Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: The Interview
By Deborah Engle
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The spacious office was beautifully furnished and Olivia scanned the room slowly before settling her gaze on the executive desk situated in front of a wall of windows. The leather chair was turned around, it’s occupant facing the spectacular skyline. Not sure exactly what to do, Olivia waited, then decided to take the lead.
“Good morning. Olivia Rose Matthews here.” After waiting several seconds without getting a reply, she cleared her throat and continued. “I would like to thank you for granting me this interview. I realize your time is ...”
The chair shifted slightly, and Olivia paused, but heard only the sound of papers being shuffled. Beginning to feel uncomfortable, she began again. “ I hope ...”
“Please, have a seat,” said a woman’s voice from the chair. Olivia did so, and continued to wait. A full minute passed before the voice said, “I noticed that your photo is included in your file.” After another short pause, the voice continued, “There are some questions of a personal nature I must ask you. I realize this is not the usual procedure, but please bear with me.”
“All right,” she said, hesitantly, wondering at the nervous timbre of the words she had just heard.
“Please tell me about your family.”
“My family? Well, I don’t know a lot. My parents died when I was very young and my Grandmother Olivia raised me, but she never would say much about Mom and Dad. I don’t have any memories of them...”
The ticking of the desk clock seemed magnified while Olivia waited. Again she heard papers being shuffled.
“But you were born in Laguna Beach, California?”
“Yes, but I never lived there. After my parents died in an accident, Grandmother took me back to Philadelphia. That’s where I grew up. After high school I went to Penn Sta...”
“Your paperwork says your birthday is September 9, 1972. Is that correct?”
“Yes, it is. I really don’t understa...”
“Just one more question. Do you have a birthmark?”
“A birthmark? What could that possibly have to do with...”
“Yes. A birthmark on your right wrist, shaped like a star.”
“A star? ...yes, a small star...but how did you...?”
The silence was deafening as Olivia’s mind tried to make sense of the last few minutes. She stared at the back of the chair, mystified as to the direction of the conversation.
Slowly the woman stood to her feet and turned around, saying “My name is Audrey Rose Matthews.”
Amazed, Olivia rose from her seat but could only stare at the woman before her, convinced she was must be looking in a mirror, yet knowing she wasn’t.
In each hand Audrey held up a photo. Looking Olivia in the eye, she raised the pictures, saying, “This one is you, and this one is our mother. We look just like her, don’t we?”
“Our mother?” Olivia’s dry throat barely forced the words out.
“Rose Matthews. We share her name, and,” presenting her own wrist, “her birthmark. Like you, I was also raised by my ...our grandmother. It was only recently that I learned about you. Grandmother Matthews told me about the accident that happened as we were coming home from the hospital. With our parents dead, ultimately it was decided that we would be seperated, but Gramma Olivia blamed Father for the accident and would have nothing to do with the Matthews’. When she returned to the east with you, they never heard from her again.
Olivia was speechless, trying to absorb all that she had heard.
Audrey continued, softly weeping, “I am the twin sister you never knew about and you are the twin sister I’ve prayed to find. As the granddaughter of Arthur Matthews, half of this company belongs to you. You won’t be needing that position.”
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