It's my first job interview since I finally became a certified advocate, and I feel like sitting here, in the waiting lounge of Southerford Inc., I'm this close to spilling the contents of my stomach all over the place.
I'm practicing breathing in through the nose, breathing out through the mouth, closing my eyes to concentrate, basically doing anything to calm my frizzling nerves, but the saying 'it's easier said than done' never felt truer to me than at this moment.
One at a time, people are being called in through the door right in front of my eyes, some going in as if getting this job means everything to them, others looking like they'd rather be pooping in a forest and wiping their butts clean with poison ivy than be here.
I blow a loud breath through my mouth.
I feel my pumping organ jerk at the woman officer in charge of us interviewees calling my name.
"Y-Yes. Yes, that would be me," I mumble, shooting up from the waiting chair, but refining my reaction when a few people eye me strangely, then pick up my file and walk to the door that awaits my doom as if my heart didn't just book a flight to my head.
I almost wring the folder in my hands as soon as the door closes behind me.
I can't believe my eyes.
I'm in an interview room in Southerford Inc., one of the leading tech giants in the country, opposite a bench of five, venerable men, all eyeing me like I'm someone from among them when I'm not. Because I? I'm just a recently certified advocate who's only just arrived in the Six, and who's been waiting for a job approval for six whole months.
A little over that, actually.
"Ms. Priscilla Gard?" one of the men, an aging man, the neatest one could imagine, with white hair parted down the side and gelled in place, prompts when I just stand there, frozen by the door, waiting for someone to tell me this isn't just some mistake on their part.
Because I know my heart won't be able to handle it if they did.
I can feel how big my eyes get when they say my name. I cough softly. "Yes, sir."
"Please, have a seat."
I walk over to the cushiony chair in the centre of the room, a safe distance away from the long bench behind which my interviewers sit, hoping my walk isn't as clumsy and awkward to them as it is to my mind.
I'm cringing in my head the whole time.
When I'm finally seated, another one of them asks, "Morning, Ms. Gard. Shall we begin?"
I clear my throat. Here goes nothing. "Yes, sir."
* ^ * ^ * ^ *
The questions literally go from, "Tell us about yourself", and "Walk us through your CV" to "What role do you intend to play in a team?" and "What's your management style?"
My mind's never been more of a mess. That is official.
Because currently, I'm trying to find the best possible answer to their newest question: "What do you think you can bring to the role of a law consultant in our company?"
Good question, sir. Real good.
"I've been inclined towards studying corporate law in a great deal of depth since I began studying," I explain slowly, "and I think working as a law consultant for your company, I will have a lot to add to the team. I can see from the job description that this role will require a lot of teamwork, and I love being a part of a team (lie), and I think that my communication skills add a lot of value here (total lie). During my internship at JV Firms, I was working with offices in different parts of the state."
Somewhere in between my little speech, I hear the door behind me open and close. Someone's come in. It takes everything in me to not turn back and see who it is.
I hold my breath still when the five interviewers exchange hushed words with each other, but then something catches my eye from the left, and I think I pretty much forget that I even need to breathe.
He was the one who came in when I was speaking?
Oh. My. God.
I don't know what I've done to earn God's wrath, but how and why do I deserve this? Why is the founder and CEO of Southerford Inc., Gerrard Southerford, witnessing my interview? He wasn't there for anybody else's interview. Why mine-
Oh my god...
Walking up to the bench, he turns to look at me. My face heats up when it realizes that the face of so many magazine covers is right in front of me. His eyes are dangerous and glinting blue, his neck and hands sporting all the tattoos I already know he has, his suit covering up the rest of them all over his body.
He's just 24, I know because he's famous for being the founder of a leading tech giant at such a young age, so he's pretty much all across the internet, but now that I'm seeing him in the flesh, I feel my cheeks getting warm. He's so much more good looking than those magazines can ever reckon.
But I swear I see something akin to disdain or disapproval in his eyes when he studies me from head to toe before nodding at the other interviewers and snatching my CV from the table.
I feel like I've frozen in my chair at this point.
