Lauren wakes up to the sound of her alarm. She had two hours to get ready for her second shift. She takes a shower, brushes her brunet locks, and puts on her makeup. She keeps thinking about calling the businesswoman aka Debra Artoni. She eats breakfast, cereal and watches some light television.
She finally calls Debra from the number on the card.
“I don’t usually call the numbers people give me, but this one felt important. Felt right,” Lauren says.
“I’m glad to hear that. Think of this as a phone interview. Let’s begin. What’s your name?” Ms. Artoni replies.
“I’m Lauren Caswell.”
“Great, how much experience do you have as a secretary/assistant?”
“Um, assistant? I thought this was about a secretary position?”
“It is, but I’m just starting my new business and I’m also going to need an assistant.”
“Hmm, I don’t know. I was a secretary for five years.”
“It will be simple things like getting me coffee and writing down notes. It’ll be easy. I promise.”
“Okay, if you say so.”
“When can you start?”
“Give me some time to think about this.”
“Take all the time you need, but don’t take too long.”
“I won’t take too long. Give me until next week.”
“Okay,” Debra says.
Lauren hangs up the phone.
She drives to work like normal and thinks about this mysterious offer.
“Should I keep this job or move onto something else? Maybe I should sleep on it tonight.”
Night falls and she leaves work. While driving home from work, she hits a pothole, which wakes her up.
At home, she eats dinner and goes to bed early, hoping for a dream about the job or the woman. She closes her eyes.
She opens them and she’s in an office. She has to answer phones and emails like normal. She looks behind her and sees a glass walled-off office. The door has a plaque that says, “Ms. Artoni”. She pushes the door open.
Ms. Artoni turns around in her swivel chair. “Courtney?” She drops the phone and a flash of light emits from it.
Lauren in Courtney’s body was in shock. Who was Courtney and is this the same Ms. Artoni?
She closes her eyes from the brightness and suddenly, she’s in a coffee shop telling her boss she can’t work for her anymore.
She wakes up and thinks, Who was Courtney? Her orignial assistant? An ex-lover? Or both? And why was she fired or did she quit? I have to find out! Her alarm rings and she thinks about calling Ms. Artoni.
She calls Ms. Artoni on her drive to work.
“Hello, this is Lauren. Can I ask you a question before I give you my answer?”
“Sure, anything,” replies Ms. Artoni.
“What happened to your last assistant?
“Um, that’s a long story I don’t want to get into the details of.”
The line goes dead, “She hung up on me, I will find out what happened!” she shouts to herself.
During her lunch break at work, she decides to search online for “Debra Artoni”. She found an article from the news resource the Moon titled, “US Artoni Fashion Renamed US Fashion”. She read it and it said, “Debra Artoni was fired last year as she had an affair with her assistant. She had to step down as the CEO of US Artoni Fashion. Her assistant Courtney was also fired.” She continued to read, but the rest of article was about stocks and money.
So, she was fired, but what really happened between them? She thinks.
Lauren visits her Lawyer sister in Weston for lunch.
She enters the “Gold and Sacs Law Offices” building.
She waits in the lobby for her sister to walk out of the elevator, while she waits she sees a brunette woman, who she believes to be Courtney. She tries to get her attention, but she doesn’t acknowledge her. Her sister walks out of the elevator.
They walk and talk, “Hey Chelsea, do you know a Courtney, who works in this building?”
“Yeah, she’s the secretary at my firm.”
“Do you know anything about her?”
“I know she used to work at Artoni Fashion. She’s a very private person and doesn’t like to talk about her past.”
They get into a cab.
“Do you could set up a meeting for me with her?”
“She’s a secretary, she sets up meetings.”
“I know but I want to talk to her. Debra Artoni offered me a job at her new clothing store.
“What do you think? Assistant/Secretary.”
“Oh, I heard about her affair with her secretary.”
“Me too, but I want to know why they got fired.”
“I heard it was because they were flirting and it was making the other employees uncomfortable.”
“Is that it?”
“I’m sure there’s more to it. But I’ve tried asking her about it and she doesn’t respond.”
They arrive at the restaurant.
