The Art In Us

1. For Hire


I must be dreaming. That is my only explanation for being here, in this room, at this age and with this chance.  

I am seated. My low back length, brown curly hair is pulled tightly into a chignon at the back of my head. I'm wearing the best comfortable clothes I could find. Pants. Black. Shirt. White. Stiletto pointed heels. Black. My mother’s old Cartier watch adorns my right arm. Gold. I am as sophisticated as I can master.  

My name is Reane York. I studied business administration at the University of Kingston. I graduated 2 years ago, young at 20 years of age, and hastily began to look for jobs to cover up for the medical bills that pile up at my father’s doorstep almost every second of his life. My father, Dr or Mr. Howard York, has been suffering from lung cancer since I was 15 years old. He was an alcoholic after my mother passed away when I was 13. That was only 19 years ago. He was an unemployed man before I got to my last year of high school. That was 5 years ago. He now lives, safe and broken, in his mansion in the country side where I grew up.  
Me- I'm just trying to find a fucking job.  
"Miss. York?" The hidden receptionist barks. 
I rise to my feet. She looks at me. She looks away. 
"Miss. Medici will see you now." 
What do I do? Where do I fucking go?  
I pick my black satchel up from the white couch my ass was just abusing. I stand straight, turn and come face to face with another leggy blond. This one at least smiles. She gestures with a nod towards the elevator doors. I blink. She moves towards the doors. I follow in understanding. There is a crippling silence on the long way up. I listen attentively to the elevator music which is relatively descent. I avoid the gaze of the kind woman beside me and try my best not to look like a little school girl being taken up to the headteacher. We reach. The doors open. We step out. She points towards a large, tall, white door, that feels miles away, and I freeze. 
I clear my throat. "York." 
"York," she smiles. "Don't be shy. Just walk in. Be polite and answer quickly. She doesn’t like dumb sounding people." 
Is blondie implying something? 
I blink.  
"Miss. York," she sighs heavily. "Please step away from the doors so I can-" 
I push myself fully out of the elevator. She steps back in. I walk passed another small waiting area. White chairs are in front of glass windows that would make me puke if I stood behind them. I face the door and tread upon another red carpet. 
I knock on the door before I have time to run away. A feminine voice welcomes me inside. 
I push open the door. I am not prepared for the sight that welcomes me. I was never prepared. 
My heart jack hammers into my throat. My eyes widen in awe. I pause in my steps. My confidence has faltered. Just by the sight of a beautiful man. 
He is bent over a desk. Looking at a document. He's in a grey 3-peice-suit. It clutches the angles of his body perfectly. His hair is brown and it's long enough to fall into his face but right now it has been pushed back in place. He is tall. That much I can tell. He is beautiful. That much I know. He looks up. Catching me watching him. His eyes are forest green, captivating, they resemble the trees, the depth of green lands and healthy peaky green hills; they are intensifying-hypnotizing. My breath hitches. A curiosity sets in his eyes. He looks like he could throw me on the couch outside this door and take me from the back. The thought arouses me.  
I blink, realizing how wrong everything about those thoughts are. I realize that Natalia is speaking to me. 
"Miss. York," she says. "A seat?" 
I haven’t even noticed her seated in the small lounging area on the other side of the office.  
I look away from those scorching green eyes. Eyes that are no doubt undressing me. My eyes focus on Natalia Medici. For all I know, that is her husband or her boyfriend or her lover. I am so embarrassed at my carnal thoughts- I blush. 
She is beautiful. Extremely. But the sight of her does not make me think of her bending me over a white couch. She has deep grey eyes, like in her google photos. Her black wavy hair is tied in a tight pony tail which reaches the middle of her back. Long legs in a pencil skirt. Grey. Baggy silk blouse. White. Platform heels. Black.  
She has her manicured fingers drumming on her bare pale thigh. Her mouth is puckered in anticipation. She looks like she wants to throw me on the couch so we can get it over with. I move through the room. It's as wonderfully confusing as her private waiting room.  
White couches face each other. I count four. There is a mahogany coffee table painted a light grey. Shape art, probably expensive, hangs on the walls. A mini bar is situated alone behind the couch she adorns. I could live in here.  
She raises a brow as I linger by the edge of the white couch across from her. I sit. 
"Reane York, am I right?" she asks.  
Her accent is very British. There are no hints that she is half Italian. 
I nod. 
"What do I call you?"  
I frown. "Reane." 
Natalia nods. "Reane. Tell me about yourself." 
"uh-err..." I glance at the beautiful man. It’s like I could feel his eyes on me this whole time. His gaze does nothing but burn my skin.  
