This prompt was super exciting!!!! It turned out so fun! I love the sass and sarcasm that the MC totally just took on. I wasn’t planning her to be this way, but she had a mind of her own and ran away with the story, and a bit of my heart.
Also, just to let you know, my book BOUND that published as a serial here on the blog will be taken down in one week in preparation for editing and publishing. So, if you are in the middle of reading it, or want to give it a read before it comes off the internet, now would be the time. I will be taking it down next Wednesday, May 17th. Anyway, on to the prompt!
“Well, the best of the best weren’t available. . .so we got the best of the mediocre.” My boss, Duke frowned with his comment and avoided eye contact with the girls face.
“O. . .K. . . I guess I will take it from here.” I felt awkward, but I cut him a glare. He always was so rude.
He squirmed slightly under my righteous indignation and I felt comforted to know it had rung true. “Yes, well, I will get back to my office. Show her what to do.”
I nodded. After he sauntered back to his closed office, after throwing a flirtatious comment towards the prettiest girl on the floor, I ducked my head. “Good riddance,” I mumbled. Then out loud, “My name is Marissa, what is yours?” I stuck my hand out to shake. The boss had even been remiss in introductions, but I could hold my own.
She looked rather timid and her handshake felt like shaking a dead fish. I tried to keep the smile on my face. “My name is Clara.” She pulled her hand back and used it to swipe a loose piece of her straight blonde hair behind her ear. She looked so pale. Not pretty, but not homely. She was rather. . . mediocre. I shook my head at the un-charitable thought. She couldn’t help being that way. Hopefully, her programming skills were more impressive than her looks.
“Nice to meet you Clara, let me get you to your cubicle and show you the ropes real fast. We are hoping you can have this particular project done by tonight. I know it is a bit of a rush. But hopefully, you don’t feel too much pressure.” I led the way through the maze of offices to her very own partition.
“Oh, okay.” She seemed to blend into the drab gray surroundings with her non-descript grey business suit and understated tiny pink pearl stud earrings. She also seemed a bit on the frightened side. First day of work nerves no doubt. “I will do my best.”
“That is all anyone can ask.” I chirped out the pat answer. “Here we are.” I sang, throwing my arm out to gesture towards her tiny, back corner office. Without windows.
She stepped in and instantly took a seat at the swivel chair in front of the computer. After spending twenty minutes talking her through the ropes and giving her information and how to tips, she thanked me and I left. I hoped she was quicker once I was away, but she had seemed to take a long time to grasp things. Perhaps she was just a bit slow.
I hate to say it, but I completely forgot about Clara. I went about my business until I was getting ready to go out to dinner with my sister. I was chucking stuff in my purse and glancing at my distorted reflection in the black screen of my computer. My hair would need to be touched up in the bathroom.
I jumped nearly out of my skin, my ankle twisting painfully as my heel rolled over on itself. I caught myself on the back of the swivel office chair, but it spun and I ended up flat on my backside on the floor. I blinked in confusion. I was sitting hard on the floor, staring at the still spinning office chair, the seat of which was now at my eye level. Shoot. There was a lot of dust under my desk. And is that where the other half of my protein bar from last week had gone?
“Oh my goodness, are you okay?” Clara bent over and held out a hand to help me up. Yeah right, she looked like a wind would blow her over, and she thought she could hoist me up?
I waved her hand away. “No thanks, I got this.” I made the stupid mistake of grabbing the office chair to help me up and ended up pulling it over on top of myself when the legs collapsed. Now angry, I set it back on its villainously rolling feet and took the hand she offered a second time. I tried not to be cheesed off by the slightly amused grin that pulled at the very corners of her mouth. When she hoisted me up, her quick strength surprised me to the point that I almost got pulled into her. “I’m sorry.” I felt the blush heat my face as I took a step back. This interview was completely, utterly, and unequivocally embarrassing.
“No worries.” She quickly dropped her arm, but not before I noticed the muscles that rippled beneath her sweater. Well, she was deceptively frail looking. She was probably one of those runner types who were super long, and super strong, all while looking like a toothpick. Annoyingly thin. Why couldn’t I be like that? Because you hate running and loathe sweating like the plague Marissa Jean. I sighed.
“Did you need something?” Back to business. At least that would detract from my clumsiness. I straightened my clothes and surreptitiously stretched my ankle. It hurt a little from having rolled it.
“Yes.” Her deer-in-headlights look was back. Strong but timid. A conundrum. I hated conundrums. Or anything that made me think too hard.
“I needed to give you this and let you know that I finished the project and am halfway through the next one.”
In shock, I turned around to look into her face, my purse dangling from my fingertips. My lipstick tube fell out of the unzipped handbag and rolled under my desk to join the half-eaten protein bar. “What? Already?” I was dumbfounded.
She nodded, then handed me the papers certifying that what she did was done and correct.
“And the programs work fine?” I asked, shuffling through the papers, looking for something amiss. It was all perfect. The program had been approved and the computers had verified in the print-outs that her work had been correct.
She nodded, not looking the least bit upset by my skepticism, though she still appeared rather nervous as to whether I would approve.
“Well then,” I didn’t like this woman. She made me feel woefully inadequate. Not only did she probably run a bazillion miles a day, she was smart enough to nail the programming assignment faster than a chain smoker goes through a pack of cigarettes. Overachiever. Next thing I knew, I would probably be out of a job. The whole floor would be out of a job. Wonder woman here would eliminate the need for any other employees. My grumpiness was not helped by the fact that the graphic design I had been working on had been a disaster and my superiors had hated it. Story of my life.
“Well then?” she quirked an eyebrow and waited me to finish the sentence. What did she want from me? Over-enthusing praise? I was in no mood for that.
“Well then, well done I guess. You can go home now.” I waved the papers at her and shoved them into a file on my desk.
“Right,” she nodded and turned to leave.
The glass windows near my cubicle shattered and I was suddenly on the floor with Wonder woman Clara on top of me. My head throbbed and every bone in my body hurt with the impact. “Keep down,” she hissed between clenched teeth, dragging me beneath her with one arm until we were behind the partition as something nicked the top of my chair with a whizzing sound.
“What the. . .”
“Be quite.” She hissed again and another something cut into the floor near where my head had just been. Was that a bullet? Hokey Smokes! We were getting shot at!
“Oh my gosh!” I gasped for breath, the need to hyperventilate taking over my senses.
“Shut up can’t you? I can’t believe it!” She growled under her breath, tucking me beneath the desk and into the corner of the cubicle. I felt squished and suddenly claustrophobic. I watched in shock as she pulled up her pant leg and un-holstered a small firearm that had been strapped around her ankle and concealed by the cuff of her pants.
“What can’t you believe? Is that a gun?” I squeaked.
“Yes it’s a gun, and I can’t believe that after only half a day, my cover has already been blown!” She was hopping mad and for the first time I noticed that Miss Shy and Timid was suddenly Miss Rough and Tumble with a dash of Self-assurance thrown in.
“What are you? A secret agent?”
She gave me a no-duh look as she prepared to look around the edge of the partition. I guess that was a yes?
Did you like this prompt? Let me know what you thoughts in the comments!
By God’s Grace,