Read The Trap Of Ace [by Eva Zahan] Chapter 7 – A pair of stormy grey eyes gazed down at me, my heart skipped at the intensity in them. I tried to move but as if I didn’t have any control over my body. I couldn’t do anything but to watch those grey pools coming closer.
Then I felt hot breath fanning on my neck, sending goosebumps across my skin. My insides squirmed with anticipation.
Jolting awake from my sleep, I searched around for him. But there was no one. But, I felt as if someone just called me mine…
Running my palms over my face, I sat up. It was just a dream.
He wouldn’t leave me alone even in my dreams, would he? Three days had passed since that night and my returning back to NY, and his words still haunted my sleep.
Shaking my head, I glanced at the time. S**t! It’s already eight!
Scrambling out of the bed, I grabbed my clothes for the interview and ran inside the washroom. I’d two interviews today, and the first one was at nine. If I wouldn’t reach there in time, I’d lose the chance to work at one of my dream work places.
Actually both of them were important to me. If I got a job at one of them, it’d be a golden ticket for my career as a designer.
And my first destination was Summer Clothing House. One of the most famous fashion houses across the city.
“What? But how’s that possible? I was informed that I’d have an interview today at nine.”
The receptionist sent me a professional look of apology. “I’m sorry for the hassle, but we’ve found the perfect candidate for the post, so we’d to cancel the interview. Didn’t you receive the email, Miss?”
I frowned. “What email?”
“We’d sent all our expected candidates an email regarding the rescission as an apology,” she informed.
Oh! I’d kept my phone off since I left home that night to avoid my family’s questions and a particular person’s messages. And I didn’t even check my email for some days now.
How could I be so careless?
“Uh, maybe it missed out from my eyes.” I bit my lip. “Alright, my bad luck, I guess.”
“We’re again sorry, Miss. Have a good day!”
Nodding, I sent her a tight smile and got out of there. Time to go to my next destination. I just hoped everything will turn out good this time.
Checking myself one last time in the rearview, I let out a breath, wiping my clammy palms on my skirt.
Come on, Em! You’ve got this!
Chanting the mantra in my head, I got out of the car and looked up at the huge forty something floor building. A big Coopers Fabrics was hung at the top.
I blew out a breath. I really didn’t want this chance to get out of my hands. These two were my dream workplace, and now one is gone, left the latter. I’d try my best to impress them to take the ball in my court.
Ignoring the nervous wreck in my tummy, I padded inside. Shoulders squared and chin high in confidence.
But as soon as the crowd in the waiting area came into my view, my confidence melted into a puddle. All of them were sophisticatedly dressed, with CVs in their hands. Definitely for the interview.
Of course, this was one of the most renowned textile companies in the country. What did I expect?
The receptionist guided me to wait with the others as there was still quite time for my turn to come. And getting among these sharp and talented looking people, my nervousness just rose into a new height.
So choosing a vacant seat, I settled at the furthest corner of the waiting area and waited for my turn to come.
My phone blared in my purse, getting some eyes on me in irritation. Getting out the phone, I put it on silent. It was Warner.
“Hello,” I whispered.
“Em, thank G*d you finally switched on your phone. Your parents were k*****g me asking about you. They’re really mad that you left all of a sudden and then kept your phone off.”
I glanced down at my nails, the sense of guilt was picking up on me. I hadn’t given them that much of an explanation of my sudden leave, and then blocked any way they could connect to me. Just to avoid one person, I’d to hurt so many loved ones.
Since I switched on my phone this morning, I didn’t even check the calls or messages. I’m sure my notification box has been flooded.
“Yeah, I’m sorry that you’d to handle my family’s bombering. I will talk to you later about it, I’m now at Coopers Fabrics for the interview. Do you’ve anything else to say?”
“It’s nothing, Em. It’s just that even I’m worried for your sudden change of heart. Anyway, I called you to give a good news. I will meet you tonight at your place.” His voice dripped with excitement.
“What good news? And sure, I’m free tonight.” I ignored his first statement.
“That’s a surprise for later tonight. Now I gotta go. All the best for your interview!”
I smiled. “Thanks. See you later.”
Sighing, I put the phone down. What good news he was talking about?
