The City that never sleeps.
If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. She mentally scoffed at her wayward thoughts. Mish had adored that particular song phrase.
Anna May made sure not to bump people. She had been navigating the business part of the district, trying to get her bearings for the last fifteen minutes. Her aim? Avoid tardiness. Nothing could stop her from her goal.
She paused before crossing, glanced at her map --grimaced. Two more buildings. Right at the end of the street. Southeast. Eyes alerted --people in all walks of life coming and going-- she strolled the yellow lines of the crosswalk.
Not much had changed since the last time she was here. Maybe busier. Population doubled. Heavy traffic tripled.
Only her life did. Drastically. From walking the prestigious runways of Milan, Paris, and Tokyo to walking the business district of Manhattan.
Not that it mattered. She was always good at adapting and her current situation had left her no other choice but to do this. At point non plus.
No backing out. The only way was forward. Fate had spoken. It was her duty to listen.
Fate has given her thus. An opportunity. For her and the two most important people in her life. Her sisters.
Anna May had never shirked from her duties. Even at such a young age, she had donned the mantle on her fragile shoulders.
She had never been more determined of her goals. Her objectives. They all centered on her siblings’ future.
She might have looked like she was out of her depth --she knew better. This was her fallback --a generous one-- after her so-called exciting and disastrous career in the modeling industry.
She inhaled sharply when her heart constricted. Thoughts of what she had been through flooded her mind.
Shaking her head to dispel the memories of the past, she continued walking. It was not the time nor the place to contemplate.
She had become a whole new person and she had made something of herself in the shadows, away from the limelight.
A better and a stronger version. A new career, a new Anna.
She was forever grateful for her aunt Delia. A mentor who had helped her cope up with everything.
And courtesy of her aunt Delia, she was promoted as a training manager to the biggest telecommunications in the world. Not only promoted --sent to work directly for the head office in New York City.
Talk about OPPORTUNITIES! And perks. Of course, the perks drew her in like a moth to a flame. All expenses paid, board, and lodging with everything she could ever imagine. Her sisters were very well taken care of at home. Not rich. A roof over their heads, meals three times a day, and funds for her youngest sister’s frequent illness. Plus, Rie had started college while Mish took online classes.
The only flaw was she had to leave them and they were a thousand or so miles away from her. Her lips twisted --not in a smile-- to contain her homesickness.
And I’ve only been away from them for two days.
No matter, her next goal was to make the necessary arrangements to get them where she was.
It was a motivation unlike no other.
Squaring her shoulders in determination, she lengthened her strides to face her future. Soon, my loves. Soon.
Jesus Christ! She never thought the headquarters would be the highest building in Manhattan. With eyes steadily growing big, she halted, tilted her head up --way up-- and read the imposing sign of her new employer.
NORTH AMERICAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS. This is it! Be confident, Anna. She chided herself and counted to ten. Desperate to try and calm her nerves. You excel at your job, that’s why you are here.
God! She always hated the first day of work. New people, new assholes, new fake people, and new buildings. Feeling like a headless chicken, she gritted her teeth --remembered her motivation. Her sisters.
She took a deep breath, calming her nerves. With confident strides, she walked towards the glass-paned electronic entrance and found herself in a very rich and elegant lobby, well more like a 5-star hotel.
She gulped audibly when men and women, who looked like they came out of Forbes magazine turned to gaze at her. With an avid interest for the new face in the building. Shit! So much for being unobtrusive.
Her hands trembled. In reflex, she clutched her office bag closer to her body. Her skin crawled. She felt the men examining her from head to toe. She dressed modestly specifically for that reason. She doesn’t want attention on her.
She wanted to blend in.
Because people remember. At some point. She doesn’t need that. She’d rather they forget.
It has been more than three years. She knew how she looked. Though she had never been vain. Her opinion --her beauty was a curse. A cross she had to bear.
For once, especially today, she wanted to be ordinary. Plain and simple. Forgettable.
