Selling Out to the Billionaire

By: Penny Wylder

1





The minute I hear the mailman leave I’m pouncing on the mailbox. I had enough dignity to not actually be standing outside waiting for him—barely. My real estate license should be here today. That means I can call Jeremy and start working right away, and I can’t start working soon enough. That’s what the numbers in my bank account are telling me anyway. I carry the mail into the kitchen, ignoring the fact that there is more than one envelope with large threatening red letters.

Yes! There it is. I tear open the envelope and pull out the little laminated card and stare at it. My picture isn’t great—but what ID picture is ever great? Who cares? I’m licensed. I can finally say I sell homes for a living, and finally actually have something to live off. This is L.A., everyone wants to live here. In the meantime, the last of my savings will cover me until I can get my first house sold and the paperwork signed.

I pop a frozen meal in the microwave, running to grab the clothes I’ve set aside for today. Hopefully I’ll be able to use them. Jeremy—my cousin—agreed to let me start at his company Sunset Realty. I think it was his mother that talked him into it honestly, but I’m not going to argue with it. I need a place to hang my license, and his company has a great reputation.

Slipping on the heels and dress I ironed earlier, I grab my cell phone and dial Jeremy’s office number. It rings a couple of times before he picks up. “Jeremy Nelson.”

“Hey Jeremy, it’s Penelope.”

His voice warms a bit from his usual business tone. “Hey Pen, what’s up?”

“My license came today.” I can’t keep the smile out of my voice.

“Really? That’s great.” He sounds distracted, but when he’s at work Jeremy is usually distracted.

“Yeah,” I say, “so I’m available whenever.”

I hear papers shuffling around. “This is actually perfect timing. I didn’t think I was going to have anything for you for a while, but I had someone quit today.”

“Oh, wow. I’m sorry.” I feel like a terrible person at the bubble of excitement that floats up through me.

“It happens,” he says. “How soon can you get here? Sam had a showing for a new client at four.”

I look at the clock. It’s one-thirty. I calculate the distance in my head—the office isn’t too far. “I can be there by two. Two-fifteen at the latest.”

“Great. See you then.” He hangs up before I can say goodbye.

I race through my make-up routine, trying to be as fast and accurate as possible. I count myself lucky that I honed my getting ready speed so well in college. The food is done when I get back to the kitchen, and I eat it quickly while holding it over the sink so I don’t spill something on myself. I used to get jokes that I couldn’t make it through a meal without some kind of spill. Today’s not the day to prove those people right.

I leave my dishes in the sink and unplug the microwave. These days I don’t leave anything plugged in if I don’t have to. Not powering that little LCD display may only save me five cents this month, but this month five cents might be all I have to spare. Grabbing my purse and my new license, I’m out the door. Not as fast as I wanted, but I’ll still make it to the office by two-fifteen.

Twenty minutes later I’m pulling into the parking lot and thanking the traffic gods for clear roads and the fact that I wasn’t pulled over for my less-than-legal speed. I head on in, and Jeremy is on the phone when I get to his office. He gestures for me to sit while he finishes the call, and hands me a folder. Inside is the information for an absolutely gorgeous mansion in Beverly Hills. Perfect swimming pool and view overlooking the valley.

Jeremy finishes the call. “Hey, Penelope.”

“Hi.” I can’t keep the smile off my face.

“I forgot to say congratulations when we talked earlier. I know it’s been a long time coming.”

“Thanks.”

He points to the folder in my hands. “That’s the house Sam set up a showing for. It’s at four o’clock. Take care of this first, meet the client, show him the house. Might as well jump straight in with your first client, right? Nothing teaches like experience. Tomorrow we’ll get you more up to speed on things in the office and we can assign you some properties.”

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