by Cait Robin
My first real attempt at writing something cohesive.
Nobody finds they dream job right after college right? At least that’s what Greer kept telling herself. You have to get into the workforce and pay some dues before that dream job can be yours. At least that’s what she told herself every morning when she started her routine job search. You might have to take a job you don’t really love in order to find one that you do later on. You might have to live at home with your parents for a few years because your entry-level job only pays enough for the gas in your tank to get to that job every day. Or if you’re one of the lucky few, you go to work for your family.
Greer Hastings felt as if she’d signed a deal with the devil. As the elevator paced up and up, she could feel her heart sink down. She’d thrown in the towel. She shifted from one foot to the other again. The man standing next to her pulled out his iPhone. It was the second time since they’d gotten in the elevator that he’d done that. He appeared anxious. Greer could definitely relate.
“This is Campbell,” he suddenly said.
Greer looked over at him, surprised he’d introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Greer.”
“Yes, I need those papers on my desk in one hour. Carter will be here at noon. Yes.”
Oh God. He’s on the phone.
Greer could feel her cheeks turn bright red. She’d only just noticed the Bluetooth headset in his ear. She shifted again, looking at the ground.
Just let me die.
“Okay, tell Kelsi to watch out for Carter. I’m almost to the office.”
The man put his phone into his pocket once more. “I’m sorry, did you say something?” he turned to look at her.
“I…uh,” she started.
God he’s beautiful.
The man had bright blue eyes with blonde hair that was pushed perfectly to the side.
“Uh, yeah. I’m sorry. I just thought you were talking to me. Didn’t see your headset.”
The main smiled, “That’s alright. Hard to see it, I guess. I’m Parker. And you are?”
“Greer. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Ah. You’re Hastings’ daughter. I heard you were coming.”
The elevator came to a stop and the doors pinged open.
“Get us a cup of coffee, would you?”
The man stepped out of the elevator and into the lobby, leaving Greer utterly speechless. She stood there and felt a wave of self-loathing wash over her. She contemplated going home and crawling back into bed and dying. She wanted to run and hide under a rock until she retired.
“Greer? Are you Greer?”
A woman about Greer’s age called to her from behind the desk in front of the elevators. Greer slowly stepped out and approached the desk. The man had already disappeared.
Figures. What a lovely gentleman.
“Yes, I am Greer.”
“Wonderful! I’m Kelsi,” the woman stood up to walk around the large desk, revealing her very tight, black dress that didn’t leave much to the imagination. She extended her hand to Greer.
“Nice to meet you, Kelsi. I guess I’m just waiting for my dad.”
“Indeed. Coop just got out of a meeting so he’ll be up here in just a few minutes. If you’d like to take a seat, I’m sure it won’t be long.” Kelsi gestured to one of the large, brown club chairs near the elevators.
As Greer sat down she thought about how much had changed at her dad’s office since she was little. Margie used to sit at the front desk- a little, old lady who had loved Greer. She used to keep candy in her desk and would share it with Greer whenever she came to visit.
Her father walked into the lobby, surrounded by people on iPhones.
“Grant, get me sales numbers by two. And Joe, I’ll be needing those drawings to get those approved as well.”
Her father was clearly in his element.
“And gentlemen, don’t forget this Saturday is our annual pool party. Bring your wives and families. Charlotte is really going all-out this year. That’ll be all,” he waved them away with a smile.
The men laughed and turned to leave the lobby. Greer waited patiently for her father to notice her presence.
“Greer!” her father wrapped her in a big hug.
“Hi Dad,” she smiled.
“Good to see you made it okay.”
“I’ve only been here a thousand times. But things do seem to have changed a bit,” she eyed Kelsi who was filing her long, red nails.
“Yes, well Margie had to retire at some point. You were away at college,” he looked down at his phone.
“I see. Uh… Dad?”
“Hmm?” He was engrossed in an email. “Yes?” he looked up, hesitantly.
“Some guy in the elevator just asked me to get him coffee.”
He lit up. “What a splendid idea! You can get everyone a coffee. We’ll just get you settled in and then I’ll have Barb show you where to go!”
Greer sighed. This is what she’d been reduce to: coffee girl. She had a Bachelor’s degree form a well-reputed university and this is what she was going to do with it. Awesome. She followed her father as he showed her around the office. It was probably the first time she’d ever really paid attention to the environment at her dad’s office. There was a conference room with a giant whiteboard where Greer had spent many hours after school playing. The room looked less magical now. The kitchen no longer had a drawer full of snacks that Margie kept fully stocked. As they continued out of the kitchen, her father stopped at a small office.
