Chapter 1: Lilac
Don’t find love, let love find you. That’s why it’s called falling in love because you don’t force yourself to fall, you just fall.
Holding a fresh rose in his hands, he drew in a deep, long, and nervous breath. The braces on his teeth making it a bit hard for him to completely shut his mouth. He positioned his large cylindrical glasses to rest properly on the bridge of his nose.
I can do this.
He assured himself but somehow those words didn’t make much sense to him as they did last night. He couldn’t get his eyes off the young girl who stood in front of her locker busy with something within it. The high school hallway was busy with chattering and laughing teenagers.
He realised he stood in the middle, a few steps away from her but she hadn’t noticed him. They were very good friends. He assured himself of the possibility that she might feel the same way as he does for her. He was going to ask her today. He was going to ask the most beautiful girl he had ever seen to be his date to the prom, to become his. He had been crushing on her since the first day he set his eyes on her two years ago. Since the day she first stepped into his classroom. He had somehow managed to make friends with her. Luckily for him, she wasn’t the type who seemed interested in the school’s popular hierarchy order. She made friends with whomever she felt like. He knew he needed to tell her about his feelings.
He took his first step towards her, slow but firm then a few more steps. This was it.
“Ana.” He called her in the short form of her name and she immediately turned her head to him. A smile curled up on her face.
“Tyler.” She called before shutting her locker and walking up to him.
“Where have you been...” Her words trailed away as he got down on one knee with the hand in which he held the rose stretched out to her.
The smile on her face slowly disappeared. Eyes turned to them and they became the centre of attraction. A mixed expression of surprise as well as amusement drew almost across everyone’s face.
“Kiana Stuart. Will you... will you be my date...”
“No.” She interrupted before he could finish his sentence. She gently shook her head at him as that of a plain expression was left on her face. She slowly took a step backward and without waiting a second more, she turned and quickly walked away refusing to look back and that was it for Tyler.
Disappointment washed over him as he watched her walk away. Slow but mocking laughter filled with whispers erupted throughout the hallway.
“Little Tyler wants to have a girlfriend... Too bad, she said no.” His notorious bully mocked as he drew closer.
The blonde haired boy squatted in front of him to make sure their eye level was at the same point.
“We can’t blame her, can we? Look at yourself...” He started before letting out a light chuckle.
“... I mean which girl would want to have you?” He mocked more before standing straight on his two feet. Knowing fully well all eyes was still on Tyler, the blonde haired boy poured the water from the bottle he was holding right on Tyler’s head.
Tyler shut his eyes as he felt the cool water run down his body soaking his shirt in the process. Slowly, he let go of the rose he was holding and it fell to the floor beneath him.
When the bully was done, he laughed some more with his friends before walking away leaving him all wet and still on his knee. Some lurking eyes actually showed compassion on him while some mocked him the more. Stating the quote ‘serves him right’.
He shut his eyes to control what he was feeling at the moment. He had never felt so humiliated in his entire life and these feelings was coming from a weird and geeky looking kid. She hadn’t even spared him a chance to complete his sentence. He wondered if her friendship with him was ever truly genuine. Was she friends with him out of pity?
Which girl would want to have you?
He recollected the bully’s words. He wondered if his looks were the reasons for his rejection. He barely talked in school and kept it in whenever he liked a girl but for Kiana, he felt he should speak up before someone else takes her away. Truth be told, she was a beautiful blondie. He had started to think his feelings was more than a crush and that’s why he took it upon himself to speak out. He couldn’t believe she could shatter his heart in such a way. His face was wet from both his tears and the water that was poured on him. He wiped his face with both the front and back of his hand as he sniffed to control his emotions. This was the end. Never again was he going to feel this way. He was going to make sure that things turn around. He was going to sit at the other side of the table. He was going to do the humiliating and breaking of hearts.
* * *
Nine years later...
“Enrico! Enrico!! Enrico!!!” A few people chanted in support of him as they watched him gulp down his sixth and last shot of alcohol served in little glass cups while his competitor was not even anywhere close to him.
He raised the last cup up victoriously.
“I win!” He exclaimed at the same time and everyone cheered him on before he brought it down.
“Drinks are on me tonight everyone!” He offered loudly and their cheers for him grew louder.
He sighed as he turned to his competitor. A smile grew on his face as he placed a hand on his shoulder.
