Getting Back on Track
The sky light up as a bolt of lightning tore through the sky striking something in the distance. The rain seemed to come down harder. For the past year and a half it felt like a huge rain cloud had been following her around. Constantly pounding down on her.
(knock knock knock KNOCK)
Giggling could be heard even from the outside. The teenager's eyes lit up with hope, knowing that particular giggle very well. She had finally found them!
"Oh! Stop!" Aerith giggled again. "Really, Zack stop. I think someone's at the door." Aerith pushed Zack's face away from her neck. He licked his warm, red lips and grinned. "C'mon, Airy… I've been waiting now for over five mon…" His ears perked up as he too finally heard the knocking. "Guess you're right…" She smiled and planted a quick peck on the tip of his nose before sliding off her vanity desk that Zack had her propped up on. She hummed lightly as she skipped down the hallway in her long pink night gown. She swiftly crossed the living room to the front door and looked a bit shocked upon seeing a sopping wet Yuffie standing at her door. She hadn't seen Yuffie since her last days of high school. Yuffie being the baby of the group was merely a freshman when Aerith, Zack, Cloud, and Tifa were seniors. But, through her first year of high school she took up with the group and became a key part of them. During her sophomore year she kept close contact with the group, but as they began to spread apart and move on with their now adult lives, she began to feel left out. That left her feeling very torn and slowly she found herself being dragged down into the wrong crowd.
Aerith stared at her once luminous, cheerful friend who always had some sort of bright yellow or orange piece of clothing on. Yuffie stood before her completely dressed in black, black eyeliner running down her face, and her black hair which she had let grow out to her shoulders hung in wet clumps around her face. Her left eye was blacked, and there was a small cut on her chin. "Yuffie!?" Aerith finally squeaked out.
"Long time no see, huh?" Aerith was relieved to hear the slight spunk that was left in her childish sounding voice. Taking a deeper look, Aerith could tell that under all the makeup and dark clothes, Yuffie hadn't really changed much physically at all.
"Y..yeah Yuffie, come in come in! What have you been up to?" Aerith finally broke out of her trance. Zack came around the corner and had the same reaction she did initially.
"Do I really look that bad?" Yuffie asked turning to the mirror that hung in between two pictures on the wall. Zack had just got this apartment, and Aerith (though she still actually lived with her mother) came over and decorated it just as femininely as possible. Yuffie wiped away the black eyeliner with the sleeve of her long sleeved shirt.
"What's up?" Zack asked. He stood there shirtless wearing only his long black pajama shorts.
"My old man kicked me out. Says if I don't wanna follow his rules then I can't live under his roof. Of course when he said that I was like 'Fine I won't,' and next thing I know I'm packing my bags and moving in with my boyfriend. Little did I know that stupid prick had other girlfriends that he had promised could move in and the next thing I know I'm getting attacked by a group of six foot tall sluts." Yuffie explained flailing her arms around.
"Shit, Yuffs..." Zack said crossing his arms. "What's been going on at MHS?" (Midgar High school.)
"A whole lotta nothing. Without you guys it's just been so…" Yuffie stopped herself noticing that she was almost about to get emotional! She shook that off and smiled. "So lame! You guys were like the coolest clique. Zack! Without you and Cloud the football team is complete crap! We haven't won not one single game!" She threw her arm out and gave him a wet punch on the shoulder. He laughed and ruffled her hair in return.
"What can I say?" he flexed his muscles causing Aerith to giggle.
"Stop that." She said giggling.
"It's nice to see that you guys lasted. You know how it is sometimes when couples graduate high school." Yuffie said grinning as she looked back and forth from Zack to Aerith.
They turned to each other and exchanged smiles.
Over the next couple of weeks, Zack allowed Yuffie to crash there at his place. There was only about four weeks left of Yuffie's junior year and her plan was to work hard during the summer to save up and get her own apartment. In the meantime after school and on the weekends, Yuffie did do a lot of job searching.
Rock music blared from the stereo as Yuffie prepared herself in the bathroom. Yuffie stared at herself in the mirror without her dark makeup and her hair pulled back nicely. Now that she had found Zack and Aerith again there would be no need for her to dress a certain way to fit in with anyone. She had her friends again. Cloud and Tifa had gone off to the University of Junon, but even they would be home for the summer so finally Yuffie would have the support again that she needed to keep her head above water.
Aerith let Yuffie borrow one of her sleeveless pink blouses and a long white skirt with pink flowers on it. Yuffie felt awkward in all the pink, but didn't have a choice she needed a job. One of the most successful fashion magazines in all of Gaia was headquartered there in Midgar. Just recently, because of so many robberies and loss of money from dishonest employees, the company shut down all of its individual stores and placed all the merchandise under a single, very well secured warehouse. Now the only way to buy the clothes was through the use of a call center. An ad went out calling for young, friendly female employees willing to answer the phones and take orders. Being that the magazine is so popular they would need around three hundred employees as to where at least a hundred and fifty people would be available to take orders at all times.
