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Summary: Dajan answers a want ad, and finds a job with Celestina.

Date It Happened: December 28, 2001


Celestina's Home

Dajan has learned from experience to always look her best for interviews. So it is that her hair is back in a plait, and she's wearing a charcoal grey suit with a white blouse and sensible black Doc Martens, wing-tip style. But when she gets off the bus and walks the way Google Maps told her and comes across the house, she has to force herself not to turn around and go back to the bus stop. Swank neighborhood. And rich people have odd ideas. "Need the money," she tells herself. "Need the money. Can reward yourself with Brazilian chocolate cake if you get it." And up the walk she goes, looking for an intercom or something to announce herself.

There is, in fact, an intercom. The button is rewarded by a female voice on the speaker. "Yes, can I help you?"

"Hello. Dajan Tripp, in reply to your ad. We spoke this morning when I confirmed the directions?" Dajan says politely into the speaker.
The voice sounds pleased. "Oh, yes. Please, come on up." And there is a buzz, and the gate slides back.

Dajan watches the gate with a careful eye, then steps past, and walks up to the door, where she rings the bell and waits, hands demurely folded.

Celestina opens the door. She's in a long, technicolor silk skirt that reaches to her ankles, a somewhat billowy tan silk blouse, and barefoot. Definitely NOT the Srs Biznesswoman sort. She motions for Dajan to come in, and smiles. "Hello there! I'm Celestina. And you're Dajan." Apparently not much for last names, either. "Come in! Can I get you something to drink?" she offers.

That's encouraging. She seems to be sort of airy and cheerful. Dajan nods politely in response to being identified. "Just tea, please, if you have it." She ventures a tentative smile. If there were background music it'd be that song from A Chorus Line: I really need this job, please God I need this job but Dajan's working hard not to let that show on her face.

Celestina smiles. "Lots and lots of tea. Let me get some water on. Please, take a seat." She gestures to her living room. The home seems appointed mostly in general "New Age/Treehugger" style. Lots of natural woods, handmade things, and the like. She heads down the hallway, presumably off to the kitchen.

Dajan settles comfortably in a chair, and is easing a little bit in her nervousness. The woman's manner is so friendly, so motherly.

Celestina returns a few minutes later. "There…that'll go shrilling at me in a few minutes, and then we'll have some tea." She moves to sit down in one of the other chairs. "All right. Well, let's see. Basically, I need someone to work as a personal assistant for me. Taking care of errands, helping out with some bookkeeping, things like that. Nothing terribly hard. It's a part-time position; basically, two weeks on, two weeks off. So, it's rather hectic for the two weeks, but then you get some time to decompress." She pauses, clearly for possible questions.

"Sounds very interesting," Dajan admits. "And although I'm proficient on a computer, I'm not so much skilled with accounting, but I'd be fine with everything else. I've got a license. And I'm a morning person, but I can flex with the scheduling you need."

Celestina nods. "Oh, good. I'm afraid I don't have much of a head for computers." Though clearly she doesn't look that old, a lot of her mannerisms seem to be. "And that would be wonderful. I work as a personal consultant, astrologer, that sort of thing." Which in this town, apparently pays big bucks. "The job is a bit eclectic; it's basically going to be a "handle whatever I need done". Which might occasionally involve odd errands or things like that."

Not such a big deal that she seems older than she looks. If the subject ever came up, Dajan could speak from one remove about that sort of thing. "Astrologer…" Dajan repeats. Of course. "And it sounds like about a perfect position, ma'am. When do you need me to start." Unbelievable. A Gal Friday job. So, okay, it's not precisely in her field but it'll keep her fed. And the employer seems to be someone Dajan could tolerate for long periods of time. And she isn't asking for long periods of time.

Celestina smiles. "Well, how soon can you start?" she laughs. "I don't have any lack of things to do, that's for certain!" She seems pleased at the offer acceptance.

"If you need me to start now, that can be arranged," Dajan says politely, with a smile that's more genuine as she relaxes. The woman seems welcoming.

Celestina beams. "Oh, that's wonderful! I" And there's the whistle of the tea kettle from the kitchen. "I will be right back. Do you have a preference? Type of tea and how you take it?" she asks, backing down the hall.

"Anything but Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchong, black, three sugars, if you please," Dajan calls as Celestina heads back for the kitchen. "Should I take the tour with you? I know how to properly brew tea."
Celestina nods, "Oh, sure, if you like! Could you take your shoes off, though?" Hardwood floors. Or maybe she's just quirky.

