Looking at the closed door of the human resource director, she fought the urge not to bite her nails.
The door opened finally after fifteen minutes and the smiling; Ms. Debra Omaha came out. She was a very plump woman with a very wide girth.
If Grandma Wei had seen this woman, she would have berated her and called her fat.
“There is no excuse to be fat,” her grandma would say.
“Chon Tolbert?” Debra said, extending her hand.
Chon stood to greet the woman’s outstretched hand pretending to be confident even though Debra said her name as if it were spelled, Shan. Usually, people didn’t pronounce the O sound, but she never made a big thing about the mispronunciation.
Although Grandma Wei would say, “The disrespect for a name is a disrespect for a person.”
Chon wasn’t about to tell this woman that.
Debra had lovely sky blue eyes. The bright red lipstick didn’t go with her bleach white skin, and Chon explicitly noted the bad red dye job on her edges to supposedly complement the half red wig.
Chon could spot a wig on a woman twenty miles away.
Wigs were her forte. Her mom lost the fight with cancer but had never wanted to leave to leave the house without a wig on her head.
It was the one gift her mother had taught Chon; the only good thing she had from her mother.
“Your mother was a slut,” Grandmother Wei would snarl.
Those summers with her mother had been the best for Chon.
“Black and Japanese don’t mix,” Grandmother Wei would say. “You do anything else like your mother, and you’ll be a slut just like her.”
Those words were often said, and Chon stuck to her father’s strict upbringing terrified she could end up dead like her mother by twenty-five.
Successfully, Chon had made it to her twenty-eighth birthday just last week.
“Follow me,” Debra ordered going back in the office.
Chon was instructed to sit in front of the desk while Debra sat behind the glass desk.
“I’m sorry for taking so long. The contractor we specifically hired you with is very much against having an assistant, but the project we’ve assigned him is potentially the largest we’ve ever had.” Debra seemed flushed. “My husband is being considered for the vice presidency and in charge of the account and if the project is a full success this contractor would get the head mechanic engineer position, which is just below the vice president job.”
Chon was aware there was a vacancy and her ex-boyfriend, Austin had mentioned the position whenever he came over to talk with her brother. Austin didn’t just talk about the open spot; he cried about not getting a chance to vie for the job.
“I’m just as good as any of them at that place,” she had heard him whine.
Pulling herself back to the present, Chon barely listened to Debra brag about her husband and all he’d done for this company. All she knew was that she had been sitting in the lobby way too long; Most of the morning as everyone around her determined if she was needed or not.
She had spent most of the time hoping to catch a glimpse of Austin, but that had been a bust, and she was a little disappointed because she had worn her best dress and taken a long time putting her hair together. Although she made wigs, she prided herself on being able to style her real hair.
The whole waiting game wasn’t as upsetting for Chon because she needed the money. Every extra dime she made went into her savings, and an offer she just couldn’t believe fell in her lap. A client list and a supply of hair that could just escalate her hobby to a full-time business.
Since her aunt closed the beauty supply shop, this had cut back significantly on Chon’s extra money.
Cho’s half-brother and Austin’s best friend, Craig Wei, wasn’t giving her a dime from the trust Grandmother Wei put him in charge of, so Chon was forced to get out and get a real job.
Not sure why her ex-boyfriend, Austin Powell, was helping her get a job, but he recommended her to his company.
Out of guilt?
Chon didn’t question his motives. He had moved on with his life always bragging how he met a real Christian woman. As much as she tried to get away from his bragging, unfortunately, Austin loved to come around her brother and just hang around the house.
“Not to be nosey,” Debra said. “How do you know Austin?”
Instead of letting the woman know Austin was a former lover, Chon gave a professional answer. “He’s my brother’s best friend. I practically grew up with him.”
“You’re Craig Wei’s sister?” Debra asked shocked. “He comes around here all the time.”
“Half-sister,” Chon quickly corrected because Craig was full Japanese, while she was a mixed African-American. A lot of Grandma Wei’s friends would speak only Japanese when they came by the house, but often would refer to Chon as a “zasshuken”; a mutt in Japanese thinking Chon didn’t know any Japanese.
Over the years, though her father never made her learn Japanese, being around everyone, she picked up words and phrases and was able to look things up.
Chon would never bat an eye listening to these women speak badly about her or never letting them know she spoke Japanese because she wanted to know what else they thought about her.
She had a good poker face.
“Oh,” Debra said with the confusion leaving her eyes. “I see it in the eyes.”
Chon had gotten her eyes and small nose from her Japanese heritage, while all the full features of her mother took everything else.
At five-three and a nice thick size of fourteen, she was a roasted cinnamon brown skinned beauty.
In her Japanese culture, her dark looks and thickness weren’t as rewarded as in her African American culture, but she felt comfortable in her skin as long as Grandmother Wei wasn’t around with harsh words.
Although, her brother Craig had seemed to start evoking Grandmother Wei’s ideology whenever Chon would try to have a serious conversation about the trust fund he guarded.
He wouldn’t let her get any money because he felt she would blow it all away on her silly ventures.
It was as if Chon had a lot of stupid investments. Creating wigs was a love of hers, and yes, at one point she wanted to go to beauty school, open up a beauty shop, open up a wig store and even teach wig making. All of these ideas were shut down by her brother in some excuse that she didn’t know what she was doing.
