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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Two girls from contrasting backgrounds study Business Management, but find what they really want.


Then I’ll have sufficient money to have my own home, car, and live much better than I do now. Rebecca was lying down on her bed. If you could call a cupboard illuminated by a small window that overlooked an untidy park, a bedroom – then that’s where she was. The mauve and grey shades of lampshade, the duvet cover, cushions, and the curtains were an example of an immature mind. Rebecca was now twenty-three and needed a change.
Family life was unbearable. Her small sisters entered her room for make-up, clothes, and if they could find any even her money. For many years there had been daily rows about this situation. Rebecca was considered tight-fisted by her mother, who never put herself in her eldest daughter’s place. Dresses ruined, sweaters burnt by cigarettes, and shoes with the heels worn down, were not important for the mother. For a long time Rebecca didn’t buy anything and put away most of her money in the bank, and kept the bank book in a safe in the bank. If Rebecca’s family thought she was tight, they could get on with it.
Rebecca was a student of Economics and Business Management. She was a good student and had nearly finished her degree. She worked part-time while she was studying and had sent off her CV to several companies. Her boss had spoken about a fixed post, but Rebecca wanted to be a business woman, not an assistant in any company however good it was.
Her very blonde head was leaning on her hands when the delicious silence was broken by her mother and her two sisters banging the front door.
She had to do something to get away soon.

Noelia’s room was the size of Rebecca’s and her two sisters’ together. Whereas Rebecca was blonde, Noelia was dark. She spent all day doing anything but study. Studying had to be avoided at any price. Noelia and her sisters had a bedroom each and a storm blew up if one sister invaded another’s bedroom. Their maternal grandmother had left each one a substantial sum to spend as they liked. Noelia had loose change on her dressing-table between bottles of perfume and make-up and she would never have noticed if any was missing.
Noelia studied to please the adults, but alone in her bedroom she designed clothes to please herself. Every afternoon she attended classes in design and as she was in no hurry to finish Economics and Business Management she applied herself more to designing.
While Rebecca was finishing her studies, Noelia had two more years to do. Noelia’s dream was to lead her own life, without having to listen to the adults.
With her mother and father out till dinner, Noelia sat at her desk with her drawing materials and the music playing.

It was exam time, Rebecca was all nerves. Her sisters were forced to keep quiet and not annoy Rebecca. Their mother saw in her eldest daughter a future income through her job. Rebecca was exhausted after the exams, but she had to work as she had done every summer since she had gone to college. Holidays were for working not for having a good time.
Noelia had never taken exams seriously. She opened her books three days before exams and took them calmly. The only times Noelia got upset were when she couldn’t do what she wanted. Her summers were spent in one place or another. Her money gave her the opportunity to let her travel for several weeks, then return to the family. If she got lucky she was invited to spend some days in friends’ houses. Holidays were for having a good time.
Rebecca passed her exams with flying colours. Noelia got average marks. Rebecca was relieved when her results came through. Noelia got hers six weeks later, and they were received with complete indifference.

Her boss offered Rebecca a permanent post, and accepted when she understood that in time she would have enough money saved to get her own place, and live alone.
Her mother asked her for money to help towards the household expenses. No one at home knew how much she earned. In Rebecca’s eyes her mother was nothing more than a vulture. Rebecca’s mother was unable to understand why her daughter bought no new clothes. With this attitude of Rebecca’s, her two sisters were no longer interested in poking their noses into her bedroom. Rebecca got angry one day when her mother made a comment about the old shoes Rebecca was wearing, and complained, “I give you money. What else are you after? I don’t earn enough to please you and me both at the same time.” Two red spots came out on her mother’s cheeks. She said nothing, went into the kitchen, and slammed the door.
The only moment of happiness in Rebecca’s life was seeing her savings account getting bigger. Twice a week she got a newspaper to find out if there were any interesting job offers. It was useless. There were more people than jobs. She told herself that she was lucky to have a job, and this cheered her up.

