Day 2: The Card

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"Ashley, it's seven in the morning and I don't see any updates on my phone."

"There isn't anything to update, Ms. Sullivan. As I told you yesterday, the banks are closed on Sundays and they won't be open until nine this morning."

"Somebody," I said, slamming down my bowl of yogurt, which resulted in a gooey strawberry flying onto my countertop, "has to be in an office somewhere at my bank. They're huge. They're all across the United States, someone is in a building working right now."

"Maybe a custodian..."

"Then, talk to them!"

"Ms. Sullivan, I understand your frustration..."

"Has your car ever been stolen from you, Ashley?" I exclaimed with enough intensity that a vein popped out of my neck.

"No, but someone broke my window in."

"Not the same!"

"Ms. Sullivan, I promise I will be the first phone call they pick up this morning, but for now, I have a couple private transportation companies that I'm going to reach out to so that you are taken care of until we sort out this mess with your car."

I paused, taking a deep breath as my spoon drew circles in my breakfast. I glanced over at my little miniature Lexus, my heart dropping as I thought of what condition my real blue coupe was in at that moment.

"You promise you'll help me get my car back?"

"Absolutely. I can't imagine what may have compelled them to order this repossession, but I'm sure it's just a misunderstanding. In fact, it may even be fixed by the end of today. So why don't you take a breath, enjoy your breakfast, and get ready for work. I'll try to have a car meet you outside the condo building in an hour."

"All right, very good," I mumbled, before taking another bite of my breakfast. "I'll see you at work."

"Goodbye, Ms. Sullivan."

I ended the call and sat down on one of my bar stools with a sigh. I nibbled on the strawberries in my yogurt, my head torn between the fear of not getting my car back and the uncertainty of what kind of welcome I could expect once I got to work. Not finding either of those topics particularly entertaining, I instead turned my focus to the Christmas calendar still sitting at the end of my kitchen counter. It hadn't been up to any additional mischief since its miraculous opening in the wee hours of Sunday, so my fear of its devious nature had subsided.

Well, honestly, my anxiety only eased a little. There was still the fact that the annoying headhunter, Alistair, had sent me this pricey gift without any note as to why. I mean, I figured it was some sort of elaborate scheme to poach me from Gloria Design, but to what end. What was the goal with this calendar?

Finishing my yogurt, I placed my bowl into the sink and then wandered over to the festive wooden mansion, searching its walls for the next door.

"There you are," I mumbled, spotting a very thin door in one of the towers. "What do you have for me today?" Grabbing hold of the tiny brass knob, I pulled the door open and found a straight, crisp edge peeking out of the dark recesses of the calendar. Using the tips of my nails, I was able to reach into the small slot and grab hold of the prize inside. Pulling it out, I found a card — a credit card to be exact.

"Wow, he must really think little of me if he assumes I decorate my tree with platinum American Express cards." I rolled my eyes, but was at least relieved to find the credit card ornament didn't include my actual credit card number. Instead, it was a burgundy card with a stylish Santa silhouette and the name 'Jess Sullivan' marked as the card owner. "I told him my name isn't Jess," I growled before tossing the new ornament onto the counter and then heading to my bathroom to freshen up and prepare for the day.

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