"No prob. My Aunt is the same way." Dajan steps out of the shoes, and carries them to the front door. She sets them just to the right. If this works out, that's where the shoes will go anytime she has to be in the house. She flushes slightly, as the dark grey socks she's wearing have a hole in one and her big toe is poking out on the left side. "Lead on!"

Celestina leads the way out to the kitchen. It's nicely appointed, like the rest of the place, with a doubled up set of cast iron and copper cookware, and a positively ENORMOUS spice rack. She moves to open one cupboard. "Teas." She steps back to let Dajan at it, since she said she knew how. The offerings are widely varied. Easily almost two dozen assorted varieties.

"Wow," Dajan breathes. It takes her a minute before she picks a Pomagranate, and, to prove she can make the tea, takes a moment to find the tea ball, pour a small amount into it, and thence into a mug. The tea kettle is removed carefully from the stove, and allowed a second to breathe off the steam before she pours the hot water over the ball. "Douglas Adams taught me how to do this after he died," she comments.
Celestina smiles, as she watches…but then doubletakes. "After he died?" That seems to puzzle her just a bit. Though she doesn't immediately dismiss it.

"Yes," Dajan clarifies without batting an eye. She does smile, though. The woman didn't immediately dismiss the remark, or regard it as some sort of verbal typo. "His publisher printed a book by him posthumously. It was his obvervations on life. The one that really stuck with me, though, was the short two-paragraph thing he wrote on the differences between how Americans make tea and how the English make tea." She sets a saucer atop the mug to let the tea steep.

Celestina blinks. "Oh!" She was wondering if there was a much more supernatural explanation for that sort of thing. "And excellent, we can tack tea-making on the duties. My rules are pretty simple. There are a couple rooms in the back, I'll show you where; those you must not go in at any time. No shoes on the hardwood. No interrupting me if I'm with a client unless I call you in first. And last, you mustn't contact me during the two-week-off periods, no matter what." She looks back to Dajan to see if it's all clear.

Dajan turns to pay attention as Celestina speaks. "Two rooms in the back, completely off limits, no matter what." A nod of her head to confirm it, as if she were checking off an invisible bullet point. "No shoes on the hardwood." Another nod. "No interruptions unless you've asked me to come in first." One more nod. And then her head comes up. There's a tiny furrow between her brows that indicates her confusion. But, nonetheless, she dutifully repeats, "During the two weeks you don't need me, I am to maintain…radio silence, for want of a better term. No phone calls, no emails, no instant messages, no text, no snailmail." Just to be absolutely clear, she covers multiple methods; if Celestina has an exception or a contingency, she can make it known.

Celestina nods, beaming brightly. "You're going to do wonderfully. Aside from those, let's see…you can dress as you like, please treat the place as you would your own; you're welcome to anything in the kitchen you like. You'll be handling the bills, so if you need money for any of the errands I set you to, just take it out of the checking account, and keep any receipts for my accountant. Most workdays will be ten till six, though I may vary that from time to time." She pauses. "Did I forget anything? Any questions?"

It sounds like a dream job. "It sounds like we've covered everything," Dajan says, face breaking into a serene smile. She hasn't had a job she's enjoyed in a long time, and this one seems to have broken her streak of employment bad luck. "I'm sure I'll come up with some." It's rude to discuss salary at the interview, which is why she's waiting for Celestina to bring that one up. "Thank you. I look forward to this, and I'm sure we'll get along famously."

Celestina's a bit scatterbrained; she hasn't thought of it, apparently. "Wonderful! All right. I'll show you to the checkbook, and the computer, and—" THERE it is. "Oh! I almost forgot; I haven't had an assistant in ages. What kind of salary requirement do you have?"

Dajan is silent for a moment, doing calculations in her head for a part time job where she'll be at the beck and call for half a month at a time. The figure she gives is just slightly more than reasonable; always ask for a a baby elephant, but be prepared to be content with a used Chevette.

Celestina considers that, and to her, it seems both high and low. The last time she had a personal assistant, it was the 1970's, and wages were lower. At the same time, it's a tiny, tiny amount compared to what she makes. "Why don't we raise it just a bit. I'd rather not have you looking for another job; I don't want to train more than one assistant." She counter-offers at 20% higher than Dajan's proposed number.

Dajan extends a hand, carefully schooling her expression to calmness. "That's more than fair, Celestina." It'll take a bit of getting used to, being on a first name basis with a boss. But okay. "When shall we schedule my official start date?"

Celestina smiles. "Tell you what…let's call it tomorrow morning…" She motions for Dajan to follow, and pads through the house. She comes to a small home office, and steps in, rummaging through the hurricane of papers to dig out a checkbook. She quickly writes out a check and hands it over to Dajan. "And we can call that a signing bonus. I don't mind at all if you're barefoot…" She is. "…but you can pick up some socks without holes if you'd like." She seems to have perceived Dajan's state-of-broke. The $300.00 check is probably meant to tide her over to a first paycheck.

