Shift I

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.”  – Janet Fitch

July 13th, 2016

Bzzt! Bzzt! Bzzt! I unlatched my Chanel boy bag, whipping out my iPhone. An unhealthy level of dread filled my body. Seeing the number on the screen, I knew it was a client I had booked for the August White Party. My fate was sealed.

“Hello,” I said.

“Hi, this is Massie right?” The voice said.

“This is she,” I replied.

“Yes, I’m calling on behalf of Irina Price. Unfortunately, she already has a stylist for the White Party.” the voice replied.

“Thanks for letting me know,” I choked.

“Have a nice day,” the voice replied. I hung up the phone.

I paced in the break room back and forth, clicking my Louboutin heels on the cold, hard floor. I was trying to figure out exactly where my plan had all gone wrong. Somewhere between reaching out through my connections, getting people to let Exude style them for the White Party, and following through, everything went wrong. All of the clients I was trying to pull in either vanished, or backed out on me. Alicia, on the other hand, had drones of clients, and she was doing better than anybody else. I was trying not to be jealous, but the only person I had left was Dylan’s mother, which just wasn’t enough. As soon as I plopped down in a chair, one of Evelyn’s assistant, Vanessa, strolled into the break room.  My ponytail swung as I whipped my head around. I straightened my back, as to not appear lazy but attentive.

“There you are, intern,” she said sternly, “Evelyn needs to speak with you in her office immediately.” I paused for a moment, as I felt a wave of confusion wash over me. What?

“Well?” she said.

“Right, sorry,” I latched my purse shut as I sprung up. Reluctantly, I began to follow Vanessa through the floor. Walking through the office I could feel the cold stares of other employee’s on me. Some smirked, gossiped with their coworkers, or simply gave me a up-and-down, condescending glance. Did everyone else know why I was called in? Is that why they were gossiping? Or is it just my imagination getting the better of me? As I passed Alicia she simply raised an eyebrow, to which I gave a confused shrugged. Reaching Evelyn’s office I felt I had completed a walk of shame.

“Close the door behind you,” I did as I was told.

“Do you know why I called you in here?” Evelyn glared at me with her icy, blue eyes.

“No,” I replied.

“First of all, I’m a very busy woman. This little meeting is the last thing that I have time for. Well, I’m sure you don’t understand the complexities of running a business.” She paused, as if searching for an apology, but continued before I could sputter one out.

“Anyway, I’ve received reports from several people claiming that you approached them for the White Party, but that they were later informed that you do not work here. Now, considering that you do work here, I demand an explanation as to what is going on.”

Apparently the look on my face was enough to indicate my confusion.

“Well, do you have anything to say for yourself?” She demanded.

“I had fifteen clients lined up, and all but one backed out on me. I have no idea what’s going on!” I replied.

“Hm.” she lifted her chin and paused, ” I figured as much. Someone has been reaching out to your potential clients and lying. It’s a shame, really. You had some potential.” She paused, checking out her perfectly manicured hands, “But I’m going to have to let you go.”

“But you just said that it’s all lies. Someone is clearly sabotaging me, and on a larger scale, your company,” I replied, trying not to tear up.

“We are one of the most reputable styling companies. Reputation is everything, you should know that. I can’t have this type of high-school drama going on,” She was right. But I was livid. It was clear someone had sabotaged me, and I wanted answers. I wanted to clear my name. I wanted to argue…

But then, in the heat of the moment, this little voice came into my head. It told me to be smart about this. I didn’t want to make a bad impression by being unprofessional.

“I understand. Can I still use the company as a hiring reference?” I asked. She nodded.

“Thank you for the opportunity.” I placed my I.D. down on her desk. She gave me a polite smile. And with that, I turned my back on Elle, and an amazing chance to prove myself, reaching my hand out to open a door to the next chapter in my life. She said I had potential; If I couldn’t make it here I would definitely make it somewhere else. My fingers grasped the door knob.

“Hold up, intern,” the tone in her voice had changed. I spun around.

“I believe data entry has a position or two to fill. If you want the job, I’ll give it to you. It would be nice to have someone fashion-conscious working down there for once.”

“Absolutely, yes!” Forget a new chapter, this one isn’t over yet.

“You start today. Tell them I sent you. That’s all.”

I exited the office with my head held high, strutting past the other interns as I sauntered my way down to data entry. A job at Exude is better than no job at all. I was determined to make my way back up…and in the meantime I’ll have plenty of time to piece together who screwed me over.

My word is my bond,

Massie Block 

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