The Good Girl

By: Emma Nichols

One of the best parts of the internship with Life on the Lake was the social side of it, the constant networking, the frequent opportunities to make connections with individuals who could further a career. Of course, since these same people could also very easily end my career before it even began, this was also one of the worst parts of the job, too. This habit the magazine had of a monthly gathering to celebrate each issue had already worn thin and it was only my third. This time, it was different. I could feel it. The air was electrically charged. What had begun just over a year ago as a local version of Cosmo, had grown significantly and was now turning into a franchise. Our home office in Lake Norman was preparing to accommodate all this new growth. There had even been talk that some of us interns from UNC Charlotte would be offered full-time paying positions after graduation.

For that reason alone I had pulled myself together, finished my projects, pasted a smile on my face, and dragged myself to the 7pm gathering at City Tavern. The editor constantly complimented me for my drive, determination, and abilities so that already, I felt like an asset. Becoming a permanent staff member would be the cherry on top. Not having to job hunt in another month would be ideal. To work in what promised to be my dream job and get paid for it would mean I could tick one more item off my list. Just because I was twenty-two, there was no reason for me not to have my life planned, my future laid out neatly in my ultimate To Do List.

The clinking on the water glass interrupted my musing. “I know there have been some rumors floating around the office,” Jacqueline began with a knowing smile. The private dining room was instantly silent. She positively glowed. God knows she loved torturing all of us. “There are several new job openings for the magazine,” she purred. “It has always been our policy to try to hire and promote from within, first. We believe in loyalty.”

Shivers ran up and down my spine. This was it. She was going to make an announcement. I tried to remain calm, but her eyes met mine and I could feel my face flush. Just the other day, Jacqueline had cornered me near the water cooler to ask my intentions. It was just as awkward as it sounded. Somehow, I managed to stutter that I wanted to work for the magazine full-time, that I wanted a column. She had nodded and made a face that suggested she was considering it.

“We will need a couple more assistant editors. Graphic design has been overwhelmed lately, so we need at least one more person to help carry the workload. And…” she glanced about the room conspicuously, “we have a most coveted position opening up.”

There was a buzz as the others started to wonder about this last position. Luckily, Jacqueline didn’t make us wait for long. “We are going to be hiring someone to write a monthly advice column.”

My ears perked up. This was it. This was the position I wanted and had been working toward. The last four years of college and the high school paper before that had been in preparation for this moment. Without thinking, I tried to calmly rub my hands down my skirt, an act that both removed the wrinkles and dried my now sweating palms.

“Yes, we need a sex columnist.” She glanced around again. This time, she looked at Molina, another one of the interns. She was sex incarnate with her long legs, Victoria’s Secret model figure, and exotic Latin American looks.

My breath caught in my throat. Wait…this was my job. I was supposed to have a column. I was the better writer. My grammar was impeccable and my articles were flawless. Jacqueline had said so.

“All interested parties should apply and prepare to be scrutinized. These positions will be filled within the next thirty days. The jobs will begin on June 1st.” She smirked as she glanced about. “Let the games begin.” With that, she took a healthy swig of her wine and settled back into her seat to watch the ramifications of her speech.

For a moment, I was frozen in place. Then I watched as Molina casually made her way across the room until she was settling herself into the vacant chair on one side of Jacqueline. Suddenly, I was inspired to act and before I knew what I was going to say, I found myself in the chair on the other side of Jacqueline.

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