No Such Luck

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Chapter 2 - Yes, no, maybe

Eliza

I heard the ding of my phone and actively ignored it. Who texted this late anyway? I wrapped my body up in my duvet and groaned when I realized there was sunlight shining through my blinds.

Sunlight?

Shit.

I threw the duvet off and willed my light eyes to open as I swiped my finger across my phone's screen.

7:15 am

Thank The Lord.

It still had two hours before I had to be at Bolthouse Enterprises and fifteen minutes until my alarm was set to go off.

I opened up the text message that dinged me awake.

Ada: Good luck today. Although, I don't think you'll need it :)

God, she was nice. I barely knew her and she was quite possibly saving my butt with this opportunity.

I texted back a quick thank you before officially getting up for the day.

I took my time in the shower and when I got out and wrapped myself up in my robe I paid extra attention to my makeup, then went to my closet to pick out something nice.

I ignored the fact that I had a perfectly good coffee machine and made my way to the coffee shop down the street.

"Good morning, Eliza."
Xander, the impossibly cute and way too young for me barista said from behind the counter.

"Hi."
I walked over to the side, around the long line of fellow caffeine lovers.

"Iced caramel macchiato."
He smiled as he extended the drink to me.

"Thank you."

I put the money in his hand and he looked down at it.

"Eliza this is three times what the drink costs."
He tried to hand the overage back but I was already halfway to the door.

"Put it toward your backpacking trip!"
I yelled as I crossed the threshold and made my way back into the world.

Xander had been saving for his summer trip around Europe and even though I was low on funds myself, I believed in karma.

I was the person who picked up the empty fast food bags from the sidewalk in the park and put them in the nearest trash can.

I held doors open for people who were well enough behind me that I didn't need to.

And I always, always put my shopping cart back where it belonged.

If karma was coming for me, it would be the good kind.

Although at that moment, it wasn't looking too good.

I pushed the thought away and walked the few blocks to Bolthouse. The location couldn't have been better. I was holding out hope for this job.

Me running into Ada was so unexpected, and then for her boss to just happen to need someone with my specific skill set? It was far-fetched, I couldn't ignore that.

When I made it to my destination, I stood in front of the massive building and took a deep breath.

Get it together, Eliza.

I pushed through the fancy gold revolving door and walked straight to the elevator. I pressed 3 and waited for the doors to close.

Another deep breath and the elevator started to move. I ran my palms over my blouse and tucked my hair behind my ears at the same time the elevator stopped and the doors opened up.

It was sort of what I envisioned a newspaper staff to move around like. But with a more fashion-forward, young vibe. I looked down at my five-year-old pencil skirt and cringed. I'd need a new wardrobe for this place.

"Eliza!"
Ada's voice was distinct, I was sure I could recognize it anywhere but there was no mistaking her when I saw her from the corner of the room waving her arms around.

I smiled and made my way to her. She clasped her hands together and her already perfect smile grew even wider.

Once I made it close enough to her she stuck one arm out and hugged me to her side. Which I'm sure looked a little funny. She was at least six inches shorter than me and just small in general. But there was something about her that made her feel bigger.

Did I have a girl crush?

She squeezed one time then released me and grabbed my hand, tugging me into her office where another woman sat with her feet propped up against the desk.

"Eliza, this is Jess. Jess, this is Eliza and hopefully, after today she will work for Bolthouse too."
Ada smiled and I realized then that it was her disposition that made her feel bigger than she was.

People weren't sweet anymore. But Ada oozed goodness. It was all around her and it made me want to be around her too.

"Sup."
Jess nodded to me from the chair she was casually slumped in and Ada groaned.

"I'm only joking, " Jess hopped up before continuing, "It's a pleasure to meet you. You're gorgeous by the way, have you ever considered modeling?"
She asked as she appraised me from head to toe.

"Oh my gosh, Jess. Leave her alone. You sound like one of those people who stand in the middle of the mall and hound girls."
Ada said.

"This ain't no middle of the mall shit."
Jess said and I couldn't help it, I laughed.

"What?"
Ada asked as she stared at her friend in confusion.

"Riff Raff."
I answered. In college, my roommates and I watched him so much we quoted him on a daily basis.

"Oh, I like her. Can we keep her?"
Jess said as she nodded to Ada.

"She's not a puppy. And how many red bulls have you had today? I told you those are bad for you. . ."
Ada tugged her friend out of her office and her voice sang down the hall.

I laughed to myself for a few seconds until I heard a deep male voice coming down from the other end of the hall. It was drifting so I figured whoever it belonged to was far enough down that I could take a peek.

