The sun began to set outside of a small window. Its rays lit up a simple room. It had cream walls and a wooden flooring. White polka dots covered the purple blanket and pillows. A worn out faux fur carpet laid on the bottom, peeking out from under the bed.
On the other side, Everlee stood in front of her full length mirror. She clenched her towel, making sure it stayed up and around her body. A pair of uneasy brown eyes stared back at her. Cropped black hair framed her heart-shaped face. Droplets of water trickled down her neck.
She raised a hand and swept back her bangs, running her fingers through her hair.
She could almost imagine her luscious scarlet hair as they fell onto the floor. Her round eyes drooped as she reminisced the memory. She could hear the snip of the scissors as they cut it. Gone were the long and wavy locks. At the base of her head, spiky stubs pricked her fingertips lightly.
She took a deep breath.
Faint words echoed inside her head.
'If you want this job, you need to be invisible.'
The statement jolted her awake. She shook her head, tossing out the negative thoughts. It was just hair! It would grow back. She hadn't lost it forever. The day would come for her to see those lush waves again.
Until then, she wouldn't brood over it.
Everlee pressed her lips together. She forced her expression to harden, glaring at her reflection. Her grip tightened on the towel. Today was her first day at work. She passed the interviews. She overcame the tests. She surpassed all the other applicants.
Yet, today could also be her last.
Fire simmered in her blood. She wouldn't let that happen. She would not fail.
Before she went home, they had given her first task—an assignment consisting of five rules. She closed her eyes and repeated them in her mind like a mantra.
The moment she said them aloud, they would become a commitment to her heart.
"One," she spoke firmly. Determined brown eyes flashed on the mirror. "Don't draw meaningless attention."
Her feet walked with purpose. She opened the cabinet and spotted her office wear. She pulled it off the hanger, inspecting every inch. Not a crease nor a stain was in sight. She nodded and laid it on her bed.
As Everlee took off the towel, she recited her next rule, "Two, speak only when spoken to."
"Three," she continued, grabbing the black tunic. She slipped it on. "Avoid unnecessary affiliation with the boss."
Next, she pulled up the pair of matching slacks. She tucked in the hem of her top and buttoned the waistband. The cut was straight. It gave her zero shape, deeming it perfect for her position.
She stretched her arms.
"Four! Never interfere with his personal matters!"
The words came out louder than the rest. Everlee knew her habit of being nosy. She meddled in previous affairs before. That habit would cease from today onwards. She wrapped the coat around her shoulders, cramming her hand through the sleeves.
"And five…" She brushed out the collar and straightened the lapels. "Always follow his orders."
Strolling back to the mirror, Everlee craned her neck. She took out a pair of glasses from the breast pocket and slid it up her nose. Her vision became a little clearer. After long nights of studying, she relented and bought the square frames. She couldn't afford her eyesight to deteriorate further.
She needed to be in pristine condition.
Just like the way she looked at the moment.
Everlee smirked at her amazing work.
"Why, hello, Ms. Secretary."
She shifted her feet, checking her reflection at different angles. Her dark coat followed her shape. It was cinched at the waist. Thus, it showed the curve of her back and her sides. It looked really good—especially for something that she bought from a thrift store. Her outfit almost seemed brand new.
It always delighted her to find cheap buried treasure.
"Eve!" A voice shouted from downstairs.
"Yeah?" Everlee continued to admire her new look. She was unsure before but she started feeling it. It made her feel empowered for her new job. With this boost of confidence, she'd reach her goal in no time.
"Aren't you going to be late?"
"What?!" Eve snapped her head towards the clock. Alarm bells rang in her ears. She bolted away from the mirror and grabbed her essentials. She swiped the watch off her dresser, binding it around her wrist.
She turned around in circles. Rising panic seeped through her nerves. If she didn't leave any second soon, she'd miss the bus. If she missed the bus, she'd be late. If she came late, she'd be dragged out the door.
Buh-bye, high salary.
Buh-bye, future pay raise.
Buh-bye, funds for her siblings' education.
"Blast it! Where are my shoes?!" Everlee screamed.
"They're by the door!"
She grabbed her bag and sprinted out of the room. Her footsteps thudded down the staircase.
"Woah!" Andie gasped as her best friend reached the last step. She leaned against the doorway of the kitchen, her dirty blonde hair swaying. She crossed her arms over her chest. "Are you really going to live your life this way?"
Everlee slipped on the leather heels. She had opted for flats but after some mental debate, she realized that the pumps had some merit—two of them, at least.
1) The extra height boost, and
2) the chance to not be mistaken as male.
She shook her head, one hand on the door knob. She showed Andie a smile to reassure her best friend's worries. "It won't be like this forever. Besides, it's only for work. You'd still see me dress like I usually do."
"Yeah, but…" Andie protested, "Quit once your siblings graduate, okay? No matter how high the pay is, it's not worth it if you can't be yourself."
Everlee merely shrugged, pulling the hem of her coat. "I don't know. I think I'm digging this."
Mischief sparked underneath her stormy blue eyes. "I wonder what Jarret would think if he saw me with you in this getup."
"You... are an evil munchkin." Eve commented, staring back with a deadpan expression. She opened the door and waved her hand. "See you later, Andie. Don't listen to your inner devil and give your boyfriend a break from your schemes."
Andie snorted. "See you, Eve. Take care."
When the door closed, she heaved a sigh. She stood alone in their apartment. It was shabbier than most luxurious condominiums but it was home. It was more than enough for a pair of fresh college graduates.
Her gaze flickered to the front door.
If her best friend wanted money, why didn't she join show business? Why did she choose to be an assistant? Andie had no doubts that Eve would stun the masses. She had a unique beauty that only the right camera would find.
After a while, the savory scent of baked lasagne wafted through the air, flowing out of the oven. Andie's mouth watered from the sensation. She pushed her thoughts aside and went back to the kitchen.
Maybe after some time in the production company, her best friend would change her mind.
"I wonder what her boss would be like?" Andie mumbled to herself, "I bet he would have fallen for Eve if it weren't for her new look."
If you're here then, that means I decided to publish this novel. Please leave any feedback. This is my first attempt at the ever popular adult romance. I will do my best to deliver. Haha.
Have a good day!
Other ongoing novel: Trust and Believe in Love