"This brings up memories I don't want to remember." Noelle sighed remembering the embarrassing moments that occurred there before.
She stood feet away from the big company doors that she so desperately tried to escape the last time she was there. Of course it wasn't her first choice to be there, but seeing how her manager wouldn't give her her job back, she had nowhere else to be.
She needed to be reasonable. She would be working for a multi-million dollar publishing company and they were going to help her get her work recognized and into the world. Yu said it himself that she shouldn't miss this great opportunity. What were the cons?
The devil on her shoulder spat harsh words, telling her she didn't deserve the opportunity. Noelle believed it. It was basically given to her on a silver platter. Ever since she came to Japan, although she struggled, she felt that she always received more help than she asked for. It was like she wasn't working for anything herself. That fact really bothered her.. Even with this job, if the Ceo didn't have some sort of fascination with her, would she really be standing there today?
She sighed, no matter how she got there, she was there. She should be grateful for the people that helped make her life easier. Now that she was there though, how was she supposed to get in? She recalled how Yamato had an identification card to enter the building the last time. Would he be coming to her aid? Would someone be handing her a key card of her own?
She didn't have Haru's number so it wasn't like she could call him to let her inside. She waited there nervously. This would be the first time she was working for a serious company. Did she look presentable enough? She wore a fitted black pencil skirt that reached her knees. She paired it with the rose gold satin blouse Haru gifted her with and a pair of black pumps. She carried her laptop in one hand and a white leather tote bag on her shoulder. Her hair was up in a professional messy bun. She stood and debated whether or not she should knock on the doors.
Before she could act, a tall slim woman walked through the glass doors. She walked confidently down the steps and glided towards Noelle. Her long black straight hair was blown out, giving her a beautiful volume. Her hair looked healthy and it even had a glossy sheen that Noelle struggled to achieve with her own hair. She wore minimal makeup and a glossy nude lip. Her button nose, plump lips and soft but very present jawline had Noelle thinking she was the epitome of beauty. She knew Japanese women were beautiful but damn. She was on another level.
She wore a vibrant red blazer with a white cami underneath. The blazer matched the bright dress pants she had on. She paired the suit with glossy white pumps, which added to her height. Noelle suddenly felt underdressed. Did all of the women here dress like her? Her figure was great and she looked amazing. The confidence radiating off of her was so intense, she could most definitely be a model.
The model woman observed Noelle before opening the vanilla folder she carried. Noelle was so intimidated being in front of such a beautiful woman, she would most definitely have to stay out of her way.
In a serious voice and with stern brows the woman spoke "You're Adelaine yes?"
Noelle spoke quickly, not wanting to waste even a second of the woman's time "Yes ma'am that's me."
The woman studied Noelle, looking her top to bottom. Noelle froze. It was like the woman was shooting daggers through her skin. Did she disapprove of her look? She was getting even more self conscious. Noelle focused her gaze on her shoes.
"Wow you're so beautiful! When I heard another woman would be working on my floor I was so excited!"
Noelle looked up. Huh?
She looked at the woman whose demeanor changed completely. She went from the stern boss lady to the girl next door. She smiled a genuine smile, eager to welcome Noelle. This was not what she expected at all.
"Thank you." was all Noelle could get out, she was still so shocked from learning the woman's true personality.
She placed a hand on Noelle's shoulder "No need to be so nervous! I also heard that you're a foreigner like me. My parents were born in China but I was born and raised in Singapore. I'm A-Li Yuan but you can call me Li, it's nice to meet you!" she spoke in a high but harmonious voice.
Wow, she was actually really nice. But Noelle was mistaken, this woman wasn't Japanese though she spoke the language very well.
"You can call me Elle, it's what all of my close friends call me." by "friends" she meant friend and by friend she meant Yu.
"As beautiful as you are, I'm sure you have lots of friends." she responded in a friendly tone. She looked down at her watch.
