Erin stared dreamily out the window of the high-rise conference room at the skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan. She still couldn’t believe she was living in the city, but the incredible view was a constant reminder of how far she had come.
The door opened, startling her. She was supposed to be switching the covers on the proposals by the two finalists, and if her boss caught her sitting there looking at the view, Erin would be in big trouble.
But it was only the receptionist, Emily. Her eyes were wide as she announced, “One of the artists is here!”
“Which one?” Erin asked.
“Malachi Miuro. Why didn’t you warn me? He’s so hot! I would have worn my cleavage shirt.” Emily pulled her sweater smoother, and checked her lipstick in the chrome plate behind the door handle. “Wish me luck!”
With that, she headed back out to the lobby. Emily wasn’t the most picky girl, so Erin took her enthusiasm with a grain of salt, but still...
Flipping open the cover of the blue proposal, Erin looked down at the black and white headshot of Malachi Miuro. He was handsome, though a bit moody and mysterious with half of his face covered by shadow. Erin's boss Allison didn’t do “moody.” Allison thought Kailen's headshot was arty and pretentious. But the two proposals had received the most votes in their online campaign, so Allison had no choice but to offer up both to the executive committee of BioEnd. After all, the competition had been her idea.
Actually it had been Erin's idea, but Allison took credit for it because she was the head of the PR department. Through the windows, far down below, Erin could see the old stone fountain that practically filled the plaza. It looked so solid and permanent that each day she came to work, she wondered if that fountain would outlast her in the end.
Her boss, Allison, had ruined everything. Erin's move to New York City after getting her dream job doing PR for BioEnd, an up-and-coming environmental business, was hanging in the balance. Erin lived every hour in dread of making a fatal mistake that would end up in her being fired. Then what would she do? She had gotten the job only because of the recommendation from a journalism professor at Jefferson College who had once hailed Williams as a visionary. Erin's mom was a fellow professor and had finagled the recommendation out of him.
If she lost this job, there was no way Erin could pull off that kind of nepotistic feat on her own. She would be lucky to waitress at the TGI Friday in Midtown Manhattan.
For six glorious months so far, Erin had balanced on top of the world. From where she stood in the fourteenth floor conference room, the Lower East Side spread out before her, punctuated by a dozen other modern glass towers poking above the brown tenement buildings. They were all built right before the financial bust, but BioEnd was the only one with its own wind-powered generator and water recycling system. Far to the left, the Williamsburg Bridge spanned the East River, pointing to the Brooklyn neighborhood where she lived.
Erin was determined that the city wouldn’t beat her. She had to do well on this plaza redesign project.
She decided to go out to reception to get a good look at Malachi Miuro.