A young artist starting out in the demanding advertising world; challenged through trials.
| Jennalyn trembled with excitement as she drove her Navy Blue Toyota SUV up and down the steep hills of the city she had grown up near. She had spent so much time, as a little girl, in this city before she went off to USC, but now she headed towards what would be her new apartment. She pulled up in front of the building and jumped out of her SUV, grabbing her hanging clothes and heading towards the front entrance. She walked with a lilt in her step as she entered the old Victorian building which was located in a neighborhood near downtown San Francisco. Her apartment had been built in the early 20’s which gave it some of its charm. She opened the door to her apartment which was on the second floor. She quickly moved to the larger of the two bedrooms and hung her clothes in the expansive closet. Then, she walked into the kitchen and opened the bay windows that were surrounding her breakfast nook. She looked out over the hills and sparkling bay, located blocks below as the cool San Francisco Bay air swept in and she breathed in deeply. She turned, ran out of her apartment and down the stairs so that she could continue to bring up her other things from the SUV. As she was moving her smaller items, a rental van pulled up and her father and mother got out and opened the back of the truck to display her furniture and paintings. The family worked for a good part of the afternoon unloading the SUV and the rental truck. After they had finished placing the furniture where Jennalyn had specified, she looked around at the nice size living area and smiled at her parents.
“Everything is perfect,” she told her parents.
Her furniture went well with the walls which had been painted in cream colored hues with a touch of pink. She gave herself a satisfied hug and twirled around, congratulating herself. She sat down on a chair and smiled at her parents as she looked around her apartment to see all they had done. Together, her parents quietly lifted up a prayer to thank God for all that he had provided for Jennalyn.
Jennalyn’s parents beamed as they watched their tall slender daughter with sparkling blue eyes and long straight dark ash blond hair take in her new apartment. She was excitable and pretty, but around other people, her shyness made her seem introverted and not very approachable. Jen as her family and friends called her was quiet, but very energetic. She was artistic, which endeared her to many whom she allowed to get to know her. She often painted pictures, which she would give to family and friends without a thought of trying to sell the paintings. Actually, the thought of selling her paintings was too terrifying, so she never showed her paintings, no matter how much friends and family encouraged. She did however, have this great desire to use her gifts to make the world a better place. As a young idyllic woman she dreamed of changing the advertising world.
“Jen, your new apartment is lovely, but we know you haven’t had much to eat today, so we want to take you to eat and then we need to get back to the B&B,” Jen’s mother stated.
The three piled into Jen’s SUV and drove to a nearby restaurant where they had a quiet dinner. Afterwards, her parents kissed her and climbed into the rental van and left with a promise from Jen that she would come home soon, for a visit.
Jen worked hard all weekend on her apartment. She went out shopping to buy the few special touches that would make her tiny apartment feel like her own. This was Jen at her best, decorating and putting those special touches of pillows thrown on chairs and her couch; her own paintings on the walls; flowers and knick-knacks placed strategically around the rooms. When she had finished, she stood back and looked at her achievement with satisfaction. Her apartment flowed with blended hues of roses, plums and blues. They were colors of comfort and home, to her. She then turned her attention to the extra bedroom where she would set up her easel, drawing board and computer. This would be her sanctuary of creativity and art. Jen loved the idea of having her own studio in her apartment to paint and create. After organizing her paints, drawing pencils and computer programs, Jen knew she was at home.
Next, Jen turned to preparing her wardrobe for her first day of work. The corporation was not formal, but did expect their employees to dress in style. Jen was a Christian and felt that her appearance should represent her morals and personal convictions. She was not one to have her midriff showing or wearing tight fitting clothes. Jen chose a long straight khaki skirt with a black turtle neck and a black and khaki patterned bolero jacket. She added black stilettos with an ankle strap. She was always striking in anything she wore because of her trim figure and her five foot nine height. After laying out her clothes, Jen decided to grab a quick bite at the local deli around the corner and then go to bed early.
The next morning, Jen awoke early, had her quiet time with a cup of coffee and two slices of toast. She quickly dressed in the clothes she had laid out the night before. She pulled her hair back into a loose chignon with curling tendrils hanging loosely around her face and down her back. She wore very little make-up because her skin had a radiance all its own, so she applied a small amount of mascara and some berry colored lipstick. She checked herself in the mirror one last time, then grabbed her wallet size shoulder bag and stuffed it into her new soft leather briefcase along with her cell phone and then, practically skipped out the front door, with the high expectations one feels when starting a new job.
Jen walked a couple of blocks north where she caught a cable car. The exhilaration of starting her first job was incredible. She whispered a prayer of thanksgiving.
“Father, thanks so much for all that you have provided for me. Thank you for my first job. Please be with me and provide me a way to make a difference for you. Thank you for the beautiful apartment you’ve provided for me. I love it! Please guide me through this day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Jen glanced up to see if she was near her stop, when she noticed a pair of deep cobalt blue eyes staring at her.
“You’re new. I’ve never seen you before,” the tall dark haired man stated.
Jen being shy around strangers looked around to see whom he was talking to. She realized that this incredibly handsome man was speaking to her.
