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THE EVENTIDE

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Chapter 2

They both sat in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes. He sighed and asked, "You need not fear me. I am habituated to come here at this hour every day for the past many years, after my work. I love the ocean breezes, which seem to carry beautiful secrets from the far lands. And I love to see the clear night skies, with moon and stars dancing on the waves. I usually return home by dinner time."

"Oh, that sounds great," she said. "I am new to the city, which I told you already. I came here in search of a job a few days ago. I love the oceans too. I thought of spending some time on the beach today since there were too many people over the regular spots, and I walked a bit too far to enjoy the ocean," she smiled.

"Aren't you afraid of being alone?" he wondered about her carelessness. "I am. But I didn't expect anyone to come this far," she replied.

He sighed and asked, "What is your name?" "Anne," she replied.

"Anne," he mumbled. "That's a perfect name." She looked at him with a smile and said, "thank you. You didn't say your name."

"I never lost my manners in front of a lady before!" he said with a frown. "Apologies, my lady. I was named Edward Marcus," he replied.

"Wow! you said that like a Lord!" she remarked with her eyes wide. He couldn't understand what she meant by the remark and replied, "thank you, my lady." "That was not supposed to be a compliment," she said after a while. "Don't you like Lords?" he asked.

"I never met one before," she laughed, "except studying about them in my history books. They are usually self-centered, and of course, how can anyone like them?" she asked. "Oh! the books are not based on pure facts," he said in a low voice, smiling involuntarily as she laughed. "Oh, I see," she replied.

"You said you're new here. Where did you come from?" he asked. "I used to live with my parents at Tryad. After finishing college, I got a few interview invitations based here, at Harock. Here I am to work," she replied.

"What is your specialization? What did you study?" he asked.

"You ask a lot of questions for the first meet," she remarked.

"I am sorry," he apologized sincerely. "I was just interested. No one met me here before. No one ever came this far before you."

"You mean, you never meet other people?" she asked, stunned.

He laughed. "Wow," she mumbled. He heard again, though she didn't intend him to hear. He smiled and replied, "you have a beautiful laugh, Anne." She just smiled, looking down into her lap, unable to make out how to react to his untimely complement.

"Well, I do meet people, but not here. I usually meet people at work. And most of the discussions happen formally. And as for my family, I know them long enough. That is what made me a bit more enthusiastic when I met a new person," he explained.

"Oh, I see," she wondered. "How long have you been living here?"

"Many years," he replied with a mysterious smile.

"Well, I studied Business Management. There are five scheduled interviews over the next two weeks," she replied. He nodded and said, "I work as a senior advertising agent for ASR groups."

"Wow!" she exclaimed. "I have an interview at ASR groups next week. I always had high esteem for the company. There was no failure in its record, right? But I am not sure if I can clear the interview being a fresher. I look forward to seeing what happens," she smiled.

"Never underestimate yourself. There is nothing impossible as far as I know. The people who work there are all just like me. I look forward to us working together," he said. She nodded.

They looked at the ocean for some time in silence as she remarked, "It is a beautiful city. I always loved oceans but being so near, with no need to rush with time just yet, seems wonderful. Tryad was a beautiful place itself with wonderful meadows and mountains, but both places are beautiful in their own way."

"Yes," he agreed. They watched the moon rising high in the night sky. "What are you thinking?" he asked.

"I am capturing the beautiful scenery before my eyes and storing it in my heart," she replied.

"Meeting you is my pleasure, Anne," he said. She looked at him with a sweet smile and replied, "Mine too, Edward. I never thought of making friends, that too so wonderful friend this soon after arriving at the city."

He smiled and nodded, "Pleasure."

She took out her mobile and looked at the screen with wide eyes. "Oh, it is past midnight. I wonder how much time passed so soon. I lost the tracks of time."

"You said it was wonderful being here with no time to mind about," he said.

She laughed sweetly and said, "Yes, but we are not supposed to stay here for days and nights at a stand. Are we?"

"If that is what you wish for," he replied sincerely. She looked at him, mesmerized, and said, "It seems like I know you for very long, already." He smiled. "Didn't you say you will be home usually for dinner?" she asked. "Yes," he replied, "But it is alright. They will understand if I explain." "Good," she said.

"Well, I think I better go now. I still need to eat and sleep to be active tomorrow for my first interview," she said.

"Let me drop you. It is quite late at night and is not very safe for you to go alone," he said.

She thought for a while and nodded.

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He was dragged out from the thoughts with Arnold's voice. "You are lost," Arnold remarked. He turned around and smiled. "How long were you here?"

"A minute or two," Arnold said, sighing and sat in a chair. Edward walked around the table and sat in a chair beside Arnold.

"Well, I am sorry, I guess," he said with a thin smile. Arnold sighed and said, "you do guess. Well, let me tell you what I am here for, disturbing your trance. I called the recruitment department and asked to prepone the joining date." Then he leaned forward and looked straight at Edward and asked, "the question is, are you ready for this?"

Edward sighed and nodded firmly after a moment of silence. "I guess I am. But it is the only way to save her now. It was all my mistake she fell into this situation with no option to live a normal life in the first place. I have a plan in mind and have to make it work."

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