Haley starts work
“I’m so sorry. Did he wake you up?” he sat up and grabbed his boxers.
“No, I’ve been up since 4. I’m too nervous to sleep. Have you seen my pants?”
“Oh, what time is it?”
“7:45. I have to be at my new job in an hour and I can’t find my pants.” She leaned down and checked under the couch. “I still have to take a shower, and find something to wear. What do you wear when you’re the boss?”
“The same thing you wear any other time. Why don’t you go get ready and I’ll make you breakfast. And find your pants.”
“Oh, no. I think you need to shower too.” She grabbed his hand and pulled him in the direction of the bathroom. She kissed his neck as he reached in the shower and turned the water on. In one swift move she stripped her clothes off and jumped under the running water, pulling him in with her. He pushed her up against the wall, attacking her lips. She wrapped her arms around his back, pulling him closer and pressing her body against his.
“Fuck, you’re so sexy.” He breathed heavily as she wrapped one of her legs around his hip. He thrust deep into her, making her moan and bite her lip.
Pete had been banished to the kitchen while Haley got dressed for work. Their ‘shower’ had gone a little longer than expected, not that she was complaining, and as a result she was running late. She had kicked him out of the bedroom when every item of clothing she put on, he tried to take off. So, he decided he would make her breakfast after all. He was just putting the toast on a plate when she stomped into the room. “This is a disaster.” She whined, stopping in front of him.
“What do you mean? You look good.” She was wearing skinny dark jeans tucked into shiny black stiletto boots, and a black and white striped tee under a gold sleeveless tunic, with a shiny black belt. Her hair was straightened, with her pink bangs swooped over one eye and the ends of her hair flipped out and sticking up a little.
“Look at my face. My lips are all swollen, and you gave me 2 hickeys, that as hard as I try, I can’t cover up.” She gave him an angry look.
“It’s not my fault.” He shrugged, grinning. “Maybe you shouldn’t look so hot in the morning.”
“I look like a slut.” She pouted.
“No, you look like you have a boyfriend that can’t get enough of you.” He grabbed her butt and kissed her firmly on the lips. She leaned into the kiss for a moment, before squealing and pushing him away.
“No, don’t! You’re going to make it worse.” She laughed. “I need ice.” She grabbed an ice cube out of the freezer and held it up to her mouth. She turned back around to notice him placing the plates on the table. “Wa r oo oing?” she mumbled, trying not to remove the ice from her lips.
“I made you breakfast.” He smiled.
“Aww, that’s so sweet.”
“I made eggs and toast.” He guided her over to the table and sat down next to her.
“You can actually cook?” she looked down at the plate, smiling.
“I can make eggs and toast.” He shrugged.
“Oh my god, that was so good.” Haley said when she finished her last bite. “But I’m going to be late.”
“I’ll drive you.” Pete said, standing up and placing the plates in the sink.
“Ok, so tell me honestly.” She stood up, smoothing down her shirt and held her arms out for him to inspect her outfit. “Does this make me look like Lindsay Lohan?” Pete stopped for a second.
“No.” He motioned towards her head.
“Ok, one more question. Hoodie, or no hoodie.” She held up a hot pink hoodie, holding it up.
“It’ll make you look less like Lindsay Lohan.” He nodded.
“So I do look like her?” Haley panicked as she pulled it on.
“Not with the hoodie. If you had the long hair and the giant suitcase purse, then you probably would.”
“My purse has unicorns on it.”
“Then definitely not.” Haley smiled and leaned in, kissing him lightly and wiped her lip-gloss off his mouth, giggling. “What?” he wrinkled his eyebrows.
“I’m taller than you in these shoes.” She smiled, standing up straight and looking down at him.
“You’re only an inch shorter than me. You’re probably taller than me in most shoes.” He grabbed his wallet and keys. “Let’s go, so you’re not too late.”
“Oh, now I’m nervous again. What if they don’t like me?”
“They have to like you, you’re the boss.” He smiled as they walked out to the car.
“Do my lips look any better?” she asked, when they got to the car.
“Not really. They just look red and cold.” Haley sighed, and dropped the melting ice cube out the window, wiping her wet fingers on her pants.
“It’s all your fault.” She glared at him.