“Greer, this is Barb. She’s the new office manager. You’ll report to her when I’m busy.”
Barb got up from her desk and shook Greer’s hand. She was very tall, slender woman. Her dark grey hair was pulled back into a tight bun. She didn’t smile back at Greer. She only regarded her over the top of her reading glasses.
“It’s nice to meet you, Barb.”
“I prefer Barbara. Mr. Hastings is forgetful.”
“As are you, Barb. I prefer Coop,” he laughed.
Barbara didn’t respond. Greer could feel the tension radiate from her new supervisor.
Note to self: don’t ever call her Barb.
“We’d better be off. She’ll come see you after lunch, Barb!” her father sang as they continued down the hall.
“So you’ve met mostly everyone. Here’s accounting. This is Phyllis, our accounts manager. You don’t want to get on her bad side. She makes grown men cry,” Coop whispered loudly.
“Oh, Coop! Don’t scare the poor girl. I only make them cry if they deserve it,” she smiled.
Her laugh lines told Greer that she probably was a little less serious than Barbara. Phyllis’s eyes lit up. Greer remained quiet as her father chatted with Phyllis about some company’s overdue account.
“Well, I’m sure you will convince the, one way or another,” Coop laughed, “I have a meeting in just a few minutes, Greer.”
He looked down at his watch, “Correction, I’m late for my eleven o’clock meeting. Greer, why don’t you speak with Barb about that coffee? You can bring them into the conference room.”
Her father turned quickly and was off down the hall.
“You need help?” Phyllis asked.
“No, I think I’ve got it. Just have to remember where Barbara’s office is,” she laughed.
“Down the hall on the left. Her office is right by the kitchen. Let me know if you need anything!”
Greer made her way back down the hallway toward the kitchen. Just as she passed the kitchen door someone collided into her side. A sudden warmth spread over her. No, not warmth… heat. She looked down at her red wool coat now covered in scalding liquid. She looked up, still in shock, to find the same guy from the elevator.
“Oh! So sorry. Oh… it’s you again. Well, I am sorry you’re now wearing the coffee I asked you to get two hours ago.”
“Excuse me?” Greer could feel her blood boiling. This guy just threw coffee all over her and then had the balls to complain that she hadn’t gotten his coffee earlier.
“You were taking too long. And now I’m even more late. Forget it.” He reached back into the kitchen and gave her a paper towel roll. “Clean yourself up. I’ll pay for your coat to be dry-cleaned.”
Greer yanked the paper towels from his hand and forced a smile. “Thanks.”
“You should really watch where you’re going. You could get hurt,” he called as he walked down the hall toward the conference room.
Greer couldn’t believe this guy. He acted like the hottest shit there ever was. She dabbed at the stains on her coat; her favorite coat. She sighed. There was no point in trying to save it. It would have to be dry-cleaned. And he’d be getting the bill. If only she could remember his name.
“What happened to you?” Barbara asked, coming out of her office.
“Oh, you know, someone just threw their coffee on me,” she replied, peeling the coat off, “I think it’s a lost cause.”
“Nonsense. Give it here. I’ll see what I can do,” Barbara examined the coat, “Yes. There may be something I can do. Now, let’s not cry over spilled coffee. Let’s go to your new office and get you all set up.”
“Oh, Barbara, my dad said something about some coffee.”
“I’ll handle that. I think you’d had enough coffee for one day.”
Ah, maybe Barbara does have a sense of humor.
Greer’s office was a few doors down from Barbara’s. It was small, but bright. The one large window on the back wall overlooked all of Chicago. Greer had a desk and chair already, but would have to put in an order for any other furniture she wanted. And she could decorate it however she wanted.
“I’ll get Syd up here to do the nameplate outside your door. He’s our maintenance guy. He’s a little deaf so make sure you speak slowly and loudly to him.”
“He’s deaf and they trust him with heavy machinery?”
“Well, he won’t sue for hearing loss at least.”
She does have a sense of humor.
“Now, enough of this messing about. Your first assignment is to get your email up and running. Your father does almost everything by email. I’ve already notified Tech Support and it should be good to go. But you know computers, they never actually work. Once you’re all set up, send me an email and we’ll get something set up for lunch.”
