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I sit in Hayden Morrison’s regal office and stare at his handsome face across the desk. Hayden is the Vice President of something or other. I don’t know exactly what or whom he’s in charge of at the company, but he definitely has enough power in his name alone to do away with me for one tiny miss-step. So it’s safe to say, I’m nervous, like shaking-in-my-discount-heels nervous.
“So the thing is,” he begins. “Clarice is on maternity leave.”
I nod. Clarice is the woman who handles all the interior decorating at the Morrison properties. I don’t know what her actual title is, just the gist of what she does.
“Tracy Kimble was supposed to take over for her,” he continues. “But she’s really overloaded with her own job right now and she has a parent with health issues…”
We’ve all seen how frazzled the tiny sprite of woman has been lately. I’ve been bringing her coffee every morning out of sheer pity.
“So I need to find someone else to cover for Clarice. Most of her workload can be put on hold. But we have to get the work done on the Cimmeron building right away to stay on track.”
Surely, he isn’t talking about me. Maybe he’s asking my advice about whom he should assign. But that’s just as weird. I have an Associate’s degree in photography and I’ve spent the last eight years serving as a secretary. I’m a damn good secretary, but still. What the hell do I know about interior design?
“Yes, sir? How can I help?”
“I want you to do it. Candace is gone. And as far as we know, she isn’t coming back.” A strange look crosses his face as he says this. “We need you to cover for Clarice for three months, then we’ll find you a good assignment after that.”
“With all due respect, Mr. Morrison. I don’t have the qualifications—”
“It’s easier than it sounds,” he says, interrupting me. “All you have to do is meet with the contracted designer. He’ll have a whole stack of work-ups and reports and all that crap. You will summarize it into a ten-minute presentation and make a recommendation, which you will present to me for a final decision. You’ll take the final decision back the designer. We do this dance once or twice a week for all the little decisions about fabrics and colors and all that jazz. Easy peasy.” He waves a hand dismissively.
I stare at him, my eyes unable to blink. Is this really happening? “Um…I guess I could do that.”
“Of course you can,” he says enthusiastically. “It’s basically a liaison job. And it comes with a raise. Did I mention that? A permanent raise, not a temporary one.” He pauses for dramatic effect. “Twenty percent…So, are you in?”
Despite my reservations, I can’t turn down this opportunity. “I’ll do it,” I say enthusiastically.
I just hope I don’t live to regret this…