Chapter 1: Crash
After getting lost during a pizza delivery and scolded thrice (once by customer, next by manager, then by my senior) in the afternoon; facing a crazy traffic jam on the average Friday evening on my trusty scooter; reaching home drenched from the thunderstorm; the last thing I expected was a call from some company I applied for as some secretary months ago.
It was a stupid application, really. I arrived at the first floor of the huge office building with my last-minute-burn-the-midnight-oil resume, already blanching at the professionals in suits and...and all that.
Worst off, the applicant who submitted her resume for the secretary role before me was a total beauty-basically, I had no chance.
And, yeah. That’s how they decide who to pick for secretary. Honestly.
Blonde, boobs, hot.
I got the blonde thing, but I’ve no boobs, and neither am I that hot. See, being Vicky’s twin isn’t really that rewarding at all.
So back to the call that evening; I arrived at my apartment, cursing and drenched and...yeah basically an unhappy little twat. Um, the hallway was a little dark and there was lightning outside-it was very normal of me to jump when the home phone started with a shrill ring.
“Good evening, is this Mr. Salander I’m speaking to?” A strict and sharp voice inquired at once.
I blinked. “Yes...? This is?”
“Good evening Mr. Salamander-it appears I have good news for you. The deputy-head of our resource management department has looked through your resume, and has decided to conduct an interview to make a final decision of your employment. Would 2 p.m. on Monday do?”
Upon hearing the news, I was so taken aback that I failed to notice the growing puddle of rainwater around my feet. I struggled to find something professional to say; or even use the right vocabulary to convey whatever my mind was thinking.
Do you mind holding on for a short moment? I need to check my schedule to confirm my availability-
Words that came out of Ace’s mouth are being processed by Ace’s mind.
Realization hits Ace.
Ace is enlightened-
“U-Uh ohmygod I meant sure thing, I’m so sorry,” I cleared my throat apologetically, face-palming myself internally.
“Alright then. Please prepare to present any formal documents required to ascertain your achievements on your resume,” the lady reminded airily, as if brushing aside my complete idiocy.
I stared at the receiver that was no longer alive, excited and completely pumped to get a new job other than a normal pizza delivery...guy.
Well-that was until I begin thinking...
Now, where did I put them...
Ascertain my achievements, right.
Okay, okay documents-
Being Vicky’s gay twin? Much pride. Pride much.
Stuffing myself with five bags of Doritos in ten minutes? Nope, no certificate for that...
Ah, here it is! My high school certificate which can be easily faked and forged and burnt into crisps!
Wonderful thing I must say.
Look, I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say that I have-either really good, or really bad luck.
Of course, it couldn’t be defined as anything else but instant karma when it hit me.
No, literally, it hit me.
Or rather...I hit it.
Not to mention, I managed quite a grand entrance at doing so...in fact I crashed into it.
You see; everyone wants to impress their maybe-future co-workers, right? Or...perhaps leave a good impression. I know I know, I might sound like a complete try-hard, but um at least I try. As a result of ‘trying’, I figured that renting a car and buying my first proper suit would give me the slight advantage I needed over my potential competitors.
It is an unnecessarily competitive society out there after all.
As I was saying, I rented a car and bought a suit. The excitement that sizzled in my chest reached a peak when I hopped into the blue Subaru and the turned the keys to rev up the engine.
Ohmygah it started up! Cars run on magic, seriously.
Okay, I knew it very well didn’t but the fact that I was pleasantly excited over finally driving a car after years of getting my license simply made me a kid all over again.
Uh-back to where I was...driving. Yeah.
So...um...I exited the garage of the car rental shop, expecting to have a cool road trip to the office building before the interview, but naaahhhhh Karma said NO. This was, of course, in the form of an amazing traffic jam.
I did what any other normal individual would do: blast house music in the vehicle and bounce in my seat.
The digital clock indicated that it was thirty minutes to the interview, and here I was, stuck at a 2 mile per hour speed that definitely trumped time itself. Sadly, there was nothing I could do...really.
