----- Chapter 1 -----
I hung up the phone with a sense of satisfaction. All my hard work at college had really paid off. Here I was, standing in a crappy college apartment, but I had a genuine job offer! I had a really good feeling about this, and I just knew I wouldn’t be living here much longer.
I had applied the St. Acre Public Library with hopes that I would get the open branch manager position that had been advertised. After a conversation with the library director over the phone I was feeling confident that I could get the job despite the fact that my BA degree didn’t exactly apply to a managerial position and I really lacked experience. Regardless, the director had mentioned that there was an assistant position open as well, and she had almost guaranteed me over the phone that I would qualify for that. So it really sounded like I was going to get a job offer no matter what, and I knew that I would be happy with either job. However, a managerial position paid really well!
The director had sounded really eager to see me, and she had scheduled an interview with me that day. Excitedly, I rummaged through my closet to find my suit. After pulling it out, I felt a wave of nostalgia wash over me. Memories of job interviews, weddings, and high school prom filled my mind as I took the suit out. ‘Wow, was prom that long ago?’ I thought to myself as I sat down and tried to picture it.
High school was not a fun occasion for me. I was that small nerdy kid that wore glasses and got picked on pretty regularly. I wandered into the bathroom, where a mirror caught my eye. I wasn’t that acne ridden kid anymore. With straight black hair and big blue eyes, I didn’t think I looked half bad anymore. I was 24 years old and fresh out of college, and I was ready to start my new life. This job was going to be my first step, so I couldn’t mess it up by dwelling on the past. I threw my suit on, adjusted my tie, and got ready for the interview.
As I drove to the St. Acre library, I gave myself a ‘confidence’ pep talk. I had a chronic confidence issue, and I knew it. Maybe it was because I was only 5’6”, or I was sort of nerdy, or had been picked on. Maybe it was some combination of those things. For whatever reason, my lack of confidence had a way of screwing things up for me, and I was not going to let it get the best of me this time. I couldn’t let that happen.
I pulled into the library parking lot. The St. Acre library was a really big one, and it was the headquarters for an entire library system. It had recently been completely renovated and modernized, and it was a pretty tall and beautiful building. I was honored to have the chance to work at such an important place, yet I began to feel a bit intimidated.
“C’mon Hank, you can do this.” I murmured to myself as I stepped out of my car. I had wanted to be a librarian ever since high school. I loved books, reading, and learning, and had made it my passion. Besides that I wasn’t terribly good at anything else.
I walked through the door and spied the checkout desk. A very pretty woman was working the desk, sitting in a chair and sipping a mug of coffee. She was wearing a business suit and had her long dirty blonde hair curled and styled very professionally. She was older than me, probably in her mid 30’s. I stumbled awkwardly towards her desk, wondering where I should go.
Negative thoughts had already started to take their effect on me, and by the time I reached the desk I was a quivering mess. I bumbled up to the good-looking librarian.
“H-hi. I’m here for, the interview.” I winced. I sounded like a total dope. Confidence!
The woman batted her bright blue eyes at me and extended a hand across the desk. “Oh hi!” she exclaimed excitedly, “I’m Jodi Pearson, I work the front desk. Nice to meet you.”
I gulped and weakly extended my own arm to shake her hand. This woman was not only confident and lovely, but she was pretty tall. Now I was doubly intimidated. My hand met hers, and her long manicured fingers wrapped around mine in a decent grip. I was impressed that she was so self assured, and she positively oozed good people skills and charisma.
“I’m… ah….” I couldn’t remember my own name! “Hank Woods!” I suddenly blurted.
Jodi smiled at me in a way that made me feel a little more at ease. “You shouldn’t be so nervous! I’ll tell Ms. Beauchene that you’re here. You just sit tight Mr. Woods, I’ll be right back.”
She stood up and walked towards the door behind the desk that must have led to the administration offices of the library. She must have been at least 6’4”. Her long graceful strides brought her to the door quickly, and she turned and winked at me before closing it behind her.
I lowered my head after she left. I couldn’t afford to mess this one up! I tried thinking positive thoughts, and before long I got the butterflies in my stomach to settle a bit.
Jodi Pearson returned promptly. “Ms. Beauchene will be here shortly.” Ms. Beauchene was the library director. She would be conducting my interview and she was in charge of the entire building. If was hired she would become my boss. As these thoughts ran through me head I started to get jumpy again.
“Ok, thank you so much.” I mumbled meekly as I fidgeted with my feet.
Jodi paused before walking up to me. “You look really nervous.”
I sighed, staring at my feet. “I am. I really want this job.”
The tall woman laughed softly and covered her mouth. “Oh don’t be! I’m sure you’ll do just fine. I overhead Ms. Beauchene talking about you earlier, she’s really impressed already.”
I looked up at her. “Really? You did?”
Jodi nodded vigorously. “Yeah, you’re a shoo-in. Besides,” she put her hand on my shoulder and adjusted my tie, “you look adorable. Real professional,” she said in a cutesy voice, like a mother talking to her son on his first day of school.
“Oh. Thank you. I feel a little better.” I exhaled, letting it all out.
“No problem Hank.” She sat back down behind the desk as the door opened behind her.
The director stepped into the lobby and her figure completely filled the doorframe. Here was a woman whose height made Jodi Pearson look average. I felt completely dwarfed as the amazonian director stepped towards me and stuck her hand out. My heart beat rapidly in my chest as I fearfully gazed up at her gargantuan female hand. What was I going to do?