Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Scanning the publishing house entrance, I take a breath before entering. Drenched, I shake off the rain as shivers flow through me. As a woman approaches me, I pull my hood down, brushing my shaking palms over my long blonde hair. Sylvia, the personal assistant, holds her hand out towards me, and her beaming smile alters. My gothic appearance always comes as a surprise after sounding so intellectual on the phone. “You must be Angela?” she asks.

“Yes,” I say, shaking her hand. My nerves rise, knowing my appearance has altered her opinion of me almost immediately, just like many others. Sylvia’s eyes look down at my bulky, buckled boots paired with the thick, shimmering tights which my thin legs fill. My skirt nips just above my knee, showing my knee caps and somewhat toned thighs.

“Are we going to stand here all day?” I impatiently ask, taking off my small backpack and coat, forming a puddle beneath it as it hangs in my hand.

“Follow me,” she says. I follow, discreetly muttering to myself, “judgy cow.” My arms cross against my slender body, intimidated despite my best efforts to refuse others’ opinions to get the better of me.

“This is your desk. The kitchen is over there. Go round, take everyone’s orders, and make them. Easy, even for you,” Syliva shuns and walks off, leaving me speechless.

Denying the tears pinching my eyes, I hang my coat on the back of the chair and sit down. Taking my waist-length hair into my palm, I nervously fiddle and observes my book stacked and manuscript filled desk, the mug stains on the desk agitating the neat freak within me. I try my best to ignore the gossiping girls in the corner laughing at me, which gets me on my feet with a note pad and pen taking my first order. “Sir, would you like a drink?” I hesitantly ask the good-looking guy hovering the desks. He turns towards me, and a smile grows beneath his prickled jawline as his fiery green eyes look intensely down at me. “Coffee, little milk, two sugars,” he pauses. My bright sapphire eyes hiding beneath my dark makeup captivates him for longer than I expected. “Though I can get my own, thank you,” he finishes.

“But Sylvia told me to do drinks.” I ask as he observes my black chipped nail polish.

“Did she?” he grins, turning his head towards Sylvia, whose smile removes instantly.

“Your job is to read, isn’t it? You see the pile on your desk over there? Perhaps spend the day doing what the boss is paying you for?” he says.

***

My music blares within my large headphones, drowning out the opinionative comments from the upper class, rich gossip queens dotted around the office. Within three hours, I have organised my workspace and escaped reality by falling into a romance novel. A mug placing down in front of me takes my attention from the provocative scene exhilarating me. I lower my headphones and pick up the drink, warming my cold hands before taking a sip. I look up at the guy looking down at me whose scanning the notes I have written. He picks them up and stays mute, increasing my worry that I am doing the job wrong. He moves the papers aside, and his gaze burns into me with inquisition, “You’re new to this?” he asks, and I nod.

“This format you have created is interesting, and the opinions unique,” he says.

“Really? I hope the boss thinks the same. Mr. Brown is it? I haven’t met him yet. I’ve heard he can be a prick,” I say. Mr handsome laughs as he runs his masculine fingers through his hair.

“He can be. It’s first impressions with him,” he points out. I smile, getting lost in his mesmeric glare as his mannerisms work their charm.

“Though, I think there is no way back after drinking his coffee and calling him a prick,” he laughs.

“Holy shit, Mr. Brown,” I sharply stand, knocking the papers flying off the desk. Trying to hide my shaking palms and flushed cheeks, I kneel, quickly collecting the manuscript, hesitating to rise, knowing the words “you’re fired” will shortly follow.

“I’m sorry,” I say, tucking my hair behind my ears.

“Don’t worry about it. Your first impression will be unforgettable, and I look forward to seeing great work from you,” Mr. Brown says. I nervously smile, catch the women’s jealous words a few rows down, and laughs to myself.

“See you tomorrow Angela,” Mr. Jones says.

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