Why do I always get the feeling I'm not welcome in my job? Oh yes, that's it!
Nobody says anything to me. From the moment I step in the lobby it's evident, as I'm nudged away from the elevator like always. My vision blurred by wisps of mile long blonde extensions being flicked harshly over the designer clad shoulders of the other females in my office. As I'm 'shoo-d' to the stairs, all 197 of them, my hopes of gaining a place in the stylish elevator are crushed all over again. I sigh heavily as I begin the steep climb to the 8th floor.
I never understood why the other people in my office didn't warm to me. I tried and tried, volunteering to cover shifts that some were unable to swap. I made thousands of cups of coffee just to try and gain a simple 'thank you'.
I haven't heard a single thank you since I started working here, 13 long months ago. Now I just linger in the silence of the room and try to keep my head down. I have struggled for too long to gain some limelight, some gleaming hope that I would be treated as the adult I am. 40 stairs behind me and I decide to stop daydreaming myself into oblivion and just trudge the rest of my way to the black hole that is my office space.
Tens of men in suits barge past me swinging their briefcases and never apologising when they fly back and smack heavily against my ass or jab me in the thighs. My unbearable but compulsory heels are making my toes numb and the balls of my feet burn already. By the time I reach the last few steps I am clutching my own brown leather satchel style briefcase tightly in my palm, hoping I repaired the clasp efficiently enough to hold my personal work and professional work safe inside.
Amateur photography is a slight hobby of mine I am constantly embarrassed to admit. I saved up with my first few paycheques and bought myself my own SLR. It truly is my baby and I wish I could have it with me at all times, but I knew better than to bring something that valuable to me into this building. A vision of it being shoved out of my hands and falling down every one of these 197 steps causes a shudder to reverberate through my bones.
And it was that very shudder than reminded me why I shouldn't daydream in this building. Before I could focus on reality, it smacked me directly in the face... or the back of my knee to be accurate.
My aching feet only needed to climb two more steps before it happened. A short man in a pinstripe scuffed looking suit whirled around me and began descending the stairs with vigour muttering on his iphone. He held a heavy bashed up old briefcase in his hairy hand tightly, swinging of its own volition. That was until it came into contact with the back of my stocking clad knee.
The bottom corner of the briefcase thumped against the back of my leading knee, something sharp snagging my stocking easily and pushing through the soft skin where it hit. I yelped in pain before realising my knee was pushed from underneath me. My hands instinctively flew up to protect my face from the marble stairs causing my own briefcase to slide along the lobby of the 8th floor, the clasp smashing against the floor and scratching the expensive finish. My photographs and paperwork sliding further across the lobby to my horror.
My bony knees fell on the stairs with a sickening crunch and the pain that radiated through my thighs took my breath away. My hands finally came into contact with the lobby floor and my eyes squeezed tightly at the aching pain inside me. I whimpered and felt tears rise to my eyes my makeup already seeping into my eyes making them sting uncomfortably.
It took me longer than expected to realise that the lobby floor twitched under my right hand. Wait, what?! Twitched?! My eyes flew open and my jaw dropped as I realised my hand was on a very professionally polished designer brogue shoe. Ignoring the burning pain I was experiencing I hesitantly looked up to see who I had landed on. Really... I wish I hadn't.
Out of anybody in the office, why did it have to be him? The man who has treated me with icy contempt since the first day I started in this godforsaken job. CEO of this floor and otherwise terrifying boss, Edward Anthony Cullen. I gasped loudly when I saw his eyes looking down into mine. I had never seen such heat in them, they were almost black, his breathing laborious and his chest rising and falling faster than I'd ever seen before, his jaw unrecognisably tense.
