The buzzing was an incessant annoyance in her ears, but her brain hardly registered the sound. The knot in her stomach seemed to weigh her down and pin her to her mattress. Poppy was always nervous before a new installment in her life, and this had the potential to be the beginning of the single most important period of her lifetime. As was usual in this sort of situation, she found herself unable to force herself into motion, so she sunk into the back of her mind and let her body carry her through the absent motions. Get out of bed. Turn off the alarm. Walk to the bathroom. Turn on the water in the tub. Get in the shower. And so on, until when Poppy finally emerged from her shell, she was clean, fed, and ready to leave. She took one last look at herself in the mirror. Her skin was scrubbed clean, her dark hair was combed and dried and the top half was pulled back in a ponytail, her clothes were neat, and she was overall impeccably clean. She practically glowed. This still did not prevent her from being nervous. Looks weren't everything, and this Caligula Vane seemed like he could not care less about appearances. It was all about observation, deduction, perception. Poppy didn't lack these things; in fact, she excelled at them. But this fact had no effect on the nauseating anxiety lodged in her gut, so she just took a deep breath and walked out her front door, locking it behind her and putting the key safely away in the purse at her hip.
The walk to her new extraordinary workplace was very ordinary. She had gotten lucky when it came to her living situation: She was already living close enough to save herself the effort of driving to work every day. She did own a car, but she enjoyed the fresh air and activity of walking. Also gas is fucking expensive.
Walking to work only served to make her more nervous. The air was still and misty as it was wont to be in this part of the world, with no breeze to whisk away her troubles or sun to burn away her worries. Her gray-blue eyes stayed low, always drifting back down to the concrete beneath her feet whenever she attempted to lift them. As she walked, she twirled a lock of hair around her finger. The entire small journey she spent worrying, doubt gnawing at every corner of her mind like a hive of a million termites feeding on her confidence. What if she wasn’t what he expected? What if she was too short, or too shy, or not a hard enough worker? By the time she found herself standing in front of her new place of employment, she realized she was thirty minutes early. Too embarrassed to show up before the scheduled time, she scurried around the corner to a nearby Starbuck’s. Poppy was not over fond of coffee, but she had a certain soft spot in her heart for tea, and fifteen minutes later she was sitting on a bench, sipping a hot cup of Earl Grey. The hot drink warmed her insides and as the warmth spread throughout her being, she felt herself relax, physically and mentally. Her breaths came easier and her hands felt less shaky.
Now full of tea and feeling a bit more confident, she looked up at the sky and frowned. She had staved off the courage-sapping parasites for the moment, but the impending rain, which she had not planned for, could not be kept off with something as simple as tea. She quickly made her way back to her new place of employment, ducking through the door just as the rain began behind her. The deep rhythms and complex chords of colorful electronic music assaulted her as soon as she entered and, for a moment, held her in its grip, until she managed to break away and approach her new employer. This was their first time meeting, and everything about him unnerved her, and her previous nervousness returned full force. He already seemed bored. Aloof. He did not seem to care that she had appeared within his office. She was not quite sure what to do, so she just looked around the room a few times before forcing herself to make eye contact with Caligula. “Umm… Hi.” Her lack of eloquence made her wince. "I'm Poppy Fenn. It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Vane."