A Bold Move

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ellie has never understood the feeling of being valuable. Her colleagues treat her like dirt and she accepts this as her life. Will she find her inner strength to break free?

Submitted: October 23, 2011

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Submitted: October 23, 2011



Everyone in the office turns and stares.

Okay, so I may be known as the freaky one who dons glasses, is slightly plump and has ratty untamed hair (it's not my fault my ancestors were practically wolves). I might be a little clumsy, slightly obsessive, compulsive and lacking some form of fashion sense but is it really that hard to believe I might be capable of receiving flowers?

I touch the flowers lightly and can't wipe the smile from my face. I know my colleagues are watching on and whispering in disbelief so I make a point to rub this in their faces.

I know they're dying to come over and find out who they're from but none of them are game to come near me. Sometimes I think people in this place think I'm contagious.

To be honest though, I'd like to know who they're from too. I can't remember the last time I received flowers.

Actually no, I can. There was only one time and it's a time I'd much rather prefer to forget. It involved being in a hospital for eight hours straight after there were complications removing my braces. There was a lot of blood and a lot of panic in the room. I believe the flowers accompanied by a hefty cheque of apology actually came from my doctor who complicated things further in a bid to stop me from suing the hospital.

Either way, I'm still a girl and every girl likes to receive flowers.

'I bet she sent them to herself.' I overhear my colleague Michael say to our receptionist.

When I look over they're both gawking at me like I've stepped out of a radioactive tank of jelly.

I roll my eyes and push them to the side of my desk so they're obvious for the world to see.

That's actually not a bad idea though. I should've sent flowers to myself a long time ago. From the way it's stirred things up here, it could've been quite amusing.

Anyway, even though my colleagues are complete backstabbing trollops, I do love my job and I figure that if I stay hidden at my desk in the corner then I can avoid the bitchiness from everyone else. Unless I draw attention to myself like today. Though today I don't mind. I'm feeling a wave of confidence. I mean, flowers. I treasured the moment the delivery guy brought them in and everyone's mouths literally dropped to the ground.

Rachel thought they were for her and when the delivery guy walked straight past her, she nearly had a fit. I think she probably hates me fifty times more now.

While it might be hard sometimes working with a pack of vermin, there's one thing that's keeping me here.

The person who hired me.

I look over at the door to his office just as it opens and he comes strutting out. It's like a scene from a romantic film. I stare at him dreamily; he walks down the hall as if in slow motion, running his hand through his thick dark hair, smiling that sexy crooked smile, music is playing in the background, and a choir of angels descends from heaven and begins to sing choruses of love. I'm fixated on his deep blue eyes and those long eyelashes.

My fantasy is suddenly cut short though when he approaches my desk.

'Nice flowers.' He winks at me and then moves on to the reception desk.

Nice flowers.

Of course they're nice flowers!

He must've sent them. He must've!

Calm my beating heart.

Aaron Ramorison.

The only person who's nice to me in this whole place is my boss; the most handsome guy who ever walked the earth.

I'm usually a pretty good worker at the best of times, but when he's out of his office and roaming around out here I can't take my eyes off him.

Sometimes I can't believe how nice he is to me. He made me a coffee the other day. It was a bit too strong and he forgot the milk but it was the nicest gesture anyone's done.

Sometimes he stops to chat too. Usually it's work-related; you know, wondering how things are going, where the latest edited manuscript is, if I can stay late to finish something. Of course though, I'd do anything for him.

I'd take on Michael's work if Aaron asked me to. I usually do anyway. Maybe that's why it seems as if nobody else does any work around here.

I get back to work once Aaron's back in his office and the others have finally stopped gossipping.

'Ellie, Aaron wants you to have this done by five today.'

I look up just as Rachel slams a huge pile of papers onto my desk. It purposely hits the vase my flowers are in and I have to lunge to catch them before they take a deathly plummet off my desk.

'Since when?' I ask.

'Like, since now. You better get onto it.' She stands before me as intimidating as she can with the bitchiest face on her you could possibly imagine.

'I already have most of yesterday's manuscripts to catch up on though. You couldn't help me out, could you? I'm really behind.'

And I'm not behind because I'm a lazy worker. I'm behind because I keep getting given impossible amounts of work to do. Sometimes I think everyone mistakes me for a robot.

'You're kidding, right? I have to do my nails before tonight.'

'This isn't a beauty salon, Rachel. It's an office. We're actually meant to do work here.'

She hates it when I talk back. 'Says the frumpy slop. I say I need to do my nails. So if you've a problem with that, take it up with Aaron.'

She gives me a look of contempt before turning and leaving me to nearly choke on the exorbitant amount of perfume she's sporting.