Not knowing what else to do, she shyly whispered, “Yes.”
She quickly looked to see if her stop was coming soon and drew in a sigh of relief when she saw the next block was where she would get off. She quickly grabbed up her briefcase and stood and exited the cable car before the stranger, with the old line that he had obviously used on other women, could ask her another question. She walked at a very deliberate fast pace and quickly disappeared into her building. Then, she took the elevator to the thirty-first floor. Jen’s heart was beating wildly from talking with the tall handsome stranger, the exhilarating walk and the excitement of beginning her first day. She took a couple of deep breaths and let them out very slowly. As she did, her heart started to slow and her nerves seemed to quiet. By the time the elevator reached the floor where the reception area was located, she had regained her cool and confident stature. She stepped out into a chicly styled room, which was decorated in burgundy and green materials with rich brown block paneled walls and elaborate tropical flower arrangements. The receptionist acquired of her purpose. She explained that she was beginning her first day of work. The receptionist picked up her phone and made a quick call.
Soon the elevator doors opened and the tall dark stranger from the cable car walked towards her. Jen was shocked, thus she blushed as a lopsided grin spread across the stranger’s face.
“Jennalyn Kingsley?” he inquired, “I’m Jonah Stevenson, one of the partners here.”
She stood and extended her slender hand and met his eyes with a shy knowing smile.
“If you will follow me, I’ll show you around the company and then I’ll take you to your office.” Jonah stated; still sporting the quirky grin that said she had been caught, even though she had made the hasty exit when the cable car came to a stop. Even though Jonah was a partner, he liked to meet the new employees who would be working under him and give them a tour around the office complex. It was a personal touch that made a difference in his division of the company. It showed the workers that he took interest in them from the start and provided an open, close-nit working relationship. It also, gave him the ability to talk with the new employees in a more relaxed atmosphere and seemed to put them more at ease.
He flashed an amused grin as he guided her around the office complex. The offices were encompassed on the thirty-first, thirty-second and thirty-third floors. Jonah pointed out different places of importance to Jen and took her back to her office where he introduced the secretary, Marie, who would be working for her as well as her other team mates. Even though Jen felt overwhelmed, she was confident that she would fit in and quickly catch on. Jonah left Jen, so she could get settled into her office.
Her office was a small closet like room with no windows. It had a desk with a computer and drawing board, which had the ability to connect with her computer. Thus, she would be able to draw anything that she was asked to; which would in turn, thanks to modern technology, appear on her computer screen. There she would be able to use the artistic programs to make touch ups, play with the colors, and do any needed tweaking that she felt would make her advertisements stand out.
Jen looked around at her blank wall and desk and could see that she would need some pictures and desk equipment. She noted that her drawing board was already fully stocked with pencils, markers, and anything else she could dream of to create incredible ads. She quickly decided that she would take her lunch hour to go buy the things she needed for her desk and walls.
“Hello,” a soft voice interrupted Jen’s examination of her office.
Jen turned around.
“Hello, I’m Jennalyn Kingsley, but my friends call me Jen.”
“I’m Mikaela Barton,” the tall willowy girl said with a smile.
“You’re kidding,” Jen said, “That’s my middle name.”
“Mikaela Barton?” Mikaela teased.
“No, just Mikaela,” Jennalyn explained as she laughed.
“I can see we are going to be fast friends” Mikaela stated with a wink of her eye.
Mikaela was tall and slender with long strawberry blond hair that had been braided into a loose French braid. She had a calmness that Jen liked.
“By the way my friends call me Mica.”
Mica explained to Jen what she would be doing and what was expected. She then, took Jen and introduced her to the rest of the team. There were three other members on their team, two men, Danny and Sam and another woman, Cindy who was somewhat older. After all the introductions, the team filled Jen in on what they were working on and then Mica gave her, her first assignment. Jen was so elated to get started she quickly went to work.
“Are you ready for lunch?”
Jen looked up, after a couple of hours of work, and found Mica standing in her door. Jen hated to turn down lunch, but she knew she would have to buy her desk ware and pictures during her lunchtime.
“Mica, I would love to go to lunch, but I need to do a little shopping for my office.”
“Great. I know some spectacular art studios and an office supply store nearby. We can catch a quick bite and then I could help you. Shopping is one of my favorite activities at lunch and I know where you can get all the greatest deals.”
Jen was surprised, but thrilled.
“If you don’t mind, then let’s go…You’re right, we are going to be the best of friends.” Jen said with a smile as the warm feeling of having a new friendship begin, washed over her.
After Jen and Mica grabbed a quick bite from a nearby fast food joint, they set out for the office supply store. Jen found a wooden desk set that she thought would look great in her office. Then, they hurried to an art studio two doors down from the supply store. There, Jen found pen and ink drawings of old Victorian houses and even one of Lombard St. Since Jen loved old-fashioned things and antiques, these drawings fit her perfectly. She also found a couple of framed photographs of Napa Valley and the Pacific coastline. She glanced at her watch and realized they only had ten minutes to get back to the office. After paying for her purchases, Jen and Mica snatched up the packages and quickly walked the couple of blocks.
“Wow! What a whirlwind of shopping!” Jen exclaimed.
