Rachel raked her eyes over the full length, sequinned gown she wore, it clung to every curve and sported slits on both sides clear up to the hip. Her makeup was flawless to perfection. Nathan had taken her to an expensive studio in the early afternoon to transform her entire outlook, he blond hair was perfectly made into a stunning bun. It took the stylists two hours to get the perfect look and Nathan was willing to wait.
“Is this really necessary?” Rachel asked as she accessed her outfit again. She felt he was taking it overboard.
“You have no idea who my parents are so sit tight and stop talking.” Nathan told her with a tight grip on the steering wheel. He clad in a grey suit that made him look lazily on his neck.
Rachel kept her mouth shut and looked at her reflection through the glass window, she felt powerful. She tried to persuade herself that this was the only way she could be rich, she knew she was gullible but her college certificate could even get her a white collar job talk less of a million dollars.
She heard the screeching of the car and realized they were at their destination. Her eyes widened in bewilderment when the tall gates revealed a mansion that loomed proudly behind strong gates, flanked by rows of lush trees crowned with red flowers swaying gently to the chilly autumn wind. At its delicate marble fountain, the soft gurgling of the clear water melodic as it resonated in the surrounding silence.
Nathan then stopped the car and opened it hurriedly, taking strides towards the passenger door and he opened it slowly to receive Rachel who stepped out majestically and intertwined her arms under his.
Rachel sucker in a breath as her chest heaved, her cleavage well exposed to give an ample view of her bosom. Panic surged through her body and her arm began to shake under Nathan’s grip.
“Look at the moon if you are nervous and stop moving. Don’t screw this up.” Nathan whispered into her ear with a irritated expression on his face.
“Alright,” Rachel replied in a hushed tone.
Rachel dragged her feet till they reached the main entrance door that was being guarded by two hefty security men. She gulped while her idle left hand played with her gown.
The door opened to reveal a magnificent view. The entire floor was covered in red carpets and the walls glistened in pure gold.
Rachel stared with her mouth gaped open as she was led by Nathan to a large dining room that was already occupied with three people who looked like a family. She shot Nathan a knowing look and he responded with a nod.
Rachel instantly realized that this was Nathan’s family and she reflexively puffed up her cheeks and raised her head high. She was ready for anything but she hoped in her heart that they were kind and would not see through the bullshit.
Nathan stared at his father and mother for some seconds but pretended not to see Anna, his sister clutching her fork stubbornly. He cleared his throat and spoke.
“Father, I am here with my future wife like you asked!”
He watched as his father’s expression switched to disbelief to awe to suspicion and his mother’s jaws lifted to give a big smile but Anna simply scoffed.
“A wife? How? When did you get a wife?” Antonio replied. His face shifted from confusion to surprise to suspicion.
Nathan was about to reply his father’s question when Rachel interrupted.
“We have actually been in a serious relationship for three year now, Nathan kept it a secret because we weren’t sure we were in love with each other but we now know that we can’t do without each other and we want to spend the rest of our lives together, we love each other so much and we would love to have your blessings.”
Rachel said lovingly as she pinched Nathan’s nose playfully.
The dining room was a silent as a graveyard, Antonio was still perplexed while Nathan’s mother, Victoria dropped her fork on the ceramic plate loudly.
Nathan enjoyed the look on both his parents face. He loved that Rachel had come through to his parents. Nathan’s hand on her waist slid down and he cupped Rachel’s buttocks and squeezed it lightly.
It was taut and soft just the he like it.
“What are you doing?” Rachel whispered, pressing her body closer to his. She felt angry not at him, she was angry at herself for listing for more, she wanted him squeeze harder.
“It’s called acting, I have to look possessive so they can be convinced that you are mine and mine alone.” Nathan whispered.
“You are welcome here, my darling. Have a sweat.” Victoria gestured sweetly towards two empty chairs.
Nathan pulled out a chair for Rachel then released his hold on her before occupying his own seat.
“Where are your from? You look so simple and pretty. You don’t even look like his type. Are you rich?” Anna asked michievously.
Nathan gave out a bitter chuckle before replying. “Is wealth a criteria in choosing a bride? My fiancee is from a humble background, she’s not so rich and not so poor either.”
“I wasn’t talking to you Nathan…..”
Rachel could feel the rising tension between the two siblings so she spoke. “My name is Rachel Morgan. My parents died when I was seven. I sponsored my education up till college. I have a degree in culinary arts and I hope to be a chef and open my own restaurant. I also desire to start a foundation for underprivileged children who have disabilities.”
Nathan reached under the table and patted Rachel’s knees. He was impressed by her lying skills with which the invoked the required emotion.
“Very impressive, you are from a very humble background.” Antonio replied happily, he was happy that his son didn’t pick a rich spoilt brat as a wife.
“Do you love my son?” Victoria asked, wiping her lips with a napkin.
“And are you certain it’s not the money that attracted you to him?” Anna chipped in.
“Keep quiet, Anna and stop being rude to our guest.” Victoria rebuffed her daughter.
“I am not impressed by money or social status. I’m impressed by the way a man treats a woman and Nathan treats me like a Queen. I love him very much. I love him for three years regardless of the relationship downfalls we had and I will continue to cherish him.” Rachel beamed, each lie that flew out of her lips became more believable and seem authentic.
“Then why didn’t you tell me you were in a serious relationship?” Antonio suddenly asked his son, placing his weak hands on the table.
