Survivor’s Trust by Ellen Seltz

Survivor’s Trust by Ellen Seltz

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Previously… Cordelia lands a much-needed job. Unfortunately, it wasn’t her bold speech that won the day. She was recommended by a man with whom she had an unsavory encounter during her lost years. Today, she’s determined to draw a line and make sure he keeps his distance.

Episode 4

My first day, I’m in the lobby by 7:30. The elevator’s empty. I hear my breath, loud. My heavy briefcase reminds me of Apollo 13. Go, flight. Go.

Before I report to Marj, there’s business to do. Thanks to the floorplan in my New Hire packet, I don’t have to ask after Richard’s office.

My mouth feels like I ate a box of Pampers. I try to make some spit. I knock.


He’s kicked back with the Wall Street Journal.

“Mr. Demarest, I…”

“Richard, please.” He smirks. “I think we’re there, don’t you?”

I shake my head. “My life is very different now. I worked hard to put the past behind me. It’s got no place in who I am or what I’m here to do.”

He looks as if I’m a kindergartener demonstrating a fairy wand. “It’s a bit late to pretend we’re strangers.”

My jaw clenches. Whoa, now. Stay centered.

“As far as I’m concerned, we were introduced once. That’s it.”

He lays down the paper. “Whatever you say.” He saunters over, hands in his pockets. “But I did you a favor with Marj. You owe me one.” He shrugs. “Just business.”

I cross my arms. “One what?”

“Favor.” He reaches behind me to open the door. “I’ll let you know. Thanks for stopping by.”

Richard’s secretary stows her handbag and looks me over. Geez, what a side-eye. Somebody’s grumpy today.

Downstairs, a highly-polished woman intercepts me at Marj’s door. She’s wearing a bright color-blocked dress, and her hair’s in thick natural twists down her back. “Cordelia? I’m Tasha Bales, Marj’s paralegal. This is Lois, our assistant.”

Lois hangs up her phone. She could be twinsies with Richard’s secretary: Same gray perm, same nondescript cardigan. Same side-eye.

I offer them a big cheesy smile and a handshake. “Pleasure to meet you.”

Tasha smiles back. Lois sniffs.

Tasha shows me a tiny office on the inside wall. “Leave your stuff. Marj wants you in this meeting.”

“What meeting?

“The Norris estate. Our client, Mrs. Norris, died recently. The executor, Zoe Ackerman, is waiting in Room D.”

Marj converges with us outside the conference room. “Take notes. Keep the signatures organized, and keep your mouth shut.”

I smile. “You’re the boss!”

Marj wheels on me. “No.” I can smell her Virginia Slims and Sanka. “If you want to quit shopping at Salvation Army, remember: The firm is management. The client is your employer.”

Lois scurries up, out of breath, and passes a post-it to Marj.

Marj’s left eyebrow creeps up. She jerks her head at me. She flicks me the note and sails into Room D.

Henry Norris. Agitated.

I hustle after Lois, around the corner. “Who’s Henry Norris?”

“The decedent’s son. He’s pissed.”

“Well, what does Marj want me to do?”

Lois rolls her eyes. “Handle it.”

She opens the door and disappears.

I barely get my mouth open when Norris charges at me. He waves a sheet of letterhead in my face.

“You filthy bunch of crooks! What do you call this bullshit?” WIN $50 Amazon gift cards by voting WEEKLY! Enter your address each time to be eligible to win. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading by email click view poll.

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