It was just five days ago Alicia and I had fallen out. And this time was for real. At least it felt real. I ended up breaking the news to Dylan and Kristen over Skype, but I couldn’t tell Claire yet. She was too happy in Florida. I’m sure the news would reach her somehow but I was bowing out. In a surprising turn of events, Dylan and Kristen pulled through for me. I don’t know if they were mad at Alicia or what, but they were definitely not shy about continuing our friendship. We had our pool get-together, minus Gen who didn’t show, and hung out twice more in the past week. It was like the old times that I so desperately missed but without petty Alpha-Beta tension. We didn’t even talk about what happened when we hung out. It was bliss.
“Ahhh” I pulled my french-manicured fingertips off the keyboard and leaned back into my chair.
“Finished already?” Gen asked.
“Yup,” I replied.
“You’ve been working quickly the last couple days,” Gen said.
“I feel great,” I said.
“Even after all that Alicia bullshit?” she replied.
“Yeah, everything didn’t fall apart like I thought it would,” I said.
“I think you meant to say like it did last time,” she replied.
“I never told about that,” I said.
“You’ve alluded to it,” she replied smugly.
I licked my lips nervously.
“Fine, yes, it has happened before,” I sighed, “but nothing was as bad as last year.”
“What happened?” she said.
“I messed up, that’s what happened.”
“Mass, don’t mention it if you’re not going to tell the whole story. You know I’m going to ask questions. Deets please.”
“The past school-year my boyfriend tried to cheat on me with Alicia. I caught him kissing her and I thought it was mutual. And I tried to get her expelled.” I revealed.
“Woah,” Gen said, stunned.
“Well, that’s a story that wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test.” she replied.
“The…what?” I asked.
“It requires that two female characters do something or talk about something that doesn’t involve a male protagonist.” she replied.
“But I’m the protagonist,” I said.
“Doesn’t mean your story passes,” she replied.
“I told you a personal story and your response is to try and quiz it?” I replied.
“Sorry,” she said, “just trying to lighten the mood.”
“I’m sorry. I snapped,” I replied.
“Don’t worry about it,” she said.
“I just wish none of this had happened,” I said, “and I wonder if hadn’t lost my internship if we would have fallen out. And I’m pissed because I feel like she ditched me because I wasn’t useful to her anymore. Like she just ditched me as soon as she got the oppertunity.”
“Are you sure she didn’t get you fired?” Gen questioned.
“I don’t know.”
“Hmm…actually it doesn’t matter. Listen, it’s better she ditched you now than later right?” she said.
“I’m not sure I follow,” I replied.
“If she was planning on exiting from your friendship as soon as she got the oppertunity, then why would you want to be friends with her? Think about it! She waited for a moment when you were down and she had the upper hand, and then she left you.” Gen said. And she had a valid point.
“Maybe you’re right, but what am I supposed to do?” I asked.
“Move on!” Gen said, “you don’t need her, show her that.”
I whipped around in my chair, ponytail swinging, fire in my eyes.
“For the love of god what now, Massie?” Gen said.
“I’m going to get my internship back,” I said.
“What? No, that’s not what I meant!” she replied.
“Cover for me!” I popped up and bolted out of the office, only pausing to make sure Jessica wasn’t at her desk. My heels were as loud as gunshots as I ran down the hallway and hopped into the elevator.
I unlocked my phone to find a text from Gen:
“Pause! How are you going to get your internship back?”
“I have no idea.” I texted back.
“That’s not a plan!” she replied.
The elevator doors opened, and I took one deep breath before exiting onto Exude’s main floor. It’s the floor where I ran around like a gopher for weeks. It was the best time of my life. It’s also the floor where I got fired after being set up by God knows who. And it’s where I’m either going to get an internship or be forced to move on to something else. But first I had to find Evelyn Bellamy, and I wasn’t entirely sure if she was even in the building. I instantly turned around, hopped back into the elevator, shut the doors, and phoned Gen.
“Hey…so about that plan…”
“What?” she answered.
“Do you have the ability to find out if Evelyn is in her office?” I replied.
“No, no way. I am not helping you throw yourself into a pit full of snakes!” she replied.
“Gen, please. I need to do this. For me. Please.”
There was silence for a moment.
“Fine! Give me a minute.”
She hung up. I paced back and forth in the elevator, hitting the close doors button over and over to make sure nobody else came in. I couldn’t let anybody see me before I was ready. And so I paced, back and forth, back and forth, staring at my phone like my life depended on it and hitting the close doors button repeatedly.
Bzzt bzzt bzzt!
“Well?” I answered the phone.
“She’s in her office, alone,” Gen replied.
“Thank you, I mean it,” I said.
“Good luck,” she hung up.
I flipped my hair behind my shoulders and hit the open doors button. With my head held high and my shoulders held back I strutted through the main office area. I took long strides and hurried my pace as I felt the eyes of my former co-workers on me. For just a brief second I saw Alicia in my peripheral vision but I couldn’t slow my pace. I had to keep going past it all.
“Hey! You can’t go in there!” I heard, but I brushed it off and opened the office door, stepped in, and closed it.
And there she was, Evelyn Bellamy. Her classic hairdo framed her face, eyebrows raised and lips pursed. She carried a purse worth the college tuition for a state-college which sat next to a large stack of papers on her desk. She paused, looking up slowly from her Macbook, her sharp manicured claws taking a break from clicking against the keys of her keyboard. The expression of her face was more annoyance than shock as if she was expecting someone to burst into her office at anytime.
