Flames of a Lie

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Chapter 3

I was smiling today but I don't know what tomorrow is holding for me under her sleeves.

I moved in today itself with Sophia's help as Eric was fine with me moving in today itself. I looked at the cold white wall of my new room. It will feel like home if I put my stuff. There was not much furniture but a queen-size bed and a small closet to keep all my belongings and a small desk in the corner in front of a window. The bathroom was common for both rooms. The room here was a little bit small as compared to my room at my house. It made me remember my house.

I have already started to miss my place. In my small town, we have a small house but it's very cozy in a friendly neighborhood. Whenever a new person comes to stay in our neighborhood all people welcome them with friendly smiles on their faces and sometimes even offer him some food. But it was different here when I came here I saw all the rooms' doors were closed making me think if anyone even stays here. Even my landlord gave me a hard glare when I entered the apartment with my stuff. It made me feel like I was trespassing the house and he caught me red-handed. It made me go inside my room with fast steps.

In my neighborhood, there was always hustle on the street. Kids race on the sidewalk with their small bicycles and teenagers hang out at the grounds where they mostly play soccer or baseball enjoying their life but the streets here we're full of busy people who don't even have time for themselves. City life is so different from the life I lived in my small town. The thought of how I will live my life between strangers for the next six months without my family was already scaring me but I have to do it. I have to do it for mom, dad, and Elijah.

I picked up the family photo I kept on my nightstand. I looked at their smiling faces and it made me smile too. I want to see them smile like this forever so I have to stay here. They look up to me so I have to be strong as the eldest daughter of Kings. I will come over every barrier because they trust me will so I have to trust myself too. I pressed the photo frame to my chest and said in my determined voice "I will work hard to maintain that happy smile on your faces."

"Sage are you already done unpacking," asked the light of my life in her cheerful voice. I turned and looked at her as she was standing at the door with newspapers and a laptop in her hand.

"Yeah, the only small stuff is remaining to arrange but I will do it later after we are done searching for a good job for me," I said with a smile on my face while keeping the photo back on the nightstand. She came in with all the stuff in her hands and dumped it on my bed.

"I told you I will help you unpacking why didn't you wait for me" she complained while looking at me with a small pout on her adorable face. I pulled her and made her sit beside me.

"You are already helping me so much I don't want to get you stressed more and I didn't bring much stuff with me so it didn't take long for me to unpack them," I said with a thankful smile on my face. She is missing her work to help me and I don't want her to stress more about my situation.

I don't want to ruin her job in the process of finding mine.

"Sage, you are not bothering me a bit. I must help you. After all, you are my only best friend," she said while hugging me from the side.

"I know," I said while hugging her back.

"So let's start job hunting my friend," she said with a wide grin full of enthusiasm while breaking our hug and taking the newspapers. Her words surge positive energy inside me for a new beginning.

"Let's do it," I said in my same voice while taking the newspaper. We both circled the jobs which were matching my qualifications. After one hour we were done going through all the newspapers.

"So let's start calling all the places and see if there is still a vacancy so I can apply," I said in my serious voice while circling the last job as in the newspaper. We have circled twenty jobs in the food industry.

"Yes let's do it," she said with a small smile on her face while taking her cell phone. Let's see if they still have a vacancy. With my fingers crossed I took my cell phone and dialed the number of the first job ad. "Hello, I'm calling for the management job interview for your company," I said in my calm voice. "Oh, I get it," I said in my small voice and moved my head in denial at Sophia as she too moved her head as she was done talking.

"Don't worry we will be able to fix some interviews for you" she said with an encouraging smile. I nodded my head as now I'm used to rejection but it still makes me anxious. However, I have learned how to deal with it so I didn't let my morale get low. We spend the next two hours calling all the companies. More than half of the people had been hired and there was no other job of the same requirement. Indeed, people here were so competitive they applied for jobs as soon as it's available in the market. I was losing my hope a little but in the end, we were able to fix three interviews for me. We squeal in happiness at our small victory.

"I can't believe I have two job interviews tomorrow," I said in my happy voice. Listening to me she pinches me. "Ouch," I said while rubbing my arm.

