For many years, Washington, D.C. was my home. Despite the negative publicity that town endures, the nation’s capital will always have a soft spot in my heart. After all many people—most, in fact—have nothing to do with our government. Elite’s heroine, Christiana Snow, is one such person.
Thrown into the world of high society by her best friend, Avery, and her political reporter father, Christiana would like nothing more than to lead a different life—one that is not tied to others’ agendas. So she sets her sights on getting through college and paying for it. What better way to make a lot of money quickly? Get a job at The Oak Room, a five-star restaurant in the city’s most notorious hotel, The Oak.
Below is her job interview with The Oak Room’s manager, Brian Bishop. She tries hard to remain private, but in Washington, D.C. secrets are hard to keep …
The Job Interview
Brian Bishop fingered the resume in his hand and frowned. “Christiana Snow” had been typed at the top with a long list of waitressing jobs itemized underneath. By the feel of the indents on the paper, she’d produced the document of her work life on an old-fashioned typewriter. So strange. And why is the daughter of a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer wanting to waitress instead of interning in some swanky downtown office?
“I didn’t expect a college student to have such extensive experience. Six waitressing jobs in four years? Not all at once, I trust?”
“Um, no.” Her face reddened. “But if you hire me, I’ll work as many shifts as you have . . . or need.”
He assessed the young lady before him. She shifted her weight from one leg to the other. Shy. But not diffident. She looked capable. “You enjoying serving others?”
“I’m good at it.” She dropped her head. “That sounded arrogant. Sorry. It’s just I’ve worked since I was fifteen.”
His frown deepened. “Tell me, Miss Snow, why here? My sous chef told me your father is Peter Snow and—”
“The tips.” She looked up at him, flushing from head to toe. “Um, and filing paperwork in my dad’s office isn’t . . . appealing. Besides, I’m a good waitress and you could use the help.”
He raised his eyebrows at her bold statement.
“I mean I’d like to help. You seemed quite busy the other day.”
Busy wasn’t a strong enough word for the current state of The Oak Room. It was only May and their lunch and dinner reservations list already boasted a long waiting list for the next several weeks. He was at least four servers short. Didn’t anyone want to serve anymore?
“Checking us out?” he asked with a smile. He’d be mightily impressed if she’d done just that.
She blinked her large blue eyes. “I was here with my best friend and her family. The Churchills?”
Many Washingtonians would kill to drop such a powerful family connection. What was it about her tone that had him believe she wasn’t trying to impress?
“Let’s sit over there.” He gestured to an empty corner booth, set up for the lunch crowd an hour away from arriving. Considering the young girl would likely be the stupidest move he’d made in eight years. She’d leave in three months, for God’s sake. Yet something about Christiana Snow’s sincerity made him hit the pause button on his normal reaction to such a scenario. Immediately dismissing her job candidacy seemed unwise. After all, pretty female servers did well with the older men. Especially well connected pretty girls.
After she eased herself across the leather bench and settled, he resumed scanning her resume. “You’ve only ever waitressed.”
“It seemed the best way to save for college. If you’re good, you can make a lot.”
“And you’re good.”
“Yes.” She straightened her back. Summoning more courage? “I know I’ve only worked in mid-level restaurants. But I was the highest tip earner at my last place—”
“Maverick’s.” The wanna-be gentleman’s club attracted lonely older man whose sexual overtures might go overlooked in the dark lighting. He doubted Christiana left without being groped a few times. Though single and romantically unencumbered, a fatherly protective feeling arose in him. He shuttered it. She probably causes the same sentiment in every man she meets.
Brian returned to the job at hand—assessing her abilities. “We get slammed during the summer. Tourist season and all. I have a few personal questions, nothing that goes against federal law, mind you. But I have to know a few things, for security reasons. You’re aware of the clientele we serve?”
“Politicians. judges, attorneys.” She laughed at the last word. Anyone in Washington would match her mirth. You couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a lawyer in D.C. “And tourists, as you said, all looking to catch a glimpse of someone famous. I’m familiar with the crowd.”
She didn’t return his smile. “I have no police record. I’m in perfect health. I’m not pregnant. No physical impediments to doing the job. No boyfriend, restraining orders or trouble with the law.”
Jesus, this woman understood his predicament. Federal law kept him from asking any of what she revealed. Yet if anything on her recited list had existed, great angst would arise in a restaurant manager. Or anyone. Only one other thing she didn’t mention could be worse. . . .
“You might overhear certain conversations,” he said.
“You’re afraid I’ll tell my father what I hear.” She stated it directly, without hesitation and tinged with weariness. So, she’d had such conversations before. Having a famous, political writer father meant only one thing in this town—potential information leaks. Had she been accused of this in the past?
He scrubbed his face. “Discretion, especially in the more private dining areas, such as the Cabinet Room—”
“Is none of my business. I won’t tell my father anything. You have my word.” She emphasized her last statement.
“We have a clause in our standard employment agreement that covers confidentiality.” Barely enforceable, but it exists. He suspected her word held more force than any piece of paper.
She sighed. “You see from my resume that I worked one summer at the Rosemont Country Club. They’re also concerned about privacy.”
“Why not go back there?”
“Well . . . it’s kind of embarrassing. But I need to make more money, and when I asked for a raise they said ‘no.’ College is expensive.” She laughed lightly but then grew quiet. “The Churchills also are part of the finance committee and I’d see them there. . . I’d have to serve them all the while knowing I’d asked for a raise and was denied. See what I mean?” She lowered her head.
An anger arose in him. So, the hoity-toity crowd of Rosemont—and her friends?—hadn’t been generous with Christiana. Jesus, Bishop, get a grip. Tamp it down. She’s going to be one of your waitresses. Shit, he’d already mentally hired her.
“It made you mad?”
She lifted her gaze. “I didn’t want to make them uncomfortable.”
This girl couldn’t be for real. They refused her a raise of what? Maybe a dollar an hour? She was concerned they’d feel strange seeing her, knowing they’d been tight-wads? Fifteen minutes with this woman and he’d practically adopted her as a daughter—someone needing protection.
“I believe you’ll find our customers to be quite generous.”
“I could tell when I was here. Even though your wait staff seemed really taxed. I could start today, if you’d like. I think lunch starts in forty-five minutes?”
Oh, she was good. She deserved . . . more.
“You’re hired.” Did he really just do this?
Her face cracked into a huge grin, revealing her true age. She really was nineteen. If a man wasn’t careful, he’d believe she was twenty-five.
Dangerous, Bishop. She is definitely dangerous. Thank God he’d hired her. Keep her working and out of trouble.
Reviews for ELITE:
“Elizabeth SaFleur’s book explodes and almost rocked our capital for a loop!”
“Wow. Where do I start…an exceptional book.”
“Elizabeth SaFleur did an amazing job in creating a book that will stay with me. A must add to your tbr list. Highly recommended.”