Cloud and Tifa, knowing they would be in Midgar for the summer had already scored jobs in the warehouse. Tifa would be a packer, and Cloud would be a shipper making the deliveries.
For all the ladies on the phones, an interview was required so they could make sure they had the voice, not to mention the computer skills for the job. Yuffie was relieved to see when she arrived at the building that there were nearly thirty other girls standing around in the same position she was. Two older ladies who looked like they were in charge breezed by whispering back and forth.
"The president's going to be upset, there's no way we'll get all these girls interviewed today." One said.
"May as well just start letting girls through…"
"If we hire someone who's not qualified it's our asses getting chewed. Did you not read the letter?"
Yuffie watched the two ladies in black suits pass by her. Part of her just wanted to walk right back out. This place seemed way too uptight for someone like her. But money was on her mind and the starting pay was 15 gil an hour. She would merely have to work 25 hours a week for three weeks to have enough to get an apartment. She said a silent prayer to all the gods in Gaia to help her get the job. She opened her eyes again and looked around at the place. There were fake plants in expensive looking vases everywhere. The floors in the lobby area were marble down the hall and in each of the rooms was all grey carpeting. In the room she stood in there were leather couches and a huge maroon colored floor rug. There was a small TV in the room but it was on mute.
The two ladies in charge began calling out names and sending more girls on interviews. It seemed like each time they sent two or three girls out, five more walked in. Yuffie was getting impatient and let out a sigh.
"Makes you wonder if it's really worth it…" A monotone voice said from behind her. She turned to see a red headed girl, shorter than her standing there. The girl looked up at her with a vacant expression. "Doesn't it?" she asked.
"You got that right." Yuffie said crossing her arms. Yuffie squinted as she looked at the girl. "Hey, how old are you?"
"I'll be nineteen soon." She said glancing up at Yuffie.
"And I thought I looked young." Yuffie said turning back around to face the ladies up front. She watched as the blond lady answered her phone and her face went pale. Her and her brunette partner exchanged panicked expressions after she hung up the phone.
About a half an hour later the girl Yuffie spoke to was called. Suddenly it seemed if more girls were being called at a faster rate. Then finally it was Yuffie's turn.
"All the way to the tenth floor." A lady said nearly pushing Yuffie into the elevator. Yuffie didn't carry a purse so she clutched her ID card and a single chewed up pin in her hands. She panicked once she saw the elevator nearing the tenth floor. Then where?! Shit I'm going to be lost… she thought. However, when the doors parted her panicking stopped. The tenth floor consisted of a single room which happened to be the office of the president. Yuffie then began to wonder. She did say tenth floor, didn't she!? Why am I here with the president!?
Unlike the bright lit rooms downstairs, this room was dimly lit. The dark grey curtains were pulled shut, blinds closed. There was not a single picture on the wall except for a few framed certificates. The floors in this office were a hard, black tile. Yuffie's tiny heeled white sandals clicked softly as she took her first steps out of the elevator. Ahead of her was a black desk with a huge computer screen sitting on the corner. A man sat there with long ebony hair. She couldn't see his face for he was bent forward scribbling notes down on a piece of paper. He was doing this so intently he hadn't appeared to even notice Yuffie standing there. There was no chair for Yuffie to sit at before his desk so she merely stood there waiting for the man to fix his attention up on her. Her patience had already been spread thin so it only took about five seconds for her to open her mouth to speak.
"Just a moment." The man said before she could even make a sound. Suddenly as if she wasn't already nervous enough, she felt her knees grow week. She'd never heard such a deep, but smooth voice like that before. It aroused her terribly and it had already been a month since she'd done anything. Great Yuffie, first day here and you're already thinking about screwing the freakin president. What have I turned into!?! Yuffie's face twisted into a frown as she stared up at the ceiling. In just one year out of the safety of her clique she turned from the innocent young virgin to what others would consider a slut. Losing touch with her closest friends left her starving for acceptance elsewhere.
She looked down quickly noticing the man had moved. He swiveled his chair to the left and picked up the phone. "Bring me an extra chair." He almost growled into the phone. No wonder he had all these women running around so uptight. Growing up with a father like Godo, there was nothing Yuffie hated more than a man who attempted to control women with fear. It was disgusting.
Instantly feeling defensive, Yuffie crossed her arms and looked to the side at a mannequin in the corner wearing a silver dress. "You're the president, right? Do you actually design the clothes?" Yuffie's curiosity got the best of her, not to mention the silence in the room was uncomfortable.
