‘Oh really? That sounds amazing!’
I hate this. New job, new flat, basically a new life. It’s not like I don’t like change, it’s just that now I have to go through the same old shit again. The flat I can deal with, but the work, that’s the bitch. Shaking hands and pretending to be interested in the chit chat that follows an introduction when you know that both of you are just looking for the moment when the conversation can end, or worse talking with someone who just does not shut up. Trying to remember all the names and sussing out the office politics. I just wish I could fast forward a few months so this part is done with. The guy I’m talking to is called Harry or Harold or some other name I would never consider. He insists on telling me about his summer trip to The Wine Country in California and how he and his wife bottled their own vintage. Or something like that. I’m only half listening and struggling to maintain even that level of interest. In truth I could not give a single fuck, but he’s clearly one of these people that doesn’t pick up on the obvious body language I’m putting out there.
‘-and they even said that we were naturals. I’m sure they say this to everyone of course, but you still like to hear these things, and I must say-‘
Fuck me. I want to shoot myself in the face.
Eventually I manage to get away without killing myself and get to my new office. It’s not like I don’t want to meet new people, it’s just that the people here are so different to me. Most of them come from old money. I can see it all over them. The majority have probably never struggled for anything in their lives. I can already tell from the few conversations I’ve had that my accent is a bit of a shock to them. Most of them with their obviously post public school poshness and me with my South London twang. I’m used to it though; the almost imperceptible look that I have learnt to spot a mile away that illustrates something has momentarily confused them. Like I said, I’m used to it. It doesn’t bother me. I’m proud of the fact that I grafted to get here. I didn’t have any connections or money to help me along the way, I just happen to be very good and very smart. I used to think that they must see me as some kind of intruder in their world.
I went to Cambridge on a free ride due to my academic potential and I would always come across these rich muppets who loved to rub it in my face that they had a nice car or some ridiculously expensive watch. Obviously they didn’t have the balls to step to me or openly show disdain, but I learnt pretty quick to recognise when someone was indirectly trying to make me feel small by reminding me that I didn’t have money. As if the fact I was on a full scholarship offended them. Still, I didn’t let any of that stop me from getting what I needed and having a good time whilst doing so. I smashed every course, got the first class degree I needed without even really trying and moved onto bigger and better things. And I discovered that I was wrong about the intruder thing. They didn’t all think that way, and I ended up making some amazing friends. Completely different to me in every respect really, but friends are friends. And, most importantly, I learnt some important things while being around the rich and entitled. Firstly, I learnt how to blend in with them. By the end of my time at uni I could come back to London and hang around in Kensington or Mayfair and not look awkward or out of place. I could talk about sailing or go to Ascot. I could attend balls and functions with the elite of society. It was an education in how different life can really be. When you don’t have money you imagine how rich people live, but you can’t really understand how accessible everything is until you have seen what money can get you. So I watched and assimilated. I have found this education into the lives of the wealthy to be far more beneficial to my professional ambitions than any lecture or seminar I attended.
The second thing I learnt was that rich, posh girls love a bit of rough. I couldn’t offer the fancy things or the trips to exotic locations, but that was irrelevant. Throw a stone with your eyes closed and you would hit a guy with a black card or whose parents had properties in Monaco or St. Moritz. The girls themselves probably had all this stuff anyway. Money was everywhere. But I was something different. At times I felt a bit like a pet or some oddity that needed to be experienced, but I didn’t care. We had fun and that was enough for me. None of them saw me as boyfriend material of course which was fine by me. If sex was what they wanted then I decided to make sure that they would always remember me when they were fucking whichever rich prick they settled on.
I’m brought back to the real world by a knock at the door. I turn around and see a pretty girl with light brown hair standing there. I recognise her from my interview as the one who had shown me around. She’s hot and I instantly know that I’ll try and have sex with her. She’s short, maybe 5’4 and is immaculate. Makeup done perfectly and wearing clothes that instantly tell me she comes from money because there is no way she could afford them on her salary. She’s not really my ideal type but she looks like she could be fun and I remember from the interview day that she likes to flirt. She is a few levels below me and if I remember correctly, came straight from university on a graduate programme.
‘Hi Max, I just wanted to make sure you were settling in okay. Is there anything you need?’
I hold her gaze for a few moments, my face unflinching. ‘Everything is perfect thanks…Sarah was it?’
She looks a little bit flustered. ‘Zara. Close though.’
‘Zara’ I say, still not breaking eye contact. ‘Please accept my apologies, so many new faces and names to remember.’
‘Don’t be silly, I can imagine what it’s like.’
‘Well I’ll definitely remember it now but I still owe you a coffee for being so forgetful. Assuming you drink coffee?’
She blushes and looks away. I know I have her now. ‘Of course I do. I eat as well in case you were wondering.’
The conversation continues for a few more minutes. She gives me a piece of paper with appointments on for the rest of the day as well as giving me the layout of the building along with directions to certain offices. The flirting is easy and I find myself already getting a bit bored. Once she leaves I continue to survey my new office. This is my third move in four years but I think this one will stick. I was head hunted to come here and I see no reason why I can’t go through the ranks here and progress from junior management to the top positions. I’m not even thirty and yet I’m already an assistant vice president and better at what I do than the people above me. I know this without ever working with them. It’s why they came after me, and why I know I’ll keep on moving up. I guess that’s something else I learnt from them; I won’t stop until I get what I want.
