A company director strives for promotion.
“Take that serving wench!” Sam blasted as she pressed send.
A devilish smile lined her face upon transmitting the email. She made certain to include that no-good Serena Blackmore, her closest competition in vying for the senior vice president of marketing position, ensuring that harlot was at the bottom of the copied list. This was another way to rub yet another accomplishment in her face.
The email highlighted the development of a new app on behalf of Sam and her team. It would allow their customers easy and secure access to services and features with only a few clicks. The other benefit would be a reduction in both customer wait times and personnel pressure at the call centers. Sam estimated the financial savings for the company to be nearly a million dollars for the fiscal year and it would also be an opportunity to advance those team members to growing areas of the organization. It was a win-win scenario.
Her corner office was situated high above the city streets. She thought of it at times as her seat of power on the shoulders of her subjects. Sam turned in her chair to applaud her appearance and unwavering charm through the reflection in the tinted window. The accomplishments and the scheming, it was a well laid plan and she was confident that she would get that position.
She reached for her mug without twisting her chair. Printed on it was another recognition feat; Director of the Year. Gently bringing the cup to her lips, she peered down at her feet to admire the onyx heels she'd chosen to go with the day's attire. Her ankle was arched, such that the gloss contours of her footwear glistened in the skyline.
She worked her eyes upward. The rim of her cup still pressed against her lower lip. Sam glanced over her crossed, silk stocking legs and formal skirt resting just above the knees. As her gaze reached her torso, a twinkle sparked her eye bringing back that devilish smirk. She placed her mug back on her desk in the same manner she had taken it. Peeling her sights away from the window, she looked down at her chest and undid the uppermost fastened button on her dress shirt with a single hand, brushing the placket to either side. Then she proceeded to straighten her jacket by pinching the ends of each shoulder and giving a quick tug to free the wrinkles . With a final look in the window at her beauty, she straightened any stray hair strands by pressing them with the tips of her forefingers to her scalp.
Her meeting with Mr. Craig was only moments away. Sam considered it to be a positive sign that their conference would be taking place in her office. After all, Serena was required to meet with him on his turf earlier in the day as she understood.
Deep in thought, she startled at the faint knock on her door. Luckily for her, the shades on her window to the outer offices were shut. She brushed the corners of her lips with the tip of her ring finger as a final adjustment before the door crept open.
“Excuse me Ms. Wright but do you have a moment?” requested a light voice as Sam turned back to her desk. It was her assistant Bethany, a charming yet troubled young lady whom had aided her for the past year. Sam sighed somewhat disappointed. It wasn't whom she was expecting.
“Certainly, come in,” said Sam, forcing a smile and adjusting her posture.
Bethany stepped in, quietly shutting the door behind her. The young woman approached with a slight hunch, head down, hands clasped in front of her, shuffling her feet. She wiped her eyes with the palms of her hand as she sat down, sulking before she spoke. “With all do respect, I can't let you do it. I can't take it.”
Sam leaned back in her seat, giggling as she looked away. This time her reaction was genuine. She knew exactly what Bethany was referring to. It wasn't the first time she had gone against the lovely lady's request. Given her professional affection for her, it wasn't likely the last. “I can't help it, I had to," Sam responded.
“No!” snapped a teary eyed Bethany, nearly jumping out of the chair. She took a deep breath, slouching back into the seat. “I mean no,” she said, this time in a tone a touch above a whisper. “I can't continue this way, I can't.”
“Would it be better if I said I wasn't doing this for your benefit?” Sam asked.
Bethany sighed, licking her upper lip. “I know what you're doing and it's wrong,” she grieved. “I'm happy to work for you and I'm thrilled to have been given this opportunity, but this isn't right.”
Sam stood up from her desk grinning from ear to ear. She walked to her faithful assistant and crouched down next to her, putting a hand on either shoulder. “It's not a big deal.”
The young woman extended a hand to her opposite shoulder placing it atop Sam's. She mustered enough strength to make eye contact, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I can't let you keep doing this.”
“If what charity I've given you helps feed those kids of yours than I'm happy to do it. You're in a tough spot my girl.”
Bethany glanced away, but only for a moment. “How am I supposed to take that? I mean, I can't even provide for my kids. Certainly you've worked hard for your money Ms. Wright and to get to where you are to simply give it away isn't fair to you!”
“Think of it as an investment,” encouraged Sam, increasing her grip on Bethany's shoulders. “I need you to come with me where I'm going.”
“I'm keeping my fingers crossed,” a sniffling Bethany assured her.