I'm holding my breath, waiting to see some sort of approval on the side of Gerrard's face as he leafs through my CV, but the neat old interviewer interrupts, "Thank you, Ms. Gard. You may wait in the lounge while we ponder over our thoughts."
I give them a shaky smile, nodding jerkily.
My eyes almost instinctively fall on Gerrard before I leave, but he's still going through my CV. I don't want to believe it, but I think he's grinding his jaw as he skims through my file. But I can't be sure, because his jaw's covered with that thick beard, and his eyes almost refuse to meet mine.
He's the last thing I see before I leave the room.
* ^ * ^ * ^ *
It's been half an hour, almost, since we've been waiting in the waiting lounge for the interviewers to come out with a verdict.
I'm biting my nails. I've almost twice cut into my lip on accident. But the wait keeps drawing longer.
All around me, such experienced people sit, their CVs much more attractive than mine can ever boast to be. A part of me almost feels stupid for coming to this interview today, but then that other part of me wonders what I have to lose here; if I don't get the job, the interview will be a good learning experience. But if I do, now that would be-
The door opens up ahead, and none other than Gerrard Southerford himself steps out. There's something calm, yet calculated about the way he carries himself, in a way that demands your attention as if he owns it. His left hand hangs out in the pocket of his pressed, immaculate navy blue trousers, while his right hand holds a form.
All eyes in the waiting lounge are on him. All eyes.
But his eyes- are on me.
I swear this man must be a mind reader or something, because his gaze is so decisive when he looks into my eyes, as if he knows what's going through my mind as I watch him.
And there's really only one thing my mind is saying to me right now: He's hawt.
"Priscilla Gard?" he says, short and crisp.
I can only nod.
He raises the form in his right hand to me. "Congratulations. You've been selected."
My eyes go huge. Huge.
Because as ecstatic and lightheaded as I am at being selected, i can't help but notice that there's nothing congratulatory about my boss's tone. Or his gaze as he watches me take the form from his hand.
It makes me wonder what the hell I've actually signed up for when Gerrard gives me one last, long stare before moving around me and walking off without one more word to me.
When I walk out of my 8:39 a.m. meeting with my team of financial advisors, I’m reminded by my PA, Bru Sifen that the interviewfor a new lawconsultant isunderway.“The interviews are going as planned, Gerrard, right on schedule,” she says, reading from her tablet as we weave through the main office building to the Interview Lounge. “The last two candidates are remaining to be met.”I pass by employee after employee as I go, Bru’s words registering in my head. This last lawconsultant’s position is important. My team of legalexperts just needs one more person to complete the unit. And it’s got to be the best person out there, because I have big plans, and I need a good team to keep all legal fixes out of the picture.Get me through the loopholes, so I can focus on my business and not on fucking lawsI got to adhere toor the defaultsI’ve made
I can’t believe I actually got the job. Southerford Inc. is notoriously difficult to get into, even for experienced professionals, and I got the job?If this isn’t a pinch-me moment, I don’t know what is.I’m being led to the third floor of the main building through the atrium by one Mr. Smith. He tells me he’s one of the first members on the team of legalexperts, and it takes no genius to guess he’s one of the senior members on the team-- work-wise as well as age-wise.“Now, Ms. Gard, I’d like you to not feel overwhelmed by work on your first day,” Mr. Smith says with a smile, but there’s just something so cunning about the air around him that I restrict myself to formal yet cordial smiles with him. “I’d suggest getting familiar with your surroundings and colleagues today, and then we can slowly get you used to your work targets.”The lift dings open
I know I shouldn’t be feeling this way, but the mood in my office changes so drastically and so desperately and so... weirdly whenever my big brother comes over that I just can’t handle it.It’s so annoying that at this point, I’ve stopped trying to even spur on any kind of conversation. Because whenever I do, it fizzles out like a poor-quality firecracker.Even now, Keith just sits there, right in front of me as we hang out at the conference table in one of my offices, tapping his fingers on the table. He’s looking around the office as if he hasn’t already been here a thousand times, ignoring the elephant in the room as if that’s ever helped.I sigh. “Keith, I’ve told you. I can’t be there for dinner next week. We have a party here at the office then.”Keith shrugs. “You’re going to have to tell that to mum yourself, Gerr. I’m not going to be your messenger al
