• Michelle Fix

Chapter 5 - Nicole

“You too, Mrs. Lewis. We’ll see you this coming Tuesday.” As Paola closed the front door of the townhouse, she turned to Ed Greenberg’s assistant Nicole sitting at the built-in mahogany reception desk and made a pulling-your-hair-out gesture.

“That bad?”, said Nicole.

“Yes. That bad.”

“Clara?”

“You got it. Clara.”

Nicole chuckled to herself.

“I was about to go out for a smoke. Wanna join?”

“Yes. Maybe then I won’t go upstairs and yell until Clara turns into a melted puddle of embroidered sweatshirt and stretch pants.”

Nicole Zichittella was Ed Greenberg’s second assistant. She did most of the accounting and managed the townhouse of offices as well as Ed and his wife’s personal townhouse two blocks north. Ed had been the general counsel for L’Oreal in the States and was worth a fortune. At eighty-two years of age, he was on wife number three and spent most of his retirement years watching his wealth expand and contract by the millions in one day of trading. He was also on the boards of several prominent pro-Israel organizations and still dabbled in lawyering. But only when he felt like it was worth his time to review a complicated contract of some sort. With the advent of social media, he was seeing a lot of opportunity for brands to leverage the technology. It was getting more and more interesting for him to dip his toe back in the contract game.

Ed relied on Nicole for almost everything business-related. She’d been with him for over ten years already and appeared to be in her early 30s. Paola figured this might have been her first - and only - job to date. An attractive, slender brunette with Italian heritage who only wore black, Paola had only had a few conversations with Nicole, mostly when she was outside on the sidewalk having her cigarette - which was ironic since her boss chain-smoked at his desk literally all day and the entire townhouse reeked of smoke. Maybe, thought Paola, she needed the change of view since there were no windows in the reception area. Nicole wasn’t the easiest person to get to warm up, but Paola had found smoking, coffee, and job frustration united them. As well as a shared love of Corgis. Nicole had two of them and used to show the dogs professionally when she lived at home in Pennsylvania.


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