Solace ~ h.s.

If he weren't there... I don't know what would have happened.

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34. ⪻ 34 ⪼

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“Are you okay?”

After hearing those exact same three words for the past twenty-four hours, I’ve learned to utterly despise them with every being in my body. It’s not Victoria’s fault, because she doesn't know anything, but Harry’s been the man asking the most.

I am not okay, it’s clear from my entire appearance. My hair has been thrown up in a messy bun, unwashed and a tad bit greasy. My face is fresh of makeup for I woke up late with Harry, and whilst he ran to his place to take Edward to school I stayed in bed having a little cry. My clothes are a tad wrinkled, but I blame the dryer for that. All in all, I’m not having a very good day thus far.

“I’m fine.” I can see Victoria out of the corner of my eye, still staring at me with her perfectly red painted lips parted in confusion.

“Are you sure, because you seem different today?” She tries again. My fingers come to a halt over my keyboard as I glance in her direction.

“I’m just tired. I didn’t sleep well.” I settle on, which is partly the truth. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, even after Harry and I got comfortable in my bed.

Surprisingly, Victoria’s response to my excuse is a chuckle, followed by a light punch to the arm.

“Ah, you and lover boy spend the night doing more than just sleeping?” I can feel my wit slowly burning out and I know if I don’t get my mind off these questions, I’ll lose it.

“No, it was just a long night.”

“Listen,” Victoria loses the smile on her lips and leans towards me, placing a hand on my shoulder lightly. The humor is gone from her features and now there’s only concern. “You don’t look too good, are you -”

Just as I am about to snap at Victoria like a rubber band, someone beats me to it.

“Chambers! Get in here!” Mrs. VanCarlton hardly ever has a good day, and even when she does she still yells at us, but I can already tell that today isn’t a good day. It’s as if she knows my life has already taken an awful turn and she wants to make my life worse.

“Like I said, I’m fine.”

Standing to my feet, I take a deep breath and eye Victoria, who gives me a small smile and wishes me luck with the beast. I walk with my head held high as I walk to my doom, knowing well that she had witnessed my entrance into work twenty minutes late. She even gave me one of those full body looks, clearly not enjoying my wrinkled outfit of choice.

“Close the door.” I do as she says, looking out at Victoria through the glass. She gives me the smallest of smiles before immediately turning her attention back to her work. Mrs. Vancarlton’s beady eyes are burning holes through my back during the exchange and I feel my heart pudder in worry.

What could she possibly want?

“You might want to take a seat for this.” She tells me as she leans back in her perfect white leather chair. Her reading glasses come off her face as I slowly lower myself down into one of the seats across from her, her eyes never leaving me.

Nothing is said for a moment, Mrs. VanCarlton’s slow movements to fall back in her chair casually being the only thing done between us. She continues to stare, not making any motion to speak first. For some reason I feel the need to apologize, for what I’m not sure.

“Have I done something wrong?” I ask, clearing my throat. The silence had become too much for me and the last thing I wanted to do was have a staring contest with my boss on a day like today.

“I received a phone call a short time ago from a certain writer of a popular romance series. Ringing a bell?” I narrow my eyes at the woman, wondering how on earth she wants me to pick out one romance novelist out of the hundreds we work with, when it hits me.

Before I tore out the door yesterday, the intern I had been training stopped me with an order from our boss. She went on about how Mrs. VanCarlton wanted me to do a phone consultation with one Santos Rodriguez, romance novelist, on his upcoming book. I was supposed to ring him this morning at nine.

“Mr. Rodriguez, oh my God. I completely forgot.” Even in a time of distractions with my personal life, I shouldn’t have forgotten about one of the most important meetings that I would have to hold.

In reality, Mrs. VanCarlton was supposed to take the call, but she hardly does anything so are we surprised that the job was given to me… last minute?

“Something came up this morning, well rather last night and I had to tend to it. I’m very sorry. I will personally phone Mr. Rodriguez and apologies on behalf of -”

“No.” Mrs. VanCarlton’s stone cold tone cuts through my apology like a knife through butter. If I weren’t so worked up over my mistake, I might have been fearful as Mrs. VanCarlton can be quite scary when she’s angry.

“I should apologize; I practically stood him up.” I don’t know why I spoke. I should be silent and await my punishment, but alas my big mouth won’t close.

“No.”

“Mrs. VanCarlton -” I still don’t know why I’m speaking.

“You’re fired.” My jaw nearly dislocates in shock upon hearing her words.

She can’t really be serious, can she?

She’s stern, her face showing no emotion as she sits there on her expensive chair, arms crossed. I sit in utter shock and confusion before her, trying to figure out why I’m being fired over a simple mistake that can be fixed with a phone call or two.

“Excuse me?” My tone is quite harsh when it should be calm, but I can’t help it.

“Can you hear? I said, you are fired.

Instead of bursting into tears like I want to in the back of my head, I find myself laughing at her.

This woman does nothing, she’s only in her position because she married Mr. Carlton, one of the owners of this company and he wanted her to get out of the house. All of the work that gets put onto her from either her husband or Mr. Smith gets put onto me. Without me here, she actually has to do work, which is why I can’t believe for a second that I’m fired.

“You can’t be serious.” I say. “I’ve made one mistake, albeit a relatively minor one at that, and you’re firing me?” Mrs. VanCarlton doesn’t look phased in the least, just staring blankly at me with her freshly manicured fingernails tapping against her desk.

“Yes, I want you gone.”

I should stand up and leave the office to begin packing my things, leaving it civil like the adult I am. But something within me isn’t on board with that plan. So instead, I stand to my feet and continue to chuckle to myself.

“Oh, you want me gone, do you?”

Normal Annabelle wouldn’t do this, but then again do I really know myself? I mean I thought I was one person for the last twenty-two years of my life when it turns out I’m actually an entirely different person.

“You want the one person in this office that is at your beck and call everyday, gone?” The small smirk tugging at the corner of her mouth clicks something in my brain. “Is that why you had me hire that intern, so I could train her to replace me?” I question, my voice rising slightly. The purse of her lips is the only tell I need to see that that’s the truth. “Unbelievable.”

Again, I should just leave it at that and pack my stuff. But I’m on a role, so I don’t.

“You don’t know what I’ve gone through in my personal life on top of working for you. You don’t care if the reason I leave early is to pick up my brother from primary school because our parents died only a few months ago.” Nothing flashes behind her eyes. “You don’t care that the reason I was in late this morning is because I found out that I’ve been lied to my entire life and I’m having a tough time coping. You don’t fücking care, do you?”

“Get out of my office.” She sneers, pointing to the glass door where a small crowd of employees have stopped to watch me bravely call out this horrid woman. “Pack your things and get out.”

I don’t move, just staring down at this cruel, heartless woman, trying to figure out where in life she turned into this monster. Where does she got off using and abusing people?

“Must I ring security?” She counters, sending a death glare up at me.

“No, you mustn’t.” I say with a locked jaw.

I turn on my heels, storming towards the door. From outside the office, I see all the employees scatter away as if they didn’t want me knowing they were watching, a little too late for that. I throw the door open, letting it hit the wall behind it.

“Oh, and shut the door on the way out.”

She has the audacity…

Turning to look back at Mrs. VanCarlton, I throw all my dignity out the window when I grasp the door handle firmly in my hand.

“Fück you.”

Welcome back to unemployment.

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