The next few days flew by, full to the brim with exploration, planning and friendship. Circe provided the local knowledge Calypso was lacking and she came away from her time there with a head full to bursting with vibrance, colour, movement and a quintessentially Milanese style.
The next stop in the whirlwind tour was New York, and the back entrance of the Z Corp building in Manhattan. That is, until Scylla discovered their presence on the tenth floor and demanded an accounting.
There were three of them up there, Athena, Calypso and Athena’s New York-based assistant (who usually worked from a very nice female-oriented co-working space in SoHo). Athena justified the membership cost as an easy way in to the minds of her key target market.
The instant message from the front reception pinged onto all three of their laptops at once. They all froze, then stared at each other in horror.
The assistant spoke first, “Is she expecting all of us to go down there, or just one of us?”
Calypso read the message under the terrifying ‘from’ address, “She says it’s a courier pickup, so it probably only needs to be one.”
She took a deep breath, “I’ll go down.”
Calypso was already standing, and shook her head, “It wouldn’t look right for top management to run errands when you have two assistants with you and I’m her equivalent in London, it’s pure professional courtesy. Although, I’d appreciate a reason to be passing through in a hurry.”
Athena sighed, but conceded the point, “Very well, but I need you back up here as fast as possible for a conference call with some office in an inconvenient timezone that only overlaps around this time of day.”
Calypso looked at her watch, “It’s lunchtime, so London’s just about to go offline.”
“And it makes sense as it’s our home office, go to it and good luck!”
Calypso smiled, squared her shoulders and headed for the lifts.
She found the reason for the message smirking at her from the reception desk, Hermes’s smile was in place, but even she could see the strain underneath it.
Scylla turned around as she noticed the shift in the courier’s attention.
Her stare flayed Calypso to the bone and came back for more.
This was the moment Calypso discovered she was her mother’s daughter and moved into attack. She sailed forward with a cool smile and ignored Hermes.
“Good afternoon Scylla, I’m Calypso and it’s an honour to finally meet you, I’ve been hearing about your amazing systems for running this office ever since I joined Z Corp and would love your advice on getting the London office running slightly more efficiently. They’re all so messy and indecisive.”
She continued to blank the now-choking messenger by her side and focused her smile on the suspicious receptionist.
“I’m afraid I can’t stop for long, Athena wants me on a conference call with London before they sign off for the evening but please message me with a good time to come by and sit with you, so I can learn something of what you do.”
The slightly bulldozed monster rallied, “I’m a very busy woman you know, I can’t have you cluttering up my day, just get rid of this idiot and I’ll consider your request.”
Calypso inclined her head regally and turned her cool smile on Hermes, “Well?”
“I’m afraid I can only deliver my message in person to Athena.”
“Very well, come this way.”
She led the way to the lifts and ushered him into one without losing a drop of her dignified calm.
Once inside and the lift moving, she looked him up and down, “And what exactly are you trying to achieve with that little stunt?”
Hermes attempted nonchalance, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, I’m simply here to deliver a message.”
“You have full access to this building and I have it on good authority that you usually use the back entrance, same as the normal employees. You stirred up Scylla and I’m willing to put money on you doing it for no other reason than to create trouble.”
His smirk returned, “What other reason is there?”
Calypso looked at him for a few seconds more, then turned to the lift doors in clear dismissal. A few moments later, she sat back at her laptop, still coolly blanking a now-frazzled Hermes.
Athena looked up, “What do you want?”
Hermes’s reply was sulky, “Private message to deliver.”
Athena sighed, stood up and waved the pouting courier towards a meeting room in one corner.
They spoke for several minutes, then Hermes left, looking no happier than he had going in to the meeting, so Calypso could only suppose his message hadn’t had the reaction he’d been hoping for.
Athena returned, looking slightly exasperated, rolled her eyes at her two companions and got back to work.
Ten minutes later, she sat back and glared at the pair of them, “It wasn’t actually a private message, Hermes was just being a pain, as usual. I just have to show up to a big company event next month.”
Calypso played innocent, “We didn’t say anything.”
“Your silence was extremely pointed and frankly deafening.”
Calypso conceded the point with a smile, returning to a plan for roaming New York to see what she could see, hear, feel and find.
Athena watched her consideringly.
“In fact, I might drop the organiser a quick note and have you added to the attendance list.”
Calypso looked up in alarm, “What?”
“It’ll help with your profile within the company, which will make it easier to get things done as we move into action stages on this interior design project.”
She laughed at Calypso’s poorly concealed panic, “You’ll be fine. You already know a lot of them through your work on the front desk, they just need to start seeing you in a new light and this event is going to be perfect. Although we may need to look at an outfit for you. You wear your old Titan stuff well but it’s not really the image you’re going to want as we get this new product line up and running.”
Calypso looked at her, bewildered, “I’m just doing the initial thoughts and plans for products. Why do I need an image?”
“Just doing the initial thoughts she says”, Athena looked over at her assistant, “What would you call that.”
The assistant smiled and said, “Initial thoughts, Home Products Innovation Manager, then Product Development Lead, then Head of Home Products.”
Calypso felt herself turn green, “But I’m just the receptionist. I’m not meant to do anything important. My father’s going to be furious.”
Athena sighed, “And back to your father. Let’s face it, he’s going to be furious at anything you say, think, or do that isn’t following his orders and making his life easier.”
She held up a hand at Calypso’s protest, “Yes I know he does love you. But he also clearly believes he owns you and has the right to determine your life, future and happiness. I have issues with that and I think you do too.”
Calypso had to acknowledge the fairness of that statement, although it didn’t make the looming prospect of yet another reason for her father to be unhappy with her any easier to face.