Behind the Lights is Soap Hub’s exclusive fanfiction, set in the bustling metropolis of Genoa City… and you, the reader, have the chance to influence the story! If you have an idea for how things should progress, leave your suggestion in the comments. Then, come back for the next installment to see how the saga takes shape!
The door swung open, and Simone stopped in her tracks.
Whatever she had been expecting from her new apartment, this wasn’t it.
High ceilings, lavish-but-tasteful furnishings, and classy artwork drew her eyes from one corner of the living room to the other, each element quietly demanding both attention and appreciation. Simone had been told that all of her basic needs would be accommodated, but this went well and truly beyond anything that she would consider “basic.” Even the appliances looked to be state-of-the-art… as did the silver laptop computer that was waiting on the coffee table.
Simone glanced at the package in her hand – the one that had apparently come from a mysterious “V.N.” – and wondered how many more gifts she was due to receive. Was this sort of behavior commonplace for Genoa City? Should she start keeping extra cash on hand, in case she needed to buy someone an impromptu present? She shook her head, wondering if the sudden exhaustion she felt was being caused by the culture shock or the strain of her cross-country flight finally catching up to her.
Well, there’s all of this nice furniture, Simone thought to herself. I might as well enjoy it.
Leaving her bag by the door for the moment, Simone crossed the spacious living room and flopped herself down on the couch. It was softer than it looked, and she sank slightly into the cushions. Each of her low-heeled pumps were kicked off with a practiced motion – a habit she had developed as an adolescent, and never really broken – and she breathed a sigh of relief as the tension in her feet finally started to fade. Even as Simone relaxed, though, her eyes went back to the slim computer in front of her, and she spotted the corner of an envelope peaking out from one edge.
Curiosity finally got the better of her. The coffee table was just barely within reach from Simone’s place on the couch, but laptop itself remained a few inches beyond her grasp. She sat up and scooted forward, instinctively adopting the same straight-backed position that she always did before starting an important task. The envelope took only a gentle tug to pull free, and the faint scent of an expensive perfume drifted through the air.
Someone certainly has good taste. Simone opened the flap – it hadn’t been sealed – and extracted a letter that had been handwritten on crisp Jabot Cosmetics stationary.
Simone, the note began. Welcome to Jabot Cosmetics! We’re all very pleased to have you aboard, and I’m personally looking forward to working closely with you. As our new Deputy Head of Market Research, you’ll be responsible for finding new ways of bringing our brand to the next level, a task which I am confident will suit your skills wonderfully. Please take a few days to get settled in and have a look around Genoa City. I apologize for being unable to welcome you in person, but I have been called away on an urgent matter. We’ll have a proper meeting when I’m back in town.
Sincerely, Ashley Abbott
P.S. This laptop computer is yours for personal use, though I would ask that you keep it in good condition for business purposes, as well. If you need help installing any programs or setting anything up, please don’t hesitate to ask Ravi Shapur, our technology guru, for his assistance.
Once again, the apparent friendliness of Genoa City’s residents took Simone by surprise. Correspondence she’d had with former bosses had always been devoid of any warmth or personal flair, and had usually included a long list of self-aggrandizing job titles and legal disclaimers. The receipt of this letter – and one that had been drafted by hand, no less – was perhaps the most welcoming thing she had been given thus far, even outdoing the furnished apartment (with its ever-so-soft couch).
A sudden thought occurred to Simone, and she turned to retrieve the paper-wrapped package from where she had placed it next to her. Once again, she glanced over the note that had accompanied it:
Congratulations on your new position at Jabot Cosemetics. You may find yourself being approached with a proposition soon. Consider this a gift. Welcome to our humble city. V.N.
Compared to the message from Ashley, this one seemed remarkably blunt. Curt, even, Simone mused. Still, there was nothing overtly sinister about it, and the “proposition” that it mentioned might be something as harmless as a dinner invitation. Wasn’t that what high-powered executives did, after all? Simone grinned as she imagined a meal at an upscale restaurant, picturing the way that business moguls and wealthy entrepreneurs mentally circled each other like sharks. She would be able to hold her own, she was sure, and maybe even bring a few surprises of her own to the table.
The paper tore away from the package with little resistance, revealing what appeared to be a photograph album. It looked old – the leather was faded and rough – but like it had been kept in good condition since being bound. For the second time that day, Simone felt herself pausing, realizing that yet again, she had been expecting something entirely different.
It was a day for surprises, she supposed.
Much like the album which contained them, the pictures that revealed themselves to Simone looked to be fairly old. Some of them were in black and white, and even the ones that were in color had lost much of their saturation over the years. A wide variety of hair and clothing styles came and went as Simone flipped through the pages, all the while silently questioning if she was expected to recognize anyone.
What a strange gift.
Maybe this was just another quirk of Genoa City. Maybe the gift-exchanges she had previously wondered about occasionally included family heirlooms. Whatever the purpose behind the album, Simone was certain that it would reveal itself in time. For the moment, she had a new home (and a new city) to explore. Her energy having been replenished, Simone pushed herself off from the couch, then moved to retrieve her suitcase from beside the front door. She knew that she’d packed more comfortable shoes for a reason.
As she walked through the apartment in search of the bedroom, Simone felt a tiny flicker of suspicion. It was probably nothing… but she wondered why the note from the mysterious “V.N.” hadn’t addressed her by name.