Stella's Awakening(4)

By: R.K. Ryde


Oh, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a man in my life, to love and be loved? The thought pops unbidden into my mind.

Yes, but not this man! I scold myself, shaking my head, clearing my rebellious thoughts. Turning my attention back to my computer, I attempt to start work.

But I think of him. His handsome face, his rich voice and that electric touch.

I stand up, moving to the shelves of fabric and wallpaper samples, searching for a distraction. But in every pattern I see his face. It’s futile. This man, who I’ve known for a millisecond, has grabbed my attention and he’s not letting go.

Exasperated, I flop back into my chair. Oh, what to do, I think, rubbing my forehead. But there’s nothing I can do. I only know his first name. This morning was probably just a random encounter. We may never cross paths again.

Buoyed by reality, I grab my mouse, navigating to the file on the account I’ve been working on. I’m being foolish. There’s no way anything can happen between us anyway – even if I wanted it to.

“Stella! You won’t believe it!” Josie calls out, rushing into my office. “Adams Industries wants you to redecorate at their head office.”

Adams Industries is the biggest property development conglomerate in Australia. They have built and rebuilt half of Sydney. It’s a multi-billion dollar company. To score this account would be amazing. It could be the breakthrough I’ve been working toward to propel me out of the private market and into the corporate arena.

“Really?” I squeak.

“Yeah, come and see the email,” she says excitedly.

“See.” She points at her monitor. “They want to know if you’re interested to set up an appointment to run over ideas and possible proposals with you.”

I lean closer to get a better look. “Hmm, I wonder if this has been offered to other designers? Seems strange they haven’t just sent out a proposal request. That’s how most of these bigger companies work,” I muse out loud.

Straightening, I turn to Josie. “Forward the email to me, then send a reply to let them know I’m interested. Make sure we accept, whatever date they propose for the initial meeting. I can work around anything I have on my plate at the moment. This account is too good to lose.”

“Okay, email forwarded to you. Now, if you’ll get out of my way, I’ll send the reply.” She playfully elbows me and I head back to my office, my heart racing from the exciting news.

Just as I pull out swatches to compare contrasting colours, Josie comes bounding back into my office. “We got a reply and they want to meet with you today!”

“What? Today? So soon?” The rich purple fabric sample I’m holding slips from my fingers.

“Yeah, they proposed a meeting at one-thirty this afternoon. Can you make it?”

I glance at the time on my monitor – twelve twenty-six pm.

“Of course!” My excitement is brewing. I collect my notebook and computer tablet and pop them in my bag.

“I’ll fill you in when I get back,” I tell Josie, pausing at her desk on my way out. “I’m heading up to Adams Square, right?”

“Yep, the very one,” she says, looking down. “The email says you’re to go directly to the concierge on the ground floor. Your name will be on the visitor’s list.”

“Fantastic. Thanks Josie.”





CHAPTER THREE




“Stella Welsch for a one-thirty meeting.” I announce myself to the well-dressed gentleman seated behind the dark marble concierge desk.

He glances at his computer. “Yes, Ms Welsch, you are expected. Someone will be down shortly to collect you. Please take a seat.” He gestures toward a group of stylish black leather armchairs arranged around a low, smoked-glass coffee table, and picks up the phone.

I choose the chair with the best vantage point, so I can look around the enormous, marble room. I idly wonder if this area will be included in the redesign proposal. I note there aren’t any other designers waiting.

Before long, another well-dressed man enters through the glass security doors in front of me. “Ms Welsch?”

“Yes,” I reply, standing.

“Please follow me.” He walks back to the security doors and swipes a white card against a small panel on the wall. The doors slide open and we walk through, and up a marbled hallway to a bank of elevators.

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