if you haven’t read part one, scroll past this one and read that first–it’s from this morning. THEN come back and read this. Trust me, it will make better sense that way. 🙂
She pushed through the glass doors, relieved that two of her finals were now behind her. A quick glance at her watch had her biting her lip…could she grab a coffee before heading uptown? If the trains were on time she’d be early. If the trains were a little late she’d be right on time. But if there was any glitch she’d be late, and she doubted that Mr.
She paused, frowning.
Why, she hadn’t even gotten his name. It had been the strangest interview she’d ever been on. She’d had fast ones –‘can you throw fries in the fryolator? yes? here’s your apron, get to work’–and slow ones, but none that were so random. She blushed as she walked past the coffee shop, remembering the bit about her waiting for Mr. Right, and being a virgin and all that. How embarrassing. She wasn’t even sure how it all came up, based on talking about school. She did hope that she could get back in time to cram for her math final. She had a great if not stellar GPA, but if she did well on that exam it would bump a notch or two. Steinham and Sons had a good reputation, and if this wackadoo job interview today didn’t pan out, she could perhaps intern at Steinham’s. That meant no pay, but at least an entre into a possible job. She’d been there twice, missing both paid positions since she was still in school. It was depressing, actually, to walk into the imposing edifice. All hard edges, the post-modern building was nothing short of bleak. Black and white, crisp lines, it had none of the magic of the teal-walled rainbow room she’d stood in yesterday, awestruck.
She hadn’t realized that she’d walked all the way to the subway depot in her reverie. There was certainly something magical about that Gothic house. Seeing she had time to have a quick lunch, she chose a hot dog from the vendor on the corner, and a cola. It wasn’t iced coffee but it would do. A bench facing the park would be a nice place to eat and relax before she headed off to interview, part two.
This time the door chime didn’t startle her as she pulled on the strange door ‘knocker’. Once again the young bland man opened the door, his smile a bit faster this time.
“Welcome back, Miss,” he greeted her. He paused for a moment when she did, tilting her head back to take in the stunning crystal ‘falls’, smiling at her wonder as she tried to see every refracted rainbow.
“This room is so…amazing. That’s too bland a word, though. Stunning. Thrilling. I could sit here all day and just…” she took a slow, deep breath, feeling peace soak into her. Her nerves about interview two faded away.
“This way, Miss, mustn’t keep him waiting.”
Reluctantly she followed, pausing as he opened the heavy wooden door. Once more she stepped into near darkness, moving of her own accord to stand in the single pool of light.
“So, you arrive, undaunted.”
“Yes, Sir. And I am afraid you rather dazzled me yesterday.”
“No stuttering today either. An appreciable improvement.”
“This place is…”
“This place is not what is interviewing you. We shall talk more of that later. Can you swim?”
“I am fond of the water. You have noted the foyer twice now, and been quite captivated I’m told. That tells me that you have some affinity for water. I wondered if it applied to swimming in it or merely standing at the shore and looking.”
“I’m definitely an in-the-water kind of girl.”
“Do you cook?”
“If it’s frozen.”
There was a deep laugh from across the room.
“Girl, that is not cooking. But you are not being hired to be a chef.”
A smile passed across her face.
“You’re pretty when you smile. You should do it more often.”
“Again with the sexist comments? Why does it matter if I’m pretty?”
There was a heavy sigh.
“Are you a radical feminist? Is it never okay for a man to note a woman is attractive?”
“Well….no…but it should be important for the job.”
“It isn’t. Merely a comment that you have a lovely smile. From here on out I can refer to you as unattractive if that pleases you.”
She could not hold back the giggles.
“Ah, finally, a glimpse of your sense of humor, another important quality. You’ll find, girl, that I prefer a more well-rounded companion to work for me.
She wondered how that explained the young man who answered the door. He was pretty bland, unless there was more to him than met the eye. Maybe he did stand-up in his livery? She smiled again.
“Something else amuses you?”
“I must insist that you tell me. I have a firm policy about honesty.”
“There now. Your stutter seems to have returned.”
“I *don’t* stutter.”
“All evidence to the contrary.”
“I was just thinking about the boy who answered the door. He didn’t seem to have a sense of humor.”
“Each person here has their own role. Henry plays the piano like an angel, and is an accomplished cook. He also likes to dress up now and again. The little play-acting as my butler amuses him.”
Ah. So there was more to him. She shook her head. She was surrounded by some very odd people.
The light over her switched off, another moved her deeper into the room. She stepped into it, and it went out, with another popping on, reminding her of musical chairs. She shook her head.
“You are very obedient. That will serve you well here. Closer now.”
She stepped into the next light even as it popped off. And shrieked as something cold and wet encircled her waist, trapping her hands there, before crossing over her breasts, and rising to caress her lips.