Reality Bites

A/N—Yeah, I don't really have anything to say. But I feel like having an Author's Note, so here you go. Yes, I am insane at the moment. But you'll have that. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Chapter One

Let me begin by telling you all that I am a complete mess. I know this, and I have long since accepted it. I am twenty-six and I work in a law office. Now, by saying just that one sentence my life doesn't sound like total crap. Nothing sounds as prestigious as the words "law office." Well, maybe doctor office…but anyway, that is not the point. The point is that, yes, I do work in a law office, but as a secretary. A bleeding secretary, can life be more pathetic? Moreover, I am not even "the" secretary. I am more like an assistant to a secretary because the secretaries that are assigned to the lawyers all have college degrees and actual knowledge about law. Seriously, could life be any worse? I am not even qualified to be a secretary to anyone besides a secretary! I am like the understudy to a secretary…and I even suck at that job.

And if it were just the job thing then I suppose that life would not be so bad. I mean, loads of people hate their jobs and still get on all right in life, right? But, no, there are many, many other things wrong as well. To start, I am a virgin. That's right, a twenty-six-year-old virgin. So I'm sure that a few things are going through your mind at the moment. You either think that I am dreadfully ugly and/or weirdly religious. Well, I am neither. At least, I hope I am neither, I can't exactly vouch for the former in a completely unbiased way—but I don't think that I'm too bad. I'm not fat or anything, so that's a start. And Mr. Stevens (the boss of my boss) always has a flirty word or two for me. Of course, Mr. Stevens is seventy-two and has a notorious reputation of womanizing…

Oh, so that brings me to the third reason why my life is a mess. The only men attracted enough to me to actually act on it are horny old men who have been married half a dozen times. Trust me; I am not a virgin completely by choice. Okay, so I could have had sex by now if I really wanted to, but I want it to be with someone that I am in love with…and, so far, no one worthy of love has so much as glanced my way. So, I am a virgin. And I hate every second of it, truly. Because with every second I am getting older and the fact of being a virgin just becomes more and more pathetic. And I really want to lose it, but I've waited this long, so there is no way that I'm settling for less than love now.

And as if all this wasn't enough, there is yet another reason why my life is a mess. I am scheduled to attend my family's annual reunion in precisely five days. The same annual family reunion that I have been able to get out of for the past three years…my excuses just didn't work out this year, though. My grandmother is "dying" again, so if I don't come home then I am the World's Worst Granddaughter and my mother will never, ever forgive me. Alright, so I am aware that I sound like a heartless bitch at the moment…but you don't understand my grandmother. She decides that she is dying at least once a year. The woman has her entire funeral planned out detail for detail. She has even dictated to me what I am expected to wear—and it isn't even an attractive outfit! You don't know the meaning of awkward until you've had a four hour conversation about funeral arrangements with your very alive grandmother. Alright, so maybe if you had that conversation with your very dead grandmother it would be more awkward, but you get the point. It hardly makes for a pleasant Saturday to spend the day with family members who find funeral planning and burning themselves with grilling gone wrong to be the highlight of the year.

Moreover, my entire family thinks I am some sort of freak. Basically, I grew up in Hicksville, USA where every girl is married and impregnated by the ripe old age of eighteen. So, you can imagine their shock and horror that I, at twenty-six, am still unmarried and very much single. Therefore, every woman in my family (half of whom are younger than me, thus making it all the more insulting) has made it their mission to see me "settled." On some weird level this could possible be viewed as a nice gesture if it weren't for the fact that they do not care who I marry, so long as I do it quickly. You hit twenty-eight and that is official Old Maid age. Just ask my cousin, Lucy—the poor thing is thirty and without a husband. Of course, she is a Senator for the great state of New York…but no matter, a husband is surely better than all of that. Or, so my family will lead you to believe.

Speaking of which, though, I voted for Lucy in the last election, a fact which gives me no shortage of pleasure because it means two things. One, I supported my family in something—a real first for me. Two, it is ever-lasting proof that I am a citizen of the state of New York. And, more specifically, I am a citizen of New York City. Ever since I was a kid I've always dreamed of living in NYC. Of course, in my dream I had a luxurious apartment filled with flowers and a real-life Ken doll, but no matter, I am here and that is all that is important. I made one of my dreams come true, so good for me.

Alright, so I live in the really shitty part of New York in a one-room apartment filled with roaches (c'mon have you seen the price of real estate in NYC?!) but it is New York, and that's good enough for me. I work in New York City, I pay my god-forsaken taxes to New York City, and I use what little is left of my paycheck to rent my teeny-tiny rodent infested home. But I can call myself a New Yorker, so that really makes it all worth it.

At the moment, however, as I sit at my desk on this lovely (note the sarcasm) Monday morning, the feeling of being a New Yorker is significantly non-existent. You see, I had to wake up at four to catch the subway at five so that I could be at work by six. And why am I at work before the sun is up? Good question, one that I would really like answered myself.

My boss—and if I were speaking aloud at the moment, I would have grumbled those words with as much hatred as my bitter little New Yorker heart could muster—simply told me on Friday that I was expected to be here at six on Monday. My boss, Roberta, is every inch a secretary on a power trip. She is a secretary, just like me, and yet, by the way she acts, you'd think that she was a senior partner of the firm.

