1 The Interview

Charlotte Xia sat up in bed and shrieked.

"Oh my gosh! I'm going to be late!"

She jumped out of bed and ran to the washroom, splashing water on her face. She quickly brushed her teeth and ran a brush through her long brown hair.

Thankfully she'd picked her outfit the night before. She struggled into the magenta pencil skirt, hurriedly buttoned her white blouse, pulled on her animal print cardigan and threw the long statement necklace over her head. She tripped a few times while pulling up her pantyhose and shoved her feet into a pair of black high heels. She tossed her cosmetics bag into her purse and rushed outside to hail a taxi. No time for breakfast.

In the taxi she hurriedly applied her makeup while giving the driver the address to the Rising Sun Group. She was scheduled for an interview in fifteen minutes.

As she applied lipstick in nearly the same shade as her skirt, she glanced out the window with concern.

"Please hurry! I can't be late for this!" She begged the driver.

Soon they arrived in front of the massive skyscraper that was the Rising Sun Group.

She tossed money at the driver telling him to keep the change. She rushed inside but was stopped by a receptionist.

"Miss, do you have an appointment?" She asked.

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"Yes, I'm here to interview for the secretary to the CEO position." Charlotte answered.

"Oh. Normally prospective employees report to the HR department but CEO Zhong is handling the selection since the new secretary will work closely with him. You should report to his office on the fortieth floor." The receptionist carefully explained.

"Thanks!" Charlotte yelled over her shoulder as she rushed for the elevator.

When she reached her floor she ran out of the elevator and rushed down a long corridor. She was in such a hurry that she didn't notice the man ahead of her carrying a stack of documents and a large coffee cup.

They collided like a meteor on a destructive path. Papers flew everywhere. Coffee splashed them both, and as Charlotte tried to regain her footing, she stumbled out of one of her high heals. As she fell backwards with a scream she suddenly found herself caught around the waist by two strong arms. She stumbled forward and crashed into his chest. It felt like she'd ran into a brick wall.

She closed her eyes as embarrassment engulfed her. Now she wasn't only running late, but she'd most likely ruined someone's morning and she was soaked in coffee. Suddenly she became aware of a strong scent of mint and men's aftershave. She breathed deeply, thinking how nice it was.

The man cleared his throat, quickly bringing her back to reality. She pulled away from him, but realized too late that her long necklace had become caught on one of his shirt buttons. She found herself stumbling forward again but his strong arms steadied her. They both reached to untangle the necklace at the same time and their fingers collided. Charlotte felt hot sparks on her fingertips that traveled up her arm. She sucked in a breath.

"Let me do it," his cold voice sounded above her. She obediently stood still as he extricated himself from her necklace.

"I'm so so so sorry! It was an accident! I'm running late to an interview and wasn't looking where I was going. Please forgive me! I promise I'll pay for your dry cleaning but I have to go! I've heard the CEO isn't very patient and I don't want to anger him by being late. And I have to get this coffee out. I'm so so sorry!"

She knelt to grab some of the papers on the floor and shoved them into his hands, then dashed off to the women's washroom to wash out the coffee quickly.

Gordon Zhong stood watching her retreating figure and wondered how he'd been hit with a whirlwind of a woman first thing in the morning. He despised being touched by strangers and he disliked being close to women. He looked down at his coffee stained shirt and the papers in the floor. Logically he should be angry at the incident but he found that he was slightly amused. A rare ghost of a smile twitched at his thin lips.

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