Chapter 1 (Edited version)
I am waiting in a room full of potential ladies and a few who look like strippers, all with the hope of getting the job. I wonder why they have to dress half naked, is seduction the only way they think they can get the job? Why do some women think so low of themselves? I pray the boss is not like all those bosses, who are looking for a personal assistant who helps in other matters that are not related to work, like in his bedroom if you know what I mean. A few others dressed more professional than me, look like they have been in this area of profession far longer than I have. It’s making me feel unqualified with my MBA right now.
I was eager to get this job because the money would help my mama and I. Being a single mama was never easy, but she pulled it off. She brought me up in the best way possible; I never really got to know who my father is or where he is from because every time I ask mama about my father, she tells me that he was a one-night stand. And while I believed there was more to the story, I knew better than pushing her to tell me. I am not token on forcing her to speak, and I know she is silently grateful for that.
I am brought back to earth when the secretary calls my name. She is a blond with big grey eyes and a pretty smile. I walk up to her table.
“Hi I am Joan; you must be Katherine, walk to the door by the left. He is waiting for you.”
“Alright, thank you,” I say walking to the door while making a silent prayer before knocking on it. I hear a husky voice from inside speak.
“Come in,” The voice says
I walk into the office; it’s a nice office. The walls are painted black with golden lines all around it with mahogany brown in some places. Towards my left, there is a wall adorned with white glass, a tile thing I don’t really know, but it has this beautiful golden line pattern on it. There are two black one armchairs and a two armchair. There is a brown wooden coffee table in the middle of the chairs. The windows have two Green plants in front of it. The desk area has this long bookshelf behind it. There are two black chairs in front of the brown wooden desk. The person behind the desk has his nose buried in a few documents in front of him, so, he has not seen me yet.
“Come and have a sit,” The man says, and his voice sounds very familiar, but I hope it’s my mind that’s playing a trick on me.
“Thank You, Sir”
“Let’s begin,” He says finally lifting his head. Once he does it, it’s like all the blood from my body leaves, making me freeze at my spot. I can’t believe it’s him; he is really in front of me right now. He is the one person who I thought or rather prayed I would never see again. He made my life a living hell in high school; he was my sworn enemy Lorenzo Costanzo
He has changed but not that he wasn’t handsome before, he is just more attractive now with that fantastic board chest showing, even underneath his grey shirt. I stare into those beautiful green eyes forgetting why I am here.
“When you are done staring I would like for us to begin,” He says acting like he does not know who I am.
“What is your name?” He says.
Is he really asking me that question? I can’t believe he is acting like he does not know me. Maybe he is asking for my name to be sure if I am the one.
“My name is Katherine Luciano,” I say, and I genuinely wish, he does not remember who I am, after what he did to me in high school.
“What school did you go to?”
“I attended NYU.”
“I am talking about your high school.”
“I attended Stuyvesant high school,” I say giving up all hope of him not figuring me out
“Can I ask something, sir?”
“Sure, why not.”
“I find it weird that you care only about my high school information. Please, why is that?”
“Did you really think I would forget you, Bella’” He says with a smirk on his lips.
Oh no! He remembers me; he just called me the name he always called me in high school. I am totally not getting this job.
“Then why did you act like you did not know me a minute ago,” I say
“Because I felt like,” He says still been the jerk he has always been.
I don’t say anything but look at him with a look that says ’seriously’. I can’t believe deep down I wish he had changed. He stands up and walks towards the windows, giving me a gorgeous view of his ripped abs underneath his shirt. He turns his back facing me showing off his amazing broad shoulders. But even with such a fantastic body and a handsome face. He still has the heart of the devil, what a sad thing.
“I want you here Monday morning; don’t be late.”
“Are you saying I have the job?” I say
“Do I have to say it in those words for you to understand?” He says
“No, you don’t.”
“Good! See you on Monday morning with my coffee, black and no sugar”
“Alright sir, but I also have to say, not that I am complaining or anything, but we did not even have a real interview.”
"Bella’ I have known you for almost half of our lives. I know you won’t be a threat to me, and from your resume, I know you were good for the job even before you walked in”
“Oh! Alright then, thank you” I say feeling happy I got the job but also have this feeling deep down. That maybe it’s not only because I am qualified for the job or because he knows me. I have this feeling it’s for another reason, but I will have to wait and see if I am right.
“See you on Monday,” I say walking out of his office
“Don’t be late.”
While walking out of the building, I call mama to give her the good news, but she does not pick. I am guessing she is in a meeting. She sends a message a few minutes later saying I should meet her for lunch in an hour.
I pick a taxi and take it home to freshen up and meet up with her in an hour.
I get home; shower and change my outfit into something more casual. I am wearing a black cami NYC tank top, pink and black striped high waisted pants and a pair of patent leather pumps. I order Uber to the restaurant we are meeting at.
I arrive and walk inside already knowing where she will be sitting since this is her favourite restaurant.
“Hi mama,” I say sitting down to join mama
“Hi, baby girl how was the job interview?”
“It was quite funny, but I got the job.”