“Well?” she stated.
“I want my internship back, I’m more determined than any of those girls out there and-“
“Sorry Ms. Bellamy!” her assistant swung open the door, “you need to leave.”
“No,” Evelyn said, “your name is Massie, yes?”
“Ahh I remember you,” she turned to her assistant, closing her Macbook, “leave.”
Her assistant scuttled out, closing the door behind her.
“Ms. Bellamy I-” I started.
“Quiet, sit,” she said.
I have never sat my ass down faster in my life.
“It’s quite fortuitous that you show up today of all days, miss…”
“Block, Massie Block,” I said.
“Correct me if I’m wrong but I fired you and sent you to data entry, correct?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Perfect, I have a job for you,” she said.
“You do?” I couldn’t believe my ears.
“Mrs. Westwood, your boss, I believe she has something that I need but she won’t give it to me. I need you to take it.”
“Wait, what? You want me to steal?” Now I really could not believe my ears.
“It’s not stealing, it’s retrieving property that is being kept from me,” she replied calmly.
“What if it get caught? I could fired or maybe arrested for-“
“You won’t need that lowly job if you get your internship back!” she cut me off, “do you want it back or not? Don’t waste my time.”
I paused. Of course I want my internship back. However this sounded risky and I didn’t have any information on what was truly going on. Not to mention I felt this tingling feeling inside me that was absolutely bewildering. It was the most confusing excitement.
“I-” I stuttered. She squinted her eyes, lowering her head and tightening her lips. She reminded me of a viper, waiting to strike should I make one wrong move. I took a deep breath to reassure myself.
“It’s not that I don’t want my internship back-“
“You barge into my office, beg for your internship back, but aren’t willing to do what is necessary? Absolutely pathetic,” she interjected.
Those words both equally angered and upset me. First, the consequences of getting caught terrified me. I had no idea why she wanted the file or what was on it, meaning I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Second, this isn’t how I wanted to get ahead. Or was? What was I planning on doing the rest of the summer? Sitting around in data entry, dreaming about finding out who sabotaged me and then doing what? Giving them a strong side glance next time I see them? I wanted so badly to turn over a new leaf but I was just denying my instincts. I used to feel like a queen. I used to take what I wanted. I used to be able to keep my group together, through split ups and fallouts we always reunited. But I lost Alicia and I could tell it was for good this time. I lost my internship and I had no chance to defend myself. But now this oppertunity falls into my lap and the only thing that was holding me back wasn’t my morals or convictions, it was the fact that I wanted more from the deal. I smirked.
“One month of an internship is not enough to persuade me,” I said.
“Ahhh, I see now,” she said as one eyebrow arched up, “well I don’t need you.”
“I think you do,” she paused, I continued, “Because I’m the only person with eyes on Mrs. Westwood during the workday. I have access to the office which is locked during off-hours and most importantly I know nobody else in that office will be able to pull this off. I mean what, are you going to corner someone as lowly as Karen and have her discreetly swindle something that apparently Mrs. Westwood is guarding? I don’t think so.”
“Who is Karen?” she replied.
“Exactly. You don’t even know the people down there,” I replied.
“Fine,” she was clearly getting impatient, “what do you want?”
“I want a guaranteed paid internship next summer,” I replied sharply.
She tilted her head to one side, “done-“
“No, I’m not done yet. I want a real internship, not that giant intern-bootcamp mess that’s currently taking place. I want to learn from one of the actual stylists and I want a glowing recommendation when my internship is over.”
“Very well,” she replied, “but I can’t arrange that until next summer or it’ll look suspicious.”
“Deal. And I want some type of contract for my internship so you can’t go back on your word,” I said.
“Did I not make it clear there can be no evidence of this?” she replied.
“If you don’t go back on your word, then nobody will need to see the contract.”
“Very well. Meet me here tomorrow, same time, and I’ll have your contract and I’ll give you the necessary details you’ll need to retrieve my property.”
“And not a word of this, or I will make sure you never get a job remotely near fashion industry, even if it’s mopping the floors of a bathroom in department store! You understand me?” she threatened.
I nodded again.
“Now get out of my office and shut the door,” she said.
“See you tomorrow,” I replied, trying to hide the smirk that was trying to form across my face. I swiftly exited the office, blowing past the assistant who was obviously trying to eavesdrop on the conversation. As I walked down past the intern office towards the elevator I spotted Alicia and her new friend. However, I wasn’t shy this time. I paused for a second to made direct eye contact, flipped my hair back, and continued to the elevator. Alicia could only squint her eyebrows slightly, wheels turning, as she tried to figure out what had just transpired. I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of an answer, verbal or otherwise. I wanted her to feel unease.
As I crept into the elevator, however, I felt the adrenaline wearing off. As the doors shut I fell back against the wall. I just negotiated with Evelyn Bellamy, the director of Exude Inc, a style icon, an untouchable symbol of poise. I had a purpose and mission. All I had to do now was not get screwed over, too comfortable, caught, fired, arrested, or exposed. No big deal.
My Word is My Bond,
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A/N: Dear god I can’t believe it’s been TWO WEEKS since I posted. Really trying to get my storyline out and over with, you know? Expect more posts soon!