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How can you fall in love when you don't even know who you are? At the age of ten, she was left at the orphanage without any recollection of who she was and where she came from. Twenty years later, Clara now the CEO of her own security company, SST, provides top-of-the-line security systems and technology that stamps out the competition. If only they could get the biggest shipping company in the country to upgrade their outdated system. But it seems that the CEO, Sebastian Colfer, will do everything to thwart their efforts. Or so it seems. Behind his icy demeanor, he has a hidden agenda, to woo the spirited CEO of SST. The mystery surrounding her appearance at the orphanage keeps her busy these days, and having somebody in her life is not part of her plan. -=- This book is purely fictional. Any similarities with people in real life are purely coincidental. -=- Sitting in the back seat of the car, Clara could feel the heat emanating from his body. His legs were spread out a little too wide, and they were rubbing against her outer thigh. She tried not to let it affect her, but his arm seemed to graze hers every time the car moved, and that unnerved her a little. They were sitting a little too close if you asked her. She tried to get away from him, as far as the space could allow, but her brother won't cooperate. He scolded her to stop squirming. She was just trying to find a comfortable position that would keep their body parts from touching. Sebastian was tormenting her and she's had enough, elbowing her brother she told him to switch places with her. ‘Are you scared to sit close to me?’ Sebastian whispered.
Clara's Mystery: 01 - Installation
Clara Johnson was attaching the last advanced RFID* sticker to the last post in the room. She finished the first three earlier and noticed someone was observing her every move.
Max and Jeremy finished with this room a while ago. They changed all the cameras, replacing them with the new motion sensor, nocturnal, night vision security cameras with a wide range view. It was now her turn to add the finishing touches and wake up the security system.
She first noticed him watching her from behind another desk.
‘This man would either be the head of security or the President himself.’ Clara came to this conclusion because people around them avoided him like the plague.
To avoid being obvious that she knew he was staring, she looked everywhere else but at him and gave him the name, “Peeping Tom."
She didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he unnerved her.
‘It doesn’t matter. I know what I’m doing, even with my eyes closed.’
This technology, developed in their own facility and the software, engineered right in their labs, could last for years and years as long as nobody tampered with it.
Max Johnson, one of her brothers, and their Marketing executive came to San Diego to pitch their product to Navio International. He met with the Security Department and the CEO, so Clara never met them personally, but according to Max they were very professional and knew what they wanted.
Having Navio on their list of customers could help jumpstart their business. Their company was renowned all over the world and could open all the doors to other shipping companies in the country.
Clara hoped that the larger companies ignoring them would open their doors after the CEO approves their project.
Security and Software Technology (SST), was considered small fry and people were skeptical about signing up with their unknown company.
It surprised Clara that their proposal got approved. But of course, there was a condition. Installation of their technology would only be allowed on two floors on a trial basis.
Their products would be on the main floor, and the planning and logistics departments. The areas with the most foot traffic, to see if their system could keep up with the existing one.
Their installation would run together with the current system so the security department could compare them side by side and check which one works best.
SST will be under evaluation within the next six months before they can proceed with the full installation. That meant they would be on all ten floors which is what Clara was hoping for. They needed one clean break to help win more future clients and ensure the stability of their company.
If they do not pass the six-month evaluation from Navio, then all the cameras and any hardware they’ve installed will need to be removed.
They would have to shoulder the equipment and installation costs. It wasn’t an enormous price to pay, they could report it as an expense. But it would surely be tedious and time-consuming to uninstall all that hardware. SST would have to do its best to make sure Navio does not back out of this deal.
Clara was wearing her standard installation uniform, black skinny work pants, and a white button-down shirt. Nothing fancy or showy, but her pants usually highlighted her ass, which made most men think of it as an invitation to harass her.
Aside from “Peeping Tom,” she was getting annoyed by an “ogler” that has been following her for the past 15 minutes. He keeps on inspecting her work, or her ass, whichever it is he fancies at the moment.
Clara could feel the hair standing on the back of her neck. ‘What is Peeping Tom doing, anyway? Why is he not telling his employee to buzz off? Is he just going to let this man get away with this?’ she was getting more incensed as each moment passed.
She pretends to stand up to stretch, to get a better look at her ogler just in case she needed to file a report later. When she turns away he sees it as a signal to approach her.
“Ogler” grins as he walks closer.
On the other side of the room, “Peeping Tom” stands up.
"Hey sweetheart, do you want to work for us?” Clara ignores him.
“In our company, you won’t be doing all the messy stuff. Maybe a little bending over, but only after work," he winks at her and laughs.
She pretends she didn’t hear anything.
‘He’s just another prick that thinks he can talk to women this way,’ she thought, ‘Just don’t come near me, and we will be okay. I just need to finish this room, and hopefully, we never see each other ever again.’
Everywhere around them, the women were giving him sneers and evil stares. They’d been at the receiving end of his unwanted advances before, and it disgusted them he was showing his lewd behavior to a visitor.
Their actions did not escape Clara’s attention, but she knew why they couldn’t say anything. They were afraid.
His staff consisted mostly of women, probably of his choosing, and as she looked around, she could see them giving her a sympathetic look.
“Ogler” touches Clara’s hair and tries to tuck a loose strand behind her ear when he finds his arm twisted behind his back.
"Agh… Agh… Agh… no need to be so rough, baby," he hollered.
"You do not touch me, or any woman in this department ever again, or I will come back and take out your fingers with my pliers,” she warned into his ear.
“Geez, you’re so violent.” He grunted while Clara pushed his face onto the desk. “Fine! I promise.”
“I bet you’d like to keep all ten fingers. Am I right?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, let me go," he screamed. "I was just trying to help."
Clara was no pushover and made sure nobody would hurt her ever again.
Trained in self-defense since high school, she was not afraid to unleash her might when necessary. ‘The project may damn as well go down the train if they find me at fault because of this asshole.’
“Peeping Tom” had just put down his phone when she noticed him staring at her.
Clara puts her hands on her waist and gives him the “What are you going to do about this?” look to issue a challenge.
But she didn’t have to wait long. A few minutes later, security arrives to tell the ogler to pack up his stuff and they lead him towards the elevator.
RFID - technical term - Radio Frequency Identification, a wireless non-contact use of radio frequency waves to transfer data.
In this story, it is part of the security system installed by the company headed by Clara, which will have a more thorough explanation in the next chapter.
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