You step inside your unit’s office—well, former unit as of this moment, you guess—feeling even more baffled about your sudden placement at this random company you’ve never even heard of. And being back at the place that you actually signed up—and want—to be in makes it all the more depressing.

 

You can’t even begin to accurately describe just how disappointed you are. And Covington’s little “extra credit” session after the meeting didn’t help one bit, nor offer any actual clarity on the matter. In fact, you think it only confused you more.

 

Working in a field you’re not remotely interested in is bad enough. But, now, you have to actually move to the damn place?

 

Ugh.

 

That’s a whole ‘nother conversation you’re going to have to have with Michaela.

 

Dammit.

 

You can’t believe just how quickly things went left; the tables turning all the way around on you as soon as you finally managed to have a seat at it.

 

You sink into your desk somberly, feeling glummer than you have in a long time. You were looking forward to protecting sea lions from the dangers of marine pollution, not working for the kind of company that directly causes it.

 

This is absolutely nuts.

 

So much for getting punk’d…

 

And, somehow, the joke’s still on you.

 

Anger quickly replaces the initial sadness you feel, unable to understand how something like this even happens in an institution as renowned as Earth Capital. You’re not sure if these Zanergy people actually looked at your portfolio or read your resume considering all the rallies you’ve participated in against offshore drilling and similar activities to date.

 

What’s even more puzzling is that Covington clearly has read your resume, but somehow thinks you’re a good fit, as well.

 

But then…why weren’t you given any prior notice?

 

The more you try to understand it, the more clueless you feel and aggravated you get. You breathe out a deep, heavy, frustrated sigh, ready for the day to be over when it’s barely even begu—

 

“Psssst,” you hear all of a sudden, the shrill, clearly audible utterance rudely interrupting your thoughts in spite of its supposed attempt to be inconspicuous.

 

You look over to the bearer of the sound, trying to suppress a groan when you realize it’s your auburn-haired neighbor.

 

“Oh em gee, I had no idea you were also interested in the Zanergy account!” she coos, wheeling her chair closer. “Why the hell didn’t you say anything before?”

 

You can barely hold back the exasperated exhale bubbling up in your gut.

 

Ugh. Just what I need.

 

Talking about this unexpected debacle is the last thing you feel like doing right now, least of all with her. But apparently, she isn’t as interested in a reply from you as she is simply rambling.

 

“I can’t believe you scored it,” she continues, ignoring your silence. “Earth Cap’s been gunning for this account for pretty much ever so I was kind of surprised to see you walk up there. Everyone was, really. Of course, you could pretty much tell from everyone’s reaction. You’d have to be blind not to. Actually, even a blind person could. But never mind that. When in tarnation did you apply for it? Are you sure you’re new here?”

 

You don’t even know what to say to that, your brow arching through a bored disposition because, honestly, it’s all you can manage, and you’re in no mood to pretend or force yourself to be polite right now.

 

But it clearly goes right over her head because she just carries on.

 

“From all the chitchat I’ve been hearing, it sounds like the final stage of the acquisition was in the works over the last two weeks. It’s been pretty tense around here. Everyone’s been on edge, especially the higher-ups. I get the feeling even they’re still a little surprised that they managed to land the account—considering just how many times Zanergy’s rejected us before.”

 

She spills all the tea without any prodding, but each new bit of information that leaves her lips only leaves you more and more puzzled.

 

How in the hell could you have been chosen to be part of the team assigned to the account having only arrived yesterday when this is something that has clearly been in the works for a very long time? With the so-called acquisition being finalized before you even received your acceptance letter?

 

Unfortunately, Auburn-Hair’s extended rant offers you no more insight than Covington’s one-on-one did, managing only to mentally exhaust you with more questions that neither of you have answers for. At least, none that make the tiniest lick of sense.

 

The hours leading up to lunch go by in a slothy haze, and you spend every minute of them wishing you could turn down this insane, so-called “opportunity” that’s been practically shoved down your throat. The relocation element just enhances the bitterness of the pill and makes it that much harder to swallow.

 

Honestly, this whole thing just feels…wrong. Too sudden and unplanned. You’re reasonably flexible but you don’t do well with super-spontaneous, abrupt changes, especially major ones like this.

 

You don’t think anyone does.

 

By the time lunch hour rolls around, you have to force yourself to start accepting this new, unforeseen reality, even if every last bone in your body resists it. This is not at all how you envisioned your internship going. But sulking isn’t going to do you any good. You know that. At the end of the day, this is a business, and it requires you to be professional and cooperative if you want to continue working here.

 

 And you have every intention to.

 

So, that’s precisely what you’ll do: swallow your pride, work your ass off, pay your dues and earn a place and say at Earth Capital so that Covington and everyone else comes to see—and treat—you as a valuable asset and not just some lowly intern that can be displaced at will.

 

Besides, from the look of things, you don’t really have any other option.

 

***

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