The singer stood before her! As he came closer and closer, her heart beat faster and faster. When he was right next to her, excitement flooded her body so much that she could hardly move. Stacy could hardly move. She could hardly believe it when he opened his mouth to speak. She didn’t know what to expect, but a part of her hoped for a romantic line to sweep her off her feet. Instead, he stuttered, “I…uh…” Stacy felt confused, and it took her a moment to realize he felt nervous to talk to her! She fancied that her presence made him tongue-tied, but she figured that he was probably shy. She wanted to help him out by breaking the ice, but she definitely got too bewitched to speak!
Just when Stacy decided to force herself to say something, Janet popped up and wrapped her arm around him. “Did you find it, honey?”
“Yeah.” He pointed to the phone book.
A surge of disappointment ran through her. The singer hadn’t come to talk to her, he wanted the phone book! She tried to convey a chipper demeanor as she told them, “Oh, go ahead!”
“Oh, we can wait ’til you’re finished,” Janet responded politely.
“I’ll be a while with it,” Stacy pushed the phone book towards them. “I’m looking for places to apply to in Nashville.”
Janet and the singer sat across from her, and the singer nervously suggested, “You should check out their newspaper. It’d be probably be a little easier.”
“True!” Stacy acknowledged. “I’ll probably do that too, but sometimes companies don’t list their vacancies publicly. At least not right away.”
The singer appeared to grow more comfortable talking to her now as he inquired, “What kind of work are you looking for?”
“I don’t know,” she replied truthfully.
The singer grinned. “So, you’re gonna apply to all of the businesses listed in the book?”
“No!” Stacy laughed. “I’m just check out my options so I can narrow it down a bit.”
The singer chuckled, and Stacy couldn’t help but admire his smile. They didn’t expand the conversation further thought because Janet cleared her throat. The singer turned his attention back to her, and she pointed to the phone book. “What do you think? This hotel looks nice, but I bet this one’s cheaper.”
Stacy maintained a level of pleasantness, but inwardly, she couldn’t help but grow incredibly jealous at the idea of them in a hotel together. She very nicely conversed, “Romantic getaway?”
The singer answered, “Oh no! Janet has a convention on memorial day weekend.”
Stacy made a face at the mention of the convention, and when Janet and the singer gave her particular looks, Stacy explained, “I just remembered that my husband…ex husband… loved to go to conventions to get more clients for the business. It always meant a long weekend for me!” She couldn’t believe a memory of him came to her like that! She had put so much focus into finding work that Hadeon didn’t have a chance to haunt her until now. She supposed that it still didn’t feel real to be adapting to a whole new routine and way of life. She apologized, “Sorry! I’m going through a divorce, it’s still pretty fresh!”
“Sorry to hear that!” the singer sympathized. “It’s probably a hard thing to get used to.”
“We used to do everything together,” Stacy felt a little better since the singer seemed to understand what she was going through. “There’s a lot I need to get used to doing on my own!”
“Like your taxes!” Janet interjected. “You’ll file separately this year.” When Stacy looked taken aback by that comment, Janet blushed. “Sorry! I’m a CPA.”
“Oh, that makes sense!” Stacy responded jovially now that she understood why she had made that point. “We always filed separately.”
Janet raised an eyebrow at that. “Why is that?”
Stacy shrugged. “He was pretty protective of his finances. He claimed he didn’t want me to grow greedy from knowing how much the business made, but really, I think the business didn’t make as much as he claimed. He kept everything secret to maintain an image. Ugh, that damn image! Anways, it didn’t bother me that much, one less thing for me to do.”
Janet seemed suspicious about something, but she didn’t elaborate. “How about we write down the number to both hotels and see who might negotiate a better deal.”
“Sounds good!” the singer replied. He turned to Stacy as they left and told her, “Nice to meet you!”
