No time to breath, only work, work, work, work, work. Working late as usual has become more like my daily routine. Even though I know my secretary has left, I'm still running through last minute things.
Arranging appointments despite the fact that right now I should be home, sitting on my couch and stuffing my face in front of the TV which is also a part of my daily routine.
My life is pretty simple and I like it that way.
The only difference is...
My phone starts ringing.
Sighing, I blow my pin-straight, ginger hair out of my face in exhaustion.
The only difference is, I don't have a single day off or peace in my life.
Picking up the phone, I look at the caller ID.
'Clark Valsera's' name flashes on it.
I gulp down the instant tension in my throat that comes up at that name and answer without a second thought.
"Hello Mr. Valsera, how may I help you? I hope everything is as you requested?", I ask him while arranging some papers on my desk.
The tension in my shoulders increasing by the second.
Mr. Valsera is one of my many regular clients and he's always been satisfied with every single date that I have arranged for him in the past.
Be it ranging from a loud ambience to a calming and peaceful one.
The only problem with him is that he hasn't been able to snag up a single one of his dates for more than a month. It's always been temporary for him but surprisingly he still tries every month and contacts me despite it all.
I don't know if it's a plus point or not, the guy's too intimidating for me considering he's a CEO and very demanding.
"Ms. Bell, the place is perfect but there's a slight discrepancy that has occurred. I would really appreciate it if you could come down here and take a look by yourself", he says.
His commanding voice has me alert in a second and I still in my position.
"What happened? Is everything okay?", I ask him, careful as I walk on thin ice.
I can literally feel my ears twitching in alarm because this is honestly not what I was expecting.
A loud beep echoes through my phone indicating Mr. Valsera has already hung up on me.
I frown at the phone.
Not to brag but I'm the best in business. The trophies on my wall speak for themselves.
Hence, getting a phone call this late at the time of the day from an unsatisfied customer is anything but a mood-lifter on right now.
He's a billionaire anyway, I would be fired by the morning if I didn't tend to his needs.
Shaking my head at the situation specially when my body is protesting, I dump all the papers and pack my things.
Might as well be a sign from God to loosen my work load a bit.
Keeping that thought aside I grab my things and head out of the door, locking everything up and checking them twice.
I dash towards my sleek silver-gray BMW and instantly get on the road.
Half way through, my phone starts ringing again as I approach a red light.
Easily maneuvering through the traffic I pick my phone and look at the caller ID.
And for the hundredth time today, I sigh before picking up the phone.
"Hey ba-Jason.. Jason", I stutter, fumbling for a second as I put a halt to my speech.
Did I just almost call him babe semi-consciously?
Yes, yes you did.
My subconscious reminds me and I refrain from banging my head on the wheel.
I take a deep breath and pray to god, he didn't catch it.
"Hey, Jesse. Where are you? I'm at your office but the receptionist says that you just left a couple minutes ago. Are you on your way home?", he asks me.
That's my best friend for you. He's always so worried about me.
But the thing is, he's not just Jason for me. He's Jay, my Jay. The sweet, kind, crazy and all included but he doesn't know that. Doesn't know that I love him.
I mean, of course he does but not the way he thinks I do. I've been in love with him as long as I can remember. He's the only constant in my life and he's all I've.
But unfortunately, he doesn't know of my true feelings for him and probably won't ever because I'm just too chicken shit to tell him about it.
Yeah, too chicken shit.
"No, I'm not at home either. I'm on my way to a client. There's an emergency and I've to personally see it by myself so...", I trail off.
"You know, you overwork too much?"
"Yup", I pipe in.
"Just bail on the client, Justine and come home. It's late enough to be working right now", he scolds me as if ordering a child.
"Jay, you know I can't do that", I reason.
"But I need you today", he whines like a child.
Oh boy, I know this too well.
"Oh really? Why dear-innocent one? What happened?", I ask him too sweetly, sarcasm dripping of off my tongue.
"Well, I had a crazy day at work and I need you...along with some alcohol in my system"
I can practically see him grumbling under his breath.
But no can do.
"As much as I would love to Jay-Jay, it's not happening"
"Come on", he moans.
"Just wait for me at my apartment, okay? I'll be there before you know it", I offer him, just to sweeten up his brooding.
Can't say no to him, you know?
"but...", he flaps like a fish.
"No buts. Just half an hour and I'll be there. Promise", I vow.
He sighs into the phone before muttering a 'fine' and hanging up.
