II. Deviously Handsome
“What? Can you please repeat that?”
“I apologize, Miss Blanc, but you’re not fit for this position. However, if there were to be another opening, we will surely call you.”
In other words, get out.
I nod my head before dragging my legs out of the company. I understand that they prefer someone with more experience and a higher form of education. However, I graduated from Pandora Academy. I should be able to get the job.
Then again, this isn’t the first time that someone told me I am unfit for the position. It’s always one of the three reasons. One, I’m too young and inexperienced. Two, my high school diploma is too prestigious, so they suggest I pursue a higher degree for the better of my future. Three, my high school diploma is not good enough.
Dragging my legs towards the glass door, my head was hung lowly, looking almost as if I left a funeral.
The funeral of my future.
The funeral of having a decent meal.
The funeral of acceptance.
I did not carpe diem.
Times like this, I want to crawl back home, but I’m still too ashamed of myself. Two years ago, my parents asked me if I’m undoubtedly sure I wanted to marry Liam, and I gave them a confident: “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yessssss!” only to get a divorce a year later.
What would they think of that?
I want to accomplish at least something - such as getting a job before I return.
My whole life, I’ve been pampered by my parents, who work from the bottom up to get where they are now. They didn’t become wealthy through generations accumulations, rather sacrificing their youths and building a respectful business.
How can I be a proper Blanc if I can’t make something out of my first name?
I buried my face in my hands, “Why are you even hiding from your own family? Pride? They probably already know you’re divorced by now. Just throw that pride into the toilet and flush it so you can eat some good steak,” I grumbled.
I bump into someone, inhaling a sweet green apple and lemonade. I had always loved that scent, “Sorry, my tears and pride are blocking the path,” I said, without looking at the person and continuing walking towards the door.
After walking two blocks, barefoot, because no one gives a damn in the city, I reached the bus stop. I held myself onto the silver pole, probably filled with bacteria, and sighed. When the scent of freshly cooked hotdogs invaded my nostrils, I began wailing loudly like walrus. My stomach was growling to the point of no return. “I’ll get a job and come back for you one day.”
I’ve been working small jobs here and there, but it’s always been seasonal. Right now, my savings is at an all-time low. I don’t want to dip into it unless it’s something critical like I broke a leg or acid spillage on me.
When the bus arrived, my heels were dangling on my fingertips. My natural untamed hair decided I need to be the lion king today. Earlier I took off my coat, and now it’s hanging on my shoulders. I probably look like a daytime drunk.
Settling myself against the glass, I stare out at San Francisco. Yes, I ran from New York to San Francisco. Across the country to get away from my ex-husband.
I ran my fingers down the window and sighed. “Why,” I whisper to myself, feeling the bus rattling back and forth. “Why me?” I began hitting my head against the glass, ignoring all the awkward stares.
“Why!” I scream even louder, causing the baby to cry. The mother gave me a nasty glare before rocking her baby back and forth.
“The miss in the back,” the bus driver said over the speaker.
I look around the bus to see a single mother with a baby and a guy sleeping in the corner. There were also two men present, chit-chatting with one another. “Me?”
He glanced at the large mirror, “Yes, you. Are you okay?”
A part of me wants to tell him I’m all right and reassure everyone that I was not crazy or a drug attic. “No! I’m not okay!” I cried, dangling my limbs against the bus seat. “I didn’t get the job...again!”
Everyone nods as if they understand my struggles. “I understand your struggles,” the mother said. “I got turned down by over fifty companies before I landed my job. Then, I had to quit it for this ungrateful brat.” She pokes her finger against the baby’s cheeks, causing him to giggle.
“You’re still young,” the bus driver said, and everyone nodded along. “Take your time. One day, someone would take notice of your effort and hire you.”
I smile, feeling as if the sadness suddenly evaporated into thin air. “Thank you, mister bus driver!”
“Why don’t you apply for Vivus?” the mother suddenly said.
“It’s a newly established fashion company. I heard they are doing massive hiring. Even jobless looking hobo like you may get hired.” She took out a bottle and shook it before feeding it to her baby.
I look down at my outfit, “I look like a hobo?”
“To them, you probably do.” Her baby was devouring the milk, “It’s a fashion company sweetheart, and that outfit most likely won’t cut it.”
I sat there, weighing out my options. I don’t want to join the fashion industry since both Liam and my family are in that field. However, if it’s a small company with decent pay, I can work under the radar. While I’m working there, I can always apply for other jobs.
“Thank you, mother, of that handsome boy!”
She blinks once, “She’s a girl,” she said before digging into her purse. She pulls out a bow and clips it on her child’s single strand of hair.
Oh, how awkward. I fold my hands on my lap; a thin line spread across my face, “She is very pre-”
“Don’t.” the mother said.
