Submission

By: Veronica Cane

Chapter 1

Growing up, I didn’t have the luxury of believing in little girl fairy tales. I didn’t dream that Prince Charming would one day come and take me away. I knew life for what it was, a cold and harsh place where daddies went away and mommies worked two and sometimes three jobs to try and support their children. And even then, that wasn’t a guarantee that food would always be on the table.

My mother did the best she could, but with five children, it wasn’t easy on her. Even when I got old enough to take on part time work, we all still struggled just to survive.

Two days after my seventeenth birthday, my mother died after a long bout with pneumonia. My elder brother Charlie could only afford to keep one of us and since I was the only one old enough to work, he chose me. The younger children were sent off to foster homes. A few months later, Charlie got into a car wreck and he died too. So I was officially on my own.

Although I graduated high school, I couldn’t exactly afford to go to college, so I took any job I could. Anyone that would hire someone without any real skills or work experience. One day, while working for a temp agency, the girl at the front desk suggested I come in and hone my computer skills. She said that if I could improve them, she would be able to place me in higher paying jobs. I spent every free minute I could in their office practicing anything and everything they could teach me.

Eventually I was able to pass the skills test to become an entry level secretary. Some people might laugh or turn their nose up at such a job, but it was the best job I ever had and a huge step up from waitressing or the retail sales gigs I normally got. I felt like I had a career, or at least the start of one.

The temp agency kept me pretty busy, always placing me in new jobs, as soon as my last assignment was over. Finally, one day I got the call for a long term placement at one of those big fancy downtown law firms. The pay was fantastic and if I did well, I had the opportunity for a permanent job with the company, after six months. And that would include benefits like health insurance, paid vacations and retirement. It was a dream come true and I knew I would do whatever it took to make these people love me so I could have that permanent position with the company.

Unfortunately, I found out rather quickly that this law firm hired so many people from the temp agency so that they could always keep fresh meat coming in. The boss was a total and complete pervert and used the temp agency more like a dating service. The girls that would sleep with him got to stay, the ones who didn’t put out, found themselves replaced.

I lasted only three weeks. But that was just long enough to figure out the kind of skills a law firm was looking for in their clerical staff. I knew one day another position like that would come available and I wanted to be ready.

A year later that call did come and by then I was a pro at the computer and with the software they used.

This law firm, Ashworth and Kent specialized in International law and had offices around the globe. Their main office was in London and many of the senior partners were British. I had landed the job as the personal assistant to one of the partners, Julian Moretti.

On the long elevator ride up to the thirty-third floor, I gave myself a pep talk. “You can do this. He’s just like anyone else. Don’t be nervous. He’s not going to bite you. He’s no different than anyone else. Even if he does happen to be rich. His money doesn’t matter. He’s still a normal guy.”

My stomach was in knots. I’d never met anyone like Julian Moretti before and now I was going to be working for him, interacting with him day in and day out. He was a powerful man, a legal genius, who was said to be able to take even the worst cases and somehow win them.

I caught sight of myself in the oversized mirrors. I was having a great hair day and was sure that was a sign that today was going to go well. I was glad to be alone in the elevator so that others wouldn’t see me looking at myself and admiring how my long blonde hair fell in soft waves, framing my perfectly made up face. That would be rather embarrassing.

Normally I didn’t like to trade off of my looks, but still I couldn’t help it if they gave me an advantage at times. I only hoped that today of all days, it worked towards my benefit. I needed everything I could get. I’d heard that Julian Moretti could be rather intimidating. Maybe if he thought I was pretty, he would go easier on me -- it was my first day after all.

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