"Now do you," she asked with a mischievous smile on her face.

"Yes I do," I said, pinching her back with a playful smile on my face which made her laugh.

"Now let's prepare for what you are going to wear tomorrow," she said in an eager voice.

"Yes let's do it," I said while feeling the excitement. We spend our afternoon deciding what I will be wearing for my interviews tomorrow. I decided to wear a pair of trousers like always but Sophia didn't let me. She said I have to wear a pencil skirt and I can't change her mind if she sets it on something so, in the end, I said yes.

Then after that, we went for a little grocery shopping as I don't have money to spend on the take-outs. So it will be best if I prepare my food and save money. It was a little late in the evening when we came back so I directly started prepaying food. I started cutting the vegetables for chicken pasta. It's Sophia's favorite and I decided to give her a little treat for her hard work today.

"Mom how much time it will take I'm starving," Sophia said while slumping on the chair in front of the kitchen island while clutching her stomach like a kid. Her words made me laugh.

"Sweety, just wait for some time and it will be ready," I said with a grin on my face. She groans as she is the most impatient person I know. It just made me move my head in amusement and do my work with little speed. As I was almost done with my chicken pasta when the door of the apartment was opened. It made me look up in the direction of the door as the kitchen is an open kitchen.

Eric walked inside the apartment dressed in his white shirt and blue trousers. He threw the keys in the bowl beside the door and walked inside the house. His hard blue gaze fell on me making me immediately lower my eyes and do what I was doing. He looked extra pissed today. It's better if I don't say anything to him. It was one of his rules to never ask him if something was wrong when he came back from work. As if I was going to ask him even if he didn't have that rule. That guy is always intimating me with just the flicker of his gaze. Sophia turned her head and looked in the direction of Eric.

"Is something wrong at work?" she asked as soon as she saw him going towards his room making him stop and look in her direction with a clenched jaw. I swallowed hard while looking at her with wide eyes. She was the one who told me not to ask him this question then why is she digging her grave.

"What are you still doing here? It's not a shelter home so get lost before I kick you out," he said in his pissed voice making her snicker and roll her eyes at his words seeing her reaction Eric cursed under his breath and went to his room while closing the door with a loud thud.

God this girl.

"Why did you do that," I asked her while putting the pasta in chicken.

"Just for fun," she said casually with a mischievous smile on her lips. She likes to mess with him so much. I moved my head in amusement. After some time Eric came out of the room in his just only shorts not wearing a t-shirt and displaying his built-up body. Looking at his half-naked state made me look at the pasta which I was now plating on a plate. He went to the fridge and took the water bottle to drink.

"Didn't I tell you she is not used to seeing half-naked men roaming in the house?" Sophia said with her hands crossed on her chest while she looked at him with narrowed eyes it made me subconsciously look at him too.

"If she is not then she has to get used to it. I will do as I want in my house" he said in his firm voice while moving his eyes from her to me. "Do you have a problem with it?" he asked in his hard voice while making me immediately move my head in denial.

I didn't want to get kicked out of the house on the same day I moved in.

"Good," he said again, sipping the water from his bottle while looking at me.

"Stop intimating her, do you think she will say no if you ask her like this?" Sophia scoffed at him.

"What are you still doing here," he asked, moving his eyes away from me to her.

"Eating," she said in her mocking voice while taking the first bite and then moaning like she always does. "Hmm Sage can I marry you," she said while stuffing her mouth with the pasta her words made me laugh a little louder. My mouth shut when Eric looked at me with his glaring eyes.

"D---do you want to eat it?" I asked in my small voice. It looked like if I didn't ask him he would kick me out now itself.

"Why not," he said, taking a seat beside Sophia. I handed him the plate and pulled a chair for myself too besides my friend. I kept looking at him waiting for him to say if he liked it or not but he just stopped after his first bite for a few seconds but then again resumed his eating. He just ate the food in silence after he was done he washed the plate and went straight to his room without saying anything.

"He is so strange" I mumbled while eating my leftover pasta.

"Don't mind him he is just like that" Sophia said while serving her some more pasta. I just nod at her words. Then we went to sleep. Sophia stayed with me as it was late in the night.

