Continue to The Office Chapter One

The Office

Author: Closetromantic19 aka Katie
Rating: PG-13 to R
Disclaimer: Don't own them.
Notes: Thoughts in italics.

Anyone who has ever had to interview for a job they don't feel qualified for knows that it's crucial to arrive on time, even early if that's at all possible. The potential employee should be appropriately dressed, over-dressed to a certain degree, and in a calm and collected state of mind.

Tara Maclay had none of these things going for her when she arrived at the Chase Enterprises building in downtown Los Angeles. Her run-in with the spastic redhead this morning had left her covered in iced latte and thoroughly flustered.

She had broken her bank on a Rodeo Drive shopping spree to find just the right outfit for this interview, and now she was wearing a $200 napkin. Well, she thought grimly, here goes nothing. Literally.

The tall, broad-shouldered security guard at the front desk eyed her cautiously. "Are you sure you have an appointment?" Tara forced a smile.

"With Miss Chase, yes," she nodded ruefully. "Believe me, if I could explain this..." she gestured awkwardly at her appearance, "I would."

Much to Tara's delight the guard smiled and extended his hand, which she shook gratefully. "I'm Riley," he motioned to his ID tag, "Riley Finn, and I'm guessing today's not going like you planned."

At this Tara actually found herself laughing, "Not at all, no. Tara Maclay, pleased to meet you."

A look of understanding suddenly appeared on the young man's face. "Tara...Tara Maclay...of course...I should've known." Tara looked at him quizzically. "Oh," Riley stood suddenly, "I'm supposed to escort you up to Miss Chase's offices, make sure you find your way alright," he moved in closer to whisper conspiratorially to Tara, "This place can be kind of a maze."

And with that, Riley quickly scooped up Tara's messenger bag and led her off towards the elevator, chatting animatedly all the while.

Riley was just finishing up his life story when they reached the 22nd floor, "So I received an Honorable Discharge from the Marines after that...and here I am." He smiled winningly at Tara.

Tara, who had been nodding along, trying to gather her thoughts, smiled. "That's...amazing. I'd love to hear more..." Riley looked excited and ready to explode with his exploits since becoming a security guard until Tara quickly finished, "Some other time, okay?"

"Miss Rosenberg, Miss Chase on line one," Willow's assistant cradled the phone on her shoulder, "Says it's urgent."

Willow turned back towards her corner office and rolled her eyes, the gesture going unnoticed by her eager assistant. "Thanks Amy," she said with a forced cheerfulness, "I'll get right on that." She shut the door behind her with a sigh and picked up the phone. "Cordelia, what is so urgent that you couldn't walk the 100 feet to my office?"

"Willow, hi," Cordelia said, her voice sounding faraway. "I need you to do me a teensy little favor."

Willow began to look over her schedule for the day. "I hope it involves hiring someone to fix the faulty wiring in that phone of yours...I can barely hear you over all that interference."

"Yes, about that Willow...I don't actually happen to be in the office at the moment. You see the reason I'm calling is..."

A football field's distance away Willow's voice could be heard at the reception desk. "YOU WANT ME TO WHAT?! WELL IT BETTER BE A DAMN GOOD MASSAGE, CORDELIA, OH I SWEAR TO GOD..."

The blonde and brunette receptionists exchanged glances before returning to their respective tasks.

"Chase Enterprises, how may I direct your call?" The blonde bubbled into her wireless headset.

Meanwhile, the brunette looked to have entirely different matters on her hands, "Well I don't know...what are you wearing?" she murmured huskily in reply to the deep voice on the other end of the line.

"FAITH!" Buffy Summers stomped over towards the brunette's desk, "Yes, just one moment, sir," she spoke quickly into her headset, before slamming her hand down to hang up Faith's line.

Faith chuckled and grinned impishly at her blonde counterpart, "Aw, c'mon B, I was working it over here!"

It was at this exact moment that Riley, Tara in tow, decided to make his presence known. "I think your employer might get a kick out of what you consider ‘work,' Faith." Riley laughed as both receptionists gave him startled looks.

"Riley!" both women spoke the name affectionately, if a bit flirtatiously.

"Buffy, Faith, how are you today?"


"Five by five."

Riley smiled at the receptionists, his gaze lingering on Buffy perhaps a moment longer than necessary. He seemed suddenly to remember his charge, and motioned for Tara to come forward.

"I want you to meet someone."

Buffy and Faith regarded the shy blonde at Riley's side, sizing up the potential competition. "This is Tara, she's interviewing to be Miss Chase's Personal Assistant." The two receptionists let out simultaneous breaths of relief. "I was told I could leave her in the care of you two lovely ladies until someone comes down to fetch her."

Tara, who did not particularly like the idea of being "fetched," decided it was time to speak up. "It's nice to meet you both. Riley, thanks so much for, um, everything. Hope I can find some time to hear more about...that...thing you were saying."

Riley positively beamed. He nodded shyly at Tara, then at Buffy and Faith. Awkwardly, he patted Tara on the back, and said quietly, "I think you'll find everybody's real nice here. See you around." Then he was gone.

Faith was the first to speak. "So, you wanna' be Cordy's bitch, huh?"

Tara looked at the brunette, mouth agape. "Um, I, uh, I wouldn't exactly say that..."

Buffy, who had finally managed to recover from her own shock at Faith's words, managed, "I think what Faith meant to say was, ‘glad to have you on board.'"

Faith shot Buffy a dirty look and murmured under her breath, just loud enough for her alone to here. "I'd be glad to have her on any board in this office."

Tara put on her most confident face and smiled, thinking idly that invisibility would come in handy right now.

"Hey, Buffy, Faith, I'm supposed to interview someone for Cordy. A potential personal assistant." Three pairs of eyes looked up see a disgruntled redhead enter the room. "Yeah, I know I know, Cordy's assistant, why am I interviewing her, blah blah, you thought I was her your jokes...anyway if you hear from a Miss Maclay see her to my office, would you?"

Willow's green eyes met the blue of the disheveled blonde in the entryway of the reception desk. Yea,Tara thought, invisibility would sooo come in handy right now.

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