“I never lose. Always remember that before challenging me.” He told him with a brief smile before getting up from his seat. His eyes turned for a second as he slightly felt light headed. He lightly brushed his fingers through his chestnut coloured hair stopping at where he bundled up his pony tail.
The dance floor beamed with red, blue and white rays more like the disco light. Everyone at the dance floor moved and grooved their body to the music the DJ played through the throbbing loud speakers. It felt packed and hot but they cared less as their main aim was to get high and have a good night.
Enrico nodded his head to the jam emitting from the speakers as he headed back to his original seat in the club, the VIP lounge. There, he had the best view of the dance floor, a comfortable seat and had the waiters serving him at his beck and call. He was living the life.
He slumped on his seat as soon as he got there. He crossed his legs as soon as he brought it up on the table in front of him. He felt more comfortable this way.
“Hey handsome.” A woman with an ebony skin called.
He looked up to her and did the first thing he usually does when a beautiful woman approaches him; He takes a good look at her body while a flirtatious smile is left on his face. It was as if she knew what he was doing as she stood still herself. Slowly, his eyes scanned her body from head to toe and then back up to her face.
She stood with a drink in one hand. Her red, skimpy body hug dress showed all her curves in the right places. She was more like an hour glass figure and her skin shone beautifully in the dim illumination of the club.
He told himself but took it upon himself to remain calm.
“You seem alone. Can I join you?” She asked, her voice sounding a bit rough and at the same time flirtatiously sexy.
He stared at her for a second observing just how desperate she wanted to get close to him. As far as he could see, she passed.
“Sure.” He accepted while nodding his head to the music before looking away from her and unto the dancing bodies on the dance floor. She smiled to him as she had her seat beside him gently crossing her legs afterwards on purpose to flaunt her exposed thighs and long thin smooth legs. He noticed and for a second couldn’t help staring at them. His eyes went back up to her face. It was a crazy game they were playing. He knew she knew exactly what she was doing but he was going to play along after all that’s what he came here for. Drink to stupor or get laid.
He watched her gulp down some of her drink a bit seductively. Gently fluttering her lashes as she drank down. He noticed and her little crazy attempt to seduce him brought a smile to his face. Afterwards, she left the cup on the table in front of them.
“So... you’re Enrico Vos.” She started and his smile broadened.
“I see you’ve done your homework.” He replied her getting a closer look at her face.
She wasn’t bad at all. She was actually beautiful although he couldn’t quite tell if it was because of the makeup she had on or it was all her.
“Not really... Everyone at this club and the whole world knows who you are. Enrico Vos, CEO of Edoardo Vineyards. I have to admit, I’m a fan of your company’s wines. The price, not so much.” She narrated and he just stared at her intensely with a pair of cold icy blue eyes.
“I’m Kerry.” She introduced and he smiled.
“Nice meeting you Kerry.” He replied although he felt the pressure that she was wasting his time.
“I’m an upcoming model. In fact...”
“Can you go straight to the point with why you’re here? We don’t need to know each other anymore beyond our first name.” He rudely interrupted her. He was starting to get the sense that she wasn’t serious with what she came for. He was trying to have fun and not build a relationship.
He saw the surprise written across her face for a second before she managed to put up a smile.
“I see all I heard about you is true.” She stated out as she kept her gaze on him.
He sat up bringing his legs down off the table.
“What exactly did you hear about me?” He asked with a mischievous smile and a bit sense of concentration.
He watched her hand leave her own lap and unto his shoulder.
“That you’re rude...that you’re a ladies’ man.” She admitted as her long thin fingers seductively caressed gently from his shoulder to his firm biceps threatening to escape from his shirt.
She rose her eyes up to him. A smirk grew at the corner of his lips. Now, she was finally stating her course. His strategies always worked. Letting them come to him was the best. His money did all the talking needed.
“Then you probably know that I’m a one-night man.” He told her as his eyes kept staring into hers. He just let his looks work its way.
“Sure...all I need is a night with Enrico Vos...a beautiful night.” She finally admitted and his smirk broadened. This was it. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how you pick up a lady.
* * *
She pushed the needle through the material she was holding then drew till the thread showed and closed up the little space. She cut the thread off with a scissors before dropping the needle on the table in front of her. She knotted the sticking thread up till it was unable to loosen up on its own.
