The Perfect Lie
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- ⭐ 8.2
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''Have you ever had sex on the plane?'' A question that made it more interesting for Blake Williamson. The interview became more interesting for him when they found out that it contained dirty questions related to sex. He became more interested in Tara Evans because, despite the questions, she did the interview professionally. She was the first woman he met who seemed not interested in him, unlike other women who were always ready to undress in front of him. For him, Tara is an extraordinary woman who enchanted him. She was like a transformed live-action character from fairy tale stories who still believes in true love, and simple life can still make you happy. Blake believed he was the perfect man for her until he found out that she was looking for an honest man with great conviction in life and definitely not a millionaire, the exact opposite of him. He lied the first time they met, and the truth was that he was not just rich but a renowned youngest billionaire in the country.
Chapter 1 - The Interview
DO NOT OPEN.
I rolled my eyes as I pick up the brown envelope carefully taped by my sometimes harebrained cousin, Stella. She left it at the top of the dresser in the foyer with a note.
'Forever grateful. Love yah! – S'
How would I know what's inside if I don't open it? But she was very clear with her instructions.
"Open this when you're already starting your interview with Sam," she said, her eyes squinting at me as if I can't be trusted with this simple task.
I noted it mentally. I nodded at her.
"This interview is very important to me, Tara," she cupped my face and smiled, "This could be my chance to become a star,"
"You're already a star, Stella," I joked, making her chuckle.
"So are you," she smiled, tapping my cheeks. Both our names mean 'star', but I guess only one of us is meant to shine. "Time to shine!" she chimed happily, dashing to her bedroom to get ready for her meeting.
Just last night, she was hyperexcited about this interview with Sam, only to be disappointed this morning. Her senior editor wanted her to come over for an urgent meeting in the office. After that short phone call, Stella's lower lip began to quiver, as she was about to cry.
I was in front of my laptop, just finishing up my lesson for this morning with my student, that when I glanced at her frowning and sitting slumped on the sofa, I knew right away it was a bad call.
"Tara, please...." she said, giving me a look that I could not refuse. "I really don't want to reschedule it. It wasn't easy to get an appointment with Sam."
Stella didn't need to beg. Compare to everything she did for me and my family, this favor is relatively small. I checked my schedule, lucky her, I haven't opened any lessons yet for this afternoon because I intend to go to the art supplies shop to buy crayons.
She knew I work on a flexible time because I work from home, but she also understands how important time is for me. I always tell her, more lessons, more income for me, which means more money to send back to my family back home.
"It's only an hour interview, I promise," she said, now curving a happy smile in her lips, then turning her eyes on her smartphone.
"Fine, I'll do it," I was turning off my laptop when I heard my 'Happy Working Song' alert tone. I reached for my phone to see who it was. My eyes widen as I read the notification message.
"Stella, you really don't need to do this," I groaned but she just smiled.
"I owe you this one," she came to me, tapping the top of my head like a child. "You deserve a break."
"But---," I read the amount. She sent twice the amount I earn in a day.
She waved her hand shortly in the air and went to her room
Alongside leaving the envelope was her long list of instructions about what I should do before, during, and after the interview. She seemed nervous about the whole interview thing, but Stella is always anxious especially if it is very important to her.
"I'll do my best," I promised her.
The truth is I am nervous about it, considering this will be my first time to go alone in the heart of the city. Also, this is a favor from Stella, so I will move heaven and earth to help her and make this interview a worthy one.
I glance at my wristwatch, and my mom's old stainless steel watch tells me it has just turned half-past eleven. I could have eaten a quick lunch but I don't want to be late for this appointment. I heaved a sigh.
It was my fault for spending much time choosing what to wear. Still, I ended up wearing Stella's pink tie-front button-down blouse and black skirt. I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I look like a walking doll. I'm taller than my cousin, so her below-knee skirt was a bit shorter than mine. I really didn't have the time to change so I tried to pull the hem of my skirt before grabbing my bag and the envelope.
Just before the rain started to pour, a taxi stopped in front of me. I gave the driver the address and sat comfortably at the back. I came here just last year, but I seldom get the chance to get out of our apartment, that's why this is a little treat for me.
As the rain gets heavier, I tried to relax and practice in my mind the lines that I need to say when I meet Sam. I haven't really thought about the questions, Stella said all questions were already written on the card, so I didn't need to worry. I have never set foot in the city before for business, that's why I am anxious about this interview. For Stella's sake, I need to give my best on this.
When we reached the city, I have forgotten about my worries. My mouth half-opens whenever I see high-rise buildings, the busy street despite the rain, and shopping malls. Under the rain, the street becomes colorful and alive as people walk on the sidewalk with their umbrellas open and their fast pace movements made the umbrellas look like dancing in the rain.
I woke up from my daydreaming when the driver stops the car, not in front of my destination, but instead we were on the opposite side of it.
"Is there a problem?" I asked, looking at the high-rise building across our location.
The mid-fifties driver scratched his gray hair and smiled apologetically. "I'm sorry miss, but I'd just had a flat tire. Can you wait?"
I glance at my watch again. If I wait, I would miss Stella's appointment. I shook my head, took a brief look at the waiting shed nearby, and smiled kindly at the old driver.
"No thanks. I'll just walk," I didn't wait for his answer. I opened the door and ran to the waiting shed.
My heart races as I stop to check on the envelope. I took out my phone from my bag and then presses Stella's number. I have some questions and I don't want to bother her later.
