Three, part 1

November 26, 2009
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Staring down the hallway, Maggie Benson held her breath. It wasn’t often that she stayed late at Browning Publishing, but tonight she’d had extra work to be done. Biting her lip, she listened intently. Maggie was sure she had heard footsteps. She was absolutely positive. Taking a deep breath, tip toeing down the hall, she peeked around the corner to check for any other human life.

To her surprise, she found herself staring into stormy gray eyes, hidden underneath unkempt eyebrows. Taking a step back, Maggie discovered she was looking into the eyes of her eerie boss, Mr. Vincent Palmer.

Clearing her throat, Maggie said, “Oh, hello Mr. Palmer. I had no idea you were still here.”

“I am the CEO of this firm,” his nasally voice replied, dripping with disdain, “I can come and go as I please. I should actually be asking you this question, Ms. Benson, what do you think you are doing here this late?”

Crossing her arms, Maggie raised an eyebrow. Although she was only a mere intern at this company, she did more work than most of the other full time employees combined; she didn’t deserve suspicion.

“I was just on my way out, Mr. Palmer. I just had some loose ends to tie up before I could get home.”

“Well, then, be on your way,” he ordered. Maggie nodded curtly, retrieved her knockoff Prada purse, and click-clacked her way to the elevator. Clutching her coat in her arms, she glanced back to see Mr. Palmer leering at her from behind the firm’s glass doors. Turning her attention back to the elevator, she stepped in quickly, not looking back to the creep she called “boss.”

Still feeling goose bumps along her neck from that interaction, Maggie pulled out her iPhone as a distraction. She decided she’d call her roommate, Kate Flanchone, to see what her plans for the evening were. As the phone rang in her ear, Maggie thought about her luck in finding Kate. Moving from Montana to the Big Apple, Maggie had had no friends to go to. The move to New York City hadn’t been exactly approved by her traditional parents; she had been on her own. Maggie had met Kate on Broadway, where Kate had literally run into her after coming out of an audition for a Broadway musical. They had been soul sisters ever since.

Reaching Kate’s voicemail, Maggie hung up, sighing. As much as the two had in common, Kate was a complete and utter flake. Kate was chronically late to anything and everything she was involved in, she never answered her phone, and her side of the apartment forever reeked of corroding food. Maggie, slightly OCD, had still not fully adapted to living with Kate’s habits. Growing up with three brothers, Maggie had been the only child allotted her own room because she couldn’t stand the filth produced by her older brothers.

The elevator tinged, signaling that it had reached her chosen destination: the lobby. Stepping out, Maggie walked to the front doors. Looking up from the front desk, the night guards smiled, and then returned to their conversation about the Yankees baseball team. Grinning to herself, Maggie pushed through the glass doors and out into the city.

Maggie called for a cab, although she had this unnecessary fear of taxi cab drivers. In New York City, it was either confront her fear of the drivers, or confront her stronger fear of the rat-infested subways. Maggie usually attempted to conquer the lesser of the two evils. Inside the cab, she gave the driver her address. Leaning back into the aged black leather seat, she stared out the window. She had been living in New York City for a total of five months now, moving here at the ripe old age of nineteen. Maggie still hadn’t fully processed through her mind that for now, she was an actually citizen of New York City, New York.

The bejeweled buildings glittered and shine in the city that never sleeps. The cab crawled through traffic, one little yellow ant among the uncountable that drive through the city streets. Pulling to the curve, the taxi driver slammed on the breaks, and he turned to Maggie, holding his hand towards her in demand of his fare. Clutching her purse to her body, she handed over his dues and hopped out of the ancient yellow sedan. As usual, the taxi pulled back into traffic, gunning it to re-enter the unending flow of New York traffic.

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