“Because I didn’t want you to Ruch me into marriage.” Nathan replied, unknotting his tie.
“So are you ready for marriage my dear?”
Antonio shot Rachel a glance.
“I am. I am ready to marry the love of my life.” Rachel cooed as she held Nathan’s hand.
“Are you ready to marry her and cherish her for the rest of your life?” Antonio questioned his son, propping his right hand under his chin.
“Of course, I am ready to marry the woman who stole my heart three years ago.” Nathan replied throwing off a fake smile. He just wanted the awkward conversation to be over with.
“Then I can’t stop two lovebirds from having a wedding.” Antonio laughed softly.
Nathan laughed as well, still holding Rachel’s hand. He looked towards Anna’s direction and noticed she wasn’t happy.
He shrugged it off and continued laughing. He knew his father was happy with his choice and that was all that mattered. He glanced at Rachel who kept a fixed smile on her face and he felt tremendously pleased with his choice.
Nathan heaved a sigh of relief when they both exited the mansion. The dinner was dreadfully long and it was filled with multiple questions.
They chartered over the wedding preparations and Anna left for her room with a bored look. His parents were obviously excited seeing their son settling down with a woman.
“So what next?” Rachel asked, buckling her seat belt.
“We get married as planned.” Nathan replied, leaning into his seat.
Nathan remembered something suddenly and reached for something in his suit pockets. He brought out a credit card and handed it over to Rachel.
Holding and accessing it with her right hand, Rachel asked. “What do you want me to do with this? Isn’t this your credit card?”
“Make sure to milk it dry, you can’t look like a cheap bride.” Nathan replied with a straight face.
“Wow, okay I promise to spend all of your money to the last cent!” Rachel replied happily.
Nathan shot her a playful glare when she wasn’t looking and he chuckled bitterly. He reminded himself that she was only interested in his money and fulfilling their agreement.
HOME SWEET HOME.
Six o’clock my ass! I had to be at his place at six which basically meant that I would have to leave home at 5:00 a.m., which basically meant I would have to be awake by 4:00 a.m. or earlier. So I rested for the remainder of the afternoon. Moving away from this place wouldn’t be difficult; I owned a small amount of clothing and supplies. I set the alarm on my phone before I forgot, then began reading a Rance novel.
My phone rang and I looked at the number it was unknown but I answered anyway.
“Miss Cole, I need you.”
I couldn’t be believe what I was hearing. “Mr. Hollen?” I asked to make certain this wasn’t a joke.
“But I told you I will start in the morning.”
“Do you want the job Miss Cole or not? Because if you’re no longer interested I can easily find a replacement with a snap of my fingers.”
“I’ll be there.” I blurted. I leaped out of bed and headed for the for the shower. “I cannot afford to lose this job before I even start.” I told myself as the water washed over me.
I was out of my apartment by 6:30 p.m. He had instructed me to meet him at his office, and her take me to the mansion since I had no idea how to find it on my own. I met him in the private parking lot outside of the building and followed him to a black Lamborghini.
“You drive your own car?” I asked as I got in the passenger side.
“I’m capable.” He answered shortly.
I kept my mouth shut for the remainder of the ride, he was quiet and attentive to the road.
We arrived at a pair of golden gates that opened automatically and revealed the most beautiful mansion my eyes had ever seen. My mouth opened wide with awe and amazement.
He parked the car and I slowly opened the door and got out. I followed him through the entrance and into the living room. I had to stop to take it all in.
There was a huge chandelier in the middle of the foyer, and I wondered, if a light went out, how tall of a ladder one would need to fix it. Luxury furniture, rugs, and paintings decorated the rooms I could see. Mr. Hollen had expensive taste, yet the homey scent was so smoothing.
“Halley!” He called as he left through another door.
Who’s Halley? I wondered. Is he married? Does he have kids? I knew nothing about his personal life, but here I was, already crushing on him. You need to stop it? You pent up virgin? I commanded myself.
A young woman around my age appeared with him.
“This is Emma Cole. She’s a new maid and my personal coffee maker.” He introduced us then left.
She looked at him wide-eyed as he went on his way, as if she couldn’t wrap her head around what he just said, then looked at me and glared as if I had taken something away from her.
“Hello, I’m Emma.” I greeted, trying to break the silence.
“I know, he said that.” She responded rudely.
“Well, um, can you show me where I can make his coffee?” I asked, hoping she would be nicer.
“Follow me.” She turned on her heels and I followed suit.
“Ah, he finally brought some more help?” An older woman asked as we entered the kitchen. She was a fit woman with a beige complexion and low flowing blonde hair with light brown eyes like mine.
“This is Emma, maid and coffee maker.”
By the way she said it I sensed she wasn’t happy about me being there or preparing coffee for Mr. Hollen, or something along those lines because she had no idea who I was. We’d never met before, so what the hell was her problem?
“Hello Emma, I’m Agnes. I do the cooking and cleaning. Halley, here, assists with the cooking and cleaning as well since this place is so big. It’s nice to meet you.”
Agnes was much more welcoming than Halley.
“It’s nice to meet you too, Miss. Agnes?”
She smiled sweetly. “Just call me Agnes or Aggie.” She laughed.
Halley snapped her fingers in my face.
“Stop dreaming. The coffee machine is right over there. Get to it.”
