Chapter 7 : 7. The Job
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In my opinion, Em’s workplace was just not fit for a human being to work in.
But then again, who am I to complain? I mean, I’m the one breathing into a paper bag, afterall.
“Wow,” Em scoffed, as she wheeled into the small cubicle. “I never thought of you as a person who would get all light-headed over some Minister!”
I glared at her, before ducking my head back down between my knees. I was currently sitting in her slightly uncomfortable chair, partly hidden behind a tower of files and papers sprawled on her messy desk. As soon as we had arrived to her cubicle, Em had turned into a completely different person; she shoved the paper bag to me, and then she ran around like a maniac, all professional and organized – it was so odd!
“Want me to owl Theo to come and get you, hun?” Em asked, her wand pointed at a pile of papers, copying them briskly.
“Okay, see you tonight!” she said, rushing out of the cubicle as the papers floated after her.
I was left alone.
So what did I decide to do? Well, something anyone as curious as me would do; I decided to take a look around.
Never letting go of the paper bag, I carefully stood up, and left the cubicle. Being slightly paranoid about the surroundings I found myself in, I peeked out to check that no one was watching me.
Quite the opposite, actually; everyone seemed too busy or important to even notice me! It was amazing; I could quite freely look around, as I walked down the long corridor of doors. Every now and then I ducked when the flying notes came at me, as if I was thin air.
I made a turn at the end of the corridor, where the snotty-looking receptionist shot me a quick glare, before returning to the long-bearded wizard in front of her. I pushed open the door, and arrived to a large hall – the very same Em and I had crossed earlier, after we stepped out of the elevator.
A wizard bumped into me, and muttered an apologize, before rushing through the door behind me. I looked after him with raised eyebrows, not even bothering to curse at him.
Afterall, I was a visitor here – I ought to show some manners… maybe.
I entered the elevator, slightly uncomfortable when I met the gazes of three elderly witches, all of them looking like someone mama would associate with.
The mere thought gave me creeps.
Two of them had blonde hair, and the third one had red hair. It wasn’t like Lily’s red hair, it looked more… evil. Not that Lily’s hair looks evil, it’s just that Lily’s hair looks natural, in a natural way natural, whereas this woman’s hair was just… ugh.
“It’s horrid, Meredith!” the woman with red hair said, shaking her head as she looked at the blonde woman next to her – obviously being Meredith. “Nick isn’t being considerate about this!”
“I understand you completely, Felicia!” the blonde woman – Meredith – said, giving her friend a small nod. “Jack was just the same at that age.”
I slowly began to find the conversation too boring to even eavesdrop on, so I decided to listen to the silent hum of the elevator instead, until…
“Ah, but Nicholas Rousseau is different than other men, right?” the third woman said, wiggling her eyebrows meaningfully.
Oh. My. God.
“Whatever,” the woman scoffed, and folded her arms. “I am going to give him a peace of my mind, I will not tolerate this.”
“I heard he fired his secretary,” the blonde woman went on.
“Assistant,” Meredith corrected.
“Whatever,” both Felicia and the third witch said at once. “What’s your point, Ruby?” Felicia sighed, looking annoyed.
“He probably fired her because he was scared the affair would be revealed!” Ruby whispered, and I leaned closer to hear them better.
“Nonsense!” Meredith laughed, waving her head. “Nicholas would never cheat on Felicia! I mean, she has the right name, fame and fortune, right?”
“Don’t forget the looks,” Felicia said smugly, and I saw her reflection in the golden elevator door, watching her make a ridiculous glam-pose, while her friends giggled insanely.
“So,” Meredith said, looking curious. “You never told us… what he’s like, you know…”
Something in her tone made me feel even more uncomfortable, and made me clutch my paper bag even more tightly.
“In bed?” Felicia asked innocently, making me grimace. “Oh, he’s—“
Just as Felicia was about to reveal how my biological father was like in bed, the elevator made a horrid sound, and came to a sudden stop. The three witches all fell silent, and gazed blankly up.