“I am happy for you and what do you mean by funny?”
“I will explain after eating; I am quite hungry.”
After ordering our food and halfway through the meal, I tell her how the interview went.
“Mama you won’t believe who my boss is. It’s none other than the mighty devil himself Lorenzo Costanzo.”
“How many times have I told you to stop calling him that?”
“But that’s what he is.”
“No, he is just a confused man who does not know how to express his feelings.”
“I am pretty sure he has expressed them well by showing how much hatred he has for me.”
“He does not hate you.”
“He does mama, and do you know the funny thing is we were not even classmates; he was my senior in high school. I don’t even understand how he noticed me or also had time to bully me when they were other girls in school and prettier ones in his class who would die for the attention he gave me.”
“He noticed you because he likes you.”
“How do you know that mama?”
“I just feel it.”
“Okay, whatever you say but I still doubt he does, and mama do you know he acted like he did not know me at first.”
“What do you mean?”
I explain to her about what happened in the office and how much of a jerk he is, but she feels maybe he just wanted to be sure. But I doubt he could ever forget someone like me, but you never know. I have changed since high school, that’s certain; maybe it’s possible, he wanted to be sure it was me.
Mama left shortly after we finished talking and eating because she got a call from her office.
After lunch, I decide to go shopping because last time I checked my closet, it does not have clothes fit for a personal assistant. I also have a lot of time to spare before going home; I take a taxi and go to the mall.
I visit about ten different stores or more, looking for the best outfits, which say ’sophisticated’. I won’t lie; it was hard but worth it. I am visiting the last store for the day when a strange number appears on my phone screen. I answer, guessing maybe it is Enzo wanting to remind me of something.
I answer and hear the worst news anyone could receive about their mother. The person on the phone says mama was rushed to the hospital while on her way home from the office. She said she fainted, and they tried waking her up, but to no veil, so, they rushed her to the hospital. I ask the person to send the address of the hospital so; I could be on my way.
I take a taxi and ask the driver to drive fast but also not to kill us. To say I am scared will be an understatement, I am terrified because mama is one person, which I can say is always healthy and hardly sick, so to hear she fainted and is in the hospital made me very scared.
I arrive at the hospital and quickly walk inside; I walk towards the front desk to find out how mama is doing.
“Where is my mother?” I say to the nurse at the front desk
“What is her name?“A lady with a nurse uniform asks.
“Christine Luciano,” I say waiting eagerly to know
“Your mother is on the second floor. Take the elevator to the second floor. Once you get there, walk straight down the hall. The first door to your left; she is inside.”
“Thank you,” I say taking the elevator to the second floor
I follow her directions and find the room with no difficulty.
I walk inside and see mama using an oxygen mask to breathe. Oh my God! What is happening?
I walk towards mama’s side and notice she is awake. Thank God!
“Mama, what is wrong?”
“Don’t cry, my baby girl. Everything is going to be fine. I am going to be okay; you should not be worried” She says taking off the mask to speak to me.
“How won’t I cry mama when I see you like this,” I say holding her hands in mine.
“Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine” She says giving my hand a warm squeeze
A doctor walks in later and asks me to see him in his office about mama’s condition. I follow him to his office praying that it’s nothing too serious that is wrong with mama. He asks me to take a seat, but I insist on standing. The way I am feeling right now, all I want to do is to hear what he has to say and be by mama’s side. But he still insists I do, so I sit down with my trembling hands.
“Your mother has breast cancer but we can......” He says, but I don’t let him finish talking before I cut him off
“NO NO this can’t be happening” I don’t allow the doctor to finish talking before I breakdown in tears.
“Miss Luciano I need you to be strong everything is going to be fine,” He says while he tries to comfort me
“Your mother needs all the support she can get, so you need to be strong.”
“You are right; I need to be strong for mama and me,” I say wiping the tears that have fallen and trying to keep the others at bay.
“So what can we do?” I say trying to sound strong as ever
“That’s more like it,” He says sending mean assuring smile
“Your mother is at the first stage of cancer, luckily we detected it on time, so now we just need to do surgery, and everything should be fine.”
“How much does it cost?” I ask the one question I have been scared to ask since I found out mama has cancer. Mama and I did not have much money, but you could not still call us poor because we were able to have three meals a day and live a comfortable life.
“20,000 dollars,” He says, and I think to myself, where am I going to get that kind of money right now.
“Doctor I don’t have that kind of money now, but I promise you I will get the money within due time. Please don’t stop the treatment for my mother” I say praying Enzo pays well, so, I will be able to pay for mama’s treatments and surgery before it’s too late.
“The only thing I could do for her before you get the money is put her on drugs until we have to do the surgery.”
“Thank you so much doctor thank you.”
“I will go and see my mother now.”
“Alright see you next time Miss Luciano
I walk back to mama’s room; I find her sleeping. I sit down on the chair beside her bed. I can’t imagine my life without mama; she is the only family I have. I hope Enzo pays well so; I could pay the hospital bills as soon as possible. I spend the weekend with mama at the hospital. On Monday she will be discharged, so, after work, I will be coming back to get her.