“Error 434: Reprimanding an executive.” Life changing or just stupid? Dear Mr. Masen: A story of unauthorized Internet usage, culinary delights and the goings-on at Cullen, Inc. AH, ExB.
Take two talented authors. Add a pinch of technology, a generous sprinkling of romance, and a liberal amount of witty humor. Throw in a level spoonful of culinary chit chat and a heaping helping of clever badinage. Mix well. What do you get? Dear Mr. Masen by jennde (author of Finding Home) and belladonna1472 (author of The Cullen Campaign).
Dear Mr. Masen is a hilarious collaboration that uses email as the medium for the genesis of a friendship between two employees at the same company who have never met. The story begins when Ms. Swan, an IT Specialist who monitors unauthorized Internet usage, sends an email to Mr. Masen reminding him of company policy regarding non-work related web access in which he was in violation by looking up a recipe online during work hours.
Here is an excerpt:
From: Isabella Swan ISwan (at) culleninc (dot) com
To: Edward Masen EMasen (at) culleninc (dot) com
Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 1:26 PM
Subject: Internet Usage
Dear Mr. Masen,
You logged one hour and fourteen minutes of unauthorized Internet usage on May 28, 2010. As per company policy, only work related websites should be visited between the hours of 8:00am and 6:00pm. Please note this section from the company handbook, page 13.5:
While use of the computer, e-mail and Internet is intended for job-related activities, incidental and occasional brief personal use is permitted within reasonable limits, so long as it does not interfere with the employee’s work.
The company specifically prohibits the use of computers (including Internet access) and the e-mail system in ways that are disruptive, offensive to others or harmful to morale, including sexually explicit messages, images and cartoons, ethnic slurs, racial comments, off-color jokes or anything that could be construed as harassment or shows disrespect for others, defames or slanders others, or otherwise harms another person or business.
Employees may not access the Internet to log onto any Web sites that contain any such material, including any pornographic Web site, or any Web site that contains any discriminatory message, or disparages any group. Employees may not use computers or the e-mail system for commercial messages of any kind or for messages of a religious or political nature, chain letters, solicitations, gambling or other inappropriate usage. E-mail and Internet access should be used in such a way that all transmissions, whether internal or external, are accurate, appropriate, ethical and lawful.
Your adherence to company policy in the future would be greatly appreciated.
By the way, the recipe you looked up on the Food Network website is terrible. Substitute oregano for basil, use a medium shallot instead of yellow onion, and omit the pepper jack completely and it will be much better.
Mr. Masen, as it turns out, is the company’s Chief Financial Officer. His response triggers Ms. Swan’s, and ten days of very intelligently-written emails later, they have each revealed much about themselves from nicknames to dating disasters that they might not have shared with one another had they met face to face. There are moments of playful teasing and some soul-baring honesty as the relationship develops into something sweet, charming and funny.
Here is his response to the first email:
From: Edward Masen
To: Isabella Swan
Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM
Subject: In my defense…
Dear Ms. Swan,
(or should that be Rachael Ray?)
I worked at least 1 hour and 14 minutes of overtime on May 28, 2010. Surely my dedication to this job offsets any “unauthorized” web usage. Not to mention – and I say this as modestly as possible – I am the Chief Financial Officer of the company. I recall staying in the office until at least 8:30pm, which is why I didn’t end up trying the recipe until the following day.
Speaking of said recipe – how do I know your substitutions can be trusted?
Chief Financial Officer
What impressed me most about this story was how well we, as readers, get to know both characters simply from their emails for the first four chapters. Reminiscent of the days of old-fashioned letter writing, Bella and Edward start a budding friendship that will no doubt turn into a blossoming romance. Fingers crossed.
I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying Edward and Bella finally do meet in person. What happens after that? Put this fic on story alert to find out. There are currently six chapters of this work-in-progress, and I look forward to reading many more.
Sweet as your favorite dessert, but filling as an entree, Dear Mr. Masen should be read slowly so as to be savored and enjoyed as the treat it is. And hopefully there will be a lemony zest in future chapters to add to the already delightful flavor.
Is there much more to say other than belladonna1472 and jennde write this? Come on. These two are pretty much known for creating Edward’s you’re going to fall in love with. When this story first started posting, there was no doubt in my mind I was going to love it. The fun and flirty banter between the two main characters is excellent and I’m so very excited to see where they take this in the future, especially now that these two have met face-to-face.
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