Definitely a woman’s office.”
“Mighty presumptuous of you, Cliffie. How do you know?”
The tall, dark-haired male removed his black-framed glasses from the bridge of his nose and a monogrammed handkerchief from the left breast pocket of his navy blue suit jacket then began cleaning his lenses. As he did so, he quirked a dark eyebrow at his blonde-haired companion. The man deigned to don a pair of maroon colored slacks and a pale blue dress shirt for this meeting. He should’ve known when River suggested a meeting with the former Hollywood starlet, Priscilla White-Cormack, that something was amiss. Now, Jackson found himself in the offices of some literary agent instead of in front of his computer attempting to salvage the train wreck that was this movie he’d committed himself to.
No, he was in some woman’s office that his college friend and screenwriter, River Carlson, had stated was perfectly suited to fill his need. River cleared his throat as Jackson’s eyes roamed the main lobby of the offices he’d been brought to.
“The offices reek of a woman’s touch. There’s more to do with comfort at play here than anything else. Not to mention the fact that it has the coloring of a kindergartner’s classroom.”
“It is a modern take on the standard office setting. The colors are meant to promote the feeling of an easy-going workplace because the fearless leader is hands-on and demanding when it comes to her company.”
Jackson’s head whipped in the direction of his friend at his far-too-informed statement.
“Riv, if you’ve brought me to the offices of a woman you bagged and tagged I am going to put my fist through your pretty boy face.”
“Dude! Calm down. It’s not even like that. She’s not that type of person.”
They’d walked through two large frosted doors with long chrome handles on it. The door had etched in blocked lettering: White Light Agency across its center. Once a person entered and crossed the oak wood flooring, they were greeted by a dark brown skinned woman with large eyes and platinum blonde curly hair who was seated at a rounded desk. On each side of the desk were frosted and wood doors with chromed knobs. Jackson smirked at the word because he knew it was something that he couldn’t say out loud with his childish friend within earshot. The doors had similar styled etchings but were cursive and the writing read: Proceeding? Always reading. There were three rounded chairs and two circular tables on each side. Each wall housed shelves filled with books with colorful spines and some form of cards were in caddy on either side of the bookshelf.
“I didn’t know you were such a snob when it came to office décor.”
“I’m not. Usually. I’m just on edge because this is unprecedented and I have a billion things that I need to be doing. I don’t need to waste any of the precious time that I have to get things started for this movie … your movie.”
“I know. I know. Ease up. I think you’re frightening the beauty behind the desk.”
At that moment, the woman at the receptionist desk stood and Jackson noticed the placard on the desk.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Carlson and Mr.” she allowed the title to linger on the air for a moment before he clued in to what she was asking.
“Forgive me. I’m not used to anyone asking me that question any longer.”
“Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it. You’re Jackson Radcliffe. You’re the famous movie producer. Syd is going to freak.”
River waggled his eyebrows and Jackson rolled his eyes. He didn’t know how the man was able to get any work done with his joking nature. It actually explained why he was a screenwriter and not anything else. If the man had to punch a standard clock, he’d be completely screwed.
“Yes. Lenora. I am. I’m … we’re here to see Mrs. White.”
She clicked a few buttons on her keyboard and her dark brows furrowed. Clicking something with her mouse, she began to type again then began tugging at the sleeve of her dark blue shirt. When she began nervously looking up at him then picking at her fingernail, he felt like he should apologize for causing her to react the way she was. A door opened behind them and a vibrant red-haired woman wearing a checkered shirt, blazer and red leather skirt and hat stood with one of the double doors open.
“Lenora, breathe honey. I will talk to Leticia about her delivery in relaying messages. It was directed at you. You’ll learn how to deal with our amazing boss when she is like this and so will Leticia. Please send a message up to Amy and have her create two guest day passes. I will collect them when arrive upstairs.” Turning, she looked up at both of them in turn. The woman was no more than five feet two, but she had the grandest personality. “Stairs or elevator, gentlemen?”
He exchanged a look with River who simply shrugged his shoulders in response.
“Your guess is as good as mine, Cliffy.”
Her giggle had them both looking her way as she stepped back and ushered them out.
“I’m wearing heels today because Ms. White has quite a grouping of meetings so that means we’re taking the elevator. We don’t have long. Mrs. White-Cormack did forewarn me of your…well, at least, one of your stopping in to visit with her daughter today.”
Jackson groaned. He hadn’t connected the dots between the two women. He’d been so fixated on the expected result and his convincing of the woman he was heading in to see that he hadn’t thought about the name. They exited the elevator and moved to another set of frosted doors. Sydney passed a card over a scanner and one of the doors slid open. The stone and granite topped counter had a soft gold light beneath the lip of the central white portion of the reception desk. Another young woman stood once they’d entered while a male and female remained seated to her right and left. Similar shelves and rounded back chairs sat to the left and right.
