Page 31

“Skip, skip, skip,” she said, passing slide after slide. “This rule is common sense, this one should be common sense, and this one is not common sense, but if you’re foolish enough to break this rule, you deserve to be fired. Skip, skip, skip.”

Uneasy murmurs filled the room and the girl next to me whispered, “Is she being serious right now?”

“And lastly,” Miss Connors said, pausing as she skipped through at least twenty other slides. “Don’t shit where you eat. This goes for affairs with the baggage boys, trysts with the gate agents, and especially the pilots. We have enough Cockpit Connies and cheaply made Hallmark Channel movies about that sad little scenario to last us a lifetime. And besides...” She hit the lights and the screen slowly returned to its position. “As you should already know, it’s against company policy as of eight years ago. No relations between employees are ever permitted, and if you don’t like it, go fly for Southwest Airlines. In closing, you can read the file you’ll receive via email later for all the fine print on that. Last chance, are there any questions?”

Everyone raised their hands, including me.

“Wow...” She looked around the room and raised her eyebrow. “After that entire, informative presentation, no one has anything they want to ask? Nothing at all?”

Our hands were still clearly in the air.

“Well, that’s all I have to say today,” she said, looking at her watch, “Please be sure to check your employee portals later today for a file that recaps everything you learned today. Also, sign this clipboard on your way out. You will be paid a four hour per diem for today’s meeting, even though we’re leaving early. “

No one made a move, and she crossed her arms. “Hurry up and sign my damn paper so I can go home and enjoy the rest of my day.”

We quickly pushed up our chairs and formed a line.

I overheard a few people asking her questions as they signed the clipboard, and she sounded as if she was actually answering them. When it was my turn, I grabbed the pen and cleared my throat—attempting to make eye contact.

“Miss Connors?” I asked.

“Sign the paper.”

“I have an important question.” I waited until she was looking at me. “My other job has been great and really flexible with me, and I really think that I owe them a full two weeks’ notice. I know you said we start within the next ten days, but is there any way I could have a four-day extension on starting full-time so I can do the right thing?”

“Of course.” She nodded. “I will do everything in my power to tell a billion-dollar airline that we should hold off on the final process of a years-in-the-making merger for one replaceable employee who wants to do the right thing for her other job.”

“That’s not what I meant. I’m just saying that I feel like I owe them a more advanced notice.”

“Sign the paper and step out of the room. Now.”

“Miss Connors, I’m just—”

“You have half a second to sign my paper or else I’ll be giving you an advanced notice about your loss of this job.”

I signed the paper and quickly left the room.


“Well, I can honestly say that I’m going to miss having you as an employee, Gillian.” Mr. Sullivan shook my hand hours later. “You’re always welcome to pick up flex hours on the weekends if the airline decides to give you inconsistent hours again.”

“Thank you very much.”

“You’re still working today though, right?” His glasses slid down his nose. “Jacqueline and Maria are still out sick.”


“Good.” He opened his drawer and handed me a brown paper gift-box. “This is for you. The resident in 80A said he wanted to ‘express his gratitude’ to the employee who cleaned his room the most.”


“Really.” He shrugged. “But right after bringing me this, he signed off on banning our services from ever entering his unit again.”

“I’m sorry.” I tugged at the thin, pink ribbon that was tied around the box. “I hope it wasn’t something I did.”

“I highly doubt that, Gillian,” he said. “Anyway, the assignment lists were redone over the weekend, so be sure to take a look. I need you on mailroom duty for an hour or two. Then floors 65 and 72. Oh, and—” He paused as his office phone rang. “Don’t forget to tell HR what your official last day will be before you go.”

I gave him an understanding nod as he answered his phone, and walked away. I locked myself into the employee changing room and quickly slipped out of my Elite uniform and into The Madison’s required khaki pants and short-sleeved white polo shirt.

Stocking my cleaning cart with supplies, I glanced at the new assignment board and noticed that a huge red “X” had been marked over unit 80A. There was a note written next to it: Resident will be hiring his own private service. Was adamant about canceling ASAP for some reason. DO NOT CLEAN.

I shook my head and set the brown gift box on top of my cart. I debated whether I should wait until I was off to open it, but I couldn’t resist.

I tore off the paper and saw a box full of my belongings, small things I’d left at his place: A pink coffee mug, white slippers, a hair brush, and a romance novel. The only new things inside were a brand new crossword puzzle titled, “Gratitude” and a small white envelope.