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Chapter 1

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My assistant came into the office. She had to slam the door again to get my attention. This weather always gets to me. In the worst way possible. I guess you can't really blame me for that.

"Mrs. Belan, David called again. He said he was worried after not hearing from you for so long."

"So long? I don't think a week is really that long, don't you agree?" - I said as I came back behind the table.

"And I thought I was pretty clear about our relationship. Why is he getting so clingy."

It was true. We only had a couple of drinks together. We weren't even friends and we only met because of my Uncle who had some kind of business relationship with David's family.

"Miss, you already met his entire family. I think that says a lot about your status."

"Please. We aren't teenagers to consider meeting family as a big deal. He knew mine way before he met me. That doesn't mean a thing."

I was getting a little frustrated. People were constantly pushing me into some types of labels against my will. What's wrong with being 26 and single. I have my career. That's enough for me. Besides I travel all the time because of the work. I don't trust myself or anyone else that much. America and Balkan are really far away from each other and going back and forth constantly took a lot of my free time. Being a lawyer, especially for human rights, isn't as easy as everyone thinks it is. And don't think I'm complaining. I chose what I do and I would never trade it for anything. It just seems others have a problem with it, as I expected even before I started college.

I held my hand up waiting for Stella to give me the papers about the tomorrow's meeting. She just gave me a cheeky smile and left the office. As you may notice, Stella knows a lot about my personal life. As my personal assistant she should, but being my best and only friend might have helped in that. She was there almost from the beginning and I wouldn't trust anyone else taking her place.

She was from Russia and she came to America the same way I did, although her life there wasn't really bad. We talked about it few times when we met but she hasn't spoken about it in quite a long time. I guess it pains her. She is 3 years older than me so she's like an older sister I always wished to have even though she doesn't act like it. Her father was a teacher in elementary school which didn't pay that bad and her mum worked as a hairdresser privately. She didn't have siblings as far as I know. But she might have gotten some after she left Perm. She was only 6. Just like my sister.

I asked her to search for her family many times before and even offered to pay for all the expenses but she never wanted. She didn't even want to accompany me on many trips I took. That kind of worked in my favor too because I always knew I had someone to run the business while I was gone. My sister was never interested in it. Shame. I wanted to make it family business. Oh, the irony.

It was getting late and I didn't even notice because it's been dark all day. We had a meeting early in the morning so I decided to not stay late as usual. As I looked up to see if Stella was bussy, I've noticed she was already getting ready to leave and she mouthed "dinner" to me. I guess I forgot to eat again but it was late to go out. Oh well, I guess it was still better than getting back to that lonely appartment and potentially drinking the night away again. Covering the bags under the eyes every morning was becoming really hard to do.

****

Since we came to work with our own cars, we decided to meet up at the Rivera. It was a new restaurant that David recommend to me. Well, he actually wanted to go there together but we can forget about that little detail. He doesn't need to know I've been there without him.

Once I got there and parked my car, I searched the garage looking for Stella's maroon Audi Q7. She always had a thing for those massive, family cars even though she only has her husky Oleg. He's the only connection she has with her origin.

The garage is quiet and dark. I saw headlights in distance but they went the other way. Only clicking of my heels could be heard. I stopped for a second to look around. I saw a tall man with board sholders standing next to an all black car watching me. I looked harder at his face trying to recognize him but failed. He started walking to me.

"Did you seriously get lost in the parking garage" - he said with sadistic humor in his voice.

I tried to not get offended by his tone and calmly reply.

"I'm not lost, I'm just looking for my friend. Not that it's any of your business."

He stood in front of me, smirking. Is he twelve or something?!

"If you're talking about that blonde, slim girl, she already went to the entrance so you're just wasting your time here."

Who does this man think he is.

"Yeah, no sh*t I'm wasting my time"- I said as I already started walking past him.

He better not be lying or I swear to God will go back there and wipe that childish smirk of his face.

****

I walked into the restaurant and saw Stella standing in front of the bar talking to a girl behind it. Her face looked distressed and concerned, but when she noticed me, she put up a smile and walked towards me. It was clear something was wrong but being in this business you learn to not bug into things that don't concern you. The less unneeded stress, the better. If she wanted, she would tell me.

We walked to the table and sat down. I was already getting impatient since it was late anyway and all this inconveniences made the time fly by without me even noticing.

Stella took the menu and we were deciding on what to order. She looked behind me so I realized that the waiter was approching.

"I'll have chicken curry, please as fast as possible if it's not too big of a problem."

Stella lost all color in her face and looked at me. I wasn't sure what's going on so I turned around and saw the same man from garage giggling next to me like a little school girl.

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