I walked over and prepared a cup of coffee for Mr. Hollen. I was happy I knew what I was doing instead of having to ask Halley for help. At least Carl’s Cafe gave me experience on a few things in the kitchen.
I had no idea what to do when I finished.
Should I bring it up to his room? No, that’s his personal space. Should I call him down? What? No, I’m not his wife. Should I wait? What if it gets too cold? I shouldn’t have made the coffee until he told me so, but that’s what he hired me for-coffee.
I signed with relief as the door opened and he entered. He came right over, took the coffee then left.
I went over to Agnes. “How did he know I was finished?” I whispered.
She pointed to the ceiling where there was a camera rotating at a three-sixty angle. He could see everything that was going on.
“Wow.” Was all I said.
A red light started blinking and the phone rang. “Someone get that.” Said Agnes; she had her hands in a flour mixture.
“I’ll get it.” Halley insisted and rushed over to the phone, but before she could answer the call stopped. She ran out of the kitchen.
“Is she always this eager?” I asked once she left.
“Mr. Hollen doesn’t like slackers, and he doesn’t like to repeat himself; so, when he speaks you better listen, and don’t interrupt.” She warned. “He fired the previous maid before Halley because she turned away when he was talking to her.”
“How long has Halley been working here?”
“Ten years. I was chef to his parents.”
I wanted to know more about him, and Agnes had been around long enough to know a lot about him, but I didn’t want to give the wrong impression on my first day. I would know in due time.
“Emma, you’re wanted in the office.” Halley let out sharply when she came back.
“Where’s the office?”
“Halley, show her to the office. You know its her first day here.” Agnes instructed.
She led me up a flight of stairs then turned left on the second floor. She pointed to the sign on the door which read: “The Office.” Her point indicated that I should look the next time I was needed there, or anywhere really. She went back downstairs as I knocked.
“Come.” He commanded.
He was sitting at a desk on his computer with reading glasses on. He looked so intelligent.
“Emma, whenever you are to make my coffee, I will instruct you when to so and where to bring it. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Mr. Hollen.”
“Also, you’re staying the night.”
I had seen the servants’ quarters when we’d pulled up. It was along the right side of the mansion-a nice, warm place, like a big cottage, with separate rooms and personal spaces. I couldn’t wait to see the inside.
“Help Halley prepare a guest bedroom for you downstairs.” He continued.
I was taken a back? I would be staying inside the mansion? In a guest bedroom?
Finally, after days and days of hard work, our senior year exams were over. We are free from what we call hellhole. I was so excited to see him again and tell him the news that would change out lives forever.
We had absolutely no plans for the future, not yet at least. All this time our main focus was only on our upcoming exams, which thankfully ended. But in the end, things turned against our wish and God blessed us with a baby, and now just a little bit of patience and then a little bundle of joy will be joining with our little family.
I was seven weeks pregnant with a healthy baby. At first, I thought that I had some viral disease. Don’t blame me! The dizziness and nausea made me think that way up until yesterday.
Me carrying his child inside my womb made my heart jolt with happiness. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs saying “I am officially going to be his. We are going to welcome our new little member!!!”
Unfortunately, I was on the college campus and I don’t want to scare away the students.
How will he react?
Seriously, I wanted to see his face. I wanted to see his expression. I wanted to laugh at him when he stands with mouth wide open, unable to believe if what he just heard was true or his ears were betraying his imagination.
Maybe I would shoot a video and keep it as a memory to reminisce in future. Or maybe I would show his reaction to my little baby when he or she grows up.
And if he still stands like a statue, I will pinch his cheek saying, “Yes, it is true. We’re gonna have a family of our own.” I wanted to enjoy all the moments: when he comes closer and embrace me in his arms tightly and will say he is extremely delighted to have this baby!!!
What will he do once he came out of his spell kingdom?
Definitely, he would caress his fingers against my cheeks as he wipes my tears with his thumb and gives me an assuring smile saying, “everything will be alright and I’ll be here for you no matter what happens.”
“What if he will not be happy with the news?” My conscience asked me again. I had this question running through my mind since yesterday.
“Nope.” He was on cloud nine when Rachel, his sister, revealed her pregnancy. He discussed how he is going to take care of the baby and how he is going to soil him.
Rachel told us yesterday after confirming the gender from the doctor that it’s gonna be a boy for her.
“Don’t worry sweetheart. Dad will take care of you.” I said to my little peanut while rubbing my stomach lovingly. I became so attached to this baby over a night. The baby was made out of our love.
Even though I was drowning in the sea of my deep thoughts, I didn’t miss watching my man walking towards the parking area whilst and spinning the car keys around his forefinger. No doubt, he will make the sexiest dad ever. I grinned and adored the beauty of my husband.
He looked dashing, clad in his white T-shirt and black jeans. His hair was a mess as he takes his hands through it multiple times. His face was shinning with armor and he had a faint smile on his lips. He was probably thinking of me.
He expected me to be there in the parking area, just like any other day. Oops! I’m late. “Kayish!!” I called his name but it didn’t reach his ears.
I started to run like a penguin area after him, I couldn’t feel my legs. To be honest I was so sore that I couldn’t even walk. I stood infront of him panting heavily, it room me a fine second to calm down.
The moment he saw me, he gave me a huge grin and hugged me.
“How was your exam?” He inquired.
“It was good. Yours?” I wanted hardly.
