Truth to Tell, the opening scene…
It was madness.
Joanne Lawson couldn’t imagine what had possessed her.
She peered through rain-spattered spectacles at the hastily scrawled address on the scrap of paper taken from her pocket, then at the faded name-plate to the left of fancy, wrought iron gates.
This was the place, all right.
Adam House: home of Mark Jenson, widower, flautist of some renown, apparently in need of a secretary.
Crumpling the paper into a well-worn ball she thrust it back into her pocket and cowered under her umbrella.
Supposing he found out?
Desperation had brought her this far, and as she quickly thought back over recent events she convinced herself there was no way he could find out.
And it was too good a chance to miss.
It was six months since Clive, the man she’d believed she would marry, had walked out on her. Then two months ago she had lost her job.
Fate, it seemed, was determined to rob her of everything that mattered in her life. Bills were piling up, her typing getting rusty, and her boredom was growing as quickly as her self esteem was shrinking.
In a last ditch attempt to find employment she had been almost at the end of yet another round of the local employment agencies.
Left alone in the office to complete a questionnaire of relevant experience, the sudden ringing of the phone had made her jump. She glanced around and waited, expecting someone to come in and take the call.
No-one did, and the phone kept ringing. Joanne let her hand hover over the receiver. In her last job, before redundancy struck, she had been a receptionist, and it was a denial of rigorous training to allow a phone to ring unanswered.
Eventually, unable to stand it a moment longer, she lifted the receiver. “Quickstart Agency,” she said, her best sing-song receptionist’s voice automatically locking in.
“At last,” said a male voice. “Look, I’m in a bit of a hurry so just take this down would you?”
“Good. This is Mark Jenson. I need another secretary. I had to let the last girl go. I’ll be away for a few days so if you can manage it, just send someone round to Adam House next Monday. I know it’s short notice but you’ve always come up trumps before so I’ll leave it in your hands. Tell Alex about it would you?”
“Mr. Jenson, you don’t understand-”
“I’m sorry, I really must fly, I’m late already. See what you can do will you? Be in touch.”
It was habit that had her reaching for a pen to jot down the address he rattled off, and then guilt that had her stuffing it in her pocket before anyone saw.
Later on she began to see the possibilities for herself. No-one but she knew of the vacancy. That had to increase her chances.
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Excerpt coming soon…
Excerpt coming soon…