“Emerald Hutton?” A lady in her mid-thirties with a high tight bun and suit, looked around for the beholder of the name.
“It’s me!” Raising my hand, I got up.
“You’re next. Mr. Cooper is waiting for you inside,” she said. Tone professional with no hint of smile.
Nodding my head, I grabbed my purse, CV, and followed behind her.
Once we stopped before a pair of white doors, she knocked and waited.
“Come in!” barked a voice from inside. I cringed. G*d knew who was going to take my interview. I already had a feeling of doom.
Tilting her chin, she gestured to me to go on and left. Taking deep breaths, I entered. Restless butterflies stormed in my stomach.
A small round man in his late fifties sat opposite of the huge desk. With a big scowl, he continued to sign in some papers, muttering something incoherent under his breath. A loud noise echoed in the room as he slightly leaned at his right and then sat straight.
Eyes wide, I stopped at my track.
“Would you stand there forever? Sit!” he grumbled, without looking at me. He didn’t seem to notice that he just farted before someone.
Trying not to crinkle my nose at the foul odor in the air, I took the chair opposite of his and placed the file of my CV on the desk.
“Hello, Mr. Cooper! I’m Emerald Hutton.” I kept my tone as professional as I could holding my breath on.
“So? I’m not here to play introducing ourselves with you. Give me your CV already, will you?” Brushing the arched moustache on his upper lip, he reached out for my file and I handed it to him.
With narrowed eyes, he scrutinized my CV. Though I’d topped in most of my exams and my other qualifications were also good, I was still at the edge of his judgement. Because the way he was looking at those papers, I got a feeling he was a judge in some time of his life.
“You’re fluent in Spanish and Italian? Or you just added it out of excitement?” His tone was already calling me a fraud.
But I remained calm. “No, Mr. Cooper. I’ve especially taken courses on Italian and my second language was Spanish at high school. If you want, I could converse with you in one of them.”
“No need.” He waved his hand, grunting. “It’s not that I’d understand anything anyway. You could blabber to make a fool of me.”
I gritted my teeth, but still kept my composure. This grumbling potato was now getting on my nerves. Who takes interviews like that? I wonder who even made him the CEO of this company.
“You eat well?” For the first time he looked up.
My brows creased. How did that relate to anything with the job. “Uh, I do when I’m hungry. Why?”
He snorted. “Girls of your generation are fond of keeping themselves empty stomached to stay lanky. And if your stomach is empty, so will be your head. How would you create designs if you’re empty in the head?”
I didn’t miss how he mentioned fit as lanky.
Do I still want to work in his company? Sadly, yes.
“No, Mr. Cooper. I prefer to be healthy than be… lanky,” I replied.
He cast a look, observing me. I fidgeted on my seat. Then all of a sudden, he closed my file and slid it to me. “Get out now. And tell Lucinda to send the next headache.”
I raised my brow. Did he just reject me? Then I understood that it was his way to say: you may leave now. And I assumed Lucinda was that woman who sent me in, and headache was the next candidate.
Pressing my lips tight, I flashed him an even tighter smile and stood up. The nervousness now turned into fear as I informed Lucinda and then walked away. She told me I’d receive an email of the position of me in this interview: rejected or selected. Until them, I will have to wait.
As I got out of the elevator, my shoulder bumped into someone.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Looking up, I found a man near Mr. Cooper’s age standing there. But he was far from small and round, the opposite in fact. Tall and fit. Some grey hairs were peaking out of the dark strands.
When he glanced at me, something flashed across his dark hollow eyes. Tilting his head, he gave me a look over. I didn’t know why, but he looked familiar. And from just looking at his eyes, I got a sense of uneasiness.
“It’s alright, my dear. People often stumble into their way when they don’t see where they’re going. Or… crossing whom’s path.” The edge of his voice evolved some secrets. Then the ominous look suddenly vanished and replaced a bright smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “I hope your interview had gone well, dear.”
I looked down at my CV. But still, they were in a file, how did he know that I came here for an interview?
“Uh, it was good. But, how do you know that I came here for an interview?”
He’d that look again. “I know a lot of things, young lady.” His eyes flickered over my shoulder. “If you will now excuse me, I’m in a hurry right now. I will see you later.” Nodding, he passed me and went into the elevator.
