Sneak peak at my new novel releasing on March 2. This is a one chapter preview that I hope you guys will enjoy! link to purchase is below!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
You gotta do this for you. Love deeply, live kindly, fight hard for what you believe in. This life is for you and not anybody else. Never lose sight of that.
I remember my mama saying those words. It's what she told me when I was leaving for college. I'd been feeling guilty about moving away and not getting a job at the local diner so I can stay and take care of her. My mama was fiercely independent but the cancer had been just as fierce, taking a heavy toll on her body. Even though it had been in remission and she had a really kind and competent live in nurse, I still hadn't wanted to leave her.
I did though, I wanted to be the first Nyx to earn a college degree, to leave that small town and make something of myself. I told my mama I'd earn a fancy degree she could brag to all her friends about. God she looked so damn happy as I drove away, so damn proud, like I hung the moon and the stars.I vowed at that moment I'd earn a fancy degree, that I'd live up to that pride in her eyes. Even when aliens declared they were among us, it didn't stop me from earning a 4.0 GPA at college, didn't stop me from going as hard as I could those 4 years to be the best and brightest in my class.
I just hadn't planned on the cancer coming back, on it spreading so fast and far that by the time we knew it was too late. I never counted on mama being gone.
My name is Arianna Mae Nyx and I'm a 25 year old bike messenger. I work between the home office of Totality and one of its branches Autonomous, the absolutely sci fi worthy tech company. Which now that I know the founder and CEO Kale Kapena is a Selkrian ...a totally delicious looking alien by the way….it makes sense that they kept coming out with such awesome products.
Everyone knows they invented the union generator our first real step to combating the energy, fuel and waste problems that earth faces. It can convert waste products into reusable energy, apparently this is how Selkrians power their ships for short trips around the galaxy. It's not ready for household use yet currently only hospitals, government and city facilities are using them but just think of all the good they will be for the environment.
They also produce the fastest most lightweight computers, laptops and cell phones. I've even heard rumours that R&D was working on a new type of cell phone but that could just be water cooler talk. I've always dreamed of working with electronics, of creating the next big thing. When I was younger, I used to collect broken radios and transistors, taking them apart to see how they worked. I remember playing with random circuit boards to see what I could create. I even went to college to earn my bachelors in computer engineering.
I twisted my mouth to the side as I waited for the elevator. Look at me know I thought courier extraordinaire. Sometimes life just doesn't work out as you'd planned, I was one semester away from earning my degree and making my mama proud. 3 months away from graduating at the top of my class and fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Except mama got sick again, got sick so hard and fast that she was gone before I could believe it. I buried mama and thought I would die from the pain of losing her, but then creditors started calling. Before she was even settled into the grave they came sniffing around.
Turns out mama had taken out a second mortgage to help me with school that I never knew about. That along with her medical bills it seemed like an insurmountable amount that was owed. I had to sell my childhood home and basically sell anything else I could, only keeping a few boxes of momentos. The community had really pulled together to help out as much as they could holding a large yard sale and sending the proceeds to the hospital. I thought about my old neighborhood fondly hoping that I could one day go back and repay them for all their kindness.
I stepped out the elevator and headed towards the couriers office. We had a big open space on the third floor. On one side was our locker area and on the wall next to the lockers was a bulletin board that had extra assignments posted on it. They weren't part of our regular work, just odd jobs anyone could sign up for if they wanted to make some extra money. On the right was a supply closet and managers office and on the back wall was a little break area.
It had the usual fixings, a fridge,stove and sink with a couple tables and chairs set up in front. On the wall besides the door was a big dry erase board that was split between this week's schedule and the daily assignments each courier was assigned to. I walked through the room and tossed my messenger bag unto one of the couches set up by the windows on the back wall.
“Hey Sarah you here?” I called as I stepped towards the manager's office, wanting to tell her bye before I clocked out. “Yes come on in” She said and I opened the door and walked inside. She was sitting behind her desk, all five foot three feet of her, her blonde hair was an unmovable helmet oh her head and I swear they could probably hear her on the tenth floor. But we all loved her and she really did a good job here. “Arianna. Good I'm glad it's you. Something came up at the last minute and I need you to do me a huge favor”
“Sure what's up?” I asked as I came to a stop in front of her desk. She turned to the printer setup beside her and grabbed a set of papers. “Could you run this over to Autonomous for me please? Mr. Kapena needs these asap”
“No problem” I watched as she put the papers into a manila envelope and sealed it “I'm guessing you mean the other Mr.Kapena?”
She laughed “Yes sorry this is going to Luc Kapena’s secretary. She's already expecting you.” She handed me the envelope “ Don't worry about doubling back here. I know you were going to clock out, just send me a text once you drop that off and I'll do it for you manually.”
