The meeting-slash-party that I had to go to with Eddie was nearing the corner, and I was freaking out! I still hadn’t yet decided a back-up plan, nor have I actually thought of even a semblance of a good one, so, needless to say, I felt like I was at a dead end. The worst part was, there was really no way out of this little rendezvous of suits. Speaking of which, I was on my way to pick up Eddie’s much loved Hugo Boss suit.
I’ve never really been to a dry cleaners before moving out with Chloe so when it was all new to me, it was like a weirdly glamorous place. When the glamour wore off just as well as the stains on my clothes, it looked bleak. So it looked doubly bleak when I was running an errand for Eddie. I wasn’t even sure if this was legal, or something rather! Like, seriously, an intern being on an errand? Since when did this kind of treatment happen? Who knows, maybe I was newer to this than I thought.
When I heard the bell ring from the drycleaners door as I hopped in, only one other person was in there, waiting on the wings. He looked about late twenties, early thirties, and he had the most amazing jaw line I had ever seen. Blonde, tousled hair, and blue eyes were the only features that popped out as he wore a dark suit. Clean shaven, clean shaven smell, clean. Squeaky clean. And expensive looking.
He smiled when I stumbled in and I smiled sheepishly back. “I think they’re off duty or something,” he said. “I haven’t seen anyone since I got here.”
“Oh,” I said, “well I was so looking forward to a day at the drycleaners, but now that I know the time I’ll be leaving is indefinite, it’s upped the excitement!”
The man chuckled and held out his hand. “I’m James,” he said.
I took his. “Anna.”
“I don’t normally come here,” he said as he pulled his hand back.
“That’s right. My washer broke in my apartment so I’m resorting to this.”
Yup, expensive. “What a shame.”
“Indeed,” he nodded. “What are you in for?”
I laughed at his choice of words as if we were inmates. “My boss. I’m running an errand for him.”
“Interesting, what do you do?”
“An internship at an advertising agency.”
His eyes brightened. “Really? We’re actually looking for some copywriters.”
“How would you even know if I’m a copywriter?” I wondered.
James smiled proudly. “I’m selling creative director with the way I look.”
I scanned my dress code. “I look like a copywriter?”
James grinned, but his shoulders slightly shook as if he was stifling a giggle. “Where are you now?”
“The number one advertising agency in California.”
“Oh you mean, David and Goliath. Yeah, they’re the best,” he winked.
I laughed. “I’m guessing that’s where you are?”
“Oh of course, I’m a creative director there. I’ve handled a lot, countless things, too many to remember and for some reason I can’t even think of one thing right now,” he laughed nervously, “but it’s great.” James burrowed his hand into the inside of his coat pocket and fished out a card to hand to me. “This is me. Whenever you feel like checking out the agency, come by and I’ll give you a tour. Well, I’ll try. I might end up needing one of my assistants to give you a tour.”
One of? I thought. I looked at the card and saw gold writing on a beige\white card. Even the card was flashy.
“You should come by for an interview some time,” he said.
I laughed and blushed. “Thanks, I’ll think about it.”
“Listen, if there’s one thing I know, there’s no thinking required when it comes to David and Goliath. It’s simple. We always win. Think about whatever agency you’re with now, not about us. We’ll give you a real job, not running errands.”
Sold! I nodded. “Okay. I’ll come by some time.”
“Good,” he smiled, dazzling me with a perfect set of pearly whites.
“Sorry to keep you waiting guys,” a man suddenly said, coming out from the back room and crashing the conversation with his hoarse voice, “the machine was messing up on us. Now,” he slapped his palms together, “how may I help you?”
I looked at James to which he gestured with his hand that I go. “Ladies first,” he said.
“Thank you,” I smiled.
I didn’t really know what a high-powered agency would even do with an up and comer like me, who’s only ever had an internship. In all honesty, yes, I want a career as an editor, but I never thought of copywriting as a possibility. Creating ideas for a novel is not as easy as it seems either, so maybe a career in advertising, where creativity manifests itself into reality, wasn’t such a bad move. I mean, it could probably even boost my way into a career in editing, alongside benefitting my running mind. And who knows, maybe even fresh meat is what they need.
I ended up having to take Eddie’s clothes to his office rather than his home base. I was glad. As if I ever willingly wanted to be near him outside of work. Although it was strange for me because I never really came to the advertising agency more times than it was required.
“What are you doing here?” Sherri asked when I approached the reception.
I held up the suit, still in its plastic cocoon. “Dropping off something for his highness.”
Sherri half smiled. Then Ari came over. “What’s going on, girls?” Ari asked.
Sherri turned to her. “Pretty boy put Anna on an errand run.”
Ari laughed. “Oh that sucks. Although I think he’s trying to make you crack.”
“Whatever you do,” Sherri said, “don’t give in. It’s just what he wants.”
“Duly noted, ladies,” I nodded.
Sherri scrunched her face. “Honey, don’t call us ‘ladies’. It makes us feel like we’re a thousand years old.”
“And not in a good way,” Ari added.
“Were you two put on a lot of errands when you first started?” I asked.
“Ugh, were we ever!” Ari said, rolling her eyes.
“You see sweetie,” Sherri started, “people like Eddie don’t really know what it’s like to be in anyone’s position but his own. He’s very privileged. Don’t be fooled. I’m impressed though, you really have stood your ground for a very long time.”
“That’s probably why he’s trying to make you crack,” Ari added.
“Either way, you’re a lot stronger than I thought you were.”
I narrowed my eyes as I wondered. “You know, people say something like that like it’s a compliment but really it’s an insult disguised as a compliment.”
“Well it sounds like a compliment last, so deal with it,” Sherri said.
“Yes ma’am,” I said, smiling as soon as I saw Sherri’s eyes narrow in agitation. She then waved me off, and I said goodbye to the both of them.
