Saturday, October 1, 2016

Eleanor Washington vs. the Interview - Heroes & Villians [1.1]

Eleanor Washington stepped off the elevator onto the top floor of the office building, her red heels clicking on the marble floors as she made her way over to the receptionist’s desk. The older woman behind the desk was typing slowly on her keyboard, her body hunched over to stare down at the keys. Her graying brown hair was pulled back into a small ponytail just above her neck, a few fly-aways framing her face. Ellie placed a hand on the desk and tapped her black painted fingernails against the wood.
“Hi, how are you?” Ellie asked with her usual enthusiasm. The secretary looked up at her, eyeing Ellie’s dyed, Cherry Coke red hair and black nails with disdain. Ellie hesitated, waiting for an answer that never came. Ellie glanced towards the woman’s badge hanging from her neck. “Hey, Wilma,  I was told by my supervisor to come up here.”
“Name?” Wilma droned, adjusting her glasses on her nose.
“Eleanor Washington.” Ellie replied. “But I go by Ellie. Eleanor is too long a name.”  Wilma perked up.
“Oh yes, Mr. Baker will be happy to see you,” She said. Ellie frowned, her whole body freezing. “Please take a seat and…”
“Mr. Baker?” Ellie interrupted. “As in the CEO?”
“No, his son.” Wilma said giving Ellie a disgusted look.
“So, the next CEO.” Ellie said, still frowning. Wilma smirked, clearly amused by the horrified expression on Ellie’s face.
“Yes, the younger Mr. Baker. Please take a seat. I’ll let him know you’re here.” Ellie backed away from the desk slowly and moved to sit in one of the many large arm chairs against the wall. Ellie kept her eyes on the secretary, waiting for Wilma to call her back and say it was all a joke. This had to be a joke. Ellie worked for one of the largest technological and engineering companies in the country, but she only worked data entry - she was basically a nobody in the scheme of things. Meeting with the CEO of the company couldn’t be real. It had to be some kind of prank.
One of the two office doors behind the secretary’s desk opened inward, and Benjamin Baker leaned out. Ellie stopped breathing for a minute. He was just as handsome as the press had always made him out to be. Ellie was born and raised in Apple Creek, and the Baker family practically owned this town. She had always known about Benjamin, the second eldest son in the Baker family; though, despite working for their family’s company, she had never once seen him in person before. The Bakers were one of the richest families in the country and were on the cover of every paper and magazine that made its way through Apple Creek. Since a young age, Ellie had always adored Ben, finding him the most attractive (and closest to her age) of the three Baker sons. She had spent all of middle school crushing on him. Despite no longer being fourteen, seeing Benjamin Baker in person was one of the most intimidating experiences of her life.
“Eleanor?” Benjamin smiled towards her. Ellie couldn’t help but smile hearing his voice say her name. Even his voice was attractive. She wondered idly if he had any unattractive characteristics. She needed a few to keep her heart rate down. She wasn’t in middle school anymore, her life was different now. She couldn’t react like this. Not with him.

“Would you like to join me?” He asked. Ellie nodded and stood, walking briskly toward him and through the door he held open for her. He closed the door behind them and gestured for Ellie to sit in the chair in front of his large wooden desk.
“My name is Ben.” He said.
“Oh I know who you are,” Ellie replied, sitting down, keeping her eyes on him as he lingered by the door. She was finding it difficult to look away, and hated herself for it. Ben looked at her thoughtfully, as if trying to read her. Ellie tried her best to compose her expression and hide the jitters she felt.

