'Have you left yet?' Mum shouted at me from the kitchen as she prepared something for breakfast.
'Not yet,' I shouted back, looking at myself in the mirror. I had no idea what I was meant to wear so had assumed that as I was working in an office I would need a suit, so I'd made one out of an old black jacket of my mother's and my own black bodycon skirt. It wasn't my best outfit but it would have to do.
'Why not? You need to be there in twenty minutes and you don't want to make a bad impression on your first day.'
'I'm ready now,' I shouted, grabbing my heels from the chair next to my dressing table and running down the stairs and into the kitchen. 'Wish me luck,' I said as I kissed Mum on the cheek on my way to the door.
'You're not going like that are you?' Mum said, her eyebrows raising at the sight of my skirt.
'No reason,' Mum said, turning away from me, not wanting to argue the point. 'Have a good day at work.'
'No come on Mum,' I insisted, standing with one hand on my hip looking intently at my mother. 'What is wrong with my outfit?'
'Well don't you think it says, I don't know, a little bit of a slut?'
'Excuse me?' I exclaimed, shocked and a little hurt that my mother would call me a slut.
'It's just that your skirt is a little short and the top button of your shirt is undone-'
'Is it?' I said, looking down and seeing that my mother had been right. 'Oops,' I said, buttoning it up again. 'Is that better?'
'A bit I suppose,' my mother said, her face still skeptical.
'Well I don't care what you think,' I said, grabbing my bag and heading for the door. 'I am my own woman now and I will do whatever I want.'
'Good for you,' my mum said encouragingly. 'But you might want to leave now or you will definitely be late.'
'Oh shit,' I said, looking at the clock.
'And watch your language,' I heard my mother yell as I ran out of the door and down the street in my bare feet, my heels still in my hand.
'And this is where you'll be working,' my boss, Ian Garrett said, pointing to a small desk in the corner. 'Mostly you'll just be sorting out files and tidying up, I might ask you to take notes on a meeting or something like that but that is very rare. Otherwise, welcome and I'll leave you to settle in.'
'Thank you,' I mumbled as Ian walked away.
I hadn't got off to the best start with my boss. Surprisingly, I'd arrived on time having run all the way from my parent's house. My hair had looked like a bird's nest and I was still carrying my shoes but I didn't notice I was so out of breath.
So I'd walked into the building looking like something out of a horror film and asked the lady at the reception desk where I could find Mr Garrett, I was supposed to be starting work in his department. She had looked at me skeptically, telling me to take a seat while she phoned Garrett's office to double check that I was expected.
I'd been putting my shoes on when he'd arrived, bending over so my hair covered my face, which meant I couldn't see him coming.
'Yes,' I said, my head coming upwards so fast it collided with the hand Garrett had been offering me. 'Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry,' I said hurriedly. 'I didn't realise you were that close.'
'Don't worry,' he said, trying to keep smiling. 'No harm done. Are you ready to start work?'
'Ready to go,' I said cheerfully, following him towards the lift. There was a very awkward silence when we both stepped into the metal box and neither of us knew what to say to the other so I just stared at the floor.
The lift stopped on the second floor and some more men walked in, surrounding myself and my boss.
'Hey sexy,' I heard one guy whisper in my ear, loud enough for me to hear, but not so loud that anyone else would overhear what he was saying. 'Nice little skirt you've got there. Fancy coming to my office later to play secretary?' The innuendo in his voice made me want to vomit, but I ignored him, not wanting to rise to the bait. 'So you don't want to play?' The man continued. 'That's a shame because I really wanted to see what you have under there.'
It was at this point I felt a hand firmly grasping my ass and before I knew it I'd turned around and slapped him full in the face.
'Miss Harrison!' Garrett exclaimed as the crack of the slap echoed around the lift. 'What was the meaning of that?'
'I don't know what I did,' the man said, clutching his cheek. 'I didn't say anything and she just turned on me.'
'Do you have anything to say for yourself Alannah?' Garrett said, turning on me.
'His hand was on my ass,' I protested. 'He was making sexist and abusive comments towards me and then he grabbed my bum.'
'I never did any such thing,' the man lied. 'I admit my hand might have grazed the back of her skirt but that was simply because of the movement of the lift.'
'That's a lie,' I said, my eyes narrowing as I glared at him.
'Alannah apologise to this gentleman,' Garrett ordered me.
'I will do no such thing. He should be the one apologising, he assaulted me.'
'Alannah if you don't apologise I will have to fire you and you haven't even started working yet. Let me allow you to work at least for a few minutes before kicking you out.'
'I'm sorry,' I said finally, my face stony cold and filled with hatred for this man.
'Apology accepted,' he replied.
So all in all it hadn't been a good start. By lunchtime I would probably be known as the office slut and my boss knew me as the clumsy idiot who slaps people for no reason. Let's hope first impressions aren't that important.