An hour and six calls to Tech Support later, Greet had her email mostly working. Barbara knocked on the door,
“I got your email and so did the rest of the office.”
Greer flushed, “I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet.”
“I see that. Never mind. What should we get for lunch? Your father likes to cater on Mondays and Fridays.”
A small bonus for working for her father. She’d barely have to pay for lunch.
“In the future, you will set up lunch for everyone. But today I’ll do it. What about Giordano’s?”
“They do for us.”
The rest of her afternoon was fairly uneventful. Greer spent her time figuring out the company email and shadowing Barbara. Greer found that she’d be doing a bit of everything around the office. It wouldn’t be so bad. As long as no one ever asked her for coffee again. Just before five an email popped up on her screen from her father.
Hope your first day went well. I heard you had a run-in with Parker. He said you’d had an unfortunate accident involving coffee. Sorry to hear it. Send me a copy of the bill to have it dry-cleaned. It’s the least we can do. Good work today. See you tomorrow.
Good grief. Parker. Right. Parker. Well Parker, you are at the top of my list.
“Everything okay?” Barbara peeked in.
“Oh. Yeah. Just spam mail.”
“I have your coat. Good as new.”
And it was. Greer marveled at Barbara’s work. It was like it was brand new.
“My grandmother owned a dry-cleaner. I picked up a few tricks.”
“Thanks so much! You saved me a lot of heartache.”
“You’re very welcome. Why don’t you go ahead and get going? Nothing’s really going on here. We’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Great! Thanks for everything!”
As Greer became more involved at work, the days seems to go by faster. Before she knew it, it was Thursday already. She’d spent most of the week working in the filing room. It was her first official work assignment. The filing system hadn’t been updated in years and it was her job to fix it up. It was also her job to make sure all employees followed the new filing system.
She was almost halfway done with the filing cabinets Thursday afternoon and she felt pretty good about it. It was tedious, monotonous work, but she was picking up more information about the customers and the types of products her father sold. Nothing too earth-shattering, but at least it was somewhat interesting.
As she was filing another folder, she heard the file room door creak open. She peeked out form the row and saw Parker. He hadn’t noticed her yet so she watched as he absentmindedly ran his fingers through his hair and sighed.
“Damnit. I’ll never find that purchase order. There’s got to be three millions cabinets in here. Fuck.”
Parked opened the first cabinet and stared at it for a moment. He closed it and moved on to the next one. He began to rifle through the folders within it. He wasn’t wearing his suit jacket that afternoon and Greer could see how well he took care of himself.
God, he’s built. A guy like that always knows it. And Parker definitely knows it. But God he’s sexy.
Her mind wandered, thinking about him and the way his slacks hung off his hips and the way his hair was so effortlessly pushed back again.
No. No. No. Get ahold of yourself, Greer. You hate him. He’s vile. But like a sexy vile. No. No. NO!
Greer snapped out of her daydream when she heard a big thud at her feet.
Her eyes met Parker’s. The file she was holding now lay in a mess on the floor.
SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! DAMNIT!
Greer scrambled to collect all the invoices that she’d just dropped. She prayed he would just leave her alone to die in her embarrassment. But no such luck. Two black, leather shoes came into her vision and she looked up at him slowly.
“Jesus. You scared the crap out of me! How long have you been here?” Parker extended his hand and Greer reluctantly, kind of, took it.
“I’m sorry. Not long. Only a minute,” she lied.
She stood up and clutched the folder to her chest. Parker smiled.
She nodded, “Yep. Just clumsy today.”
“I see. Well, since we’re both stuck in here maybe we could help each other? I’m looking for an invoice pack with a purchase order in it that I need. It’s from 2010 and the customer is Webber.”
He took the folder from her and straightened the papers.
He wants my help? Is he actually asking me for help?
“Hmmm, well I haven’t gotten to the W’s yet, but I think Webber is over here.”
Parker placed the file folder on top of the cabinet nearest to him and followed her to the back of the room. Greer surveyed the long row of cabinets and found the one with Webber in it.
“You said 2010, right?”
“Looks like you’ve got quite a few to choose from. This might take a few minutes. We should probably take the folders to the table. That way we can spread out and look through them,” she suggested, hauling a few large file folders out of the drawer.
At the table, Greer and Parker surveyed the scene. There were at least fifteen large folders to go through for the year 2010.