“Table for Caswell,” Chelsea says to the host.
“Right this way, Ms. Caswell.”
They follow the host to their table.
The waitress comes over to their table and they order their drinks.
“So, how should I go about this?”
“You could go up to the office and ask her.”
“I’ll try that-”
“Sorry to interrupt, but have you two decided what you wanted to eat?” The waitress asks kindly.
“I’ll have the Ceaser salad,” Chelsea says.
“And I’ll have the chicken salad,” Lauren says.
“I’ll put those orders in for you,” the waitress says. She walks away.
“So, how’s your boyfriend?” Lauren asks.
“Mark? We broke up a few weeks ago,” Chelsea replies.
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Oh, no, I broke up with him. He was too clingy.”
“Then good riddance.”
“Yeah, I don’t miss him.”
“How did the breakup go down?”
“I told him I needed to tell him something, but it had to be at his house.”
“No, it could’ve been about anything. Anyway, I told him it wasn’t him, it was me…and I broke up with him.”
“We only dated for a few months.”
“Back to the subject at hand, I’d be careful with Debra Artoni she might try to have an affair with you.”
“No — do you — No”
“I doubt that would happen, but you never know.”
The waitress returns with their food and places it on the table.
“Thank you,” the sisters both say.
They eat their salads, Lauren finishes chewing a bite of her salad. “You really think Ms. Artoni would do that?”
“Maybe or she might just need a new assistant,” Chelsea replies.
“Should I accept the job?”
“It’s up to you, but if you decide to accept and she tries something, you know who to call.”
“You? Oh right, you’re a lawyer.”
“Silly sister, you’re lucky you have me.”
They finish their meals and split the bill.
The next day, during her lunch, Lauren drives over to Weston to visit Courtney.
She takes the elevator up to Courtney’s floor and exits it on her stop.
She looks at the directory and finds “Gold and Sacs”. She walks over to their office.
“Do you have an appointment?” Courtney said as Lauren opens the door to the office.
“Uh, no, I wanted to talk to you,” Lauren replies with built-up confidence.
“What is this? Are you from the media?”
“No, your ex-boss offered me a job.”
“Oh, sorry, I’m not dealing with the past anymore. I have to go to lunch.”
“Wait, let me take you out to lunch.”
“What? I left a lunchbox in the breakroom.”
“Alright, I can’t turn down free food- Wait no, I can’t do this. I don’t want to relive the past.”
“Come on, we can go to Veronica’s Diner in Easton.”
“How do you know about Veronica’s?”
“I live in downtown Easton.”
“I used to — ”
“I know, let’s go time’s a-wastin'.”
They walk out of the building and into Lauren’s car. Lauren drives Courtney to Veronica’s Diner.
Upon entering the diner, they notice the place is oddly empty. The hostess walks them to a table and they sit down. They order their drinks.
“Have you decided what you want to eat?” Lauren asks.
“Lies — I mean the cobb salad,” Courtney replies.
“What? I’m going to get the chicken soup.”
“For the soul?”
They both laugh.
“You’ve read that book?” Lauren asked.
“I read when it was high school,” Courtney replies.
The waitress returns and asks, “What are you two havin’?
The women tell the waitress their orders and she writes them down. “Alright, I’ll put those in and they’ll be out soon.”
“So, let’s address the elephant in the room,” Lauren says.
“What do you want to know?” Courtney says in a sarcastic and low tone.
“Did Ms. Artoni ever do anything bad to you?”
“What do you mean?”
“No, we were a couple.”
“She is a beautiful woman.”
“Yes — but she became obsessed with me. She always wanted to see me and be with me.”
“I had no idea. Is that why you broke up with her?”
“No, the company fired us for making out in the bathroom and for making the other employees uncomfortable. She offered me a job at her new retail clothing store, but I declined. I couldn’t do it again.”
The food came and went. Lauren and Courtney went their separate ways. Lauren declined Ms. Artoni’s job offer and stayed at the hair and nail salon. She went to beauty school and got hired at the same salon. Now she cuts hair, but she still wonders what her life had been like if she accepted the job offer.