“As usual.” He shrugged his shoulder. I smiled at him. He was the topper of your college. These exams were a child’s play for him.
“What the matter, Riya?” He asked once he noticed me playing with my wedding ring. It was a habit of mine to fiddle with my fingers whenever I get nervous.
“Kayish, I-I- wanted to tell you something,” I told him still fiddling nervously with my wedding ring. He raised my chin with his hand and I lean on his touch.
“Riya, I wanted to tell you something too.” He said making me furrow my brows. What is he going to tell me?
“Let’s break up.” He blurted out.
“What?” I looked at him with my jaw dropped on the floor. Unable to control my stupidity, I blushed into laughter.
“Kayish, I am here to tell you a piece of good news but you are joking around.” I playfully hit his shoulder. Breaking up is not in our dictionary and he never uses these words even for a prank.
Instead of flashing me a smile, he folded his hand against his chest and raised his eyebrows. “What does it look like? Why do you think this is some kind of a joke, Miss. Kader?” He wiggled his eyebrows.
I froze on my spot the moment I heard him addressing me from my surname instead of calling me babe or wifey like he used to. Something was up, his playfulness all gone, he was back in his serious mode.
“Kayish enough. Please stop this.” My eyes welled with tears. Why is her playing with me? How does he find this funny?
“Well, Miss Kader. I am telling you the truth. I’m getting bored of acting as a good boyfriend. More precisely, a good husband. I was never interested to tie knots with anyone, let alone you.” He pointed a finger towards me.
I wanted to laugh at him again bit I am afraid.
Afraid of thinking what if he is telling the truth.
“Why?” I asked. Tears were pooling down through my cheeks.
“Do you remember, Jan 2-2012?” He asked in his most casual tone which sent a chill down to my core. The moment felt like I was thrown into the ice burg as my heartbeat pounded heavily against my chest. Why is he asking this now? That was our first encounter and that didn’t end well.
“You humiliated me infront of everyone. You fucking idiot slapped me just because I kissed you once. That day I promised myself that I will make you mine and make your life miserable.” He barked.
“But you didn’t allow me to touch your body. So I ended up marrying you to spoil you. This marriage is nothing to me, it’s just a key I used to get your sanity.” His every word stabbed me in my heart.
“I need your body, not you.” He whispered in my ear. My body completely went numb and my legs were shaking. He can’t be serious. He is not my Kayish.
“Now I took my revenge and I want to get rid of this drama.” He took the envelope from his pant’s pocket and tore them into pieces.
“This….. This is the only evidence of our marriage. Take it.” He threw the pieces of paper on my face.
“Well, you wanted to tell me of good news, right? I hope it’s not a piece of good news anymore.” With that, he crashed his lips against mine aggressively. This was the time I ever flinched in his touch.
It was anything but a passionate kiss, the kiss projected all his anger and hatred he felt towards me.
He broke the kiss and looked at me. “I’m leaving today, so don’t waste your time looking for me.” Then he turned his heels and hoped into his car. After a while, I heard a scratching sound of the tyre which gave me the hints he left me.
He left me alone.
I stood there for almost an hour. So all these years he just pretended that he loved me? And he did all that because of a bloody fucking revenge??
When did I become so naive? Why didn’t I realized that he was playing with my feelings? But he didn’t give any place to think as he was faking around because I felt his love was true but he proves me wrong.
I left my parents because of him, I trusted him too much and now I feel ashamed of being a used paper. His user paper.
My heart refused to accept the fact that he left. All our sweet memories started to haunt my head. I doubt of it will still be a sweet memory after what he did to me.
The pounding in my head was getting so bad that I felt like it will burst out anymore. And in no time, I started to see black dots around me. The next thing I know, I blacked out thinking of the baby and me.
My baby. He doesn’t deserve to know about it at all.
“Why must I get married?” Nathan yelled at his father through the phone. His father, Antonio Rossi promised him his inheritance three days after his twenty-eighth birthday. Nathan had been ecstatic about it. His inheritance was supposed to grant him seventy five percent of his father’s company Rossi’s Empire.
His birthday had passed and he fulfill his father’s condition but now his father was asking for more which infuriated him.
“That’s my condition for you to get your inheritance.” Antonio said with a firm voice.
“But you promised that I would get it when I’m twenty eight years, do you know how many years I had to wait for this moment?” Nathan asked, leaping out of his Porsche.
“Is marriage really necessary?” Nathan continued, stuffing his hand into his suit pockets.
“Of course, it is. You need to settle down and have a family. You are twenty eight for goodness sake. What’s the point of being rich without having a heir? What’s the point of having so much money without no one to share it with?” Antonio growled.
“Marriage is simply hard work and requires a lot of commitment and I don’t do committments dad.” Nathan grumbled further as he scanned his surroundings. He was in an alley, learning against his car. A small restaurant stood few meters away from him and he wasn’t interested in eating even though he was dreadfully hungry. He was simply hungry for his inheritance!
“That’s my condition and it’s final. You can choose to leave it or take it. If you can’t get a wife, then I’ll give your inheritance to Anna and I am sure you won’t want that.” Antony growled.
He and Anna were never on good terms. Anna was his hot tempered younger sister. At least when she was a baby she was very cute. Now she was just impossibly stubborn and vain.
“Fine, I’ll think about getting a wife.” Nathan muttered, cutting the line. He clenched his teeth and exhaled deeply, he was about to open the car door when he heard a scream.
