- Genre: Romance
- Age: 18+
- Status: Completed
- Language: English
- Author: M Manogyna
Aliza has lived with her uncle and aunt for the last twelve years. She lost her parents in a car accident when she was just six. Since then, her paternal uncle has been taking care of her. Her aunt despised her since the beginning and refused to take responsibility for her, but since Aliza’s mother was an orphan and had no other relation from her father’s side, she was helplessly left to the custody of her uncle.
Aliza’s aunt took advantage of her helpless situation and used her as a housemaid, cook, and all-purpose house cleaner. But Aliza has been a hard worker since the beginning. After completing her housework, she used to sit to study till late in the night and obtained the best grades in school.
Five years ago, her uncle Nelson retired from work as a head supervisor at Messers Schroeder’s & Co; since then, Aliza’s problems have increased manifold. The savings Nelson could make hardly sufficed to feed the four stomachs at home. Her’s and her cousin’s education was out of choice. As a result, Aliza was forced to take over employment immediately after school.
It was nine in the morning, and like every day, Aliza took the daily newspaper and started circling the jobs that were suitable for her qualification.
“Aliza, did you prepare the lunch box for your brother?” her aunt yelled from the living hall, painting her nails. Every day, Aliza got up at five, prepared breakfast and lunch for all four of them, and went prepared for the interviews after searching the daily. This routine had been continuing for a month, leaving more despair to Aliza for each day passing.
“Do not lose hope so soon, Ali,” her uncle patted her shoulder.
With the breeze coming from the window, the paper holding vacancies notification flew out of her hand, and Aliza’s vision accidentally fell on the top of the business column. It was a photo of a young and handsome entrepreneur. Aliza was instantly attracted by the charming Apollo and looked through the column to learn more. On the headline, words were pasted with clear, blank ink in bold.
The youngest and the most successful businessman of the country swipes another record.
Below was the photo of the Adonis shaking hands with the president of the US. Wow. Aliza was intrigued and read through the report.
Charles Rodriguez, the CEO of Richmond Industries, sweeps away the previous record of the country’s richest magnate with a turnover of more than 500 million a month.
Aliza’s jaw dropped to the floor, reading the business column. Can anyone be that rich in the world? Probably he is richer than the president of the US. She thought it implausible.
She was too engrossed with the Apollo and his achievements, so she did not take notice of Andrew, who went behind her, fascinated to see what his sister was reading.
“Hey, sis,” he asked, surprised, pointing to the young businessman in the newspaper. “He came to our school just three days ago and gave a brilliant speech on self-motivation at the assembly. That young man is very rich.” Andrew remarked with his eyes wide and hands spread to explain the enormous wealth of the tycoon. “He donated a huge sum to our library and science lab, and our principal was corps perdu to describe his achievements and generosity.”
In the following days, Aliza went around the streets of California searching for jobs. With the meager education that she obtained, no firm was ready to adopt her for a white-collar job, and the few that wanted to hire paid much less; that was insufficient even for a day’s meal. With the days passing, Aliza felt more distressed.
Her uncle was jobless, and at the age of sixty-five, nobody was ready to appoint him. The blow-ups of her aunt were increasing day by day. Aliza desperately needed employment. Ten days later, as she was once again looking through the daily, her eyes caught sight of Trident Pharma.
The company was new, but its turnover was magnificent. It was hiring a personal assistant cum secretary to the CEO. Aliza was not qualified for the job. They wanted post-graduates or at least a graduate with a minimum of ten years of experience. Aliza was qualified for neither of them, but she wanted to try her luck for the last time.
If Aliza fails in the interview, which is most probably destined, she will take over the job of a waitress in a local restaurant. She had given them the interview two days ago, and they were happy to give her the job. Though the shift was very long, from six in the morning to eight at night, at least they were to pay her a reasonable salary to secure a seat for her in the university and to help her brother continue his education.
The next day morning, Aliza searched through her closet to find a decent dress to wear. But even after an hour of searching, she couldn’t find one. Was she forced to empty the scholarship money that she reserved for the registration fee of her university for a dress that may or may not secure her a job? Finally, as though God wanted to give her a boon, her eyes landed on the bottommost drawer of her cupboard.
On the top was a simple cream-colored top her uncle presented her on her birthday just before his retirement. Aliza carefully secured the decent garment for emergency purposes. She was a petite woman, which was a blessing in disguise for her. Else a top bought five years ago wouldn’t fit her today. She matched the top with black colored pants. Her brother stole his mother’s shoes and gave them to her to compliment the apparel. Aliza thanked him and put on minimal makeup, using black eyeliner, mascara, and nude lipstick to make herself presentable.
“You look gorgeous, sis,” Andrew complimented Aliza.
She ruffled his hair and told him, “Andrew, the chances for me to grab this job are less than five percent but I want to give it a try to secure your school fees. Wish me all the best.”
After taking the best wishes of her brother, Aliza started off with her most improbable job search. After ten minutes in a cab, she was in front of the most sophisticated high-rise building. On the top of the superstructure proudly stood the letters’ The Richmond Industries.’
