I rifled through the piles of paper sprawled all over my bedroom floor, digging past the clutter.
I was going to be late. On Friday the 31st, after a whole month of being on time, I was going to be late to work. Sometimes, I really loathe life.
Falling to my knees, I rolled under the bed and looked around. Nope, not in here either.
“Addi!” I yelled, scrambling up to my feet. Where the hell was it? Running out of the room, I lunged forward and threw myself against the banister.
“Addison!” I called.
I heard the sound of a distant groan, followed by muffled footsteps.
“What is it?” My roommate, Addison’s face popped up at the bottom of the staircase.
“Have you seen my phone?” I asked her urgently.
She rolled her eyes, pointing at the kitchen. “Countertop. Remember? We were googling how to make Italian pasta last night.”
“Right,” I said, spinning around. “Thanks!”
Darting across the hallway in a complete fluster, I collapsed into the kitchen and found my phone under an empty bag of crisps.
“Hiding again, huh?” I muttered under my breath, grabbing a pair of heels and my laptop. Balancing them carefully, I rushed out and caught up to Addison just as she opened the front door.
“God, Kat, you have to clean up the place, you know,” she said, holding the door open for me. I stepped out, nodding absent-mindedly. Yes, my room was a complete mess. Which was pretty shocking, considering the fact that I worked as a marketing manager, and listed “organizational ability” as one of my top skills.
I shrugged. “I can’t be gifted at everything, now, can I?”
Addison rolled her eyes, laughing as she locked the door. “Riiiiight.”
I ignored her, pocketing my phone and checking the time. Six-forty, I was roughly five minutes away from being fired.
I still hadn’t finished getting everything ready for today’s meeting, but somehow I’d managed to binge-watch four seasons of Friends last night and forget to set my alarm clock for this morning. AKA the day I’m getting fired and buying a chicken (roosters are too expensive), so I never miss my alarm again.
I’m blaming the binge-watch thing on Addison. She insisted on celebrating the new year with a good show and some pasta. Hence, my second mistake as I wasted about thirty minutes this morning searching for my one and only love — my phone.
The alarm thing, sadly, was my own fault. However, this morning I had hopes of making it on time. Maybe I would be able to make it by seven. Maybe we would be hit with a typhoon and the office would close down for the day. Or, even better, my boss would suddenly be stricken with kindness and empathy as he heard about the tragic mystery of my lost phone.
The chances of the last two were pretty slim. In fact, the minute Addison and I stepped outside, warm showers of sunlight battered down on my skin.
There goes my hopes of a typhoon.
Sighing, I glanced up. The overcast sky was streaked by a brilliant orange, the rising sun giving new light to the dull landscape. Normally, I’d be ecstatic that the weather gods have finally blessed us poor Seattle souls with some sunshine, but all I felt now was resentment.
Just great. Right when I needed some rain and clouds, the sun finally decided to make an appearance.
Hitching my purse over my shoulder, I gave a quick wave to Addison before dashing off in the opposite direction. Sprinting past a couple of strangers — I may or may not have run straight through a couple holding hands — I hustled down some steps into the nearest subway station.
Personally, I thought the station could do with a bit more refinery, a bit more efficiency, and a lot less people.
You’d think the trains would be empty at six in the morning — All right, six-fifty, but same thing. Everyone should be asleep, right? But no. I joined about a hundred other people who were squeezing to be in front of the line.
Muttering a quick prayer that my boss — a forty-year-old man named Kevin Wandrum— would have mercy on me, I plugged in my earbuds and waited for the next train.
One platinum carriage after another rolled in, doors all set to open and inhale the bustling crowd. Rushing inside quickly, I moved to the corner of a compartment and held onto one of the handrails. Luckily, the train whizzed by at full speed and before I knew it, the doors chimed open once again and the crowd ballooned out.
Jumping out of the train, I flew up the steps and out onto the narrow streets. Up ahead, about 50 feet away, was the World Interiors headquarters.
It was a massive glass building, finished with rounded arches and long, marbled columns running from top to bottom. I glanced at the time. Six fifty-eight.
Shit, shit, shit! Stuffing my phone away, I snatched my purse and began running for my life. Slamming my hands against the glass doors, I pushed my way inside and darted through the entrance.
The inside of the building sort of resembled a seashell. The hallways twisted around and around in half-moons, ever-narrowing as I ascended. I trodded up the nearest staircase, running up the steeply sloping hallways and toward a row of elevators.
One of the walls was half-covered by a painting patterned in showers of white and gold against a cold, midnight blue. The lights flickered as I moved deeper into the building. Cold winds swept through open windows, and I shivered as I descended down a flight of marble steps.
The walls in this hallway were lined with five elevators, each one a shade of coppery gold, with a flower pot tucked away in a dim alcove.
I knew that technically, this hallway was only supposed to be for staff that was “higher up”, but given that it was a stupid-ass rule, I’ve elected to ignore it.