Nathan turned back and noticed a young woman on the floor, covered in flour. She wore a pink knee length gown with a white apron on it.
Her Amazonian figure sat well on her slim body. She had a decanter shaped waist and her complexion had an impeccable hue. Her hair was as was like a loom of molten-gold and it swooped past her arched neck, framing her face perfectly.
Her eyes were seductive and rhapsody-blue. His heart nearly stopped when she gazed at him. Her eyes were like two blue gems slumbering in milky pools. They were a lot with passion and had a hypnotic quality to them. They were gleaming with an unearthly quality above her cheekbones and they shone with the faraway look of a star gazer.
Her silver-of-moon eyebrows were black. Nathan stared her pouting lips. They were red and looked as sweet as strawberries. She had a telegenic look, it was comely to the eye. Her ears were tucked away in the glorious tresses of her hair. It looked delicate and paired to perfection. The only thing ugly was the endless tears that flowered down her cheeks.
His possessive side screamed at her, he wanted her.
And he was going to have her.
Nathan swallowed a thick mold of saliva, he was completely memorized by her beauty. His legs suddenly had a mind of their own and he took quick strides, advancing towards her.
Nathan stood tall and mighty in front of her and extended his right hand. With a thick, husky voice.
Rachel thought she hadn’t heard right. A handsome stranger oozing with divine sexiness begging for marriage. She thought he was crazy and had a few screws unloosed. She had just been fired by her boss for refusing to serve a customer properly and now someone was begging for her hand in marriage.
She refused to serve the customer properly because he was a pervert, his hands kept tugging on her skirt when she bent slightly to drop the tray of food but what enraged her was when he squeezed her breasts through the fabric roughly.
She slapped him across the face and accused him of harrassment. She was shocked when her boss poured flour all over her of her job on that very spot, she then realized that her boss cared more about his customers than his employees.
Rachel looked at the stranger who hovered over her. His hand was still stretched, waiting for a positive reply. His eyes were the blue of fresh water glinting in sunlight off an ocean. His lips were pale and thin and his nose slender and rounded.
A prominent jaw curved gracefully around and the strength of his neck showed in the twining cords of muscle that shaped his entire body; strong arms, bold thighs and calves, a firm chest and abdomen that could be visibly seen through his tight fitted blue suit.
He was an Adonis among the other men who each pale in comparison. She was sure one look and both women and men swooned at the sight of him no matter their sexual preferences.
“E-Excuse me? Y-You want to marry me?” Rachel stammered, taking hold of his outstretched hand. It was warm and hard just as she guessed it to be.
“Yes, I want to marry you. I am very desperate for a wife.” Nathan replied.
“And why are you desperate for a wife?”
“I need a wife to secure my inheritance from my father.” Nathan replied with a shrug.
“And what makes you think I want to be anybody’s wife?” Rachel asked as her knees rose up from the ground steadily.
“You are very beautiful and I feel like we look very good together plus you seen like a damsel in distress.” Nathan tried to convince her with a smile.
“I am not a damsel in distress, I just lost my job. I don’t fucking know you. I am sorry but I can’t marry you.” Rachel argued with a frown.
“I’m not asking you to do this for free. Would you marry me for a million dollars?” Nathan asked, placing a kiss on her knuckles.
Rachel laughed loud and hard, he looked truly desperate for a wife. She pondered, her eyes fixed on the light blue sky. If she married him, she would be able to pay off her debts.
Her rent bills were pulling up gradually and she hadn’t finished paying the student loans she owed from college. A million dollars would settle of her problems and still leave a lot of money for her to pursue her dreams.
“What’s the marriage deal like?” Rachel uttered with worry etching on her face.
“It’s just for a year and then we go out separate ways through a divorce. Just pretend to be my wife for a year but I have conditions you must follow. You mustn’t fall in love with me and nobody should know about this agreement. Just do all that and your million dollars is secure.” Nathan assure with a teasing grin on his face.
“I don’t know, this might be an elaborate plan to kidnap me.”
Nathan made a throaty humorless laugh.
“I absolutely have no intentions of kidnapping you. I said I want to marry you.”
“What about your parents?” Nathan asked.
“My parents are dead.”
“I’m sorry about that and it make this arrangement less complicated for us. Let’s finalize this deal with a hand shake.” Nathan suggested, stretching forth his hand.
Rachel appeared to be thinking deeply about the deal.
Wait a minute. She didn’t even know his bloody name!
“Excuse me, Mr. Stranger I don’t know your name.”
“Oh, I must have been carried away, my name is Nathan Rossi.”
“R-O-S-S-I as in the Rossi’s Empire?” She said in a stunning voice.
“Oh I know. My family is super popular and also presently breathing down my neck so will you accept?”
Rachel pretended like she was still think about his request, she brought out her iPhone and searched Nathan Rossi on google.
She looked at the pictures and looked up at his smirking face. Yes, it was definitely him.
“Okay, it’s a deal!” Rachel shook his hand gratefully, her voice raised in excitement.
“Hop into my car, I need to polish you up before you see my parents.” Nathan pointed at his car with his index finger.
“Don’t I need to get my luggage and all?” Rachel asked as her brows lifted in astonishment.
“I’ll take care of all that, now we really have to go!” Nathan commanded, leading her towards his black Porsche.
