My new boss likes rules, but there’s one nobody dares to break…
No touching his banana.
Seriously. The guy is like a potassium addict.
Of course, I touched it.
If you want to get technical, I actually put it in my mouth.
I chewed it up, too… I even swallowed.
I know. Bad, bad, girl.
Then I saw him, and believe it or not, choking on a guy’s banana does not make the best first impression.
I should backtrack a little here. Before I ever touched a billionaire"s banana, I got my first real assignment as a business reporter. This wasn"t the same old bottom-of-the-barrel assignment I always got. I wasn"t going to interview a garbage man about his favorite routes or write a piece on how picking up dog poop from people"s yards is the next big thing.
Nope. None of the above, thank you very much.
This was my big break. My chance to prove I wasn"t a bumbling, clumsy, accident-prone walking disaster. I was infiltrating Galleon Enterprises to follow up on suspicions of corruption.
Cue the James Bond music.
I could do this. All I had to do was land the position as an intern and nail my interview with Bruce Chamberson.
Forget the fact that he looked like somebody carved him out of liquid female desire, then sprinkled on some “makes men question their sexuality” for good measure. I needed to make this work. No accidents. No disasters. No clumsiness. All I needed to do was hold it together for less than an hour.
Fast forward to the conference room before the interview, and that’s where you would find me with a banana in my hand. A banana that literally had his name on it in big, black sharpie. It was a few seconds later when he walked in and caught me yellow-handed. A few seconds after that was when he hired me.
Yeah. I know. It didn’t seem like a good sign to me, either.Books by Author:Penelope Bloom Books
I made an art of being late. Unfortunate acts of clumsiness were my paintbrush, and New York City was my canvas. There was the time I didn’t show up to work because I thought I had won the lottery. As it turned out, I was reading last week’s numbers. I had texted my boss on the way to pick up my winnings. I told him I’d never need to attend another should have been an email meeting on my mega yacht, where beautiful, tanned men would be hand-feeding me grapes. Unfortunately, my boss had actually printed out the text and framed it for the office, and the only thing being hand-fed to me that night was stale popcorn" by myself.
Then there was the time I watched Marley and Me the night before work and couldn"t stop crying long enough to make myself presentable. I"d gotten on the wrong trains, spent thirty minutes looking for keys to the car I didn"t own, and once even missed dinner with my best friend because my dog was having a mental breakdown.
Yeah. I wasn’t proud of it, but I was kind of a walking disaster. Okay. More than kind of. I was a chaos magnet. If there was a button you absolutely should not under any circumstances push, a priceless vase, a heart-attack-prone old man, or just about anything that can be messed up, I was probably the last person you wanted around. But hey. I was a damn good journalist. The fact that I still had a job was a testament to that. Of course, the bottom-of-the-barrel assignments I always seemed to land were also a reminder that I was permanently and irrevocably on the shit list. It was hard to get ahead when you had a tendency to accidentally shoot yourself in the foot, no matter how good your stories were.
"Wake up," I said, kicking my brother in the ribs. Braeden groaned and rolled over. He was turning thirty in a week, and he still lived with my parents. Their one requirement was that he help with chores around the house. Of course, he never did, which meant they would occasionally make the empty threat to kick him out. He"d crash on the floor of my closet of an apartment for a day or two until things blew over with them, and then he"d be out of my hair again.
If I was a functional mess, Braeden was my dysfunctional counterpart. He had all the same self-sabotaging genetics without the perseverance to fix his mistakes. The result was a twenty-nine-year-old whose primary hobby was playing Pokemon Go on his phone, who sometimes moonlighted as a “sanitation officer,” which was basically a minimum-wage gig picking up trash for the city.
"The sun isn"t even up yet," he groaned.
"Yeah, well, your two-day grace period is up, B. I need you to go patch things up with mom and dad so I can have my shoebox to myself again."
"We"ll see. I"ve got a pokemon I wanted to catch while I"m downtown. Maybe after that."
I threw on my coat, settled for two different shoes"one dark brown and one navy blue, because I was out of time to keep searching"and crept through the hallway of my apartment. I lived across the hall from the landlord, and she never missed an opportunity to remind me how much money I owed her.
Yes, I paid my rent. Eventually. My shit list assignments weren"t exactly the top paying jobs at the magazine, so sometimes I had to pay other bills. Like electricity. If I was feeling really adventurous, I even bought food. My parents weren"t loaded, but they were both teachers, and they made enough money to lend me some if I was ever in desperate need. I wasn"t exactly too proud to ask, but I didn"t want them to worry about me, so I swore Braeden to secrecy on the bare contents of my fridge and pantry. I"d get on my feet soon, anyway, so there was no point in making a big deal out of it.
Living in New York wasn"t cheap, but I wouldn"t trade it for anything. If there was ever a city that understood my own particular brand of chaos, it was here. With so many people choking the streets at every hour of the day, I couldn"t help but blend in, no matter how much of a mess I was or if my shoes didn"t match.
I enjoyed my commute, even on the days when I was running so far behind schedule that I knew I was going to get reamed out when I got there.
The office I worked in was bare-bones, to put it delicately. Our desks were particle board with peeling coats of gray paint. The walls were thin and let in almost every possible sound from the traffic outside. Many of our computers were still the old bulky kind where the monitor weighed about thirty pounds and was the size of an overfed toddler. Print journalism was dying an ugly death, and my workplace made no secret of it. The only people left in the business were the ones too stupid to smell the roses or the ones who enjoyed it too much to care. I liked to think I was a little bit of both.