Smile. Breathe. My shoulders rose and fell with an intake and release of breath. If I didn't land this business deal, I would be fired. I smiled as I greeted our guests akaimportant employees of Kamein Design,and they barely even acknowledged my presence. Scowling mentally at them, I ushered them to the dining hall. To be honest, I hated acting like a sycophant but it was better than the alternative. I could be like my mother before she died, working in practically a brothel. Don't get me wrong, I loved my mother for as long as she was in my life, but I was happy to not have to serve men in turn for money to get by. I was content on living in a small apartment, dressing in classy clothes and working as the top dog in the advertisement section of the company.
Grin and bear it, I repeated in my head as I greeted each guest with a smile and a "you look well" or "lovely outfit" while they barely even noticed I was there or even breathing. After about thirty minutes of this servile behavior, I greeted the last guest, the most important of them all. Chylo Kamein, the head of the Kamein Design Company and also our leading customer. As the leader of the advertisement firm, it was my job to show her the statistics, propose ways to improve advertisement which in turn affected sales and I was to convince her that we are good enough for her business.
Chylo, Ms. Kamein, smiled at me as I greeted her and made a small comment about how modern the decor was. She was the first one to actually speak to me directly. Ms. Kamein was a pretty little petite Asian number with these deep indigo innocent eyes. She was a slender woman dressed in only the best. Wearing a subtly sexy black dress and black pumps, she was quite the opposite of me. I, theplain dark-eyed girl, in the black business suit looked frumpy compared to this stylish woman. I pulled out the chair at the head of the table for her and she plopped down in it almost gracefully it seemed. Smiling, I made my way to the other side of the table, right next to her and grabbed the remote for the projector. Turning it on, I propped myself on the edge of the table while my assistant James turneddown the lights.
Breathe. Smile. Stop shaking. I turned to the first slide and explained it then continued to do the same with all the others. Ms. Kamein smiled throughout the whole thing and I hoped that she was impressed. But when I got to the detailed gains and losses slide, her pouty lips molded themselves into a scowl. My heart almost stopped. I had to convince her that there were ways to improve the gains and cut the losses. Her expression did not change until the end, when her mouth had set itself in a line. James turned the lights completely on once more and called for the servers to set the table. I took a seat next to Chylo and took a deep breath.
"Ms. Kamein, I sincerely hope that you will be willing to continue business with us." Her eyes closed for a moment.
"You have a test ahead of you Ms. Fallan. I am giving this company a trial period. I will send you the standards tomorrow." Mr. Richardson, my boss, was staring at me and I could see his fingers twitching like they do before he fires someone. I could tell he couldn't wait to get a hold of me. I thanked Ms. Kamein and stood up, I wanted out of there as soon as possible. I excused myself and told Mr. Richardson that I wanted a meeting on Monday morning to figure out what we can do about this mess. He nodded at me and his fingers stopped twitching which caused me to breathe a silent sigh of relief.
As I stepped out of the door, I was confronted by cold air. I wanted to scream in frustration. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath.
"Miss, miss! Are you all right?" I nodded to the door man and exhaled.
"Miss, is Ms. Kamein in there?" I once again nodded and he slowly did the same. I noticed vaguely that he wasn't the same door man as earlier.
"Yes she is. Lovely woman isn't she?" I commented quietly and tucked my hair behind my ear.
"From what I have hear Ms. Fallan, so are you. You made it to such an important position at the young age of twenty-three. That is a feat in itself." I looked at him, curious at how he knew that. I summed it up to the newspapers and their unnatural obsession with this company and its employees.
"Thank you, that is too kind. But please excuse me" He nodded and I couldn't help but notice his eyes following me to my car. I assumed he was making sure I got there all right like door men usually do and got into my car.
While I drove home, I went through the statistics over and over, again and again in my head. Even when I arrived home and crawled into bed, the numbers still were scrawled throughout my mind.