Paige Everett had an extremely busy morning ahead of her. She was at her desk, running her hands through her long, curly, espresso colored hair while her large, almond shaped hazel eyes were reading over an email. Her full, rose shaped lips frowned at some of the last minute requests she needed to handle. She felt like things were not going to be ready in time, even though she came into work 1 hour early to help with preparations.

She was the director of a homeless shelter that was somewhat unique in that she had developed some programs that helped reincorporate her clients back into society successfully. This took years to develop and all that hard work had caught some media attention, which led to today. A generous benefactor would be donating some much needed funding to her shelter that could allow them to help more people. However, this benefactor wanted the whole show, media included, of giving the giant check over to the shelter.

This is why Paige had been agonizing over details that had been delegated to other shelter employees for the past week while she dealt with media exposure again. She had been working with the benefactors PR team and catering to their wants and trying to maintain her sanity in the process.

She got out of her office chair to go tell the rest of the staff that there would be a delivery of flower arrangements that would need to be placed on the individual tables in the shelters dining hall. As she opened the door to her office, she spotted a slender, red haired woman speaking to a delivery driver.

”Haley! ” she called, trying to get her attention. The woman turned around and faced her. Her face had a puzzled look and her blue eyes lit up when she saw her boss.

”Paige, this delivery guy is telling me that he has plates and silverware that we need to sign for, but I don want to sign for something that is broken, ” she said, shooting a concerned look at the delivery man.

”Can you grab a couple of people and inspect the boxes? Then sign, please. Theres also going to be flower centerpieces arriving, ” Paige stated flatly.

”Flower centerpieces?! We are a shelter, not a banquet hall, ” Haley griped.

Paige agreed, but she didn say anything in agreement. She gave Haley an acknowledging smile and then moved to go to the dining area. Her office was in the front of the building by the reception desk and security office, but the dining area was towards the middle of the shelter, which could only be accessed by a small door in the front lobby. That small door led to joint areas for male and female clients, but the actually sleeping areas were kept separated by sex and were locked at night. Before she was able to leave, however, Haley called her back.

”Paige, that PR guy is out front and he was asking for you. ”

”Oh, then I suppose I should go meet him in person, ” she said out loud. And ask him what we
e going to do with all these flower centerpieces that hes ordered after the press takes 5 minutes of video with them.

Haley chuckled to herself, as if reading Paiges mind. Maybe her tone was off? But in addition to working with her, Haley was Paiges best friend, so maybe she could read her mind. She moved passed Haley and the delivery man and then went out the front door.

Outside, the crisp air made Paige wrap her jade blazer around her athletic body. She was wearing a flowered blouse that had matching jade leaves, beige pants and 3 inch sling back heels to give her a little height, although she had tennis shoes under her desk. She hated heels, but she was 52 ”, so she wore them when she needed to make an impression. She spotted several people crowded around a Cadillac Escalade that had the passenger door open.

She walked towards the car, knowing that Alex, the head of PR for the benefactor, would likely be over there. As she approached, she overheard their conversation.

”Mr. Donovan, we need to prepare you for the media appearance. If youll just come with us inside we can give you your talking points and help you rehearse them, ” came a voice Paige recognized as Alex. It was higher pitched and fraught with worry. This was Alexs baseline; when Paige first spoke with him, she was so concerned about his stress levels that she emailed him relaxation techniques and guided meditations that she obtained from the shelters psychiatrist. She learned that managing his clients personal PR and PR for his company was very stressful and Alex had constant anxiety over it.

Knowing that she had found the person she was looking for, Paige more confidently walked in the direction of the car.

”Alex, I don want to go in there. Im only doing this for the image boost you told me Id get. I don care about these people or this shelter and Id rather not dirtying my shoes in there, ” an authoritative voice said.

Paige, of course, heard this and was livid. Her hands and jaw were clenched, her shoulders tensed and her eyes narrowed. What a selfish a**hole! How dare he! Every single client we have ever had has worked a million times harder to overcome their struggles and be successful than this p***k whos had all the privilege in the world just handed to him! she thought, enraged by his words.

”Hi, are you Paige? ” she heard Alexs voice ask. She looked at a man approaching her while the other two people were gathering around someone exiting a vehicle. He looked to be in his early thirties and had an exhausted expression on his face. He had black hair and dark eyes with a larger build.

”Yes, are you Alex? ” she replied politely, trying to quiet her rage. She took a deep breath and exhaled. Time to put on a show, she thought.

”Oh my goodness, you are so much prettier in person! ” Alex gushed, then proceeded to inhale very dramatically, hold the breath and exhale dramatically. ”Ive been using the breathing exercises you sent me! Godsend! You
e an angel! Come, meet the reason for my 600 phone calls and e-mails. Mr. Donovan, sir, this is Paige Everett, the Director of Second Chances! ”

Paige watched as a young man in well-tailored suit approached her. Her blood boiled, knowing that this was the person who had made the insulting remarks earlier but also who was donating a huge amount of money to the shelter.

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