Chon had started living cheaply and saving every penny. A woman in Detroit had posted her business for sale on the Internet and had given Chon until the end of the year to buy it.
That was when the woman was leaving town with her new husband and child.
A list of wig clientele and even a supply of high-quality hair, Chon could start her business venture.
“Austin informed us you’re very organized and already familiar with the scheduling software,” the woman said after running down Chon’s resume.
“Yes, ma’am, I’m very familiar with the software and various syncing software.”
“And he mentioned your specialty is working with the unorganized.”
“I helped him during the college-job transition. I’ve done others as well, but only a side job.”
The woman smiled gratefully. “Then if you can get a man like Austin up to par, I just know you’ll work well with Mr. Dorian Zane.”
There were more detail questions about her experience, but Chon knew the woman was already very pleased with the resume and apparently Austin had praised her to high glory.
“Last question,” Debra said. “We need you to start immediately. Today. Can you?”
“Austin did say that was one of the requirements and I have no problem with that.”
Debra looked too excited. “I’ll show you around before giving you all your official paperwork.” She stood up after grabbing an employee envelope out of her drawer.
“Does that mean I have the job?” Chon questioned, standing up with Debra.
“Oh, most definitely,” Debra said assuredly. “As I said, Austin spoke so highly of you I just knew you were going to be perfect.”
Chon relaxed following Debra out of the office.
Debra chatted away about the office and where everything was. She paid little to no attention as her eyes diverted around the room hoping to catch a glimpse of Austin.
True, they were broken up, and Austin was supposedly moving on with his life, but that didn’t mean Chon still didn’t love him. He had been her first love and one never really forgot their first love, right?
“This is Mr. Zane’s office,” Debra said with some apprehension but did not attempt to open the door like she had done other doors. “There is your desk, and he’ll provide all your keys and passwords. He doesn’t trust anyone, and that will be your biggest hurdle.”
In the corner of her eye, Chon caught Austin standing near the employee’s kitchen area talking to a tall black woman, who was wearing very high-end knock offs and wore an expensive lace front wig.
Austin caught her eye and waved as if he seemed happy to see her. Chon’s heart swooned.
The woman followed him, but Chon only paid attention to him.
Austin stood about five-eight – way taller than her, yet a little under average. Leanly built, but with a slightly protruding waistline. He had tried to eat healthily and even went on extreme weight lifting programs but had stopped them immediately once he acquired the results and went back to unhealthy lifestyles. At thirty-five the stress he’d put his body on had taken a toll, and now he was physically disproportionate in some areas, but with clothes on, most people didn’t know what she knew.
He had the darkest skin with a bald head. At twenty, he had gone bald early in life, so shaving was the most practical. She had remembered so many times rubbing her fingers through his head loving the roughness when she would caress against the grain.
“Chon, thanks for taking this interview,” Austin said gratefully, greeting her with a hug.
He still smelled wonderful to her. “No problem,” she said trying to act calm and relaxed. “I needed the extra cash, and it is part time, so that works well for me.”
“I’d like you to meet Tracy Landers, my fiancée,” he said proudly.
Chon tried to keep a smile on her face as she outstretched her hand to take the taller woman’s hand.
Tracy was about the same height as Austin and reminded Chon of the model Tyra Banks, except she had bear brown, dark, sultry eyes. “I’ve heard so much about you,” Tracy said, with the fakest smile.
Maybe from working so much time in the beauty salon and being around so many women, Chon had learned to ignore female haterism and never let anything bother her.
Chon didn’t know why Tracy should feel any form of jealousy. The woman had Austin. She was gorgeous. She seemed well put together.
Pushing this away, Chon turned to Debra, who was going on about Austin’s great work for the firm.
“He would have gotten this account, but Mr. Zane’s an expert in solar energy,” Debra said.
“And he has connections no one could imagine,” Austin said sourly.
Suddenly, the office door they stood in front of slammed open and a towering black man of five eleven filled the doorway looking none too pleased.
“Isn’t there any place else around here you can run your mouths? Some people are actually trying to work.”
He was glowering with an omnipresence glare on all of them.
Austin and Tracy seem to slink away with mumbled embarrassed apologies, while Debra appeared to tremble where she stood.
Chon, whose father was often in a bad mood, didn’t take this man’s anger that serious.
“We apologize, Mr. Zane,” Debra said. “I was showing your new assistant around.”
Dorian Zane looked directly at Chon for only a second with these amazingly dark hazel eyes with taupe fleck.
“I said I didn’t need an assistant,” he staunchly refused.
“Then refer to me as a slave,” Chon said. “Thank you, Ms. Omaha. Mr. Zane and I can handle it from here.”
Debra looked at her gratefully handing Chon the employee packet before walking away quickly.
When they were just staring at each other alone, Chon said, “We can both stand here and admire the other, or you can invite me in and just accept you have an assistant. Either way, I’m not going away. I am aware the importance I have to your job.”
“You forgot about option C,” he pointed out.
“I could slam this door in your fucking face.”
She knew he was only trying to shock her, but she only laughed and dipped past him into his office. Being short had its advantages.
All Rights Reserved (c) by Sylvia Hubbard 2016
Author’s note: Btw, the subdivision mentioned in this chapter is mentioned in the book Wicked Chances in case you’re interested in finding more about the story behind that.
Don’t be shy, tell me what you think of the story so far? Have you read Wicked Chances?