The door slammed, nearly hitting Anna in the face. She stumbled back.
Shit shit shit shit shit.
She couldn't keep her mouth shut, could she?
When the man had walked into the board room, she had presumed he was from Arendelle Corp. She had wanted to be friendly. Start some chatter. Make a good impression.
"It's such a nice day, wish we didn't have to spend it inside at a meeting," she had said as she closed the blinds.
"It's an important meeting." The man set his briefcase down on the table and began to remove his coat.
"True," she said. She began to lay out the folders with Arendelle's proposal in front of each chair. "But don't you think we ought to be dealing with another company? I mean, really." She gave a little snort of derision.
"I'm not sure I know what you mean."
"Oh, didn't you see the article in the paper? About those factories in India?" Anna had watched the news report online, too. A well informed business woman like herself had to be right on top of the latest news, especially when it came to her company's business partners.
She left out saying that she'd had a good cry after reading it, though.
"Yes, I've seen the article."
"I know hotels need to have towels, but is it really necessary for them to come from exceptionally poor sweatshops? I can't imagine the sort of person who would willingly put profit over the welfare of thousands of people who are just trying to earn a living. Probably some sort of monster. Like a moustache twirling villain from an old cartoon."
"Indeed." For some reason, he hadn't sounded all that impressed.
Probably should have left out the moustache twirling villain.
At that moment, the door had opened. Her boss had come in, and said,
"I've seen you already met Mr. Rotmeir, Ms. Summers."
Mr. Rotmeir. Of Burst & Rotmeir. International leaders in the sale of linens. Sweatshop profiteer.
And now she could hear yelling on the other side of the door as her boss shouted into the phone, demanding that she be fired at once. He hadn't seen Anna's point when she told him about the children who worked in those sweatshops.
She went back to her desk and stared at the in-tray for a while before deciding that there was no point in trying to get anything done. She would be out of a job in half an hour or less. She pulled out her phone and began to play Angry Birds.
"You better take care of it!" she heard Mr. Hargreaves shout and then the bang of the handset being slammed into the cradle. She tensed, but he didn't come out of his office.
Less than ten minutes later a man stepped into her office. She hadn't met him before. He could be from main office, for the meeting, but she wasn't going to make the same mistake twice in one day. She kept her mouth shut and her eyes fixed on the green triangular bird on her phone.
"Are you Ms. Summers?"
"Yes." She glanced up.
"Hans Sorlig," he said, holding out a hand. "Vice-president of financing, from head office."
Hans. She tried not to giggle.
Hans was tall and red haired. She always liked red hair on other people – maybe it was just ginger pride leaking through. His hair would be fantastic in any colour, however. It was fluffy and windswept looking and he had fantastic sideburns that framed a strong jaw.
Hans is Hans-som.
She giggled a little bit as she took his hand. Was it possible to fall in love with a head of hair?
"Mr. Hargreaves asked me to come talk with you."
The giggles died.
He sat down on the chair on the opposite side of her desk, pushing the in-tray out of the way. She gave a tiny smile, bracing herself for severe sacking that she was about to receive. Hans smiled in return, leaning back in the chair and putting his hands behind his head.
"So I was thinking," he said slowly, "that this is less about an out of place comment, and more about personalities."
"Personalities?" she repeated. Was this how people were fired now-a-days?
"Yes. Mr. Hargreaves needs a PA who doesn't get in the way of his enormous ego. A sit by quietly sort of person. That-" he flashed brilliant white teeth with another smile, "is not you."
"I told the head of a business partner that I thought they were a moustache twirling villain." She was arguing. Why was she arguing? She didn't want to get sacked.
"We were all thinking it," Hans said with a laugh. "Those news reports – that kind of honesty isn't appreciated by everyone, but I still think that there's a place for you in this company."
"So are you looking for an assistant who never shuts up?" That was her. All over.
He laughed. "Sadly, no. I have a PA. I have a much better fit in mind for you."
"What do you mean?" she asked. She was waiting for him to shout "Fooled ya! You're so fired." It was bound to happen. No sane company would keep her.
"Ms. Arendelle is currently looking for a PA, and something tells me that you – you are perfect for each other."