The next day I woke up early and got ready for my interview. Today I had two interviews and one tomorrow. Sophia went to her place early in the morning as she had a work today. I made her eat breakfast before leaving the house. I made some for Eric too. Then I went back to my room and started getting ready for my day. As I was done getting dressed in my pencil skirt and black blouse I came out of my room letting my long hair down. I saw Eric entering the house after his morning jog. He looked at me with his hard blue color eyes as I was getting my bag from the table. I didn't let his stares affect me as I now know he looks at everyone like this.

"There is a toast and omelet in the kitchen you can have it before going to work," I said with a small smile on my face but he didn't smile back at me. He just nodded his head and went straight to his room. I didn't let his cold nature affect my good mood.

Taking all the essentials I left the apartment. I opened the map and saw which route was near. It showed the subway was a good choice as the taxi was not that I could afford now to ride if I wanted to stay here. I took the subway to the place where my interview was. Both the interviews were with big restaurant chain companies. I just kept looking at the tall building.

There were not many tall buildings in our small town. As I entered the building through the glass door I was awestruck. The interior inside it was so modernized with all the high-tech equipment installed in it. Everything my eyes fell on was shining there was not a single dust particle I could see from my naked eyes. I saw the receptionist's desk at the entrance and I went near her to ask where my interview was. She instructed me to go to the seventh floor as my interview was going to be conducted there. Taking a lift I went and saw so many people were there for the interview. I went and took my set on the chairs waiting patiently for my turn. I looked at all the people who were waiting for their tune to come.

I was finished with both of my interviews till afternoon and both of them didn't give me the feeling that they will accept me. Both the food indurated based companies I interviewed with wanted an experienced person and I didn't have any. Even if I had good grades but didn't have any experience. My work experience at our Kings diner was not valid here as it was not a five-star hotel. I was just hoping that tomorrow would be a good day but it didn't turn out as I wanted. Their demands were tough and the pay was less. I was even ready to do it but they just wanted to stretch my work more making it troublesome so it looked like they didn't want to hire me but just to test my patience it was better if I search for another job.

Now it's been almost a week in the city and I am still not able to get any job. How many days I will be able to survive in this big city without a job. Mom called me every day to ask what was going on and I had to lie to her so she doesn't stress. I felt so bad after lying to her. My head was getting heavy as I thought more about how I'm going to get a job. I need fresh air to get these heavy thoughts out of my brain so I can think straight. I slipped out of my bed and putting my hoodie and a pair of loose joggers on my body I went down.

The climate was chilled as it's been raining for the last few days. I covered my ears with the cap of the hoodie and out I had in my pocket stopping them from getting cold. I walked to Park which was not far from the place I live in. It was my first time looking at the neighborhood. Not many people we're out again making me think if people live here. Park was also empty with no kids playing in the rainwater.

If it was my town the scenario would have been the full opposite. I signed as I miss my home so much while slow swinging on the swing. Everything here was giving me a signal saying I was not made for city life but I can't do anything about it. I have to stay here. With this lingering heavy thought, I kept swinging slowly while looking at the greenery in front of me. I just only started to enjoy my view that it started raining again.

"God why my life is getting more and more hard" muttering this I started running towards the building I stay. My whole shoes were dripping drench in dirty soil. In just a split of a few seconds, my whole clothes were drenched. But as I was running I saw a puppy in a box near the road shivering.

Who abandons a puppy like this when it is raining heavy.

I went near it to have a look. It looked not a week old. It had scrunched at the corner of the cardboard box while still shivering. My heart just burst with more heaviness than I was already feeling. The poor thing was facing so much in his life at such a young age. For a moment I felt like I was looking at myself but the only difference was I had a family.

If he needs a home I will give him one.

Without thinking much I took the puppy and started running to my apartment. I pressed the puppy to my chest while putting my hand on his head, stopping cold rainwater from touching his already shivering body. As I hurriedly was crossing the road a loud honk of the car came towards me out of nowhere making me go still completely in my place as my heart almost came to mouth in fear.

The car screeched on the road loudly as the brakes were applied. It stops just an inch away from me It made me fall on the mud water-filled road while closing my eyes shut ready to face my fate. All the dirty brown soil water was splashed on my whole face. But in all this, I hide the puppy protectively under my arms with my heart beating wildly inside my chest. I waited for something to happen but nothing happened. Still sitting on the road with a hammering heart I slowly opened my eyes.

I blinked my eyes as dirty water getting mixed with rain was running down on my face. The first thing I saw when my vision got a little cleared was the devil's silver trident resting on the car hood. I blinked a few more times as I have seen this thing before. But before I could put more pressure on my brain to think a blooming angry voice caught my attention which made my whole body shiver in fear.

"Are you out to die?" said the angry voice making a cold shiver run to my spine. I pressed the shivering puppy to my chest in fear.

"What am I asking you, boy," said the angry voice again which made me look at him with fearful eyes. I was looking like a teenage boy dressed in these clothes which were fully drenched in the mud water as my long hair was hiding inside my hoodie. The first thing my eyes met was the coldest gray color eyes I ever saw in my life.

I just kept looking at his cold gray-colored eyes. Seeing my mute stated he lifted me grabbing my upper arm with a tight grip. I flinched a little at the tight grip on my arm. It made me hide my puppy from him. He was so tall and with a built-up body and in front of him I was indeed looking like a teenage boy with my small frame.

"Don't you know how to cross the fvcking road?" he shouted in his angry voice while his clothes were drenching in the rain. I gasped at his harsh words.

"B---but I crossed w---when the red light was on," I said in my chattering voice as my body shivered because of the cold wind. Why is he shouting at me? He was the one who was driving a car at full speed and that too when it was a red light.

"What! open your eyes and see which light is there if you have one," he said angrily while making me look at the traffic signal and it was now showing a green light.

It will show green light as he tried to kill me when it was a red light.

"It's showing green light now but when I was crossing the road it was red so stop shouting at me," I said in my angry voice. I won't let a total stranger shout at me when it was his fault. He should apologize to me but instead, he is shouting at me after he broke traffic laws.

"So you got a mouth now," he asked in anger after listening to my outburst.

"Yes, I do. Now apologize to me and my puppy. What if something had happened to us because of your reckless driving," I said in anger as I didn't like his way of talking.

Why is everyone here so rude? First Eric and now these gray eyes monster.

Listening to my words his gray eyes felt on the small creature I was holding in my hand. His eyes softened for a few seconds but they soon changed back to angry ones.

"Now I know what your apology means. This city is full of con artists who run into the road with innocent creatures to change their fate. Tell me how much does your apology cost" he asked in his angry voice while taking out a few dollar bills from his pocket. It made me look at him with angry eyes.

"Do I look like a beggar to you?" I asked in my angry wide eyes.

I just asked for a sorry and he is showing me his money to shut my mouth.

"Don't you already know that?" he scoffed while taking out my hand and putting thousand dollar bills on my palm. "Now stop with your drama. I have important things to do. Unlike you. I don't earn money by jumping in front of a people's car with their puppy" he mocked with an angry smirk like showing me my place. It was the last straw to break my dam of the whole week, frustration, and anger.

"Enough is enough just because you are rich doesn't mean you have the right to look down on the poor people. I don't want your money" I said while putting the money back in his hand.

"So you want more," he said in anger as I shoved the money back in his hand.

"ugh," I said in frustration. It was of no use arguing with a rich snob like him. I just wanted to strangle him and punch some kindness in his. But I didn't want my puppy to see violence so instead, I stamped his leg with my mud-filled shoe with all my might. He winced as my action caught him off-guard.

"Next time if anyone asks for an apology say sorry don't hand them money you arrogant man," I said in my angry voice while running away from him as he was about to grab my arm. To make him madder I showed him my tongue. He glared at me and cursed loudly and I immediately closed my puppy's ear. At a fast pace, I ran to my apartment. As soon as I opened the door I saw Sophia running to me.

"Girl you won't believe me I have found a perfect job for you" she shouted in her excited voice. Her eyes were glimmering with lots of mischief.

I don't know why but her excited words were giving me a bad feeling.

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