Chapter 5

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'Right then, I'll just tell them you're dead,' said the receptionist as I walked into Verve FM headquarters. I froze halfway between the entrance and his desk, partly to let him finish his phone call and partly out of shock. He gave me the 'one moment' signal with his finger then used it to stab one of the phone's flashing buttons.

'You there?' he drawled. 'Right. Pete's not at his desk right now. Can I take a message?'

As he made 'uh-huh' sounds and typed down the message, I directed my gaze to the large mirror hanging up on the wall next to the reception desk. My interview clothes – a black pencil skirt and blazer worn with a red top – looked crisp after I'd actually run an iron over them. I'd straightened my dark blonde hair so it fell nicely around my face and down my shoulders. 'Suited and booted' was my motto for any job interview, no matter how hip the office might be - and this office was definitely hip. The floor tiles were silver, the walls were powder blue and the chairs were squiggles of clear plastic, folded into something resembling a chair.

Google had told me that Verve FM was 'the dance music station of choice for gay men across the UK' and that it boasted one of the most visited lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lifestyle websites in the world. How did Scott know that this would be right up my alley? My ultimate goal was to write intelligent articles for women's magazines that went beyond wearing the right bronzer and 'what really goes through his mind when he's bed with you,' but this was still damn exciting. I could do this.

Scott had sent me a text at 8am:

Good luck for the interview. Have Kade the receptionist call me down afterwards, we'll have a touch.

I realised this was 'work Scott' speak, but 'have a touch,' really? It made me think about him touching my boob. Kade hung up the phone like he was disgusted with it and turned his attention to me.
               
'Hi,' I said cheerfully, striding up to the desk. 'I'm Beth George. I have a 10 o'clock interview with Rosalia.'
               
'Oh, right,' he said slowly, cocking his head to the side. It was how I'd seen models pose in catalogues. 'Rosalia's busy right now, so you'd best take a seat.'
               
I sat in one of the chairs with a water I poured for myself from the cooler in the corner. The paper cup was in the shape of a cone that looked cool in a space age or '90s way - futuristic and retro at the same time – but as soon as the water filled to the top, I wondered how the hell I was going to set the cup down. I'd have to drink the whole thing at once.
               
People swept in and out as I waited, all men wearing jeans and trainers. There was one very tanned man who burst into the lobby wearing a suit. He stopped mid-stride to tell Kade that he was off to a sales meeting with 'hot Ivan, you know the one with the flat in Soho and the insufferable boyfriend?'
               
'Seal that deal,' said Kade with a wink.
               
'I wish, love,' the man replied. 'But today I'm concentrating on closing the sale.'
               
A hearty laugh escaped my mouth. The man whipped around, a surprised smile on his face. Kade frowned.
               
'Who do we have here?' the man inquired. 'It's not often I get such a good laugh from one of my jokes.'
               
'I'm Beth. I have an interview with Rosalia for the online editor position.' I wondered if I should stand up or remain seated. I was very aware that I had a paper cone perched between my fingers.
               
'Well, good luck. I hope you're what Ros and Eric are looking for.'
               
'They're picky, so don't take it personally if you don't get it,' added Kade.
               
Was Kade trying to be nice to me or was he being incredibly mean? All I knew was that my palms had just turned slippery. That'd make for a good handshake. And who was Eric?
               
'Oh, it's not as bad as that,' assured the man. He had the neatest hair I think I'd ever seen. 'They just don't quite know what they're looking for yet. Maybe you're it!' He made an excited face that made me beam.
               
'Let's hope so,' I said.
               
At that moment, Rosalia strode into the lobby. She was wearing pinstripe trousers and a white blouse. I suddenly didn't feel so out of place in my corporate-friendly outfit. I rose and, realising I still had a cone in my hand, did an awkward jog in my heels to the bin. Rosalia cornered me there and extended her hand out towards me.
               
'You must be Beth. Nice to meet you.'
               
I followed her through the doors I'd been sneaking glances at for the better part of half an hour. I clocked rows of Macs with spiky haired men in front of them as I was ushered into a boardroom. I thought briefly of Rick. He'd blend in here.

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