“Leila, do you know why I’ve asked you in here today?” Victoria leaned forward, her spine erect and her hands clasped on the desk.
“Because I didn’t get you the files in time?” Leila bit her lip nervously, her hands grasping the armrest of chair she was sitting in until her knuckles turned white. Victoria chuckled and sat back in her chair.
“No, that’s not it. Although, I don’t appreciate it when things aren’t done to my satisfaction, I know that you won’t do it again.” She raised one thin, dark eyebrow at Leila, indicating that failure was not an option
“I’m...sorry, Ms. Allen. No, it won’t happen again.” Leila pried her hands from the armrest and put them in her lap, wringing them.
“I’ve been watching you around the office for a little while, noticing how hard you’ve been working and how little my assistant Gloria has been working. I’ve been wanting to replace her for awhile now, but I had seen very little in the way of prospective assistants, that is until you started here a few months ago.”
“I see…” Leila finally said after a long pause, not understanding where this was going.
“I’ve been very pleased with your performance as of late, Leila. You handle criticism and stress rather well, it seems. I’m sorry if I have been too hard on you, but I wanted to test you to see if it would be a good move to promote you and to be honest, I feel confidant in my decision, if I do say so myself.” Leila looked at Victoria blankly, not certain as to what she should say.
“Thank you, Ms. Allen. I appreciate your feedback. Um...did you say promotion?” Leila was ecstatic and had a hard time talking because she was so floored. She had always assumed Vicki hated her, because of her stand-offish demeanor, but then again she probably had to be that way in order to be objective and run her business accordingly.
“Yes. On behalf of Curvy Girl Magazine, I would like to formally offer you the assistant manager position.”
“Isn’t that...You’re offering me Gloria’s position? Oh my goodness, thank you!” Leila’s eyebrows raised and her mouth gaped open slightly from the shock.
“Yes. Between you and I, she has been let go as of yesterday. It seems she was pilfering extra money from the advertisers and pocketing the excess. I only found out because a customer called complaining that the advertising rates had gone up by $200.” Victoria’s mouth was set in a grim line, one hand tugging on her ear.
“Wow. Well, that explains why she was such a nervous person, I suppose. I can’t believe it. Wow…” Leila whispered the last wow, in complete shock at the revelation.
“Yes, I couldn’t believe it myself, but I turned her into the authorities. Although, I’m trying to handle the matter privately and keep it out of the media if possible. Unfortunately if this all got out, the company would be under public scrutiny, but if things could be settled out of court, it would be to everyone’s benefit. So, do you accept?”
“I do! Thank you so much, Ms. Allen. I really appreciate this opportunity.” Leila was suppressing a grin because she didn’t want to seem too eager, but she wanted to jump up and down for joy.
“Great! Don’t thank me yet though, Ms. Spark. The new position would mean longer hours and harder work, not to mention probably more stress, but I feel like you could handle it just fine. It’s Friday, so enjoy the weekend. You will start Monday with your new duties, I will email you the list. I won’t always be able to give you every weekend off from here on out, though. Do you still want the position?” Leila paused a moment, contemplating how much more she was going to have to put into this company, wondering if it would be worth it.
“Yes ma’am. I know I can do this. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity.” Leila could no longer fight her giddiness and a grin burst out of her, making her eyes sparkle.
Leila left the office with a new bounce in her step. She felt silly for always feeling so envious of how Ms. Allen oozed confidence and how nothing about her was ever out of place. She had always seemed practically perfect, but now Leila knew the truth. She, too, was human and made mistakes. After she plopped herself back at her desk, she took a look around at the office. There were a few other desks scattered around filled with other hopefuls. A couple of graphic designers, a few page builders, writers and photographers. Leila’s heart swelled with pride that she was part of such a talented group. To think, she was moving out of the shared office space, into Gloria’s office soon! It all seemed like too much, in a good way.
“Ms. Spark?” the receptionist Alice buzzed over the intercom.
“Yes? What is it?” Leila asked as politely as possible, startled to be addressed by her. Alice never buzzed her. Most calls that came into the building were for Victoria and Gloria. So, Alice really had no reason to talk to her directly, until now.
“You have a piece of mail at the front desk. Would you like me to bring it to you on my way out, ma’am?” Alice was very cordial and respectful, it was nice.
“No, Alice, thank you. I will come by in just a moment. I have a few files to bring to you to be faxed for Ms. Allen, if you have time…” Leila was unsure how to delegate things as she had never been in an authoritative position before.
“Certainly, ma’am, that will be just fine. I will see you in a moment,” Alice replied, again very respectfully.
Getting up from her desk, Leila grabbed the files she needed faxed, along with their corresponding cover sheets and took them straight to the reception desk. Alice smiled politely as she looked up from her computer, once again referring to her as ma’am when Leila offered her the files. Handing over the letter, Alice smiled softly once more before returning to her work. She was a very busy worker bee. Leila tapped the letter on her hands wondering who it could be from, deciding against asking the receptionist to describe the person and thanked Alice as she started to walk away. Stopping, she turned around once more to speak to Alice.
“And Alice?” she said, for some reason shy all of a sudden.
Alice glanced back at her once more, practically tearing herself away from the computer. She waited patiently for Leila to continue, peering over her glasses at her, but didn’t say anything.
“You can just call me Leila. You know? If you want, that is…” Leila said nervously. She had always had trouble making friends and talking to people as she was a little shy due to her insecurities. Alice smiled, tucking her straight blonde hair behind her ear and nodded at her, but went back to working quickly. Leila smiled as she walked away, looking down at the handwriting on her letter. She frowned slightly, not knowing who it was from and unsure as to what it could possibly contain, she didn’t recognize the handwriting. Leila gasped, covering her mouth with her hand, eyes wide with confusion.
It simply read:
Soon you will know everything…