I smile unashamedly and almost crash into a pole on the sidewalk.
I swear it's tough driving in this city specially when you don't want to get your car scratched even the slightest bit.
Anyway, after a few more minutes, I reach the secluded restaurant and head inside.
As soon as I reach the reception, the receptionist A. K. A. Nina recognizes me and smiles my way but I don't return it.
I'm too pissed at the situation to actually be polite enough.
"Ms. Bell, Mr. Valsera has been waiting for you. Let me take you to his table. Please follow me", she says.
Plastering that evergreen smile of hers, she motions for me to follow her and I do subconsciously.
"No, Nina. You don't understand. Something's gone wrong with the plan. Mr. Valsera called me here for it. What happened? Would you tell me or... Would you just keep ignoring me like this?" I whisper-yell at her.
But she continues to ignore and walk ahead of me, leading towards the patio outside.
Stones accentuate the way, embedded into the grassy ground; leading a path to a secluded area outside of the restaurant.
The whole path is adorned with an avenue formed by the vines that cling onto an arch-shaped mesh of iron with fairylights all over it.
My nerves somehow come back to me like they always do when Mr. Valsera's presence threatens to be anywhere near me.
I try to release some tension as I rub my elbow nervously at the thought of encountering him.
Dear God, it never gets old with this guy.
A few seconds later, the arch opens up into a large opening that assists a candlelight dinner in a secluded, peaceful with-a-hint-of-nature ambience.
That's what he asked for. That's what Mr. Valsera asked for.
"Mr. Valsera, your date has arrived", Nina announces as we enter the opening.
"Wait, what?", I echo my thoughts.
I whirl around to face her, flabbergasted at her statement but she's already going back from where we came.
I hear a chuckle in the background and turn back around to the man. My client.
Mr. Valsera, clad in one of his infamous business suits. But he's just chuckling at me.
"Relax, Ms. Bell. Or can I call you Justine tonight?", he beckons me.
But I stay rooted to my spot, still confused as I see amusement dancing in his eyes.
"But she...", I trail off and look back at the path to where Nina just went.
Nina knows me well. I've been in contact with this restaurant every now and then. And most of my interactions during the arrangements are interpreted by Nina but the fact that she misunderstood me for Mr. Valsera's date is unbelievable.
"Look, I don't know how to say this but...", he sighs.
I raise a brow at him in confusion, turning back to face him.
"What is going on Mr. Valsera?", I try not to stutter.
Furrowing my brows at him, I cross my arms if only to come off as intimidating.
Though I highly doubt it's working considering the guy has a few good inches on me and with that intimidating demeanor, you bet I can ever even compare to him.
I just ditched Jason for him. He must be going nuts right now.
"My date bailed out on me", he slowly lets it out.
"Uh...?", I look at him, confused.
"Because.... There was no date to begin with", he continues.
His eyes remain on me though as if gauging my every reaction. I fidget with my fingers a little as I try not to meet his green eyes that make me a little uneasy.
I furrow my brows even further and hold back from glaring at the grass.
I should be home right now.
I think to myself. But my job is a job. And as much as infuriated I'm at the moment, despite the very intimidating CEO in front of me, I have to stay professional.
"I'm sorry to hear your date couldn't make it Mr. Valsera. My condolences, truly. I hope my services were satisfying, nevertheless", I let out gently.
"They were, actually", he says, thoughtfully.
My head instantly snaps up at him at that.
"Glad to hear that, Sir. Now, if you don't mind, I'll take that as my cue to leave...", I state.
Bowing my head instinctively. But then realizing how stupid that was, shake my head at myself.
Straightening up, I turn to walk away, completely exhausted.
"Justine, Wait!", I hear him exclaim from behind me.
And the next thing I know, I'm being whirled around by my wrist as I come face-to-face with him.
My heart thuds in my rib cage loudly. Holding in my gasp, I look up at him, bewildered especially at our proximity.
The guy definitely has no respect for personal space.
His eyes flicker down to my lips and what I see in those dark eyes leaves me nearly speechless.
"Mr. Valsera, what are you....", I trail off, whispering.
But he shushes me with a finger to my lips.
"It's my turn to speak. You've said enough for tonight, Ms. Bell", he whispers too for some odd reason.
His eyes transfixed on his finger that is on my lips, waiting if I will interrupt him or not. I watch his Adam's apple bob as he audibly swallows hard.
"Justine, there's no way to put it lightly but.... Would like to have dinner with me? As my date?"