“Hey, a lot of girls pay hundreds of dollars to get ass fat injected into their lips to make them look like that. Isn’t your way a lot more fun?” he looked over at her.
“I guess so. How do you know girls pay hundreds of dollars to get ass fat injected?”
“I saw it on TV once. I think it scarred me.” He laughed. “So what time are you done?” he wanted to change the topic away from his TV habits.
“I think around 5ish.” She shrugged.
“Ok, I’ll come back around 4:45, and just wait.”
“You don’t have to do that. I can call you when I’m done.”
“No, it’s ok. I don’t want you to have to sit around waiting. Besides I have some phone calls I have to make, that I can just do from here just as easily as from home.” He reached out and placed a hand on her knee as he drove.
Haley rode up in the elevator alone to the fourth floor. Her nerves felt like it was the first day of school. The elevator stopped at her floor and, instantly, her knees started shaking and her palms were sweating. She peered out as the doors slowly opened. She stood frozen to her spot until someone popped up from around the corner of the wall. “Oh my god, you’re here! EVERYONE! SHE’S HERE!” a short guy with spiky blond hair and bright orange sneakers with a matching tee shirt and a white hoodie grabbed her hand and pulled her out into the room. “I’m Tim. I’m your assistant. We’ve been waiting for you. I love your outfit. Let me show you around.” His words all ran together as he wrapped one arm around her shoulder and started gesturing with the other.
“I’m sorry I’m late.” Haley stuttered as Tim guided her around the office. Tim, it seemed was every gay stereotype you could possibly imagine.
“Oh, that’s all right. Everyone else just got here about half an hour ago.” He waved it off. “So, do you want us to call you Iona or Haley? We were debating.”
“Haley’s fine. It’s what’s on my driver’s license.” She shrugged.
“Ok, Haley. Let me show you around. This is the kitchen, it’s fully stocked. I hope you don’t mind, I did some in depth Googling, and found all your favorite foods.”
“That’s on Google?” she scrunched up her nose.
“Yeah, it’s a little creepy. So we have coffee, tea Red Bull, diet Coke. Then an assortment of candy in this drawer. Some crackers and cookies, cereal, basic junk food. And some yogurts, and general snacks in the fridge.”
“Awesome.” She nodded I approval.
“Then we have the main office.” He led her back out into the main room. There were only five desks in it. It wasn’t like any office she had ever seen. The walls were bright purple and had HEATHERETTE written across one wall in big block letters like the HOLLYWOOD sign, and ROK N ROL (the name of their branch of the company) across the other in what looked like spray painted grafitti letters. The carpet was leopard print, except giant, the spots were about a foot across. All the furniture was black and white plastic. “In this corner, we have Kimmy, the designer. She does the actual drawings that we send out. Then Kyle does the marketing and public relations stuff. Like, if we want a product placement on a TV show or something. Ali and Tara have this whole half. Tara gets the fabric samples and color swatches, before we start a collection, and Ali handles all the finished garments after we get them back. And this is my desk.” He pointed at one right in front of them.
“Cool.” She nodded, a little overwhelmed.
“That’s not it. Your office is in here.” He opened a door next to them. Her office was decorated to coordinate with the rest of the office. It had the same carpet, except the walls had black and white stripes going up and down and her desk was clear plastic. Her desk chair looked antique, if not for the gold legs and the lime green velvet cushion, that matched the curtains draped over the window and the fuzzy rug under the desk.
“This is the coolest office ever.” Haley squealed.
“I know, isn’t it?!” Tim gushed.
“I match my office.” She looked down at her outfit.
“It must be fate.”
“You know, I’ve never had an office before.” She looked at him.
“Aww, you’re losing your office virginity. I thought that might be the case. I got you a present to mark the occasion.” He pulled out of his pocket a pack of Post-Its with a bow wrapped around them.
“Sweet! Post-Its!” Haley gasped. “I’ll put them on my desk, in MY office.” She sat down in the chair. “I don’t have any drawers.” She looked around. “Where am I supposed to put my stuff?”
“I thought of that. I got you that little set of drawers in the corner.” Haley turned around to where he pointed, and saw a black cabinet with 4 drawers and a shelf that blended in perfectly with the black stripe on the wall.