Okay, this woman has pretty much just assured Dajan's loyalty. That was way more generous than Dajan had a right to hope for. Christmas has come a couple days late. "Thank you. The bonus is very much appreciated." She can replace not only the socks, but several of her more old-and-busted pairs of jeans. "Ten am, sharp. Shall I pick up croissants, baguettes…or is there something else you prefer to start your day with? And do you do coffee at all?" Clearly she wants to get this right, and pin down what Celestina likes.

The other woman makes a face. "Coffee's no good for you. Tea. And I love chai more than anyone has a right to. Bringing breakfast when you come in probably isn't a bad plan. I forget to eat a lot, and this way I won't. You can pick up for both of us, and it'll just go on the expenses." She suggests.

"Very good, then," Dajan says, listening. "It's no good for you, but decaf isn't too bad as an occasional treat. But tea it is, chai especially. It's my favourite too." Wow. It must be a match made in …Los Angeles. "And I'll bring breakfast, then. By tomorrow I'll have menus for you from all the local places between my place and here, and you can tell me which ones make the grade for you. Sound fair?"

Celestina smiles. "That sounds wonderful." She considers the moon phase. "I have a fairly major project coming up soon, so I might be just a bit snappish. So let me apologize in advance. I tend to have a perfectionist streak that rears its ugly head when I'm stressed." Full moon soon.

"There's a LUSH opening up on Rodeo," Dajan says, without missing a beat. "Does aromatherapy help with your stress levels? I could probably find you a massage therapist or an accupressure tech if that works better for you."

The woman all but purrs, in an ooh-so-happy kind of way. "Aromatherapy would be lovely, but I'd never say no to a good massage therapist!"

Dajan smiles, and inwardly she's doing the touchdown snow angel. Score. "Okay. I'll make sure to pick up some candles, some reed diffusers, and some lamp rings. Any fragrances that particularly make you happy? Any you'd like me to stay away from?"

Celestina thinks a moment. "Hmmm…no, I don't think I have any particular general favorites. More just getting the right scent at the right time. I'll trust your judgement on it!"

"Let me have a quick walk around the house with you, then?" Dajan asks diffidently. "I want to get the feng shui right, or at least get a vibe for what scents go with the style of the rooms." She's been in LA long enough to grasp how certain things work. That, plus, she is well aware of recent experience, that LA isn't quite as mundane a city as some people might think.

Celestina nods. "Of course. This way." She proceeds to give her the tour. It's a nice house, all in that same natural/homey sort of feel. Master bedroom and several guest rooms. The living room, dining room, kitchen, the office, a small study, and then the two rooms she IDs as off-limits. There's just enough that if Dajan knows what to look for, there's the trappings of real magic about the place, not just New Age kitsch.

Not so much Dajan knows what to look for as she's a bit magic herself, and there's a certain tingle when she gets around it. But she makes no comment, nor any other sign of having sensed anything. She's pulled out her cellphone and stylused on a few notes to herself on each room, as well as a reminder which two are off limits. "Okay. I think I've got a feel for the place."

Not so much Dajan knows what to look for as she's a bit magic herself, and there's a certain tingle when she gets around it. But she makes no comment, nor any other sign of having sensed anything. She's pulled out her cellphone and stylused on a few notes to herself on each room, as well as a reminder which two are off limits. "Okay. I think I've got a feel for the place.""

Celestina beams back a smile at her. "All right…I jotted down the number you called me at this morning; that's your cell phone?" She looks back to her Brand New Assistant.

"That's it," Dajan confirms, holding up the phone herself. And now she'll be able to afford to pay the bill! "Only line I've got, and it's got text and email so if you want to dash off a message to me that way because of some of the holes in coverage in the city, feel free."

Celestina smiles. "Email…right." There was a reason the job posting was a newspaper ad and not posted online. Somehow the computer revolution missed the decades-old witch. Oh, she owns one. She's just not very good at it. Same with her phone, hence the writing-down the number rather than just putting it in her phone. "Well, then I look forward to seeing you in the morning." she smiles.

Dajan nods solemnly, noting the woman seems not to be tech savvy. That will work out to either 'teach her' or 'do everything for her'. Either way, she's prepared. "I look forward to it," Dajan assures the woman, mentally preparing to find a breakfast to wow the woman.

Celestina smiles. "Until tomorrow, then." And she starts to walk Dajan up to the door to see her off.

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