Mistaken

“Excuse me, I’m here to see Ms Carruthers.”

I looked up at the young lad holding a flower arrangement and almost vibrating with nerves. “I’m…”

“Sorry, I should give you my name. I’m Tom.” He smiled at me, humour showing despite his nerves. “I’m here for the job interview, and I’m a little bit early.” He looked around. “Have you sent many in to her?”

“No, that is…”

“The agency said that she didn’t ask for many candidates, so I should have a good chance.” Tom took a breath. “I’m sorry, I can’t stop talking. It’s nerves. Where should I put the flowers for her?”

“You could leave them here,” I managed to insert a few words. “But…”

“It would look better if I took them in, wouldn’t it, though?” Tom said thoughtfully. “Is she nice? I mean, have you been her secretary long?”

I struggled to find the right words. “I’m not her secretary, I’m…”

Tom blushed. “I’m so sorry. I know these are hired offices. Mum said it was cheap hiring an office for a few hours, but dad said it made sense rather than trekking all the way out to the main warehouse. But we live close enough so I could walk there if I got the job. It must be fun seeing all the different businesses come and go.” He looked around the well appointed foyer. “What is she like? I’ve only really found stuff about the business. But I saw a piece where she said she wasn’t fond of roses, so I got her these.” He placed the arrangement carefully on the reception desk. “But all the branding is pink, so I guess she likes pink. At least for the brand.”

“Pink is a lovely colour,” I said, “And the thing is…”

“I’ve checked the branding all across the different fronts.” Tom said. “It’s brilliant the way that it keeps the same palette and font but has subtle differences.” He looked a little uncomfortable. “I can think of some ideas to freshen them up. Mum said I should say stuff in the interview, but dad said I should hold it in reserve.” He shifted uncomfortably. “What do you think?”

“I think it shows you have initiative.” I said. “Listen…”

“I really want this job.” I could see the hunger in Tom’s eyes. “It’s not just a job. I love all this stuff. The detail is amazing. I know I’m general IT, but the subjects she covers are fascinating – I’ve been following her twitter since it was set up and there’s always something going on. I’ve always wanted a job like this.” He looked at me with pleading eyes. “Do you think I have a chance?”

I took a breath but I was interrupted by the office receptionist rushing back from the bathroom.

“Sorry about that, Ms Carruthers. I see you have your papers. If you go through to the Regina Suite, I’ll send the first candidate in.” She smiled professionally at Tom. “Can I help you?”

Tom lost every trace of colour as he realised he had mistaken his prospective employer for a secretary. “I’m really sorry, Ms Carruthers,” He mumbled. “I guess I don’t have a chance now, but please keep the flowers.” His shoulders slumped.

“Tom, isn’t it?” I said firmly. “You’re hired. I’d be mad to let anyone willing and able to research to that detail.” I turned and smiled nicely at the receptionist. “Could you cancel all the other candidates, please. I’ve got the one I want.”

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