Noelia ignored her parents complaints about her exam results. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, Noelia was never at home. What with the cinema, the theatre, and restaurants, the young woman only had time to change her clothes. During the week Noelia’s timetable was extraordinary. Afternoons were taken up with design classes, the university three times a week, then special art classes, and of course the gym. Noelia also took short courses in photography and astrology. The only cloud in Noelia’s sky was her future profession. She didn’t like it at all. And so she put it in second place, everything else being more important. As she tidied up her fluffy toys and rag dolls on her bed in the recently decorated bedroom, Noelia thought it would be great not to have to continue with her business studies.

Time passed by and Rebecca’s mother reminded her that she would be getting a raise in her salary as she had been there for a year. “You should be getting better money soon, and you could let me have some of it as you know how expensive the cost of living is.” She waited for an answer with the gleam of covetousness in her eyes.
Rebecca had said very little to her mother for a long time and handed over the desired money in silence. The day she left, her mother would have to go without the extras. It would be interesting to see if her sisters were going to be so willing to hand over any of their wages. Sooner or later they’d have to.
In Rebecca’s second year with the company she was introduced to Henry by her boss. The two men had worked together in the past.
“Rebecca, would you be so kind as to help Henry while he’s here? He’s on holiday before he goes away on business.”
Rebecca said she would. The two got on together easily, with no effort on either side. Henry was a month in the company and in that time Rebecca knew that he was the one. The most important thing was that they fell in love with each other, Rebecca didn’t think twice when Henry asked her to marry him.
“If you want you can work with me. What do you say?”
Rebecca said breathlessly, “Yes, oh, of course. Fantastic!”
“In six weeks’ time I must go on a business trip to the Far East. We could take advantage of it and include it in a honeymoon. What do you think of the idea? Perhaps it’s a bit rushed, but I’m a man of decision.”
Rebecca replied, “I think it’s wonderful. I’ll have to hand in my notice to the boss, tell my family. I don’t see any problems.”
“Well, that’s it. Then we’ll get married six weeks from today. Now we must organise everything.” Henry took out a diary from his pocket and wrote down details.
Rebecca’s mother was flabbergasted with the news of her daughter’s imminent wedding. “You hardly know him. This is crazy,” protested her mother in a vulture’s scream.
“I know him well enough. If it’s a mistake, that’s my problem. Don’t worry. I shan’t be back to burden you with my worries, if there are any. Rebecca saw in Henry more than a husband, he was her liberator from a boring job with no future, and a mother who swallowed her salary. The two sisters fought over which of them would occupy Rebecca’s bedroom. During the last few weeks before the wedding, Rebecca transferred her bank account to a branch nearer to her new home. The distance between her old town and Henry’s was a night’s train journey. Rebecca’s mother hadn’t reckoned on such a setback. Henry told Rebecca that her mother and sisters were always welcome as long as they behaved themselves properly. The house was his and Rebecca’s and not theirs. Henry had no problems with his family and he saw no reason why he should have to put up with problems from his in-laws.
Rebecca and Henry married in her town and went on the journey that Henry had suggested. The peace and quiet of being with just one person, and what’s more a man, created in Rebecca a feeling of deep pleasure. She didn’t feel disappointed by either Henry or the honeymoon.
On returning, Rebecca got down to working in Henry’s company. She had finally achieved independence from her family and happiness in her job. Nights and weekend were now free from her sisters’ noise.

When the last exams had been taken Noelia and some friends went on holiday. There was another group there, and in the evening a dance was held in the gardens, the atmosphere was festive. Noelia didn’t lack dancing partners. She wasn’t surprised when a stranger asked her to dance. Under the soft lamplight she saw a mature man, who was about ten years older than her. His name was Milo. He began to besiege her that night.
Milo was on holiday with a group. He was thirty-five and divorced. This made him more attractive in Noelia’s eyes.
“Why did your marriage break up?”
“My wife was an architect and her job was the most important thing in her life. She never wanted to travel with me or go out to dinners either. Her excuse was that she had work to do. So we ended up getting a divorce.”
Noelia thought that his ex-wife had to be some sort of an idiot to let such a good match slip out of her hands. Well, I’m out to catch him. Noelia and Milo became inseparable in the holiday. When Noelia’s friends saw what was going on between the couple, they stopped asking whether they were going out on an excursion with them. The stay there finished and everyone had to return to their respective homes. Before going back to work Milo asked Noelia to marry him. This was the answer to Noelia’s prayers and she accepted his proposal.
Noelia’s family didn’t approve of their daughter getting married, and much less with a divorced man. Milo managed to convince them, and her parents seeing they had no say in the matter, accepted him. They were rather disappointed because they had thought that at last, with her studies finished, their daughter would work with them. Her mother had even contemplated a more relaxed type of life. Now she would have to forget her projects.
They were married in Milo’s town so as to avoid gossip over his divorce. Straightaway Noelia made Milo’s home her own nest. With no other motive to leave the house other than to go to classes at the gym, design, and sew, Noelia felt fulfilled. Her grandmother’s money paid for her whims and fancies, Milo paid for the rest. Milo had found in his artistic, calm, wife the woman he had wanted. Noelia had satisfied her parents by getting a degree, from now on she would do what pleased her and Milo.