“Any chance you know the month in 2010?”
“Nope. Your dad asked me to get the pack and all he said was 2010 and Webber. I asked for more information but he told me that I have a four-year degree and that’s what he pays me for,” he laughed.
“Yeah, that sounds like my dad. He’s under the impression that his time is far more valuable than anyone else’s. He’d probably reschedule a meeting with the President so he could take a conference call.”
Her father was a bit full of himself. He was a very successful man so he did have a right to be proud.
“Oh well. That just means I get to hide out in here with you for a while,” Parked nudged her elbow.
Okay, I’m sorry but is he now flirting with me?! No way. Who does he think he is? He was a complete jerk to me on Monday.
Greer didn’t respond immediately. “Umm, Parker?”
“What are we even looking for specifically?” she laughed.
“Oh yeah. An invoice pack from 2010 with some shop work on it. Your dad needs the attached purchase order so he can have another drawing done. “
“Well that’s specific, There are hundreds, if not thousands of invoices here with shop work on them. He really couldn’t tell you any more about it?”
Parker raised his eyebrows. Of course her father hadn’t said more about it.
As they searched through the papers, Greer could feel awkwardness creep into the silence.
Just talk to him. This will be far less painful if you can talk to him.
“So Parker, tell me a little about yourself. You haven’t been here long or I would have met you before.”
“There’s not much to tell. I graduated from Illinois State two years ago and my Uncle Rob offered me a job here.”
“Wait, Rob is your uncle?”
“Yeah. He’s my mom’s brother. But we lived down south my whole life. My mom’s still there.”
“That would explain why I haven’t met you before. You weren’t at any of Rob’s pig roasts.”
Parker laughed, “Pig roasts?”
“Oh yeah, they are terrible. Rob hires this company who come out and set it all up. He loves it. I could definitely live without it. But there’s music and dancing and umbrella drinks, so it isn’t all bad.”
Parked smiled. His teeth were perfectly straight and perfectly white. And when he smiled his dimples made Greer a little lightheaded. His smile was definitely infectious to say the least.
“What about your dad? What does he do?”
“My dad died about ten years ago.”
“Oh God, Parker I’m so sorry. I had no idea,” she instinctively reached over and toucher his shoulder. He eyed it for a moment.
“It’s okay. It was a long time ago. He was killed in a motorcycle accident. Hit by a car head-on when was turning. The other driver didn’t see him.”
“That’s awful. I’m sorry. Were you close?”
“Yeah, he was my best friend. We used to fix up old motorcycles together. He raced the, when he was my age. I always thought I’d do the same. But my mom insisted on college. So, here I am!”
“Well, you can see how well going to college did me,” Greer groaned.
Parker regarded her with a questioning expression.
“What? You didn’t think that this was my dream job, did you?”
“Well this can’t be the worst job ever.”
“You sound like my mother,” she teased.
“Your mom is a smart lady.”
“She is. And you’re right. This isn’t the worst job ever. But it’s not what I thought I’d be doing either. It’s not what I hoped I’d be doing.”
“And what did you hope for?” he asked, leaning toward her a bit.
“Well, I went to school for writing. A stupid decision, I know. I actually haven’t written much since graduation last year.”
“What have you been doing since then?”
“I spent last summer with my aunt in Seattle. And then I took a year off. I lived with my parents and worked part time. Then my dad had this great idea that I should come work here. And so, here I am!”
Parker smiled again, “Here you are.”
Greer and he sat for a moment in complete stillness.
“We’re not getting much done,” Parker whispered.
Greer cleared her throat. “You’re right. Time to find that needle in this haystack!”
Countless invoice pack and one “Ah-Ha” moment later, Parker was helping Greer pack up the folders again.
“Seriously, thanks for the help. Who knows how long this would have taken me.”
“It’s no problem, really. I’m here all week,” she laughed, closing the file cabinet drawer.
“Yeah, me too.”
Parker turned around and headed to the door. Greer followed slowly, stopping to sit at the table again.
“Well, hey kid, see ya round. I’ll let your dad know how well you did,” he opened the door and turned to face Greer. “And, uh, if you get a minute I could use that cup of coffee you own me.”
He smiled slyly and slid out the door. Greer could hear him whistling down the hallway. Greer couldn’t decide if he was being an ass or flirting with her. Either way, she was quite sure she was going to get herself into trouble if she didn’t watch him.