Everything was moving so fast and Rachel was getting agitated and excited at the same time. He just offered her a freaking million dollars without blinking an eye.
She buckled her seat belt and shot a quickly glance at her future husband and her uncertain future.
“Well her future ‘fake’ husband.
I woke before my alarm. I wanted to wake up early so I could iron my clothes and look extra sharp. I looked through my suitcase underneath the tiny bed. I pulled out a black skirt that dropped below my knees, along with a white shirt with black buttons down the middle. I placed them on the bed and hurried downstairs to the laundry mart to borrow the iron since I didn’t own one. Mrs. Lee, who worked in the laundry rooms, always lent it to me whenever I asked her.
I ironed my clothes carefully then hug it up above the bed. I combed out my thick, curly black hair that dropped right at my shoulder, which I always dreaded. I had broken countless combs and brushes due to this uncontrollable hair of mine.
When I finished, I opened a tin of sausage and a packet of bread rolls and made myself a cup of tea.
Once I was through eating the alarm on my phone went off. I smiled at myself, knowing that time was in my favor today. It was 6:45 a.m. when I left the apartment. I took the seven o’clock bus, which carried me for an hour-and-a-half further down New York.
I was finally standing in front of Hollen Tower when I got off the bus. The building was a huge skyscraper with an exterior of gold glass. I entered through the main entrance and walked up to the front desk receptionist. She was a slim, blonde women with flawless makeup who was dressed sharply in a formal, women’s business suit. She wore a warm smile on her face as I approached.
“Good morning ma’am. I’m Emma Cole. I’m here for an interview.” I said in the best manner I possibly could.
“Good morning, Miss Cole. Interviews are being held on the fifteenth floor. This way to the elevator.”
I had never been in one befor nor did I want to be in one by myself. I panicked as the doors slide open. I walked in and thank her with a nod, too scared to speak up. The elevator started beeping and I almost jumped out of my skin when the door opened again and another woman came in. She wore a badge that read: Linda Steele.
Chief Operating Officer.
“Good morning.” I greater and she gave a warm smile, similar to the receptionist.
“Good morning, what floor are you going to?”
“Fifteenth.” She pressed the digits that were lit, there was a swoosh? Movement, and I knew we were going up. I felt dizzy. I held onto the bar as I concentrated on not screaming to get out and take the stairs instead.
“We’re here.” She said, snapping me out of my regrets.
“Thank you.” I managed to reply as we stepped out together.
There was another receptionist as I stepped onto the floor. “May I help you?” She greeted.
Ms. Steele had already gone in another direction.
“Yes, I’m Emma Cole. I’m here for an interview for the personal assistant position.”
She looked at me from head-to-toe.
Oh no, I thought? She’s already doing what everyone else has done!
I became so uncomfortable from her impolite stare. Her look made me look at myself too. I wanted to ask if there was something on me.
“Um, please have a seat over there. We’ll call you when the boss is ready.”
I went to the waiting area and almost broke into tears when I saw six beautiful women also waiting. I assumed they were here for the same reason I was, and I was a ragamuffin? Compared to these perfectly groomed, well-dressed ladies; even though what I was wearing were the best professional pieces I owned.
“Miss. Lovely.” The receptionist called.
One of the ladies got up and followed her through as huge glass door.
I was the last to be called. I looked at my phone; it was 11:00. I had been waiting for two hours. Nevertheless, I followed her through the same glass door when she finally called my name. She knocked, opened the door, ushered me inside and left.
I stood in a huge office with a welcoming scent and feel to it. The walls were painted in different shades of brown and there was a huge leather couch on the side. There were plants in large pots which added a forest-like green vibe to the room. The cool air calmed my nerves as U took it all in. I inhaled with satisfaction. Everything was amazing. It was so better than my apartment.
I could live here. I just need a bed? I thought myself.
“When you’re finish admiring my office, and wasting out time, you may have a seat.” A voice said firmly, erasing my pondering on making this my home.
“Good morning sir, I’m Emm…..”
“Have a seat Miss. Cole.” His voice was like ice-cold but clear.
I sat down and looked at him. He was very handsome with grey, almond eyes, a pointed nose, perfectly structured face, and small lips. His hair was pitch black and Sykes neatly on his head. His shoulders curved from his sharp suit, and his stubble beard was neatly trimmed on his face. He was the definition of ‘perfectly handsome.’
“Miss. Cole, are you hard of hearing?”
“I asked you for your resume twice already.”
What is wrong with me? I was so lost in his looks that I didn’t even hear him asking for my resume.
I handed it to him with trembling fingers.
He yanked it away and read through it.
“You’ve only worked at a cafe?” He asked shortly after.
“Yes, sir.” I lowered my head; I had already failed.
“You had impressively good grades in high school, how is it that you only went to community college?”
“Because I couldn’t afford a prestige college, sir. I’ve been on my own since I was eighteen, right after highschool. I still wanted a college education, so a teacher made a contact for me to get into college I couldn’t afford.”
“Where were your parents?”
“I don’t know of them.”
“So you grew up in a foster home?”
“Yes, sir. Foster homes?” I corrected.
He rubbed his temple.
“Miss Cole, I feel your pain, but I wouldn’t waste my time and yours. The position had already been filled.”
My heart fell to my toes. I wanted to beg for anything else available so I began to but cut me off and told me he was sorry.