I roll my eyes and ponder on the impossible pile of manuscripts that need editing. I'm never going to have this done by five.

Still, if Aaron wants me to do it, then I'll do it. For him.

I get back to it and work my fingers to the bone. I'm actually getting a bit of a headache and I can hear chatter coming from the other side of the office. I don't look up though; the last thing I want is to get distracted by the others. They're so noisy though and even when I see Aaron come out he joins in. He doesn't tell them to do any work, he just chats away like they're all on a work outing and nobody gave me the memo.

* * *

Towards the end of the day he comes over to me and leans on my desk.

'How's it going here?'

'Okay.' I always turn into a shy little ragdoll when he's standing so close and I can smell his manly cologne wafting over me.

'Getting through it then? I need it all by five.'

I almost hear this as a demand until I look up to see his face soften and his smile creasing his perfect face.


He winks. 'You're a good worker Ellie.'

I'm a good worker. It's like music to my ears hearing that.

I wonder if he means I'm a good worker as in a good worker or just a worker that's good. I hope he means a good worker. Thinking about this sends fireworks off in my heart. He must mean that otherwise he wouldn't be giving me so much to do. He must think I'm pretty competent. And he must depend on me quite a bit. I'm sure if we ended up getting married he'd depend on me then too. Not just for money or doing the chores, though I'd happily do that for him, but for love and nurturing.

'It's three o'clock, frumpy. Time for our coffees.'

I snap out of my daze and see Rachel leaning over my desk.

'I'm not your secretary.'

'No, but you're the junior here. Now go and make us our coffee. Michael and I can't do our work without coffee.'

I peer over at Michael who's photocopying various body parts and I roll my eyes, pushing my seat out so hard it nearly sails over backwards.

I know better than to argue with Rachel. Sometimes I want to punch her teeth out but she's got such a mouth on her that it's impossible to ever reason with her.

As I head into the kitchen I excuse myself past a weedy looking guy who's digging through the fridge.

'Ellie, is it?'

I turn around when I hear my name and I see him facing me. He's got a funny little moustache and red rimmed glasses.

'Um, yeah.' I start on the coffees and try to avoid conversation. I don't mean to be rude but I have so much left to do I don't have any time to spare.

'Look, I don't mean to pry but I hear things upstairs.'

'Oh yeah?' I'm only half listening.

'I used to have your job, you know. I used to be the junior in the editing department. Rachel and Michael are still there I assume. I bet you're making their coffees right now.'

I look at the two mugs before me. One white with two sugars, the other black with none. 'Bang on.'

'I bet you have to head back now and finish your own work plus theirs.'

'Wow, do people play Chinese Whispers in this place or something?' I pick up the mugs and head for the door. I don't have time to listen to everything I already know anyway.

'The whole department's taking you for a ride, you know.'

'It's just coffee and a little extra work.'

'Trust me, it's not. I was in your position remember?'

'I really have to get back.'

'I stuck it out and eventually I made it to accounts. But listen, if you want to stick in the editing department, this isn't the place for you.'

'I'm getting great experience here.'

'But at what cost?'

'Look, it was nice chatting but my head's going to be on the chopping block if I don't get these coffees back and finish my work by five.'

'This is what I'm saying. It shouldn't be like this. I bet Aaron's buttering you up. They're all working together, you know. When I was there, Aaron bought me off all the time so he could pile extra work on me. He pretended to be my best friend and tell me I was a good worker because they wanted less work for themselves. He bought me tickets to the footy once and it made me feel so good that he appreciated what I did but really, all he did was exploit me.'

I wasn't up for hearing all this babble. Just because this little weedy man couldn't handle the pressure didn't mean he could steer me away from my dream job.

'Look, thanks for the pep talk but I'll be fine.'

I've nearly escaped this guy's psycho babble when I hear him say after me, 'There's a job going at Red Monkey publishing. If you want experience, you should try them.'

I stop when I hear this. 'Red Monkey? But they're our rivals.'

'They also have a reputation for respecting their employees.'

Wait, what am I even thinking? I wouldn't leave Aaron like this.

'I really have to get back.'

'You're cutting yourself short, Ellie.'

I'm left with these words ringing in my ears. Okay, so maybe I'm not being respected here. Rachel always finds some way to make me feel completely worthless and ugly, Michael acts like my boss and demands things of me I wouldn't even allow myself to do in the real world, our receptionist Cathy avoids me like the plague but Aaron, well, Aaron has to be sincere. Nobody could be that good of an actor.

'Where have you been?'

Rachel and Michael approach me when I come back through the door and yank the mugs from my hands.

