She looked at the text message in disgust, wondering what type of job would fire someone via text. The woman yearned to shrug it off, making an excuse they were unprofessional as a whole, anyway: her being fired from that job was a good thing.
No, it’s not. I’ve been fired, period.
There was nothing she could do about it except the obvious: look for another job. She checked her bank account and sighed. She barely had enough for a month’s rent and survival on ramen noodles. Alexis stayed online and put in as many applications as she could within a ten-mile radius. The last thing she wanted to do was move back home.
The search frustrated her; no one was hiring except the underpaying fast food restaurants around town. Alexis admitted that she was picky; while she needed a job as soon as possible, the idea of flipping burgers didn’t appease to her. But, she put in her applications and went to her emails, something she hadn’t done in a while.
In a way, she was glad she did. An email dated the day before caught her attention, it pulled at her to open. Alexis eyed it strangely because it appeared to speak to her personally. An anonymous message talking about a job opportunity. No other details were included except for the address and the dates available for interviews. Alexis looked at the top corner of her desktop and nearly toppled out of her chair; she had an hour to get ready and make her way downtown. What did she have to lose? Alexis ransacked her closet for a decent outfit, printed out a mediocre copy of her résumé and headed to the location.
As she looked at the building located in the middle of the downtown area, Alexis wondered if the email was indeed too good to be true. The building itself was plain, not even a name sign adorned the brick structure. Many scenarios went through her mind but she stepped inside anyway.
What if this is a cover up for some sex company? I don’t want to be an escort.
The thought was erased as she took in the small lobby. A security guard seated in the middle of the room gave her a smile and a nod, something that surprised Alexis. She was usually met with disdain because of her hair dye: her dark brown hair was styled in a short bob which barely covered her nape but the eye catcher was the broad streak of electric green that served as bangs. If she wore her hair as is, Alexis found herself pushing the strands away from her right eye. The older man seemed not impressed or bothered by her choice of hair color.
Before she could stumble her words out, the guard pointed towards the lone door behind him, wishing her good luck. She didn’t know what to expect when she opened the door but it wasn’t a larger lobby. Immediately on the right side of the door was a receptionist desk and even the receptionist wasn’t who she expected to see. The woman who smiled brightly at her was young, heavyset but pretty. Her strawberry blonde hair fell past her shoulders and was tucked behind her ears. Alexis studied her and figured the woman wore her hair in that way on purpose to show off her gauged ears.
“What?” the lone word took Alexis off guard. She was still studying the woman who was casually dressed in a t-shirt and jeans.
“The color,” she nodded towards the streak of green. “Myst is the only product I know that pops out like that. I did a sapphire blue once it was just…” it appeared she was at a loss for words.
“Right, ‘wow’. I loved it!”
“Heh: yeah, I didn’t know my color would pop out like this.”
“Myst is the best product out and it lasts quite a while. Took a year and a half before that blue started to fade.”
“That’s crazy. I just did this about a few weeks ago?”
“Yeah, it’ll be there for a while! Oh, sorry: hi, welcome to ASHE. Do you have an appointment?”
“ASHE? Um, I don’t have an appointment. I actually got this email.” Alexis took her phone out and showed the receptionist the email. Her smile widened.
“That’s great. We were hoping you would get it.”
“Well, not you personally. We sent the email out to a lot of people but not too many show up for the interviews. Figured that it mostly found its way to a spam folder or something.”
“O-Oh. I don’t get many emails so… no spam folder.”
“Either way, the boss’ll be pleased to have people to interview for once.”
“The boss? The actual boss is going to interview me?”
“Of course. He does all the interviews. The only way to make sure the right person is hired. So, Ms…” she looked at her in anticipation.
“F-Farley. Alexis Farley.”
“I’ll let him know you’re here, Ms. Farley. Have a seat over there,” she pointed to the row of seats situated across the desk. Alexis nodded as she took a seat where three others waited. They looked as confused as she was but acknowledged her as she sat. The receptionist gave the four a friendly nod as she made her way across the room to a double door that was heavily guarded. The two large guards instantly moved for the woman as she disappeared into the next room. Moments later, she returned and sat at her desk with a smile. “They’ll call you soon.”
“Oh, ok. Thanks…”
“Penny. Guess I need to invest in a name placard. I’ll bring that up with the boss.” she smiled and shrugged.
Alexis didn’t know how fast or slow the time passed but she found herself the only one left in the lobby as she idly scrolled through her phone. The door leading from the security lobby swung open and she caught sight of the largest man she’d ever seen. He barely fit through the door height-wise but was as big around as he was tall. He glared at Penny although she kept her smile.
“Cross in?” he asked before she had a chance to open her mouth. Alexis had to give it to Penny; had it been her sitting there, she would’ve been shaking. But Penny continued to smile at the man, unaffected.
“I’m not at liberty to say so you’ll have to wai–” Penny stopped in mid-sentence as the man grumbled and walked towards the guarded doors. “Sir, you can’t go through those doors.” She warned and jumped out her seat to follow the man. Alexis’s heart pounded: the guy meant business. She didn’t believe that the two guards would be a match for him unless they were armed. Alexis readied her phone to dial 911.
“Watch me!” the guy threatened. He was halfway to his destination when Alexis witnessed something she would never thought she’d see in a million years. The man suddenly grunted as he stopped in mid-stride and groaned as he was forced to the ground awkwardly. Alexis’s eyes widened when she saw who was responsible: Penny had her hand out, keeping the man in place with an invisible force.
She knew super humans were a part of everyday life. Larger cities were used to having them handle the major threats but Alexis only heard about them. She considered herself lucky to never encounter them face-to-face… until that moment. She sat frozen as Penny slowly closed her hand and the man screamed.
“Now, what did I say you weren’t allowed to do?”
“G-G-Go t-t-through t-t-those… d-d-doors…” he struggled. Penny took her other arm and waved it towards the seats, the gesture forced his body to walk in the direction. When he was close enough for Alexis to see the fear in his eyes, Penny pushed her hand down gently but the man crashed to the floor with another yell.
“Oh, you don’t get the luxury of a seat, today. When I say, you have to wait, you have to wait. So, guess what we’re doing?”
“You learn so quickly; good boy!”
“Penny!” a woman came through the other doors. The only thing not normal about the woman was her choice of hair color: a glossy midnight purple with streaks of silver. Even where Alexis sat, she saw that silver made the woman’s hair shine. The holster that the woman in black wore didn’t go unnoticed.
This isn’t going to end well…
“What? I’m just teaching this guy some manners.” Penny retaliated without looking at the other woman.
“In front of her?” her hazel eyes swept over Alexis but glared back at Penny.
“Lexi? She’s cool.” Penny shrugged and Alexis blushed at her new nickname.
“You’re scaring her. Release him…” the other woman fussed and Penny hesitated. “Do I need to get Angel in here… again?” she warned and with that, Penny released her hold on the man. He crumbled to the ground with a last grunt and the woman in black shook her head at the scene. She sighed heavily but looked at Alexis. “Alexis Farley, I assume.”
“Follow me.” she turned to the doors. Alexis put her phone away and got up. She couldn’t help but to stare at the disheveled man who hadn’t moved from the floor. Only a few moments ago, he was raging like a runaway truck. Alexis shot a look at Penny, who opened her mouth.
“That… was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” Alexis breathed out before Penny could say anything.
“Thanks! It was nothing, really. See, Rainy: I told you Lexi was cool. Make sure Cross hires her!”
“For the love of– stop calling me that!”