In the mirror was a reflection of someone I barely recognized. This person ran her bright red nails over the slick shine of her hair. She had just finished pulling it into a tight bob of a ponytail. Red lips pushed together causing its color to spread over their plump and chapped surface. It was as close as one could get to perfection, and on this day that girl in the mirror could accept no less. She scared me.
Several hours later, my taxi stopped in front of Stars Journal LA edition. I got out and stared at the building. It was considerably smaller than the one in NYC, only four stories tall with six windows aligning each floor. The sign in front was no less brilliant however; it appeared to be the exact same brightly colored sign, which was sure to grab attention no matter how far you were in its sight. This one common detail made me relax and taking a breath I walked the four steps up to the glass doorway.
The secretary at the first floor desk looked at me curiously. Her think, black rimmed glasses fit perfectly with her face. In fact it was such a good match up I was distracted for a brief second as I walked towards her. She had her blonde hair in ringlets, hovering over her shoulders. The curls bobbed ever-so-slightly as she tilted her head in question. “Can I assist you?” I nodded, and clearing my throat I told her who I was. Her eyes widened in surprise, “Oh, I thought we had a few more days till your arrival. I apologize ma’am.”
“Please, don’t call me ma’am. Miss. Sommers is fine.” It was as polite as I could allow myself to be, I was not ready to be addressed on a personal level by my staff. This was my first leadership position with such a high responsibility and I could not risk loosing an ounce of control. I listened to the secretary as she called someone on the phone by the name of Braden who was to come and show me around.
I waited uncomfortably as she watched me, her hair bobbing gently on her shoulders. Turning away I looked out onto the street outside. Some of those who walked by looked hard at their reflections in our glossy windows, straightening out their a-line skirts and yellow ties. It’s funny how in reflections we see everything we do not want to know about ourselves. It’s funny how much that matters.
A small and pleasant ding interrupted the silence in the lobby as the elevator reached the ground floor. A small man walked out of the opening doors. He was slight and balding, dressed head-to-toe in a very slick blue suit. He stuck out his hand several feet before reaching me, prepared to greet me as the dedicated and personable employee. His cheeks, though thin, were very pink and matched his red noise well. I knew I was going to like this little man. Finally grasping my hand, he spoke “Hello, welcome to Stars Journal LA Edition. I am Braden, I guess you could say I am your personal assistant while we get you adjusted. We figured we would allow you to hire your own personal assistant once you do get adjusted, but I supposed I will have to do for now.” As Braden spoke he didn’t take a single breath, his hand shook mine with a tight grip. I smiled a genuine smile.
“Thank you Braden, I appreciate the help.” He released my hand.
“Follow me this way please, I will show you around the building, at least the parts that will be the most concern to you for the present.” I followed him to the elevator and once inside he pressed the button for floor two. “The first floor deals with public interest. We have several offices down there that deal with everything from the general public to the not so general public,” he breathed, “You know, like the celebrities. These offices give a chance for people to communicate with our magazine, I know this is one thing our office offers that the one in New York does not.” It was true, this was a novel idea and I approved greatly. Just like this little man, it was a very personable idea. It made me wonder if the idea was his, but I did not voice my question. “The people like the opportunity to tell us what they want to hear, and the celebrities like to tell us what they want the people to know. It is a good relationship we provide,” he laughed as the elevator reached the second floor.