The secretary’s name was Ruth. She led Jane and Helen to a leather couch, and asked if they wanted juice or coffee. The couch was so comfortable. It was ridiculous. There was no reason for a couch to be that comfortable, especially not in a big office building. Jane ran her fingers up and down the leather stitches.
“Juice?” the secretary said again.
“I’ll have a juice,” Jane said. “Sure!”
When Ruth was gone, Helen nudged Jane in the ribs and pointed to a spiral glass staircase that went up and out of sight.
“What do you think is up there?” Helen said. But then Ruth was back with Jane’s juice, and she led them down the hall and into the CEO’s office. He was a tall man with silver hair and a warm smile. He came out from behind the desk when they entered, and he shook Jane’s hand first, and then Helen’s.
“Thank you, Ruth,” he said, and the secretary left. He turned back to the girls. “Now,” he said. “How can I help you? Ruth tells me you’re writing some kind of profile for your school newspaper?” Helen shook her head.
“No,” she said. “We just said that. We wanted to see if it would work. We’ve never met a CEO before.”
“You aren’t students?”
“No, we are,” Jane said. “We just aren’t writing anything for the school newspaper. Do you play chess?”
“I’m sorry, there’s been some kind of miscommunication,” the CEO said. “I’m unfortunately very busy right now.” He pushed a button on his desk, and it buzzed.
“We just think every CEO should play chess,” Helen said. “It’s weird that you don’t.”
“Are you a very good CEO?” Jane said.
And then Ruth was behind them.
“Ruth, these young ladies were just leaving,” the CEO said, putting on a pair of glasses, and turning away from them. They followed Ruth back out of the office. Jane paused in the doorway.
“I have a book about chess that you could borrow,” she said to the CEO. “Bobby Fischer wrote it. It’s pretty good.”
“Do you play chess?” Helen was asking Ruth in the hallway. “Maybe you should be CEO.”