“Oh, I didn’t even see it there.” She opened the top drawer and put her Post-Its in it. “Awesome.” She smiled. “So, if everyone just got here this morning, when did you have time to Google food and buy a cabinet?”
“I came in yesterday, before everyone else to make sure everything was ok.” He nodded and glanced at his watch. “I should probably get back to work. The phones won’t answer themselves. Is there anything you want me to do? Errands, phone calls, I am your assistant.” Haley tried to think of anything.
“Um, if you wouldn’t mind, I need a car. My boyfriend has been driving me everywhere, and I feel bad.”
“Sure, I’ll get some prices. Anything in particular?”
“Something small, I’m horrible at parking. And I can’t drive stick. Not too flashy, but cute. Pick something. Just not one of those little 2 seat sports cars.”
“Oh, no. Eew.” Tim shook his head at the thought.
After Tim left, Haley was sitting in her office wondering what she was supposed to do when there was a knock on the door. “Yeah?” Haley called, as the door opened and a girl with long straight black hair poked her head in.
“Hi, I’m Kimmy.” She said cheerfully. “Can I come in?”
“Yeah sure, grab a chair.” Haley pointed at another green and gold chair in the corner.
“Wow. Your office is awesome. We weren’t allowed to see it until you got here.”
“Tim was barricading the door.” She laughed. “So, I wanted to talk to you about some of the designs. Just get right to work.” She placed a few pieces of paper on the desk.
“Great. Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing.” She leaned in, whispering.
“That’s ok. That’s why I’m here. You say, ‘I want this and this with some of this’. I draw up a couple sketches, and we go from there. Adjusting and changing whatever doesn’t work. But you get the final say.” Haley nodded in understanding.
“Ok, I get it. You’re going to have to start slow, though. Let’s see what you’ve got.” She sat up to see the drawings Kimmy was holding.
“So, these were just some ideas I had for a starting point. The great thing about a new line is that we can really do anything. We don’t have any set style we have to incorporate.”
“Oh yeah, I never thought of it like that.”
“So, these are some different directions we can go in for themes. We can do the glam rock look, with sequins, leather, more form fitting. Brit Punk, with jeans, zippers, plaids. Or, since we’re supposed to be mall friendly, we could do some deconstructed denim, stuff that looks like you made it yourself. That’s all I have so far. I was just working off the top of my head.”
“I really like it. What if we combined them? Some denim, some shine, some do-it-yourself. Like the best of all each.”
“I like it. The rock fan goes to Vegas. But doesn’t look like a groupie.” She nodded enthusiastically. They talked about ideas for almost two more hours before Kimmy got up to leave. “I think we have our theme. See, you’re better at this than you thought. Do you want me to shut this?” she pointed at the door.
“No, I don’t really like being separate from everyone.”
Haley followed her out and sat in the chair next to Tim’s desk. “What’s up?”
“Here’s a list of cars I found. They’re all new, at the dealerships and are available now.” He handed her a sheet of paper with several photos of cars on it.
“I like the Mini Cooper.” She handed it back.
“Good choice. I’ll arrange a test drive if you want.”
“Sure, maybe for this afternoon.” Tim nodded and circled the photo on the paper.
“I’m just about to order lunch for everyone, do you want anything?” he handed her a menu to look at.
“I’ll get the Asian chicken salad.” She said reading the menu.
“Ok, I’m going to pick it up. I’ll be back in half an hour.” As he got up, Haley looked around and saw Kimmy sitting at her desk talking to another girl with blond chin length hair.
“Hey.” She got up, walking towards them.
“Hi. We haven’t met yet. I’m Ali.” The girl reached out and shook Haley’s hand.
“Hi. Can I ask you guys something?” she leaned against the corner of the desk.
“Shoot.” Kimmy said as Ali leaned on the opposite corner.
“So, I know Tim was all excited about my office, but do you think I could move my desk out here?” she wrinkled her forehead.
“Is it the stripes? I thought they might give you a headache.” Kimmy turned to look in her door.
“I just feel weird being separated from everyone else. I’m out of the loop. I feel like the boss.”
“Of course. We can scoot everyone over this way a couple feet and put you in that corner. OH! They had these cool room divider things that were frosted glass at this store I was in the other day, we could get a couple of those, to just define the corners, and paint the stripes in there.” Ali offered.
