The elevator doors burst open, revealing a very pale and groggy looking woman in her early twenties with her burgundy locks partially glued to the moist dripping off of her face.
Kate stepped out into the deserted halls and urgently pressed her hand against the granite tiles for support as she frantically gasped for air. Tears welled up in her eyes and were minutes away from pouring down her delicate, flushed cheeks.
Of course his office would be on the top floor!
Her chest heaved as she took deep calming breaths; thank God for the meditation classes.
She knew that the Price Empire building was insanely tall - in fact it was the tallest building in the city - but she couldn’t believe that she had underestimated her ability to compete with her claustrophobia, given that she had just made it up to the hundredth floor in an closed off steel box of death. Why she thought the second time around would be less terrifying, was beyond her; but here she was, and super grateful that there was nobody around to witness her panic attacks.
As her last few breaths slowly staggered her heart rate back to its normal speed, she ran a hand over her face as relief spread over her.
“Get it together Dawson.” she chastised herself mentally.
She lifted her head and was immediately drawn to the bathroom sign and before she knew it her body was moving ahead of her thoughts. She found herself standing in front of a large rectangular mirror. Her hands quickly flew to her cheeks as she gasped a faint of surprise.
Damn, she whispered.
Her make up was smudged all over the place and as per her usual luck, today out of all days she had forgotten to pack her emergency kit. At least she was the kind of girl that still looked good natural. She hastily opened the faucet, washed the horror mask off and wiped her face off with a paper towel.
There she was. The girl with the beautiful amber eyes, high cheek bones, plump rosy lips and her showstopper dimples; somehow they always caught people’s attention.
Walking out towards the reception area, her eyes swept to where a blonde, petite, doll-faced girl in her early twenties sat frowning at the monitor screen.
Kate cleared her throat so that her presence could be noticed.
″How may I help you?″ The blonde receptionist asked as her eyes scanned Kate’s appearance.
″I’m Kate Dawson from Daily House. I have an appointment with Mr. Price.″
″Oh, of course.--” The receptionist said with a light frown, evidently Kate was not what she had expected.
“--Mr. Price has been expecting you, please come this way.″ She got up from her seat and led Kate through the familiar hallway which only had a big mahogany door at the end of it.
This was her second scheduled appointment with the infamous Mr. Price. The first time around he had send her on her way because he claimed to be busy. Her chief editor hadn’t been pleased with the news. He had threatened to have her job if another publishing house got the exclusive before they did.
Nobody had ever had the chance to interview him face to face; it was as if the man didn’t exist. It was either that or he simply didn’t want to make his life public property.
“Please have a seat Ms. Dawson. I’ll inform Mr. Price that you are here.” The receptionist gestured to the vacant chair facing his door.
Kate merely nodded in acknowledgment. She had to remind herself not to mess this up. Arthur would have her head - or to be more realistic, her job - if she messed up, and she couldn’t afford to lose this job: her nana was very ill, and all the hospital bills needed to be paid off, as well as the monthly check for the home nurse, Mrs. Kirby.
It had always been just the two of them ever since her parents had passed away when she was twelve and now, even the thought of losing her grandmother was just too -- painful.
She watched as the secretary quickly knocked on the door and entered inside the room. Her palms suddenly felt sweaty. She had just caught a glimpse of Mr. Price’s shoes before the door had closed. They were pitch black and sparkled under the sun’s rays...
Okay, maybe she was exaggerating but it was still no doubt, a ridiculously, expensive pair of black Italian leather shoes.
“Of course Sir.” She heard right before the receptionist emerged from his office.
“Mr. Price will be right with you.” The blonde announced with an exaggerated smile plastered on her face.
Kate blew out a small breath of relief. The first time around she had been turned away at first sight, so this was promising.
“Thank you.” Kate nodded, watching as the receptionist disappeared from the corner.
She quickly opened her bag to double check that she had her tape recorder, her list of questions and - most importantly - her pen.
Her head tilted up at the sound of the door opening, her face cracked into a smile as she stood up.
“Mr. Price, I’m --oh?” Kate frowned when she saw another woman emerge out of his office.
Bemused, she swallowed down the rest of her words.
Kate suddenly felt self conscious as she tugged lightly at her black high waist skirt ; staring at woman who was standing right infront front of her.
She was tall, so freaking tall and beautiful, too beautiful to be working here, unless Mr. Price was running a modeling agency.
“Ms. Dawson, I presume?” When she spoke, her European accent could not be missed.
“Yes.” Kate nodded in confusion.
“I’m Kay, Mr. Price’s PA.” She said as she shook Kate’s hand.
Kay offered Kate a faint smile before she spoke,” I’m sorry Ms. Dawson but Mr. Price will have to reschedule again.”
“What!?” Kate stumbled a few steps back. “But why?”
“Unfortunately, he has another meeting scheduled.”
“Are you serious? This is the second time his done this! My boss will kill me.” Kate gritted her teeth, eyeing his lordship’s door.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing more that I can do except for suggesting a different day, Ms. Dawson.” Kay said sympathetically.
“You don’t understand, there won’t be a different day. This is my career he’s playing around with. If I go back with the same story, my boss will fire me.” Kate fumed.
