Chapter 3: Fallen Apple Sets Plan in Motion

It was a usual weekday morning. The weather was getting colder, but not cold enough to completely give up on fashion yet. Ellie carefully layered up her business outfit. After a few sprays of her perfume, she grabbed her travel mug and her briefcase and left her house. Right on time, she thought, as she spotted Diego walking just a few meters in front of her. The chrome-pink-framed sunglasses gave her the pleasure of giving him four double look-overs in complete anonymity. She couldn’t help it, he looked fine in any outfit, and he was just her type: clean cut, with just the right amount of scruff.

As she stood in a sea of perfumes and colognes in the metro, she thought ahead to the glass of wine that awaited her after work. Another presentation would be done and over with, another headache gone. Maybe she would ask one of the girls at work to have a glass with her. She got along well with the new girl from HR.

Her day did not go completely as planned. She leaned back into her chair after her presentation, her fingers playing the drums on her neat desk, and contemplated whether to invite Myriam – the girl from HR – or not. She decided drinking with someone was always more socially acceptable and the wiser decision.

The office was quiet, with most people rushing to get some last-minute important things done before the end of the day. No one likes to stay over unless they really needed to, and Myriam wasn’t any different. Her desk was cluttered and she seemed a bit exasperated. Ellie knocked on the frame of her door.

“Hey Myriam. I was thinking of grabbing a glass of wine after work – seeing as I’m finally done with the presentation. Would you want to join? You look like you could use one too.” She attempted as she waved at the desk.

“Oh, yeah the construction company’s plan – good job on that. You sold me.”

Ellie thanked her quietly. She waited patiently for her co-worker to decide.

“Yeah, let’s go for a couple of glasses actually.”

“Great, I’ll meet you at the front desk then!”

On her way back to her own desk, her boss interjected her and called her into his office. She sat at one of the uncomfortable chairs in front of the modest wooden desk. Various frames were hung on the cream wall: his diplomas and prints of famous street artists – one by Jason Botkin caught Ellie’s eye. One day she’ll be so successful she’ll be able to ask him to design one of her tattoos, she thought.

“Our company is looking to transfer someone to the Dublin branch for several months for a new contract they have.”

Elena focused on her boss: the way his tie knot was slightly higher on the left side, his rolled-up sleeves, the part in his black hair… She wondered if his wife had helped him pick his light grey dress shirt and blood red tie combination this morning. She wondered if she would do that to her future husband, or if he would already have a deadly fashion sense. Maybe she would meet him in Dublin – wait, what? Dublin?

“We thought you would be a great fit there. Would you be interested?”

Had she heard correctly? Had her boss just transferred her to Dublin, Ireland? Everyone knows that you simply cannot refuse a transfer, especially if you are young, single and it is only for “a few months.” Was she doomed to have constantly puffy hair for the foreseeable future?

“Elena, let me assure you, you are in no way obligated to accept. Think it over and let me know.”

She knew he was lying. He was giving her time to process the information, but he expected her to pack her bags. And who was she kidding? She most likely would – after the shock would dissipate.