“Sir, please. I don’t care if I have to clean the toilets or the floors or the windows Please, I need a job so badly. I don’t have any money to support myself. I will get evicted soon if I don’t pay my rent. Is there anything you can do for me? I’m desperate.”
I was in tears but he just handed me back my documents and, in the process of taking it back, I accidentally spilled his cup of coffee all over his desk.
“What the fu-!?” He hollored as he flew from his seat and ran his hands down his crotch.
“Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry.” I let out as I walked over to him, not thinking twice.
“Get away from me!?” He was furious.
I froze. I saw the cup laying on the floor and a coffee maker in the corner. “I’ll make you another cup.” I said quickly.
I rushed over to the coffee machine as he took tissue from a cupboard and attempted to clean himself up. I wiped down his desk from the ugly spill and placed a refill cup of cappuccino in front of him.
“Why are you still here? Get out of my office!” He yelled at me again. “You clumsy imbecile.”
I held back the tears of Shane and embarrassment. I held my bag close to me and turned on my heels. When I opened the door I heard him take a sip of the coffee I made, then another and another. As I was shutting his door, he called out. “Miss Cole, please, wait.”
Standing against the door I barely re-entered the office for fear of going near him.
“Miss Cole, this coffee taste so good? You have gifted hands. I apologize for my outburst. It was an accident, and I shouldn’t have snapped like that.”
“That’s okay, I’m used to it?”
His eyes twinkled a bit, but they seemed to have some sadness in them. “The job you applied for has already been filled, but I have a proposition for you. How would you like to be my maid and my coffee maker? The payment would be generous and you can live with me.”
“I was puzzled.” I don’t understand….. Live with you? In your house?”
My brain was bouncing off the walls in my head. My heart felt like butterflies. Ethan Hollen, CEO and manager of Hollen Tower, wanted me, simple little plain me, to live in his mansion?
“Of course you wouldn’t be alone; I do have other household staff, and they all live with me. There’s a place for them, and you, if you accept this offer.”
I smiled my biggest smile and thanked him for the new offer. I was going to live on his property-for free? “Do I have to pay rent?” I asked as the thought crossed my mind.
“No. Now soon can you start?”
“First thing tomorrow morning.”
“Good, six a.m. it is. I like having my coffee early.”
Six, I groaned, mentally.
I buried my head on my stake pillows when I got home, hitting them with my hands from my anger as the tears came.
I’ve been fired, what am I going to do now?
I somehow managed to gather myself and my emotions. It was still early.
“There’s still time to go to the library and then the park.” I said to my self as I got off the bed.
I changed into something skimpier, still concealing my entire figure underneath. I was insecure about my body and ashamed of the scars it possessed.
I started on my heel and headed to the library then the park. I was sitting on the bench reading? Counting Raindrops Through A stained Glass Window? When an old lady with platinum blonde hair sat down beside me.
“Hello dear.” She greeted, kindly.
For an old woman by herself in the park, she wore very expensive jewelry. I could tell just by looking at it.
“Hello ma’am.” I greeted back with a small smile. I continued with my book as she opened a newspaper. Twenty minutes into reading, two men in black tuxedos approached our bench. They resembled characters in? Men In Black-not a smile on their faces as they took long strides toward us.
I panicked. I was easily frightened.
The elder woman stood up and extended her arms to them. They held onto her, supporting her to help her stand on her own two feet. They left without another word. Suddenly, I noticed she had forgotten her newspaper. I took it and ran in their direction.
“Excuse me, ma’am!” I called, getting a little closer, but was cutoff by one of the bodyguards.
“Can I help you miss?” He asked firmly, with a tone that made me regret running after them.
“I’m sorry, the…..lady forgot…..her newspaper.” I was out of breath. Damn, I needed to exercise more.
“Why don’t you keep it and educate yourself? Maybe then you’ll find out who ‘the lady’ is, so you can address her by her name next time.”
His response was rude but encouraging. I walked back to the bench and watched as the black SUV drove away with her inside. I looked at the page she was reading to the left side of the article it stated: “at Hollen Tower. Terms and conditions apply.”
And, of course, terms and conditions meant about the job’s responsibilities punctual, fluent in English, impeccable character, precious work experience, related employment history, and more. I had applied for so many jobs like this before but gotten turned down once they looked at me-like I wasn’t human. I wasn’t like them.
I wasn’t like them, actually. I didn’t own a house or a car or have expensive clothes and shoes, or have the ability to wine and dine at restaurants, but I was a human being too!
I was a plain and simple one. I lived in a cheap apartment, wore beat-up clothes that were stained and crumpled; I ate scraps left in the kitchen at Carl’s Cafe after breakfast, lunch and dinner were served. After my rent was paid I usually had money for my essential needs, like feminine products and canned foods that didn’t spoil in a hurry-since I didn’t own a refrigerator.
I was at rock bottom, but I’d accepted it and learned hot to be satisfied with the little I had and could afford. I found comfort in reading books. I loved reading about the poor girls who found princes and billionares who swept them off their feet, got married and lived happily ever after like Cinderella?
I kept on wish something like that would happen to me, but they were only books; they were fiction. In this modern world princes and billionares didn’t go for poor girls like me. They dated model and designers, and women with the looks, body, and beauty who could fit into their lifestyle. Who would want someone like me?
I got on my feet and left the park before it got too dark out. I was afraid of walking the streets at night.
