Road Movie: Chapter 1

“BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!” “Ugh… five more minutes.” A young woman with shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes groaned as she rolled out of the bed and onto the floor. Her name was Dakota Logan, a 25 year-old sales manager. “Ouch.” “Hey there, sleepyhead.” She smiled at the sound of that voice. “Hey, Philly cheesesteak.” It was her pet name for him. A tall young man with short black hair, her boyfriend, Phillip Hopkins. “Come on, Ducky. Get up!” He groaned, dragging her off the floor. “Hey, let go of me!” She laughed and he did just that. The brunette fell back on the ground again, landing squarely on her hips. “I get that Mondays suck and all, but they would suck a lot less if I don’t have to go into work covered in bruises.” She frowned, getting back up, rubbing her bum. “Come on, let’s go! You’re going to be late for work! It’s already 8:15!” He called from the kitchen. “Oh shoot!” She shrieked, running into the bathroom. She needed to brush her teeth, change, eat breakfast, and get to work by 9. And this is why she hated Mondays. Scrubbing away her morning breath, she frantically made a checklist of what she needed to get done. Okay, so change, eat, and then Lyft to work. She rattled off to herself. Phillip usually drove himself, and they shared a car, but Dakota had Lyft discounts from work, so it all worked out. Gargling and spitting into her sink, she quickly grabbed the nearest blouse and pair of dress pants and quickly put them on over her pajamas. She had no time to change out of them.

“Dakota!” The frantic girl was startled to hear her name. She turned to see a stout elderly woman with pug-like facial features greeting her. It was the director of sales, Frida Caldwell. “It’s 9:02. 2 minutes late. I’m docking your pay.” She joked with the manager. “I’m so sorry!” Dakota was so frazzled that she did not realize Frida was kidding. “Oh geez, child. You are a mess. Here, let’s get you to your office.” She ushered the younger girl off to her room. “And for the record, no, your pay will be fine.” She reassured the anxious executive. The two had a grandmother-granddaughter dynamic, although in most cases, Frida was like the stereotypical crazy grandmother you would see in comedies. Hillary Jenkins Marketing Firm, where Dakota worked, was a large building located off to the side of Millennium Park. They got a nice view of the park and the lake, because of how high up the building their firm was. Dakota still remembered the first time she set foot in the building: she was a nervous freshman in college, interviewing for an internship at the firm over the summer. Back then, Frida used to terrify her.

“Hello.” A stern looking Frida glared at an 18 year-old Dakota. “H-hi. My name is Dakota Logan. Nice to meet you.” She was trying her best to stay calm. Dakota had interviewed and used to work part-time at the local library back home, but this was a job for something she actually wanted to do. Just having that emotional connection and need for this made her uneasy. “My name is Frida Caldwell. I am the executive director of marketing here at Hillary Jenkins. Dakota, was it?” “Yes.” She shyly nodded. “I eat little girls like you for breakfast. Why do you think that you can handle the world of marketing? And why Hillary Jenkins?” “I love the idea of helping others, specifically helping their businesses. If I can get a great concept out there for others to try and increase that sort of awareness for companies with good morals and values, then I would love to.” The brunette explained. “As for me being young, yes I am, but I am also more than happy to learn from every experience here.” She could feel herself gaining more confidence talking about marketing and her need to work here. “As for Hillary Jenkins, this is one of the best marketing companies in the world. No matter where I end up working afterwards, or what I end up doing, I know that I can carry away a lifetime’s worth of experience.” “You’re definitely an honest person. And we believe in honest marketing here. I will talk to the Human Resources department and get back to you at the end of the week.” Frida nodded approvingly. Unbeknownst to Dakota at the time, Frida had already approved the brunette’s application to intern.

“Home, sweet home.” Dakota sighed in relief as she plopped herself down in her chair. Her office had a nicer view than her home, but she was not complaining. A view like this made working for this company worthwhile. That, the experience of working in marketing, and the pay. Dakota had been with Hillary Jenkins for quite a while now. She interned for two years in college, started in another firm for a year, and then applied for an opening here and got it. It felt like full circle for her, because she had worked with almost every sales manager here, except for Virginia. Being paid a manager’s salary three years out of college, it was great for Dakota and Phillip. “Dakota, how are the hospitals going?” Frida looked at her. Each sales manager in Dakota’s firm was in charge of marketing to clients from different industries. Dakota was in charge of the medical sector. Her current customer was none other than Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where Phillip was currently working as a nurse. She had a huge advantage, dating a medical student. She had insider knowledge on how doctors and nurses think and what their needs were. And then there were her coworkers.

Like in any sales department, Hillary Jenkins’s managers were a diverse bunch. There was Maria Sanchez, an energetic 28 year-old, half Filipino, half Latina who mostly worked with fashion and retail. When she was not helping clothing stores sell their products, she would normally be found screaming in Tagalog or Spanish over the phone at her parents or husband over some a cute animal video she found on the Internet. Then there was Justin Marks, a tall Caucasian 35 year-old brunette who loves sports, and worked with professionals in the athletic and sporting industry. Whether it was gyms, sporting goods stores, or famous Chicago athletes, Justin was Hillary Jerkins’ go-to man for that. Then there was Virginia Ko. She was a year 28 old Korean lady, originally from Hawaii. Virginia started in Hillary Jenkins right before Dakota’s return, but they got along immediately by making fun of Frida together. She was generally very relaxed and her clients were typically from the hospitality industry, ranging from hotels to restaurants to traveling. And finally, Frida Caldwell. Everyone’s boss. She was the director of the sales department, and she enjoyed mocking everyone. She started working at Hillary Jenkins when it was first founded 60 years ago. Rumor had it that she was best friends with Hillary Jenkins herself, even though the company’s founder had been dead for more than 30 years. Frida was one of the most energetic and ridiculous 85 year-olds there ever was. She got a heart attack a couple years ago, and then went out for body shots the following day, even though it was still a work night. She was secretly a newly crossed sorority girl in a should-be retired woman’s body.

“So the PR team there just wanted to make sure that we can continue increasing brand awareness, especially for their practices. I was thinking that they could maybe do a video series on what pregnant women would do to help reduce birthing pain, just to contribute something to society and that might help?” Dakota explained to Frida, who was waiting for the brunette’s updates. “I think that’s a clever idea. Doing that will help increase doctor credibility and it will, like you said, contribute something to society. Plus, doing these kinds of videos, it will be really easy to engage in potential clients digitally. I like it.” Frida nodded approvingly as she got up. “Good job, Dakota. Keep up the good work.” She walked off. The brunette was proud of herself for the idea. Noticing the time, she quickly got up. She needed to go to the conference room and meet up with the representatives of Northwestern Memorial Hospital face to face so that she could pitch to them her ideas.

“Thank god that’s all over.” Dakota sighed as she stumbled back into her apartment. Her clients loved the idea and they were going to implement the video right away. She had to go to Northwestern Memorial, help the doctors film the video, and then give critiques on what she felt could be improved. It was tough, because Dakota was not a film and TV person, so her directing skills were not something she was confident in. But she had an idea of what she wanted for the video, and knowing that they were targeting future mothers, they made sure to keep the video light, playful, and interacting. Should this marketing campaign go successfully, then Dakota would have secured a repeat client in the hospital for Hillary Jenkins and would gain a huge commission from the firm for her idea. It was already midnight, and Phillip should be coming back from classes soon. Being a medical student, he was already studying a lot, but then when he was also working part time as a nurse, he was always busy. But it’s already been five years. He only needed three more before he graduates, and starts working as a doctor. Dakota was lucky to be dating somebody like Phillip. She still fondly recalls how the two of them first met.

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