I spend most of the day being introduced to upper management or the team I will soon be overseeing. Boring chatter that I forget as soon as it’s over and faces that all blend into one in my mind. I feel like I might go mad if I have to hear one more useless old fool tell me about the future I have ahead of me. After a particularly long and boring introductory meeting in which I put on the mask honed at all the public functions I have attended over the years that depicts me as a polite, educated and well mannered young man, I make my way to my last appointment of the day.
This one is with my immediate supervisor, Christopher Tierney. I haven’t met him yet but from everything I know about him, he seems to be okay. From what I’ve been able to glean from around the office, he’s big into his golf and rugby so I should be able to find some common ground, but if not I’ll just have to blag interest in some of his other hobbies. Finding his likes and dislikes is the key. Kissing arse is another thing I dislike about new jobs, but I’ve found that it is far easier to manipulate your professional life if you are on the good side of your boss. Besides, there is a big difference between brown nosing and playing the game. I tried explaining this to colleagues that had lagged behind at previous companies, but I’ve learnt that some people just don’t get the concept. I have no problem with saying what I need to say to keep my boss happy because I know that one day I’ll be the one giving the orders. That’s another thing I learned from them; always aim for the top.
I take the lift up two floors and get out onto another floor bustling with people. The building itself is massive and I know it’s going to take me a while to learn my way around it. All the companies I’ve worked for have been big but this is on an entirely different scale. Roland Myers is the biggest investment banking firm in London and is a world player. Big money, big risks and big responsibilities. Not that I have a problem with this. I want to get to the top as quick as possible and rule my own piece of the sky. Fuck all the people that harp on about time served and earning your place through sacrifice or whatever; to me that’s just what people say to either keep people down or because they need an excuse for why they haven’t made it themselves. I have more faith in myself than that. This is one thing that the rah crowd could have learnt from me; you have to be hungry for success. Starving for it. You have to be willing to eat the opposition alive to get ahead. If it comes down to a choice between me and the guy next to me, then I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure I’m the last one standing. It’s a street mentality brought into the business world.
I follow the directions Zara gave me to an office but instead of the name on the door saying ‘Christopher Tierney’, it reads ‘Evelina Shawcross’. After standing there for a moment looking confused and feeling stupid, I turn around and start back towards the lift to assess where I’ve gone wrong. I’m convinced Zara must have written it down wrong because I know that I wouldn’t –
‘I don’t know what you’ve been told, but I don’t bite.’
The voice that interrupts my thoughts is female, and I think early thirties. It’s not London, but maybe Uxbridge or Harrow; the kind of accent that I would have said was posh when I was growing up, but not so much anymore. I immediately picture a woman wearing a below the knee skirt and a top that offers nothing to the imagination. She’s probably either too skinny from working too hard or out of shape from too many late night take outs, with no idea how to wear her hair or apply her makeup. Oh please don’t let her be one of these women with lipstick on her teeth. I turn around with a confident smile on my face.
‘Zara sent me up…’
My words trail off when I see her standing in the office doorway. I’ve read about people being lost for words or seeing something so beautiful that words literally escape them but I’ve never experienced it. I know I must look like an idiot.
Say something. Anything!
But the words don’t come. It’s one of those amazingly ironic time paradoxes where mere seconds seem like hours where at other times hours can seem like they pass in the blink of an eye. She’s just…I can’t even express it. She’s about 5,2 but with at least 5 inch heels, with dark hair tied up in some intricate style, and wearing a white fitted dress which I think they call a bodycon or something like that,which hugs her figure. She’s slim but has curves in all the right places. And her eyes. Big green eyes that just seem to scream sex appeal at me. I’ve seen her for all of three seconds and I can already tell she appeals to me more than a girl like Zara ever could.
She laughs playfully, clearly aware of what she’s done to me. The fact she knows how sexy she looks only makes her seem more alluring.
‘Are you okay?’ She asks, almost like I was a child that had fallen over.
‘Yeah, sorry, I was just expecting-‘ I pause, still collecting myself. ‘Sorry, I’ve obviously got lost, it’s my first day and I’m supposed to have a meeting with Mr. Tierney.’
‘Ah, you must be Max. I’m Evelina Shawcross, but please do call me Eve.’
I stride back over to the office door and shake her hand. God she smells amazing too. Some kind of expensive perfume that lingers perfectly, enticing me in to her neck to smell the scent in full. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’ve lost all metaphoric dick control. This does not happen to me!
‘Max Adams,’ I say, still with a slightly puzzled look on my face. ‘Nice to meet you. Do you know where Mr. Tierney’s office is?’
‘There’s been a change of plan. Chris has been put in charge of a project that will see him away for the next few months, so you’ve been switched over to me.’
Interesting. I feel my heart rate quicken, but I’ve managed to regain my composure. She’s just another girl, the same as all the rest.
Just do what you do.
‘Oh really! Well then let’s forget about the last few minutes and start again.’ I say with a laugh.
She looks at me and raises an eyebrow. ‘You sound like you’ve said that before.’
She laughs and without waiting for a reply walks back into her office and beckons me in without looking at me. I hesitate for just a second. What the fuck just happened?! I feel bemused by the events of the last few minutes and still can’t get to grip with the affect that this woman has had on me. The fact she has only just met me and yet is so forward and…dominating…only serves to increase the sense of intrigue.
Where did she come from?
Check out CHAPTER 2 . Don’t forget to comment, share and like (if you did!) to help me get the word out!