It took a while before she answers. "Cous'," She sounded excited, and only she can be excited at almost everything. "Are you there yet?"
"Almost," I answered while wedging the phone in between my ear and shoulder as I search for my folding umbrella. "Uh, Stella--"
"Oh, Tara, I have to go. I have great news for you later. 'Got to go!" The call ends.
I rolled my eyes and groaned in dismay. I check the time again and think of the odds of reaching the other side in ten minutes. I open my plain white umbrella and run towards the overpass bridge.
'Look at the bright side, Tara,' I said to myself. At least I don't need to sleep late tonight doing my online work because she doubled the amount of what I'm earning from my tutorial today. I usually work ten to twelve hours a day, so imagine my happiness.
As I walk, I recall everything she said. The interview will only last for an hour. If Sam offers coffee or anything, I should accept it. A recorder isn't needed, but I have to write some notes on the card just in case I forget which she doubts. Stella always teases me that I have hyperthymesia because only I can accurately and recall details about events. Moments like this she would scold me again about taking education in college instead of law or medicine, but I would always tell her, without her help, I won't be able to finish anything.
Actually, I don't have hyperthymesia. I have a photographic memory which I find annoying at most times when I wanted to forget painful stuff.
I sneered at the sky. If it can talk, I would say it's crazy. A portion of my body is now wet as I protect the brown envelope. Forgetting about having a professional look, I run to the entrance of the building and shiver when the automatic glass door opens. The cold air from the inside greeted me.
"Good afternoon," greets the security guard. He was looking at me with pity as he took my umbrella.
I force a smile, "Good afternoon. Sorry, but where's the restroom?"
Maybe he thought I have an interview, he points to me in the direction of the restroom. He seems to understand my urgency to go there first because of the obvious reason, I don't look presentable at the moment.
I grew up in the countryside and I spent most of my life there. Walking in the atrium for the first time made me forget my purpose of being here. Everything looks amazing. I feel like my hand will be busy drawing later tonight. I was like a child going to a theme park for the first time.
I can't help admiring the elegant and dramatic design which whoever was the architect and designer must have gained its inspiration from a tropical environment. It reminds me of my hometown. I look up to see green, perhaps gardens along the building's facade.
The artificial waterfall made me stop wandering around the floor. I stood and gazed at it, awestruck at something so beautiful. I wanted to congratulate the designer on the cooling effect of this building.
I was like an idiot smiling that when I glanced at the time, my eyes widened. I couldn't find the restroom the security guard pointed to, and I was really late. I scrambled to my feet and got myself into the first elevator I saw.
"Ewww," I said to myself as I saw the 'not pretty' part of the building.
I sigh as I stared at my reflection. My damp hair was messy, my face pale and my blouse was a bit wet. I look like a ghost. I took my hairbrush and hurried in making myself a bit presentable. I pulled my wavy, long hair into a ponytail, and then put a light lipstick on my lips so Sam won't think I'm a ghost wandering around the office.
I fidget as I look at the floor number, 60, and then at the brown envelope I'm holding. Stella assured me that Sam is expecting me, so this shouldn't take long.
The 'ding' sound of the elevator startled me, making my heart fluttered. It hammered my chest, and for a while, I thought I would faint of anxiety. I took a deep breath as I step out of the elevator.
Like what Stella described, his office table can be seen right away. It's like he occupied the whole space for his office because it is the only office table I see. My eyes can't help but admire the homey feeling of the place because of the natural light streaming through the high glass window and doors. Aside from the office table, there is the lounge that has a simple but elegant snow faux leather sectional and two glass doors. The one in front of his table looks like the CEO's office, and the second leads to a patio and who knows where.
I walk towards him. He seems to be busy looking for something in the piles of folders on his table that he barely noticed my presence. Again, I took a deep breath before talking. I can do this. I have practiced this line a hundred times.
"Ah, hello," I cleared my throat.
He raised his head, and when our eyes met, I think I swallowed my tongue. I was still dumbstruck as I search my brain for the right word to describe him.
Attractive? Gorgeous? A knockout? An Adonis?
I think he's a perfect ten on a scale of ten, the most handsome man I've ever seen.
"Yes, how can I help you?" he asks in an angelic voice, as if he is trying to hide his amusement.
Am I drooling? I hope not, that would be embarrassing.
How can a male secretary be so gorgeously beautiful? He should have been a model or celebrity.
"Ah..." I take another deep breath before answering. "Hi, Sam. I'm Tara and I'm really sorry because Stella Evans couldn't make it. If it's okay with you, and you're not busy, would it be okay if I do the interview?" I breathe and hope he will say yes. I was late after all.
Chapter 2 - The Secretary
My eyebrows knitted as I gazed at the woman in front of me. At first glance, I thought she was a lost university student or applicant. I had to be careful, though. This wasn't the first time Samantha experienced someone coming to her just to see him or get close to him. I made a quick look at the telephone at her table, thinking whether I should call security or not.
"I... I understand if you don't want to have the interview with me. I'll just tell Stella. I was late anyway," she stammered. "You.. you... you look busy,"
If I don't talk now, she would probably faint anytime soon.
I raise my hand, "No, it's okay." I looked at her again, and I was amazed she didn't recognize me. I wasn't really busy. When I heard Samantha had to go because of an emergency at home, I told her to cancel all my appointments today. I was at her table because she forgot to hand me an
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