I heard a slight rattling of expensive pens next to my head and I realised just how close my head was to his custom made briefcase, the source of the rattling. It was then when I also realised just how close my head was to his extremely impressive bulge. There can't have been more than 3 inches between the tip of my nose and the tip of his... you guess where I'm going with this. I was momentarily hypnotised by the prospect of actually seeing the hidden package in front of me when I heard an uncomfortable grunt from above. My head flew up automatically, my mouth falling open and my tongue coming out to wet them before pulling my bottom lip in between my teeth. His posture had changed dramatically. His whole body was now undeniably tense, his shoulders hunched over and the rattling in his briefcase louder. He choked out a tense, violent cough and I scurried to my feet to avoid any further embarrassment.
Forgetting the throbbing ache in my knees I attempted to step confidently on the lobby floor but a tiny crack in my knee prevented the swift movement and my hand swiped out in front of me, catching his briefcase and shoving it from his tight grip, our hands brushing minutely. I could swear I heard a faint hissing sound before a louder grunt and thundering footsteps in the direction I had fallen. I fell on my side on the lobby floor, my legs still dangling over the edge of the stairs. I grunted and whimpered as my hips landed heavily on the hard floor, my eyes wandering panicked to see where his briefcase had landed.
And it couldn't have landed in a worse place. His extremely expensive and let's not forget, custom, briefcase had skidded over to mine, papers flying out and the leather exterior grazing against the makeshift clasp on my briefcase, which regrettably sliced through the leather like a knife through butter. I gasped in horror and scrambled across the floor, staggering as I tried to stand and hissing when my knees made any contact with anything. I reached out to help him but as soon as my hand came within an inch of the mixed paperwork on the floor he viscously swiped away.
"Don't even bother" he grunted angrily
I tried again and he grabbed my wrist harshly and physically threw my hand aside, causing me to lose balance and land with a thump on my ass, my tight pencil skirt not allowing me to save the thousandth fall of the morning. I whimpered at the ache in my hip and a few disobedient tears fell onto my cheeks.
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to ruin your morning, I jus-" I struggled to speak through my sobs
A deep gasp stopped my sentence in its wake and I tentatively looked up to the haunting eyes of my boss. Following the line of his eyes I saw my knees for the first time causing me to gasp also. Even through my opaque black stockings you could see the red swollen skin of my knees and the purplish bruises bursting to the surface.
I lifted them instinctively to hide them from his glare, the stinging sensation burning my core. I averted my gaze, beginning to stack the paperwork on the floor so I could run from here and hide in the toilet for the rest of the day. A second deep gasp brought me out of my reverie and I looked once again to see his eyes were lingering where my knees were once placed. A deep streak of blood was smeared across the pristine floor.
"Fuck" I muttered under my breath, I could see his penetrating gaze from my periphery but before I could stop myself I flopped onto my side, avoiding any further impact on my bulging kneecaps and threw my sparkling white shirt sleeve on the dark smear.
"What are you doing?!" out of nowhere Cullen's gruff voice made me jump and only spurred me on to mop up the blood more.
"I'm sorry I'll get it all clean, I'm sorry please don't fire me" I started sobbing at the prospect of not being able to afford my rent.
"Why wou-" his angry voice made me jump again, a small yelp escaping my lips. As soon as the noise resonated in the lobby he halted his words, sighing harshly causing me to flinch.
The blood was cleaned up almost as soon as the sigh left his lips. The tone of his voice had only spurred further sobs to fall from my lips as the pain smouldered in my legs and palms. I quickly finished stacking up the paperwork I recognised as mine and shielding my photographs the best I could I threw them down on my brief case and scooped it all into my arms. Cullen knelt on the floor in silence beside me, his inviting hands splayed but tense on the marble floor.
I flinched at the impending danger I felt and quickly scurried away. Stumbling uncontrollably and sobbing as the heat and agony radiated through my pulsing kneecaps. I didn't stop when the wisps of blonde pushed past me, slamming me into a wall and taking my breath from me. I didn't stop when I heard a faint calling from a distance. I didn't stop until I reached my office cubicle. Nobody was in the office yet, it was rare if the other females ever sat down to do work, they normally just bent over guys desks until they offered to write their reports and do their paperwork for them.