At this stage of panic, she was unsure whether to be cool, calm and collected or, bold, brave, and bad ass.
Kay threw her another sympathetic look and shook her head, ” I’m really sorry Ms--”
Kate interjected, “Dawson -- yeah, yeah I get it. But I mean, he is right there and the interview will only take five minutes - five measly minutes.” Kate stated trying to convince his PA to help her out.
Damn it, she was going to lose her job. What about her grandmother?
“Please, Ms. Dawson, he doesn’t take kindly to office scenes.”
“Then please, just go and tell him that I said that it would only take five minutes, please.” Kate pressed on.
If grovelling on the floor would seal the deal then baby, she was prepared to grovel.
“I’m afraid not, Ms. Dawson. Please take the rescheduled appointment or leave, I don’t want to have to call security.”
“Of course--” Kate threw her a sarcastic smile and hooked her bag over her arm.
“I’ll leave, but please pass Mr. Price this message for me: tell him to stick his bloody rescheduled appointment up his uptight ass. And please do not forget to give him a big thank you for getting me fired. Fucking dick!”
She spat before storming out by the stairs, forgetting that she took the elevator up here.
She was done for.
Arthur was going to fire her. The only thing now that she could do now was stall for time. At least until she could come up with something.
Kate announced, discarding her pumps before closing the front door of her apartment. The sound of plates being placed in the dishwasher could be heard from the living room. Of course it was an open apartment, so it was quite normal.
“Hi Mrs. Kirby. How is she today?” Kate asked, making her way into the kitchen.
Her soft hand patted the round shoulders of Mrs. Kirby as she opened the refrigerator.
“Hard to tell.” Mrs.Kirby answered wiping her hand in her apron, “You know how she is, she puts on a strong front for everybody and won’t let her guard down.”
She then moved over the counter and grabbed her cup of tea. “I know she’s in pain,” she continued, “but she won’t let it show except the two times I caught her grimacing. I practically had to pin her down to give her her sedative.” She chuckled before bringing her cup of tea to her lips.
“Is she awake now?” Kate took a bottle of water and closed the fridge.
Mrs. Kirby lifted her grey eyes to Kate and smiled, “Yes, she wanted to read a while on her own.”
“Okay, I’ll just pop in to say hi.” Kate said before walking out of the kitchen, leaving the grey haired, plump nurse seated by the window, gazing down on the busy Street of Goarson City.
Kate was so grateful and even considered herself lucky to have Mrs. Kirby, because even when she would sometimes run late coming home, Mrs. Kirby would volunteered to stay the extra hours no charge. Lord knows what she would have done if she didn’t have her.
“Kate?” The faint sound of her grandmother’s voice tugged at her heart. “You’re home early today.” She observed, closing her thick novel and placing it on her side table.
“I’m playing hooky.” Kate said before tipping her bottle to her mouth and taking a seat on her grandmother’s bed.
“Aren’t you little old to be playing hooky?” Her nana quirked a brow at her.
“Not when you’re hiding out from your boss.” Kate shrugged placing the half full water on the table.
“What happened honey?”
“Oh, Nana. I messed up and I know for sure if I go back - or when I go back - my desk will be cleared up.” She signed heavily, “I called the richest man in the city a fuking dick.”
“Honey, we talked about that temper of yours. Remember, that’s why you signed up for yoga.”
“Yeah, well I went up a hundred floors in a damn elevator and for what? So that he could send his PA out to brush me to the side. I snapped, nana. Arthur’s going to flip because for one, I have no interview and two, I just put the credibility of the entire publishing house in jeopardy.”
“You’re right--” Her grandmother’s voice sang, “You’re done for. So what’s your backup plan?”
“I haven’t yet digested the fact that I might be fired, so a backup plan has yet to be formulated. But I don’t want you worrying about this, okay? I’ll take care of things.” Kate got up and placed a small kiss on her nana’s forehead.
“You know I always worry about you, dear. Your my favourite grandchild.” She smiled sweetly at Kate.
“You mean your only grandchild, but good save.” Kate chuckled standing up.
“I’ll let you have your rest. I’m going to try and call Carl and see how things are at the office.”
“Why don’t you ask him to come over?”
“No Nana, I know what you are trying to do. Carl is still just a friend.”
“So? Friends can still share a meal.”
“Not with you around. You’ll probably sprinkle glitters, hearts and flowers all over the apartment. I know how that mind of yours works nana, and it’s not happening.”
“I don’t know what you mean dear. I just wanted to see Carl. I rarely do these days.”
“That’s because the last time you practically drew him a map to my room.”
“Is it wrong to want you to have somebody in your life?” Her nana asked.
“No. But it is when that other person is taken.” Kate replied, giving her a disapproving look.
“I did not know that.” Her nana stated innocently.
“Well now you do, so please no more shenanigans. I’ll see you at dinner.”
Kate walked over to the couch in search of her phone where she had dumped her bag and took a deep breath before dialing Carl’s number.
She gasped at his quick response after only one ring. It caused her to worry.
“Carl?” She said.
“Kate, you need to come by the office now.”
She could feel her breakfast churn inside her stomach.
This was not good.