Chapter 1 – The Life of Eloise Clemonte
My name is Eloise Clemonte and I am 27 years old. I have no idea who gave birth to me since I was raised in an orphanage. I don’t know if my parents were dead or alive and I have no intention of looking up for them.
Why should I even care for someone who abandoned me when I was a child?
Knowing that I have nobody I can depend on, I was determined to do something about my life and study hard for my own future. I never knew the beauty of being a child nor being a teenager since I’m constantly busy preparing my future life in advance.
Now, as an adult, I managed to establish a world scale corporation with over 100 branch offices throughout the world. With all the money and power I’ve obtained, I still feel like my life lack of something important.
Those feelings will only fade once I indulge myself in a never-ending pile of work or when I get too drunk to even function. Sometimes I do have fun with the people I find soothing to be with.
Growing up without any interaction with the opposite sex, my feelings were trained to love women rather than men. Of course, at first I feel that something was wrong with me since I was raised in an orphanage owned by the church, but, now that I am an adult, I don’t see any mistake or wrongdoing in my choices anymore.
Love is love after all.
I heard a knock on my door before my personal assistant turned the knob and enter.
“Are you going home or should I ask someone to prepare your bed upstairs?” Luna, my assistant asked.
I just came back from Germany for one of my usual conferences but, because of the piles of work that building up from my week-long travel, I have to finish everything by tonight. Looking at the reports I need to finish on my desk, I sigh.
“I’m going to put an all-nighter tonight.” Luna seems worried all of the sudden.
“You need some time to sleep as well, you’re not a robot El.” Luna always called me by my nickname whenever we’re alone.
We actually went to the same university and even graduated at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to be who I am now without her parents’ help, financially speaking though.
I don’t know why she decided to be my assistant rather than being one of the departments head.
“I’m going to be fine. You should go home. I bet that little gremlin of yours has been waiting for her mother to come home since forever.” She gave me a sigh.
“I’ll ask the maids to prepare your dinner. Please, at least eat your dinner.” I saluted. She was shaking her head at my response.
“Before I forget, tomorrow we have a meeting with all department head. There are issues with the accounting department.” Issues? That’s odd.
“Alright. Good night Luna.” She gave me a smile before closing the door. I continued to do my work for a while before a maid walked in with my dinner. I thanked her and enjoyed my dinner while looking at the city lights.
To have such view from my office windows, I am truly living the life I always wanted when I was growing up in the orphanage. None of the people who took care of me ever expected that a loner like myself even manage to have such life.
“I was right, you’re still working.” That voice. I turned my rotating chair and face the person walking into my office.
“Wait, I thought you have a conference in New York. What are you doing here?” I asked with my mouth full.
“It’s not polite to speak with your mouth full, geez.” She went to grab a napkin and wipe my mouth.
“It ends today. I should be home by tomorrow but I took the liberty to use the company’s jet. I hope it’s okay.” She what?
Well, she’s the chief executive officer, she can do anything that she wants in the company. But of course, she needs to ask for my permission though since I’m the chairwoman.
“Claire, you need to ask for my permission. But, it’s fine. I let it slide just for once.” She gave me a small smile before she went to sit on the chair in front of my desk.
“So, any news? What’s going on in New York?” I asked while sipping my coffee.
“Looks like some of the head branches want to do something to make you look bad. The head of New York branch will be suggesting some proposal in the upcoming meeting for all branches. It’s best to ignore his suggestion because when I take a look at the financial history and their reports, it doesn’t match at all. He was mad at us for not sending more financial support to the office!”
I raised both eyebrows.
“But we did right? Why do they need more? On our end, we sent enough financial support to each branch.” Claire shrugged.
“Obviously he swindled the money we sent. What should we do? Do you want me to deal with it myself? Or should I let Maya interfere since she’s the chief financial officer.” Bringing Maya to this matter will only end badly.
“Speaking of Maya, did you received a text from her? She fired one of her accountants for an unknown reason. It’s too bad though, he’s such a talented worker.” I gave her a nervous laughter.
If only she knew the reason that Maya fired him was that he cheated with the receptionist in the lobby. I told her many times before that every personal matter should always be deal professionally. But Maya, she just couldn’t work with him anymore.
“You know something, right?” Claire suddenly stood up and slammed her hand on my desk.
“I don’t know anything, I swear.” Claire can be such a pain in the ass when she’s like this.
“Aren’t you suppose to be home now? I bet your fiancée waiting for you.” I tried to change the subject.
“He is. But I told him I’ll be tomorrow. Besides, I have to pick something up.” She replied.
“Pick what?” I asked.
“Pick this.” It happened so fast that didn’t even get to do anything about it when her lips on mine.
For a brief moment, I don’t know if I should kiss her back or just let her do whatever she wants without returning the favor. Maybe ... for a few minutes? Sorry, Thomas, I can’t help it .... she used to be my girlfriend.
“Oh ... I never knew that you both this close before.” That voice, it’s LUNA!
When I open my eyes, I noticed that Claire’s putting on her clothes while I, in my birthday suit still. Luna was crossing her hands while tapping on her wristwatch telling me it’s almost time.