“Hello again, Mr. Carlson,” the pretty blonde standing behind the counter smiled a flirtatious smile before correcting herself once she heard Sydney’s obvious throat clearing. “Sydney, the day passes are ready and I’ve moved the guests to the blue lounge. Did you need anything else?”
“No, Amy. Thank you.” Sydney walked beyond the side opening to the left of the reception desk and took the passes from Amy before handing one to each of them. Just as they rounded the counter to a back walk he wouldn’t have believed was there until they’d reached it, Sydney suddenly stopped. “Damn. Amy, will you have Jerry and Tanner set up the audio-visual equipment in the conference Room A?”
Amy gave her a quizzical look for a brief moment then her crystal blue eyes widened with understanding. “The citrus room, right. Yes ma’am.”
River barked out a laugh as Sydney flushed. Jackson shook his head as he gave River a look that he hoped relayed exactly what he felt. “What did I say?”
“Yes Amy. The ‘citrus’ room and the…,” Sydney rolled her eyes before continuing, “Barney-light room will need to be reset before this afternoon.”
Jackson chuckled at that and followed Sydney to another door in a little alcove that had yet another keypad. When they walked through the doors an orange and royal blue carpeted hall with stark white walls on one side and split colored walls on the other greeted them.
The split walls were a muted orange and half-white then royal blue and half-white. It looked as if someone split a square in halves. Each of the walls had a different saying on them. If the base color was blue then the writing was orange and vice versa. Every other white wall had a special quote about reading on them while the other walls held inspirational quotes. Things like “Mind you heart, right from the start,” or “Books wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” or “Asking me if I like reading is like asking me if I like breathing,” and one of his personal favorites, “A Reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. A Man who never reads lives only one.”
The last was a quote from George R.R. Martin. It was on a framed piece of art he had hanging in his office. He smiled as he thought about it.
“I thought so too,” River stated as they followed behind Sydney. “This is all her creative mind at work.”
Jackson nodded as he noted subtle things like a lounge to the right that had to be the “blue” room the Amy girl was talking about. There was a sudden opening on the right and full kitchen with caramel colored accents and several arranged seating areas looked very inviting. There were several trays of food on the counters and some of the employees were gathered around them holding conversations.
They were all dressed in standard styles of business casual attire and seemed pretty happy to be in the workplace. If only, he had a taste of whatever this woman was doling out on set things might just run a bit smoother. Jackson hadn’t realized he’d stopped until River’s hand landed on his shoulder.
“You look like you’re ready to fight one of them for a sandwich or something. When was the last time you ate?”
That was a damn good question. Shrugging, he moved around his friend and in two quick strides caught up to Sydney. They turned a slight corner and they came to an open area with an orange faced, white topped desk to the left. If the blue and orange carpet was continued then a blue faced, white topped desk was in the corner. Behind that desk sat a lovely creamy brown complexioned woman with shoulder-length, blunt cut hair, a black, long-sleeved shirt and gray slacks he could see once she stood to speak with Sydney.
Jackson took the opportunity to turn to face River and attend to something he’d been thinking about since they agreed to come to this colorful place.
“You are remaining out here. I am going inside to speak with Ms. White. I have a sinking feeling my presence may be more welcomed than yours.”
River smirked then took a seat on one of the loungers Jackson hadn’t noticed when he first walked over to the area. The blue pieces of furniture looked quite inviting. He ignored the twinge of jealousy at the fact that Riv was able to sit so relaxed while he was twisted in knots. River ran a hand over his hair and picked up a magazine from a side table.
“Be my guest. I’ll wait a few before coming in. If I see your head come rolling out of the office doors, then I will know to abandon all hope and that all is lost.”
Jackson shook his head as Sydney made her way to him. Smiling inwardly, he reaffirmed the plan before walking into the woman behind all of the color and wondered if he may have made a mistake coming to her place of business the instant he walked through her doors.
The look on her face wasn’t inviting to say the least. The blonde woman who sat behind a desk looked absolutely the spitting image of her mother in her early thirties. The woman could’ve been plucked right out of the era. The difference was no woman from that time would be speaking the way she was when he’d entered.
“I’m going now, Mom. Evidently there is a man here to see me about a Clydesdale or a prize winning bull for my dowry.”
Jackson chuckled to himself because he understood the reference and had a mother just as “hands on” as Mrs. White-Cormack apparently was with Ms. White. She had the look, but did she have the acting chops to pull of what he and River had come here to do?
He’d soon find out. For now, he watched the banter between Ms. White and her assistant. There was no way he would be able to hide his amusement. Jackson found himself thoroughly enjoying the back and forth. If this woman wasn’t any good, he’d have to find a way to keep her around. Simply for entertainment purposes, of course.
This may just work out in his favor after all.