The click of her heels was growing annoying, but she had long ago given up on trying to temper it. Jennifer assumed she was at least halfway through her lipstick by now but she still shamefully gnawed away at her lip, watching the door next to her. Just twenty minutes before, the last candidate before her went inside, all smiles and confidence, expertly greeting the secretary who was helping to conduct the interview. Jen had been staring at her for the better part of an hour, envying how laidback she was while everyone else were all sweaty nerves. It’s almost as if she knew she already had this in the bag.
The thought made Jen’s leg shake harder, her sensible heel pounding into the shiny floor. Thankfully, she was the last person out here, so she did her many nervous antics to her heart’s content, though it didn’t seem to be helping much. Her eyes kept darting to the door, waiting for the knob to turn. The clock on the other side of the room sounded even louder, ticking away the seconds until it was her turn.
Was she even ready? She had to be. She needed this.
At long last the door opened. Jen’s heart started once more, speeding up when the women exited the room. Just like when she entered, she was all smiles, thanking the secretary who was grinning just as broadly.
“It was nice having you, Alexina,” the secretary said, taking her hand.
“Thank you,” Alexina said. Wow, Jen thought, even her voice is perfect. “I hope to hear from you soon.”
Thankfully, the secretary didn’t give anything away on that. Alexina clearly didn’t mind because she walked away with her head held high, not even sparing Jen a glance. A sure sign she was going to get the job.
“Y-yes?” Momentarily distracted by the woman’s retreat, Jen shot to her feet. Her bag nearly slipped out of her hand.
The secretary stepped aside, giving Jen a better view of the inside of the room though all she could see was grey carpeting. “You’re up.”
“Right. Thank you.”
Gripping her bag tightly, Jen cocked her chin and made her way inside. It was exactly how she imagined it would be. A wide room with a large oval desk separating the interviewers from the ones vying for the job. Jen made her way to the only chair on the other side of the table.
“You may sit.”
Jen recognized the speaker instantly. The vice president for social media company XSocial’s main face you see in the news. Happy eyes and a charming personality, Gregory was perfect for being the face of the famous social media company and was first on Jen’s list when doing her research for the interview. He wasn’t looking at her, head down in some papers.
As a matter of fact, none of the three interviewers were paying her any attention, really. Jen took that as her chance to study them, to go over her notes in her head so she wouldn’t mess up and say something stupid. The only other man in the room, Ned, was as average looking as they came, the second vice-president and a man content to keep his life private, save for what little information there was on the company’s website. To the left of him was who Jen recognized as the HR manager, Hellen, an aging woman that looked rather annoyed to be here. They were whispering to each other, Hellen growing increasingly irritated.
Finally, she slammed the folder close and looked up at Jen. Jen’s spine snapped into place. “Jennifer Wilson,” she started. “Thank you for coming.”
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here.” Thank God her hands were hidden underneath the table. She ran them over each other, fiddling with the hem of her skirt under Hellen’s intense stare. The other two were watching her too but seemed content to let her speak first.
“These are our two vice presidents, Ned Borden and Grefory Stiles. I’m Hellen Fairborough, and I’ll be in charge of this interview. Unfortunately, Jennifer, this interviewing session has … run a little late so we won’t be asking you too many questions.”
Jen’s heart sank. They’ve decided to go with the other woman, didn’t they? They’ve already made their choice and were trying to get rid of her as quickly as they could. She struggled to keep the disappointment from her face, instead nodding. “I understand.”
“Good. So, I see that you have a degree in marketing, but you don’t have much experience, other than a couple years as manager for a startup company. Why do you think you’re a right fit for XSocial’s new marketing manager?”
Jen took a moment to respond, sorting through all the good, expected answers she had prepared. But now, faced with the knowledge that they’ve already made their decision, the truth came out before she could stop it. “I need the job.”
Hellen blinked in surprise. “So, does everyone else who came to this interview.”
“You’re right. And they might even be more qualified than me, but I know I can do better than them all if given the chance.”
Hellen leaned back in her chair. The other two are quiet, impassive, not impressed or amused or even the slightest bit interested. But Hellen folded her arms and cocked her head to the side. “Why do you say that?”
Jen opened her mouth to answer, forging ahead before her brain realized what she was doing and stopped her, but before she could get anything out, the door opened.
Jen’s heart stopped at the sight of the man walking in. It was a lot of things at once. It was the realization that this was the company’s president, the elusive Xander Michellan who’ve brought the company to where it stood now. It was the slam in the gut when she took in the slicked back brown hair, the chiseled jaw and the sexiest set of forceps she’d ever seen on a man sticking out of his tight shirt and rolled up sleeves. He strode into the room as if he owned every inch of it. Which he did.
“Gregory.” Gregory sat up at attention at the sight of his boss, then stood. Jen couldn’t take her eyes off him, watching the way he pulled Gregory aside and they began speaking quietly to each other.
“Ms. Wilson?” Jerking, Jen looked back at Hellen. “You were saying something?”
“Oh, yes, right.” She couldn’t help it. Her eyes sought Xander again, but his back was turned to her. His gloriously broad, muscular – “As I said, I need the job. Desperately. And desperate people will do anything they need to, work as hard as they need to, to make sure they aren’t desperate anymore. If given this opportunity there will be no doubting my dedication.”
“There are others with dedication like yours, Ms.Wilson.”
“Perhaps.” Jen shrugged. “But do they have the balls to tell you why?”
Hellen smirked. Jen’s sweaty fingers nearly tore her skirt in two at the sight and hope bloomed in her chest. It was a struggle, but she kept her eyes on Hellen, watching her as she opened her folder and looked at whatever was on top. She closed it again and looked back at Jen. “I like your honesty, Ms. Wilson.”
The hope blossomed into something that consumed her entire body. She thought she managed a smile but couldn’t exactly be sure.
Jen blinked. “Excuse me?”