A red headed young lady walked out of a room into the cubicle like sitting room putting on a bum short and a singlet. She stopped at the sight before her.
“Ana?” She called and the young lady turned her head to her.
“What are you doing?” She asked as she drew closer.
“Sewing.” Ana responded.
“I know. I can see that. What I meant is why are you sewing?” She asked once more as soon as she stood in front of her.
“Because it’s torn...”
“Urgh!” The young woman exclaimed before she slumped on the couch behind her.
“I can also see that. My question is why you’re sewing that now... Wait, no... don’t tell me that you plan on wearing that tomorrow.” The red headed young lady asked and Ana just stared at her.
“No!” The red headed exclaimed as she stood to her feet.
“No, just no. Give it to me.” She demanded as she tried to drag it from her but Ana wouldn’t let her.
“Stop it Mel.” Ana tried her best to take it away from her and succeeded.
“This is the best I have.”
“No. You can’t wear that to the interview tomorrow. We need to get you a new skirt.” Mel suggested as she tried to walk back to the room.
“I don’t need a new skirt. This is perfect besides I have to save money and you know it.” She defended as she got up to her feet and Mel turned back to her.
Mel was speechless and just sighed staring at her friend slash roommate.
“Seriously, you need to pay off those debts as soon as possible so you can start treating yourself. It’s really becoming annoying.” Mel stated before turning to walk away once again.
“Mel.” Ana called and she turned back to her.
“I need a favour from you.” She stated as she endeavoured to put up a cute but yet pleading smile. Mel knew that look and just sighed as she knew she was going to give in anyways.
* * *
Enrico’s black 2017 Bentley continental GT convertible came to a halt in front of the tall building visibly made out of mirror glasses. He gently emerged out of the car dressed in dark blue Armani suit, shoes and a new edition of ray ban dark sunglasses. His hair was neatly brushed backward into his usual pony tail but this time, he endeavoured to hide the tail within the band. He looked just as handsome as he always did in a neatly kept short facial hairs.
“Not a scratch on it.” He warned the security guard as he handed the car keys to him before stepping further towards the building.
“Yes sir.” The guard replied as Enrico walked away. He climbed up a few staircases towards the main entrance.
“Good morning sir.” The guards by the entrance greeted and he reciprocated it.
“Morning.” He replied with a smile as well before a guard pushed open the glass door and he walked into the building. The entrance never ceased to amaze him. The architectural work was beautiful. Everything was mainly in form of white and grey. The walls, decorations and even furniture. Everywhere looked bright, clean and sophisticated. He was impressed.
He went straight towards the reception of which a huge block writing of EDOARDO VINEYARDS in italics was imprinted on the tiled wall behind the receptionist.
“Good morning Mr Vos.” The receptionist greeted enthusiastically as she got up on her feet with a wide smile as soon as she caught sight of her boss.
He flashed her a brief smile on his side.
“Morning Vera.” He replied as soon as he stood in front of her counter.
“Any parcel for me?” He asked and she nodded before turning away for a second and then returning back to him with a small packaged box.
“This came in this morning.” She told him as she placed it in front of him.
“I see. Are the applicants ready?” He asked another question.
“Yes sir. They’re waiting in the room over there.” She explained as she pointed to her left. His eyes followed and he got a glimpse of within the room as someone was at the verge of stepping out and the door was open for a few seconds.
A young woman stood dressed in a black knee length office skirt, a short sleeved cream coloured shirt and a black pair of three inches heeled shoes. Her blonde hair was neatly packed behind into a bun. She held a brown leather bag over one shoulder and her arms folded across her chest. She looked nervous as she lightly brushed her hair at intervals with her hand. Her eyes lurked around a bit restless. Enrico looked away satisfied enough at the candidates’ presence.
The image of the woman suddenly flashed across his mind once more which stirred up an old feeling within him. He ceased up his brows.
It can’t be.
He told himself as he refused to believe what he just saw.
“Let me have the list of applicants.” He told the receptionist in front of him and she nodded with a smile.
“Sure thing sir.” She stated before getting the list from under the counter and putting it forward before him.
He began to slowly go through it with his pulse heightening by the second. He was being careful enough not to miss the name he was searching for. He couldn’t find the name at first but shut his eyes for a second. He decided to go through the page once more to be sure her name wasn’t listed.
He suddenly stopped.