“Eleanor Washington,” Ben said enunciating each syllable as he made his way over towards the desk. “That’s a very old-fashioned, almost historical name. Were your parents into history?” Ben asked, sitting on the corner of his desk in front of her.
“I wouldn’t know; they both died when I was nine.” Ellie replied. Ben frowned, looking sympathetic. Ellie’s heart started racing, as it always did in awkward situations, and her mouth began rambling before her brain could stop her. “It was a bomb. Big explosion. My mother died right next to me; my father’s body was never found. I had some major psychiatric problems after that….” Ellie’s brain finally caught up and stopped her mid sentence, and she bit down on her lower lip. She looked over Ben, taking in the expression on his face, eyebrows lifted, mouth hanging open -it was a combination of confusion and horror.
“I’m sorry,” Ellie said quickly. “Can we rewind that? Hi, my name is Eleanor Washington, no I don’t know why my parents named me that, but you can just call me Ellie.” Ellie watched as Ben seemed to be fighting back a smile, the corners of his mouth twitching.
“Ellie.” Ben nodded. “I like it.”
“I like you… your name as well. Benjamin. It’s a nice name.” Ellie smiled, blushing. Ben lowered his head to hide his grin, turning away from her.  Ben reached back and lifted a folder off of his desk and began thumbing through it.
“I’ve been told by your supervisor that you’re an exemplary employee.” Ellie couldn’t help but laugh.
“I do data entry,” She replied. “It’s not that difficult to copy things onto a computer.”
“You’d be surprised,” Ben said with a sigh. “He tells me you also have a very different background and are overqualified for your position.”
“I think that’s up to me to determine.” Ellie countered. “I chose to apply for this job.”
“Why?” Ben asked, clutching the folders in his lap and gazing at her curiously. Ellie glanced down at her hands, thinking over her answer.
“Because I didn’t feel ready to enter into the field of technology.” Ellie admitted. “Sure, I invented a tracking system for keys in college, and, not to brag, did it rather brilliantly, but really what kind of life would that be if all I did was invent random novelty items?”
“Probably better than data entry.” Ben smiled, his dark blue eyes continuing to watch her with curiosity.
“Says a CEO in training.” Ellie said. “Anything like data entry is way beneath you.” Ben frowned, Ellie spotting a flash of hurt cross his face. Ellie winced and tried to redeem herself. “Not saying you’re one of those big business guys who thinks they’re better than everyone who works for them. I wouldn’t know; I hardly know you.”
“Anyways,” Ben ignored her. “Are you capable of creating weapons?” Ellie mouth fell open and her body stiffened. The question had thrown her completely. Bakersfield didn’t make weapons, they never have and had no known plans of ever starting to.
“What kind of weapons?” Ellie asked breathlessly. Ben gave her a smile, attempting to help her relax a bit.
“For instance, if I asked you to create a playing dart that would explode, could you do that?” Ben asked. Ellie chuckled.
“Well, yes, that’s relatively simple. Although the size of the explosion wanted would factor into play and if it’s meant to create a larger explosion then I don’t know if an average sized playing dart would suffice. Though, with a dart as the primary weapon, I’m assuming a large explosion isn’t... the purpose.” Ellie drug out the last few words, trying to read Ben’s expression. His eyes were wide, and he was fighting back a smile. He looked pleased with her answer.
“And what about a communication system that’s undetectable?” Ben asked.
“A little more difficult, but I’m sure I could figure it out. Again, there’s a lot of factors to come into play, but if you’re talking about creating a frequency that can’t be hacked I’m pretty sure that’s something I can do.” Ellie watched his expression carefully, trying to read him. “Why are you asking me this?”
“And have you ever considered fashion?” Ben asked, ignoring her question. “Like designing a fireproof outfit that breathes and allows lots of movement?”
“Also simple if you have the right materials.” Ellie answered. “Or create the right materials, which I’m capable of. I’ve dabbled into the area before. I created a new fabric once before. Having the right materials though isn’t usually in my budget so I haven’t advanced that skill much. Mr. Baker, what does this have to do with anything? My job is not in the technology department.”
“What do you know about the Bakersfield Incident?” Ben asked. Ellie lifted an eyebrow, questioning him. Ben nodded, waiting patiently for an answer. Ellie sighed.
“Well it was about eighty years ago, there was an explosion in one of your factories that released mass amounts of radiation into the air resulting in widespread poisoning to the people in Apple Creek. Ever since then, the city has been filled with people with unnatural powers that are forced to register their powers with the government and rumor has it they go to a school to learn to use their powers and then are deemed as heroes or villains and then go off into the city to use their powers for either good or evil.”  
“Do you even know how to take a breath while talking?” Ben asked with a smile.
“That is not under my list of skills.” Ellie grinned back, her cheeks turning pink. Ben laughed in response, his laugh just as perfect as the rest of him. She almost hated him just for how perfect he was. It wasn’t fair.
“Ever since the Bakersfield Incident this company has been trying to rid the city of people with superpowers: hero or villain. People aren’t meant to have powers.” Ben continued, his face turning stern. Ellie’s eyes narrowed towards the floor.
“Because heaven forbid someone has powers, making them more capable of helping people.” Ellie muttered. She looked up at Ben with wide eyes. “I’m so sorry. I talk too much. Though I’m pretty sure you’ve already noticed that.” Ellie winced.
