Prologue

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Clara

"Clara! Clara!"

My chain of thoughts broke when Ava's voice pierced into my ears while her hand slightly tapped my arm. Moving out of trance, I looked around my surroundings and realised that we had already reached Steven Industries. Panic whirled inside my mind and I looked into the mirror.

Lost in my thoughts, I hadn't even closed the side window and now I was ended up with a bird's nest on my hair. That's one of the many upsides of thick, wavy hair like mine and unlike blonde and brunette hair, this tangled mess look didn't suit my reddish brown locks.

"I can't appear in the interview looking like this." I exclaimed nervously and searched for the hairbrush inside my purse. When I didn't find one, my face contorted badly. "I don't think I should go inside."

Ava slapped her forehead and groaned before running her fingers through my hair, untangling the knots. "It's normal to panic before interview but if you talked about skipping this interview one more time, I'll push you out of my car."

After almost fifteen minutes of pep talk, I exited the car and walked towards the gigantic building of Steven Industries, which was the biggest one of its kind in California.

The dark green skyscraper greeted me as I entered inside, my borrowed heels making noise on the floor. It has been years since I last wore heels and I have been out of practice since then. In addition to my misery, due to Ava's slim built, her tea pink business suit was realky tight around my chest and behind, making it look like I intentionally did it. Hopefully Mr. Peter Steven won't turn out to be a creepy and predatory sort of guy.

I asked the receptionist about the interview and she guided me to the elevator. I pushed the buttons to 25th floor. Another girl entered the elevator and from the looks, she was here for the interview too. But unlike me, she looked really sophisticated and intelligent in her black business suit and blonde locks pulled up in a small bun.

Well, guess who is getting the job.

She smiled at me when she noticed me staring at her and introduced herself. I did the same and felt envious of her british accent and eloquence. If I were the one giving job, I would definitely give the job to her.

When the door of the elevator opened, my mind froze as I saw almost twenty women and ten men sitting there for the interview, half of them looked like they were Ivy League graduates, and then there was me who studied in a local community college.

I sat beside the same girl I met in the elevator and peeked inside her CV that she was checking. She was a graduate from Dartmouth. My nervousness heightened and I lowered my gaze to the ground.

One by one, a man in his thirties called each name. Each interview would take about ten minutes and most of the candidates came out with a smile on their faces.

"Clara Avery!" I was lost in my thoughts when the man called my name. Picking up my file and letting out some deep breaths, I stood up and trudged towards the room.

The man opened the door and I walked inside, trying my best to keep my face confident. The chair of the CEO was turned around so I couldn't see his face. I looked around and contemplated what to do before sitting on the chair.

I was still biting my tongue when the chair rotated, revealing the CEO to me and I couldn't hide my surprise. It wasn't a man like I searched on the internet, instead it was a woman, a really pretty woman. She looked like she was straight out of a fashion magazine. Her makeup was on point and her hair was styled with perfection. The dress she was wearing must have cost a grand and the best thing about her was the gentle smile on her face.

"You're the CEO?" I asked and instantly regretted. "Sorry I didn't mean.. Umm.. I just thought the CEO is a man named Peter Steven."

She chucked before passing the glass of water to me on watching my nervousness. "Peter Steven is my husband. He is working on his book so I am the new CEO. Hope you don't have any issue with it."

I gulped before shaking my head hard. She passed me another smile and looked into my file. I interlocked my fingers, something I did whenever I was nervous. She assessed my file cautiously after which she closed it and kept it away.

"Why did you take a two-year break after high school?" she asked, staring intently at my face.

I pulled my hair behind my ears and tried to think of an appropriate answer. I couldn't tell her the exact reason, could I?

"There were some family issues." I told her and she nodded.

"You had a good GPA in high school. Why community college then?" she asked and propped her elbows on the desk.

I licked my dry lips nervously and started, "Like I said, there were some family issues. I couldn't afford to join any big institute."

She nodded like she understood but I thought otherwise. "Any special skills, Clara?" she inquired using my name this time, leaning back into her seat.

I searched through my brain for the answer but didn't find any. I didn't have any special skills, life didn't give me a chance to learn. I was too busy trying to find food to eat that learning special skills were of secondary importance to me. "I make great coffee." I said and a grin appeared on her face.

"Well, coffee is a major requirement." she commented. She was about to ask me another question when the door opened and someone walked inside. I kept my face still, even though curiosity arose in my mind regarding the intruder.

"Amber, you need to be in the conference room. The chinese delegates are waiting for you." a masculine voice said. The voice was vaguely familiar and not to mention, deep and hot.

"Oh I totally forgot." Mrs. Steven said, pouting at the man. "Can you please continue the interview? I'll be back." she requested him and stood up and I got a chance to admire her full length dress. It was a dark green bodycon dress with two small slits at both sides of her shiny, toned legs. There was a white strap in the middle, decorated with small crystals.

"Miss. Avery, Mr. Vincent will continue your interview. He is the COO of this company. Best of luck!" she told me and then walked past me.

Vincent? It can't be that Vincent. Right?

The footsteps came closer as I felt a pair of eyes on me. The man started with a "Hello" and reached the desk, flopping on the chair without casting a glance towards me.

And when he finally looked at me, both of us froze for a moment. I couldn't believe my eyes for a minute. He was there, in front of me, after six years. I spent years hiding from him and destiny has brought me in front of him again.

He had changed a lot but I still remember these kind, light brown eyes and the way his jaw clenched told me that he remembered me too. Worse, he remembered everything I did to him.

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