How are you? It’s Wednesday again. I’m excited to share an excerpt with you.
Hope you enjoy it! See you back here on Saturday?
“Good morning, Hannah,” Mary said warmly, getting up from her chair.
Lex was glaring back at her from across the table.
“Mary, I can’t make it to the office today,” Hannah replied between two shaky breaths, “Something came up.”
Mary pressed the phone against her ear and took a step towards the large window.
“Can you and Lex just get started?” Hannah continued.
“Of course,” Mary stammered. She was tempted to ask what was wrong. Hannah was clearly upset.
“Thank you. I’m really sorry about this. I’m not sure when I’ll be back in the office either.”
“No, no, don’t worry. We’ve got everything covered here,” Mary said, glancing up at the ceiling.
She could hear Lex getting up.
“Lex there?” Hannah asked.
“Eh, yes,” Mary said, rubbing the back of her neck.
“The car will be here in five!” another female voice shouted in the background.
Mary wondered where Hannah was calling from. She could hear her walk around a room. Still home maybe?
“Can you tell her I’ll try to call her later?” Hannah said.
Mary looked over her shoulder. “Okay, yeah.”
“Thanks again,” her boss said, her voice shaky. “I have to go now. Ask Suzy if you need anything, okay?”
Mary walked to the table and grabbed a pen, feeling like she should write something down. “I will,” she replied.
“Honey, Christine is on the phone!” the other woman yelled again. It had to be Mildred North, Mary figured.
“Yes, okay,” Hannah croaked. “Bye, Mary,” she whispered and hung up.
Mary lowered the phone, staring at the screen.
“What was that all about?” Lex asked, placing her coffee cup on the table.
“Hannah can’t make it today,” Mary said, putting the pen down.
Mary pointed at her phone. “She didn’t say.”
Lex pulled her own phone out of her pocket. She checked it and shook her head in confusion.
“Hannah said she’d call you later,” Mary offered.
She could see the muscles of Lex’s jaw shift under pale skin.
“What did she say about today’s meeting?” Lex sighed, dropping her phone onto the table.
Mary gently placed her own device on the wooden surface. “She said we should go ahead as planned.”
Lex sucked her lips into a thin line, her hands on her sides.
“We’re supposed to ask Suzy when we need something,” Mary explained.
Lex blew out a breath. “Fine. Let’s get started then.”
She started taking off her leather jacket. Mary took in the grey V-neck sweater and black slacks. It was a simple outfit but everything about it looked expensive. Hannah and Lex were family alright, she thought.
There were some big differences between the two women, though. Hannah was open, kind and colorful. Her cousin Lex was the exact opposite, with pitch black hair and an unsmiling face. Even her clothes were dark.
Lex pulled back her chair and sat down. “Alright, I’d like to start with the sales numbers of the last four quarters.”
Mary’s nostrils flared. “I have a presentation I’d like to show you first,” she said as calmly as she could.
Lex gave her a long look. “We can skip the introduction and go straight to the numbers.”
Mary tugged at the zipper of her laptop bag. “No,” she said, struggling to keep her voice even, “Hannah asked me to prepare this for our meeting, so we’ll start with the presentation.”
She straightened and put her laptop on the table. Lex’s stern expression had morphed into an annoyed one. Mary ignored it and sat down. She opened her computer.
Her mood had soured dramatically. Not only was she worried about Hannah, she was also wondering why Hannah had appointed this woman as the new store manager.
Mary clicked the file she had placed on her desktop last night. This presentation was the perfect way to start the transition, no matter what Lex Emsworth thought.
“I suggest you take notes,” Mary said, mimicking Lex’s cold tone. It didn’t feel right, but she pressed on. “I will start with the team, since you’ll be meeting them later this week.”
Lex didn’t look up from her notebook. “Yeah, I think I’ll join you tomorrow morning.”
“Tomorrow?!” Mary blurted out.
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