Survivor’s Trust by Ellen Seltz

Survivor’s Trust by Ellen Seltz

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Previously… Cordelia’s plan to get established at a top law firm is dashed when her employment agency blackballs her. Financially strapped, she’s desperate to ace her last job interview. When the senior partner questions six missing years on her resume, she decides to stonewall.

Episode 2

Marj’s eyes are pale, pale blue. She’s wearing false eyelashes. Without them, I bet she’d have none. How can anyone go so long without blinking? The little voice of Trouble inside my head says, she probably licks her eyeballs instead.

I smile. Mama did teach me a few useful things: Smile when you’re scared, laugh when you’re angry, and never tell more than you absolutely have to.

“Oh, it wasn’t relevant experience.” Breezy. Well done.

One line appears between Marj’s brows, like she’s reading fine print. “Your work history is relevant, Ms. Simms.”

Okay, redirect. Time to humble-brag. I shrug. “You know, I set my heart on law school when I was seven years old. I finished high school at 16 and college at 19.” I flick my chin toward the resume. “Summa cum laude. Graduating law school had been my single focus so long…”

A slow nod would sell this. Yes – and a hint of nostalgia. “I had some growing up to do.”

Marj starts up with her ballpoint. Clickety-click. “I see.” She purses her lips a moment, then she’s headed for the door. My resume flutters off the table in her breeze.

I jump up. “Excuse me, um…”                                        

She turns, surprised. She gives me the exaggerated patience of a preschool teacher. “Honey, no.

“What? Why?”

Marj leans back on the doorjamb. She crosses her arms and makes a little smack of distaste. “If you can’t play poker any better than that, you’re no damn good to me.”

She’s gone. She doesn’t bother to shut the door. The cube colony of secretaries gets busy pretending they can’t see me standing here with my mouth hanging open.

Thank God the elevator bay is empty. I rest my forehead on the marble surrounding and try to breathe. I’m losing a whole day of work, and nothing lined up. I do the math. The breathing gets harder.

I could go get a coffee and call some other agencies. They don’t usually share notes. Coffee? says Trouble. A double vodka would be good right now. Or a Xanax. Vodka and a Xanax? Even better.

I slip my hand in my pocket, feeling for my extra key-ring. My sobriety chips clack together, a solid stack. White, orange, green, red, blue, yellow, the one-year glow-in-the-dark, the gray. Two more months, and I get my first black.

I open my eyes. Coffee it is.

The elevator arrives with an electronic “meep.” I straighten up and put my company face on. No fair oppressing complete strangers with my angst.

The doors part.

Oh, dear Lord. Why couldn’t it be a stranger?

The man on the elevator keeps right on texting. He barely glances my way. Would it matter? Perhaps when you arrest a lot of people, you might not know them all by sight.

I’d know Detective Lawrence Joyner anywhere. But what’s a Connecticut vice cop doing in Birmingham? Nothing to do with me, surely.

He looks up.

Shit. I’m made. WIN $50 Amazon gift certificates by voting WEEKLY! Enter your address each time you vote then check your email to confirm. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading by email click view poll.

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