"Ms. Arendelle?" she asked. She was trying to remember all the Arendelle's she knew. There was only one. "Elsa Arendelle? The CEO of Arendelle corp.?"
"The Ice Queen herself?" She said it, and instantly clapped her hands over her mouth. It might have been a company nick-name that everyone used, but it was still not a good thing to say when you were talking to someone who wanted to promote you.
Hans' smile didn't falter. "That's the one."
She lowered her hands slowly. She searched his eyes. They were wide, sparkling, and honest.
"What do you say?"
"You're promoting me?"
"Absolutely." He was smiling again. Great big white perfect teeth set in a wide mouth.
On her first day, she was handed a key by the security guard, told to go to the top floor and then left to her own devises.
It had been a long weekend. The promotion had meant moving to another city, for one thing, and she wasn't quite sure how Hans managed to convince the landlord to let her in quite so quickly in the middle of the month. And she'd only taken enough clothes for the week, a blow up mattress and canned food with her. (Minus can-opener and fork, which she had to go buy).
She set her purse down on the desk, and looked around. There was no light coming through the frosted window in the door marked 'Elsa Arendelle'.
Okay. Boss isn't here yet. Need to be productive.
Tickler files. Every office that Anna had ever been in had them. As she liked to call it "list of shit to do." She could make a good impression by getting tasks done before she even met 'The Ice Queen' of Arendelle Corp. She would show her that she wasn't a horrible spaz and actually knew how to do her job.
She went to the desk and began to open drawers at random. It seemed to have a million of them (okay, well, ten) but she couldn't really figure out why. It had been emptied of everything – there wasn't even a stapler, let alone a drawer with folders of things-to-do.
In the bottom drawer she found a pack of gum. She popped one in her mouth and looked around from her sprawled out position on the floor.
Filing cabinet, she thought. The files would be in a huge one that probably took up half the wall.
Except there was no filing cabinet taking up half the wall. There was no filing cabinet at all. What kind of office didn't have a filing cabinet?
She hauled herself back into the chair, glad no one had caught her sitting on the floor. Okay, maybe there was a very descriptive email in her inbox that told her exactly what she should be doing.
The sleek, silver laptop looked like it cost more than Anna's monthly salary. She pried it open and was immediately prompted for a security code. She typed in her password.
Security Code Incorrect.
She tried again. Then again, watching her fingers type each letter and number, then counting the little dots to make sure there was the right number.
Security Code Incorrect. Access Denied. Please wait for technical support.
It didn't give her the option to try again.
Well, that was just perfect. She got up to look around elsewhere while her computer called its mummy to make it better.
She went to the door of her boss's office. She jiggled the handle. Locked.
She pulled out her keys. Just a quick poke around, to see if I can find anything that tells me what I should be doing...
She nearly jumped out of her skin, dropping her keys and whacking her hand on the door in her haste to turn around.
"I'm Olaf! Nice to meet you. You must be Anna."
She barely had time to take in pale skin, oversized glasses, and rumpled black hair before she was pulled into a crushing hug.
"Ah... Hi." She said, unsure of how to respond. Was this normal? Was head office full of crazy hugging people?
"Olaf Mann," he said. He released her, but immediately grabbed her hand and started to shake it vigorously.
"Anna Summers," she said, he entire body wobbling with the handshake. It felt like he was going to rip her arm off.
"I'm the I.T. guy around here," he said. He finally released her hand and she flexed her finger. He adjusted the strap on a large purple duffel bag on his shoulder.
"If you need to hack into anybody's computer, I'm the guy to call!" He giggled at his own joke.
"Hehe..." she laughed, feebly. "So... you were really fast getting up here."
He looked blank, she pointed to the computer.
"Oh." He pulled a phone out of his pocket and checked it. A red indicator light in the corner was flashing. "You weren't trying to hack into the system, were you?" he asked, with another giggle. He pressed some buttons on his phone and the red light went out. The computer returned to the normal log-in screen.
"No. I was looking for the tickler files. You don't happen to know where the filing cabinet is up here, do you?"
"You know... for all the paper files..."
"Uhhh..." He couldn't be serious. There was no way he was serious. "That stuff... where words go..."
