When she got off the elevator, she plastered a fake smile on her face as she sauntered towards the double doors that hid the secret casino. There were multiple buff men that crossed their arms that flanked the entrance and was about to stop her when Katherine reach out under her purse to take out the invitation.
When the buff men opened the invitation and saw an insignia of a cobra snakehead with a shadow of a 'V', they immediately backed off and gestured for her to enter.
Once Katherine entered the casino, her eyes immediately scanned the room to look for Mr. Arius. If she recalled correctly in the letter that was given to her before, apparently this event was a birthday party for a woman named Sandra Hollin. She was the wife of this establishment's owner and she was known to be the 'Gambling Queen' among the rich people. She got that title because her love for gambling knows no bounds and she wins almost every game she plays. And, since it's the Gambling Queen's birthday, she invited all high-class businessmen and celebrities towards her party in the casino. Of course, Arius Victor, one of the heir to the Victor corporations, was undoubtedly invited. According to the client, Arius agreed to attend the event but instead of being there for a birthday, he treated it as a small business trip to land a publishing deal with a guy named George Willins who was also invited to the party.
When she finally saw that same familiar face, she tried to look for ways to get closer without him being weirded out of her presence. Arius seemed to be enjoying playing poker with people who looked as important as he was. So, her plan was to befriend one of these important people and hopefully get them to let her observe their game of poker. But when she was about to approach their table, a man bumped into her, consequently making her bump into a vase. Thankfully, she was able to catch it before it shattered into a million pieces.
Images began flashing on her mind. The first few pictures were the hands of a man carrying her, then suddenly she saw the interior of the room change into a royal ball celebration, then auctions, then a mansion's hallway, and lastly, the casino.
Katherine blinked once to recover, still not believing what just happened. She didn't even notice that a man in his early thirties was urgently called her until suddenly she felt him grab her arm.
"--iss! Miss! Are you alright?!" The man said with a slight accent. Katherine tried to look at him but her vision began to blur so she ended up shaking her head to clear it off as she steadied herself.
"I'm terribly sorry! I was preoccupied with my thoughts that I unknowingly ran into such a beauty."
Hearing his words, she looked up to reply to the man. But she was startled when she saw enchanting green eyes peering back at her with concern in its hue.
"I'm fine. Just a little light-headed." Katherine stumbled away from the man to stand up properly. She hoped in her heart that her accident didn't catch much attention.
Her clumsiness will probably be the death of her...
She thought to herself as she dusted herself off. Then, wanting to check whether Arius' table noticed her, she peered at them using her peripheral vision. But, after looking for several seconds, she saw that Arius, along with everyone in his table, didn't even bat an eyelash at her direction.
And she breathed a sigh of relief at that.
Then, a tap on her arm had her attention shifting to the man that bumped into her. Looking at him clearly now, he had the same attire as most men in the casino had; Armani suits.
"Miss, are you sure you're alright? I saw you bump into that antique vase. If it was damaged because of our collision, I'm certainly willing to pay for it." The man said with politeness in his tone and Katherine couldn't help but smile in appreciation of his kindness.
"It's quite alright. And I believe this vase is fine as well." Katherine giggled which made the man smile.
"Now, would this fine gentleman grant me of his name?" She said politely with a kind smile on her face as she decided to put her acting into full gear.
"Have you not heard or seen of me before?" He asked slightly amused.
"I'm afraid not. But please do enlighten me on your identity." Katherine said sweetly despite knowing who he was. But then again, it would be strange if she told him that she did since they never met before.
"I am George Willins. I own a law firm and a very successful publishing company." He said as he grabbed her hand to land a kiss on it.
Katherine felt the reflex of withdrawing her hand travel up to her brain but she endured it with a smile.
"Well, George. Thank you for asking for my well-being and I'm terribly sorry for bumping into you. I tend to… space out sometimes." She said sheepishly as she discreetly slid her hand out of his grasp.
"As long as the one bumping into me is a fine beautiful lady such as yourself, then I wouldn't have a problem at all." He said with a wink as he flashed her a smile.
Then, someone by the distance called his name.