“It’ll be like the entire room’s out here.” Haley said.
“And you can hang out with us and everything. It’ll be great.” Kimmy smiled.
“What’ll we do with the office though?” Haley wrinkled her forehead.
“Hmm.” Ali scratched her chin. “I’ll put the word out, and get ideas from everyone.”
“We should probably move the furniture before Tim comes back and has a fit.” Kimmy said, standing up.
“Come on everybody. We’ve got work to do.” Ali called over to Tara and Kyle who were still at their desks. “Kyle, you’re a boy. Do the heavy lifting.” Tara was a little taller than Haley, with wavy brown hair to the middle of her back. Kyle was really tall and really skinny, and his hair looked like he spent hours making it look like he just rolled out of bed. With everyone moving stuff, they had Haley’s office moved into the main room in about 10 minutes. The only problem was that her desk weighed about 1000 pounds. Everyone was on an end trying to push and pull it through the door when Tim returned carrying bags full of everyone’s food.
“What are you doing?!” he gasped.
“She wants to be part of the group, do you have a problem with that?” Ali said as the desk almost ran over her foot.
“Why didn’t you say that before?” he looked at Haley.
“You were so pumped about everything. I didn’t want to upset you.” She shrugged. He glared at the group for a moment before breaking.
“If you angle the desk this way a little, it’ll open the space up.” He pointed, and Kyle shifted the desk over. “Much better.”
“We’re going to get these glass dividers, and paint the stripes on the wall…” Ali started to explain everything to him.
They were all sitting around the tiny kitchen eating their lunches in silence when suddenly Ali gasped. “I know what we can make the other room!”
“What?” Tara asked.
“Well, there’s barely enough room for all of us in here, and eating our lunch by ourselves at our desks is kind of depressing. We can put a table in there, and a couch and make it a sort of break room/dining room thing.”
“I like that idea.” Haley smiled and everyone nodded.
“Ok, so I say since we’re going to work together everyday, we need to know something about each other.” Tara said cheerfully. “We should go around the circle and get to know everyone.”
“Ok. But you have to go first.” Haley shrugged.
“Ok, well my name is Tara, I’m 27 and I grew up in Dallas. I went to school in New York for fabric and textile design. I live with my boyfriend, he’s a lawyer, and I have a cat named Muffin. Next.”
“Well, I’m Kimmy, I’m 23 and I just graduated from design school. I was born in Hong Kong, but I grew up right here in L.A. I live with my sister in the ghetto. I’m double jointed, see.” She twisted her arm freakishly far around her back.
“Ok, eew. I’m Tim, I’m 25, I’m from New Jersey, I went to UCLA. I too live with my boyfriend, although we don’t have a cat named Muffin. The woman next door thinks he’s my cousin.”
“Is he as flamboyant as you?” Kimmy asked.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he feigned anger.
“Come on. You’re like the love child of Elton John and Boy George.” Ali giggled.
“Ooh, good one.” Haley nudged her.
“Ok, maybe you’re right. He’s a hair stylist. Your turn.” He pointed at Kyle.
“Well, I’m Kyle, I’m 26. I’m from Colorado, I went to school for advertising. I was a pro BMX rider when I was a teenager, but I broke a couple vertebrae, and they said I couldn’t ride anymore. I live in Venice Beach with a couple of my buddies.”
“And by buddies, you mean…” Haley smiled.
“I like GIRLS. Why is that so hard for you guys to get?”
“You work in fashion.” Tim shrugged.
“And you have very artfully sculpted hair. I don’t think it moves.” Ali tried to poke his hair, and he swatted her hand away.
“Um, I’m Ali. I’m 22. I’m from San Diego. I actually went to cosmetology school, to be a makeup artist. I started volunteering and interning at Fashion Week events and photo shoots and stuff and moved into fashion, and worked my way here. I live with my grandmother in the Valley. She makes me go to bed at 9:00. I have to get out of there.” She groaned while everyone laughed.
“Well, I guess that leaves me. My name is Haley, but I went by Iona for the last few years. I don’t know what to tell you that you haven’t heard from the tabloids already.” She sighed. “I have a twin brother, he’s in a band…”
“The Academy Is, I know.” Ali squeaked. “I’m sorry, I’m sort of a groupie. I’ll get over it.” She blushed, making Haley laugh.
