You work as an editor at a successful publishing company. For over a year now, your young, suave new boss who inherited the position from his late father has been giving you looks that aren’t entirely innocent. You vow to yourself not to get swept up in some handsome rich bachelor’s game, and yet, doing a favor for him ends up making you question everything.
Working for Styles & Barnaby Publishing was a lesson in contrasts.
You woke up every Monday morning and, between deciding whether oatmeal or leftover dessert was a suitable breakfast and meticulously checking your pencil skirt for lint, you sip your morning tea and watch the city slowly wake along with you in tones of orange and that shade of violet you’ve always coveted in the sunrise, excited and ready for the work week. And every Friday evening, you are never happier than when you are driving away from the giant sign of ‘S&B’, watching the building fade from view and feeling your stress dissolve with it.
You appreciated all (well, most) of your fairly tight-knit co-workers, accepting invitations out for drinks, putting aside work of your own to offer a helping hand to an utterly frazzled Diana or a fresh eye to a mildly confused Trenton, or laughing freely at their corny jokes (even when it’s entirely too early and you’re entirely too swamped for such foolishness). But sometimes you felt compressed, squeezed a little too tight by a group of personnel that felt a little too much like a small community of nosy neighbors, and it was all you could do not to place a radius of 15 feet of caution tape around your desk if just to breathe.
You were very good at what you did; editing, the occasional writing piece if commissioned, even at times playing the part of buffer between authors who thrust pages of their aspirations at your company with hopes of publication and the big shots above you who made the final decisions, often praised for your ability to handle a garbage dump of a workload while meeting each deadline. And yet, you remember the fear that clouded your head, your wide eyes, and the sweat that nearly poured from your palms as you fumbled around on your first day. Back then, you were fresh out of college and in utter shock that your portfolio had so impressed the hiring staff within the looming building that housed Styles & Barnaby that they allowed you to be brought on for a 90 day trial period.
That was almost five years ago.
Now, it wasn’t yet another oppressive deadline or the irritating whine of your work phone that never seemed to stop ringing these days that had you wriggling with anxiety. It was this blasted company gala.