man from the elevator takes over my day dreams, I find myself yearning to see him again. You’re crazy! My subconscious barks, slamming her novel down and slinking away.
I don’t know when the sun fell, but the sound of the front door stirs me, causing me to sit up and squint adjusting to the lack of light. Moving off my bed I walk into the connecting bathroom and take a quick shower. Leaving my long dark hair out to dry, I simply brush through the hip length waves. I trudge back into my bedroom and dry off before pulling on jeans and a sleeved dark green shirt. I step into my boots and grab my bag and phone.
“And she’s alive!” Marisa grins, looking up at me from her position on the ground in front of the coffee table.
I look around and spot Robin rummaging through the fridge, “you’re an idiot.” I shake my head amused. I wave before grabbing my keys and heading out of the apartment, I trail down to the elevator and then down to the underground parking space. I press the unlock button on my keys and my cars headlights flash, heading to it I slip inside and key the ignition. Reversing out of the parking spot, I drive through the gates and hit the highway. A couple minutes later I park around the back of Marcos Mexican restaurant and slip inside through the back entrance.
“Julia!” Marco greets me with a warm hug.
I wrap my arms around him tightly, “who else is here?” I question.
“Billy, Lee, you and I tonight, kiddo.” He ruffles my hair after pulling back. I glare at him and he laughs, “Lee and I have cooking, Billy has welcoming and seating, I just need you on ordering and serving.” He directs.
I nod, “got it.” I head to the front and pick up a notepad and pen before making my way towards the tables where customers await. The four of us work fast and comfortably, already familiar with each other. Finally, Billy closes shop and we all help with cleaning. Marco thanks me once again and helps me to my car, I smile and hug him goodbye. “You still coming over with Jason and Daryl?”
“Wouldn’t miss one of your horror nights for the world.” He grins, closing my door softly for me.
I nod, “good. Because they’re epic!”
Marco shakes his head, “get out of here.”
I pull out and wave while driving away. I stop at a petrol station and step out, I open the hatch and grab the pipe, feeding it into the small opening I wait for the oil to fill my tank. Glancing up I notice a sleek black vehicle glide in at the pump opposite mine. The driver’s door opens and a large muscular man steps out, instantly I feel an aura of dominance radiate off him and watch curiously as he turns around.
Our eyes clash and I gasp as I recognise the face... The man from the elevator, he is still in his suit, only difference being his two top buttons are undone. Dark black ink paints curves across the tanned flesh being displayed from the opening. I quickly look down feeling nervous, pulling the pipe from my car I attach it to its pump and rush inside with money to pay. As I’m heading out of the small building the tall man enters, I pause briefly as does he. “Evening, Miss. Williams.” He greets.
“E-Evening,” I mumble out and continue past him. Liquid heat roars through my body and I clench the wheel in my hands until my knuckles lose colour. Surely that couldn’t have been a coincidence, my thoughts reel as I drive away from the intimidating man, who seems to be taking up a constant spot in my mind. My phone rings and I answer is absently, “Julia speaking. How can I help you?”
’Good evening, Miss. Williams.’ Mrs. Jenkins voice has me waking from my daze real damn quickly. ’You will have a thirty-day trial period, full pay-’ the woman continues listing things I need to do and rules I must abide by, for example; never under any circumstances, enter in an office affair. Definitely do-able!
I park underground and head up to the apartment. Robin and Marisa are asleep so I make sure to quietly brush my teeth and slip into bed after showering. The mystery man once again takes over my dreams as sleep causes me to collapse into an erotic haze and I find myself wondering if I’ll be able to keep the promises I’ve made to Mrs. Jenkins.