He glanced at the computer. Then his face lit up, like he was remembering something. "Oh, yeah, paper," he tittered at the idea. Anna had never even though the word 'titter' before, but there was no other way to describe it. "I haven't seen paper in years. We do everything on the computer here."
"But... you can't... signing things..."
"Oh, yeah!" He rummaged in his duffel bag. He pulled out a tablet and a stylus. "Sign here!"
"What? Why?" she asked. He pressed the stylus into her hand.
"We need to set up your digital signature in the system. Good!" He stowed the tablet back in his bag. "Can I see your phone?" he asked.
"Okay..." Anna said slowly. She reached into her pocket to pull out the iPhone that she had saved for a month to buy. He took it between two fingers, holding it like it was a soiled diaper. "Why do you-" she cut off with a yelp when he dropped it in the waste-paper bin.
"What are you doing!" she cried.
"This is your phone now," he said, holding out a BlackBerry.
"Technically, but I like to call it the OlafBerry. I cracked it to make it more secure."
"You cracked it?"
"Uh-huh." He nodded cheerfully, clearly pleased with himself.
"To make it more secure?"
"Uh-huh." Still quite happy.
"And that doesn't seem... counter-intuitive to you?"
Shake of a head. "Nope." Completely sincere.
"Alllllrighty then." She was beginning to think there was something wrong with the IT guy. Well, maybe not wrong. It didn't seem right to label it as 'wrong' when someone was happy about everything. She retrieved her iPhone.
"You really don't need that anymore. It's not secure enough and doesn't have enough power for making Elsa's schedule."
"I have three stars on all but four levels of Angry Birds. I'll keep it as a personal line."
Olaf shook his head, but didn't protest any further. "You need a personal phone, anyway. I just don't know why you would choose such an overpriced, hyped up toy phone over a real piece of technology."
The answer was Angry Birds. She wasn't going to tell him that.
"This - " he waved the BlackBerry again, "is your Elsa phone."
"Only two people have the number – myself, and Elsa. If that phone rings, you pick it up. It's your boss calling with very important business. Even if it's the middle of the night, you answer it."
"So what – it's like my Bat Signal?"
"What's a bat signal?"
She waited for some sign that the pale guy was joking. Weren't IT guys exactly the sort of people who not only knew about the bat signal, but possibly had recreations of it in their basements made out of toothpicks?
He wasn't joking.
"Okay. I'm going to set up all your new access passwords and get you into the system."
She eventually just lay down right on the area rug. It was a very thick rug, and Olaf was taking a long time. He had spread out two phones, a tablet, his own laptop and her laptop on the desk. He was talking and giggling to himself, or possibly to the computers.
"Now I've just got to set up the password for the schedules," he said to her after a while.
"Isn't it secure enough with one password for the computer and another for all the files?"
"Oh, no. See, you don't just have Elsa's schedule on here, you have everyone's here, in-case Elsa needs to call a major meeting."
She sat up, propping herself on her elbow.
"All the schedules?"
"Every single one in the whole company."
"So, like, I could schedule say..." she grinned, "my old boss to go to Greenland."
"Uh-huh," he said, missing her tone, "I didn't know we had any business partners in Greenland."
She started laughing like an evil villain. "Oh, good. One of these days, I am going to make that sucker pay for trying to fire me and-"
Anna started at Olaf's enthusiastic greeting. She looked around. From her position on the floor, the first thing she saw were the stilettos. They were ice blue and were saying the wearer wasn't afraid of anything, especially not grates in the street. Up Anna's gaze went, over long legs clad in crisp white pants, a white jacket over a ruffled shirt that matched her shoes perfectly, up to the most perfect face that Anna had ever seen. High, round cheek bones, gorgeous blue eyes framed by long black lashes.
And her hair. Platinum blond. Twisted and piled on the back of her head with the most adorable bangs in the world. If Anna met this woman in a bar, she would have swept those pretty bangs out of her eyes, dragged her out on the dance floor and seen whether she could convince her to spend the rest of the night with those long legs wrapped around her.
But this wasn't a bar.
This was an office.
That was her boss.
Anna was laying on the floor, propped up on one arm, and openly ogling her boss.