At the entrance to the Excelsior hotel there was a notice board informing the public in what room the ceremony was being held. Rebecca, looked at the notice board, and gazed around the hall, to see if she recognised anyone. She got into the lift and went up to the bar on the hotel terrace. It was a summer afternoon, and the organiser of the reunion of Rebecca’s and Noelia’s degree course had a very good idea. The terrace looked onto tree-lined streets, modern houses, and a swimming-pool. If those who had turned up had nothing to say they could contemplate the view or walk around the terrace. Rebecca then saw familiar faces and went over to greet them.
Rebecca had not particularly wanted to attend, but as Henry had to see to some business in the town she had gone with him.
Noelia arrived wearing one of her own creations. She had come out of a sense of curiosity to discover how many had reached their objective in their chosen career. It was not at all normal to celebrate this kind of event on a terrace, but the place was right. After a glass of champagne and greetings from old acquaintances Noelia wanted to leave, and then she saw a female figure staring at the view with her back to the guests. Noelia went up to her to see whether she knew her.
Rebecca didn’t move, she wasn’t in the mood to speak to anyone. These reunions were a waste of time and after all, only serve for those who wish to show off about the wonderful jobs they have. “I know you, but I don’t remember your name. My name’s Noelia.”
Rebecca turned her head to see who was speaking, “Yes, I know who you are. Wasn’t it you who took longer than the rest of us to get the degree?”
Noelia didn’t answer this question thinking it unimportant, but asked, “Why have you come here this afternoon?”
Rebecca moved her body a little, and now she was half facing the street with the other half towards Noelia. In this way Rebecca gave the appearance of listening to Noelia and yet at the same time still interested in the view. “I’m here because my husband is here on business, and as the two things coincided I took advantage of travelling with him. Besides I was curious about my ex-study mates. I suppose every one of us has a reason for attending.”
Noelia had listened attentively, “I’m here to find out how many are actually working in what we studied. You aren’t. So what do you do?”
Rebecca had her eyes fixed on what was happening around the swimming-pool.
“I do some of the thing we learned during the degree, plus other things that I’ve picked up meanwhile. I work with my husband.”
Noelia noticed that Rebecca had not asked her one single question. “I stay at home doing what I like most. My husband works for a huge company. I no longer live here either.”
Rebecca looked at Noelia, “After all the sleepless nights to finish the degree; we’ve ended up getting married, just to do what we enjoy doing most.”
“Yes, but why not?”
“That’s true. That’s too true. A fat lot of good a degree is,” observed Rebecca, looking into Noelia’s eyes for the first time.

The noise near the grand table rose at that moment. Rebecca and Noelia went closer to find out what was going on. Everyone was being given a glass of champagne. One of their professors asked for silence. “Well, ex-pupils, we are grateful for your attendance at this small celebration. It’s my duty and pleasure to propose a toast to Christine Roche who has obtained a high post in one of the best companies in the country. Congratulations, Christine. I am sure there will be more of you soon in Christine’s situation.”
All those present drank from their glasses.

Noelia and Rebecca rode down in the lift together. Noelia took a taxi, and Rebecca went to where Henry was waiting for her in the car.

In fifteen minutes the bar on the terrace was empty.

Submitted: April 21, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Georgina V Solly. All rights reserved.

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