I’ve just walked into the pretty apartment block, specifically my apartment block, trying to appear like I wasn’t from around here. There was a whole level below the apartments; a luxurious off-side lobby filled with large offices.
I was just lucky a friend let me rent cheap in one of their apartments in the middle of the city. Not to mention in one of the most expensive streets.
However, dressed in my best interview clothes; a black skirt and white slim jacket... I have one annoying train of thought going through my mind before I head to the office door that would determine my potential future pay-packet; please don’t look like Christian, please don’t act like him, please don’t be him.
These thoughts are going through my mind because I just read the Fifty Shades stories and now I was hopelessly imagining my interview to go down exactly the way Ana’s had.
“Stop being an idiot...” I mutter to myself as I pull up my head high, and head for the door. Stop being a chicken, Wren, you got this. I try some self-positive talk as I finally build the courage to walk past the marble floor, towards the door that would determine my future.
I make myself grab the brass door knob. The whole office had a white elegant entrance, glossy opaque with partly translucent windows. For a moment, interview questions and answers roll through my mind in final preparation.
And then I enter.
The first thing I smell is a musky, manly scent – and my thoughts instantly hit Mr. Grey again. Oh, please don’t let it be like –
“Come in!” I’m brought back to reality as I’ve just entered the little waiting room, where there is an empty desk for admin – me, hopefully. A small corridor and two doors behind that led to two more rooms.
The voice that had called to me was female.
I let out a silent sigh, thank god. Today was not going to turn into a traumatic romance novel.
“Hi!” I call out nervously as I walk down the corridor, still no face to put to my maybe-new boss.
My heels tap on the hardwood floor boards as I round the bend of the open door, into a massive office. I take in even more freshly polished hardwood floors, a huge desk, shelves of paper adjacent that and a television. A couple of couches also line around a fur mat and... a fire place?
I didn’t know whether this was more like a sanctuary than a simple office. Not that I mind.
Then my eyes see the two figures behind the desk and my heart is suddenly in my throat.
I gulp as I see the most stunning couple I have ever seen in my life; a blonde bombshell, with pink lipstick and white finger nails tapping on the wood of the desk. She smiles sweetly at me, so does the god sitting next to her.
If I had ever seen a more attractive man in my life, I’d be lying. However here was my Achilles, my brad pit from Troy. This man was breathtaking, he had dark brown hair, ruffled but stylish. His black suit matched her white dress.
Were they getting married or what?
“Hi!” I say again, realising I repeated myself after saying hi in the corridor.
“Cute, haha, come closer,” the woman laughs and seems kind enough. I smile and come forward reaching out my hand, for her to shake.
“I’m Wren, nice to meet you,” I’m thankful when she shakes my hand and I’m suddenly nervous to shake the – the, um...
“I’m Cynthia,” she nods to her man, “This is my fiancé –”
“Theo,” he answers for her, reaching out his hand, I shake it and I’m relieved my hand doesn’t tremble when I take his next.
“Awesome,” and then I’m cursing because that was such an informal word to use, “Um, sorry, I’m a bit nervous.”
Fuck! My habit to be very open, was probably destroying my chances at getting this job.
At my words, Cynthia furrows her eyebrows, worry in her eyes that I’ve admitted I’m nervous. Theo simply raises a brow.
I sit down, to distract myself from their looks. I can feel my cheeks burn and I hope the blush isn’t too obvious.
“That’s normal, everyone gets nervous for interviews,” Cynthia tries to reassure me and she seems keen to hurry along, “We’ve interviewed twenty other people before you – you’re our last before we get going to our holiday in Hawaii. So sorry to make this short. We’ve decided not to make this a typical interview process, in fact, we’ve only asked our applicants one question. We have all the other details we need from your resume.”
“Oh, sure thing, go ahead. I don’t want to keep you from your holiday. What’s the question? Fire away!” I smile until I start to over think my term, fire away, didn’t that suggest there would be multiple questions? But she said they’d only be one.
I was truly an idiot. Fantastic.
“The key to a good organiser in this charity is to have certain skills. The type of skills one has in a relationship with another. Tell us what you think makes a perfection relationship? Speak from experience if you will – we want your honest answer,” Theo speaks up, his voice so velvety smooth.
It takes me a moment to register what he has just asked.
And the fact I’ve never been in a relationship.
“Well...” I trail off, thinking quickly. For some reason, Mr. Fox, my best house mate, who loved me and slept most of the day but kept me company... he becomes my answer, “From my own experience...a truly perfect relationship is based off loyalty and communication. If you can’t communicate, everything else falls apart.”
Literally as I finish my second sentence an alarm goes off in the room.
It’s coming from Cynthia’s phone.
“Taxi’s here!” her eyes light up and Theo is already getting to his feet, along with his fiancé.
“Let’s go,” he says and suddenly I feel incredibly awkward, “We don’t want to miss the plane, doll face, come on.”