Karma please let me make it on time.
Maybe reach at 1.50 p.m.?
The next thirty minutes flew by at jet-like speed; and I found myself praying as every minute passed that in the next couple of minutes I would be able to arrive at the office building of the company and perhaps get to my interview on time.
At 2.00 p.m. sharp, I was beyond panic. Nothing was moving, nothing was happening, and...did I mention that nothing was moving?
I signed a right, hoping that some kind soul would let me cut into their lane before I went insane with urgency. My only chance at redeeming my bored and purposeless soul was disappearing right before my eyes and my hands couldn’t help but act on their own.
Thankfully, after getting ignored by several cars, a savior decided to take pity on me and let me pass into the lane. I bowed my head twice gratefully and smiled like a maniac.
The next thing I knew, I applied some pressure on the gas pedal-but apparently, the some turned into too much pressure; causing my rented car to jerk forward all-too-quickly, and before I had time to react, the sound of crushing metal was heard.
I froze like Anna from Frozen.
Oh. My...God-what have I done?
Ace you good for freaking nothing; DID YOU JUST CAUSE A DENT IN THE CAR THE INFRONT?
I glanced fearfully at the logo of the silver-grey vehicle.
WHAT? IT’S A MERCEDES? YOU’VE GOTTA BE...kidding me...
I hit my head on the steering wheel in frustration and anger at the failure I was, trying to figure out a way to talk myself out of this before the driver of the car in front came over to give me a middle finger.
I was hella stressed.
Not to mention, with the crazy number of honks coming from the vehicles behind, the promising interview which is now certainly out of my reach and the fact that the rented car now had a beautiful dent in return; I simply felt that the day couldn’t possibly get any worse.
Hearing the faint slam of a car door, my shoulders tensed instinctively-bracing myself. Following suit, there was a sharp knock on the window of my driver’s seat. I turned anxiously to meet the eyes of the person I had angered.
Oh nohe’s hot.
GREAT. Job well done Ace, way to go for good first impressions-you’ll never get a boyfriend.
The man who was wearing a business suit jerked a thumb behind his back, signing me to get out.
I swallowed, preparing myself for anything before opening the door slowly and getting out.
“Show me your license,” He laid out shortly, folding his arms across his broad chest.
Oh God he must look so toned underneath that shirt-the stretch...unf.
“Oh, right-hold on um...” I fished out the card from my wallet, also checking the amount of cash I had on hand.
After taking a quick glance at the license and confirming that I was, indeed, the person in the picture; the hot guy sighed.
“I’m so so sorry...I didn’t mean to, I was in a rush you see-”
“Did I ask for your opinion?” The man raised an eyebrow, and I gulped.
I wanted so bad to say that I was entitled to the right to voice my opinion, per se, but of course, I knew this wasn’t the right context to say so.
Vicky, my sister, often thinks anything can be said in every context.
Which is also why she gets a lot of hate.
I understand the hate though. I really do.
“Oi! What’s going on?”
“Move out of the way!”
“No! No, not at all um, Sir-”
“Forget it. I’m going to report this and you’re coming with me.”
I felt the blood drain from my face.
“Oh my God please don’t sue me or anything, I’m really really sorry and I’ll do anything too so...”
The business man ran a hand through his hair in frustration, and all it did was attract my attention to his slightly visible abs underneath his dress shirt.
Must be a past athlete or something...
God, why must he be exactly my type too??
“Just get in the car and follow me,” He stated lowly, giving me a lazy one-over after taking a picture of my car plate. “Your number?”
I blinked, confused. “Um, what number?”
The man slipped my four-year-old mobile out of my grasp and began keying something into it. Not too soon later, there was a shrill ring coming from his back pocket. “Let’s go.”
I bit my lip, knowing that it was impossible to run from this big hell pit that I had dug, leaving behind everything that was considered heaven.
“Okay, so-I just...follow your car in mine? To the station nearby?”