Katherine instinctively looked at the origin of the voice, and just as she thought, she saw Arius standing up with a goofy smile on his face as he called George again.
George gave Arius a short nod which shut him up and then, looking at Katherine, he gestured towards the table Arius was in.
"Would you care to join us, uhh…"
Then, he looked at Katherine in confusion, trying to get her to offer her name.
Katherine smiled as she giggled.
"You can call me Vee."
George's eyes lit up when she answered his unspoken question. Then, fixing the non-existent wrinkles in his suit, he offered his arm for her.
"Vee. I see. Well then, would you like to join us in our table, Ms. Vee?"
Katherine looked over to the table he was gesturing before giving out a coy nod. And she couldn't help but comment on how perfect his height was for her as she easily placed her arm on top of his offered arm. Then, with both matching coy smiles on their faces, they gracefully made their way towards the table.
Meanwhile, in Katherine's mind, she was literally screaming.
She was screaming with joy because she successfully completed the first step of her assignment with minimal damages.
Once they reached the table, Katherine noticed that George decided to sit opposite of Arius. And since she was seated right beside George, if ever Arius looks up front, he will end up seeing her directly.
But for some reason, Katherine suddenly had a gut feeling that she should be hiding her face so she decided to obey her intuition. When she sat down, she tilted her body so that she was facing George and her side was facing Arius then, she swept her hair to the side that was facing Arius, effectively blocking her face in his view.
George thought that her shift in position meant for an invitation so he placed his hand on her thigh as the game of poker started.
"Do you know how to play?"
George asked her as his thumb drew imaginary circles on her thigh.
Katherine tried to ignore the repulsion she felt from the physical contact as she shook her head.
"I'm sorry, I don't."
George looked at her and laughed lightly.
"Well, I guess you can just stay there and be my lucky charm then."
Katherine was about to act all flattered when a voice startled her.
"C'mon Georgie! Let's staaaaaart. You're wasting too much time flirting as always."
A deep and masculine voice whined as laughter erupted across the table.
"Leave him be. Let the man have his fun."
Another man commented as they all snickered.
George looked at everyone with innocent eyes as he spoke.
"What? I'm just being friendly here."
Then, another round of laughter erupted. After a few seconds, Arius finally calmed them down and they began playing.
Looking cluelessly at the chips and cards on the table, Katherine wasn't lying when she said that she didn't know how to play. So, at a loss of what to do, she just decided to subtly look around while still trying to hide her face from Arius.
And that's when she noticed something unsettling.
As she looked at George's hand, she noticed a faint discoloration on his left ring finger. In fact, the area where the skin had a lighter shade looked more like a ring mark.
Was he… married?
Knowing this piece of information, she felt a hundred times more repulsed at the hand that was rhythmically caressing the top of her thigh. It reached the point that she felt like vomiting. So, when she figured out that their first poker game had just ended, she immediately excused herself to go to the bathroom.
George didn't want to let go of her thigh at first, but Katherine tried to heavily emphasize that she really needed to go. She tried to keep up her facade as she sweetly cooed at him that she'll be right back. So, he let her go, but not before winking at her and telling her to 'wait for him.'
Feeling the urge to vomit again, Katherine hurriedly made her way to the bathroom after asking a waiter its location. Then, when she checked that no one else was inside, she deposited everything that she ate on that day towards the sink.
"Disgusting. This is disgusting. They're all disgusting."
She muttered to herself as she heaved and heaved. But, she only ate so little so her vomit soon ended up just being mostly water coming out of her.
Then, feeling a bit better, she tried to wash her mouth and fix the makeup that was affected by her vomiting. When she finally felt and looked like the Victoria she had to be, she closed her eyes and breathed slowly as she thought of what mattered to her most.
Vicky. It's all for Vicky.
Feel empowered, she looked at the amber eyes before her, the ones just like Vicky's, and she repeatedly told herself that she will finish this assignment just like the others.
She will finish it, and after that, she'll be able to see her again.
But while Katherine was in the middle of strengthening her resolve, a knock resounded by the bathroom door and after a short pause, a muffled voice spoke behind the door.
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