I woke before my alarm. I wanted to wake up early so I could iron my clothes and look extra sharp. I looked through my suitcase underneath the tiny bed. I pulled out a black skirt that dropped below my knees, along with a white shirt with black buttons down the middle. I placed them on the bed and hurried downstairs to the laundry mart to borrow the iron since I didn’t own one. Mrs. Lee, who worked in the laundry rooms, always lent it to me whenever I asked her.
I ironed my clothes carefully then hug it up above the bed. I combed out my thick, curly black hair that dropped right at my shoulder, which I always dreaded. I had broken countless combs and brushes due to this uncontrollable hair of mine.
When I finished, I opened a tin of sausage and a packet of bread rolls and made myself a cup of tea.
Once I was through eating the alarm on my phone went off. I smiled at myself, knowing that time was in my favor today. It was 6:45 a.m. when I left the apartment. I took the seven o’clock bus, which carried me for an hour-and-a-half further down New York.
I was finally standing in front of Hollen Tower when I got off the bus. The building was a huge skyscraper with an exterior of gold glass. I entered through the main entrance and walked up to the front desk receptionist. She was a slim, blonde women with flawless makeup who was dressed sharply in a formal, women’s business suit. She wore a warm smile on her face as I approached.
“Good morning ma’am. I’m Emma Cole. I’m here for an interview.” I said in the best manner I possibly could.
“Good morning, Miss Cole. Interviews are being held on the fifteenth floor. This way to the elevator.”
I had never been in one befor nor did I want to be in one by myself. I panicked as the doors slide open. I walked in and thank her with a nod, too scared to speak up. The elevator started beeping and I almost jumped out of my skin when the door opened again and another woman came in. She wore a badge that read: Linda Steele.
Chief Operating Officer.
“Good morning.” I greater and she gave a warm smile, similar to the receptionist.
“Good morning, what floor are you going to?”
“Fifteenth.” She pressed the digits that were lit, there was a swoosh? Movement, and I knew we were going up. I felt dizzy. I held onto the bar as I concentrated on not screaming to get out and take the stairs instead.
“We’re here.” She said, snapping me out of my regrets.
“Thank you.” I managed to reply as we stepped out together.
There was another receptionist as I stepped onto the floor. “May I help you?” She greeted.
Ms. Steele had already gone in another direction.
“Yes, I’m Emma Cole. I’m here for an interview for the personal assistant position.”
She looked at me from head-to-toe.
Oh no, I thought? She’s already doing what everyone else has done!
I became so uncomfortable from her impolite stare. Her look made me look at myself too. I wanted to ask if there was something on me.
“Um, please have a seat over there. We’ll call you when the boss is ready.”
I went to the waiting area and almost broke into tears when I saw six beautiful women also waiting. I assumed they were here for the same reason I was, and I was a ragamuffin? Compared to these perfectly groomed, well-dressed ladies; even though what I was wearing were the best professional pieces I owned.
“Miss. Lovely.” The receptionist called.
One of the ladies got up and followed her through as huge glass door.
I was the last to be called. I looked at my phone; it was 11:00. I had been waiting for two hours. Nevertheless, I followed her through the same glass door when she finally called my name. She knocked, opened the door, ushered me inside and left.
I stood in a huge office with a welcoming scent and feel to it. The walls were painted in different shades of brown and there was a huge leather couch on the side. There were plants in large pots which added a forest-like green vibe to the room. The cool air calmed my nerves as U took it all in. I inhaled with satisfaction. Everything was amazing. It was so better than my apartment.
I could live here. I just need a bed? I thought myself.
“When you’re finish admiring my office, and wasting out time, you may have a seat.” A voice said firmly, erasing my pondering on making this my home.
“Good morning sir, I’m Emm…..”
“Have a seat Miss. Cole.” His voice was like ice-cold but clear.
I sat down and looked at him. He was very handsome with grey, almond eyes, a pointed nose, perfectly structured face, and small lips. His hair was pitch black and Sykes neatly on his head. His shoulders curved from his sharp suit, and his stubble beard was neatly trimmed on his face. He was the definition of ‘perfectly handsome.’
“Miss. Cole, are you hard of hearing?”
“I asked you for your resume twice already.”
What is wrong with me? I was so lost in his looks that I didn’t even hear him asking for my resume.
I handed it to him with trembling fingers.
He yanked it away and read through it.
“You’ve only worked at a cafe?” He asked shortly after.
“Yes, sir.” I lowered my head; I had already failed.
“You had impressively good grades in high school, how is it that you only went to community college?”
“Because I couldn’t afford a prestige college, sir. I’ve been on my own since I was eighteen, right after highschool. I still wanted a college education, so a teacher made a contact for me to get into college I couldn’t afford.”
“Where were your parents?”
“I don’t know of them.”
“So you grew up in a foster home?”
“Yes, sir. Foster homes?” I corrected.
He rubbed his temple.
“Miss Cole, I feel your pain, but I wouldn’t waste my time and yours. The position had already been filled.”
My heart fell to my toes. I wanted to beg for anything else available so I began to but cut me off and told me he was sorry.
“Sir, please. I don’t care if I have to clean the toilets or the floors or the windows Please, I need a job so badly. I don’t have any money to support myself. I will get evicted soon if I don’t pay my rent. Is there anything you can do for me? I’m desperate.”
I was in tears but he just handed me back my documents and, in the process of taking it back, I accidentally spilled his cup of coffee all over his desk.
“What the fu-!?” He hollored as he flew from his seat and ran his hands down his crotch.
“Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry.” I let out as I walked over to him, not thinking twice.
“Get away from me!?” He was furious.
I froze. I saw the cup laying on the floor and a coffee maker in the corner. “I’ll make you another cup.” I said quickly.
I rushed over to the coffee machine as he took tissue from a cupboard and attempted to clean himself up. I wiped down his desk from the ugly spill and placed a refill cup of cappuccino in front of him.
“Why are you still here? Get out of my office!” He yelled at me again. “You clumsy imbecile.”
I held back the tears of Shane and embarrassment. I held my bag close to me and turned on my heels. When I opened the door I heard him take a sip of the coffee I made, then another and another. As I was shutting his door, he called out. “Miss Cole, please, wait.”
Standing against the door I barely re-entered the office for fear of going near him.
“Miss Cole, this coffee taste so good? You have gifted hands. I apologize for my outburst. It was an accident, and I shouldn’t have snapped like that.”
“That’s okay, I’m used to it?”
His eyes twinkled a bit, but they seemed to have some sadness in them. “The job you applied for has already been filled, but I have a proposition for you. How would you like to be my maid and my coffee maker? The payment would be generous and you can live with me.”
“I was puzzled.” I don’t understand….. Live with you? In your house?”
My brain was bouncing off the walls in my head. My heart felt like butterflies. Ethan Hollen, CEO and manager of Hollen Tower, wanted me, simple little plain me, to live in his mansion?
“Of course you wouldn’t be alone; I do have other household staff, and they all live with me. There’s a place for them, and you, if you accept this offer.”
I smiled my biggest smile and thanked him for the new offer. I was going to live on his property-for free? “Do I have to pay rent?” I asked as the thought crossed my mind.
“No. Now soon can you start?”
“First thing tomorrow morning.”
“Good, six a.m. it is. I like having my coffee early.”
Six, I groaned, mentally.