“Alright, I'll see you tomorrow then” I gave a little wave as I left out the office. I was tired and had been planning on relaxing on my couch while I job searched. Don't get me wrong, Totality paid well and there was usually the chance of overtime or picking up extra assignments. But I was considering a second job that I could use to finish paying off mama’s hospital bill. While selling the house had taken care of the second mortgage and the yard sell our neighbors had had put a dent in the hospital bill there was still more to pay.
They were serious about getting their money to. The collections department called me several times a week and I just wanted to get it over with. I sighed as I picked up my messenger bag and placed the envelope inside before slinging it over my shoulder. I headed to the elevator and pressed the call button. The elevator arrived quickly and I rode it down to the lobby.
I stepped out of Totality and took a deep breath. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies with a few fluffy white clouds scattered here and there with a slight breeze flowing.It was a great day for a ride, I smiled as I headed towards my scooter parked near the front of the building. I sat down wishing I was headed but shrugged and pulled on my helmet, It was extra money so I would just have to deal. I started it up and checked that the coast was clear before I pulled out into traffic. it shouldn't take me long to get there, Autonomous was about twenty five miles from Totality.
I hummed a song to myself as I weaved in and out of traffic. I had beat rush hour since I finished my assignments today an hour early. Doing some math I wonder if I could supplement my income by doing some of the extra assignments that were usually on the bulletin board. Those fluctuated however so as a long-term fix it wasn't the best solution. I needed something that would be long term permanent work. I swerved quickly to the side as a car came dangerously close to clipping me. I shook my fist at them as the sped past me asshole! I thought furiously. Where was the respect? I wanted to know I shook my head and continued on my way paying more attention to the cars around me.
As I pulled up in front of Autonomous I resolved to do that for now but still be on the lookout for a second job. I cut off the engine and unbuckled my helmet. Standing up from the scooter I looked up at the building a moment as I secured my scooter before walking up the stairs. It was sleek and modern in design, rising up to 10 floors. I opened the door and walked up to the reception desk.Inside the walls were painted a cool gray with tiles in the same color polished to a high shine. There were little seating areas set up here and there and to the left I could see a little coffee shop.
“Hey Jenny” I greeted the receptionist “How's Tom doing?” The last time I was here she had told me that her husband had fell off the ladder when he was trying to clean their gutters. Luckily for him he had been half way down and had only sprained his wrist.
She beamed up at me “ He's doing better thanks for asking” she motioned over to the elevators “ Go on up Rachel's waiting for you” I nodded before heading over to the elevator and pushing the call button. Getting on when it arrived I pressed the button for the top floor. I pulled out my phone and checked my emails, shaking my head when I saw five messages from the hospital reminding me that a payment was due. It wasn't that I was missing payments, I just wasn't able to pay as much as they wanted me to. Not that that mattered to them, they wanted their money like yesterday.
Sighing I put my phone back in my pocket as I got off the elevator when it reached my floor. I walked down the hall and came into a waiting area. It had a few armchairs and a couch set up around a coffee table with various magazines stacked in neat piles on its surface. The walls were a rich mahogany color, with several large paintings of nature scenes hanging on the wall. At the end of the hall were a set of double doors that I knew the COO’s office was behind. I had seen Luc Kapena in passing but had never spoken to him, and why would I? I was only a lowly courier next to the big boss anyways.
Next to the double doors on the back wall was the secretary's desk with Rachel typing away on her keyboard. I hadn't actually been up here before, usually if I had something for Rachel or Mr. Kapena, I left it downstairs with Jenny. This must be pretty important.
I stepped up to the desk and reaching in my bag I took out the envelope. “Hello I'm here from Totality. I was told to give this to Mr. Kapena's secretary”
She looked up at me and after typing on a few more keys turned towards me. She held out her hand and as I gave her the envelope she said “Thank you we appreciate you bringing this over at the last minute”
I smiled and said “no problem, have a great rest of your day” I turned to head back towards the elevator as she said likewise behind me. Pulling out my phone as I walked down the hall, I was sending the text to Sarah to let her know I had finished when I smacked into something hard.
“Ow” I mumbled rubbing my forehead as I backed up. Glancing up to see what I had run into my cheeks flushed as I caught sight of startled emerald eyes set in a fallen angel’s face. His black hair fell in waves around his face as he looked at me in surprise.
“I'm so sorry please excuse me” I gasped out as I hurried around him and stepped into the elevator that he must have just gotten out of. I kept my eyes on the panel as I jabbed the lobby button repeatedly.
