Home > The Intern

The Intern
Author: Annie J. Rose

Chapter 1

 

 

Elijah

 

 

“Showtime,” I muttered to myself.

I paused at the door to my new office for a few seconds before going inside. It was the same thing I had done every morning since starting at the headquarters of the Las Vegas Hearts. After a week, I was still somewhat in awe of this moment every day. It was the moment I had been waiting for since I was in high school. My life was finally starting, and I wanted a few moments to relish it, to take in the sense of accomplishment and opportunity before I dove in. As soon as I started working, it would be all about focus and drive. Now that I had finally gotten myself here, I wasn’t willing to just sit back and be complacent. This wasn’t the end of the journey, the destination I was going for. Instead, it was just the beginning. Every day I needed to work harder, accomplish more. It wasn’t lost on me how fortunate I was to have even gotten the position, and I wasn’t going to take it for granted.

Taking a breath, I walked into my office and looked around. A picture on the wall caught my eye. Walking up to it, I adjusted the crooked frame so it hung straight on the nail in the wall. The office still looked like the PR rep before me, but it was my space now. At some point, I would make adjustments to the decorations and other details so it reflected my taste, but until then, it was what I was working with. I would keep it as ruthlessly tidy as I kept the rest of my life. I had been waiting and working for so long to finally get an opportunity like this, and now that I was here, truly in the big leagues, I wasn’t going to fail.

It wasn’t just about me. The position meant so much more. I wasn’t going to let my mother or my sister down. And I definitely wasn’t going to disappoint the new boss, who had taken a chance on me. He had his back up against the wall and needed to fill the position, but it didn’t have to be with me. He could have chosen someone else, but he was willing to take a leap of faith by giving me this position. It was the biggest opportunity I had ever been given, a literal dream come true, and I wasn’t going to disappoint him.

I spent the next few minutes straightening out the rest of the office and adding the few little personal touches I’d brought along with me. With my new office set to rights, I headed down to the next floor where the conference room was set up to welcome a new class of interns. I spent the last week getting ready for their arrival and was eager to meet them and see what they would bring to the table. Fresh ideas were always interesting, especially in the field of public relations. Keeping a team’s reputation high and fans devoted wasn’t something you did once and then rode the results. It was a dynamic, constantly changing challenge to stay interesting and engaging. Working with interns was an ideal way to achieve that. Young and full of the enthusiasm and energy that came with trying to find their place in the world, these people were usually brimming with ideas and a willingness to think and come up with more.

This was the first time I was getting the chance to work with interns in the Hearts’ headquarters, but I had worked with them before in other positions. Now I was getting the chance to lead a group and was excited about the possibilities.

The meeting room was already full by the time I got there. The owner of the team, Robert Putnam, was there, milling around among the interns. He looked over and waved at me when I walked in. Gesturing for me to come over, he gave me a firm handshake when I came to his side.

“Good morning, Elijah,” he said. “I want you to meet some of the interns from this year’s class. This is Hank Taylor.”

The young blonde man standing in front of me reached out and shook my hand almost violently. His eyes were wide, bright with the effects of probably one too many espresso shots on the way into the office. I had seen that look before. He was priming himself, trying to get into top form so he could impress all of us on the first day. From the looks of it, he would need to come down a couple of notches before he would be able to make any real contribution. That was fine. I would always rather have to rein in someone for being too enthusiastic than try to dig down into them and drag something out.

“Nice to meet you, Hank,” I said.

“I’m very excited to be here,” he told me. “I think I’m going to be able to bring some really great ideas to the mix.”

“I look forward to hearing them,” I told him.

Robert put his hand on my back and guided me away from Hank and over to two who were taking turns standing near a table spread with breakfast pastries, bagels, and fruit. Each held a cup of coffee and a pastry, but it was more like they were props than actual breakfast. Neither one of them took a sip or a bite as we approached.

“This is Jill Kirkland and Frank Messier,” Robert introduced. “This is Elijah Prentice. He’s the new head of the PR department here with the Hearts. You’ll be working directly with him.”

“Good to meet you,” I told each of them. “I look forward to working with you.”

“Prentiss,” a voice said from behind me, and I turned around to see a woman eyeing me with scrutiny. “Any relation to Joy Prentice?”

I narrowed my eyes at her only slightly and nodded.

“Yes,” I told her. “Joy is my sister.”

“She’s also the team doctor, isn’t she?” the woman asked.

“You do your research,” I said.

“I try to be well-informed,” she said.

The words were almost defensive, but the tone in her voice wasn’t. There was an edge of something there, almost like she was baiting me. She wanted me to react, so I offered her the hint of a smile.

“That will serve you well,” I noted.

“This is Christina Jackson,” Robert said.

Her eyebrows lifted just a touch, like she was waiting for me to react to something.

“It’s nice to meet you, Christina. Let’s go get started,” I invited, holding my arm out toward the table.

As she walked toward it, I watched her, noticing that was something distinctly different about her than the others. She looked older than the college students that usually occupied an intern class. There was also an energy, a presence about her that made her stand out. It was difficult to describe, but it was definitely there. Time would tell whether it was a good thing or not.

We settled around the table, and I smiled at each of them.

“It’s important to me that we all feel comfortable working together. This is a team environment, and that goes for this department as well,” I said.

“Aren’t each of us here to get our own personal experience?” Christina asked before I was able to say anything else. “An internship is essentially a debut, an opportunity to start the competition for an eventual career.”

“That may be how other companies operate, but not here. PR, after all, stands for public relations. You can’t really have public with only one person. The goal of a public relations department in a sports setting is to deliver good news and excitement to fans and keep the reputation of the team desirable. Since there isn’t just one type of fan, there shouldn’t be just one voice or opinion when it comes to the public relations approach. My goal in working with all of my interns is to generate ideas. Every one of you has a unique voice, and I want to make sure it’s heard. That’s not to say that every idea is one that can be used, but even when they aren’t implemented, ideas are beneficial. They may spark something else or inspire another person to speak their mind and offer a suggestion that does work out.”

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