“Goddamn.”, Lindy cursed under her breath after she had run up a hundred steps. Wheezing like a seal, she leaned against the glass entrance door of the editorial department.
She feared that her boss would fire her if she showed up late to a meeting again even if it really hadn’t been her fault this time. However, the only thing she cared about were results and if you couldn’t provide them for her, you were plain useless.
Lindy never expected the work at “The London Journal”, a newspaper dealing with investigative journalism, to be stress-free and easy-going, but at times she wished that her boss was a little less of an evil witch.
Being inexperienced in that field didn’t stop her from getting a job on probation at one of London’s most famous newspapers right after she had finished her studies, although she had to admit to herself that it was more because of her unbelievable luck than actual skill.
A few seconds after she had fully recovered of her mini-sprint, she pushed the glass door, being welcomed with a bunch of voices and noises, spreading threw the room. The clicking of the white keyboards, the chatting of her co-workers and the ringing of the telephones melted to one big noise.
She had only worked here for a few months and still hasn’t adapted to the environmental circumstances around here. Being raised by her grandparents in the country, she had to get used to the London lifestyle and concrete jungle.
The lovely county of Cornwall was a rather tranquil and peaceful area, quite the opposite to what London is famous for. The big house of her grandparents was cosy with a colourful flowerbed, connecting the tiny, white gate to the light blue painted front wall of the house.
Nostalgia overcame her every time she was reminded of her childhood. Although, she didn’t have the luck to grow up with her parents by her side, she was still thankful for their support and love they gave to her until the day the died.
“There you are!”, her roommate and co-worker Ivana exclaimed, waving her over to her desk. “Hurry up! The meeting is about to start in five minutes.”
Lindy did not hesitate one second and sprinted to her best friend who was already approaching the conference room. “And I thought Maria has already had the pink slip in her hand, ready to throw it at me while I’m begging her to not fire me.”
Ivana giggled at my overdramatic metaphor. “Don’t worry. Martha spilled coffee all over Maria’s new Chanel blouse, so she had to go change her entire outfit first before she was ready to start the meeting. If there is anyone who should fear their job, it would be Martha.”
Strolling down the aisle, Lindy looked through the glass pane where all of her colleagues had already gathered around the oak table in the middle of the room. She bit on her lip as she became more nervous and nervous. If Maria didn’t fire her know, she would definitely after finding out that Lindy had next to nothing new on the case she was supposed to work on.
With anxiety running through her body, she lowered herself on the squishy fabric of the chair on the other side of the room.
Maria Claassen is not known as one of the most successful women in the publishing and media business for nothing. Her short dark brown hair gives her this bold appearance, being paired together with her black business costume and her court shoes. This woman was intimidating, and the epitome of a femme fatale and Lindy admired her a little even though the fear was outbalancing the admiration by far. She wasn’t a bad person, but she took her job very seriously, nonetheless.
“Okay, guys, ten minutes until my conference call with New York. What do we have ?”, her expectant look faded a little as she saw our helpless faces. “Oh, come on, guys.”, she put her hands on the table, sighing frustratedly.
“Brian, what about you ? Any new findings concerning Adrian Valetta ?”, she looked at the blond-haired guy to her right, looking as if he had been struck by a lightning as Maria’s ice blue eyes pierced through his soul. “I-uh…uhm.”, was all he managed to say while he was still being paralyzed by Maria’s sudden question.
“I…uhm…I talked to a few former employees of Valetta, but they refuse to provide us any information. My friend from the police says that they’ve been after him for years but the amount of hush money he pays, and the threats seem more convincing to most of the people than imprisoning a criminal.”, he shrugs hesitantly, looking up to Maria like a little boy who had just received the lecture of his life.
“I can’t believe this.”, Maria shook her head, turning back to the group. “The new edition of our magazine is going to go into press in two weeks and all we have is scared people and silenced employees.”, she began to clap her hands, signalling that she was everything but delighted with the work of her team.
Lindy’s palms became sweaty as she feared she would be the next one to face the wrath of Maria. Like Brian, Lindy didn’t have anything substantial to present to her boss, in the contrary. It was a whole lot of nothing with a dash of zero and a hint of nought.
The case she was working on was about a Paul Fleming, who is famous for owning one of the biggest shipping companies in the whole UK. He is rumoured to take advantage of it by smuggling fake art treasures across the border.
With him, it was the same scenery: he either bought everyone’s silence or sent his gorillas to see to it that he didn’t have to in the first place. Her enquiries were a whole failure from beginning to end, that’s why she genuinely hoped that Maria would not start to dig a little deeper on everyone’s accomplishments.
Since Lindy was the newbie in the group, she thought she would possibly also be the one who had to pack up her things and leave first. Not to mention that she the least work experience of the whole group.