I greeted the people I knew and worked with in passing so I could leave this place as quickly as I came. When I finally reached Eddie’s office (which felt like it took forever by the way; thought I’d end up having to stop for food and water!), I saw him hunched over his desk like last time, and deep in thought.
I knocked on his open door and he looked up. I held up the suit. “Your Boss.”
Eddie smiled as he stood. “Fantastic. This will really turn heads.” Eddie brushed his finger tip over mine while he took his suit. And it felt weird. “See you at the party, Anna.”
I opened my mouth to say something but then closed it before he could see. Then I reluctantly nodded when he turned around to hang the suit in his closet. Yes, his office has a closet.
“What made you choose me?” I summoned up the courage to ask anyway.
Eddie smiled. “I already told you, I need a smart person to rely on and, no offence to the other bots out there, but you seem to be the only one that has their head on straight.”
“Anything else?” he asked without looking up from his papers.
I shook my head. “Nope.”
“Good,” he said. “See you on Thursday then.”
As I left I felt a pang in my chest, knowing that my chances of getting out of this alive was wearing thin; and because of this, my shift at the nightclub didn’t really sun smoothly. I was slow and distracted. We’re supposed to be upbeat and fast; in keeping with the pace of the club.
“What’s up, Anna!?” Nikki said over the music as we made drinks behind the counter.
“It doesn’t look like nothing. I feel like I’m holding up most of the weight over here,” Nikki said,
I sighed because it was true, but of course no one could hear over the roaring music. “It’s Eddie, he wants me to accompany him to a party for the new creative director.”
“That’s a major compliment,” Nikki said. “So where’s the problem?”
“The problem, sweetheart,” a greasy, Jersey Shore\Guido-looking customer yelled in between the conversation, “is that I’m not getting my drinks.” He slapped a bill on the counter. “Six tequila shots!”
Nikki rolled her eyes while the customer was busy looking at me. “Sure,” I said. “Sorry.”
I shot the thoughts of Eddie out of my mind so I could focus and then continued my night with ease. Thankfully, a customer hadn’t complained again. When the night ended and we cleaned up, I still hadn’t felt the exhaustion of my work because I was so occupied with one thought after another. When my focus to the customer’s and nightclub ended, I only had a second’s worth of a gap to myself until I thought about Eddie and Daniel.
“Don’t you have a car?” I asked Nikki as we were walking out to the lot. I saw Derek leaning up against his car, all Calvin Klein-ish. “He seems to pick you up a lot.”
“My car is in car hospital at the moment.”
I laughed. “Been there a long time?”
Nikki nodded. “It’s badly hurt,” she pretended to pout. “The good news is I get a chauffeur.”
“You’re welcome, princess,” Derek said to Nikki when he heard. Nikki stuck her tongue out at him like a four year old.
“So,” Nikki started, “what was the problem?”
“I made plans with Daniel before he leaves.”
“He’s leaving?” Nikki asked. “To where?”
Derek scanned the area, pretending to not listen, but I knew all too well. I wasn’t going to bring it up in front of him, but then again I wasn’t the one that started the topic.
“He’s going to New York on Friday. He’s found a job there and he’s starting soon,” I said, catching Derek sneaking in a look and then quickly looking away when I caught him. “So anyway, Eddie said he needed someone with their head on straight with him on Thursday, the day I’ve made plans with Daniel, and apparently none of the other interns are good enough for him.”
“Wait a minute,” Nikki said. “He said that he needed someone with their head on straight?”
I nodded. “That’s what he said.”
Nikki smiled. “Perfect. Since he didn’t necessarily say you but ‘a smart person’ or whatever, then all you need to do is find someone else that fits the bill.”
I scrunched my face. “That’s pretty shifty.”
Nikki shrugged. “Hey, you can afford being shifty this one time with a boss who will only just smack your hand when you do it. I mean really, the guy isn’t going to do anything because you’re good at what you do. You said so yourself that he’s said you’re one of his best.”
I grinned, relieved. “Nikki, you’re a genius.”
Nikki fluttered her eyes. “I know.”
“And as such,” I put my palms together against my chest as if I was praying, “will you please, please, please, do me this favour. I promise I’ll pay you back.”
Nikki laughed, but then smiled apologetically. “I wish I could, even if you weren’t going to pay me back, but I can’t Thursday. I have plans of my own.”
I sighed. “Great, who am I going to find in such short notice, that’ll…” I trailed off when I noticed Nikki eyeing Derek. When I followed her gaze to his, he was straining to look away, a little obviously I might add.
He then looked at me with a sly smile and crossed his arms over his chest, awaiting my plea. “There’s got to be someone else,” I mumbled quickly.
“What was that?” Derek asked.
I shook my head. “Nothing. I’m sure you would want zero involvement in all of this so, I guess I’m just screwed.”
“You haven’t even asked him, Anna,” Nikki said.
“Well we’re kind of on funky terms,” I said in hush tones to Nikki.
“I’ll tell you what,” Derek said, “I do this for you, in exchange for something I need, and we’ll call it even?”
“Umm, I don’t know,” I hesitated.
Derek chuckled. “Oh come on, what have you got to lose? Besides, what happened to spending some time with Daniel?”
I sighed, needing this so badly and finding no other option. If the conditions of his terms were good, then I’ll do it. That’s a big ‘if’ though. “Fine,” I said, “what’s the favour you need?”
Derek grinned. “Your babysitting services.”
Great, just my luck!
***In honour of reaching 100 followers, I’ll be giving all of you lovely souls a choice of either releasing a BONUS post this week, or an extra long post for one of the posts next week. Which one would you prefer? Let me know in the comments. One hundred, I can’t believe it! Thank you all so much for your support! Love, Soul xo!***