I was nervous on my way to the director’s office. Today was just a formality for the previous department to give the replacement a run down. His last day is today so I am not sure what is going on, sweat started to form on the base of the back of my neck. I took a deep breath before knocking on the office door.
“Come in.” He called from inside.
“Oh good! Veronica, please have a seat. I have a special assignment for you.” Dr. Theodore Travis said with a smile. I didn’t realize he knew my name.
I looked over and saw another man sitting in the office. He was older, around 60 if I guessed, gray-brown hair with a matching beard. More fit than your average lifelong research professor. His eyes were a strange amber color.
“How can I help sir?” I asked Dr. Travis eagerly.
“Veronica, this is Dr. Peter Chapman. Officially he begins tomorrow, as you are aware. This is just a formality. Peter, this is Veronica Sloper as requested.” The current department head who is retiring, Dr. Theodore Travis, was speaking. I shook Peter’s hand.
“It is nice to meet you sir.” I said with a smile.
“To spare you details, Dr. Chapmen has made a request that I make some staffing changes effective today, so we are both present for discussions.” He informed me and I nodded for him to continue.
This was it. They were going to find an even darker corner to place me in until I just stopped coming in one day, or just fire me and save me the trouble. The new director hadn’t even “officially” started yet, and I was already being all but removed from the staff. I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain this happening. I began to realize how much I loved my life as it was about to be taken away from me.
“You will be moving offices immediately, the contact information for your team will be emailed over to you before you get finished with that. For now, you will have 3 fellows working under you, at the end of the year we can assess expanding your team. I suggest you pick the best choice of the three for your assistant.” He stopped for me to speak.
I wasn’t sure what to say, I was completely taken back. I had applied for a team captain position 3 years ago and I assumed I didn’t make the cut. How should I respond to this? I realized they were waiting for me, and I straightened myself quickly in the chair trying to stay calm.
“Thank you, sir. I appreciate the opportunity. Will I need to sign a new contract?” I asked trying to remain professional trying to think of any question so I could stop speaking.
“Of course!” Dr. Travis said slightly irritated before continuing. “I will have Janette bring it to your new office before lunch. If you protest anything, please bring it right to either of our attention. I do believe you will be happy with the offer. It is very… generous.” He stated a little uncomfortable glancing briefly at Dr. Peter Chapmen.
“I look forward to seeing the strides we make together as a team.” Dr. Chapman said.
“Thank you for the opportunity Dr. Chapman.” I said trying to hold back my smile.
“Please call me Peter. I realize you will be busy for the day with moving offices and getting your welcome e-mails sent to your team. I wonder if I can request a small favor for an hour this afternoon?” He asked.
I was over the moon and would have given him a kidney if he would have asked for it. I smiled and nodded to let him continue. I was efficient with my time management. If they cleared my schedule, chances are I would have more than an hour or two free this afternoon.
“I have brought an associate with me. I would like him to have a tour this afternoon. You may have met him already; his name is Nikola.” He smirked clearly knowing this morning’s events.
I blushed instantly. “Of course, I will be happy to.” I said shyly. He grinned at me in acceptance and smiled at my current department head.
“Happy moving dear, I will have him to your office by 3 PM.” He said patting my shoulder as he shook my hand again.
“Yes sir- Peter.” I said awkwardly.
I left the office and headed to my desk. The ‘cubicle’ that has been my home for the last few years was perfect for me. I was away from the common areas in the office, and it allowed me to stay secluded.
As I boxed up my things, I realized that I wasn’t sure where my new office was. As I started out of the area to seek Janette, I almost walked right into her. She was an older woman, I believed in her 70’s but she was careful to never disclose her age.
“Hello there Roni!” Janette said as she fumbled slightly from my abrupt actions. I jumped slightly before smiling at her.
“Hello Miss Janette. I was just about to come find you, I was told to move but I am not sure where to.” I admitted blushing slightly.
