Glimmer - Beth Kery Page 0,1

to interviewers as if she were both a commodity and the pitchman for that commodity. To say she didn’t interview well was a gargantuan understatement.

“Durand is coming because they’re searching for talented, top-notch executives, I expect.”

Alice snorted. “You told me to look at this interview as good experience for future interviews. Even you don’t actually believe anyone at Arlington stands a chance with Durand.”

“I don’t know what I think, to be honest,” Maggie said stiffly. She snapped several tissues out of a box and held them up for Alice to take. “Now wipe off some of that crap you insist on putting on your eyes. Comb your hair back from the part to hide the roots. Put on a little lipstick for once. And for God’s sake, stiffen up the spine, Reed. I expect you to rise to the challenge, not wilt in the face of it.”

Alice’s spine did stiffen in reactionary anger for a few seconds before the truth of Maggie’s words penetrated. Her mentor was right. As usual.

“I’ll go to the bathroom to wash up a bit,” Alice agreed in a subdued tone. “I have ten minutes before the interview starts.”

“Good girl,” Maggie said bracingly.

“Alice,” Maggie called sharply as Alice reached for her office door.

“Yeah?” Alice asked, looking over her shoulder. She went still when she saw the unusually somber expression on Maggie’s face.

“There’s been a little change of circumstances as far as your interview. Sebastian Kehoe became ill a few days ago and had to send someone else in his place.”

A perverse, savage combination of disappointment, triumph, and relief swept through Alice. So. They’d sent some low-level stooge in Kehoe’s place? Figured. She knew Durand would never take anyone in her graduating class as a serious contender for “Camp Durand.” The four-week-long program on the shores of Lake Michigan was where the brightest and best business school graduates went every summer to show their stuff. Sixty percent of the Camp Durand counselors were chosen to become the highest-paid, most elite young executives in the world. Through a combination of team-building exercises, intense observation, and a highly reputable children’s camp held on the lake, Durand culled the chosen few, ending up with the best of the best.

Those selected for Camp Durand were paid a hefty sum for their weeks of service, whether they went on to become permanently employed or not. Alice coveted that chunk of money, even if she didn’t dare to hope she’d ever be offered a regular corporate position at the highly successful international company. She had student loans that would come due soon, and no solid job leads. Still . . . she was torn about being forced to prove herself to the slick, influential company.

“I knew Durand couldn’t be serious about Arlington,” Alice said.

Or me.

Maggie must have noticed the smirk Alice strained to hide. “They’re so unserious about Arlington College that their chief executive officer is coming in place of Sebastian Kehoe,” Maggie said.

Alice’s hand fell from the knob of the door and thumped on her thigh.

“What?”

Suddenly, Maggie seemed to be having difficulty meeting her stare. “Several Durand executives were on a business trip here in Chicago recently. When Kehoe got ill, Dylan Fall agreed to fill in for his remaining appointments.” Maggie glanced at her warily. Or was it worriedly? “I . . . I didn’t want to tell you because I thought you’d get more nervous, but I didn’t want you to walk in unprepared, either,” she said miserably.

A wave of queasiness hit her.

“Dylan Fall,” Alice stated in a flat, incredulous tone. “You’re telling me that in nine minutes, I’m going