The Virgin and the Billionaires

By: K.J. Diamond

Part 1: Meeting Alexander

Dana Jacobs got barely an hour of sleep the night before the first day at her new job. The sun was finally creeping in through her window, and Dana knew she had arrived at the moment she’d been waiting for since she got the congratulatory phone call three weeks ago. Her stomach was doing flips into her throat, and Dana knew that her standard hearty breakfast of bacon, blueberry pancakes, and home fries was out of the question this morning.

She’d spent three months sending out 20 job applications a day from her old bedroom in her parent’s house. With no job prospects after graduating from UC Davis that May, she had no choice but to move back in with her parents until she found work in her field. She was beginning to question her decision to major in photography when she finally received a phone call from a regional fashion magazine in Los Angeles, Southern California Style. They had seen her resume and wanted to bring her in for an interview.

One trip to LA and a successful job interview later, 22 year-old Dana Jacobs was the new assistant photographer at SoCal Style magazine. Not one to turn down an opportunity to break right into the fashion world, Dana packed up her car and made a hasty move from her parents’ house in calm, suburban Chico down to huge, sprawling LA.

Dana had barely settled into her small Burbank apartment since she arrived only five days earlier, and now she was running late for her first day at SoCal Style. She’d spent too long making sure she looked presentable in her most flattering black skirt and top. Wear a slimming color, highlight the waist, and mask the belly fat with a cardigan.

She was anticipating receiving the condescending stares at her new office that she was used to receiving from strangers every day. To expect any less would be crazy. After all, she was throwing herself into the line of fire: a fat girl working at a fashion magazine? She hadn’t been there yet, but she knew that LA fashion types were infamous for turning skinniness into a competition. She practically bolted out the door of her apartment, down the stairs to the door of her Honda Civic, praying that she would make it to the magazine’s Beverly Hills office on time.

Dana had only driven a few blocks before she ran into rush hour traffic. She had heard about the horrible reality of LA traffic from everybody she knew who had been there. She’d even had the foresight to allow herself ten extra minutes to get where she needed to go.

Ten minutes came and passed in stop-and-go traffic. Dana consulted her iPhone and saw that most of her trip was still ahead of her. Her stomach continued to do flips, getting more intense with each minute spent driving below 15 miles an hour. She’d already felt pangs of homesickness inside her empty apartment, but this traffic really made Dana long for Chico’s quieter streets in a way she never had before. She knew she’d arrived in a different world.

She realized ten extra minutes wasn’t going to be enough. As if her leaping stomach wasn’t already bad, now she felt her heart pounding in her chest. She finally pulled into the parking lot behind the building 10 minutes after she was supposed to. She rushed in through the back door of the building, sauntered self-consciously into the office (Don’t look rushed, don’t look rushed she thought), and announced herself to the receptionist.

The clean, cold-hued office and most of the faces in it looked vaguely familiar from Dana’s interview a few weeks earlier. Everybody there seemed aware of, but unconcerned with her presence. The receptionist motioned for Dana to follow her. She took Dana back into a small, sunlit room where a tall, tan woman stood, looking a bit perturbed.

This was Graciela Collins, the senior staff photographer and person who oversaw Dana’s hiring. She looked Dana dead in the eyes and extended her hand.

“Good morning, Dana. Trouble coming in?” Graciela shook Dana’s hand firmly.

“Yes, I’m very sorry. I gave myself extra time to get through traffic, but I underestimated how bad it was.” Dana replied.

“That’s something you’re going to have to learn to deal with. I’ll let it go with a warning today, but you should probably give yourself an extra half hour to get here from -”

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