FIRST PAGE SATURDAY: Untitled Contemporary
Welcome to first page Saturday. This is an opportunity for authors to submit unpublished works for critique. You are welcome to comment anonymously. The first page form is here if you would like to submit your own piece.
Karen’s life spiraled into complete disarray. One little statement put her whole life into a tailspin. Her orderly life stopped, taking an unknown turn from three little words… use or lose, forced vacation time. Here it was, late November with her boss breathing down her neck to take leave. Karen was self-sufficient and had everything planned for the next few months and did not like change. Karen scheduled her life and planned her days- months in advance.
Karen was a petite warhorse at work. Life did not revolve around her, she understood that, but her work did. At 30, she already clawed her way up the ladder to be a project manager. Her presence alone put people to work. Without her, the office would dissolve into chaos, or so she thought. Ten or twelve hour days did not bother her; she thrived on the stress, tension and deadlines. Every day for 8 years, Karen arrived at the office before her co-workers and left hours after them. This was her life- without it, what was she to do? She’d spent so much time on the last project. It had taken a long time to go over the construction bids and get her report ready. She thrived on work and loved looking at companies and dissecting their weaknesses. Karen instinctively calculated which companies had the ability to perform above standards and which settled for the bare minimum. On her newest project, one company caught her eye. It was the lowest bid by a small builder. LaRosa had underbid all the competitors. They built homes, solid, well-built units, but LaRosa’s competence with a project this large is uncharted. Karen scoured LaRosa’s proposal with a scrutinized eye. She investigated the company and went to their job sites to inspect the workmanship. Then she interrogated employees about their craft, ethics and supplies. This morning, Karen had driven to their development. She loved impromptu visits to watch the construction process. LaRosa impressed her with their merits. The workers said that they were happy with the construction techniques and that quality was their main goal. No shoddy construction there. However, the company’s name gave Karen pause. Who would name a construction company LaRosa? It sounded too feminine to her. A construction company should have a nice strong name to it!
She had met the foreman, John, at the LaRosa Construction site. Nice guy, good looking too. He came looking for her soon after she arrived. Obviously, someone had tipped him off that she was there. He had taken her on a guided tour of the properties and offered lunch. Karen did not mix business and pleasure, so she nipped that one in the bud. Men thought she would be someone easy to work for and manipulate. However, she was neither. Oh, she could be sweet- if she felt the need to be sweet. She wanted to be the best at what she did and she expected the same from everyone else. They had a nickname for her and she loved it. The little General. She did not mind as long as they did not say she had a Napoleon complex or something like it.
John had been gorgeous; he had long, dark hair, just below his shoulders, and piercing gray eyes. A hypnotic combination that gave off a devil-may-care attitude many women find irresistible. Nevertheless, she didn’t yearn to be a notch on his belt. Karen understood that he just wanted a fling for his amusement. She enjoyed flirting with him and he tried two or three times, to get her to go out with him. But she turned on her hard face and shot him down with an icy glare. He got the message and decided that she was not worth the trouble. Karen felt vindicated when a woman called John- in the middle of the inspection- to schedule an afternoon fun-time with him. He was popular, that one.
Karen gazed out the office window at the city below, scrutinizing her reflection in the glass. Petite- she hated that word. Dainty. Small. Tiny. She was a powerhouse on the inside, why couldn’t her outside be the same? She wanted to be tall, broad, and powerful. A brown-haired woman, perhaps, with fierce eyes. It took people a few minutes to understand that this dark-eyed, black-haired, baby-faced ‘girl’, had a steel spine and an iron reserve.