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Just One Destiny

By:Jade Winters

that her instincts were right. ‘I dunno. Detached. Like you’re here, but you’re not. If you see what I mean.’

‘No, I don’t. I think you’re imagining things.’

‘If you say so. No doubt you’ll tell me when you’re ready.’

Lara’s voice was weary, full of resignation. ‘Hadn’t you better go?’

‘If you want to play it like that.’ Carissa dragged herself off the bed and grabbed her suit from the wardrobe. ‘Let’s hope you’re in a better mood by the time I get back,’ she said over her shoulder as she left the room.

***

Now in a reflective mood, guilt crept into Carissa’s mind as remnants of her tiff with Lara trickled into her thoughts. It made sense why Lara would be upset with her. It was Lara’s day off after all and here Carissa was on yet another job interview. The last week had been a roller coaster of them, but it was a necessary evil that Carissa was more than familiar with. She’d had six in as many weeks and it wasn’t getting any easier. Facing rejection after rejection wasn’t exactly an ego boost.

Eyes unblinking, she looked at a framed reproduction of Monet’s water lilies that hung on the wall opposite. In her mind, she repeated her interview to-do list. Smile. Don’t talk too fast. Keep your head held high. Ask a few questions, but not too many. I don’t want to come across as a chatterbox. And whatever I do, I mustn’t look too eager.

Nothing turned potential employers off faster than a desperado. Carissa knew this to be true from one of her most recent experiences when she had practically begged for a job as an apprentice, only to receive a humiliating rejection via email the next day.

And I mustn’t say I can start work straight away. Maybe in a couple of weeks? No, that’s too long. A week will do.

As she sat mulling over the dos and don’ts of interview techniques, she tried not to stare at the perfectly groomed receptionist who looked like she belonged on the cover of Vogue, not working the front desk in an office.

It was half past ten, which meant it had been thirty minutes since Carissa had walked into LJ Interior Designers. Half an hour past her interview time.

‘Excuse me?’ Putting some warmth into her smile, Carissa pushed herself to her feet and tentatively approached the receptionist. ‘Do you know how much longer I’m going to have to wait before I see Mr Mitchell?’

The receptionist looked up at Carissa through round glasses that emphasised her blue eyes. ‘Mr Mitchell?’ she repeated.

Carissa raised her eyebrows. ‘Umm … yes.’ She nodded. ‘I’ve got an interview. Remember?’

‘An interview?’

Jesus Christ! She can’t have forgotten me already.

‘Umm … Yeah, a job interview. You asked me to take a seat around half an hour ago,’ Carissa answered, wondering why she was saying ‘umm’ so much. It made her sound inept and unqualified.

‘Why did you wait so long to remind me?’

‘I don’t know.’ Carissa averted her gaze, mainly because she was embarrassed for looking like an indecisive idiot. Why didn’t I ask sooner? ‘I just assumed Mr Mitchell was running late.’

‘Well, he hasn’t called to see you. I’ll see what’s happening. What’s your name again?’

‘Carissa Dunne.’

The receptionist nodded curtly and picked up the phone sitting to her right. She dialled and gave Carissa an appraising glance.

‘Mr Mitchell, it’s Abby. Sorry to disturb you, but I have a Carissa Dunne out here. She’s been waiting in reception for half an hour. She says she has an interview.’

Carissa heard a deep voice on the other line.

‘Yes,’ Abby said. ‘For the job … yes … all right … I’ll let her know, thank you.’

She set the phone down and turned to Carissa with a blank expression on her face. ‘I’m sorry, but the post has already been filled.’

‘Excuse me?’

Abby raised her eyebrows as though she was annoyed at having to repeat herself. ‘The post has already been filled,’ she said with an excessive slowness that Carissa thought was completely unnecessary. ‘An email was sent out last night cancelling all remaining interviews.’

‘I didn’t receive an email,’ Carissa said, trying to keep the frustration from her tone.

‘You should check your inbox.’

‘I did,’ Carissa insisted. ‘Right before I got here.’

‘Then I don’t know what else to tell you.’

Carissa looked down at Abby with her perfect sleek hair, retro chic glasses, and her black pinstriped suit, and wanted to cry out in frustration. Instead, she fought the urge and forced a smile on to her face.

‘Thanks for your time,’ Carissa said, before walking out with her head held high.

Outside, Carissa stood on the pavement for a good five minutes, trying to digest this latest disappointment. With one last glance at the pyramid glass building she had hoped would be her new place of work, Carissa made her way to the bus stop, shoulders slumped and her gaze on the ground. Leaving Lara had all been for nothing.

With a twenty-minute journey ahead of her, Carissa boarded the nearly full bus and managed to grab the last seat. Odours of stale perfume, BO, and coffee assaulted her nostrils as she sat down and, as discreetly as she could, pulled the lapel of her jacket over her nose. Taking out her mobile phone as the bus manoeuvred its way into the traffic, she brought up her email and checked her inbox. There was an email from Pippa, a secondary school friend that Carissa occasionally kept in touch with, a few voucher coupons, and a bunch of spam. She checked and doubled checked but there still wasn’t an email from LJ Interior Designs cancelling her job interview. Renewed annoyance jabbed her as she closed her email.

A few seconds later, her phone buzzed. ‘Hello,’ Carissa spoke in a low voice, as she placed her phone against her ear.

‘Hiya.’ Trudi was loud and shrill as always. ‘I’ve got a few minutes to spare before yoga, so I thought I’d check in with you. Where are you?’

‘On a bus,’ Carissa said. ‘I’m heading home.’

‘From where?’

‘A job interview.’

‘Oh, was that today?’ T

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