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Chapter 5 The Offer

  • Mia had her Chromebook open on her lap as she looked through job postings. After the disaster a few hours ago, it was clear to her that she couldn’t let up on the job hunt. The Chromebook was old and didn’t stay connected to the Wi-Fi she was “borrowing” from her neighbor very well, but it was better than looking through the newspaper, which she also did on a regular basis.
  • She was just contemplating contacting a used car dealership, wondering if she could ever really sell cars, when her cell phone rang.
  • Picking it up, she studied the number. It wasn’t familiar to her, and there was no name to let her know who it might be, but she had to answer anyway. It could be one of the other places she’d recently applied to. “Hello?”
  • “May I speak to Mia Eaton, please?”
  • The voice sounded vaguely familiar. It was a middle-aged woman. “This is she.”
  • “Hello, Ms. Eaton. This is Veronica Smithy from Whitaker and Whitaker.”
  • A lump immediately formed in Mia’s throat as she considered she might’ve actually gotten the job. But then reality sunk in and she reminded herself there was no way that was the case. She shook her head and thought about how she was going to thank Ms. Smithy for her kindness in letting her know that she hadn’t been selected. It must take her days to call back everyone in that stack. “Yes?” she said, not sure what else to do to fill the silence.
  • “I’m calling to let you know you’ve been selected to fill the vacancy. Congratulations. Mr. Whitaker is looking forward to having you fill his secretarial needs.”
  • Mia wasn’t sure what to say—she truly hadn’t been expecting that at all. In fact, if someone had asked her five minutes ago what she thought her chances of getting the job where, she would’ve said one in a million. “I got… the job?”
  • “Yes,” Ms. Smithy said in a very matter-of-fact tone. “Now, I will forward your contract to you via courier. You will receive it in an hour or so. Look over it carefully. Read it word for word. Make sure you understand everything that it says. We would like for you to begin working on Monday, but if you need more time to have a lawyer look over the contract, then let us know, and we will give you a few extra days. Do you understand?”
  • “Y—yes,” Mia stammered. How odd. She hadn’t taken a lot of jobs in her time, but she’d never heard of anyone being so thoroughly warned about reading a contract. She didn’t even know a lawyer, and if she did, she wouldn’t be able to afford one.
  • “With your contract, Mr. Whitaker has also decided to send you a gift card in order to ensure your work wardrobe is appropriate to our expectations.”
  • Glancing down at her sweatpants and T-shirt, Mia thought about the outfit she’d warn earlier, the one with the safety pin holding the skirt on. Perhaps she shouldn’t feel offended by the comment, but it stung a little.
  • Ms. Smithy continued. “The prepaid card will be sufficient for you to buy several new outfits, shoes, bags, whatever you need, and all of the items will be yours to keep. You will not have to pay the money you spend back unless you stop working for Whitaker and Whitaker within the first six months. If you should quit early, you’ll be contractually bound to pay back every penny.”
  • “All right,” Mia said. That shouldn’t be a problem. She intended to stay at Whitaker and Whitaker for long term. Even if her salary was the low end of the range, she’d be making far more money than she needed to pay her bills. The idea of making that sort of money had her mind wandering momentarily. She was sitting on a couch her mother had purchased in the mid-‘80s. She’d be able to buy new furniture, even save up for a better place, an apartment closer to work.
  • “Your duties will require some travel as well, so keep that in mind as you make your considerations. Do you have any questions?”
  • Nothing popped into Mia’s mind. “No, ma’am.”
  • “Very well, let me confirm your address, and I’ll send this over. Should questions arise, call me anytime. Unless I hear otherwise from you, I’ll expect to you see you at the office at 9:00 on Monday. You may bring the contract and your other documentation required to begin working here.” Mia knew she meant her identification and that sort of thing.
  • “Okay, thank you,” Mia said, still sounding a little more shocked than she liked.
  • “Miss Eaton, please remember I suggested you read over the documents carefully. If you have questions, the time to ask them is before you sign. Do you understand?”
  • “Yes, thank you.” The warning in her voice seemed so odd, Mia wasn’t sure what to make of it.
  • Ms. Smithy clicked off, and Mia sat her phone down, finally letting herself smile. She couldn’t believe her luck, that she’d actually gotten the job! Not only was this potentially an opportunity for her to work her way up with a great company, but the money was unbelievable.
  • And then there was that guy—the one she’d literally ran into in the hallway….
  • Mia would be lying if she didn’t admit she’d spent most of the afternoon thinking about him. He’d had such beautiful eyes, such an easy smile. She couldn’t remember ever seeing such a sexy man in real life. She’d even caught a whiff of his cologne on her clothes when she’d come home… and spent a few minutes sniffing it before she’d remembered she wasn’t crazy and let it go.
  • Would this job mean she’d get to see him on a daily basis? Mia leaned her head back against the couch and thought about what that might be like. A smile came to her face, and she couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he would be the one she would finally give herself to… all of herself.