"Why am I here again?"
"Because you're the lucky person from the raffle draw!"
Mikael grimaced inside the elevator. His eyes rolled to the side, glancing at his companion. The doting face of Luna Athon smiled back at him. Her eyelashes fluttered and gave her a youthful glow. The grumpy face did little to ruin her mood.
And so, Mikael tried harder.
Luna pouted and nudged his arm. Her elbow hit him several times. Her dark brown hair flowed over her chest and down to her waist. "Aw, come on, Mikael. Since when did you lack a sense of humor?"
"I have excellent humor."
"Not when you don't laugh at my jokes." She snorted. Her hands transferred the shoulder bag to her other arm. "Anyway, Mr. Grumpy Pants, you're here because you're the key endorser for Athon Luxury. You'll be the one to appear in the series."
Mikael watched the floor numbers above the elevator doors. They slowly rolled up, passing the halfway mark. For the time being, he focused on calming himself down. They were here for a meeting and a pleasant attitude was a must. He wouldn't let anything hinder that.
Luna glanced to the other side. The security guard stood in front of the elevator buttons. He kept his face neutral as he escorted the guests. His muscles had softened over the years but he still looked good. The brown hair dye made him seem younger.
The mustache and beard did the opposite though.
"Have you worked here long?" Luna asked, initiating a conversation. Mikael stayed quiet beside her and merely waited for the lift to reach the top. He had the sleeves of his white dress shirt rolled up. He paired it with matching dark green trousers and vest plus a gold tie.
Darryl turned his head towards her and nodded. "Yes, ma'am. 20 years and counting."
He had served different people during his stay. Some of the higher ups now weren't there before, including the current CEO. Many things had happened over the years. When Ambryan started, he sought out to prove himself and spent late nights in the office.
Darryl would be the one to stay and watch over.
Luna smiled at his words. A dedicated employee was hard to find. It made her want to learn more. "What's the boss like?"
"Sir Hathaway?" Darryl cocked an eyebrow before he shook his head. Several news articles resurfaced in his mind. "Don't believe all those gossips and rumors. He's a really nice guy. Not many companies would let me still work at this age, especially for someone at his position."
The CEO? Strict? Merciless? For Darryl, he knew Ambryan had to be. If the boss easily forgave incidents, his subordinates would slack. The company was also like a machine. Everyone in it needed to work efficiently for it to prosper.
Not only that, Ambryan wasn't just someone who ordered them around. He also lived his words through example. He worked just as much as a staff worker—if not more. He showcased value in growing as an employee.
"He's lucky to have you." Luna smiled tenderly. She could tell that he meant every word. This wasn't just some script that employees were forced to say. He genuinely thought of Ambryan in that light.
"Nah, ma'am. I am definitely the one luck in this," Darryl denied. Someone in his position could easily be replaced but to find an employer that would keep him through the end was rare. Many of his friends had already been laid off.
"Here is our stop," he suddenly declared.
The elevator dinged and parted open.
Darryl walked out first and escorted the guests, passing by the sitting area. His eyes flickered towards a work desk. He frowned at its emptiness. 'Now, where could Eve be?'
"Is there no secretary?" Mikael spoked up since Luna left him alone. He silently admired the interior design of the office. The monotone shades added a professional vibe. He walked around to check if there were more displays.
He stood in front of a door and spun on his heel. Mix with modern elements, the minimalist theme was something to be appreciated.
Suddenly, the door opened behind him
He whirled around and spotted a pair of round brown eyes, hiding behind square-shaped reading glasses. Her shocked expression mimicked his own. The gesture had been abrupt that neither became prepared.
They stood still for a few seconds.
"Oh, my! You must be Ms. Hart!" Luna interrupted, rushing to Eve's side. She gave the young woman an air kiss on the cheek. "I heard all about you from Avery. You've been working for Ambryan these past five years, correct?"