“You have 10 minutes to make yourself look presentable for the meeting. I prepared your suit and even your breakfast is ready on the table. You need to eat them while getting ready.” She’s such a bossy assistant!
“I have to brief you while you in the shower since you clearly overslept.” I grab the towel Luna prepared for me and went to the bathroom.
“And Claire, Maya was looking for you earlier. She said something about your report while you were in New York.” I heard Claire cuss before running towards the door.
“And you, you should know better than to put your hands on someone’s fiancé. Have you gone mad? She’s engaged to the big macho lawyer! He’ll kill you if he ever finds out.” Can she just stop lecturing me?
“The briefing please.” She sighs before briefing me about today’s agenda.
“You have 5 more minutes. And also, Maya requested to see you this afternoon. She said something about finding a new accountant.” I chuckled.
“I thought she was thinking it through before firing him on the spot. Now, who’s in deep water since she short on accountants from the start.” I went out from the showers and blow dry my hair.
Luna held my breakfast up for me to eat while getting ready for the meeting.
“Well, upon knowing that, I took the liberty of putting on an ad for a new accountant. I hope that’s okay.” Good thinking.
“It’s fine. Besides, she needs them pronto right? Your quick thinking might save her from the burden.” She turned around when I let my towel down and put on my suit.
“I’m done.” I was about to walk out from the bathroom when she stopped me.
“Honestly, you need someone to take care of your needs, El. I’m married now and a mother, I can’t take care of you 24/7 like before.” I never realized that I always depended on her before.
“I don’t think anyone would want a workaholic like me. Besides, I’m always busy with my work, I don’t think I can give the person I’m with the attention she needs.” She fixed my collar before smiling at me.
“I think when you find the right person, she will do whatever it takes to overcome that obstacle.” She touched my nose before opening the door for me.
“We should go to the meeting room now. I’m sure everyone waiting for us.”
As chairwoman, I have to present myself at least once a month at the department meeting in HQ. If I’m not psychically present, Claire will take over and I’ll be doing it via video call from any parts of the world I’m in that moment.
Usually, I just have to listen to every complaint they have for me while Luna taking notes of each complainer. In the end, I’ll be reviewing it myself and think of a way to overcome it. I need to make sure there won’t be any problem at the very core of my corporation.
At the end of the meeting, I waited until I am alone in the room. It’s almost lunchtime and I have to meet Maya. I reached for my phone and called for Maya, telling her that I’m in the meeting room.
Not long after, she knocks on the door.
“Are you done? Let’s go. I’m hungry.” Maya gave me small smile. I’m sure she’s not smiling on the inside since her boyfriend cheated on her.
“Oh come on, don’t be sad. There’s a lot of fish in the sea, he’s not the only one.” Maya chuckled.
“You know El, that phrase, only my grandmother will use it. But you’re right! Why should I mopped around thinking about that bastard?! I should be glad since he showed his true colors before we get married.” That’s the Maya I know, so positive and strong.
“Hold on, you expect me to ride at the back of your bike? El, I’m using a short skirt!” Eh, what’s wrong with that? She did it before.
“I didn’t bring my car today.” She sighed before reaching for her car key.
“Use mine.” She threw her car keys to me and we both went to her car. It amazes how her car never get stolen before.
“Where are we going?” She asked when I started to drive.
“Remember that restaurant we always go to when we were still a student? I miss their food.” After eating German’s food for a week, I need to spoil myself a little bit.
“Oh! Madame Lupe’s Kitchen? Yea, I miss her food as well. It’s been what? Several years since we last went to that restaurant?” I was happy that the traffic isn’t acting up like always.
“I think we both have good luck today. We even manage to find a parking space right in front of the restaurant!” We both laughed.
“Don’t jinx it though,” I said before we both went out of the car and walked towards the restaurant.
It’s really packed today but like I said before, we are lucky enough to have a free table!
“Maybe we should buy lottery next,” Maya suggested.
“Or to Vegas.” A waitress came to our table and told us the specials for today but we both know what we want. This used to be our favorite place to eat while we’re still students.
“We both want spicy noodle, extra hot with ice lemon tea and your signature dessert, the famous custard pudding.” The waitress was clearly astounded by our request.
“You must be a regular to know this restaurant’s off-menu dishes.” We both smiled.
“Is Madam Lupe in? We wish to meet her if that’s okay.” Maya asked the waitress.
“I’ll get the owner.” She’s polite.
I’ll be sure to tip her later. Maya and I were talking about the current situation in the accounting department when we heard the person next to our table suddenly scream in frustration.
Not long after we heard a baby crying.
The woman next to us apologized to everyone and try to calm her baby. Looking at her table, she’s probably looking for a job. With that newspaper on the table, circling down every job description on it, it’s hard to miss.
I must say, she’s quite a stunning woman. That silky black hair really compliments her looks. If only she’s not married, I’ll be all over her.
“Hey! Are you even listening to me?” Maya gained my attention.
“Yes of course.” She gave me a skeptical look.