Ruben doesn’t play.As I wait at my desk, waiting for ‘something to be sent my way’, I think about what’s happened since morning. First, Gerrard Southerford himself witnesses my interview for the position of a lawconsultant in his company. Second, it becomeshelluva lot apparent to me that he hates my guts the way he staredme down in the Interview Room.And somehow, I still end up with the job?And then, Argo Smith, one of the senior consultants on the team takes it upon himself to introduce me to his only son, who turns out to be the manager, and then Remo tells me that Smith ‘runs half the company’?I know for a fact that he’s no partner in this company; Gerrard’s not the kind of person to share even a fragment of his success with someone else who didn’t even contribute to it.Then how could Smith run half this company?My mind drifts back&nbs
It's been twenty minutes by the clock, and Bru still isn't back. It's making me wonder if all's well with her and Keith; he's a tough nut, I know that best.Sighing, I decide to make my way to the kitchen.If what I'm guessing is right, and they both are having an argument or something, then she's really going to need the coffee I'm going to brew just now. I make my way out of my conference room and to the kitchen, but I see something in one of the rooms down the corridor which makes me stop dead in my tracks.That rascal.Ruben's just entered one of my offices, and guess who he's brought in tow with him?The novice.My jaw ticks.As I watch them without their knowledge, I see Ruben's lips moving. My eyes shift to Gard, and I notice she looks uncomfortable. Ruben laughs suddenly, and I wonder what it was that he laughed at, because the next thing I know is that Gard takes a step back. I wish I could see her face and not
It's been a rollercoaster at work today. I'm exhausted, to say the least- but most of all, I'm starving. The first thing I do as soon as I get back to my apartment is make myself some hot cocoa. While it's simmering away in the pot, I run down to the washroom and let loose. I'm sweaty, my work clothes are damp with my sweat,so I freshen up and change into my night-suit. By the timeI walk back into the kitchen, my cocoa is about to burn. "Shit," I curse under my breath, heaving the pot off the stove with a dishcloth and pouring it into a mug. There's this slight note of smoky cocoa in the vapours that fly over the mug, but it's going to have to do. Sighing, I take my hot cocoa and head to the tiny living room. It's a one bedroom flat that I live in, and to be honest, it's kind of cramped, but then it's the closest oneI could get to Southerford Inc., so I'm not complaining. I plop down on the couch and switch on the T.V. I almo
I just can't believe this bullshit. I can't-- fire Gard. The fucking acceptance says we've signed a fucking one year contract with her. If I still want to terminate the employment, I'm going to need a resolution to be passed by the Board. And I have honestly no idea what the fuck I'm going to tell them when they ask me why I want her gone. The absolute, absolute fuck? I'm honestly just holding my head in my hands at this point, because for some weird ass reason, Bru insists that I rescue Gard from the clutches of Ruben. She's been hounding me about this ever since she saw them in that room yesterday. But obviously, Bru being Bru, doesn't think this is about saving Gard at all. Why? Because just now, before she went to get Gard from the lawdepartment, she told me, "Priscilla was appointed to the position of the final lawconsultant on your team, Gerrard, not to look after everyday cases. We alre
“On whose team, Gard?”I knew it that this man hatedme, but I never knew he’d literally throw it in my face. I get that he doesn’t want me to work for his company.I get that.But if I’m really that unbearable, or— undeserving, then just kick me out, damn it. Don’t just insult me like that.I’m staring at his back, unable to believe the words that just came out of his mouth.Never has anyone ever spat out my last name at me. As if it’s an insult, for god’s sake.You know what, man? I don’t care about you and your shitty company if this is how you’re going to treat me.”On yours, Southerford,” I reply, defiantly staring at the back of his head.I can see his body tense when he hears me, and I brace myself for the worst. Which is me losing this job.But you know what