I arrived at my apartment three hours later. I sat on a hard, uncomfortable chair as I read through the newspaper’s articles one more time. Something at the back of my mind told me that I should give it one more shot, but something else just wanted me to give up.
“Look at your life, Emma, you got fired today. You’re jobless, the rent would be due at the end of the month or else out on the street you go. You don’t have anyone who could take you in and care about you. You have to try to get another job.” Said one side.
“Emma, just give up. You’re not going to get a job at Hollen Tower. It’s too grand for your taste. They’ll do what they always do, take one look at you and turn their faces. Just give up, you’ll be evicted, so what? You wouldn’t be the first to get evicted and live on the streets. Why not join a gang?” Said the other.
I was frustrated. I looked at my life and cried myself to sleep.
I knew when the clock struck seven the next morning I would be out of this shack? And on my way to Hollen Tower. I needed to try just one more time.
This time I will make bigger efforts in my appearance to land the job. I will get the job, just watch.
Emma Cole, a nerd in high school and untouched all throughout her life at a community college, was abandoned by her birth parents and grew up in foster care homes all around New York. Whenever her name was mentioned, the people who knew her laughed and called her foul names, since she looked like the female version of? Steve Urkel? And was easy to pick on and belittle. She had no sense of style. All she wore were big dresses that hid her tiny figure underneath and glasses which didn’t do her eyes any justice. She owned one bag-a? Beat-up? Leather she received as a gift from a spelling bee contest her freshman year in high school.
Though she went to school, she had no friends, no family, and no one to teach her about becoming a lady. Emma had done everything by herself since she was one year old-the age she was dumped by her parents into the foster system.
At age twenty-three Three, she lived in a very small apartment by herself. She wasn’t able to land a high-paying job to afford a good house, as of yet. Every time she applied to a vacant position she may have seen in the newspaper in the cafe, they would turn her down when she went to the interviews and the interviews took one look at her. Appearance was more than her qualifications if she wanted to land a job as a receptionist or personal assistant at one of the big firms in New York City.
Emma decided to stop hoping for better job and struck with being a waitress at Carl’s Cafe.
Her hell on earth.
Carl was the manager and owner of the cafe. A grown man, forty-five years old, who had experienced all the things he had chosen to chase in his pathetic life. He was a terrible boss and treated his employees as his personal slaves with low wages. One of his nasty habits was hitting on his female employees while on the job, bit he never hit on Emma. Although she was a female, she just wasn’t his type and was too unattractive to even be bothered with.
It was as Wednesday morning.
Emma had only just clocked-in. She placed her bag in her designated locker and began to take the orders of the customers, who were already in abundance for their morning coffee or pancakes and eggs or any breakfast meals of their choice from the menus provided.
She was about to deliver the orders to the kitchen when a pair of hands grabbed her by the arm. “You have to work a double today. Trisha is sick. I need you to fill in.” And he was gone right after his command.
Emma continued to the kitchen to drop off the customer’s orders. Since Trisha was sick, she would have to take her place at the cash register and coffee machines. She was about to have another terrible day in hell but, obeying Carl’s command, she worked the double shift without complaint.
On Thursday, the same thing happened-working a double without getting anything extra for filling in.
And the same thing happened on Friday.
Emma was drained, but it was finally Saturday, and it was her day off. She decided to visit a library and take several books to the park for a read. It was the beginning of summer, and she needed the fresh air.
She had just stepped out of her narrow bathroom when her cheap phone, which still had raised keys and couldn’t connect to WIFI, rang.
“Emma, I need you to come in right now. Be here in less than twenty minutes!”
Before she could object he had hung up. She had really hoped for some free time to herself, and apart from that, she was exhausted, but she had to comply. How would she afford her crap apartment if she was jobless?
She took her precious time getting ready and arrived an hour later than Carl demanded she be there. He was furious with her and yelled at her as soon. As she clocked in.
“I told your malnourished? Ass? To be here in less than twenty minutes!”
Indeed Emma Cole appeared very skinny due to all the over-sized clothes she wore. Without even giving him a glance, she went to the customers to take their orders.
When she was making coffee for an angry, beer belly guy at the front of the line, who was yelling at her and calling her names, she lost her temper and threw the entire cup of coffee in his face. He had called her an incapable, handicapped, low-budget paying maid, who wouldn’t even get extra if she shook it at a strip club because she looked like the Hobbit in Lord of the Rings.
She had never been so humiliated. Yes, she had it rough in high school but it had gotten a little better at college because everyone there seemed much more mature that the bullies at high school. Now, this grown man was yelling at her because his coffee was ten minutes late. It wasn’t even her fault. She was supposed to be off today. Had he kept his mouth shut, she wouldn’t have splash the coffee all over his chubby, beard-covered face.
Carl appeared just as the man was about to throw a table back at Emma. “Hey, hey, hey, what’s going on here?”
“That incompetent waitress of yours just threw a damn cup of hot coffee in my face? Man!”
“Sir, please calm down and put the table down. I’ll handle this.” Carl instructed. “Emma! You’re fired!”
“What, you don’t even want to hear what I have to say? He embarrassed me and…..?”
Carl cut her off. “Get your things and get out. I can’t have you throwing coffee in people’s faces and still have you working here. “GET OUT, EMMA!!”
Emma threw her apron to the ground, took her bag out of the locker and walked out. “I hated it here anyway.” She said as she passed Carl and the impatient customers on the way out.