Tish put down the phone with a puzzled look at the door, then Calypso; shook her head, and returned to her research.
As the clock ticked around to the end of the day, Tish started getting restless. Calypso was tempted to let her go early, but had a feeling it would set a precedent, so pretended to not notice the shuffles and sighs and grumbles.
Instead she asked. “Do you have any clearer ideas on what areas you want to explore?”
Tish shook her head and avoided eye contact.
Calypso stifled a sigh and said. “In that case, I’d like a report by tomorrow lunchtime on the areas you’re considering. I’d like to see the key elements of each, what you like, what you don’t like, and the work you’d need to put in to be able to work in that space.”
Tish looked outraged. “You’re telling me this now?”
“Yes. So you can have it in the back of your mind this evening, and come in tomorrow with a clear plan for your morning’s work.”
“You want me to think about work in my own time?”
Calypso rolled her eyes. “No, I expect you to have taken that instruction, which you probably should have written down, and focus on other things until you walk in the door here tomorrow. You will still find your mind has been working on it, and you’ll get through the report more quickly and effectively.”
Tish grumbled, but pulled out a pen and a notepad and asked her to repeat the instructions.
Once that was done, the hour struck and Tish frantically started shutting down her computer, finishing the process half-standing. She looked over at Calypso. “What, aren’t you leaving?”
“Not quite yet, I still have a couple of things I want to do. You’re fine to go, and we’ll discuss how we want to handle evening events tomorrow afternoon.”
Tish froze. “Evening events?”
“And breakfast ones. A business like this does a lot of networking and education, so there’s going to be events happening out of normal hours. And Reception needs to be open for them.”
Tish’s eyes bugged out. “How fast can I move to another department?”
That was nice.
Calypso replied. “As soon as you’re on track to have the skills that department needs, and I have an extra helper or two for here.”
Tish scuttled around to the other side of the desk. “I’ll do the report, and I have friends that are looking for a job, I’ll get them to come in.”
Calypso kept her hand away from her forehead. “Let me come up with a suitable job description first, so they know what to expect.”
The girl looked thoughtful, then reluctantly smiled. “Yeah, that would probably be a good idea. Seeya tomorrow then.”
And without waiting for a response, she’d shot out the door, eyes glued to her phone screen.
Hel spoke from behind Calypso. “Ganglöt and I had a bet she wouldn’t last a day with supervision. It appears she owes me champagne.”
Calypso tried to slow the frantic jump of her heart. “She’s not suited to reception, that’s for certain. It’s going to be interesting to see what areas she’s hoping to move into.”
Hel moved forward to lean an elbow on the high portion of the desk, still watching the door. “Tomorrow? That sounds a little optimistic.”
“She’s spent most of today researching different departments and roles. She’s to provide a report on her findings tomorrow lunchtime.” Calypso grimaced. “I’m not sure how coherent it will be, but she needs to start somewhere.”
Hel replied. “Indeed. And what of you?”
Calypso’s heart bounced again. “Me? I’ve made a good start on the event space research. Was there something else?”
Hel frowned a little. “Yggdrasil has been created to support dreams. To provide pathways for the dreamers to make them real. Have a think about your dreams. You’ll be more effective here if you’re going through the same experience as our clients.”
“You want me to create a start-up?”
Now Hel looked at her. “I want you to think about it, and attend the sessions we’ll be putting on for people wanting to apply. You’ll need to be on hand anyway, I want your views on the process – what works, what doesn’t, what’s missing. At the end of that; if you want to submit an idea, then do so.”
Calypso gulped. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Hel waved a careless hand. “Go through the site tomorrow with that thought in mind. If you find any information gaps, tell Ganglöt.”
She looked over the website on the way home, wondering whether to run through this as a hypothetical exercise, or actually put a pinch of her dream into it. She managed to take her own advice though, putting it to the back of her mind in time for wine and daily debrief with Jason and Hercules.
When Jason sighed in envy over her quiet work day, Calypso laughed. “You’d be bored out of your mind in five minutes. I’ve done more research work for that function room fit-out in an afternoon than I managed in a month for the homewares range.”
