Honesty ~ Short Story

Honesty ~ Short Story

Because it’s spring, and the weather is so cheerful and good mood-inducing, I thought I’d share this fun little story with all of you. It’s never been posted anywhere before, so you’re the first ones to see it. Hope you like it!


Honesty

Elizabeth sat waiting in a lobby, trying not to bounce her knee in impatience. Interviews always made her nervous.

“He’s ready for you, Ms. Bennet.”

Elizabeth stood and smoothed her skirt, quickly patting her hair into place and taking a calming breath. She tucked her portfolio that held her recent work, resume, and references under her arm and strode through the door the assistant was holding open.

“You must be Ms. Bennet,” said the man behind the desk as the door clicked shut behind her. He was looking at a paper on his desk and didn’t look up. “Please, have a seat.” He gestured to a chair in front of his desk and she sat down.

“Tell me why you want to work for Pemberley,” he said, still reading the papers he was flipping through on his desk.

“Pemberley has an excellent reputation for sound principles with both the customer and its staff. Turnover is low, promotions often come from within, and the company has great policies for women.”

He finally looked up at her. “And why does that appeal to you personally?”

“Because I want to be able to sleep at night, enjoy where I work, and advance in my career. And because I’m obviously a woman.”

“Obviously.” He leaned back and crossed his hands over his middle. “What would you consider to be a person’s most important quality in business, Ms. Bennet?”

“Honesty and integrity,” she responded quickly.

“Really? Not innovation, commitment to excellence, or loyalty?” he asked drily.

She shifted slightly in her seat. “If you are honest, it follows that you are loyal. If you have integrity, you are committed to excellence.”

He raised a brow. “And do you have integrity, Ms. Bennet?”

“Absolutely.”

His brow raised again. “Would you consider yourself honest?”

“Yes, sir. Definitely.”

“Explain, please.”

“Explain? That I’m honest?” she asked nervously.

“Yes.”

“Um, well, I, sometimes I am too honest for my own good.”

“How so?” he asked, his eyes focusing on her intently.

“I have, upon occasion, said more than I should have or told the truth when it would have been better to be silent.”

“That sounds like you put your foot in your mouth, Ms. Bennet, not honesty,” he said flatly and returned his gaze to the papers in front of him.

“No, I don’t!” she exclaimed. “I mean, I don’t often say the wrong thing or put my foot in it as you call it, but sometimes, when someone asks me for my honest opinion, I actually give it instead of telling them what they want to hear.”

He nodded slowly. “So your difficulty lies in reading people, not in control of your tongue.”

Her eyes widened. “Sometimes, sir,” she said quietly.

He leaned back again, settling comfortably into his chair. “Do you like this tie, Ms. Bennet?”

“Excuse me?”

“My tie. Do you like it?”

“I’d rather not say.”

“Come now, Ms. Bennet. You’re asking for a job in my company and have touted your honesty as your most valuable quality. I am now asking for a demonstration of said quality.”

She looked at him carefully, somehow sure this was a trap, but not sure where he expected her to falter exactly. Realizing the outcome of this interview depended on the answer to the next question, she squared her shoulders and looked him in the eye.

“No, sir. I do not like it.”

She thought she saw the corner of his mouth twitch. “And what don’t you like about it?”

“Honestly?” she asked and then rolled her eyes at her own stupidity. “I don’t like the colors, they don’t suit you. The pattern is retro but you don’t strike me as a retro kind of man, and the texture looks odd from here, though I’d have to touch it to be sure. You seem to be a silk tie kind of guy. It’s also too narrow for your frame. Men with broad shoulders look silly in skinny ties.” She stopped. “In my opinion, sir,” she added softly and looked at her hands.

“Well said. Your knowledge of menswear is nowhere on your résumé.”

“My sister is a tailor.”

“Ah,” he said. “Ms. Bennet, I’d like to reward honesty with honesty.”

She sat forward, suddenly nervous.

“We will not be hiring you today. You’re up against stiff competition for this job, against people with years more experience and knowledge of our brand,” he said sincerely, elbows on the desk in front of him.

She nodded. “I understand, sir.”

“However,” she perked up, “I agree with you, about this unfortunate tie and about honesty and integrity being invaluable qualities in an employee. I would encourage you to apply again should another position become available. I believe you’d fit in well at Pemberley.”

She smiled and he stood.

“Thank you for your time, sir.” She picked up her portfolio and started to turn around.