“Oh great,” Ruby muttered, leaning casually against ne of the walls. “Of course the weather department has to do their experiments now…”
“Ever since they got the idea that the weather actually affects the electric system, they’ve been going crazy with it!” Meredith said, rolling her eyes. “Just imagine what my husband’s like at home…!”
“Nevermind,” Ruby suddenly said cheerfully. “Now’s the perfect time to go down to the tiniest detail about Nicholas Rousseau’s sex-secrets!”
This. Cannot. Be. Happening.
Twenty minutes later, I stumbled out from the elevator – traumatized. It had been twenty minutes too long with those women, that’s for sure! Not only had I heard everything about my biological father’s sex-life, but also that he was having some kind of mid-life crisis.
To my horror, Felicia stepped out at the same floor as I did, waving goodbye to her annoying friends.
She shot me a polite smile, before strutting towards the desk at the other end of the room. I followed silently after her, watching her tall figure closely.
“Ah, Janine!” Felicia said, and I recognized the woman behind the desk to be the same one I had seen earlier in the elevator – Miss Andrews, Mr Rousseau’s assistant. “I heard you got fired – that’s such a pity, darling!”
Miss Andrews looked up, and smiled stiffly. “Miss Felicia,” she said with a nod, her eys red. “Thank you for everything, really…”
I watched in astonishment, as Felicia shook hands with Miss Andrews, before she turned and disappeared through the double-doors.
Which left me alone with Miss Andrews.
“Um, excuse me?” Miss Andrews said, as I slowly turned my gaze to her. “Can I—“ she began, before she inhaled sharply – she clearly recognized me, too.
“Hi,” I said, and tried to grin. “Sorry about earlier. I should’ve known better than to point out flaws in front of your boss—“ I rambled, but quickly backtracked when I saw the red spots appear on her cheeks. “I mean, not that there was anything hugely wrong with your system, I mean it was—“
“Can I help you?” Miss Andrews cut off, as she plonked the box she had been filling with stuff on her desk with a heavy thud.
“Um, yes, actually, you can!” I said, and nodded. “You see, I need to meet him,” I said, jabbing my thumb at the plate on the wall; MINISTER OF MAGIC – NICHOLAS ROUSSEAU.
Miss Andrews shot me a pitying look, as she tapped her long nails against the box, her other hand on her tiny waist. “And what might the meeting be about, if I may ask?”
“You may ask,” I said through gritted teeth, slightly annoyed by her patronizing tone. “But I choose not to answer you, okay?”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t allow that,” she said with a nonchalant shrug, continuing to empty her desk. “The Minister has no interest or time to meet a silly girl like—“
“Ah, but you’re wrong about that, Miss Andrews,” came a gruff voice, and we both looked around.
There he was – Nicholas Rousseau. Behind him stood Felicia, who looked as if someone had thrown cold water at her. She quietly passed him, her head bowed as she hurried towards the elevator.
“Minister,” Miss Andrews gasped, bowing her head slightly. “Sir, I—“
“Just get your stuff and leave,” he said, holding the door open. “Miss Quency, was it?” he went on, and gazed at me. “Come in, come in!”
I walked stiffly into the room, my eyes wide with shock. I watched as he walked around the room, before he sat down at the table in a massive chair – it reminded me of Dumbledore’s chair at Hogwarts, actually.
“Sir,” I said, my throat dry. “I—“
“I have a proposal for you,” he said suddenly. “I happen to be in need for a new assistant.”
“Because you fired a completely fine one,” I muttered, and grimaced as I saw a small grin flash on his face. “Did I say that aloud?”
“Yes, you did,” he sighed, shaking his head. “But you’re wrong – Miss Andrews had it coming, it was just a matter of time, actually… she’s been messing around with simple tasks for months now – I just didn’t have the heart to fire her earlier.”
“Right,” I snorted, hoisting my bag on my shoulder.
“You don’t believe me?” he said, his eyebrows raised. “Or are you cynical by nature?”
Something about his tone and gaze made me feel like a kid who had been caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar.
“No,” I said shortly, not in the mood for small-talk. “I don’t need a job, that’s all.”
“Everyone needs a job,” he laughed easily. “Please, sit down!”
