Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Only a Kiss ~ Part 12
Ana looked around the room to her three fellow junior designers. “And I wouldn’t be surprised if none of your claimed designs are actually yours. So you can either let me present this design to the committee or I can present them with proof of your design theft.”
Robin’s face turned bright red.
“Taking photographs of your designs is strictly prohibited,” snarled Robin. “I should fire you right now.”
Ana cocked her head. “You know I’m fairly certain that the executive board would overlook my rule breaking in order to know they have a thief in their mist. So am I presenting this sketch to the committee? Or do I need to make an appointment with the board?”
“They’ll never believe you,” spat Robin. “I’ve been working for this company for ten years and as you’ve pointed out you’ve only been here for three.” A cruel smile tugged at Robin’s mouth. “And everyone else, less time.”
Robin looked around the room. “Anyone here want to stand with Ana? Anyone want to put their jobs on the line for the sake of her ego?”
“My ego?” questioned Ana. Robin put her hand up, silencing Ana. Everyone in the room stared at the two, but no one said a word. Ana looked to her co-workers, begging someone to stand with her. But the room remained quiet.
“You hear that?” asked Robin, her smile now fully formed. “Looks like you are the only one wanting to put your job on the line. You know, it’s a cruel, cruel world out there. The job market isn’t what it used to be. Most people would beg to have a job like yours and never complain.” Robin took Ana’s arm and pulled her close. “I tell you what. You give me the sketch and keep your mouth shut and if you play nicely for the next couple of years, I’ll recommend you for my job when I move up.”
“It’s not right.” Ana shook her head. “They’re not your designs and I can prove it.”
Robin clicked her tongue. “Ana, dear, this is how the fashion industry works. I can’t tell you how many of my designs were claimed by my predecessor and when you have my job, you’ll do the same thing.”
Ana shivered as she thought of being like Robin. Taking credit for other’s people work was the last thing she wanted to do. If she fell into that frame of thinking, where hurting others to get what you wanted was acceptable, she’d be no better than Robin or her mother and sister. She didn’t want to be like them and she didn’t want to be like Robin.
She looked down at her shoe design as Brett’s face came into her mind. She had taken his advice and stood up for herself. That hadn’t worked, so it was time to move on.
“I quit,” whispered Ana.
“What did you say?” Robin let go of Ana’s arm and took a step back a look of both shock and fear plastered on her face.
Ana held her head high. “I quit,” she said more deliberately. “And I’m taking my design with me.”
“You can’t,” snapped Robin. “It was done on Beauxpieds time, so it belongs to Beauxpieds. You signed a contract, leaving with that sketch is a breach of that contact.”
Ana knew Robin was right. Leaving with the design would mean Ana could be sued and she would most definitely be blackballed by every other shoe designer. Ana felt every eye on her as she grabbed her belongings and started toward the door, the sketch still in her hand.
“Ana, you give me that sketch,” demanded Robin.
Taking a final look at the design, Ana stopped by Robin’s desk. She face Robin and held out the design. “You’re right, I can’t leave with it. I understand that.” And in one simple move, as Robin started towards her, Ana bent over and placed the design directly into the mouth of the shredder.