I take a deep, silent breath as I settle into the same seat I did before, clasping my hands in my lap like I have to physically brace myself for whatever’s coming.


It’s amazing how the same, exact action can feel poles apart under different circumstances.


And I thought I was nervous before…


“You look like you have something to say,” Covington commences, offering his undivided attention.


As confused as I feel, there’s no reason to beat around the bush.


“Mr. Covington…” I begin, thinking of how to best phrase this as I go, choosing my words carefully, “when I applied, I specified that I wanted to specialize in the wildlife conservation sector and that was what I was officially accepted into the internship program under. There was never any mention of anything other than that in my letter or from my unit. So, I don’t understand why I’m on this account when I’m not at all versed in the energy industry—and certainly not the oil industry.”


The emphasis of the latter spurs me on, eliciting a barely-veiled irritation that quickly overshadows any awkwardness, fear or uncertainty I feel.


“In your interview,” he counters, looking at me squarely, “you made it a point to emphasize the fact that you are flexible. If I recall, your exact words were, ‘Rigidity is impractical in the real world even with the best ideals’. You also mentioned that you’re a great team player. You noted that one of your strong suits was your ability to quickly adapt to situations and tasks, as well as assimilate to new environments.”


I open my mouth, trying to rebuff his words but I come up short, able to find nothing to re-counter, easily recalling the sentences I confidently typed as they fall from his. Each statement transitions perfectly to the next, not missing a beat. It’s as if he memorized them…intentionally.


He simply looks at me, waiting for me to go on when it’s clear that I can’t, using my own silence against me to make his point.


I shake my head in spite of myself, even when the words refuse to come out, as if doing so will give me clarity on this abrupt, illogical situation.


“As I mentioned downstairs, Miss Myers,” he continues despite my visible bewilderment, “as well as during the briefing we just had, Zanergy is our biggest account in all of Earth Capital’s history so far and we have to make every effort to ensure our collaboration not only goes smoothly, but excels. To that end, one of the agreements during the acquisition of the account was that one Earth Cap representative will have to be available on the Zanergy premises for the initial phase of the project twenty-four-seven.


“Since you’re not a permanent employee, and the only temporary worker on the team, you will be designated as our full-time representative at Zanergy and therefore will be staying at their premises for the duration of your internship—”


My eyes almost bulge right out of their sockets, my hands waving in protest before I can stop them, the words I couldn’t find earlier suddenly spilling out of me at hearing this newest development.


“Mr. Covington…sir…I’m still trying to process simply being on the account, but having to move to another location as well is not at all something I’ve planned for. And, please, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m extremely flattered and honored to be considered at all, but I don’t have the experience for an account this big, especially in this field.”


My heart is thumping harder now and, somehow, I get the feeling I’m arguing a case that I’ve already lost even as I hope my words get through to him.


Covington regards me for a minute, briefly clasping his fingers, as if he’s reconsidering.


“I completely understand your apprehension, seeing how this was suddenly sprung up on you, Myers,” he nods. “And, you’re right; this is extremely short notice…”


I exhale at that, my shoulders slouching slightly as a sense of relief starts to trickle over me.


“…but I’m positive you’ll rise to the occasion and take advantage of such a huge, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”


There is absolute finality in that statement.


And I hate that I can recognize it.


I try to voice my hesitation again, but he easily cuts me off.


“Of course, if you insist on refusing, I can’t force you to,” he shrugs. “But you should keep in mind that declining a job will go on your record.”


And any hope of getting a permanent position here in the future pretty much goes down the fucking toilet.


He doesn’t have to say the words. They’re written all over his face.


He brings his forearms to rest on his desk. “So…” he arches his brow, “will you take it or not?”


For a moment, all I can do is stare back at him as he verbally hands me his ultimatum, my breath leaving me in a weak exhale. My eyes flutter closed briefly, unable to hide the sheer disappointment weighing through every inch of me.


“Yes,” I swallow, relenting, the single word leaving me in the tiniest whisper, as if I don’t want to hear myself say it.


Like I have a choice.


“Good,” Covington concludes. “Arrangements will be made for your transfer within the hour. You’re assigned to this division full-time, effective immediately.”


I’m in a complete daze as I step out of his office. Everything feels out of whack, too sudden and extremely rushed, and it’s the absolute last thing I expected walking in this morning.


I head back to my department, discombobulated and in shock with only a single thought running through my mind:


What the fuck just happened?



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