Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 1
The backs of my knees, my forehead, every part of my body felt sticky with a warm sheen of sweat. The white shorts and tank top I wore in preparation for the trip seemed to only make the heat worse. I had always thought of Miami as a magical place, full of bright lights and old- world charm that just seemed to suck you into an intoxicating tailspin of beautiful people and bacchanalian sensibilities.
With my thighs sticking to the worn leather seats of the taxi and the wet, humid air filtering in through the dirty, lowered windows, I had a hard time focusing on the cityscape at all.
The closer the cab got to my new apartment, the harder I worked to hold off my impending panic attack. It was a wonder I survived two plane rides and an eight hour layover without completely breaking down. The reality of my hasty move, almost crippling uncertainty, my complete lack of funds and employment was finally starting to set in. The thoughts caused the sweat on the back of my knees to worsen and my heart to thump a quick staccato against my ribcage.
The deep voice of the cab driver rang through the car as we pulled up to a small, sturdy apartment building. The exterior was covered in a sickly looking peach color under the
unflattering street light stationed directly above it. It was my first time seeing it outside of a few online photos and while it was definitely nothing special, the neighborhood seemed quiet, safe enough for a newcomer, and was on just the right side of dirt cheap.
I hastily unloaded my bags and made my way up the narrow stairs towards my second floor apartment. I collapsed with my back against the door as soon as I stepped inside, not even bothering to turn on the lights or look around, too tired to even cry.
Abrupt banging sounds and quick vibrations against my back woke me up the next morning, startling me out of a surprisingly sound sleep.
“Rosaline Reed?” A stocky, red- faced man with a lit cigarette hanging from his thin, chapped lips greeted me when I opened the door.
“Yes. That’s me.” I felt his beady eyes trail up my body slowly, sending chills down the length of my spine. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah eh… I’m Joe, the building manager.” His eyes landed on my breasts. ”We spoke on the phone. Mr. Kipling told you to come see me when you got in.”
I cursed myself for forgetting our agreement.
“I’m sorry about that, Joe but I got in pretty late last night and I figured you wouldn’t want to be bothered.” I gave him a quick smile, hoping to somewhat charm him into forgetting about it.
“You can come see me anytime you like, honey.” His sharp bark of laughter made my ears ring.
I ignored his innuendo, deciding to focus on getting him to leave me alone instead.
“Well, if you’ll excuse me, Joe, I have a lot of things I need to do today so-”
“Oh, of course, of course.” He licked his lips. “I set up shop down in the basement, just let me know if you need anything.”
“I think I’ll be fine, but thank you.” I gave him a small smile, friendly but not too big, before bidding him goodbye and closing the door.
My exhaustion from the night before gave me very little time to look around my new home. It was definitely nothing like I was used to. Already furnished, every item in the place seemed to be completely utilitarian. The place was old, shabby, and all but falling apart. It was a far cry from the opulence and plush surroundings of my childhood home the boarding school dorm rooms I had grown up in. There was something about it though, even amongst the peeling paint and underlying scent of dirt, that stirred a certain fondness in my chest.
After a long, hot shower and a change of clothes, I headed back out into the hot Miami streets with a few job prospects pulled up on my phone and pure determination in my mind. My
foolhardy resolve had me feeling slightly optimistic but the realist in me knew that my resume only consisted of an unpaid internship at a low- rung law office and an unfinished Bachelor’s degree. I was almost positive I’d be flipping burgers at some hole- in- the- wall diner before the day was up.
Hours of sickeningly polite rejections and a few obligatory “we’ll let you know” statements later and I was ready to throw in the towel. One last scan over the classifieds section caused one particular ad to pop out at me. It was oddly short, simply stating that an artist’s assistant was needed, no experience necessary. There was no phone number or email address listed, only an address and the request to “stop by before 6pm,” and at 5:15, I would be just be able to make it before the deadline.
The address, as it turned out, was actually a warehouse, only one story and covered in graffiti. It had all the pretenses of being abandoned except for the dark grey Porsche parked out front and the obviously reinforced steel door, painted a burnt orange color.
For a second, I contemplated turning around and heading home. Biding my time until the next
morning and heading out again. The thought of my steadily dwindling bank account made the opportunity too good to pass up.
I pressed the high- tech buzzer stationed next to the heavy door and a rumbly, deep voice sounded out over the speakers. “What?”
“Uh…” I swallowed, something about the commanding tone made me nervous. “My name is Rosaline Reed, I’m here about the job.”
There was a long pause on the other end of the buzzer and for the second time since I had reached the warehouse, I tried to drum up the courage to not walk away.
“Wait just a second.”
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