Her ensemble consisted of a silver-grey long-sleeved blouse tucked in a grey pantsuit with 3-inch black heels and her hair was confined in a simple chignon. Very generic. Nothing to be excited about.
Mentally girding her loins and ignoring the heavy beaded eyes on her, she walked directly to the marbled elegant counter. A beautiful lady offered her a practiced smile.
“Hi, my name is Jane. How can I help you?” Showing her perfect implants.
“Hi, I am Anna May Greyson. I was asked to report here today,” she noticed her voice was a bit shaky. She smiled back to cover it.
“Sure, Ms. Greyson. Can I have a valid ID, please?” She rummaged her bag for her passport and handed it to the girl behind the counter who inspected the ID, typing something on the computer.
It took effort not to fidget and relax her stance. Nerves were eating her right now. What if the company made a mistake and I am not supposed to be here? She almost groaned painfully at her thoughts. Luckily, Anna saw the girl printing out an employee ID together with a black access card.” Here you are, Ms. Greyson. Please report to Michael Marini, he is the personal assistant to the CEO and owner. That will be on the 88th floor. Don’t worry the attendant will see to it you are in the right department. Welcome to NorthAm.” The receptionist finished her instructions with her signature smile.
Anna released a relieved sigh. Thankful that so far everything was on the right track.
“Thank you for your help, Jane.” She smiled gratefully, was about to turn her back when she saw a fleeting frown in the girl’s eyes but then she immediately schooled her features.
“You are welcome, miss.” And greeted the next person. Anna nodded to acknowledge her then walk to one of the massive elevators that will bring her to the right floor. A tall man dressed in all black held the doors of the steel cabin open for her
“The 88th Ms.?” So this must be her escort to meet the PA. Why do the people here look like they came out of a fashion magazine? Even Jane can pass as a cover girl. Or maybe it was just her and her past muddling her thoughts. Clearing her throat, she uttered yes.
She should concentrate. This was her first day at work. And first impressions do last! Right you are Anna!
How could this man be so intimidating? He oozed power yet he was only PA to the CEO. Anna May can only imagine what the big boss will be like. She tried to cope up with the PA’s longer strides when he walked her thru her assignments and introduced her to her team. Apparently, the job description will require her, her own team.
There was one question that was boggling her mind. How can the biggest company in America does not know their own products? Thus, the main reason for her to train the big boss himself, his senior bosses, junior bosses, and their staff. She gave her attention back to Michael Marini when she heard her name.
“So you have one week to prepare your lectures, presentations, and the like. Your team will have to help you. I am afraid that I can’t give you more time since Mr. Northam will be here by next week. We had recently taken full ownership of this telecom company so the boss wanted everyone trained when he returns. You can use the conference room in the meantime. The room will be large enough for you and your people. If you have any questions you can reach me in my office. It’s the furthest one to your left.” She met his baby blue eyes directly. Surprisingly, the only thing she can read from his beautiful eyes was curiosity and respect. She immediately felt at ease. Only just.
Ever since that incident, she became vigilant to the male species. She blinked when she saw his lips moved.
“Again, we want to thank you for accepting this job on such short notice. You were highly recommended by Delia.”
“Mr. Marini, I should be the one thanking you. This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can’t believe at 22 I was assigned as a training manager to this company.” She held out her hand for him to shake. He chuckled at the gesture. He was a handsome man with his coal-black hair and baby blue eyes. And...she felt nothing, in her estimation, he shared the same sentiment. That immediately relaxed her. One less predator. Thank you, Jesus!
“Well, you can start today. If you need anything please let me know.” With those parting words, he left her in the conference room. She couldn’t hold it back any longer and pumped her fist in the air, giggling happily.
A quick glance around the room showed her no one was about. Oh, God! Thank you so much for this blessing. She was now in her element. She would make sure to do whatever was necessary to give her sisters the life they deserved.