Next to them, Mikael rolled his eyes. Luna personally knew the CEO. He didn't see why there was a need for her to act like this.
Eve closed the door behind her and smiled at the visitors. Beads of sweat formed behind her neck. She felt thankful that Luna acted quickly. Otherwise, she could have blown her other identity.
She bowed her head at the two, saying, "Ms. Athon and Mr. Davis, welcome to Eros Productions. Sir Hathaway will be with you shortly. Please wait while I get you some refreshments."
Her eyes pointed towards Darryle.
He took charge and directed the guests towards the sitting area. It had a gray carpet underneath an ivory coffee table. An L-shaped leather couch surrounded it at two joint sides while two armchairs occupied the space across from it.
Both Luna and Mikael sat on the couch. They took one side each while Eve came back with a tray. It had a pitcher filled with lemon water and two empty glasses. A box of open tarts laid beside them. She set it down on the coffee table.
"Are these from Café Loctart?" Luna asked, already taking one. Her eyes shined at the sight of them. She took one bite and she knew that answer to her question. "Oh, they are. I love these!"
Eve chuckled at the satisfied look on her face. She folded her hands over her abdomen. "Sir Hathaway had them ordered in. I will be checking emails while we wait. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes."
Luna waved her hand, brushing off the secretary's urgent tone. "Oh, dear. Take your time! I know we arrived early. The shoot ended sooner than we thought and so we headed straight here. We had nothing else better to do."
Mikael poured some lemon water into a glass. He lifted up to his lips, tilting his head up along with the glass. He peeked through the base and studied Eve. Something about the young woman seemed awfully familiar to him.
The answer dangled at the tip of his tongue.
It irked him at how he couldn't figure it out yet.
"Please make yourself comfortable," Eve said and left the scene. The intense stare from Mikael made her agitated. From the first impression, she figured he had sharp eyes. They had been trained to look at a person keenly.
She needed to check herself in the mirror. Anything might trigger his memory.
The ice cubes inside Mikael's glass bumped together as he put it down. He rested his forearms on his thighs and clasped his hands together. A divider stood between him and the secretary. Thankfully, the flat wooden beams created vertical holes, almost resembling a picket fence. He could see her back as she worked on the computer.
His nagging suspicion grew stronger.
Luna noticed his deep scowl.
'Oh, this is not good. I didn't think he'd notice,' she thought to herself. To her, Eve and Evangeline looked almost far apart. The only thing they could have done was give the girl prosthetics like a fake nose and a fake chin.
Alas, it wouldn't be advisable to do so in the modelling world. There was also the risk of the glue melting off under extreme temperature. And how it needed to be done precisely so it would blend into natural features.
She had to distract Mikael instead.
"So Mikael," Luna called out. Using her free hand, she grabbed the box of tarts and offered it to him. "Come on, try this. I know Jordan has you on a strict diet but you can give in just once. I promise I wouldn't even tell."
The male model peeled his off the divider and glanced in her direction. He leaned on the backrest, deciding to humor her. "If you eat more of that, you'll become even more fat."
Luna used the box and hit him on the thigh.
His hands blocked it, defending out of reflex. A smile teased the corner of his lip. "Don't worry though. You'd still be just as beautiful even if you grew fat."
"... coming from you, I don't know if I should take you seriously or not," she snorted in reply. The remaining piece of her tart popped into her mouth. "You better polish your skills if you want a girlfriend someday."
Mikael shook his head and averted his eyes. "If she's half as sweet as you, after you ate all that sugar from those tarts, I just might make the effort."
Anyone who fits into Mikael's statement? Come and take him, please. Lol. Hehehehe. On a more serious note, I wonder if he'd figure out that Eve and Evangeline are one person? :0
P.S. If you have the WN update, in browser or in app, do give my profile a visit and click the heart-shaped icon (⁄ ⁄•⁄ω⁄•⁄ ⁄)⁄
Have a good day!
Other ongoing work: Trust and Believe in Love