Earthquakes and Chills

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Chapter 3

I woke up ready for the day, and then I regretfully turned on my phone. I only turned it on to check the time, but it wouldn’t stop chiming with alerts and messages the moment it went on.

Apparently, my Mother had called everyone that she could to find out where I was. Not only was she still sending me messages, but I was getting messages from my Aunt, Kim, Miles, Kass, and Michelle.

Michelle and I weren’t really speaking right now. She was my best friend but also never really understood what was going on in my life. She knew how bad it was at home between my Mom and me, but she still claimed that I was just overdramatic about everything.

If I had told her what had happened last night, she would probably just claim that I was making everything up. So I turned off my phone.

It was only 8 o’clock.

I went to the bathroom to get ready then headed to the kitchen to start cooking. Hopefully, Noles wasn’t under any weird dietary restrictions, and I could just make a normal breakfast to say thank you for everything.

I scoured his fridge and started noting everything that I should buy. Finally, I picked out some eggs and all the safe veggies I could find… omelets it was.

“Just let them know that I’ll be coming in soon,” Nolan said on the phone as he opened the door.

“Hi,” I said, surprised.

I didn’t even know that he had gone out. He was sweating profusely, and from his lack of sleeves and pair of shorts, I realized he was probably working out.

“Great! You’re awake,” he said and then looked at me in surprise, “are you cooking?”

“Yes, I thought you’d be hungry… so I made omelets,” I replied.

“Okay, I’ll go take a quick shower and then come back down. Will you be ready to leave after?” He asked.

“Yeah. I’m ready to go now if you need me.”

“You’re not going to change then?” He said oddly.

“Into a whole other person? Probably not?” I said, confused. “Do you need me to wear something else?”

“Uhh, no. You’re fine if that’s what you would like to wear, that’s totally okay,” Nolan said measuredly.

“What do the women at your office wear?”

“Zuzu, you know I run a nightclub, right?” He smiled, knowing that I hated that name.

“No. I didn’t know. So, I’m going to assume that I don’t look the way people should be looking in your line of business,” I offered.

“Wait. I feel like I have just been cornered into something, and I definitely did not say that. Look, you can take my card and get a few outfits. We can consider it part of your payment. This will do for now, but you can go midday with one of the girls, and maybe they can help you get stuff.”

“Sure,” I said.

I watched him jog up the steps and looked down at my hands. I already felt out of place without even going anywhere. My brown skin and wavy hair made me feel like I would stick out, and not in a good way.

I thought about straightening it or curling it… just doing something… but I wouldn’t have time. I didn’t even have any makeup with me because I had run out the door. I definitely wasn’t ready to be in a club situation. I had never even been in a club.

I was twenty-three, but clubs were never a thing I did. I barely even partied in college. I mainly went to just social gatherings to talk about all the hot gossip between Kierkegaard and Hegel.

I dated here and there but only had one really serious relationship: Owen. He was the world to me and distracted me from so many things… but that’s a whole other story. I winced when I thought of Owen and just decided to clean up and wait for Nolan.

Nolan didn’t take long. He scarfed down the food I had made, and we left. His club was actually only across the street, which was great because I didn’t have a car.

It didn’t take me too much time to see why he was in between assistants. Nolan’s schedule was all over the place, and he had really high expectations. Of course, he was lenient with me since it was my first day, but I could already tell that he would be incredibly demanding.

The thing about Nolan was that he didn’t tell you what he needed or even what he wanted. He just expected you to somehow know what he needed help with. Thankfully, I would have time to learn, but I still also had to deal with feeling so out of place in the office.

Just looking around, everyone… well… they… they were just so… blonde. I’ll leave it at that. There was nothing wrong with it, plus it seemed that they diversified by hiring redheads and a few brunettes too. It was just strange being the only person that was so different than everyone else.

It wasn’t unusual though, because this was Los Angeles. Granted, it was much more diverse than most other cities, but in certain circles, it just stopped being diverse.

“Hi! I’m Nikki,” this girl said, introducing herself to me and breaking me out of my reverie. “Nolan said that you needed a shopping guide,” she whispered.

“Yeah,” I whispered back, thankful that she didn’t scream it out to the entire office. “I’ll just check and see if now is a good time.”

I looked in and saw that he was in a meeting. I motioned between myself and Nikki, then pointed to the door and then my clothes. He looked at me like I was insane, threw his card at me, and gave me a thumbs up. I caught his card and assumed that meant that we were good to go.

“So,” she began as she walked to her car, “I will be praying for you because you will need all the help you can get with that one.”

Turned out that Nikki was actually really lovely. She was absolutely gorgeous and also unbelievably kind. She took me to some places that she liked to shop at, and she helped me pick out a few outfits and some shoes. It was nice.

I also charged his card for an outfit for her to say thank you. I figured I would just work it off, plus the clothes were a lot more expensive than I thought they would be. Even though I worked my way through the sale racks, my heart nearly stopped when I saw the price. I did my best not to lose face in front of Nikki, but I was sweating, holding the bags for these clothes.

“It’s okay,” she smiled, “just breathe. Most of us get a stipend for clothes. It comes with the gig.”

“Thanks,” I said, slightly relieved.

“Everything may seem daunting, but we’re all pretty tight in the office. I mean, we have crazy drama, but we all look after each other, and no one really judges. When I met Nolan, I had nothing, and now I’m in charge of booking entertainment,” she said, “it’ll all work out. You’ll see.”

“How many people have had my job?” I asked.

“In like the past year?” She asked.

“Wait, what? Is it that bad?”

“Nolan has a high turnover with assistants. He either gets them into a different position, or sometimes it doesn’t work out. It’s honestly not the best gig, but it’s by far not the worst,” Nikki replied.

“Okay, I’ll keep my fingers permanently crossed then and hope for the best.”

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