Aliza had applied for Trident Pharma, but the cab driver was more than sure that he had dropped her at the exact address mentioned. Apprehensive, Aliza took cautious steps towards the reception and mentioned her details to the receptionist. To her utter surprise and relief, she was in the right location. Pressing the 17th floor, she waited for the lift to reach her, twiddling with her thumbs while clutching the file to her chest.
The office felt extremely rich and costly. It oozed power and rule. Employees dressed in cosmopolitan suits and business wear scurried left and right in a hurry. Aliza felt like an underprivileged person entering the high-rise office. On the ceiling was a huge crystal chandelier hanging. To one side were oak wood sofas. On the center table were many business magazines. The air conditioning was divine that could instantly make her fall asleep.
At the other end of the enormous lounge was a huge fridge that had a stock of delicious cakes and pastries. Just beside was a bar. For a moment, Aliza thought otherwise and wanted to run away. She wasn’t fit even to step into the building, leave alone secure the job. But her gut-churning instinct said she had to do this. If not for her, it was for her brother. Andrew deserved a good education. She thought, and the lift pinged, followed by the opening of the door.
Looking ahead, Aliza had a knockdown of the world. The visitor’s area was swarmed with more than a hundred applicants. All of them represented rich families, polished and elegant. Aliza felt diffident and insecure at the costly place. Clutching her file to the chest, she gave her name at the reception and occupied one of the seats cornering herself to the rear end of the room. She silently prayed the wall if only it could swallow her at the moment so that nobody could see her anymore.
No sooner than she sat down, a girl came out dressed in a mini skirt wiping her tears. The next name was called, and not even ten minutes had passed, the candidate came rushing out as if driven by a tsunami. Then the third and the fourth. The list went on as the names were being addressed. But none of them could stay in the room for more than five minutes. Aliza wondered with fear and surprise. Was the man inside a tyrant?
“That man is a monster. He doesn’t know how to behave. It is better you leave this place without seeing him,” the last one before Aliza yelled to her.
Aliza’s feet were already trembling in fright. She had second thoughts about turning away from the interview, but before she could run to the exit, her name was called. Alas, she had no escape but to see the power sitting inside.
“Come in,” came a deep voice that sent shrills down her spine. With sweating hands, Aliza walked inside the chilling room. He wasn’t facing her but looking through the window. The immaculate black suit was perfectly tailored to suit the thick panes of his elegant shoulders. His hands were inside his pant pockets, and his shining, gelled black hair was flawlessly trimmed just above his neck.
Aliza gulped heavily, feeling cold shivers radiated by his dominating aura. “If you are here to show me your body, you can leave. I’m already running short of my time,” he spoke, not even sparing her a glance, still gazing through the window. His voice held power, authority, and, most importantly, a control that could make a person go pale in a matter of seconds.
“Excuse me?” Aliza asked, taken aback. She wasn’t able to accept what she was hearing.
The man turned around, and Aliza’s breath struck her throat.
The young CEO she had seen a few days ago in the daily news was the same person standing in front of her. Was she in the right office? Photos did little justice to his arresting virility. He was much more attractive in person.
“Stop gawking like a hawk. Haven’t you seen a man ever in your life?” He affronted, going more irritated seeing the shock in her eyes.
Aliza coughed restlessly, and the man pushed the water glass on the table towards her.
“I’m sorry, sir. I’m here for the interview for the personal assistant and secretary. I think I have entered the wrong room. I think I heard you wrong...” she went blabbering in pensiveness.
“Will you stop the prattle? You are in the right place,” the man pitched high at her.
"Well, Ms Aliza Stelwart..." He looked down at the candidates’ list placed on his desk to address her by her name. Aliza jumped out of her skin the way her name rolled out so casually from the tone of the handsome CEO, and for a moment, she felt her name was really beautiful. Putting aside the job interview, in which 99% of the cases she wouldn’t succeed, Aliza felt immensely lucky. For the normal middle-class girl that she was, Aliza was fortunate to have met the richest businessman in the country.
Will he give me an autograph...at least a photo? She thought like an innocent school-going girl.
"Ms Aliza Stelwart..." The CEO spoke, annoyed. “Have you got a problem of distraction in concentration? Well, there rests the exit,” he pointed to the door behind her with his eyes. “You are unnecessarily wasting my time.”
Sexy dominating hunk, she thought, going mesmeric by his steel greys that moved to tantalize, complimenting his prepotent supremacy.
“Yes, sir, I...I mean, no, sir,” she answered feebly. Aliza felt like a stupid girl, losing her control, influenced by the dominating ambiance of the sexy CEO.
“Stop the chatter and show me your file.” He extended his hand in exasperation. Within two minutes, he raised his eyes to her from the file. “You are not even a graduate. Who allowed you inside the office for the interview? He spoke, ruling about to dial a number with his face going red in anger.