“But we got it all done, just in time. Let’s get these pictures hung and your desk organized so we can get back to work!” Mica stated excitedly.
Later that afternoon, Jen left her office building and walked down the street to catch the cable car back to her apartment. She felt so satisfied and thankful that her first day of work had gone well.
“So, how was your first day?” Jonah asked.
He had seen her get off the elevator and decided to catch up to her.
“It went well. I am so excited and I know that I will love working here.”
“I am glad to hear you say that. I know you are going to be an asset to our company.” Jonah stated. He had checked her personnel profile, so he would know what her school and working background had been and where she was from.
Jonah accompanied Jen to the cable car stop and waited with her. Jen felt very self conscious standing there talking to one of the senior partners of the advertising firm. She did like his easygoing manner, though. He was tall with dark brown hair and fair skin. His blue eyes sparkled with a glint of teasing.
All of a sudden, in her musing about this man, she realized that he had asked her a question. She had been so deep in thought, that she hadn’t heard him.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“I was asking if you had dinner plans.”
Jen was taken off guard. She was not the kind of girl who would accept a date from an almost total stranger and especially not her boss, not unless it was a business dinner.
“I’m sorry, I can’t, I really do need to get home and take care of some personal business.”
She hoped that the excuse didn’t sound, too lame.
“Oh…I’m sorry. I just wanted to get to know our newest employee. I hope I didn’t embarrass you or give you the wrong impression.” Jonah said, somewhat shocked that she had turned him down; something he wasn’t use to.
“Oh, no, you just took me by surprise,” she stated hoping he wouldn’t take offense.
“I apologize. I would like to get to know you better though.” Jonah stated as the cable car pulled to a stop.
Jonah and Jen climbed onto the cable car and sat next to each other in an uncomfortable silence for a few minutes.
Jonah turned and asked, “Can we start again? I feel like all I have done is to alienate you, from this morning to right now. Let me start by telling you something about myself. I am Jonah Aaron Stevenson. I am single. I have lived here in San Francisco for the last 10 years. I originally came from a close-nit family who lives in the Houston, Texas area, thus, the Texas accent. I have two other brothers, myself being the oldest.
I have worked very hard for this company for the last ten years and became a senior partner last year; which is unheard of in this business. I am hard working, but I do find time to relax. I love to travel, sail boats, play racket ball, and enjoy the fine arts, including music and drama.”
Jen listened intently, but was disappointed when she didn’t hear him include God in the linty of his life.
“So, tell me about you.” Jonah said.
Jen took a relaxing breath and decided that she would plunge in with the most important relationship in her life.
“I am Jennalyn Mikaela Kingsley. I am also single. I am a Christian,” Jen stated as she paused to see if there was any reaction from this man who seemed so sure of himself. When she saw none she continued, “I also, came from a close-nit family of three brothers and myself. I, as you probably can guess, am the baby of the family. I’m from Napa Valley where my family owns and runs a bed and breakfast inn, called Cana B&B, which is adjacent to one of the largest wineries. My dad is a very successful Chef and owns his own restaurant, ‘First Wine’ next to the B&B. I am very involved in church, working with teenage girls and singing in the choir. I also love to travel. I spend most of my leisure time painting or drawing. I love shopping for antiques or just browsing in antique shops. I also love the arts of music and drama.”
Jen suddenly realized the next stop was hers.
“I’m sorry, I do need to get off now,” she stated as she gathered her things.
“I look forward to seeing you and getting to know you better everyday.” Jonah stated, “I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
“Goodbye, Mr. Stevenson,” Jen stated somewhat stiffly.
“Jonah, call me Jonah.”
Jen hopped off the cable car and walked up the hill to her apartment. Her mind swam with all that had happened today. Her new job was incredible and just what she had hope for. Her new boss, well she would have to wait and see how she was going to handle him. She liked him, but was still somewhat shy around him. Jen often had a tough time warming up to the opposite sex. She was guarded when it came to relationships with others, but more so when it came to men. She had been very open to Mica, but Mica had an easygoingness about her that put Jen at ease.
Jen reflected back to the work she had done that day. It was fun working on a team and watching an assignment that was divided up into so many directions come together to make an interesting and profitable advertisement. She knew for a while, that kind of work would be exciting, but soon she would probably become bored with it and need to move on to a different part of the company where she would be able to experience more challenging experiences and demanding skills.
Jen settled into her apartment that evening, after buying groceries at the corner store and eating an order of Chinese take-out to celebrate her first day. After dinner, she began painting a new painting of the Northern Californian coastline.
Later, as she readied herself for bed, she got on her knees and prayed. “Father, I thank you for my new job. It is so exciting and I love being able to use my artistic abilities to meet people’s needs and wants. Father, I pray that you will help me make a difference as I work in the advertising world. Father, this world of advertising can be very raw at times. I hope that I can put a new light in my work that will allow those who work with me and those who buy the advertising to see you and want to know you. I pray that you will bless those that I love, my new friends, and my new boss. Father, I don’t know who around me are Christians, but I pray that you will guide me to be your vessel to reach those who are not. I thank you for all you have done for me today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”