“Ms. Bennet, there is another company that will have an opening in your field soon. Here is the contact information for Richard Fitzwilliam, the man who will be doing the hiring.” He walked around to her side of the desk and handed her a business card. “Let him know I sent you, he should be able to see you this week.”

“Thank you, sir.” She smiled and put the card in her pocket.

Her hand was on the doorknob when he called her name. She turned around and he was standing right in front of her.

“Yes?”

“Would you like to get a cup of coffee with me?” he asked.

“Coffee? Me and you?” she asked.

He nodded. “Yes. Me and you. You can tell me more about how my clothes don’t suit me.”

She blushed and looked down. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. I knew it was none of my business, but I thought you were testing me and wanted to see if I could be completely honest even when it was uncomfortable.”

“You were right, I was testing you. And you passed. Well done. Now, coffee?”

She made a face. “Will my answer make a difference with future hiring decisions or with your recommendation to your friend?”

He stood up straighter. “Absolutely not. I assure you, Ms. Bennet, my commitment to integrity is just as strong as yours.”

“Alright. When and where?”

“Tomorrow, nine o’clock at the café on the corner?”

“I’ll see you then – I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name,” she added, somewhat embarrassed.

“Oh, my apologies. Darcy, William Darcy.”

Her eyes opened a little wider. “William Darcy, CEO of Pemberley, William Darcy?”

“The one and only. Is that a problem?”

“No, not at all,” she answered lightly. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He smiled and she left, quickly making her way to the elevator and pressing the button for the ground floor. As soon as the doors closed, she leaned against the wall and fanned herself.

“William Darcy! Oh my G-d!”


So, what did you think? Let me know below!

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38 COMMENTS
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Kitty
Kitty
December 1, 2017 12:38 AM

Great story Honesty. Looking forward to the rest . Wow what a Teaser

Debbie Fortin
April 24, 2016 2:49 PM

You must continue this story. I really want more.

Anji
April 23, 2016 5:14 PM

Like lots of the others, I’d love to read more of this story Elizabeth.

Lisa Hatfield
Lisa Hatfield
April 22, 2016 10:11 PM

I really loved the short story….but, I would love to see it continue on!! It promises to be an intriguing story!!

Sheila L. M.
Sheila L. M.
April 22, 2016 4:59 PM

That was sweet but as others have said, “Too Short”. But a likable moment in time. Thank you.

Jennifer Redlarczyk
April 21, 2016 11:48 PM

Very Cute! Loved it!

Rose Fairbanks
April 21, 2016 10:28 PM

Squee!!! Your stories always make me smile!

Zoe Burton
AuAu
April 21, 2016 7:33 PM

Cute story!! Thanks for sharing it! 🙂

Sally
Sally
April 21, 2016 4:57 PM

I imagine he didn’t hire her because he couldn’t date an employee! Good start to more…

Lynn Bischoff
Lynn Bischoff
April 21, 2016 4:19 PM

What a fun short story. Loved it.

justjane1813
April 21, 2016 4:08 PM

Lovely piece… Coffee with Mr. Darcy… Sigh!!

Eva Edmonds
April 21, 2016 2:45 PM

Loved it! How about a novel with this as an opening. I want to know more.

brendabigbee
April 21, 2016 1:04 PM

What a fun little story! Thanks for sharing it Elizabeth!

Glynis
Glynis
April 21, 2016 11:29 AM

I thought it was great Elizabeth. In fact the only thing wrong was that it ended. More please ?

carylkane
carylkane
April 21, 2016 9:51 AM

Wonderful short story! Thank you for sharing!

tgruy
April 21, 2016 9:44 AM

It’s always useful to carry a fan in your purse… Lovely!!

Ann Todd
Ann Todd
April 21, 2016 9:05 AM

Delightful! More, please.

Dung
Dung
April 21, 2016 1:58 AM

Loved that short story, You have me wanting more! I love interviews, both as the interviewer and and being interviewed!

Jeanne Garrett
Jeanne Garrett
April 21, 2016 12:31 AM

I hate interviews where the questions are ambiguous and there’s no right or wrong answer. I choke and my mind goes blank and then later I wonder why I didn’t say this or that. UGH!!!

Way to go Miss Bennet… she held her own with Mr. Darcy. I was hoping it was him. I didn’t peek and look. I want to know what happens next. What will be the results of this coffee meeting? You created a real tease… loved it.

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