“But…” I turned around, but the doors already closed and he was gone.
I frowned. Who was he? He talked as if… he knew me somehow. But how?
Whatever, I didn’t want to see him around again. That man radiated some kind of negative energy.
Heaving a sigh, I looked up at the sky once outside. First interview got cancelled and this one was terrible. Though he didn’t give me an answer, his expression didn’t seem to be impressed. But still, I’d my fingers crossed. I didn’t want this chance to slip away from my hand.
It wasn’t even noon. And I was already feeling tired.
My phone beeped again. And this time it was my best friend.
“I’ve found out. She isn’t his girlfriend or anything like that. They’re just friends! And if it still bothers you then, you should know that she’s happily married,” Casie finished in one breath.
“Casie, what are you talking about…” Then it hit me. That girl with him at the diner. That red head. All of a sudden, irritation irked my skin.
Wait… what did she say? They’re just… friends? Not anything else?
Why did I feel so light all of a sudden? I shook my head.
“Em, you there?”
“Yeah, I’m listening.” I cleared my throat.
“Oh thank G*d! I thought you died out of relief.” She teased.
I straightened up. “It’s nothing like that! I don’t care if she’s his girlfriend or just a friend. And you called me to inform this?”
I could imagine her rolling her blue eyes.
“Yeah, right! That’s why you vanished all of a sudden after that night. Don’t lie to me, b***h! I know how much you care. So as a best friend, I just did my duty by applying balm on your b**n.”
Now it was my turn to roll my eyes. “Shut up! I’m not lying. And right now when I’m in fear that if I got rejected or selected for the job, I don’t want to talk about that man.”
Now that caught her attention and then I gave her a brief of everything that happened since this morning and all she did was laugh at my misery, wishing me luck with Mr. F**t Cooper.
“So? What good news are you going to give me?” I asked Warner, taking a bite on the pizza he’d brought for us for dinner.
“You tell me first. How did your interview go?” He chewed on his piece.
My shoulders lifted up. “Peachy. The first one got cancelled and the second one was horrible.”
“Why? What happened? Your CV is excellent, everyone would want to give you a chance,” he stated.
“Thanks. But Mr. Cooper wasn’t everyone.” Shaking my head, I explained everything. Except that creepy man I bumped into.
He laughed so hard that he started to choke on his food.
“That’s not funny! I’m concerned over my whole career here!” Giving him a glass of water, I glared at him.
“Sorry! It’s just, I still can’t believe he farted before you.” He chuckled, wiping his tears that he got from laughing his a*s off. Seeing my serious expression, he sobered up and smiled. “Don’t worry, Em. They will definitely get back to you soon. And trust me, the job will be yours. I know it.”
“I hope so. Anyway, will you tell me your good news now?”
Setting the glass aside, he sat straight. Though his eyes sparkled with exhilaration, he seemed hesitant. “Uh, you remember I applied for a job last month?”
“Well, I got accepted to work directly under the general manager there.”
“What? That’s amazing, Warner! Congratulations!” Leaping up from my place, I gave him a tight hug.
“Thank you! But there is another thing…”
Pulling away, I studied him. “What’s it?”
“Umm…” he scratched his head. “This company is in Seattle. So, uh, I’ve to go there and join from next week.”
“Of course you should go! Why are you so hesitant about it?” I queried.
He huffed. “That means I’ve to go that far away from you, Em. And I can’t do that.”
I grabbed his hand. “I know how you’re feeling. I will miss you too, but just because you will have to shift to another city, you can’t miss this opportunity. It’s always been your dream to work at that company. And now that finally you got the chance, you should definitely take it.”
“But Em, I can’t leave you here alone…”
“I’m not a kid, Warner. I can take care of myself. And we will talk everyday, so don’t you worry. Just pack your bags already!” I punched on his shoulder making him laugh and engulf me into another hug.
My phone buzzed on the couch making me pull away. My heart skipped. Was it an email from them?
Warner eyed me. He thought the same. Giving me an encouraging nod, he pushed me to check it.
With both excitement and nervousness I picked up my phone expecting an email of good news. As I saw the screen, my heart stopped in my chest. And then started racing for a mile. It wasn’t anything I expected it was.
I gave you time. And now your time is over.
You can’t escape from me anymore.