“Yes. And don’t even think about running away.”
“Oh! Oh no I wouldn’t dare!” I held my hands up defensively at his narrowed eyes.
But before he could respond (probably to insult me or something), there was another shrill ring that interrupted our ‘pleasant’ conversation. The man picked up the call as he opened the door to the driver’s seat of his own vehicle, answering it in an irritated manner.
“What? Yeah I’m late. Some dude dented my Merce-” He cast a brief look behind before ducking and getting into the car.
An immediate guilt sank into my heart, weighing me down. God I’m such a bastard.
“Sir, please sign here to confirm the details, and you sir,” The officer turned to me, “you must sign over here,” He instructed, pointing to a particular blank on the papers.
Nodding listlessly, I was glad that there was someone to interrupt the (seriously, is he that mad at me? Okay, fine he is-I mean who wouldn’t be?) awkward silence between me and the other guy. I didn’t even know what his name was. All I knew was that he was hot.
“Okay we’re done here Sir, perhaps you’d like to settle the repairs?” The officer nodded with a smile, shuffling the papers together as he asked my...um, my acquaintance?
The business man cracked a small smile. “Yeah. Thanks for the help officer, and sorry for the trouble.”
“Nah, happens all the time.”
Think Ace, think!
Pay for the repairs?
BUT YOU DON’T HAVE THE MONEY!
Even if you wanted to be good guy now and say: Hey, no worries I can cover for you-you couldn’t!
The officer left the two of us alone to discuss the matters, and I instantly dived into danger zone.
“Hey, listen...uh-I’m really really very sorry about your car,” I repeated sincerely, hearing the desperation in my own voice. “But I-I don’t think I can-”
“Blake. Blake Mason.”
I paused midsentence, confused. Then I panicked even more when I arrived at the most possible conclusion.
“O-Oh is that the company I should look for your car’s insurance? You see, I’m really bad at handling these sort of stuff too haha, um perhaps we could-”
"No dumbass, that’s my name,” The businessman, apparent ‘Blake’, rolled his eyes and shot me a glare; as if having a name that sounded like an insurance company insulted him very badly. “Ace, right? The name on your license said so.”
I laughed sheepishly, reaching to rub my neck in an embarrassed manner. “OhmyGod I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry...and yeah, yeah my name. Ace. Yeaah,” I nodded awkwardly, like the awkward little shit I was.
Blake raised a brow. “O-kay Ace, have I seen you somewhere before?”
My awkward laughs turned into mouth-gaping shock.
I just angered a hot guy who thinks he has seen me somewhere before?
Great job Ace, you just ruined your every chance at getting some of him.
When my brain simply didn’t seem to function, Blake snapped his fingers sharply in front of my eyes, frowning. “You okay?”
“Yeah! Yeah-toootally. Um, yes! Blake, Bllaaaakkkeeee...I remember you,” I grinned, pretending to recognize his awesome flawless features.
No shit dude if I’d seen that face and bod anywhere, I’d be worshipping the ground you walk on-not forgetting your existence. Okay, fine...maybe not worshipping the ground you walk on, cuz’ the only person who can make me do that is Xander freaking Jaxon-because that is one extremely hot guy.
“Right,” Blake laughed shortly, raising an amused brow. “I gotta run. Late for something-so mind if I take your ID?” He held out his hand and lowered his gaze slightly to meet my eye.
W-Wait what? That escalated quickly, but I can’t possibly hand over my ID!
“Hold up-um what? My...ID? But why?”
Blake looked as if he was saying: Seriously?
“To make sure you don’t change your number, abandon the car, and run away. Duh.”
I paused, wanting to laugh. “Er-actually, even if I wanted to execute that grand and somewhat ambiguous plan, I can’t. The car is rented. It’s under my license name aaand yeah I can’t run,” I pointed out the sad truth.
Blake seemed increasingly amused by my behavior, because all he did was look at me with a raised brow and just...well, just look at me in general? I guess?
