Chapter 4. Fitting in

Allegra had finished what felt like years at work but in fact she had only been in the ‘wonderful world of work” as her father described it, for two weeks. They had dinner once a week and just last week he had told her how proud he was. Allegra was less impressed, the office was no different to Uni in her mind, people dressed the same in cheap jeans and the men didn’t seem to shave enough. To blend in and to stop people continually asking if she was there for an interview, Allegra had started to ‘dress down’, but nothing could make her wear denim. She also couldn’t compromise on her shoes, that was not going to happen.

Allegra was in filling out yet another table when she spotted Nicola coming towards her and yes, there she was  wearing a stupid blanket of some sort.  “How are you getting on? It’s week 3 now isn’t it?”. Nicola never waited for an answer which Allegra found hilarious, she didn’t feel the need to correct her because she knew by now that Nicola would eventually correct herself.”Gosh it’s only a two weeks isn’t it?” she gushed and before Allegra could even nod carried onto her next subject “I need to organise a catch up meeting with you where we review how you are getting on, I will send you a meeting request for Friday, we can grab some lunch”. Nicola had an off hand approach to her that Allegra had seen in her father when he talked to his driver. “Silly cow” was all she could think whilst smiling away.

Nicola ambled away and true to her word, two minutes later a meeting request arrived for Allegra to accept. As she returned her gaze to her wonderful tables she could see her chat blinking at her, it was Tony, one of the marketing team,  “🙄” . He was only a few years older than her and all he seemed to do was spend his time on line or on the phone and he clearly revered Dan. He definitely didn’t spend his time working on spreadsheets.

“HAHAHAHA”  again on chat “So you are getting the Nicola treatment”. Allegra had no idea why this guys was suddenly chatting with her and to be honest she found it really tedious, why didn’t people just talk to each other? Still it was a welcome distraction from her work.

Great she thought, Friday is going to be interesting.

Rubin was one of the first to arrive to the office every day. He had a morning ritual that he followed and he knew that he would arrive to his desk at precisely 07:32. The buses and trains would conspire to throw him off his process at least twice a week, which infuriated him especially when he thought there was no reason for it. The trains ran every day, surely they knew how to run a system… so when it didn’t work for silly reasons like ‘leaves on the track’ well that was just ridiculous and beyond his comprehension.

For two solid days now his phone had been silent. Which wasn’t unusual, Rubin actually didn’t use his phone that much, most of the time it was the news stuff that took his interest and the apps that only sometimes told him the bus schedules.

On his desk everything had it’s exact position, his “To do” list was, as always, written on his notebook and on his computers’ desktop. Rubin felt that he could now start his day. Ten minutes later he was staring at his log-in screen when he was wretched from his thoughts “Morning morning”, it was Tracy, his manager. Tracy actually started only 6 months ago at the same level Rubin but was one of those career women who always had something to say and was promoted quickly. Rubin found her fascinating and terrifying all at the same time.

“Are you stuck? Do we need to re-boot you?”, Tracy was confident and forthright in pretty much everything she did  but she couldn’t get a handle on this guy Rubin. On the face of it he should be excellent at his role but gosh he needed a rocket up his… Well..she probably shouldn’t think like that as his manager. Why was he just staring at his screen was all she could think about as she climbed into her chair.

“Hi Tracy, I’m good, no re-boot necessary, I was just thinking about something, how was your evening?”.  Rubin was frantically entering his password and on the third attempt his laptop sprung to life and his to do list popped up.

“Yeah, it was OK, loads of stuffy people drinking champagne and trying to sound intelligent”. Tracy had no intention of discussing her evening with Rubin and she could tell he was only asking out of politeness. She was not going to get into a conversation with him especially with the changes that were coming for the department and Rubin was someone she was pretty sure wasn’t going to make it.

That’s that then thought Rubin and he was just about to get going when his phone started to beep. At last!

Nicola was absolutely frozen, she had managed to get a corner desk but it was right under the aircon and no combinations of blankets or tea would heat her up. Looking across the office she could see the new intern, BOOM never had an intern previous to this so it was clear that Daddy had pulled some strings. What sort of intern can afford those shoes?? Nicola felt bad for her thoughts, but she had to work hard for everything her whole life and there is no way that she would dream of spending such amounts of money on shoes.

There was only one Allegra Bardon-Calebrand on Facebook the profile picture taken on board a huge yacht and bottles of very expensive champagne littered what must have been the upper deck. Christ-that is who she is…what the hell was this girl doing working for BOOM? For free? Nicolas’ head went into a spin, the more she googled the more she became aware that their lives had been so very different.

Just as she zoomed in to yet another party picture a voice made her physically jump, “that was a great day”. Nicola could feel her cheeks start to burn, it was too late to close the page and besides Allegra was right beside her. “Look I, eh”, the words just wouldn’t come out, she was caught and caught badly.

Allegra arrived to the side of Nicolas’ desk to see her zooming pictures of a story the bastion of good reporting the Daily mail had featured about rich kids. Allegra found the whole story to be just vulgar, I mean who writes this stuff. But there it was, Nicola had zoomed right into her face. These people. Allegra was furious.

Nicola had to find her feet fast “We need a picture for the BOOM website” her tone was haughty and without taking a breath she carried on “I googled you and all this stuff came up, I had no idea you were that A-B-C.

A-B-C? This woman was something, Allegra drew herself up tall and looking directly at Nicola, “We have a studio upstairs where everyone gets their pictures taken”. Turning quickly she marched off leaving Nicola somewhat red of cheek and slightly shaking.

She was never going to fit into this place.






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