She shakes her head at me, and I throw the blanket across the back of the leather sofa.
“This place has no color. It’s gray, black or white. It needs a little something.” I move the blanket to show her how good it looks. I know nothing is going to get her to love the pink throw, but I know she’ll let me keep it here.
Paige doesn’t really care about fashion or design. She likes things simple, clean and put where they belong. It’s a trait I loved when we got paired up to room together at Yale. Being crammed in a small space with someone else is rough, so it makes things easier if the other person is clean. It’s something I came to value after growing up in foster care, where you’re often shoved in a room with three to four other girls.
“Leave the stupid pink blanket. What’s next? Vases with fake plastic flowers and throw pillows?” This time she smiles as she says it.
“No, not plastic flowers. That’s tacky.” I turn around, picking up another box we need to unpack. We’ve been here for a few days but all I’ve been doing is reading anything and everything I can about Osbourne Corp’s financials and investment reports. “But throw pillows might be nice, maybe some pictures on the walls, too,” I suggest, making her laugh. I want this place to be homey. I’m starting off on a new adventure, and this is the first part of that.
Paige and I have been together since freshman year at Yale. We were practically attached at the hip when we weren’t in classes. We oddly fit together, even though we’re so different. I think it’s why we work well together. We balance each other out. She’s loud, in your face and always seems to be two steps ahead of everyone else. She’s petite, but I once saw her take a two-hundred-pound man to his ass when he got a little handsy with me in a bar.
Most of the time she’s like an older sister. She’s the closest person to me in the world and the only person I can count as family.
“You can do whatever you want, Mal. Just don’t paint the walls pink.” She pulls the emergency stop chain and jumps off the treadmill. “Please.”
“I wouldn’t do that,” I protest as she grabs a water bottle from the refrigerator in the kitchen. The condo has an open floor plan for the most part. The living room, dining room and kitchen all flow together, and there are two bedrooms down the only hallway, each with their own bathroom.
It’s more than I could’ve ever dreamed of having, and Paige is the only reason I’m standing here to begin with. It’s her condo. She bought it when I said I’d gotten an offer to intern at Osbourne Corporation, and she’d insisted we go.
I wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity, knowing there was no way I could make it in New York. I didn’t have the funds, and to be honest, I was scared shitless. I’d yet to fail at anything in my life, and I wasn’t ready to start. I’m not cocky, just determined. Osbourne Corp is no joke. They offer three internships a year, and I’d landed one. I may have had a leg up because I’d also earned one of their top scholarships and they were already aware of my performance. The scholarship paid my way through college and covered everything: board, food, books—you name it. I graduated at the top of my class and first in my major. Osbourne Corp had given me my education, and the internship would give me a chance to show them what I’d become because of them.
I wanted to prove myself, but trying to make it in New York intimidated the shit out of me. Thankfully, Paige was there to offer this place and help me start a new chapter in my life.
At first I was disappointed I didn’t get any other offers after graduation, but the job market is tough. I guess I was surprised that I got an Osbourne scholarship and then an internship offer but never any other offers.
“You look like you’re thinking awfully hard over there,” Paige says, taking another big chug from her water bottle before putting it down on the counter.
“I guess I’m a little nervous about Monday.”
“Are you serious right now?” Paige comes over to stand in front of me, taking the moving box from my hands and putting it back down on the ground. I know what’s coming, and I crack a smile. It’s something she does for me sometimes. “Who busted their ass through high school and got herself a full fucking ride to Yale?”
“Who graduated top of her class?”
“Who corrected that cocky-ass-dipshit Professor Sitten when he tried to say your answer was wrong, and then broke it down to him like he was in the second grade and made him cry?”