Chapter 11-Something Unexpected

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"Yeah." I sighed. "I'll be there as soon as I clean up here. I'll see you in half an hour?"

"I'll have dinner ready by then."

Hanging up, I started clearing the desks and arranging files in order with post it notes so that the clerk who comes here in the morning to get the signed files will know what to do. I picked up by bag but before shutting off the lights. I was about to leave when my eyes went to the glossy cover of the red diary. I picked it up and shoved it inside my bag before heading out.

****

"You know," Mary spoke with a mouthful of grilled vegetables, making her words almost unrecognizable. "It's a good thing your boss never sees you with your hair down. He'll think you're still in high school."

That's one thing I've always hated about myself, having a baby face. If I left my hair down and swapped contacts for my glasses, people will think I'm a high schooler trying to act adult. Which is why I always keep it in a tight bun on top of my head.

"Chew with your mouth closed young lady!" I frowned as I ate another piece of grilled teriyaki chicken. "And you know that's not what I'm here to discuss."

I've had a look at Lancelin's diary while I was heading to Mary's house in a taxi and I'd been shocked to find over two hundred name on it. That had just made me feel sick.

"Look," Mary sighed. "I'm not saying that the Eustis brothers are doing the right thing, but you have to know that those women weren't forced into this. You've spoken with them on the phone, haven't you? To fix appointments. Did they sound unwilling to you?"

My frown deepened. "Stop playing the devil's advocate."

"Well someone had to before people start calling the cops on you for interfering in their lives," Mary said, pointing her fork at me before she went back to her dinner.

Mary was right, maybe I was just being a prude, poking my nose where it didn't belong, but I couldn't, wouldn't stand back and watch anyone humiliate a woman. So I kept quite in front of Mary, not wanting to spoil out girl's night...but I already knew what I had to do.

****

Next morning, I arrived with Lancelin's special coffee just in time for the elevator doors to shut behind me, my mind a mess and my heart thundering a mile an hour.

Mary and I had a nice night together, whipping up a chocolate cake for desert, drinking cheap wine and watching chick flicks. And then Mary had fallen asleep and I'd sneaked out of the room to make a few calls.

The elevator dinged at the tenth floor and I stepped out alone, the others having gotten off on lower floors. Reefwood had twelve floors in total, the first nine floors were the office while the place from the tenth floor upwards was reserved only for Lancelin, with a small portion of the tenth being his cabin. No one was allowed to go upwards even though Lancelin's private elevator had buttons for all twelve floors, the common elevator ending on the tenth.

I know I was stalling, thinking about useless things so that my mind stays diverted from the events that were about to unfold today. Maybe I was wrong. Mary had a valid point when she said that Lancelin never forced himself on anyone, they chose to be with him even though the tabloids had taken several pictures of him on events one after the other, with a different woman in his arms. They were all adults, late 20's to early 30's. Some were even in their early 40's- I'd made sure to find out- they could make their decision on their own without me interfering. But there was this teeny-tiny part of me that kept screaming foul play even though I've tried to reason with myself over and over for the past twelve hours.

"Is this a one-time thing Ms. Johnson or did you decide that since I've already hired you, it's okay to come in late."

Lancelin's sharp voice cut through my thoughts and I looked at the wall clock right above my desk to find that it was already 8.45 am. My eyes widened at the time, wondering what could have made me this late, but my mind came up blank. I've never before been disoriented when it came to my work. No matter what difficulty I had faced in my personal life, my professional record had always been spotless.

"Sanaya?" Lancelin came out of his cabin to stare at me standing like a statue right outside the elevator door in navy blue pants and a white shirt and a coffee cup in hand, his brows creased. The way he said my name made a shiver run down my spine, the utter rightness of it made me had second thoughts.

But it also helped sharpen my resolve. Maybe this was how he seduced innocent women, using his face as well as his voice. And I knew what I was about to do wasn't wrong at all.

"I'm sorry Mr. Eustis, but there are guests waiting for you in the lounge, would you like to meet them?" I asked, handing him the still steaming cup of espresso.

"Guests?" Lancelin frowned. "I didn't know I had any meeting today. Did you forget to put that in the organizer?"

"No, Sir. They came in unexpected." I went to my desk and made the call to Mina to send the guests upstairs. "They'll be here shortly."

"And who might they be Ms. Johnson? You know I do not meet people if they don't have a prior appointment." His voice was snapped, angry.

"I'm sure you'll like to meet them." I held his gaze as they locked onto mine, the raw power in those topaz eyes threatened to make my knees buckle.

Thankfully, and to the sudden thundering of my heart, the elevator doors opened and fifteen women came inside at once, all gorgeous in their own right and gracefully dressed...and all looked supremely pissed off.

The reason I was late was because I'd been the one to welcome them and make sure they sat together in the lounge room. The rest would have taken its natural course as it was supposed to; the women could not have waited to quench their curiosity about why they were all here to meet Lancelin. And that would have brought out their personalconnections with him. As predicted, the rage in their eyes proved that my plan had succeeded.

And then something unexpected happened.

The women had hardly come halfway inside the waiting area when Lancelin stepped in front of me, blocking his face from view before I had a chance to judge his reaction...and the temperature in the room dropped ten degrees instantly, making Goosebumps break out on my skin.

And that was when I knew that something was very, very wrong.

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