I close my mouth immediately. “Sorry,” I whispered. I had to apologize.
“My name is Lisa.”
The smile returned and I stood up, straddling my legs towards her. I sat down beside Lisa. “I’m Vivian.” I held out a hand.
Lisa shook her head and grabbed it. “Don’t let a single day ruin your life.”
I nod as she introduces me to her baby girl - Marisa, named after her grandma. The day didn’t turn out as badly as I anticipated; it became a truly wonderful day. I stroke Marisa’s cheek with a single finger only to hear her giggle.
“She’s so pretty,” I whispered.
“You’ll get your chance one day.” Lisa winked.
I laugh lightly before looking out the window to see a billboard sign. Paint like a perfect artwork inside, his eyes, deep and catastrophic, was staring at me. He sat on the leather couch, legs in a perfect cross as he rests his head against two fingers. Loose black silk shirt with personally carved gold cuffs and black trousers. His luxurious dark hair slick back into perfection. With a single look, anyone would think he is devilishly handsome.
“Handsome, isn’t he?” Lisa commented.
This past year, the only time I’ve ever seen Liam is through billboards and magazines. His eyes, so beautiful but so hauntingly empty.
“I heard he’s a CEO,” Lisa sighs, “If I’m as good looking as him. I would also model for my company.”
“Really? Because it makes him seem coincided...and cheap.”
Lisa gasp, face scrunching down, making it seem like she had a double chin. “He is a billionaire.”
“Then, why doesn’t he hire actual models?” I know I was throwing an odd tantrum, but I didn’t care. “It’s because he is cheap. He doesn’t want to hire them so that he can save money. That’s how rich people stay rich; they’re cheap!” I was basically insulting every wealthy family out there, including mine.
Lisa chuckled, tilting her head slightly towards the direction away from me. “You seem like you have something against him.” She hummed lowly, before leaning the upper portion of her body inward, “Is it because you can’t have him?”
I was his wife!
I didn’t say that out loud.
Lisa looks back at the billboard and signs, “How can someone be so handsome?”
“Handsome face, cold heart.”
“Nothing.” I smile, reverting my attention at Lisa, twiddling my finger in front of her face while poking her chubby cheeks once in a while.
Once I reached my destination, I bid Lisa, Marisa, Bob, the bus driver, goodbye. “At least you made some friends today, so good for you, Vivian.” I decide to keep my optimism.
Walking two more blocks until I reached the apartment, the soles of my feet were aching to the point of no return. I unlock the door, hearing an agonizing creak once it opens. Throwing the heels lightly against the wall, I remove the dirt before walking towards the kitchen. I grab the broom and sweep all the trash away, knowing Amoli wouldn’t appreciate me making a mess. She’s already kind enough to let me stay for free, so I shouldn’t take advantage of her.
After I finished, I limp towards the couch and massage my aching feet. “Should I try to apply?” I ask myself before pulling out Amoli’s laptop. Punching in her password - password1 - I began researching about the company.
The clicking of the mouse drift in the air for God knows how long until the front door creaks open. “Viv! Guess what I brou-” Amoli stopped talking when she saw me curl up in a black blanket or what she called my depression blanky. “You didn’t get the job, did you?”
I lay the laptop on the old brown wooden table and shook my head. “No one wants me.”
Amoli kicks off her shoes before dropping her backpack beside the couch and box of donuts on the table. She went towards me for an embarrassment. “Oh, Viv. You’ll get the next one, don’t worry.” She pats a hand against my back while I rest against her chest.
“I’m applying for another position right now.”
“Already? Viv, I told you. We don’t need money right now. Take some time off and relax. You’ve been job hunting like crazy ever since you came to San Francisco.”
“No, buts, take some time off. No more applying for any other company, and I better not catch you washing dishes at a restaurant anymore.”
I look down at my prune hands from when I accepted a job at this shady restaurant. The work was hard, but a job is a job. When Amoli found me, she dragged my ass out of the building, saying I have more to offer the world than clean plates. At that time, I was going through depression. I wanted to do anything except stay inside and think about my handsome ex-husband.
“Is this all I’m good for?” I asked her, as a sharp breath left her throat. “Being an heiress then marrying some rich guy?”
"Behena." That nickname, oh shit. She is getting into her serious mood. “Don’t ever say that. You’re worth more than that. You can offer the world so much more. It takes time.”
I smile, “How do you do it? Always manage to make me feel better. You’re the best.”
“Now, wipe those tears off and help me cook. We don’t want me to burn another meal,” she said. I nod before sitting up a bit straighter. We did our secret handshake, consisting of hands slap and knuckle punches before she went back to the bedroom to change.
I exhale a deep breath, no longer feeling the weight on my chest. My eyes flickered towards the bright screen, somehow seeming to taunt me. I grab the mouse and scroll the pages before clicking - apply.