“That’s alright. Um… I have a dog named Snoopy, but she lives with my brother back in Chicago. She wouldn’t leave. I’m homeless, all my stuff is in boxes. That’s about it.”
“So who is he?” Kimmy asked.
“Who is who?” Haley was confused.
“The guy who branded you. They look fresh.” She pointed her fork at the 2 bite marks on Haley’s neck. Obviously, the concealer did nothing.
“Is it Pete Wentz? Perez Hilton said it was Pete Wentz.” Ali bounced. “Ok, now I’m just embarrassing myself.”
“Just go with it, you’ll get all the teenybopper out of your system and it won’t faze you anymore.” Tim placed a hand on her arm to make her calm down.
“Yes, it is Pete Wentz.” Haley blushed. “We’ve been going out for a couple months, just he’s been here and I’ve been in Chicago.”
“So you had to release all your pent up energy in 24 hours. I get it.” Tara nodded. “So, you’re living with him?”
“I’m staying with him, I’m going to find my own house. It’s too new, I don’t want to mess things up by moving right in.”
“But all you stuff is at his house?” Tim cocked an eyebrow.
“You’ve moved in. You’re not going anywhere.” Tara shook her head.
“How do you know?”
“This morning, I asked if there was anything you needed me to do. You said find you a car, so you didn’t have to borrow your boyfriend’s. You didn’t say find you an apartment so you didn’t have to borrow your boyfriend’s.” Tim said, knowingly.
“He has a point.” Kimmy nodded.
They finished their lunches, and went back to work for the rest of the day. Haley was preoccupied with what Tim said. He DID have a point. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to get her own apartment, or if she had just told herself that it was too early to move in. Pete did rearrange his closet to make room for her. “There’s a creepy looking car downstairs, that’s just sort of sitting there.” Kimmy said, looking out the window. Haley looked at the clock, almost 5:00 already. She glanced out the window—yup, it was Pete’s car.
“Oh, that’s Pete. He’s coming to pick me up, he’s probably just early.” Haley shrugged as Ali bolted from her chair and across the room, plastering her face against the window.
“Oh my god, Pete Wentz is in that car? Holy crap!” she gasped.
“What are you sitting up here for? Go home with your man.” Tim picked up her purse and pushed her towards the door.
“We’ve barely done anything all day, we’re not going to start now.”
“Fine, but if I’m leaving, then so is everyone else. I want all of you gone in the next 10 minutes. I’m the boss.” She turned and walked to the elevator with a smile. She hopped in Pete’s car just as he was ending a phone call with what sounded like the record company.
“Hey Baby, how was your first day.” He leaned over and kissed her.
“It was great. You should meet these people. They’re so much fun. There’s only 5 of them, and they’re all young. Tara’s the oldest, and she’s only 27.”
“I’m glad you like them. They didn’t think you looked too much like Lindsay Lohan?” he smiled as he backed out of the parking space.
“No, I fit in perfectly. Thank you. Oh, I even have an assistant, Tim, he’s hilarious. And the one girl, Ali, is the same age as me, she’s a huge Fall Out Boy fan, and The Academy, and all of you guys. It was so funny.”
“Yeah? We’re on Perez Hilton by the way. Someone took our picture at the airport.”
“I know. Ali told me. Oh, there she is in the window.” Haley pointed up at her face, still pressed up against the window. Pete spotted her and waved. Her head started bouncing up and down and her arms were flailing, he could practically hear her shrieking.
“So, yeah. That’s Ali.” Haley laughed. “Eventually she’ll get it out of her system. But seriously, you have to meet everyone.”
“Yeah, maybe tomorrow or something?” he said, pulling into the road. “But right now…” he picked up her hand and kissed it. “Why don’t we finish what we started this morning?”
Here is a picture of the desk chair, but in a different color. I saw the exact one I described once, and I wish I bought it.
Just by the way, the character of Tim is based partly on the guy fro Ugly Betty, but also on my boss's assistant at the internship I had over the summer. The first time I met him, he really was wearing orange sneakers. So, I think it adds a little something to know that he is real. I can't fully capture him in writing. But he was the guy from Ugly Betty, I wish I still worked with him.