An American Cinderella:A Royal Love Story(8)

By: Krista Lakes

“Jaqui has an office?” I asked, frowning slightly. When I had left, Jaqui worked on a table in a hallway. She’d been an assistant just like me. I was glad to hear she’d moved up in the organization. “Where?”

“Oh, that’s right.” Gus rolled his broad shoulders. He was large, but most of it was muscle, not fat. “She’s the head of the records department now. She’s in Beth’s old office. Second floor.”

“She claimed the good office?” I asked. “She must be important.”

Gus grinned at me. “She’s your new boss.”

“Oh.” I nodded. Jaqui was a year younger than me, but now she was my boss. I didn’t begrudge her the position, but it only added to how far this job was taking me from my goals. “Well, then I have the best boss in the building.”

“Only because you don’t work security.”

I grinned at him. “Obviously.”

I headed upstairs and to my new boss’s office. It still smelled the same here. Musty, but clean. The old building had weathered enough wars and time that it had an old, but peaceful scent. It felt like nothing had changed, even though I most certainly had.

I went to the far corner office. The door was open, spilling afternoon sunshine into the hallway. Jaqui sat at a small black desk, typing away at her computer and looking busy.

She was small with dark hair and beautiful dark eyes. She had the longest eyelashes I had ever seen on a person. Her beautiful dark olive skin glowed in the sunlight.

“Hey, I hear you get to tell me what to do now,” I said, stepping into her office.

Jaqui looked up at me and grinned. “I was wondering when you were going to get here,” she said, rising gracefully from her desk and coming to greet me. She gave me a warm hug.

“I took my time coming from the Senate offices,” I admitted.

“You should have taken longer,” Jaqui replied. I thought of how I could have stayed with Henry and gotten coffee. It was strange, but thinking of him made me smile. I wondered if he was going to remember to bring me lunch tomorrow. I hoped he would, but I doubted it.

“I didn’t want to be inconvenient for you. My stepmother, sure. But not you.”

“If I had my way, you would still be at the Senate offices.” She shook her head and motioned to a chair in front of her desk. “That’s where you belong. I can’t believe you’re back.”

I sat down on the chair and set my bag by my feet. “I was told you have some paperwork for me?”

Jaqui nodded as she returned to her own seat. “I do. For some strange reason, my boss informed me that you will be inputting all the new information on our trade deals into the computer. It’s something that we usually have an intern do, but you’ve been chosen. Who did you piss off?”

“My stepmother,” I informed her as Jaqui handed me a stack of paper. It was heavier than I remembered.

“Ah. That makes sense. I forgot about her. I’m sorry that she put you here.” A small smile filled her face. “But, I’m not sorry that you’re back. We all missed you.”

“I missed you guys,” I said, smoothing the paperwork and making it straight. “What exactly am I going to be doing? You said something about trade documents.”

“We have a bunch of new trade negotiations going on with Paradisa, and thus all the paperwork that goes with it. Their monarchs are going to arrive next month for the official trade treaty signing, but all the preliminary work is going on now. We’re backlogged with all of it. Paradisa has a lot of natural resources for being a small island country. You’re going to be scanning it all in.”

Great. I was going to scan documents all day. I was leaving work that I enjoyed and cared about to scan boring paperwork. It was salt on the wound.

“So my old job, then?” I replied, looking at the work forms in my hands. I could feel my future slipping away from me.

Jaqui nodded. “Yup.”

I sighed as Jaqui handed me a pen and then I started to fill out the paperwork.

Due to the complexities of government work, it took me hours to fill out all the paperwork despite having worked for this office before. I ate a lunch out of the vending machines, knowing that if I left, I might not come back. The forms were typical government bureaucracy at its best. The sun already crept ominously toward the horizon as I left the office and headed to the rich area of town.