Echo:A Dark Billionaire Romance(6)

By: A Zavarelli

“I worked in a bakery chain back home,” I said. “And the company offered me an apprenticeship. That’s the whole reason I came to San Francisco. But I haven’t even started yet, and I got bumped from the program. They said there were some unexpected budget cuts.”

“I’m sorry, Brighton.” She frowned. “So what are you going to do now?”

I shrugged, because truthfully, I had no idea. I used all of my savings to come here, and I only had enough to keep my room for the next two weeks. I’d been counting on this, and I had nobody else to rely on, but I couldn’t tell Nicole that.

I should have known it was too good to be true. Things like this didn’t just happen out of the blue for me. I should have looked into it better, made certain it was a concrete offer. It wasn’t as if I was dying to be a baker’s apprentice, but it was the only offer I had. And I had clung to it.

“Well, you have some office experience, don’t you?” Nicole asked.

“A little.” I gave her a sheepish nod. “Sometimes I filled in at a tire shop back home. Answering the phones and booking appointments. Not exactly rocket science.”

“Well,” she spoke in a gentle tone, “my company is hiring. It’s normally pretty brutal competition to get in, but there’s an open spot for an office go-to girl, and since you know someone on the inside…”

She left the words hanging in the air, and I took the bait without hesitation.

“You think you could get me an interview?”

“I can do better than an interview.” She winked. “I’m the coordinator for the intern program.”

“You are?” I blinked in confusion. “But you’re so young.”

She stiffened at my blunt observation, and I slumped against the tree. I didn’t mean for it to sound rude, but it was a truth that couldn’t be ignored. Nicole was only a year older than me, which would put her at twenty-two. Even if she was fresh out of college, I didn’t see how she could already be running an internship program.

“I am young,” she agreed. “But I’m in tight with the CEO. And I may look sweet and innocent, but I wouldn’t underestimate me, Brighton.”

She smiled as she said it, but there was also a slight edge to her voice that I found a little odd. It disappeared a moment later when she picked up her cupcake.

“Now we just need to talk about finding you a more permanent place to stay.”

Chapter Two

As the elevator signaled its arrival to the top floor of The Bennett Corporation, my stomach somersaulted with nerves.

This place was so different to what I’d been expecting. It was a young environment, filled with fresh faces and an abundance of energy. But that didn’t fool me into thinking I was anywhere near being in my league. During this morning’s presentation, I’d been surprised to learn that the CEO was only twenty-nine years old. According to the manifesto, Mr. Bennett founded this Corporation as a simple cloud storage provider. But over the last three years it had quickly expanded into one of the biggest tech giants this side of the Mississippi.

As I’d filled out paperwork with some of the other interns, I heard them dropping terms like ‘MIT’ and ‘Stanford’. I tried not to let it get to me, but when they started talking in tech speak, I was completely lost. Then one of them tried to include me in the conversation, asking where I went to school.

I’m sure I looked like a fish out of water as I tried to come up with something clever in response. But there was nothing clever to be said. I hadn’t gone to college because that wasn’t an option for me. Even if I had, I doubted I’d ever be as smart as any of these people. I’d spent the majority of the last few years trying to put food on the table and keep up on the rent. I didn’t have time for any other interests besides basic survival.

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