Doll face? Seriously?
His effortless charm has Cynthia slyly giving him a flirtatious smile before she suddenly remembers my existence. She turns to me, her eyes wide.
“We should make a decision now... babe, you knew what you were waiting to hear,” she elbows Theo, whom suddenly locks eyes with me.
“You answered correctly, Wren. You’re hired, we need someone reliable. You should do – you were also the only one on time today.”
“I live in an apartment just above here,” I jump to my feet, ecstatic, “So I’ll always be on time.”
“Good luck, Wren,” Cynthia picks up her hand bag, “Be down here tomorrow at 8am, sharp, we have someone here to train you while we’re gone. We’ll see you at the end of the week.”
“Let’s go,” Theo seems impatient as he starts stalking his way from the room. Cynthia chases after him. I follow awkwardly, so I’m not left behind. I couldn’t just stay behind in the office with no one else here.
“Thank you so much,” I blurt out, as I walk with them out the front door and they quickly make their way outside to a taxi already waiting on the curb.
They don’t hear me, or perhaps they do but ignore me as they rush to catch their ride.
I watch in a bit of a daze as I’m whizzed in and out of the office, only to watch my bosses hop into a taxi and drive off to the airport for a holiday.
“Sweeeeeet!” I mutter under my breath, excited and nervous at the same time.
It was an awkward interview but for some reason they liked me!
I was hired!
I would be an administrative assistance for their charity to help raise money to get homeless kids into universities and education; something I was passionate about!
Within minutes I’m up the elevator, into my mid floor apartment and crawling onto my couch, breathing out a sigh of relief.
Mr. Fox is asleep on the couch opposite.
“I did it, buddy!” I grin, but he doesn’t awaken.
1 week later
The office feels like my territory, my home, my lair. Three days of training and ever since I was running the office by myself. I had mastered everything, had even started writing down a list of important calls and events to run by Theo.
Cynthia wouldn’t be here, that’s what my trainer said. Theo liked to stay and run the office, if he had time. I’d just be more like an assistant, and I’d run the place when no one else could be present.
Everything was golden in my eyes, I loved my job already.
Until my positive day literally flips on its head.
As I’m typing away on my front desk, near the front door, I notice Theo finally arrive back from his holiday. He doesn’t enter gently. He literally slams the door open, looking flustered and red faced. He was stressed, almost near breaking point. Hell it was my second time meeting the man but I knew something was wrong.
“Do you need some water?” I ask out, hoping to brighten his morning.
Theo takes a moment to shake off his rain drenched coat before shaking out the water from his hair.
“The last thing I need is more water, Wren,” he growls quietly under his breath and I just roll my eyes when he isn’t looking. Great, so perhaps he’d be an asshole boss after all.
I go quiet and continue to do my work, ignoring him now. I didn’t know what else to say anyway.
He disappears down the hall, and I hear another door slam shut.
I jerk at the loud noise, startled but also more irritated than anything else, what had gotten under his skin?
I nearly die when my mobile rings, and I pick it up and answer the unknown number.
“So you are the type to answer your phone while you’re at work – turn it off, and do what I’m paying you to be here for.”
I’m literally gaping, it’s Theo on the other end. He hangs up before I can even reply.
I almost, almost consider getting up, storming into his own office and quitting right then and there.
However, after a couple of deep breaths, I come to the conclusion he was having a really shitty day. He needed to relax! I have a light bulb moment, slightly nervous about the idea but happy to pursue it anyway... coffee! I would grab him some breakfast.
I stand up, realise I’ll be leaving the office... but I decide the risk of leaving to get him a coffee outweighs the risk of him finding my desk abandoned. I doubt he’d come out anytime soon from his office anyway in the mood he’s in. And the café was around the corner!
I stand up, straighten my blouse and then tie up my hair which I liked to let down while in the office.
Time to calm the boss. I could deal with some moods from him, but no matter what I would find a way to cheer him up! What else did I have to do anyway? I lived by myself, recently graduated from university. I had no boyfriend, I had no friends I rented with. All I had was family who lived in another state, while my other friends had already successfully moved out with their long term boyfriends.
At 23, I was eager for a relationship. But right now, I was eager to secure my job.
The pay was far too good to pass up over one bad day with the boss!
In no time at all, I’m heading back into the office with two coffees, one for me and one for Theo. I place one coffee on top of the other and use my one free hand to open the door slowly.
I almost drop my drinks when I see Theo behind my desk, Cynthia is also behind him, looking distressed as well.
Where the hell did she come from?
“Hello,” I welcome her, but she ignores me as Theo clicks through the computer I’ve been using, “Is there a problem, sir?” I ask nervously, hoping he isn’t about to fire me since I’ve left without asking.
"Theo is fine,” Cynthia snaps at me, annoyed I’ve called him sir. She isn’t too rude, but short enough for me to recognize she is pissed.
“Sorry,” I watch as Theo grimaces.
