Climbing Back Up Everest
Chapter 5The bell dings as I enter the small building at the end of Main Street. Karen sits in her usual spot behind the corner, filing bills and receipts into the cabinet.
“Here,” I take the papers from her hands. “I can do this,” I say gently, pushing her slightly off the stool.
Karen turns to me. “Oh, thank god. I really need you today, Luce.” Her cheeks flush and she starts waving her hands in the air. “The benefit is in a few weeks and they put me-“ she points at her chest, “in charge of it.” She throws her hands up in the air, her blonde hair going up with it. “Me! The woman who can barely alphabetize in charge of a frickin’ benefit!” She lets out a groan, making her way to her office in the back.
I started to work for Karen last year after the crash; I had needed some extra money and some time to sort things out and some place to go instead of home.
Karen offered me a job at her charity in town. I still wasn’t sure what exactly the charity helped, but I was getting paid to do easy s*** like file and alphabetize.
I sat down at my usual seat behind the red counter, making room to organize and help Karen. I was off at six, but I stayed till seven, not wanting to go home until I had too.
The bell chimed. I looked up from my work, brushing my hair from my face. “May I help you?”
The woman looked back at me, she had an intimidating glare. Her hair was pulled into a tight bun in the back of her head and business-like suit adorned her body. “Hello.” She holds out a hand for me to shake, I weakly fold into hers as it crushes my bones. “My name is Nicole and I am representing Holmes Real Estate,” she pauses and purses her lips, making her face seem tighter than it already is.
“We want to support this charity.”
I hold a finger up to her, realizing at the last second it was probably impolite and that a lady like her would not take lightly to that inconsideration. I fold it back into my hand. “You’ll need to talk to my boss, Karen Tracey,” I say.
She nods at me slowly, as if digesting every word I had to say. “May I speak with Ms. Tracey?”
I smile and nod. “Sure.” I take a few backward steps before turning around and scurrying into Karen’s office.
She looks up from her desk, her blonde hair ruffled and bed-heady after all the stress she has been through with the benefit prep. “There’s a lady from Holmes Real Estate that wants to talk you out front. Should I-“
“Nicole?” She asks, her eyes going wide.
“I think?” I didn’t remember the woman’s name; her penetrating eyes left me speechless.
“Oh! Send her in!” I take a hesitant step back, unsure of how the whole thing connects, but do as I am told.
I go back out front, “Karen will see you now.” Nicole’s face turns upward, a smile breaking her face into tight planes.
She thanks me and makes her way back to the office, not even asking for directions even though it’s pretty much a left turn and your in it.
The bell above the door chimes again.
Someone cleared his throat behind me. Startled, I whip around into the body that was all too familiar to my hands.
“F***.” We say in unison.