“Sir, please have mercy and listen to me. I heard you have a generous heart,” Aliza requested, almost touching his hand to stop him from holding the receiver.
Charles raised his eyes in a warning.
“I’m sorry sir...” Aliza whispered low, trying her best to hold her tears before the strict CEO.
“Ms Stelwart, I’m not running a charity here if you’re talking about my philanthropy. I am conducting interviews for my personal assistant and you are wasting my time.” He raised his hand and checked the time on his watch, impatiently waiting for Aliza to leave.
“You may take the lift and reach the seventh floor of our concern. Our employees present there will provide you with assistance for whatever financial help you require.”
“Sir, please, give me two minutes. You have been very generous to me all this while in giving me a lot of your time, just two minutes more,” Aliza urged with her hands folded. “I told a lie at the reception that I was a graduate and came to this interview.” She exposed herself with her head bowed to the floor.
“And how did you manage with the duplicate certificate?” Charles asked, surprised at the mediocre girl.
“Jack, my uncle’s colleague, helped me in this. My uncle used to work in a printing press before his retirement.”
Charles muttered a curse low under his breath then his eyes flared daggers at the immature girl. “Do you know, Ms Stelwart, for this bypass, I can send both you and your friend Jack behind the bars?”
Aliza shivered in fright, arrested under his irritated gaze. “Sir, please, forgive me. I will never make such an elusion in my life again. I desperately need this job. I know I am below qualified but just give a second to explain myself. Please, look at my accomplishments stated in the file. I have obtained the best grades in every field concerning academic as well as extracurricular activities. I stood my school first and am also a scholarship achiever for continuously being the first ranker in the last three academic years.”
Charles looked down at the file thoughtfully, playing his pen between his fingers. “Ms. Stelwart, to tell you frankly, you are not suitable for this job. But...” He looked at her contemplatively. “I like the spirit inside you. You go out and wait outside in the visitors’ lounge. My secretary will give you a set of questions relating to our businesses, and you will need to answer them. The stationary and other necessary items will be provided to you. Any further queries you can ask her.” He nodded at her as a sign of dismissal.
Aliza gave a relieved smile to the CEO.
“Sir, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I will not disappoint you,” she told him in confidence and walked out of the cabin. The CEO was a patient man for the dignity and power he beholds. Aliza mused without a doubt. After one and a half hours, she finished her test and handed over the papers to the secretary.
The night Aliza finished her household work and kept her fingers crossed. There was an untold adoration and respect in her for the humble CEO who was so benevolent to consider her in spite of her being underqualified. Heebie-jeebies crossed her heart as the handsome’s features crossed her mind. He was charismatic, powerful, and very knowledgeable. The way he conducted himself, the way he moved his eyes, the movement of his fingers, the body language, everything about him held elegance.
His perfect black suit that covered his well-defined shoulders, those sharp grey orbs during the very few times he looked at her, every feature about him held a might. Aliza landed smiling to herself like a bovine. She may not see the man ever again in her life, but the virility and the power with a subtle gentleness in his conduct will always keep her fascinated with him.
It has been ten days since she gave the interview, but Aliza did not receive any response from Richmond Industries. Well, Aliza knew since the beginning that her chances were very remote, but still, disappointment etched her features, not for losing the job but for the fact she would never be able to meet the fanciable CEO again.
It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Charles Rodriguez. She spoke to herself with a smile and pinched her hand after looking around to see if anybody was watching her. Get out of your fantasy, Aliza. He would have forgotten you the moment you left the chair opposite to him. He desperately needed to get you out of his room so that he could work in peace, and that is why the pretext of the secretarial examination, he fled you away. Her mind taunted, teaching her the lesson much required.
“You bitch...how much time would it take for you to make the lunch?” her aunt strode into the kitchen and awarded Aliza with a slap. Aliza could see stars with the hit. Looking down to the floor, she rubbed her cheek to arrest the sting and spoke meekly, arresting her tears.
“Within two minutes, I will place the dishes on the dining table, aunt Stella.”
Gripping Aliza’s hair, her aunt made Aliza face her. “Since the time you gave that stupid job interview, you have been building castles in the air. Why will the top firm in the country hire a school graduate like you?
I spoke to my brother yesterday, and he had kindly obliged to appoint you as his assistant. Be prepared to receive a phone call from his office by tomorrow.” Aliza’s features went pale in fear and helplessness. Her aunt’s brother is an owner of a motel nearby. He divorced his wife ten years ago and is a womanizer. The whole family knows he lusted her, and her aunt is making plans to marry her off to the forty-five-year-old philanderer, but nobody has the guts to fight Stella in this matter, including her uncle.
The next day at nine in the morning, Aliza received a phone call.
“Am I speaking to Ms Aliza Stelwart?” Placing the phone between her shoulder and ear, Aliza gave a feeble reply cutting the onions to make breakfast. She knew from where she was being contacted.
“Yes, speaking?” The next words the woman spoke at the other end gave her the shock of the millennium.
She is hauled.