I stared at him for a moment, before taking a deep breath. “I’m fine,” I said.
“Okay,” he said, frowning. “So, you say you don’t need a job? Well, how about you try it out for a short time, and then give me the final answer? You’ll get the usual pay, of course, and you can leave at any point you like – you’ve got to admit that an offer can’t get any better, right?”
I thought about it for a moment, before an evil plan suddenly came to my mind. How about I would take the job, act all loyal and trustworthy, and at the least expected time… I would jump at him with the truth – reveal my true identity, that he was my father?
That would knock him dead – and if the papers would get a hold of it, his amazing career would explode in his face.
“Fine,” I said, smiling the tiniest smile. “I take the job.”
I sat by the fountain at the entrance hall. I wasn’t even sure if it was the entrance hall, but it looked like it; witches and wizards were stepping into fireplaces, while others stepped out from them. A group of witches grabbed a hold of a rusty teapot, and disappeared out of sight at the corner, while another bunch appeared in the spot next to them – holding a dirty sock.
I was about to dwell some more in self-loathing, when a shadow towered over me. I looked slowly up, almost expecting Satan to stand there, ready to give me a promotion.
Instead, I found myself looking up at Theo’s frowning face.
“Hi there,” he said, his arms folded, as he gazed down at me. “I’ve been running around the place like a lunatic, trying to get a hold of you! Em—“
“Is Em here?” I asked, looking around the crowd of witches and wizards buzzing around.
“No, she’s at a meeting,” Theo said, sitting down next to me. “I heard the silliest rumour, though…” he said, elbowing me in the ribs.
“What?” I muttered, burying my face back in my hands, feeling dizzy – like I had been feeling since I had left Nicholas Rousseau’s office.
“The rumour has it,” he began mysteriously. “That some foreigner was made the assistant to the Minister himself – and the interview only took five minutes!”
I stared at him for a minute, before finding the ability to speak again. “Please tell me you’re joking, Theo.”
“Far from it,” he said, shrugging. “I’d like to know who the—“ he began cheerfully, but fell silent as he caught the look of my face. “Hoooooold on,” he said, when it all dawned on him. He gasped, and pointed a shaking finger at me. “You’re the—“
“—foreigner? Yes,” I said dryly, and stood up. “Can we go home now?”
“Oh, Em’s gonna kill you!” he laughed, following me to the elevator.
“Why? She’s also an assistant!” I mumbled, as Theo pushed the button.
“Yeah, but you got the job every witch would dream to have! You have, like, the top assistant job, for real!”
I gave him a blank stare, and Theo rolled his eyes. “What are you talking about?” I demanded.
“Every witch wants to get down with the Minister!” he whispered, the excitement clear on his face. “I hear he’s areal player.”
I continued to stare at him, slightly disgusted. “Eww, Theo!” I said, shoving him. “Em’s your girlfriend! How can you say stuff like that!?”
“Oh. Right,” Theo said, suddenly looking thoughtful. “Well, lucky you, then!” he said after a moment.
I made a gagging sound, just as the doors slid open, and we passed Ernie’s desk. Both of us handed back the badge to him, and I rolled my eyes as I saw Theo’s badge; RESCUE MISSION.
“What? They don’t have anything more specific, like ‘Collecting Your Girlfriend’s Best Friend From the Largest Building in the History of Mankind’, you know!”
I laughed, as we walked down the street. I cringed, as we passed Em’s car, my stomach flipping at the mere memory of this morning.
“Theo,” I said, looking around at him. “Don’t ever let me ride a car with Em, okay?”
Theo guffawed, before giving a nod. He put his hand over his chest, and gave me a grave look. “I promise to try.”
“Fair enough,” I said with a shrug.
“You’ve had a rough day,” Theo stated, and I nodded in agreement, not finding the right words to describe my day. “How about a beer?”
Beer had never sounded better.
A/N: I'm on a spree; updating spree!! I'm trying to update as many stories as possible - but if anyone even so much as MENTIONS updating the UN-story, I shall have Anna killed xD
- Lily xxx
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