Nevertheless, I am here at this ungodly hour because I am a dedicated employee. Well, that, and if I am tardy one more time it is very like that Roberta (full name Roberta the Bitch) will fire me. And if that happens then I will lose my glorious apartment, and then who will look after all the roaches and rats?

So, I down the rest of my coffee and lean back in my chair. I can see Roberta coming off the elevator now, and I cannot keep the smirk off of my face. I arrived here before her…who is the better employee now?

"Allison," she says with surprise evident in her tone.

"Good morning, Roberta," I say with a fake smile. It irks her to no end that I refer to her as Roberta. As my superior, she feels that I should address her as Misses Robinson. Yes, go ahead and laugh, her legal married name is Roberta Robinson. Personally, I prefer Roberta the Bitch, but whatever, either works. Which reminds me, though, how is it that Roberta is married, and I am not?

Oh, ick…that means that Roberta has sex. So now I have really, really unwanted mental pictures. At least she had the common decency not to reproduce.

"Well," she says in her boss voice, "I must say, it is promising that you managed to show up on time for once. I suppose that I should inform you of why you are here three hours before your normal time—"

"That would be nice," I say icily.

"As much as I am sure this news will pain you," she says, "you will no longer be working for me."

Wait…what did she just say? Did that bitch just bring me in here at six in the morning to fire me?! This is not something she could have done, oh I don't know, at a normal hour? "May I inquire as to why you are firing me, or do you feel that I am not worthy of an explanation?"

She gives me a confused look before recognition sets in. "Oh, for heavens sake, Allison, no one is firing you. No, you are being moved…upgraded on a strictly temporary basis. They've hired a new lawyer—just did it Friday morning—and they need him to start straightaway. As it is, you are the only secretary that anyone can afford to do without, so you will be his secretary. But only until we can find someone more suitable, that is."

Well, now, this changes everything. A break from being Roberta's slave would be absolutely heavenly. This is an unexpected vacation, but I happen to think that I deserve it. Yes, God has finally rewarded me for everything else that is wrong in my life.

"So," Roberta continues, "I'll take you up to meet him, then."

"He's here?"

"Yes, of course."

I shrug. I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised. Lawyers (especially lawyers in NYC, it seems) are not normal people. In fact, I often wonder if they are people at all. They never sleep that I'm aware of and see it as acceptable to begin their work day at five in the morning. Some of them even expect their secretaries to begin at the same time. I suppose I should at least be thankful that I don't work in the office of one of those lawyers.

Oh, God. What if this guy expects me to be here at five every day? I can barely make in at nine…I'll be sacked for sure.

As Roberta leads me into the elevator I can't help but feel as if I am being led to my death. She's presses the button for the twenty-eighth floor. At our office, the higher your office, the more important you are. To start out in the twenties…well, it's impressive, to be sure.

"Apparently," Roberta says to me, "he is quite the beast in the courtroom. Notorious in London, you see."

"So why is he here?"

She looks as if I have lost my mind, but then seems to remember that she never thought that I had one to begin with. "Because he is the best and our firm has a larger salary to offer than any firm in Britain."

"Oh." The door dings and opens and I am now officially freaked out. Not only is he one of those pit-bull lawyers, he is one of those pit-bull lawyers who crossed time zones just to find new victims to tear apart in the courtroom.

"Wait," I whisper to Roberta. She turns expectantly. "What kind of law does he specialize in?"

"Criminal justice, of course," she responds in a low tone.

Great, that is just the icing on the top of the cake. Not only is he a mean, pit-bull, British lawyer, but he probably recruits the world's most notorious criminals for his cases. That's it, I decide, I am most likely working for Johnny Cochran. Never mind the fact that Johnny Cochran isn't British…I am going to have to assist someone who defends bad, bad people. It will weigh on my conscience for all time—my mother will be ashamed of me, er, more so than usual that is. The man that I will be working for is probably going to be rude, arrogant, and… "Hot."

Oh, shit. I just said that last part out loud. I can't help it, though! I just got my first look at my lawyer and he is drop-dead gorgeous. Unfortunately, since I said that sentiment aloud, Roberta and the pit-bull lawyer are regarding me as if I am completely insane.

"Is it hot in here?" I cover lamely.

"Not particularly, no," Roberta says with a glare.

"Oh. Well, it's just me then."

She sighs and appears to be embarrassed to even know me. "Mister Fitzgerald," she says in an apologetic tone, "this is your temporary secretary, Allison Kraft."

"Hello," I say quietly.

"A pleasure, Allison," he responds.

Right, so now that I've mortified myself before my new boss before even learning his name, I have one more thing to add to my "reasons why my life is a mess" list. Terrific.

A/N—So, this came out rather unexpected. I started writing and ended up with something nearlyresembling aplot, lol. Hmm…well, reviews would be wonderful, so please, please, please leave me one. If you do then I'll give you a cookie. Okay, so that's a lie. You won't get a cookie…but you will get the satisfaction of umm…oh, just leave one, lol, you know that you want to. It's Thanksgiving, after all.