His lips quirk at the corner again.
“No. Thank you, Kelsey.”
But then I blurt, “We’re headed out to lunch, that new Mediterranean place on the corner. Can I bring you something back?”
I don’t know why I’m talking out of line when Jane always takes care of Keith’s lunch. I don’t even know what he likes. Please say no, I silently plead over and over in my head. But instead, he flashes that knowing grin at me again.
“You know, that would be fabulous, Kelsey. Jane’s out today and I was afraid I’d have to fend for myself. Mediterranean would be perfect. Thanks for offering.”
With a polite nod, my boss strides to the single elevator on the other side of the room. Meanwhile, I turn back to my desk, flustered and distracted. Did that just happen? As the elevator doors slide shut and Mr. Commons disappears, Melissa punches me in the arm.
“Ouch. What was that for?” I ask, rubbing the sore spot.
“You lucky bitch!”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’re going to replace Jane as his personal assistant numero uno. If that happens, you’ll get to work side by side with that Greek God of a man every day. If I were you, I’d need to keep a stash of clean panties in my desk because just the smell of him sets my hormones ablaze.”
My face reddens to a tomato shade.
“Oh. My. God. Melissa. He is our boss. You can’t talk about him like that. He’s very professional, and you have a boyfriend. You and Ron have been together since high school and he’s so sweet.”
Melissa rolls her eyes.
“Seriously Kels, how long have you known me? It’s not a big deal. I love Ron, but I’m not dead. I wouldn’t get mad if Ron talked about getting turned on working next to Charlize Theron.”
“But Ron doesn’t work with Charlize Theron. He’s an accountant, Mel.”
She shrugs airily.
“Superstars need accountants too.”
I stare at her.
“He’s an accountant for an HVAC company. I highly doubt he would run into Charlize Theron.
Melissa rolls her eyes at me.
“That’s not the point, girlfriend. Have you seen Keith on the treadmill at the gym downstairs? The man is ripped. He runs something crazy like six miles every morning, and he doesn’t sweat, he sparkles like that stupid vampire you love. What’s his name, Edgar?”
“Edward from Twilight. Okay, okay, you got me. But are you trying to tell me I need to go to the gym?”
Melissa rolls her eyes again.
“No, Kelsey. I would never do that. I was just fantasizing about our boss, so why would you think that? Anyways, let’s figure out what we are going to order for lunch. I heard it’s best to call ahead because that new place is so busy.”
Suddenly, Mel shuts up and tries to look busy again. With a sixth sense, I know who’s coming, but it’s not Mr. Commons this time. My manager, Corrine Westwood is strolling in our general direction. I think she’s around forty but looks closer to thirty. She’s tall, I’d guess 5’10” without shoes and she always looks like she stepped out of Vogue. Today, my manager is wearing a deep green sheath dress that perfectly complements her sleek blonde hair and gold earrings that are expensive but trendy too.
I sit completely still in my chair. Corrine always makes me feel small, which I guess could be a good thing, if I meant physically small. But she makes me feel like my presence is small and I suddenly feel frumpy. My pin-up outfit seems corny and ridiculous, compared to her effortless elegance. I self-consciously touch the red scarf tied in my hair, Rosie the Riveter-style. I thought it pulled my outfit together, but now I feel like a third-grader.
“Kelsey, do you have a passport?” Corrine asks in a brusque tone.
Hmm, that’s strange because my manager never calls me Kelsey. She calls Mr. Commons’ other personal assistant ‘Jane’, not ‘Miss Champion.’ But I’m never Kelsey. It’s almost like she doesn’t think I’ll last long enough to make it worth her time to learn my first name. I must have a blank look on my face as I consider this because she raises one eyebrow and looks at me expectantly.
“Yes. Yes, I have a passport.”
“Wonderful,” she speaks. “Then pack a bag for a week on a tropical island. You will be accompanying Mr. Commons on a business trip to Tahiti.”
I gawk at her, unable to speak.
“Chop chop,” says Corrine before striding away. There are so many questions I want to ask, but now she’s disappeared. Oh my gosh, Tahiti? Where did this come from?
“You lucky bitch!” Melissa says to me for the second time in ten minutes. But this time I know why because I feel like I’ve hit upon a pot of gold. Tahiti? Even the name sounds amazing. I’ve never been anywhere tropical before. I’ve never really been anywhere in fact, and I only have a passport because my mom made me get it ‘just in case.’ At the time I joked, ‘Just in case of what? In case I commit a murder and need to flee the country?’ Now, I make a mental note to call my mom and thank her. Or maybe I’ll just mail her a souvenir; my mom can talk my ear off on occasion, and it’s easier to avoid her sometimes.