He stared at the name
There it was. Nine years later and he gets to read that name once again. He gulped down hard as he looked away from the page trying his best to look normal. He wasn’t supposed to feel this affected. This was no none. She was just a person from his past. He assured himself that he was normal and that everything is okay. It had been long over. There was nothing to get so worked up about.
He turned back to Vera and put up a convincing smile.
“Have them come upstairs one after the other.”
“Yes Mr Vos.” She replied before he took one more look at the door in which the applicants resided before walking away towards the elevator.
* * *
He took off his jacket as soon as he got into his large office in which within there was a sofa and table. A large portrait of a middle aged man hung on the wall, a few honorary awards lined on a table and a few artistic touch to the decoration. He left the jacket on the sofa and unbuttoned his sleeves. He folded the sleeves up to his elbow and loosened his tie up a bit. He roughly ran his hand through his stubble. He had his seat on his chair behind his desk before taking in a deep breath.
You’re in control.
He told himself as he shut his eyes for a second to calm his nerves. He wondered why he was so nervous. Any attachment between the both of them had long ended nine years ago. He was now Enrico Vos, the CEO of a world renowned wine producing company. He was a big deal. He was now a different man and not the same weird kid in high school from nine years ago.
There was a knock on the door.
“Come in.” He ordered, his own voice sounding strange in his ears. He cleared his throat before the door opened and he looked up.
A young woman dressed in a grey, tight and skimpy dress walked in. Her dress had a V-neck shape added to it exposing the top of her bosoms. As she approached him, her long and pointy heels made sounds on the tiled floor. She had a black shoulder length hair with a messy and wavy style added to it. Her makeup was on another level as her lips beamed with an audacious red lipstick.
A smirk grew at the corner of his lips. He knew her type.
“Good morning...Mr Vos.” She greeted a bit seductively as she had her seat and crossed her legs exposing her thighs and long legs.
He broadened his smile.
“And you are?” He asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Jessica Fernando.” She stated still going on with her stunt.
“Good.” Enrico replied as he nodded before looking away from her and unto the résumé in front of him.
“It states here that you’ve worked at a wine producing company. Which one if I may ask?” Enrico asked wanting to know more.
She gave a light chuckle.
“Oh come on Mr Vos...” She started as she drew closer to him, stretching her hand towards his and lightly stroking it.
“I worked at a bar. I know my way around drinks...isn’t it all that matters?” She asked a puzzling question. He couldn’t wipe the amusement on his face.
“I’m looking for an assistant and not a bar tender.” He simply told her and watched as the smile on her face almost varnished but somehow she managed to keep it up.
She gently stood to her feet and leaned forward seductively a little bit more so her bosoms were showing. She stretched out her hand to his and tried to seductively caress his arms with her long fingers. He noticed her new action.
“I know the kind of man that you are Enrico Vos. Why don’t you give me this job and I’ll give you want you want in return? What do you say?” She dared to wager, he looked from her hand on his to her daring eyes. A mischievous smile grew across his face.
* * *
Kiana sat nervously beside four other women. She rubbed her sweaty palms together and brushed her hair once more with her hand. The wait was killing her. She thought of what she would do if this job doesn’t work out but then again, she assured herself it was going to work out. She had all the necessary certificates. She was dressed appropriately. All she needed to do was speak up confidently and Nothing would go wrong.
She slightly took a look at the four women waiting for their turns just like she was while the rest waited downstairs. It was five at a time all the way upstairs to meet the boss. Luckily for her, she was among the first five. At least she wasn’t the first to walk into that office. She had never met the CEO in person and had no time to do a thorough research on him.
He can’t be that hard to deal with.
She told herself continuously as she earlier on walked into the building. As she stared at the other women, she realised they were better dressed than she was. While her skirt and top showed the fact that it was made out of cheap materials, theirs said the opposite. They sat up and looked so confident. It seemed she was the only one sweating nervously beneath her shirt even though they were in an air conditioned environment.
She sighed as her shoulders slumped. She shook her head at all her negative thoughts as she rubbed her palms together. She couldn’t afford to think negative at the moment. She needed the pay from this job. It would go a long way in helping her pay off her debts.
The young woman who first went in a few minutes ago stormed out of the office angrily before slamming the door behind her. Eyes turned to her.
“How dare he call me slutty!?” She exclaimed as soon as she walked out of the office fuming mad.