Rachel cups her hands around it and narrows her eyebrows. 'It's cold. I can't drink this.'

At this they begin to go on an on about how useless I am, how I don't deserve a job at this office, I'm incompetent, lazy, fat and ugly and with every insult it feels like a syringe is being plunged deeper and deeper into me.

I feel tears sting my eyes so I turn away and trudge back to my desk without giving them the satisfaction of a response.

'Can't get any help around here anymore. I have no idea why Aaron even hired her. She should just keep her mouth shut, her head down and do as we say.'

As I'm sitting back at my desk, choking back tears, I'm transported back to my high school days and I realise nothing has changed.

I'm still being insulted, made to feel like I'm not worth a cent, and being the butt of everyone's jokes.

I've always been used.

I need to see Aaron. Maybe he'll lift my spirits.

I knock on his door despite receiving death stares from the others and when he calls me in I take a seat before him.

'How are those manuscripts going?' He gives me a smile. 'There's under two hours left.'

'Um...' I'm actually feeling rather nauseous. I hope I don't throw up. That would be very unattractive. 'Could I have a bit longer?'

To my despair, his smile disappears. 'We have a deadline, Ellie.'

'Well...' I'm fidgeting with my hands and trying not to let my nerves show. 'There's just an awful lot there. I was thinking maybe the others could help out a little bit.'

'I assigned them to you though. You're not going to let me down, are you?'

He's really pushing this. He's not smiling anymore, he's not chatting like we're good friends, he's not telling me I'm a good worker. He's bringing out the emotional blackmail.

Could that weird little guy be right? Could this dreamy guy have simply been a fantasy gone too far that it's clouded my judgement?

'I'm doing my best but—'

'I don't think you are, Ellie. While you're sitting in here complaining about your workload, you could be out there actually completing it. I didn't hire you to be lazy.'

Yeah, but you hired Michael and Rachel to be.

'Now get back out there and get it done.'

I'm in stunned silence. I've never seen Aaron like this before. Or have I and I've just been in denial?

You're cutting yourself short.

His words echo in my head. I don't even know that guy's name but he's opened my eyes to what's going on right in front of me.

Maybe I've never realised it before because it's the only feeling I've ever known. I've never understood what it's like to be appreciated.

I get to my feet and leave Aaron's office. I begin to pack up my entire desk and I know Rachel and Michael are watching on but I don't care. For the first time in my life I'm doing something that feels right.

'What's she doing?' Rachel whispers to Michael as I head toward them with my box of stuff.

Aaron comes out when he hears the kerfuffle and tries to stop me. 'What are you doing, Ellie? You have work to do.'

I scoff. 'It's not my responsibility anymore. I quit.'

I don't waste any more time in that office as I need to. I can hear chatter start up behind me but I don't stop. I know I've completely gone about this the wrong way and I'm never going to get a decent reference for all my hard work here but I realise I don't care. As long as I'm out of here, I'm happy.

I step in the elevator and watch the doors begin to close when they're suddenly pulled open and the weird guy from the kitchen steps in with me.

He looks a little surprised when he sees my box of stuff. 'What's this?'

'I quit.'

He looks a little taken aback but he nods and gives a little chuckle.


He shrugs. 'I'm glad. Really glad for you. I wanted to tell you actually, well, I hope you don't mind. I know someone in accounts at Red Monkey. I told them about you and they're going to pass your name on to the editor. I don't know if you're going to apply but if you do, I've given you a good reference.'

I pause for a moment. 'What? You don't even know me.'

He turns to me. 'I know more than you think.'

I raise my eyebrows. I've never even met this guy before.

He suddenly holds out his hand. 'Alan J. Fisher.'

I shake his hand but I just can't work out why that name rings a bell.

'Cradle by Night.'

That's when it clicks. Cradle by Night by Alan J. Fisher. It was a manuscript I'd edited a while ago. I'd been liasing with this man over the phone and through email for a few months and I had no idea he was working in the same building the whole time.

The elevator pings open and we both step out.

'You're a dedicated, passionate and very professional editor, Ellie. You need to be appreciated. I really hope you'll go for the position at Red Monkey.'

I'm stunned.

'I have to run though. Best of luck. Hopefully we can liase again one day.'

I have no words to even say as I watch him walk down the street and out of sight.

I suddenly feel a great warmth building up inside of me. It's something I've never felt before.

Is this what it's like to be appreciated? To feel worthy?

For so long I've been stuck in a world of pain, never even knowing that there's so much more out there.

Maybe one day I can be paid attention, not because I'm a freak, but because I have potential.

Maybe one day, to someone, I'll finally be valuable.

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