I opened the empty cabinet drawer to the left of my office chair and dumped everything in my arms in there, grabbing for my iphone I realised a blue folder that I hadn't previously noticed laid amongst my photographs. I don't have a blue folder? How could a blue folder end up in my brie... Then it hit me. I possessed my boss's personal paperwork. This particular folder had the word 'PRIVATE' embossed on the cover. I felt insane guilt rise through my body and sit like bile in my throat. What have I done?! I could get fired for this surely?!
I grabbed it along with my iphone and made the painstakingly long journey to the east wing of the 8th floor, where his office waited for me. I took the time I needed to get there whilst trying to hurry and be as invisible as possible. If I were to bump into him I would die of shame. I couldn't begin to reflect on the morning I had had, and I decided in myself to wait until I was alone to cry all my shame out. His evil assistant a.k.a my deputy boss wasn't prowling around his office like usual so I saw my opportunity and bent to my knees, wincing at the agony that ran through every muscle in my body. I slipped the folder under the heavy wooden door of his office and quickly turned with haste to limp back to the ladies room.
Looking down to make sure I didn't trip over any rugs or furniture I began to control my breathing and calm myself down. Reflecting on what happened and how I couldn't begin to understand the rage that rolled off of him in waves whenever he looked at me. Just as I started to process the alternative options for his hatred the very gruff cough that has caused every hair on my body to stand on end resonated from the impending turn and only way out of the corridor. My heart dropped into my horribly uncomfortable shoes and I paced on the spot dreading the chance of seeing him again, let alone talking to him.
A flash of a 'stationary' cupboard sign caught my eye as I span trying to find an exit and I launched myself into the door, stumbling as it fell open and shutting it loudly behind me, hiding on the other side and pressing myself up against sharp filing shelves. Heavy footsteps continued their way down the corridor. My heart almost stopped when I heard them stop outside the very cupboard I was cowardly hiding in. When I heard a hand turn the doorknob I could feel the bile rise into my throat again and I clasped my hands over my mouth to make sure not a sound could leave my body.
All of a sudden the door flew open and a clinical light I didn't know existed spilled into the tiny room. Hundreds of items of stationary adorned the walls and I pushed myself further into the room. A rubber doorstop, just inches from the tip of my heels caught the door as it flew towards my face and I always yelped in terror. A grunt followed and the sound of a metal object being dragged across a shelf close to the door was all I could focus on.
The light all of a sudden left the room as the door pulled away from me. Taking all of the breath in my lungs with it, Cullen's footsteps thundered away in the direction of his office and I crumbled to the floor. Letting my tears fall into my hands I cried silently in the darkness. Letting my heavy head shroud my desire to move any time soon.
It wasn't long before an abrupt vibration from my iphone pulled me out of my haze. I looked at the screen, trying to blink the tears from my eyes as I focussed on the bright screen.
Lateness won't appease me Isabella, if you are not at your desk in 10 minutes you can forget about turning up to work this week. Assistant to CEO, T. Denali.
I sighed heavily and silently left the stationary room, trudging back to my office in the west wing of the 8th floor. Ignoring the pain in my knees and wiping the tears from my eyes with my sleeve ends. I folded the sleeve ends up on themselves to conceal the blood and make up. If I was lucky enough to avoid the entire building witnessing my tragic morning, something I highly doubt, I definitely don't want to be pulled aside by the other females in cubicles around me questioning about my torn stockings or my spoiled shirt sleeves.
I made it back to my desk in record time considering the pain I was experiencing and ignored the hundreds of tuts and sighs that followed me as I walked through the office. Tanya Denali herself staring me down until I sat at my desk. She had already began her introduction to the days duties... like it mattered if I turned up or not. Like I said.. I'm not welcome in my job.