Wheeler & Brandt LLP

 Some people go to work to jobs they hate for money. Some do it for pride and prestige. People grind away their lives for all kinds of 'somethings.' You had an altogether different something; or rather, a someone. Working as a receptionist at a small legal firm, Wheeler & Brandt LLP, your responsibilities went far beyond answering phones. You acted as an editor, you were a schedule manager, and you were tasked with monotonous data entry. All for one boss who never showed up and another who barely spared two words to you during the day. Unless you made a mistake. Then you were dressed down in the most humiliating fashion.

While Michael Brandt, the old man who founded the company, spent more time on the golf links than at the firm, Brandon Wheeler was always there, and always watching, like a hawk on the prowl, waiting for the slightest mistake or breech of professionalism to pounce. Wheeler's attention to detail was astounding, and his ego was equally daunting. It had been Wheeler's tenacity that saved Michael Brandt's law firm a decade ago, and his force of personality that resulted in his own name being the first listed in the new firm's name.

Wheeler was a source of intimidation to you, and you, like everyone else, were a source of constant disappointment to him. Combined with the unending stress of the tasks placed before you on a daily basis, having to deal with such a boss day in and day out would have driven any normal person to the unemployment line. But for how arrogant, condescending and down right mean that he could be, you found yourself hopelessly attracted to him. Was it the clean shaven, square jaw? The way his jet-black hair contrasted with his fierce, beautiful blue eyes? The immaculate black suits he wore? Or was it the aura of power he exuded? If you were asked you couldn't rightly say, but whatever happened going forward, you knew you wanted to be around him. You knew you wanted him.

Sitting at your desk at exactly 6:05 AM, nearly two hours before the day's business begins, you await Wheeler's arrival. He liked to come in after you to make sure the first image potential clients saw was pristine. But of course, Brandon Wheeler always arrived an hour and forty-five minutes before the firm opened, which meant you had to be there nearly two hours early every day. Passing the time, you shuffle some papers and adjust the pens in the pen holder on the desk. You wait.

At precisely 6:15 AM, Wheeler arrives. His black suit, immaculately pressed, contrasts with his iridescent dark blue dress shirt. The tie is black. The tie is always black, like his suits. His gait is brisk and purposeful. Your breath quickens as he stops directly in front of you, his steely blue eyes meeting yours. His head tilts slightly. "This is unacceptable, Ms. Swanson. Wheeler and Brandt is the best for a reason. Our clients deserve a modicum of effort from our staff." He picks up a pen from the pen holder with no lid, wiggling it in the air as if it were some mark of shame upon you.

"What are we paying you for, Ms. Swanson?" He pauses. Does he expect an answer? "Well, Ms. Swanson? Why am I paying you?" Fighting back unexpected tears, you say, "To be your receptionist, Mr. Wheeler." He shakes his head and sighs impatiently. "We are paying you to present an image to our clients. An image you have failed to uphold." Holding the pen up, he says, "Throw this out. I expect better from you going forward." After staring you down for another moment, he slams the pen down onto the desk, adjusts his suit, and walks off.

This was a bad sign. A morning where he started off chewing you out meant you were in for an entire day of demeaning lectures and other forms of verbal abuse. Of course, it also meant you'd be seeing a lot of him. He constantly hurt your feelings, but still part of you inexplicably enjoyed his abuse. It was going to be a good day.