Saturday 14 May 2011

If You Want a Promotion, Don't Play Pokemon

(Continuation of If You See Something, Say Nothing)

I've been up since 6am and have found myself a quiet spot in the hotel lobby to finalise the presentation for the morning meeting. After the events of the evening, it is safe to say that I have not slept. Thankfully, I managed to pack my Nintendo DS, as well as a game of Pokemon which kept me amused for most of the night.

It's time to take a little break from this presentation, so I minimise the screen of PowerPoint and open up Explorer. There, at the top of the toolbar I type 'How to climb walls in Pokemon SoulSilver' in the Google search-box and scan the promising results. We all have our guilty pleasures.
    "There you are!" I hear Luke say as he smoothly runs down the stairs. "I've been knocking on your door for ages,"
    "Sorry, I thought I'd be able to work better here," I tell him, quickly getting rid of the Pokemon page that I was actually finding incredibly interesting.
    "How long have you been down here?"
    I look at the clock just behind the reception desk, "Only an hour or so," I lie.
    "Oh. Well, I just wanted to ask if you could get some print-screen website shots for the presentation. I think the big bosses want proof of prices and we desperately don't want to disappoint them,"
    "No problem," I say, and he disappears. I get to work.

I'm so proud of this presentation, and I sit in the meeting excited for Luke to present it. Everybody who's somebody in the company has attended this (including Sam) - in fact, I'm probably the only 'nobody' here. But I'm hoping that after they see all the hard work I've put into this, it'll be 'Hello Promotion' and therefore, 'Hello new Diane von Furstenberg jacket that I've had my eye on for a while', as well as 'Goodbye cranky landlady, goodbye messy housemate (who secretly I'll miss), goodbye curtains with spiders inside'. So overall, I'm having a wonderful morning (obviously, aside from memories of last night which seem to come screaming back to me every now and again).
    "I wanted to wish you good luck," Hannah crashes into the room and drapes her arms around Luke. She's acting like she's madly in love, and I can't help but hate her for all this. Lies. I'm staring at the biggest lie I have ever seen and there's nothing to be done about it.
    My eyes dart to the CEO who is happily sitting at the head of the table, watching Hannah kiss Luke. I notice his thick eyebrows furrow a little at her actions and he immediately says, "OK, whatever your name is, leave us be. This is a very important meeting,"
    "I'm so sorry, Roger," Luke replies.
    "I'm just showing my boyfriend how much I love him," Hannah beams a smile at the CEO, and all others in the room gasp as her response. Including Luke. But she's being brave because she knows she can't be fired. For the first time in my life I feel like I'm watching a movie unravel it's unpleasant plot right in front of me, and I'm the only one who knows exactly what's going on. Perhaps I'm a 'somebody' after all.

Luke is amazing.  I can't help but stare at him in awe as he's up there doing the presentation.  He's so confident and determined - blue eyes sparkling with knowledge as he dictates the SWOT analysis and says big words like 'eurosecurities' and 'forfaiting'.  I make a note in my notebook to look those words up later in my Oxford Dictionary of Finance and Banking.  If anyone ever asks me about this presentation I wrote, I should at least know the meaning of the words I've used. 
    And I can't believe how well it's all going.  Everyone is listening intently, and I instantly think, Diane von Furstenberg jacket - here I come.
    But then something catches my eyes.
    We are now on the last few slides that are proudly displaying those print-screen shots of websites that Luke wanted me to include, and there, at the very top in the Google search-box it reads 'How to climb walls in Pokemon SoulSilver'.
    The air has been sucked out of my lungs and I'm 99% sure that my face has turned completely red.  How could I have been so stupid not to notice that? 
    I look around to see if anyone else has spotted it, but overall people's faces seem to look dazed.  Apart from Nick from Finance who seems to be hiding a smirk.  Bloody Nick.  Never liked him anyway.
    I glance at Sam, but his expression is completely blank - just staring straight ahead, nodding at Luke's words. 
    Perhaps I've got away with this.  Nick's dull anyway, so this isn't a story he's likely to repeat to his equally enthusiastic team mates. 
    Luke's stopped speaking and everyone's clapping.  Phew.  It's all fine.

