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Chapter 1

Lucy was distraught, she was running late and would most probably miss her interview today. Ah, if only she could pray to the almighty and somehow pause time. Wouldn’t that just be perfect!

But Lucy had already realised that like wasn’t as golden and beautiful for an average earning family as it would be for the rich minority. No, she had to struggle for her piece of cake. She ran as fast as her legs could go and her heels weren’t keen on helping her today. But she needed the job, the desperation clearly shown on her face.

When Lucy turned 18, she was hell bent on following her dreams and when the opportunity came knocking, she took it without batting an eyelid. Within the next two weeks she had moved away from the comforts of her home and checked into a woman’s hostel in the city. It didn’t offer much, just a room that she had to share with her roommate and a washroom.

She was happy. She could now build her dream independent life. She had a place to stay and a job offer as well. But by the looks of it, she was about to miss her very first interview. She had set an alarm this morning, but her roommate had turned off the darn thing even before she woke up. Lucy wasn’t very fond of her roommate, she always found something off with her behaviour. However, she never thought much about it.

Lucy finally made it to the building. Least to say, it was fancy and nothing she had seen in her small town back home. Lucy stood panting near the gate, her throat dry and her hair a mess. ‘I must look like a loon’, she thought to herself.

Taking a deep breath, Lucy entered in through the gates. She headed to the reception trying to navigate her way through.

“The restroom is to the left. Thought you might need it”.

Lucy mumbled a small thank you as soon as she caught on to what the lady meant. Sure enough, Lucy did look like a mess. She cursed looking at herself in the mirror. Her long black hair was all over the place. Her doe like eyes ran over her reflection in the mirror. She kept her bag aside and fixed herself. She had to look presentable for the interview.

Glancing at her watch, she knew she had to rush or she would miss her slot. Luckily, she was able to enter in right when her name was called out.

The HR panel did scare her in the beginning but she was able to pull herself through perfectly well.

“So, miss Deluca, you just turned 18. Why start working immediately. Do you not plan on studying further, a degree if not post-graduation?”

Lucy gave a gentle smile to the lady. How could she explain that her family wasn’t ready to educate her further?

“I do plan on studying further, ma’am. But I would like to take some time off and gain some real-life experience”, she explained. “Now that I’ve completed my certification exam, I plan of studying side by side”.

The women nodded. Lucy tried to read them but they all wore a neutral expression.

“Thank you, Ms. Deluca. We shall soon get back in touch with you”.

Lucy felt her heart drop. ‘what if I messed this up? I don’t want to go back home!’ she thought to herself. She straightened up, thanked them and walked out, all the while praying that she would get this job.

Her parent’s words rang in her mind. She had a month to find a job or she would have to return home. But what about her life? Lucy’s shoulders drooped. ‘If only it were easy to find a job’, she thought.

On reaching her dorm, Lucy wasn’t happy when she found an unknown man sitting on her bed. Shirtless. Where on earth was her roommate?

“umm…sir, you need to leave. Men aren’t allowed here”.

Lucy was trying to be brave but her shaky voice said otherwise. The stranger smirked and got up from her bed. He was about to speak when the washroom door opened and Julie-Ann her roommate stepped out.

“Stop scaring the poor girl Joe. Let her be, she’s a goody two shoe”.

Whatever her roommate said seemed to have fallen on deaf ears as the guy, whom she now knew as Joe, continued smirking at her.

“It’s nice to have something new every once in a while, don’t you agree, Julie?” he turned to Julie with a raised eyebrow.

Lucy was frightened and this man did not seem welcoming. If anything, this man seemed to frighten her more. There was just something so wrong about him. He appeared dangerous.

“Stop it”, her roommate mumbled while dragging the guy out.

Lucy was left shaken. His stare, it was so cold and she was complete freaked out. Why would Julie-Ann bring a man here. Didn’t she know that she could get thrown out? That guy did not look like good company to Lucy and she was going to keep as much distance from them as she could.

She knew her parents would disown her if they found her with a boy. What if her neighbours learned about anything? They would shun her out. She would be labelled her an outcast. The neighbourhood she grew up in wasn't warm or welcoming and she was afraid of them. She was afraid of the cruel things their corrupt mind was capable of doing.

They had done enough to her throughout her childhood. She was always taunted and insulted for being different. Her siblings too would walk away from her as though she was the plague itself. Lucy didn’t want to go through any of that again. It had been the darkest time of her life and she didn’t want to revisit it. She wanted a happy life.

She had decided that she would move to a different room if the guy came again. She wasn’t ready to give up on her dream yet, especially not because of a boy.

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