Luck must have been with me because the doors started to close right away. I gave a little wave as I heard a deep voice say “ No problem” as the doors closed. Leaning against the back wall I let out a breath as the elevator descended. Just my luck, running down someone when I wasn't paying any attention. My phone vibrated in my hand and I looked down at it. Recognizing the hospital number a blew out a hard breath and put my phone on silent. I didn't have the money to pay them right now and it was a waste of time to answer when I knew they would just badger me about the payment.
I finished my text to Sarah as I stepped out the elevator and walked across the lobby. I waved at Jenny as I passed her desk and wished her a goodnight. I stepped out on to the street and walked towards my vespa, thinking about what I could toss together for dinner. I had some southwest chicken strips that I could make a salad out of which sounded good. I put on my helmet and sat on my vespa, starting it up. God I can’t believe I ran into him like that I thought to myself, blushing in embarrassment. All I had caught was an impression of a tall dark figure, wavy brown hair and startled bright shockingly green eyes. The only bright spot of the incident was that I would never see him again.
“Are you alright sir?” My secretary Rachel asked as I walked up to her desk. Rubbing a hand over the spot on my chest where the woman had run into me, I nodded and asked “Who was that?”
“That was the courier Totality sent to deliver those papers Mia wanted you to look at. Mia said they needed your attention right away” she said handing me a manila envelope
Taking it, I opened it up and glanced over the papers inside quickly. It seemed that my brother had given his Ke’Ola the approval to start an internship program and they were starting with Autonomous first. They also wanted to discuss the intern they had chosen with me and wanted to know when I could come in. I thought the internship was a good idea, especially for Autonomous. I had thought about suggesting something like that to Kale but things kept popping up and I had eventually forgotten about it. I was glad that Mia had thought of it and that Kale was smart enough to implement it.
I mentally rolled my eyes though, they could have just told me this in person or over the phone. I ran the tech portion of the company and as leaders in the communications industry , you would think they could have used some of the tech at our hands to send me the paperwork. It wasn't like I didn't see them several times a week, my house was maybe five blocks from theirs. “Send a email to Mia and Kale, tell them I'll be there early next Monday”
She nodded and turned to her computer. I tucked the papers back into their envelope and headed to my office. I had a lot of work to get down before I would be able to leave for the night. For some reason though I couldn't get the dark eyes of the mystery woman out of my mind.
I entered the couriers office the next day on the hunt for coffee. I had stayed up later then I had intended to last night. But I got my resume polished and up to date and several applications in. I was hoping I would hear from a few companies soon, but now a days most places wanted you to have a bachelor’s degree just to pour them a cup of coffee. I rolled my eyes at the thought as I headed quickly towards the break area, already tasting the deliciousness of that heavenly brew.
“Hey Arianna” Sara said sticking her head out from the manager's office. “Mia wants to see you in hr, head there first before you start your assignments”.
Hmmm wonder what this is about I thought to myself as I let out a sigh and said “Ok”. Turning around I headed back towards the door figuring I'll just pour my coffee into a to go cup when I came back and take it with me on deliveries. I rode the elevator to hr quickly, most people already at their office's so the elevators weren't crowded.
I stepped out at my floor and walked towards Mia Jones’s soon to be Mia Kapena’s office. Mia was cool, whenever I had an assignment involving hr I always looked forward to chatting with her and we had even gotten lunch together a few times. Her best friend was a hoot and I enjoyed it whenever we managed to get together. She and Kale appeared to be madly in love and I was happy that they had founnd each other.
“Hey Mia” I greeted knocking on her door before going inside. She looked up from her desk and smiled brightly at me “Arianna! Hi! Thanks for stopping by, there’s an opportunity I wanted to discuss with you”I checked her out as I stepped up to her desk and groaned dramatically, she was always wearing the cutest outfits. Today she had on a red knit dress that looked fabulous against her caramel skin. Her burgundy colored hair bounced across her shoulders in beachy waves and her brown eyes sparkled.“ Please tell me you're not sending me out west again… the traffic almost killed me last time.”
She laughed good naturedly “ No you big baby, besides it wasn't that bad and you got to hit that donut shop you had been wanting to try anyways” I smiled dreamily, fondly remembering the dozen donuts I had brought back and shared with a few friends. The strawberry shortcake and cronut donuts were to die for. Hey there are quite a few problems that can be solved with a good donut.
She nodded knowingly at the look on my face “ See? That's exactly what I mean!” she gestured at the chair across from her desk “ Have a seat, this is officially an official meeting and I'm officially the director of human resources right now” she winked at me and then put on a serious face
I put my messenger bag down and sat in the chair wondering what this was all about “ Oook captain my captain, what's up?” I asked curiously. She handed me a folder she hand on her desk and I opened it to see a few sheets of paper, one of which looked to be an application. “What’s this?”