“I am here to show you, plus I have this awesome contract.” She looked both ways with her eyes before pressing her lips together. “Here let me help you with your things and we will discuss it behind a closed door.” She said quietly setting the contract and the keys down on the box and lifting it.
We walked down the hallway past the coffee cart heading back in the direction of the director’s office. There were 5 offices total in that hallway, his was by far the largest, Janette’s office was at the beginning of the hall adject to the secondary executive assistant.
The first office was the director’s, the second was the home for our IT man who happened to be our financial officer as well. The conference room was across from the director’s office. I noticed the office next to the conference room had the door open, but I didn’t see a nameplate on the door.
“Who is moving into Earl’s office?” I asked Janette in a hushed tone.
“A new gentleman will be there temporarily. Between us girls, he is nice to look at. I hope he sticks around.” She giggled.
I rolled my eyes and continued into the open-door following Janette. I looked around the room that had been empty for the last 6 months and set the boxes I was carrying on the table. I was getting really excited looking around my new office. I liked the way it sounded. I smiled and Janette noticed.
“Congratulations Roni, I knew one day someone would notice how special you are.” She gave me a small hug and I returned the favor.
I knew she was kind, but I never noticed how pretty her aura was before. She had a peaceful way about her. “Thank you” I offered back.
“Here are your keys, I have a master as well as the cleaning staff. Oh, you can have a parking space now too if you’d like, I just need to make the call.” She said raising her eyebrows.
“Please no, I like where I park.” I said laughing. We parked in the same area and had discussed enjoying the walk.
“This seems crazy to me. I should get cleaning; I am sure there is dust everywhere.” I pulled the cleaning wipes from the top box.
“Wait we need to go over your contract quick and then I will be on my way. If you want, I can try to help you clean for a bit. This office clearly hasn’t had anyone in it for a while.” She offered.
“Oh no, you have way more important things to do. I can only imagine the paperwork happening for the switch today.” I marveled appreciating her consistent efforts.
“You’re not kidding. I tell you what, I will just leave the contract with you. I will come back in before lunch to pick it up, this way you can take your time.” She said setting the contract and a pen on the desk.
“Oh, okay then, thank you. I will see you in a bit.” I smiled as she left the room.
As soon as she closed the door behind her I walked over to the desk. I was curious if I was getting a raise at all. To be honest it was never about the money to me. As long as I made enough, I was content. A raise would be nice though… I thought as I began to read the contact.
It was all standard, there was a clause added for working remotely which had been withheld previously. It did not seem to include much of anything that I wasn’t already doing other than having the team under me. Typically, I was allowed 1 fellow to assist me, having 3 would be exciting.
I stopped when my eyes fell on the salary I was being promised. It was at least $25,000 more than what I was currently making. It had to be a mistake. I read over the rest of the contract and decided to find Janette to get it fixed.
I opened the office door in a rush; my head down as I entered the hallway. I collided with something hard. I looked up staggering as my elbow was steadied supporting my weight. I knew by the heat who I walked into.
“Sorry! I swear I am not this much of a mess. I should be paying attention.” The apology spilled out of me.
“You should watch what you are doing.” Said Jenny from behind the towering Nikola.
He didn’t say anything at first. Just held my gaze, his hand was still on my elbow as I was frozen in his presence.
“I am sorry for her; I don’t even know why she still works here. What are you doing over this way Roni? Are you lost?” Jenny’s sneer was theatrical.
“This is my new office.” I said just above a whisper. I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling she was going to blow a gasket. She had been trying to move into this side of the building for the last 3 months. I always thought they kept her in the other hall to keep her away.
“You’re…” She said before taking a deep breath I could hear over the side of Nikola who was still standing between us.
“Apology accepted Roni.” Nikola spoke directing our attention to him. “Jenny here was just showing me to my office. I guess we are neighbors.” He said with a smile turning so Jenny and I could see each other.
“It seems we are. I just need to go speak to Janette, please allow me to get out of your way.” I said before Jenny could explode and hurried down the hall.