“Really? What did I say then?” Damn it! I should just be honest with her.
“I’m sorry.” She scoffed.
“Is that you blondie?!” Madam Lupe has always been calling me by that name since she can’t pronounce my name correctly.
“Aunt Lupe, how have you been? Good?” I asked before hugging her.
“I’m great. I thought you both forgot about me since its been ages since you two came to my restaurant. Luna, on the other hand, she always comes here on the weekends with her family.” Luna did Huh?
“How are you, Maya? My my, you look like a train wreck!” She knows!
Even when Maya tried really hard to conceal her despair, Aunt Lupe always manage to see it, she has the eyes of God! Well, that’s what we believe it to be.
“How did you ... Ugh, I can’t even fool you, Aunt Lupe.” Aunt Lupe laughed.
“You need to be at my age to fool me.” The waitress from earlier came with our orders. Aunt Lupe chuckled seeing our food.
“Looking back, we would never guess that you both would be the people you are today. Before, Maya has always been the one who keeps on changing her partner while Blondie here, always buried her head in books even though she’s having her meal.” We both chuckled.
She sounds like our guardian just then. She’s like a mother I never have and I always came to her for bits of advice when I needed one. She’s always so wise and controlled.
“UGH!” Again we heard the woman beside our table expressed her feelings. I wonder what’s going on.
“Oh don’t mind her. She’s having difficulty in finding a job now. She was fired from the company she was working for since she’s graduated. I heard that her neighbors complained about the fighting she’s having with her husband since he’s the only one who works now.” It amazed me how she knows this much.
“What kind of men that yelled at his wife for being unemployed? He should be working for his family. Men nowadays! Unbelievable!” Here we go again.
“Maya, don’t talk so loud. She might hear you.” I warned her.
“Well, enjoy your meal. I have to go back to the kitchen now. If you need anything else, do call for the waitresses.” Aunt Lupe bid us her goodbyes.
Maya and I continued to eat our meal and talked about the interviews she will conducting tomorrow.
“What kind of people are you searching for?” I asked.
“Someone who can do the work I asked him or her to do. I was wondering if you have some time tomorrow. I need your expert eye in assessing all those candidates tomorrow.” Hmmm, that’s interesting.
“I don’t know since Luna’s the one who tells me what I do every morning. Maybe you should make an appointment with her. That way she can find any free time for me to be there.” Maya gave me her famous ′are you fucking serious′ look.
“If you don’t have the time, I could ask my assistant to take a video of the interview and you can review them yourself.” That’s actually a good idea.
“Alright, we’ll do that. I do remember that I have a guest tomorrow coming from Japan. We’ll be discussing our new branch office in Japan.” Maya suddenly gave me a clap.
“Congratulation for that. I never knew that you’ll be opening another branch in Asia. No one even believed in your capability when you and Luna started this company while we’re at our final semester in university, but now, it only took you two 6 years to built your legacy.” Maya raised her glass before I raised mine as well.
“Honestly I owe a lot to Luna’s parents for believing in our dream. I feel so bad that Luna has to work as my assistant rather than being one of the chiefs.” Once again we both turned to the lady next to our table when we heard a baby laughed.
It actually sounds cute just then.
“By the way, I heard that you and Claire doing something last night. Are you mental to even doing that? You know how jealous Terry can be.” Did Luna tell everyone about what happened last night?
“It’s just something I do. It’s not serious or anything.” We were shocked when we heard the sound of someone being slapped.
"You should be searching for a job! Not spending more money by coming here!” A man shouted at the woman’s face.
I feel sorry for her though but, it’s their problem. I don’t want to interfere.
“That bastard!” To my surprise, Maya stood up from her seat and pushed the man away from the table. He fell on the floor with fury.
“Are you okay? How’s the baby?” The woman was speechless by Maya’s action.
I noticed the man stood up and was about to hit Maya. I really couldn’t let that happen to her though. I sighed before standing up from my own seat and grabbing the man by the wrist.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Her parents can be super annoying to deal with once they know that you hit their daughter. Not to mention her brothers will beat your ass up.” He forcefully took his hand back from my grip.
“Sir, you’re not supposed to hit a woman. That’s illegal. If she decided to take you to court, you’ll be in deep trouble. And I don’t mind being a witness if that does happen.” What the hell am I saying?
I don’t have time for that!
“She’s my wife. She’s mine and you, just a bystander.” He does have such foul mouth on him.
“Oh, you have a degree in accounting? Say, how about you try your luck in this interview tomorrow morning. What’s your name? I’ll make sure to add your name to the list.” The poor woman was speechless when Maya asked her all of the sudden.
“My name is Claudette Lowe.” She said.
“Claudette?” She nodded. I noticed the baby she’s with.
“You can bring your baby together if you don’t have anyone to take care of her. There’s a daycare center available. You can ask the people who work there for help. No payment necessary.” I added.
I just assumed it’s her since she’s wearing pink clothes.
She clearly didn’t expect Maya to invited her to an interview tomorrow. But, I did notice a small smile crept on her face that brief moment.
She’s beautiful when she smiles.