“Ellie,” Ben laughed, giving her a smile that melted her heart. “You’re fine.” Ben set the folder back down on his desk. “I’ve called you in here because we’ve heard reports of villains and heroes alike using technology like what I described earlier to do their evil deeds.” Ellie’s whole body froze and she had to force herself not to glare towards him.
“Are you accusing me of something?” Ellie said through her teeth.
“Maybe,” Ben replied, looking over her, his expression stern. Ellie started into his eyes and pressed her lips together, challenging him.
“Mr. Baker, I have not met anyone with superpowers that I am aware of, nor would I create something like you described for someone without knowing their intentions first.” Ellie spoke slow and clear, trying to get her point across. “I am more than capable of building such things, but I have never and will never do it.” Ben nodded.
“Never say never.” Ben commented. Ellie frowned.
“No, I’m pretty sure creating weapons is not in my life plan.” Ellie said. Ben smiled.
“Alright.” He said, jumping down from his desk to his feet. “Can you come with me, Ellie.” He began walking toward a large bookcase. Ellie stood from her chair and walked toward him.
“Are we taking a reading break?” Ellie asked. Ben glanced towards her and grinned. He pulled a book from the shelf, War and Peace, and reached into the shelf behind where it had been, pushing a red button. He replaced the book and the bookshelf began to slide off to one side. Ellie stood frozen, stunned at what she was seeing. Ben laughed at her expression as the bookshelf slid away to reveal a small elevator. Ben grabbed her wrist (her heartbeat quickening) and pulled her inside, pushing a few buttons before the doors shut and they started moving downwards.
“Is this some special CEO elevator?” Ellie asked, her voice quivering. Ben shrugged.
“Something like that,” Ben replied. His composure had slipped. He looked nervous. His first hint of imperfection and Ellie examined him curiously. “It’s difficult for me to explain what I need you for without showing you.”
“You need me?” Ellie breathed, tilting her head. Ben smiled.
“Yes, Ellie, I need your help,” He said.  Ellie didn’t say anything, staring at the doors, waiting impatiently to see what was waiting on the other side. The elevator stopped moving, and the doors opened to reveal a large, dark room. Ellie stepped out, her heels clicking on the concrete floor.
Ben flipped a switch beside the elevator and bright florescent lights flickered on overhead. There was a raised circular platform in the center of the room, desks and computers against its railed circumference. There was a doorway to a small room, a cot visible inside. On the other end of the room stood a large glass case with a single outfit hanging inside. It was a hooded, black jumpsuit that Ellie recognized immediately. Ellie turned back to Ben, finding him standing back by the elevator doors, watching her.
“You’re the Knight Dragon?” She asked. Ben hesitated before nodding, still eyeing her with caution. “You’re a hero. But your father, and the company, they don’t approve of…”
“My dad knows who I am, though the rest of my family doesn’t.” Ben said. “The company insists on being against people with superpowers because that’s the norm. The entire board holds a firm anti-supers stance.  My father and I play along because we don’t want to draw any unwanted attention to ourselves or the company.  My father himself used to be the Golden Man.” Ellie’s eyes widened.
“Your dad is the Golden Man?”
“Well he’s retired, but yes.”
“He was the greatest superhero there ever was!” Ellie exclaimed. Ben rolled his eyes.
“That’s an exaggeration.” Ben replied, a hint of irritation in his voice. “Ellie, I brought you down here because I need your help. As I said, villains have started using actual weapons instead of just their powers. It’s not as simple as when my dad was a hero. I need someone I can trust who can build me technology to help me fight off the villains.”
“How can you trust me? You just met me.”
“I’ve been researching you for a while now.” Ben said, looking a bit embarrassed. “You have the best background of anyone I could find. You’re a perfect fit.”
“And despite telling you in your office I don’t want to build weapons…”
“They aren’t all weapons.” Ben cut her off, taking a step towards her. “I need a new suit, badly. The technology in my current one isn’t up to par, and you said you could do it.”
“That was when I was thinking hypothetically.” Ellie said glancing back towards the suit.
“But you can do it.”
“I can.” Ellie admitted. She looked over the room, her brain and mouth trying not to blurt out every question currently flooding her head. “If I say no?” Ellie asked glancing back at Ben. His face immediately turned solemn.
“Then I’d have to swear you to secrecy and find someone else. But, Ellie, there is no one else. I looked over everyone at Bakersfield. Even our top engineers don’t have a background like yours. Why you aren’t higher up in the company is completely beyond me.” Ellie winced.
“So, let me get this straight,” Ellie said. “You want me to build you a new suit and technology and weapons to help you fight off the villains in the city?”
“Yes.” Ben flashed her a smile that Ellie was certain was the only thing he had to do to get the many girls he dated to go out with him.
“I’ll be helping people.” Ellie breathed turning again to the suit. The Knight Dragon was a hero. If she did this, she would be helping a hero.
“Yes, possibly saving lives.” Ben answered. Ellie’s eyes lit up.
“I’ll do it.” She said twirling back to him. Ben grinned.
“Really?” His expression relieved.
“You’re the freaking Knight Dragon!” Ellie exclaimed. Ben laughed. “You’ve always been my favorite superhero.” Ben grinned. He stepped toward Ellie and held out his right hand. She placed her own hand in his, and they shook firmly.
“Welcome to my team, Ellie.”

Yay! I love this story. I love Ellie and Ben a lot. They are two of my favorite characters I've written. The whole series centers around these two so I hope you like them just as much as I do.

Don't forget to share this series with your friends and let me know what you thought in the comments below!


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