His face felt like it was saying: K.
His bod felt like it was saying: K.
His name felt like it was saying: car insurance-okay never mind that.
Sighing, I slid out my ID card from my wallet and reluctantly handed it over to him.
“Quit sighing you idiot,” Blake snapped. “Do you think I’m that irresponsible to lose your ID or something?”
“Uh, no of course not ohmyGod-”
“I’ll text you the details when I’m ready to bring you to the repair center with me. Ready the cash and don’t faint when you see the numbers. Okay? Okay. Bye.”
He was gone.
More like a hopeless case.
I fucking swear—that face was so familiar but I just couldn’t put a finger on this Ace guy’s identity. I’ve seen him before, I know it. I just didn’t know where, or how.
Whatever the case, I was an hour late to the supposed arranged interview with the potential candidates for the secretarial position of my department. Simply put: my secretary.
There were three candidates that Janna deemed ‘alright’ for the job, and I was beginning to doubt the fact that they actually want to become my secretary; simply because two of them had left after waiting for my long-ass arrival.
Upon hearing that they left after thirty minutes from Janna, I sighed-knowing that it was partly my fault.
Dammit. More trouble for the resource department, more nagging from other superiors, and more laughing from the bastard named Xander Jaxon.
Great. Just my day.
“Mr. Mason! Finally, I thought you were long dead-” Janna hissed the moment I entered the conference room with an unfixed tie and the first button of my dress shirt undone.
“Janna, I called you, remember?” Placing my briefcase on the table and whipping out the three resumes, I collapsed on the leather swivel chair-mentally exhausted. “You said two left, so where’s the third?”
The office woman cleared her throat awkwardly. “He’s not here yet.”
I snorted, amused. “He’s not gonna get hired.”
“Mm...we’ll see. He seems like a decent, hardworking fellow,” Janna shrugged as she shuffled through some documents. “Besides, I called him five minutes ago and he said he’d arrive in ten.”
“Oh,” I blinked, slightly surprised that the usually cold iron lady would bother complimenting someone. “What’s his name again?”
The glass door of the conference room swung open, and my head snapped in the direction to take in the interviewee.
Holy mother of freaking Karma, Lady Fortune save us-it’s the guy that crashed his stupid Subaru into my baby!
No wonder his face looked so familiar, I saw his picture in the resume!
At that point of time, I so wanted to flip the table and walk out of the room because coincidence just wasn’t something I believed in-but this definitely wasn’t just some dumb coincidence, it almost seemed like fucked up Fate.
And, yeah apparently, Fate is fucked up.
Hold on a second, since when did I believe in Fate?
Doing my best to control myself, I clicked the ballpoint pen I was spinning in my hand previously and gestured for Ace to take a seat.
The guy himself looked almost ready to shit in his pants. Pale as his dress shirt, he seemed as if he would faint any second.
“Take a seat, Mr. Salander,” Janna repeated after me when she saw that Ace was simply standing in the doorway looking like a gnome.
Mr. Subaru gulped, avoiding my gaze. “Actually, I think...I’ll just...go.”
“What?” I raised a brow, miffed. “You’re here for the interview, aren’t you?”
Ace paused, biting his lip before replying sadly.
“Well, I was...I guess. But I don’t think I stand a chance anymore, so.”
I rose from my seat, crossing the conference room in a couple of strides to close the distance between dumb kid and me. He began to back away slightly.
“Listen, you’re here for an interview with people who have recognized your abilities; respected whatever you have in that tiny brain of yours; and given you a chance to prove to us that you are who we think you are.
So I do not appreciate you coming in here, and wasting our time-you got that?”
There was a taut silence in the conference room, and Ace broke it with another gulp.
With a meek nod, he quickly took a seat; facing Janna.
Although Blake seemed pretty much convinced that the reason he found Ace so familiar was due to the picture in the latter’s resume; there was an inkling at the back of his mind that perhaps-
Fate wasn’t so simple after all.