I leaned my head back just a tad and my breath stalled in my throat.

A tall man stood in front of an even taller one. They were discussing something that seemed serious, the shorter one was talking with his hands, describing something then the other one threw his head back and laughed.

I noticed the careful lines of his throat as they moved when he brought his head back level.

I noticed his white teeth were the same exact color as his white button-down.

I noticed his veins as they corded up his forearms and disappeared behind his rolled-up sleeves.

"Sorry about that. She gets a little crazy."
Ada spoke from behind me and I turned my head to give me my attention and to get my attention away from the man down the hall.

"Oh, it's fine. She's funny."

"She's something."
Ada nodded then tilted her head down toward the and of the hall.

"I think Brady wants to interview you in the conference room. It's right down here."

I followed her and breathed a sigh of relief when I realized both men had disappeared.

We made it to the sleek sliding door at the end of the hall and Ada tapped her knuckles on it lightly.

"Come in."
The voice boomed from the other side.

Ada slid the door open and walked in while I slowly followed.

I looked around the room that didn't look like any type of conference room I'd ever seen before. There was a lot of wood, black and brass accents everywhere and a fancy bar cart tucked away in the corner.

I felt more like I was in a mid-century modern dining room than a conference room.

What kind of place was this?

"Brady, this is Eliza. I have a really good feeling about her."
She pretended to whisper the last bit but was unsuccessful.

I smiled as I tore my face away from the beautifully styled room and was struck by the man standing in front of me.

It was the tall guy. The one that I noticed too much about. And now that I was this close I was noticing even more. Namely his gray eyes.

I instinctively stuck my hand out and he shook it.

"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Bolthouse."
I told him and he released my hand.

"You too."
He nodded and shoved his hand back in his pocket.

"Okay, I'll leave you to it."
Ada said as she walked back toward the door and slid it closed once she was outside.

"Shall we?"
He asked as he pointed toward the chairs around the large table. He walked to the head of the table and pulled the chair out and I did the same with the chair closest to him. It felt a little odd but I was okay with the untraditional.

I set my bag on the floor and pulled my resume out, setting it in between us on the table.

He reached out and slid it in front of him. He nodded a lot as he read it as if it was exactly what he was expecting.

It was boring, no doubt about it.

"What are your hobbies, Ms. Sanderson?"
He asked as eased the paper back towards me.

"Hobbies?"
I asked, surprised.

He only nodded.

I could give him some generic answer like running or gardening. But I sucked at both of those things. And I had a feeling that wasn't what he was looking for.

"Honestly?"
I asked and again, he only nodded. The weight of his gray eyes on me was making me all kinds of nervous, so I told him the truth.

"I hang out with my niece. She's like my little best friend. I watch her for my sister on the weekends she has to work and I find any excuse during the week to spend time with her. So, I suppose Penelope is my hobby."

He stared at me for what seemed like forever then a slow smile appeared across his face and it created an even slower response in me. I felt like I couldn't move. There was something so out of place about that smile that it was almost unnerving.

"How does eighty sound?"
He asked and luckily his smile broke.

"Eighty?"

"Yes, eighty thousand. Annually."
He said offhandedly.

Holy shit.

Was he offering me a salary?

And a salary that was twice as much as I was used to making?

And was I seriously sitting back thinking instead of answering?

"Eighty sounds great."
I forced my voice to sound level but inside I was spazzing out.

"Great. Can you start next week?"

"Sure."

I could've started right that second for that amount of money.

"It was a pleasure meeting you Ms. Sanderson. I look forward to working with you. My assistant will be in touch."
He shook my hand as he delivered his robotic response but I couldn't stop the question that was hammering against my brain.

He stood up and pushed his chair under the table.

"Mr. Bolthouse, may I ask you something?"

"Of course."
He said as he turned back toward me.

"Why did you hire me? I mean, I'm very grateful trust me. But that- that wasn't exactly an interview so I'm just wondering. . . "
I had no idea how to phrase it without sounding like an idiot but he didn't seem to care.

"Two reasons. The first one is that I trust Ada, plain and simple. She wouldn't have so much as suggested you to step inside this building if she didn't think you would be a good fit. And the second was your answer."

"My answer?"

"Yes. About your hobby. How you choose to spend your time says a lot about you, it says a lot about your character. Far more than anything printed on a sheet of paper."

And with that, he turned and walked out of the room.

I sunk back into the chair and blinked away the emotion that was burning the back of my eyes as I laughed because for once, karma was not a bitch.

She was good.

And she was mine.
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