“Well that is a project I have been putting together for awhile now. Kale gave me the approval to implement it and I just put the finishing touches on it yesterday.” She said excitedly “ There’s only two open positions but I immediately thought of you for the first spot. You will have to be enrolled in a qualifying university program but we can help you with that.”
I looked at her speechless having read the summary that was included with the application while she spoke. It was an internship program being offered at Autonomous and Bucket List the other company owned by Totality. It said that there were two spots available with an intern going to each company. This was something that I had always hoped to take part in while I was attending school.Autonomous had never offered an internship though and I wasn't interested in the other companies that were. I would love to do it but there was a problem.
“Mia… thank you for thinking of me, but I don't think I will be able to do it. I told you how I had to drop out because of my mother's passing. I had scholarships before but I lost them due to dropping out and I’m ineligible for them again since it's been longer than a year since I was active in school”
She smiled kindly and reaching across the desk held my hand in hers “ I understand Arianna, truly I do. But I have it all worked out. You’ve been an exemplary employee, you're never late, you never miss a day of work and you never complain about a last minute assignment.In fact your supervisor says you could probably do her job better than her”
“Yea I probably could” I said half jokingly. I mean Sara was cool and we definitely got along but she was a little bit of an airhead and always saying she wished she could transfer to Bucket List. The turnover over there was incredibly low though, as no one wanted to lose a job in paradise so she had a long wait ahead of her.
Mia pulled her hand from mine and wagged a finger at me “ Hey no bad mouthing Sara she’s a sweet girl. But seriously I don't know if you knew but we do offer a scholarship program here that's pretty awesome, it should be enough to pay for your whole final semester.”
I held up a hand, I had already checked out the tuition assistance Totality offered and while it was good it wasn't that good “ I’ve looked at it Mia, I believe it only reimburses tuition. I still would have to pay the school first to enroll.”
“ But there's where you're wrong” She smiled triumphantly “ ‘If enrolling in a course of study which results in a 4 year degree that can impact the company directly and the employee shows promise, the CEO can approve the paying of said schooling’”
I looked at her suspiciously that hadn't been in there before. I was grateful but I refused to allow my friend to bend the rules for me. What if it backfired and she got in trouble? What if it jeopardized her relationship? I couldn't allow that
“Mia….again… thank you but I read that section of the benefits package and that wasn't mentioned there. I don't want you bending rules and getting in trouble because of me”
She smiled softly and said “ That right there is why you do deserve it Arianna. Besides I'm not bending the rules, that was in place before I started working here but it isn't really put out there. Only directors and supervisors know of it”
I nodded slowly I could buy that. There was plenty of perks that only the higher ups knew about.
“I already talked to Kale and we spoke to your supervisor. We all agree that this is tailor made for you. Will you do it?”
This was...It was just unbelievable! I felt my eyes start to water and bowed my head a minute to collect myself. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined something last this happening and for a moment I was overcome with emotions. Mia reached across the desk and laid her hand on top of mines. She didn't speak sensing, I needed this moment to gather myself. I’m going to do it mama, I’m going to keep my promise to you I thought. I took a deep breathe and lifted my head, filled now with a sense of excitement, this was really happening!
I couldn't help grinning widely now, joy filling me. “Yes!” God I was so happy I could burst!
She laughed “ Ok! then go ahead and fill that out and bring it back along with your enrollment papers and the school's financial aid department information. I will take it from there.”
I stood up and rounded her desk bending down to hug her tightly “Thank you” I whispered in her ear. “Your welcome” she whispered back before squeezing me and letting go. I walked to the elevator feeling hopeful for the first time in two years. I walked to the elevator and pressed the call button, hugging myself in excitement. I started going over what I needed to do to get ready for school. The next semester should be starting soon and I would need to hustle to get registered before the deadline. Plus I would need to look over my old school supplies and figure out what I needed to buy on my meager budget. The elevator arrived and I rode to my floor glued to my phone, formulating a to do list of everything I needed to get done.
I opened my messenger app as I got off the elevator a few minutes later, excited to tell Sophia my news. Sophia is my best friend and still living in our home town of Jessup, running her family’s grocery store. I knew she would be ecstatic for me and I couldn't wait to tell her my news.
Sophia!!! Oh my god, you will not believe what just happened!!
What? What’s up? Who we burying??? She texted me back quickly sending me a picture of a hazard sign and a shovel. I rolled my eyes laughing to myself, this girl…..
Mia just told me about a internship that they are starting and also told me she wants me for it!!! Plus she told me about a scholarship that they company offers!! She wants to give me both!! She sent me back several emojis of popped champagne bottles and sparkles and I grinned to myself, all the stress and worry of the last two years just melting away.