“Sit down, Sadie,”
She complied, sitting on the edge of the seat, legs crossed at the ankles and folded underneath the chair, pencil and pad ready. Edward sat in his high-backed executive swivel chair and netted his fingers, resting them on his abdomen. He looked at her straight.
He began. “I spoke to Sonny. You have gotten a lot done today, more than the others before you and that’s great. But I wanted to understand a little more about you. Where you worked before, what you did, why you left…”
Edward caught the fleeting blink of surprise that Sadie tried to hide. He had hit upon something and his aim was to find out as much about this girl as possible without her knowing it. That was one of the reasons why he was such a skilled negotiator when it came to Washington politics. He could always read the signs, pick up on cues, tells, and he would find Sadie’s tell if he angled his inquiries correctly.
“Before this I worked for the Nathaniel Bowman agency.”
“I’m familiar with it. Good agency that’s not easy to get into. How’d you manage it?”
“The employment agency indicated that they needed an executive secretary with a certain level of skills and I was the only one available at that time.”
Edward looked at Sadie. There was no way any company like the Bowman Agency would pass up on a girl like this. She was intense enough to fit their culture.
“So you had the skills and went to work there for how long?”
Edward arched a brow. Six months was ample time to get to know this girl, to see what kind of an asset she would have made. The fact that she had worked for them for that long meant that they wanted her, but why didn’t she stay? “I assumed they offered you a job since you were with them for that long.”
She reluctantly nodded. “I didn’t think it was the right fit for me. I had reached a plateau.”
Translation, Edward thought, something happened and she was artfully dodging telling him the real reason. She wasn’t getting away that easily.
“So you needed something more challenging?” At Sadie’s nod, he continued. “How long was it before you came to us?”
“So you were without employment for one month?” Edward had his suspicions and they were about to be confirmed. “You girls have it lucky. My parents see me out of work when I was your age for one day and my father was on my case.”
Silence. Sadie didn’t acknowledge, smile, issue a retort and that was when he knew. She didn’t have any parents.
“So what did you do in the meantime?”
“I went on interviews, took odd jobs to make endsmeet, practiced, and then took a series of tests for the agency before I received the call about this position.” Edward suspected that wasn’t entirely true, but he also came to realize Sadie was basically on her own in this world and to her that meant she owed no further explanations. It appeared she had no siblings, no other relatives she could turn to or get a reference from. She was most likely an orphan, which would have made her start at places like the Bowman Agency rough.
Edward was acutely aware of how orphans were perceived by many, as throwaways and drains on society, as if it was their fault that their parents abandoned them. Nothing was further from the truth. At that moment, his heart went out to Sadie and he vowed to take her under his wing. But first, he had to thaw the ice, so to speak.
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