He is leaning against the table now. He is watching me with hot hooded eyes. His thumb is rubbing hard against his bottom lip. I am hooked by the sight. Humiliated- I look away. 
"There's nothing-" I clear my throat- "nothing much about me." 
Natalia looks from my flushed face to the man behind us. She sighs. She faces him.  
He picks up the documents he was writing on. He waves them in the air. Natalia nods. I watch as he gracefully walks out of the room. And then it's just me and Natalia. 
She sighs. "I guess you can focus now?" 
Not at all. 
I turn to her. I smile. I nod. 
"What did you ask me?" 
"Hobbies. What do you do for fun? What do you like?" 
I think. I ponder. I want to get this right. 
"I read."  
She nods and writes something down on a pad.  
"I- I really like poetry," I sigh out a laugh. 
Natalia looks at me.  
"That's it?" 
I shake my head. "Running. Maybe sometimes I swim. I work at a library on Sundays. I read to children with cancer." 
Her grey eyes widen. I guess she never expected that. She nods slowly now. I smile at her. My best fucking smile.  
"What are your greatest strengths?" 
Strengths? I could juggle tomatoes whilst reciting Emily Dickenson poetry. 
I blanch. "I'm hard working. I'm focused. I'd like to say I’m a sort of perfectionist. I like to make the best out of my resources. I like work." 
That was better than tomato juggling. 
She runs her eyes over my outfit. It is expensive. I know she knows. My whole closet is full of designer clothes like this. I was raised to look my best even if it made me bankrupt.  
"Weaknesses?" She speaks. She writes on her pad.  
I think quickly. "Time." 
She frowns at me. "Time?" 
"Yes," I nod. "I always like to get things done on time. I appreciate deadlines and clocks ticking. Its connected with my drive for work. I like the order of pretending to control time." 
Her eyes flare at the word usage of 'control'. In seconds its gone. I feel like I imagined it. I wonder if I did. 
"I see," she sighs. 
See what? 
"I noticed on your C.V that you just graduated with a degree in Business Administration." 
I raise a brow. "Yes?" 
She tilts her head to the side. I’m once again overwhelmed by her beauty.  
"Reane, you are extremely over qualified." She taps her pen on her pad. I hate the sound it is making. "The work you'll be doing isn’t cut out for somebody with a degree in Business Admin. You should be working for a firm. Starting somewhere better." 
"It's overly populated in the unemployment circle," I shuffle my feet. "People like me have to work in jobs where we are over qualified to make a living these days. It's the order of our generation." 
She nods. 
"Where do you see yourself in 5 years working for me now?" 
"We all have to start from somewhere, Miss. Medici-" 
"Call me Naya." 
I nod. "Naya...I knew that when I finished school I wasn’t going to jump into a great job with all the things I liked and co-workers that I could stand. I knew I would have to do something small and work myself up to the top. I’m willing to work here. Over qualified or not." 
She has not written. I begin to panic. 
"To answer the question at hand," I say quickly, "In 5 years I’m probably going to be working for a different company. Hopefully one that lets me travel. And if not-" I shrug- "I'll just keep working harder." 
She places the pad down on her table. Her face is set in a scary straight line. Maybe I’m being too cocky but I’m always like this. Maybe she wants a sweet girl who flutters over her words and looks like she can be forced to clean her spilled coffee. I am not any of those things. I could be. For my father? I would be. 
"Why do you want to work for us?" 
This is the only question I expect. This is the question google assured me always pops up. This is the question I have a pity pout and pity inviting gaze in my eyes to woo the interviewer. To woo Naya. 
I lean in closer. 
"My father," I start, "has lung cancer." 
I glance up. 
Naya nods. I sit back a little. I feel foolish explaining this. I have explained it to 4 companies already who still didn't give a fuck.  
"I need to pay his medical bills," I finish off.  
I reach out to my hair. I can’t run my hand through it. It is tied so tight. I place my hand on my lap. I sigh. 
"Cancer?" Concern is etched in her tone. 
I nod. "My mother died when I was 13. My father was a Doctor in Philosophical studies. He settled into depression and then started drinking." 
She leans forward. I panic less. 
"Soon we were not so privileged, just like many others. He bought an old mansion by the countryside. Paid for my school. He was sick through most of my University years-" I stop. Take a breath. Sigh- "And now I have debts to pay for him and I have to take care of him. He is the only family I have left." 
That is the end of my sob story. I look at Naya. Her eyes look sad. I understand why, she too has only one member of her family left. This is why I am here. This is why I am sure I can get this job. 
We have something in common.  
“I can overview you’re CV again,” she nods.  
It has a name. 
I let out a swift, almost victorious, smile. 
Its name is pain. 

Benn. C

Edited: 05.08.2019

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