EIGHT

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I couldn't seem to move my lips. Lana and Audrey stood there staring, waiting for me to say something. But my mouth just opened and closed like a fish.

I've died.

That was my first thought. The only thought I could seem to process, as I stood there gaping idiotically. What a great first impression— they probably thought I'd gone star-struck at the sight of her. Which wasn't entirely wrong, but it wasn't excitement freezing me to the spot. It was the thought of what might happen if Lana found out about my association with Asher and Jade. Or worse, if I started living with them and then had to work for Lana every day.

"Uh, is she okay?" Lana asked, shifting her gaze to Audrey. I finally snapped out of it, as I envisioned my job opportunity circling the drain.

"I'm great!" I blurted quickly, and they both raised an eyebrow. Clearing my throat, I continued,

"I just— when I saw you, I had this lightbulb idea for a marketing tactic!"

Wow! Hello, coffee kick! By the way, I totally didn't have an idea at all, but I was treading on hot coals here.

"Oh?" Audrey mused, her eyes wide with surprise. I forced a smile and tried to suppress my nervous laugh.

It didn't work.

I chortled like a kid who just drew all over the kitchen walls with crayon.

"Well, I look forward to hearing about it," Audrey said, her lips curling upward slowly. "But for now, we'll just have you cover this basic list of tasks."

She passed me a stack of papers. On top was a checklist, and as I scanned it my nerves tripled. Oh, I really hoped I could handle this.

"There's a bunch of content under there that should explain the gist of each task," Audrey said, poking under the checklist. "Lana's right in the middle of a huge marketing campaign, plus a bunch of different creative projects that are launching soon. Since our last person left, Kara's been helping her out, so she'll be able to instruct you further."

"Oh," I said, feeling overwhelmed. I tried another smile and swung my fist for enthusiasm. "Wow— cool!"

Damn it, Wren, act natural.

Audrey turned to Lana. "Can you take Wren down the hall to the studio? And don't forget the meeting at 12:30— I'll check on you girls then."

"Sure," Lana breezed, her gaze flickering to me. The corners of her mouth turned up in what I swear was a judgemental smirk, as she said, "Come with me, Wren."

Ducking my head a little, I followed her back down the hall, past a few doors, until she opened the one closest to the elevator. It was a medium sized room, with a camera studio set up on the side. A row of tables were in another, adjoining room, accompanied by two computers and what looked like a giant art project on the wall— but after taking a closer look, I realised it was a layout of social media posts and content, organised in columns according to which day they were scheduled.

"Kara, we're here!" Lana called out, though no one else seemed to be here. She dumped her bag on a side table and fluffed her hair out a bit. Then, she grabbed her phone and started scrolling through Instagram, checking her recent likes.

Trying not to judge, I took the opportunity to read through that checklist again.

The tasks were separated into sections— thankfully, or I'd be even more lost. The top ones were highlighted as priority, and the headline read Milk Matte Prep. The tasks consisted of preparing content to go out in the next month, all of which were promoting the upcoming Milk Matte Masquerade. It didn't make a whole lot of sense, but then I riffled through the notes and found information about how Milk Matte was one of Lana's sponsors, so in return for doing certain videos and articles, they were sending her free makeup and inviting her to the event.

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