"Oh, we should get going. I want to have some time to show you around our floor before we get to work." she grabbed Noelle's hand and guided her back up the steps. Noelle relaxed her tense shoulders. She was relieved the woman wasn't as serious as she looked. The doors opened and they went inside.
In the elevator Li spoke again, her hand still connected with Noelle's "There are 23 workers on this floor, 24 if we include you now. If you're in this building just know you're special. It's an honor to be working in the same building as the Ceo. Only the most hard working people of the company are offered a desk here." Li winked and gave Noelle a cheery smile. Her smile was contagious because now Noelle was smiling too. Though she didn't know what to say.
"They're so many women on this floor but it's so hard to make friends with them. "
The beautiful woman faced Noelle and pouted "They say I talk too much. But you don't seem to mind so I'm sure we'll get along great!"
"I think so too." Noelle added. She had a few girl friends in America but she lost communication once she moved to Japan. Now the only real friend she had was Yu.
The doors opened and the two women stepped out of the elevator. Li stayed for a minute, allowing Noelle to take it all in. The 4th floor was a spacious open area. It had huge evenly spaced cubicles! They could definitely fit four people in each one. The floor was lit up by the wide windows in the long horizontal wall to the front. The walls were painted an office grey, as was every cubicle. It was surprisingly lively too. Noelle had expected it to be silent like the first floor but there was a lot of chatter going on. Some people were on the phone, others were chatting with their coworkers at what seemed like a coffee station. A couple were even playing cards at their desk in groups. It seemed like a fun environment.
Li gently pulled on Noelle's hand and walked her past the people and cubicles.
"I'll introduce them to you later, let's get you settled in first."
They walked down a hall that had multiple offices on each side until they reached the end.
Li released Noelle's hand and turned to face her "Are you ready?"
Ready for what? What would she need to be ready for?
Li opened the door stepping in first so that she could hold the door open for Noelle. Noelle's jaw dropped. Was this her office? The walls were painted a lavender purple with bright pink cherry blossom tree artwork. Pictures of different places around the world hung on the walls as well. Noelle turned to her right to see a dark grey sofa with even lighter grey pillows. It was covered in colorful plush toys. She looked to her left and saw a coffee machine on top of a small wooden table. Next to that sat a mini fridge with a microwave on top. She was surprised to see the assortment of snacks that sat in the shelving unit and even more surprised to see the flat screen tv on the wall above.
She turned and looked at the wide desk towards the back of the room. It was empty of course with the exception of a lamp and a large wrapped gift basket. Beside her desk sat a large window that viewed beautiful cherry blossoms that connected between the building she was in and the one across. She was amazed, the office was a dream.
Li was excited "Do you like it? It was my idea to add the plush toys, I thought it would be a cute touch. Just a small gift from your editor." She picked up a few of the plush toys and replaced them by sitting. She became distracted with the soft toys on her lap.
Noelle was brought out of her admiration "My editor?"
"Hm? Oh, I must've left that part out. From now on I'm your personal editor. The Ceo assigned me himself. I do a great job so you're lucky."
"There aren't any writers on this floor?"
"Very few authors work here. Most of them would rather work from home and send their work to their content editor here. But only authors contracted to this company can send their work here."
Noelle thought for a moment "This is a lovely office and building but...why am I here then?"
Li giggled "The Ceo gave me specific instructions to show you to your office. He insists that you do all your work from here. He seems to have taken a likeness towards you."
Noelle laughed nervously. It was definitely more than a likeness. She stepped towards her desk and put down her things. She unwrapped the grand gift basket. There was an assortment of pastel roses, chocolates, and an open box that held a pair of iridescent diamond earrings. She picked up the box of jewelry and pulled off the card attached to the bottom.
She opened it.
**I hope everything is to your liking. A beautiful office for a beautiful woman. Do your best. -Haru**
Noelle smiled, the dominating Ceo had a bigger heart than she thought.