"Did you not read the brochure you were given at the orientation?" the man asked not even granting Yuffie with a glance. Yuffie didn't bother to tell him that no one had given her a damn thing to read. She remembered seeing some people holding a brochure but evidently with so many girls showing up they'd run out of them. Yuffie sighed softly. 15 gil an hour was worth keeping her mouth shut no matter how much she wanted to make this man feel like an idiot. The elevator doors opened with a ding, and a lady franticly pushed a chair through the doors. "I want to know who organized these interviews and I want them fired." His crimson eyes glared into the woman's pale face in such a way that Yuffie half expected the woman to turn to stone right there.
"Yes, sir." She said in a breathy voice before hurrying out of his office, nearly twisting her ankle in her high heels as she did so.
"Have a seat." The president said waving his hand towards the black computer chair. Yuffie sat down and handed him her ID card. He held the card closed to his eyes examining every detail about her. The then turned towards his computer and began typing.
"I don't have a criminal record or anything, if that's what you're looking for." Yuffie said with a laugh. The man merely grunted and continued browsing the details he brought up in his computer.
"You have no job experience?" he asked sending her a short glance. By his tone Yuffie could tell that detail didn't impress him at all. Not to mention he was in a terrible mood at having to help out with the interviewing. What was the point in hiring interviewers? He thought. Too much money had been wasted already.
"No…, but everyone's gotta start somewhere." Yuffie smiled. She didn't bother looking at him, since he wasn't looking at her. She did her best to speak in her friendliest of voices. The man sighed deeply before turning his computer screen towards her and pushing the keyboard near her.
Yuffie looked up at the screen and immediately understood she would be expected to take a typing test. Coming out of keyboarding class just last semester, she wasn't the least bit worried. She pulled the keyboard closer to her with a smile and began her test.
The president watched her fingers as she typed quickly. He hadn't expected her to do as well as she did, but once she finished he handed her a packet of papers to fill out. Yuffie filled them out to the best of her ability and signed the final contract, dotting her i's with hearts. Mr. Valentine took the papers from her scanning over them briefly to make sure every blank was filled.
"Speak to the lobbyist on your way out. She'll make an employee ID for you." He said gruffly before turning his attention back to a stack of papers on his desk.
"What!? I'm hired!?" Yuffie shrieked standing up.
Mr. Valentine sighed heavily and held his already throbbing head. "Get out of my office or I'll make your first day your last."
Yuffie was too happy to let his comment get to her. She snatched her ID and her chewed pen off his table and sprinted out of his office in her high heels. Nothing could go wrong now, she had her friends, a great paying job, and summer vacation was in a month! Yuffie beamed harder than she had in nearly a year. Finally her life was back on track.
Vincent Valentine drove his tiny, but expensive black and silver vehicle through the gates to his mansion. It was well past 1 A.M. There were more young ladies in Midgar desperate for work that he'd imagined. Interviewing personally wasn't such a bad thing, he decided. He could read people very well and weeded out the conniving, weasel type right off the bat. There was nothing he needed more than a bunch of greedy dishonest people ready to put his company further into debt.
He sighed heavily as he walked into the entry way of his house. The first five by five square foot of space in his house was for shoes and coats. He kicked his shiny black shoes off under the shoe shelf and threw and placed his hat on the coat rack before walking into the next room of his house. Lucrecia sat there at the table with thousands of papers around her. She was the designer of the clothes and did all the promotion. She spent a lot of time away taking her special made pieces to fashion shows in different parts of the planet.
"Hard day, honey? I heard that heavy sigh all the way in here." She said looking up at him with a smile that instantly eased every bit of stress he felt at the moment. He smiled in return and leaned forward to plant a chaste kiss on her lips. A rare moment of intimacy between the two.
"I just want everything to work out perfectly this time. You work too hard on these designs." He said. Lucrecia smiled. She always felt a bit guilty at how hard Vincent worked for her. Owning a fashion company was the furthest thing from Vincent Valentine's future plans than anything, but he threw away all his plans to make her happy.
"You better not be too hard on those ladies up there. I know you too well." She spoke pointing her pencil at him.
He smiled again, something his employees had never witness. "I won't."
Lucrecia smirked at him before continuing with her drawings. Knowing there would be no more conversation while she was in work mode; Vincent made his way to the master bedroom to get some rest that he would need for the next day. He felt a little more at ease knowing that he was now in full control of the company and as far as he is in charge there would be no more problems.
Authors Notes: by the way when I titled this story The Business, I was thinking about the song by Yung Berg and Casha. Lol that should give you a clue where this story's headed.