“Why haven’t you entered all these details yet, Wren?” Theo asks me.
“Details? What details?” I rush around the desk to see what he is talking about. I see a long list of emails from people I hadn’t even noticed.
“These,” he points them out and I see Cynthia narrowing her eyes at the coffees I’m holding.
“I bought you both these,” I try to smile as I offer her one. She smiles, it was a bit fake, but she takes one, regardless.
“I don’t have time to hang around, I have to get going,” Cynthia sighs and grabs Theo’s shoulder, squeezing it before heading off.
She does not say goodbye to me.
“I’m sorry I didn’t see the emails,” I explain to Theo as she walks out the door, “My trainer didn’t show me that there was even an email account for this charity, or how to access it. I bought you a coffee though.”
I place the second one down next to him and there is an awkward silence as he eyes it, assessing it slowly.
What the hell was the problem now?
“Why did you give her your coffee?” Theo asks, totally out of the blue.
“I just... I, um... I don’t know. I didn’t want to be rude, I guess,” I try to find the right response as Theo looks at a spare chair next to my own that he currently is occupying.
“Sit and I’ll show you how to do the rest that you weren’t taught,” he orders me and I’m happy to do as he says.
“And this is why communication is important in all aspects of life, relationships, jobs, family... here she comes again...” Theo is about to start a lecture, but trails off as Cynthia suddenly opens the door. He had seen her walking up through the glass front of the office before she had even reached the door.
She pokes her head in, grabbing Theo’s gaze.
“Change of plans, babe, I can’t come to dinner tonight, I’ve got something on,” she says it snidely and then slams the door shut. Wow.
“Oh my gosh... did you guys have a fight or something?” I ask, before I realise it’s none of my business.
“Relationships are fun, aren’t they?” Theo asks sarcastically.
“Hmmm?” when Theo gives me a funny look, I just look back at him, confused.
“What? I wouldn’t really know; I’ve never had a relationship.”
“How did you answer the interview question so quickly then? Are you lying to me, Wren?” Theo suddenly sounds... I can’t put my finger on it. But this was a test. I had to answer this right, because now he’d think I was being a liar.
This was so not good. I needed this job.
“I had been talking about Mr. Fox,” the truth is blurting out of my mouth before I can contain it.
Theo simply raises a curious eyebrow at me.
“My cat,” I decide to roll with it, until the final words leave my mouth and I realise how stupid they sound.
“Your cat?” he narrows his eyes, humour suddenly sparkling through them.
“Um... yes. I better learn how to enter these details,” I try to make it a smooth transition away from my ‘relationship’ with my cat. However, as the words once again fall out of my mouth, yet again I sound like an idiot.
It was too obvious that I was trying to change the topic.
To my relief, Theo rolls with it.
“Listen carefully, I hope you’re a fast learner. I won’t repeat myself, I have lots to do today. Got it? This is how you do this...” he proceeds to teach me how to do the rest that I wasn’t taught.
After an hour of him literally rattling off tens of processes I had not been taught, I’m overwhelmed. I didn’t realise I had been running the charity for a week, while hardly knowing how to do a thing correctly.
So much for acing my job.
Eventually Theo leaves me to my own devices and I’m relieved when I’m left alone.
I take the time to repeat the processes he has just shown me, weary that I shouldn’t bother him again today.
Within seven or so hours, it’s nearing the end of my shift.
I’m packing up my stuff, ready to get going. I’m literally bent over the rubbish, sifting through to find my hair tie that I’ve dropped in there, when Theo very suddenly appears behind me.
I get such a shock that I raise my head too quickly and it hits the desk above me.
Just when I thought my day was going to end...
I stand up, a hand on my head, my other hand back on the wall behind me to steady myself.
“Ow...” I mutter, feeling like a fool.
“I’m sorry about my mood this morning...” Theo is eyeing my dishevelled hair as I rub the back of my head.
“It’s okay. You’re the boss,” I try to make a joke about it, but he suddenly seems unimpressed by me again.
I suddenly realise he had appeared to say goodbye to me, and this was literally the deal breaker. He was about to say to me whether to come back tomorrow, or not to bother...
I decide I need to impress him, quickly.
“If you ever need me when I have a day off, for any reason, even if it’s an emergency, my room is 369. My lock is broken, so you can literally waltz in and drag me back to work if you’re desperate,” I try to sound casual and calm – but again, why does it sound good in my head, but when I speak I sound so stupid?
There is an awkward silence as Theo studies my worried expression and rising blush.
“Noted,” he responds quietly, okay, he was still unimpressed, “Have a good afternoon and night off. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I wasn’t fired!
“Thank you, that’s awesome, thanks, I will rest up,” he turns as I ramble nervously and he walks off, leaving me feeling even more like an idiot.
I finally grab my bag, find my hair tie, and head off.
Hopefully week two wouldn’t be as embarrassing as the first.