I hope you enjoyed your introduction to Holly last week! Next up is Amanda, who is quite different...
“Where are those spreadsheets, Sal?”
I swear, my assistant had to be dumbest person on the planet. I had asked for the breakdown on our latest quarterly numbers fifteen minutes ago. Where was she? If she had taken off on another smoke break, I was going to have to fire her. I didn’t care what my boss said, there had to be an assistant in the world who I would find acceptable and I wouldn’t stop trying until I found him or her!
Working in Manhattan’s most sought-after boutique investment bank was a lot of pressure, but I loved every minute of it. Analyzing companies’ financial viability, helping them raise capital and advising them on everything from mergers and acquisitions to initial public offerings? Life didn’t get any better than this in my book. But if I didn’t have the data, I couldn’t work my magic.
“Sally!” I yelled.
I only had ten minutes before my car service arrived to take me to the Twilight Zone, otherwise known as Gapton, Connecticut. I whipped out my compact and did a quick assessment of my current degree of presentability. My makeup had held up well—but that’s what happened when you paid for the good stuff. Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres eyeshadow in Tisse Beverly Hills was my go-to since it brought out my baby blues and their Lumiere Velvet foundation in Beige Rose gave my skin the rich glow it deserved. All I needed was a quick coat of lip gloss and I was ready to go.
After I ensured my Rouge Allure gloss (ridiculously named Innocent—as if!) was applied sans smudging, I stood up quickly, planning to chase down Sally and beat her with the copy of Glamour she was probably perusing, but I was momentarily waylaid by a dizzy spell. That was the third one this week. What was going on with me?
It had to be the lack of sleep. I was absolutely exhausted, but I had to push through. We were long overdue for our girls’ night out. I had been working insane hours in my bid to show the firm how much they needed me. Layoffs were rampant and after six years working for Klein & Eichenholtz Investments, I had no desire to start all over somewhere new. I had earned my place here several times over by saving the day on a variety of deals. Not to mention dealing with the level of incompetence exhibited by my current assistant! (Didn’t anyone know how to do proper research anymore?)
After my brain had cleared, I rose from my chair once more and walked carefully to my office door. I craned my neck around the doorframe but found Sal’s chair to be empty.
“Has anyone seen Sal?” I bellowed.
“Keep it down, short stuff,” Gordon replied.
I shot daggers in his direction. “How many times have I told you that I’m going to file a harassment claim against you if you don’t shut up about my stature?”
“You don’t scare me,” he chuckled, standing to his full height of six feet two inches. “Those crazy high heels you parade around in will never bring you up to my level.”
I burst out laughing. “You’re such an asshole.”
He grinned at me. “Don’t I know it.”
Thank God for Gordon. He had started as an assistant during my second year with the firm, but I had never been lucky enough to call him my own. He belonged to Richard Davenport, our most senior and celebrated investment banker. Gordon had held my hand when I thought I wasn’t going to make it, had given me pep talks when the male-dominated environment made me want to run screaming and had clued me in to the best sources for discount designer clothes and makeup. (Being a drag queen in his spare time on an assistant’s salary meant he had to find high quality items on a tight budget.)
I walked over to him and laid my head on his chest. “Where the hell is she this time, Gordon?”
His chest rumbled with laughter. “I saw her leave about half an hour ago with her lame excuse of a boyfriend. Somebody’s got to tell that boy mullets were never in style.”
I looked up at him, torn between laughing at his astute observation and crying about my assistant’s absence.
“Don’t you worry!” he crowed. “I’m just finishing up the figures. I’ll email them to you so you can go over them with your fine-toothed comb after your girls’ night, m’kay?”
“I love you.”
“I mean it, Gordon. Nobody understands me like you do.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “Not even Brian?”
I sighed sweetly. “Well, you understand me almost as well as he does.”
Brian had been my boyfriend for the past six years. I had met him during our first week of business school in an Introduction to Emerging Markets class. We had a knock-down-drag-out argument over the precise definition of said emerging markets, throwing the class into a tailspin and inciting the professor’s great irritation. I called him a fraud, he called me a phony and we had been madly in love ever since.
We moved in together last year and I had been dropping hints about an engagement ring for the past few months. (Vintage. Platinum. Two carats. I was a girl of simple tastes, really.) I wasn’t getting any younger, after all.
Gordon’s hand on my shoulder brought me back to reality. “Get your ass to the bathroom and comb out that mop of yours before you get in the car.”
I reached up to find clear evidence of my disheveled ‘do. “Thank you,” I whispered, giving his hand a squeeze before running off to find my purse.
Five minutes later I was ready to go. My blond shoulder length hair had been brushed and pinned up for tonight’s festivities and my black wool suit had been de-linted. Not that it mattered since I was going to change as soon as we arrived, but for some reason being lint-free made me feel better.
I called a quick goodbye to Gordon and ran to the elevator. It was time to meet my Cookies!
(Excerpt from Girls’ Night Out by Glynis Astie, Copyright 2018)