Chapter 2. Allegra

Twenty minutes ago she had been  told to ‘take a seat’ by the receptionist who, to her mind, would have benefited from  customer service training.  Allegra watched the minutes tick by on the present her father gave from Switzerland, she had shaken the watch down her arm a few times to ensure that it was clear she was not happy to be left waiting.

Countless people arrived to the long table in the foyer and were greeted by their hosts. Allegra, waited. Shifting in her leather armchair, she smoothed the lines of her new suit and glared at the lady called ‘Susan” who seemed oblivious to her plight and was in any more interested in getting a foreign delegation to the right floor.

“Right, enough of this”, Allegra was about to angrily dial when had when an extremely thin woman with what looked like a shawl came towards her. “You must be Allegro, welcome to Boom, I’m Nicola”.

Struggling to her feet, Allegra corrected the pronunciation of her name and went to embrace the shawled woman who it turned out  was not a ‘hugger’.  Separating quickly Nicola turned towards reception,  “Let us through the gates will ya Susan, how was the weekend? Did you go for drinks on Friday?” Nicola didn’t wait to hear a response before she was down the hall and up the 3 flights of stairs,  Allegra tottering along behind her, extremely unhappy to be going up stairs when there were 4 perfectly fine lifts.

“Keeps you warm, goin’ up the stairs so it does” was all Nicola would say by way of apology, ” the building has a centrally controlled heating ya know and it thinks we are in mid summer” her breath didn’t change as she attacked her 5th set of steps. Allegra pulled on the banister just to keep up.

Finally they stopped climbing and emerged into another reception, this one had people sized TV’s and the orange BOOM logo on the wall. “Grab a seat there Allegro while I find my colleague, would you like a coffee?”. This was not what she had expected at all, not one bit, surely people should know her name? Allegra found a chair beside a huge TV and started to look at the people who scurried past her. If this was supposed to be cutting edge it didn’t look it, almost everyone was wearing jeans and those who had them had not paid any more than  £20 for a haircut.

Nicola arrived back with a rather well dressed  man in his early 30’s who she introduced as Dan. “He is the head of digital marketing” she went on to gush. Allegra gave him the once over, shock his hand and followed the pair as they headed across the office expanse. He was ‘OK’…just. Nicola clearly had a thing for him as she continued to paw at him and joke as they headed across the office.

I will leave you now Nicola said drawing her shawl around her bony shoulders, they arrived at a desk with a laptop, an (horrid, Allegra thought) orange fleece with a card proudly displaying the word WELCOME! “This is you” Dan announced pulling the chair out for her, “get settled and we will get to know each other” he continued to talk as he walked away to get another chair. “So… ” his voice growled rather than spoke, “What brings you to Boom?”

What a stupid question she thought, who was this guy and didn’t he know who she was? “I was introduced to the company by a contact” she countered, “my eh, family, knows the business”.

Dan was confused, this was supposed to be an easy morning, meet the new intern, get her settled then a meeting with a supplier and all going well, the supplier would take him to lunch.  Expecting to meet a 20 something student, he was in fact sat opposite someone that he was sure he had seen on that annoying reality thingy, at the least she sounded like it. Allegra Bardon-Calebrand, was her name wasn’t it, it dimly resonated with him but he couldn’t remember why. Anyway, this girl had dressed for the wrong office and about 10 years older than her actual age it seemed. To be fair, her suit was lovely-he appreciated fine couture but this was some sort of power suit she had on. What sort of student wears pearl earrings?

Over the next 20 minutes he tried to explain the way in which digital marketing was structured in Boom and the role that she would be doing. His new intern didn’t seem all that interested… her perfectly made up eyes had that glassed look he often found when talking to non marketing people.

If Dan was confused, Allegra was deeply in shock, this was not at all what Daddy had promised. He had ‘promised’ a hip organisation, great fun, a disrupter brand and a role at the cutting edge of marketing. To Allegra this meant dinners, functions, events not, to her horror, data entry and analysis, which is exactly what Dan had in mind. She was furious at her father for insisting on this internship or whatever it was. What did he think she was going to be doing when he paid for her nice new suit, the sort of suit that one would wear to important meetings. This Dan guy was rambling about ‘click to view’ statistics and how important they were. Allegra found it difficult to follow what he was talking about but the sound of his voice, now that was something else, that she could listen to, preferably over a cocktail…

It took only 20 minutes of explaining before Allegra knew what she had to do for the rest of the 8 hours that were left in the day. “WTF?”

Job done, Dan headed to his next meeting, while his new charge tried to turn on her laptop.Where did she think she was he wondered, her clothes were not cheap and were incongruous to the jeans of the rest of the office. Nicola waved at him from his next meeting, “I give her a week…” she whispered as they got underway.

8 hours, Allegra had a pile of data to add to the system, each keystroke making her more and more angry. Get a job, get your independence, get money, do something interesting, words that she had heard for the last year well this was not what she had expected. In fact, she would need some serious online retail therapy to get over this shock.  A quick look around the cheap no name laptop she had been given, seriously, who doesn’t have Apple products these days, and she found the browser. Daddy was going to pay for this.

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