She told them of Hermes’ visit and his strange reaction to Hel’s name.
Hercules sat back, tapping his chin, eyes on the ceiling. “Valhalla you say. It’s ringing a bell, but not very loudly I’m afraid. Have you asked Circe?”
She hadn’t, so she messaged her.
Circe replied. You survived the first day then? How was it? What’s the boss like?
Calypso typed back. Boss is like no one else I’ve ever worked with, but I think in a good way. Will need to confirm in a week or two’s time. First day was quiet, future days likely to get busy quickly. Just wondering if you knew of any background between Z Corp, specifically Hermes, and Valhalla Investments.
Her phone rang, Circe said. “Ooohh, never tell me there’s a connection. Valhalla’s head honcho, Odin, and Zeus had an almighty clash of the egos a few years ago and no one’s quite sure who won.”
Calypso relayed this to the other two, then replied. “Well whatever it was seems to have left our least favourite courier decidedly jumpy. Hel worked for Valhalla until a couple of years ago.”
Circe sniggered. “Well that should get them off your case for a while. Even if Hel’s gone out on her own, word is Valhalla’s the kind of group to maintain connections.”
A quick baby and wardrobe improvement update later, and Circe rang off. “I need to catch up on as much sleep as I can before he or she arrives and turns everything upside down.”
The next morning, Calypso gave Tish a choice. Stay at the front desk to work on her report, while also taking care of courier deliveries, or get an extension to her deadline in return for running a number of errands.
Tish chose the errands.
Calypso was thankful, as she started fielding the first of the calls and call-ins from people wanting to be part of Yggdrasil’s initial start-up cohort in London.
Most questions she could answer immediately – deadline, format, where to find the form, what information to provide. They were all front and centre on the website. The biggest gap was the schedule for promised information nights and workshops.
Some she directed to Ganglöt, via email, making sure both she and the querent were on it. These were the ones most likely to drive website updates.
As she waved off one would-be entrepreneur, through gritted teeth – the young woman had found it very difficult to understand she would be required to do actual work in order to complete a submission – a pale-haired, pale-eyed man strode through the door and came to stand in front of her.
She blinked, and gulped. It was him. Yes, the security footage was a bit grainy, but this was Circe’s Mr Sexy, in the flesh. Unless he was some sort of doppelganger.
The man gave her a cool once-over, then said. “You would be the new receptionist then. Hel said you were somewhat better than the other. Could you let her know Heimdall is here?”
Calypso reached for the phone. “Of course.”
She made the call, then hung up. “Hel asked if you could go to Level Six, please.”
Heimdall nodded again stepped away. Calypso blurted out. “I’m sorry, but did you happen to visit the Z Corp building in Milan a little while ago?”
He turned back. “Yes, why do you ask?”
She swallowed again. “The receptionist there is my best friend, I think you might have saved her from a rather nasty accident.”
A hint of a smile curved the edges of his mouth. “Quite an interesting young lady that one. I hope she’s no worse for her fright.”
Calypso replied. “She’s fine, I know she would like to thank you in person though. Are you going to be back that way soon?”
He shook his head. “No plans to, but if she’s agreeable, I’ll drop her a note to confirm her well-being.”
Now she had to swallow down excitement. “I’ll check with her and let you know after your meeting. Thank you.”
He inclined his head, and vanished into a lift.
Calypso took a deep breath, checked she had nothing urgent to deal with, then called Circe.
“You are never going to believe this.”
Her friend answered. “What? Has Zeus apologised for being an ass?”
Calylso snorted. “Hardly. Your mystery man just appeared in my foyer. His name is Heimdall. According to Hel’s diary he’s the security consultant for Valhalla, and he’s asked permission to email and check how you are.”
She pulled the phone away from her ear. She could still hear Circe’s scream.
When the volume went down, she brought it back. “So I can give him your address then?”
Circe sounded breathless. “Yes, and my phone number, home address and anything else you care to include. I need to go for a walk. I can’t, there are deliveries. Crap. I have to go. But you are the world’s greatest friend and I will love you for ever.”
She hung up before Calypso could reply.