Sam shut her eyes and nodded. “I can't do it without you.”
Their conversation was cut short with another knock on the door. Sam was quick to sweep her hands from Bethany's shoulders. Her assistant hastily removed any wet spots from her face nearly using the entire length of her arm in panic.
The door inched open. “Ms. Wright?” asked a male voice.
“Yes, come in,” Sam replied. It was Mr. Craig which meant in was time for their meeting she had eagerly anticipated.
Bethany had done what she could for appearance sake to make it look like business as usual. She calmly rose from her seat. “Thanks for your time. I'll have those reports to you as soon as possible ma'am.”
Sam nodded. “I'll follow-up with you later,” she answered, playing the part.
The young woman wiped her cheek with her palm, glanced a smile at Mr. Craig, and left the office.
“I apologize. I hope I didn't interrupt anything important?” he asked.
“Not at all,” said Sam, “besides, it's nothing that can't wait. Please, sit down,” she invited, extending her hand toward the vacant seat.
He nodded as he sat. “I won't take up too much of your time,” he began, “I'd like to talk to you about the upcoming V.P. position.”
A jolt of excitement shot through Sam's slender body, causing a knee jerk reaction which wavered her stance slightly. A bewildered look stretched across the man's face. “Do you wish to sit also?” he asked.
Sam eyed her seat and chuckled. “Yes, sorry,” was her response, taking her seat.
He glanced back at the door, then raised one eye brow toward Sam. “It just dawned on me, is she alright?”
Clearly the evidence was on Bethany's face when she left the room; however, Sam wouldn't admit to it. “Yes, she's fine.”
“She looked upset.”
“No, no problem,” assured Sam, “in fact, she was just commenting on how happy she was to be here before you knocked. She's been with us just over a year now.”
“Good,” he said, “seems like she's done a bang-up job for you.”
“There hasn't been anyone better.”
“Well, shall we get back to the matter at hand then?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” said Sam. She leaned closer to her desk, hands in front of her. He had her undivided attention.
“I want to begin by saying how impressed I've been with your performance,” he began, “since you've taken this position you've been invaluable to our team and a pillar of what it takes to be a director under demanding circumstances.”
“Thank you,” she said gratefully. Her posture was that much straighter as his praise perched her on a pedestal. It was best that she had taken her seat after all. She could barely contain her delight; quivering in anticipation as he continued.
“To be honest with you, I can't remember any director, past or present, who's been as dependable and more. Refresh my memory; have you even one time come to my office asking for my assistance with any kind of matter?”
Sam reacted by raising her eyebrows to dwell on the question. The truth was that she had never been to his office for any reason other than scheduled meetings. She was confident in her ability to handle any and all obstacles. For manners sake, she decided to give him some credit. “Maybe a few times.”
“At any rate, I don't recall having to demand a sense of urgency from you. Any tasks you've been given have been dealt with ahead of schedule to our benefit. Your handling of the McBrian account was impressive and the compromises you made still weighed very much in our favor. Team satisfaction surveys indicate that your people enjoy working for you. I could go on forever,” he exclaimed.
“I have a great team,” she praised, “the results speak for themselves.”
“Spoken like a true leader,” he attributed. “As you know; however, there is some competition for this job.”
The taste suddenly soured in Sam's mouth. Just the suggestion of opposition brought to mind one person-Serena. The very thought of that woman drove her mad. In essence, she felt that her stiffest rival wasn't in the same league and had no business throwing her name in the hat. “I'm aware,” answered Sam casually.
Mr. Craig looked back at the door before leaning over Sam's desk. “I promised I would keep this short. I can't say it officially yet, but I want to congratulate you.”
Astounded, Sam clung to her chair arms for dear life to keep from hitting the ceiling. Her glowing expression nearly exploded from her face. “Are you serious?”
He chuckled patting the air with his hand. “Keep it to yourself,” he requested, “the cause for celebration will be greater once we make it official.” He rose from his chair and extended his hand to her. “Congratulations Senior Vice President Samantha Wright.”
She was quick to take his hand. “Thank you sir.”
“Carry on.” With a wink and smile, he departed.
It was as though the outside window had been thrown open and a waft of fresh air had filtered into her office. The weight of self-pressure had be taken off her shoulders. The dividend had been paid at last. She fluttered back in her chair, arms stretched, and feet on the desk. With her new found enthusiasm, she thought about what her first act in her new position would be. It didn't take her long to conclude that she was going to do something to someone they didn't want-such as increasing her financial assistance to Bethany.
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