“To hell with you Enrico Vos! To hell with this freaking company!” She exclaimed once more before finally walking away screaming at anyone that stood in her way. Her heels making sounds as she went on.
“Patricia Williams.” A woman read out.
“Present.” The woman beside Ana answered as she rose up her hand. She put up a simple smile. Gently, she got up from her seat and elegantly walked towards Enrico’s office.
* * *
“Snob.” Enrico voiced out to her.
A second later, she was seen storming out of the office without looking back. Her gentle catwalks had disappeared.
Kiana rubbed her palms together a bit more. She hoped her nervousness doesn’t kill her before it got to her turn.
Another lady’s name was called and she answered before walking in.
* * *
“How do I put this? You’re too short.” Enrico voiced out to her face without flinching even once.
A few seconds later, she stormed out of his office as well.
“Too short my foot!” She exclaimed to everyone’s hearing as she stormed away.
The next was called to go in.
* * *
She stormed out of the office angry just like the rest before her.
* * *
“You’re too chubby for my liking.” He stated out to the next applicant and she walked out of the office mad at him as well for being rude.
Ana took a look around her. She was the last candidate left on this floor. She took a look at herself from toe upwards and wondered what she was going to be condemned with. Although she didn’t like the thought but none of those women that walked in, walked out with a smile on their face. For some reason, they had all been rejected. She noticed the stitching she had done on her skirt last night; the thread was threatening to stick out. She immediately brushed it with her hand. She needed it to stay still and not give her away.
* * *
“Mr Vos, there’s just one candidate left waiting. Do I let her in?” The young woman who had been calling out the names asked as soon as she walked into his office.
“Who?” He asked as he raised his eyes up to her.
“Kiana Stuart.” She read out from the paper she held at hand.
His eyes widened a bit at the mention of her name. He was silent for a few seconds as several thoughts ran through his mind. He looked up to her as a mischievous smile grew at the corner of his lips.
“Are there more candidates waiting downstairs?” He asked and the young woman nodded.
“Yes sir. Quite a few more of them.”
“Good...let the young woman outside wait. She’ll go last. I’ll attend to the other candidates.” He stated out his plan and she nodded before walking out of the office. He relaxed back on his chair.
She was here after all at his mercy, why don’t he have fun with it?
* * *
Ana watched the young woman that called out the names walk out of the office and then towards the elevator. A few minutes later. She was back with five more candidates. She furrowed her eyebrows at what was going on. She thought of the possibility that she might have been forgotten and so she managed to gather enough courage to get up and walk up to the young woman.
“Excuse me, I think there has been a mistake. I was here with the first set but...”
“Kiana Stuart?” She suddenly called out her name and Kiana managed to nod.
“Please have your seat. I’ll let you in as soon as it’s your turn.” She simply stated out to her before walking away giving Ana no room for more questions.
Ana sighed as she went back to her seat. She took a look at her time and it has been over two hours since she got here. She shut her eyes for a second. She needed to be patient. This was the time she had to exercise all the patience she’s got. It would eventually get to her turn.
“Gina Lloyd” She called the next candidate in and Ana watched her walk past her and into the office.
* * *
“You have a very unappealing face.”
The young woman stormed out of the office with a frown on her face.
* * *
* * *
* * *
* * *
“What exactly does he want?” A lady beside Ana asked her as she tried to start up a conversation.
“So far, no one has been able to please him. It seems as if he’s being rude on purpose like...he’s looking for excuses. He either has someone else in mind or he just doesn’t want any of us.” The woman stated as she took a look at Ana.
Ana lightly shrugged her shoulders. She had nothing to say at this point. She was too nervous to speak up. All that went on in her mind was the possibility of pleasing this man who seemed impossible to please.
The young woman sighed as she looked away realising her partner wasn’t ready for a chitchat. Soon enough, it was her turn.
Ana sat there patiently, stealing glances at the clock hung on the wall. Time was running out for her. Another set was brought in while she sat there and although it pissed her off, she decided to remain calm. She had tried her best to get to where she is at the moment. Sooner or later, she was going to figure out what was going on and why she was made to seat here for what seemed like eternity.
“Kiana Stuart.” The lady finally called after what seemed like years of waiting.
“Present.” She answered as she got up to her feet, heaving a sigh of relief afterwards. She took a look around and truly, she was the last candidate to go in. As she approached the door, she hoped her wait was worth it. The job better be hers.