You take a deep, silent breath as you settle into the same chair you did earlier, clasping your hands in your lap as if you have to physically brace yourself for whatever’s coming.


It’s amazing how the same, exact action can feel poles apart under different circumstances.


And I thought I was nervous before…


“You look like you have something to say,” Covington commences, offering you his undivided attention.


As confused as you feel, there’s no reason to beat around the bush.


“Mr. Covington…” you begin, thinking of how to best phrase this as you go, choosing your words carefully, “when I applied, I specified that I wanted to specialize in the wildlife conservation sector and that was what I was officially accepted into the internship program under. There was never any mention of anything other than that in my letter or from my unit. So, I don’t understand why I’m on this account when I’m not at all versed in the energy industry—and certainly not the oil industry.”


The emphasis of the latter spurs you on, eliciting barely-veiled irritation that quickly overshadows any awkwardness, fear or uncertainty you feel.


“In your interview,” he counters, looking at you squarely, “you made it a point to emphasize the fact that you are flexible. If I recall, your exact words were, ‘Uncompromising stringency is impractical in the real world, even with the best ideals and intentions’. You also mentioned that you’re a great team player. You noted that one of your particularly strong suits was your ability to quickly adapt to new challenges, situations and tasks, as well as assimilate into new environments.”


You open your mouth, trying to rebuff his words but you come up short, able to find nothing to re-counter, easily recalling the sentences you confidently typed as they fall from his. Each statement transitions perfectly to the next, not missing a beat.


It’s as if he memorized them.




He simply looks at you, waiting for you to go on when it’s clear that you can’t, using your own silence against you to make his point.


You shake your head in spite of yourself, even when the words refuse to come out, as if doing so will give you clarity on this abrupt, illogical situation.


“As I mentioned downstairs, Miss Myers,” he continues despite your visible bewilderment, “as well as during the briefing we just had, Zanergy is the biggest client we’ve ever had, in all of Earth Capital’s history, and we have to make every effort to ensure our collaboration not only goes smoothly, but excels. To that end, one of the agreements during the acquisition of the account was that one Earth Cap representative will have to be available on the Zanergy premises for the initial phase of the project, twenty-four-seven.


“Since you’re not a permanent employee and the only temporary worker on the team, you’ll be designated as our full-time representative at Zanergy and therefore be residing at their premises for the duration of your internship—”


Your eyes almost bulge right out of their sockets, your hands waving in protest before you can stop them, the words you couldn’t find earlier suddenly spilling out of you at hearing this newest development.


“Mr. Covington…sir…I’m still trying to process simply being on the account. Having to suddenly move to another location as well is not at all something I’m prepared for. And, please, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m extremely flattered and honored to be considered at all but, objectively speaking, I don’t have the necessary experience for an account of this scale, especially in this field.”


Your heart’s thumping harder now and, somehow, you get the feeling you’re arguing a case that you’ve already lost even as you hope your words get through to him.


Covington regards you for a minute, briefly clasping his fingers, as if he’s reconsidering.


“I completely understand your apprehension, seeing how this was suddenly sprung up on you, Myers,” he nods. “And, you’re right; this is extremely short notice…”


You exhale at that, your shoulders slouching slightly as a sense of relief starts to trickle over you.


“…but I’m positive you’ll rise to the occasion and take advantage of such a huge, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”


There is absolute finality in that statement.


And you hate that you can recognize it.


You try to voice your hesitation again, but he easily cuts you off.


“Of course, if you insist on refusing, I can’t force you to,” he shrugs. “You will be well within your rights. But you should keep in mind that declining a job will go on your record.”


And any hope of getting a permanent position here in the future pretty much goes down the fucking toilet.


He doesn’t have to say the words. They’re written all over his face.


He brings his forearms to rest on his desk. “So…” he arches his brow, “will you take it or not?”


For a moment, all you can do is stare back at him as he verbally hands you his ultimatum, your breath leaving you in a weak exhale. Your eyes flutter closed briefly, unable to hide the sheer disappointment ramming through every inch of you.


“Yes,” you swallow, relenting, the single word leaving you in the tiniest whisper, as if you don’t want to hear yourself say it.


Like I have a choice.


“Good,” Covington concludes. “Arrangements will be made for your transfer within the hour. You’re assigned to this division full-time, effective immediately.”


You’re in a complete daze as you step out of his office.


Everything feels out of whack.


Too sudden.


Extremely rushed.


You don’t even know what to think.


This is the absolute last thing you expected walking in this morning.


You head back to your department, discombobulated and in shock with only a single thought running through your mind:


What the fuck just happened?



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