Applying a generous amount of the delightfully fragrant lotions supplied by the hotel, she made a mental note to write a note to housekeeping, begging for more. Then she created a cup of tea from the assortment at the self-service beverage station on the counter. Shaking out her shoulder-length light brown hair, the contrast made her eyes seem even darker. In practiced moves she put on her underwear and then dried her hair. Her thick hair took some time to dry, but her natural waves, coupled with the great haircut her mother had insisted on, gently framed her pretty face and graced her shoulders. Satisfied, she brought out the assortment of makeup she’d brought to highlight her pretty facial features. Her mother, Julie, who had taught her, was the master of makeup for both accent as well as camouflage.
With the suit she planned to wear on a hanger within her line of sight, she adeptly applied her foundation and concealer and took extra time with her eyes, carefully selecting the right hues to compliment the multicolor blue fabric and silk blouse. It would go well with the pendant her father gave her for her sixteen birthday that she never took off. Checking her artful handiwork, she liked her results of being made up without looking like it. More finished, as her mother liked to say. Checking the clock, she had only a scant fifteen minutes before she needed to be downstairs. She quickly dressed, stepped into her pumps, added one more finger comb through her hair, applied a shiny lip gloss, and finished with modest diamond studs to her ears. Feeling confident, she grabbed her handbag, inserted her phone and small notebook along with her room key and hurried to the elevator.
Pleased, she was downstairs with two minutes to spare and proceeded to the rendezvous for breakfast. The charming hostess escorted her to the table, stating that Ingrid had just been seated.
Gracie smiled and extended her hand as she assessed Ingrid. Ingrid was lovely with her blonde hair in a stylish updo. The blush silk suit she wore complimented her ivory skin as well as matched her simple but expensive jewelry and even carried to her lipstick. “Hello, Ms. Carney, I am Gracie Rodriguez. Thank you for meeting me here.”
Ingrid smiled at the charming young woman before her, hoping the dread of the future wasn’t conveyed by her eyes. Her mask firmly in place for the new task ahead, she greeted, “Hello, Gracie, please call me Ingrid. We are going to be working very closely together and, well, will become good friends. We can work together and still be friends, don’t you think?”
“Oh yes, ma’am, Ms. Carney, I mean Ingrid,” replied a happy Gracie.
“Please sit down, Gracie. We’ll order breakfast and get to know one another. Then it’s off to new employee paperwork and so forth. I find that the cumbersome part of a new job, so we must be fortified first.”
Gracie grinned and scanned the menu, looking for just the right start to what seemed like the perfect day. They both ordered and started to share a bit about themselves. Ingrid was so easy to talk with that Gracie grew more comfortable by the minute.
“Yes, I’m glad that my team found you, Gracie. I think you will be the perfect addition to our marketing and social media presence. I have some new programs in mind, but want your freshness to ensure the younger generation adopts our financial investment vehicles.”
Gracie beamed at the compliment and replied, “I think I can promise you my opinion as you have asked, but I am also a hard worker. I can even contact my friends if we need to do any focus groups.”
Ingrid paid the check and replied, “Yes, dear. That might be necessary at some point. But during your week of new hire indoctrination and security clearances, you aren’t to reach out. We have some very tight rules regarding internal confidences that you will soon learn.”
Rapidly entering information into her cell phone, Ingrid looked up with a smile. “My car will be out front by the time we get there. Let’s get going and complete your onboarding process, shall we?”
Ingrid carefully took her cell phone into her left hand and waved it over the waitress’s handheld Pay Terminal. Gracie watched as the transaction was completed but nothing registered on the phone, which struck her as odd.
They walked to the hotel entrance like good friends. Gracie was delighted with her new boss. She couldn’t wait to finish up the basics and get into a meaty assignment along the lines Ingrid had outlined. She had found the dream job.
The driver opened the door to the car and helped them into the back. They were settled and moving into the traffic with Gracie looking everywhere like a star struck youngster in a whole new world, which was nearly the truth.
“Oh, my dear,” Ingrid began, “I almost forgot. I will need your phone with me until you’ve completed the security clearance portion later this afternoon. It is standard procedure, and I promise I will take care of it for you.”
Gracie hesitated in handing it over but knew the security on her phone was state-of-the-art. Ingrid wouldn’t be able to get into it, and if she did, the information would be the bogus front Uncle Quip had as the settings on all the family’s phones. She smiled at the thought as she handed over her phone.
“Of course, Ingrid. I totally understand, but all my credit card info is stored on it so how will I pay for anything? It uses Near Field Communications so I don’t have to carry a credit card anymore.”
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