“Likewise!” Stacy waved goodbye, and after they left, she became a little sullen. She wished she had gotten more time to speak to him, or better yet, she wished she could have gotten some time alone with him. She felt supremely curious about his thoughts on the note she gave him. Janet did seem really nice, but she felt thoroughly annoyed that she had her claws sunk in him deep enough where she couldn’t get a chance to get close to the singer. She really had hoped that someone had said his name at least once! She sighed and figured that maybe it was for the best since she needed to concentrate on job hunting. She remembered the memory of Hadeon that their conversation had sparked, and she renewed her vigor to search through the book.
On Monday, while Stacy addressed a few envelopes and stuffed her resumes in them, the phone rang. She answered it, “Hello, Alyson residence.”
The person on the other end talked in a very solemn, business-like tone, “Hello. This is Allen from Stereo Hut. I’m looking for Stacy Alyson.”
“Speaking.” Stacy knew they were calling to schedule an interview, and she felt as though she should be excited, but she just couldn’t bring herself to that level. A part of her felt guilty about not having a better attitude about this potential opportunity. She scheduled an interview for the next day, but she felt depressed about going.
She arrived at the store promptly the next day, and she tried to buoy herself up for the interview. She knew she didn’t want to do retail, but she wanted to get a divorce as fast as possible, and that motivated her to walk through those doors. Despite her ill feelings, she put on a smile as she informed the cashier she had arrived for an interview. A man came out with a dismal expression, which did not bode well for her. She tried to think positive thoughts as she followed him back.
The man sat her down and sharply asked, “Do you have experience in electronics?”
“Well, no,” she answered, “but I’m a fast learner.”
Stacy thought that she gave a great response, but the manager didn’t seem to agree. He candidly said, “After my assistant manager called you yesterday, I had him call your previous employers…” Stacy went completely numb! Her worst fear had come to light! “I spoke to the secretary-.”
“The secretary?” Stacy blurted out. She realized that she interrupted him, so she apologized, “Sorry! I used to be the secretary there, and….” He didn’t seem interested in her explanation, so she stopped. She really wanted to ask him more questions to figure who had replaced her so fast, but she refrained from doing so. She felt a small glimmer of hope because this secretary was new to the company and may not have known the full story of what happened between her and Hadeon.
“She said that you were fired.” He read her application and noted, “You put down ‘voluntarily resigned’ on why you left. Care to explain?”
“I walked off from the job,” Stacy stated. “I consider that quitting.”
“Your application also says you were formally known as Stacy Bancroft. The owner of the company’s name is also Bancroft. Was the owner your father?”
“He was my husband.” Stacy felt like the manager’s questions were getting personal, which made her uncomfortable.
The manager continued, “So, I’m guessing you got into an argument and stormed off.”
“You’re right,” Stacy admitted.
“What could have been so bad that you’d walk off from your job?” the manager questioned. “Did he cheat on you?”
“No.” At this point, Stacy decided she may as well be honest. “He hit me, so I left him.”
“You don’t look hurt to me,” he remarked. “It takes two to fight. If you push a man too much, it’s only natural he may lash out! You could have done more to calm him down. You could have prevented this, seems pretty irresponsible…”
Stacy couldn’t believe what she had just heard! Her father had always taught her that no man should ever hit a woman, and this guy thought it had been her fault! Despite her objections to his outrageous argument, she wondered if he had uttered an element of truth. She had always wondered if she could have done something to prevent Hadeon from doing what he did, and now she felt like a complete failure. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she couldn’t hear anything else that the manager had said. She couldn’t take it anymore and marched out without looking back or saying another word!
Stacy had sobbed during the entire bus ride home, but the patrons on there left her alone. She felt distraught enough that she didn’t care what anyone was thinking about her actions at the moment. She kept going over everything that she might have done wrong and wondered if she was now bearing the punishment of her actions. She wondered if she would have to endure this every time she got an interview, which made her less tempted into accepting another one. When her house came into view, she saw that her father had come home, and she couldn’t wait to receive some reassurance from him. She expected him to detect her distress the moment she walked in, but instead, Frank immediately asked her, “Who’s Nick Rolland?”