    "How did it go?" Hannah's legendary tight claw has grabbed my arm as soon as I walk out of the meeting room.
    "Umm...all good, I think," I tell her, trying desperately to save my arm from getting bruised.  I've only just recovered from her last ones.  She's about to say something else, but quickly stops herself when Luke appears by my side.
    "Nice presentation," he says with a smile, "Although, next time try to leave Pokemon out of it,"
    Oopsie Daisy!
    "I think this is something you need to fill me in on," Hannah says, ordering me to follow her to the hotel restaurant.  "I've barely talked to you properly since we got here,"

Jam is being splattered everywhere as Hannah has greedily taken the entire platter of croissants from the buffet, and as I watch her use a whole pot of strawberry jam for each one, I wonder whether I should bring up what I saw last night.  But my heart doesn't want to, my head is confused, and my mouth doesn't know where to begin.  So I stick to, "Did you enjoy the party last night?"
    She nods vigurously through mouthfulls of 80% jam, 20% croissant.  "You did a great job with the room," she says after her mouth wrestles with the mouthfull. 
    "I didn't really do that much," I say modistly. 
    "Oh, don't be so silly.  There's no way any of use could have done all that,"
    That's actually very true.
    "Anyway, how did it go with Sam?  I didn't really see you for the rest of the evening,"
    That's because you were too busy cheating on your perfect boyfriend with the 58 year old CEO.  And I immediately hate myself for even thinking such a thought about my best friend.
    "We've swapped numbers.  I think he wants to see me when he's in London next month," I say.
    "You don't sound very enthusiastic about it.  Sam's gorgeous,"
    "I know he is," a bit of jam lands on my white top.
    "Sorry," Hannah says between mouthfulls of croissant.
    "It's just that I don't get that feeling when I talk to him," I try to rub the jam out but I know it's futile.
    "Urgh, you're such a hopeless romantic," she sneers at her words and bites another croissant. 
    "I'm 22.  I can afford to be,"
    "Sometimes feelings have nothing to do with it.  You don't always need to be madly in love - you just need to enjoy eachother's company,"
    I think about this for a second, but it doesn't matter how much I try to agree with Hannah, something's telling me that she's completely wrong.  "Then what's the point?  If you only enjoy spending time with that person, why not just be friends?"
    "Oh, you're getting far too deep for me, Elita Ivey.  We're young.  Let's just enjoy ourselves," she beams a smile - jam all over her teeth.  Lovely.
    "Do you love Luke?" I ask her, rather determined for an answer.
    Her blue eyes wonder about the room as she thinks, "Well, I must do," and picks up another croissant from the platter. 
    Do you love the CEO? I want to ask, but don't. 

    "I bet you're thinking of what dress to wear tonight?"  My daydreaming has been interrupted by Sam, who has sat down next to me in the hotel restaurant.  Hannah left a while ago, so I've been sitting here gathering my thoughts. 
    "Nope.  I already know what to wear tonight.  Try again,"
    "Hmm," he pauses, "then you must be thinking how proud you are of yourself for that presentation this morning,"
    "It could have been better," I quietly say.
    "It could have been worse,"
    We sit there staring at each other for a bit and I realise that he's talking about the Pokemon incident.  My face turns scarlet once more.
    "I was hoping no one had noticed,"
    He starts laughing - even his laugh has a mancunian accent.  "The presentation was pretty much all font size 80 when presented on that big screen.  Trust me, I doubt there were many who didn't see that,"
    I can't help but giggle along with him.  "It's from sleep deprivation," I tell him
    "Up all night playing Pokemon?"
    I know he means that jokingly, but I'm not sure he realises just how true that is.
    "A few things on my mind, that's all," I smile at him.  He leans in a bit closer as if wanting to whisper something in my ear.
    "Well, if you ever need to talk, I'm an amazing listener," and he lifts himself up from the seat and leaves the room.  "See you tonight," he shouts when at the door.
    "See you," I whisper to myself.
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