I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again—I love first meetings. Alyssa Kendrake is an out of work English teacher. When she gets an e-mail inviting her to audition for a TV show, she’s shocked and slightly intimidated. Since it’s a chance for work, she goes. The receptionist tells her to go upstairs and ask for directions to the audition room.
The desk on the fifth floor was unoccupied, so Alyssa waited until a tall swarthy skinned man walked by.
“Excuse me,” she said quietly.
He turned to her with a smile. “May I help you?”
“Yes, I’m looking for the casting director of Deserted. I was told to go to room fifty forty-two, but I don’t know where that is.”
“I’d be happy to show you, Miss Kendrake. I’m going there myself. My name is Barry.” He shook her hand politely.
“Thank you, Barry.”
She followed him down the hall, admiring the view. She didn’t usually allow herself to stare at a man, but he didn’t seem to notice. He was incredibly well built and his clothing set off his physique well. He wore dark gray dress pants, a dove gray shirt and no suit coat. His tie was a blend of gray and blue, like damp watercolors swirled together. He looked more like a professional athlete than someone who worked in an office.
Barry chuckled to himself. It wasn’t often a pretty woman came in the office and watched his ass as he walked down the hall. Strutting casually, he emphasized his swagger a little, to keep her looking. She thought he wasn’t aware of her gaze, but he was. He didn’t mind the lingering caress of her eyes. As a matter of fact, it was not only flattering, but a distinct thrill.
Alyssa watched the muscular man walk, thinking how long it had been since she’d had one of her own to admire up close. Blinking rapidly, she nearly ran into him when he stopped in front of room 5042. He held the door partially open, standing not quite far enough away for her to walk easily through. He leaned casually against it, one arm raised well above her head. Smiling down at her, he invited her into the room with a smile and a hand at the small of her back.
Alyssa had to turn slightly to face him, nearly brushing up against him. With a shy smile, she eased by his arm. Eyes demurely downcast, she glanced up at him like Lauren Bacall. Barry felt his pulse quicken as he closed the door behind them.
“Everyone, this is Alyssa Kendrake. She’s here about Deserted. She’s our next appointment.”
“Welcome, Alyssa,” a smiling, dark haired woman greeted her. “Please have a seat. I’m Kimberly Crimson, casting director. You’ve met Barry Sebring. Next to me is Mickey Stafford and to the left of him is Grace Bing. Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself.”
Alyssa took the indicated chair. It was softer than it looked and she sank more deeply than she anticipated, nearly losing her balance. Righting herself with difficulty, she sat on the edge so she wouldn’t have another mishap.
She looked quickly at the people in the room, sizing them up as best she could. Barry was tall, athletic, handsome. Kimberly wasn’t much over five feet, slightly rounded, with soft dark hair and eyes. Grace was somewhat older than the others. Graying hair was pulled back in a sleek ponytail. Her half moon glasses rested on her nose. Mickey, who couldn’t have been much older than her high school students, was probably an intern.
“I’m Alyssa Kendrake. I’m thirty-two and a school teacher, or at least I was until all the budget cuts. To be specific, I am an out of work, high school, English teacher. I’m not really sure why I’m here. I’m not an actress.”
“You filled out an application for a clerical position,” Kimberly answered. “There was a picture with your application. I was going through the files and liked your look. It was my decision to ask you in.”
“Oh, well that’s great! I’m desperate to find something. The wolf is scratching at the door as we speak.”
They smiled politely, shuffling papers in front of them. Barry stared openly, the others kept glancing at her, scribbling notes on their papers. No one said anything for quite awhile.
“What else can you tell us about yourself?” Barry asked suddenly. “Are you married? Seeing anyone?”
Alyssa got the impression that those were more than casual questions. She couldn’t see what they had to do with anything, but turned to Barry with a friendly smile.
“I’m single, not for lack of trying. Why? Is this job contingent upon my being single?”
“No, I was just curious. Purely from a business point of view, of course,” he added quickly, glancing at Kimberly.
Miss Crimson giggled, shaking her head as she took notes. “Do you have any special talents, Alyssa?” She asked.
“I’m an English teacher and aspiring writer. I’ve done some freelance work for two of the local newspapers. I love to cook, play racquetball and swim three miles a day. My first degree is in theater and dance, but my second is in English education. Brown is my natural hair color. I wear contact lenses. I’m five foot six, weigh one hundred and ten pounds and love to listen to music.”
“What kind of music do you like?” Barry leaned forward, an intensity in his body language that hadn’t been there before.
“Just about everything, but my favorite is heavy metal. Specifically Metallica, though I really like Incubus and Rammstein.”
“Cool,” he chuckled, nodding at Kimberly. “Thank you, Alyssa. Are you available tomorrow at one for a callback?”
“My schedule is completely empty, Barry. Yes.”
“Excellent. Put her down for tomorrow at one, Grace.”
“Already got it.”
“I’ll see you out,” Barry grinned, holding the door for Alyssa once more.
“Thank you,” Alyssa blushed as she slid past him.
“My pleasure,” he gazed down at her, letting the door swing shut. “You free for dinner?”
“Or tomorrow. But tonight would be better for me.”
“Oh? Do you have pressing matters tomorrow?”
“We make our final decisions tomorrow. I’ll be tied up. Are you free at six?”
“As a matter of fact, I am.”
“I’ve got your address on your resume. I’ll pick you up at six?”
“Will this help me get the job?”
He winked, flashing a saucy grin. “Maybe.”
He had expressive, dark, jade green eyes, Alyssa noticed in passing. Her violet blue eyes penetrated his, searching the depths for what made Barry tick. His smile changed slightly as he noticed the scrutiny. Again, he didn’t seem to mind, so she indulged herself.
“Then maybe six would be good,” she giggled, blushing again.
“See you at six.” He pushed the elevator button, holding the door for her when it opened.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes