Avante City, Skylight Hotel.
That dream again, he thought. It was almost dawn when his nightmare awoke him.
Hunter Colten had been tortured by the same dream every night since he lost his mother in the fire that burnt their house long when he was still young.
After that disaster he was homeless, he lost his father way before the fire incident, and because of that fire, he lost his mother too.
He could only blame one person responsible for his mother’s death, her mother’s ex-boyfriend at that time, Harrison Neverner.
The guy had taken everything from his mother, deceived his mother, and took over every of his family’s legacy including his mother’s share in their company even though he was not officially married to his mother.
No, Harrison was never his stepfather or even at least adequate enough to show a fatherly or man role at all, in fact, quite the opposite. Harrison had made his teenage life a living hell. And when his mother died in the fire, Harrison left him with nothing. He became an orphan, the only thing that he could be grateful for was his foster parents.
But his past was still haunting him. He would not have peace until he took everything back from Harrison Neverner and since he was not a helpless kid anymore, it was time to make Harrison pay for everything he had done.
Even when he had to start his plan by manipulating Harrison’s daughter who might not be guilty at all.
Hunter looked to the side and found his girlfriend was still asleep before walking down the bed to his work table near the window.
He couldn’t help to look again at the information paper his hired P.I. gave him before. A picture of Claire Neverner, standing with her fiancé on the street in Qoya City, a relatively small city compared to the cities he’s been staying in.
Harrison’s daughter looked like someone ordinary, simple, a nice girl, and happy.
But that doesn’t matter, he thought. Appearances could be deceitful.
After he was able to take back his family’s company that Harrison had stolen from his mother by secretly buying it piece by piece, he lost track of Harrison’s whereabouts because just after Harrison no longer had anything, he disappeared. And finally, he found him again, Harrison Neverner.
Even though the PI hadn’t really seen Harrison by himself, according to the PI he only saw his daughter but that’s still a clue to go on.
Heck, knowing that Harrison has a daughter itself is a very big clue. A shocking one.
Why wouldn’t he tell mom about his daughter at all? In all those years?
Better yet, why is this--abandoned Claire still able to accept her unworthy father?
Since there’s no way his mother and he won’t know about Harrison’s daughter if Harrison was in touch with her at all, that would mean that Harrison had abandoned his own daughter too.
Or at least deliberately keeping her under everyone’s radar.
Or it could be the way he was looking for money, as far as he knew they could be working together… Working as a team, sucking on vulnerable women’s life and wealth, destroying families. He thought.
Who knows if his daughter turns out to be the brain? What else could make this--Claire would ever approve of his father’s deceitful acts?
Or maybe she doesn’t know?
But still, why would she accept his father at all?
Considering that the P.I had mentioned to him that according to the data he found, Harrison was sick and he was treated in one of the rehabilitation which was funded by the last share of the company that was supposed to be his mother’s legacy. The last piece of his family’s identity that he swore to gather to complete his vow.
Hunter took one last look at the photo before putting it back in the folder.
“Hey… What are you doing up...?” A voice came from behind him.
Valerie Rose was leaning her head to the wall, watching her boyfriend. She was a thriving artist-singer with a lot of tour schedules from city to city, even countries, which made them rarely seen each other.
They were mostly in a long-distance relationship. Long-distance and a secret relationship since Valerie and Hunter liked to keep their private life, well, private.
That night Hunter came all the way to that city, reaching the extra miles to be with her.
“Nothing… I was just about to go back to bed,” He said flatly before heading toward her, kissing her shoulder, and walked back to bed.
Hunter hadn’t talked about his past, nightmares, or his grudges upon the Harrisons to Valerie. Or anyone else for that matter, he thought.
He’s not really a chatty person who could easily talk about feelings, not to mention his relationship status with Valerie could be said, new.
Besides, Valerie liked boundaries too and what he liked about her was their set of boundaries itself, they’d never be too nosy when it comes to their feelings or something they like to keep in private.
Well, apart from all of that, she’s beautiful too, talented, independent, and… well, she’s just perfect. Hunter said to himself inside, before feeling strangely odd about himself for being too pushing Valerie to himself, in his own thoughts, as if he was comparing her with someone else or as if he was secretly questioning his own decisions to commit in his relationship with Valerie.
He couldn’t lie that with Valerie, they rushed their relationship at the beginning, but they’re getting along pretty well. So, why would he overthink it? Hunter always thought.
A few days later in Qoya City.
The Inside Co., Private office building, Claire Neverner’s Office.
Her office was not as big as a usual office in a big city since The Inside Corporate was located in a shophouse domain in Qoya City so it’s not a very formal building, but it was quite a comfortable place for people who needed their help.
Claire was a licensed counselor who specializes in self-development, marriage, and family counseling, even though she still new in her field and her clients mostly had an easy case for her to solve since she was a newbie. It was her calling, helping people get through hard times gives her happiness and joy, maybe because she dealt with a few hard times herself in the past.
That day, it was just another day at work for Claire. Little that she knew, that day would become a whole different day for her because she’s about to meet a new client that would change her life forever.
“Craig, I thought we agreed to not bringing some gift every time you came…?” Claire gently said to Craig, one of her clients who was pretty clingy to her, when she opened the door to let him out.
Their session had finished but it’s looked like Craig wanted to give her something from the bag he held.
“No, this is just something I bought earlier before I get here…” He glanced down. “I just bought it for myself, heh, but if you like chocolates I can give you some…” He said, taking a romantic box wrap of chocolate.
“Craig…” Claire sighed. “You know I can’t accept that, and we’ve talked about this…I think it’s time to refer--”
“No! Don’t do that!” He cut in with panic. “I-I promise you this is all just for me, and next week I won’t bring anything,” He said, putting the box back into the paper bag.
It was not his first attempt to show his affection to Claire and she never failed to know when he tried.
Claire whispered as she noticed that they’re starting to make a scene. She led Craig back inside the room.
“Listen, Craig… I’ll give you one more chance next week, Craig… If I see even one tiny attempt from you again, I really don’t have any choice other than to refer you to Dr. Regina,” Claire said.
“Craig… Dr. Regina is actually better than me...trust me,” Claire softly said.
“No… Okay, I promise not to do it again!” Craig strongly said in an upset tone before walking out the door. He let the door open.
Claire was sighing as she rubbed her temple, closing her eyes, overwhelmed by Craig’s behavior toward her. Craig was a 31 yo male with a complicated emotion which was hard for him to cope with since his girlfriend left him for another guy.
After a month of having weekly sessions with Claire, Craig started to show his affection toward her. Worrying about his dependency, Claire had offered him another senior psychologist to guide him better.
Claire was still in her own thoughts, looking down at the floor taking her breath. It’s been a long day for her and it’s not even past lunchtime yet.
“Should I get back later?” A man at the door said lightly.
Claire turned her back and found herself surprised by the man in front of her. Her next, slash new client? She thought before thinking inside whether her assistant had told her or not about a new client.
Who is this guy then? She thought.
“No, of course not, I was just--” Claire stopped talking as Hunter walked past her and practically shoved his biodata map to her hand without even looking.
Okay…why so rude…?
What is this guy even doing here then, if he doesn’t want to be here?
Claire said inside, assuming that he didn’t seem like the guy who would deliberately come to a counselor or psychologist asking for advice.
Noticing his frigid vibes, butch posture, expensive suits which showed that he’s powerful, and his striking face, defined jawline, everything just made Claire hard to believe that the guy just went there because he desperately in need of advice.
So, what’s up with this guy?