“Okay.”, Maria paused for a minute, closing her eyes and putting her face into her hand. “That’s a plain disaster, I’m just calling it by its name, but….”, raising her index finger, she reached for her rose hand bag and pulled out a beige file. She opened it and leafed through it before she threw it in the middle of the huge table. “My name wouldn’t be Maria Classen if I hadn’t already prepared myself for a catastrophe like that. This is a brand-new case, ready to be worked on by any of you. I’m just not quite sure who will have the honour to successfully complete it and deliver a first-class report to me by the end of next week.”, like a lioness, she swayed over the grey fitted carpet, passing every chair back one by one.
Everyone’s eyes were focused on the little piece of cardboard because they knew that whoever was the one she chose to “grant” that task, was the one who was given a major responsibility, and nobody wanted to be responsible for another flop.
A slight chuckle escaped her mouth as she watched everybody slowly sinking back into their chair, avoiding eye contact at all cost. “You don’t have to look away to make yourselves invisible to me. I’ve already chosen someone to do this task.”, she said as her gaze wandered to Lindy who internally hoped that she was looking at the girl next to her.
“Lindy, my dear.”, all eyes were on her as Maria approached her. “How is your work on Paul Fleming going.”, Maria asked rhetorically, already knowing the answer to that question.
“Let’s say, I’m working on it.”, she replied confidently, but Maria didn’t seem to be impressed in the least by her response.
“Well, you know that your job is still, let’s say, touch and go, but I’ll give you the change to make your stay at “The London Journal” permanent.”, Maria was watching her expectantly as Lindy swallowed.
“I’m know you’ll love it”, she said with a hint of sarcastic enthusiasm, pretending as if she knew that Lindy would fail miserably, and she would be there to see it. “And I’m also certain that you’re dying to know what your new mission is.”, Maria drew away from Lindy, grabbing the file and put it on the table in front of her.
Only with hesitation, she reached out for the file and pulled out the first two pages. As she read through them, the disbelieving expression on her face grew gradually. “Alexis Kominis ?! As in the banker Alexis Kominis ?! The one the police tries to catch for years but every time they’re about to get him, a witness disappears in a mysterious way ?!”
“I see you are already familiar with the matter.”, Maria responded contently, completely ignoring the horrified faces of everyone around her, not to forget Lindy was beyond traumatised.
Normally, she would have been grateful for an opportunity like that, but she knew Maria and most importantly she was aware of Alexis Kominis’ unofficial criminal record. Paul Fleming was a little fish in the wide ocean, whereas Kominis was the ocean himself.
“Why would you think that I’d be able to uncover the crimes of a man who can’t even be detained by the police ?!”
“I don’t think anything, Lindy. I believe you are ready to work on something big, really big, and if you prove me right you are allowed to stay. You are young and have recently graduated from university, now you have the chance to see if the tuition pays off for you, literally.”
Lindy couldn’t even start her sentence to comment on Maria’s speech. “Any questions, comments, hate mail ? Good because I have to go now. The conference call with New York will be on any minute and I can’t let them wait too long.”, with that she left the room, stepping through the glass door.
Everybody in the room was still stirred up and remained quiet for a few minutes after they decided to stand up and leave one by one.
By now, they all had exited the conference room except for Lindy and her best friend Ivana who both didn’t know how to react to the situation. Ivana was watching her friend sympathetically as she tried to put Lindy out her trance.
“Hello, earth to Lindy. Are you there ?”, she waved her hand in front of her paralyzed face, while simultaneously shaking her right arm.
“I am screwed.”, was all she manged to say while blankly staring at the open glass door.
“I have to admit this is not the easiest task on earth, but we’ll make it work somehow.”
“I appreciate your enthusiasm, Ivana, really, but Alexis Kominis is not some minor small-time criminal who deals with fake paintings. This guy is dangerous, and I definitely won’t let you take part in that charade.”, she jumped up from her chair and walked out of the door, Ivana following her closely.
“Calm down, you are not asked to join the Mafia, just investigate and gather information. I know Maria can be a little harsh sometimes, but she wouldn’t snap your head off if your life was seriously at stake, Lindy.” Ivana tried to soothe her a little, but her success was kept within limits.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”, her theatrical comment made Ivana roll her eyes at her, as Lindy dropped the file on her desk and threw herself in her office chair.
Sighing deeply, she leaned against the back of the chair before she moved her chair closer to her desk and grabbed her press card.
“Lindy Grace Coleman.”, she mumbled, reading her name out loud on the press card. “I wonder how long I can still keep this before Maria kicks my ass out of the building.”
“Lindy, you are a drama queen.”, Ivana raised her eyebrows at her, leaning against her desk. “Everything will be fine, and I’ll help you to make this work. Have a little faith.”, Ivana gave her an encouraging smile before she pushes herself off the desk and walks over to her working place.
“I’ll take you at you word, Ivana, I’ll take you at your word.”, she mumbles, pulling open one drawer of her desk, throws her press card in it and slams it shut in one go.