Ephyra alighted from the taxi and paid the driver. Gold Mall had an enormous building with every window having a designer brand engraved on it ‘G.M.’ People were walking in and out of the building with paper bags in their hands. Ephyra gasped when she stepped into the mall. It had all variety of goods. Suddenly, she started to feel a pounding pain with every step she took with her right ankle. Though she thought of calling James to inform him about it, she waved it off. James might try to convince her to quit the job for spraining her ankle few days at work. He would get mad at Harry for hurting her. So she concluded that it was best to endure the pain.
“Now how am I to find the boss in this big place?” She limped farther and went to the jewelry section after passing by the large grocery store.
“Excuse me,” she said to the lady at the desk.
“How may I help you miss?”
“Perhaps. Have you seen Mr. Harry Jones around here?”
“Oh yeah. He’s in the clothing section,” the lady replied.
“Please where is the section?”
“On the second floor, so you have to take the elevator.” She pointed towards a direction.
“Oh, thanks miss!” Ephyra said. She moved towards the elevator and soon was on the second floor. She saw the salon section and looked in it to see if Harry might be there styling his hair.
“Wow!” she gasped when she saw the ladies sitting in front of large mirrors. “So…pretty,” she muttered. She looked at her phone, 9:20am. Ephyra prayed that Harry won’t fire her for coming late to the mall.
“He can’t fire me. Mrs Isobel hired me, not him.”
Then she stopped to think as she stared at her phone.”What if he tells his mother I am not punctual and that—?”
She was interrupted by a familiar voice.
“I can’t run my agency like that.” She looked up. And Harry was there! He was walking towards her with three other people. Two women and one man. Ephyra knew they were models like Harry.
“Boss!” She waved at him.
Harry looked at her. His eyes did a slow crawl on her. And he noticed she was not on heels anymore but boots. Ephyra cleared her throat and managed to walk to them. She did a good job at hiding the fact that her ankle was hurting badly.
“Who is she?” the man asked.
“Jason meet Ephyra. She’s my PA.”
“Oh Ephyra, it’s nice to meet you,” Jason said.
“Likewise.” She shook hands with him and Jason kissed the back of her palm.
“You’re such a beauty.” Ephyra raised her brows and Harry cleared his throat. He was not comfortable with Jason’s attitude towards Ephyra.
“Ephyra meet Tiana and Tatiana. They are the new models I just signed into my agency.”
“Hi Ephyra,” they chorused.
“Hello,” she replied with a half smile.
Jason stared at her taking in her beauty. “Wow! Harry your PA is hot and sexy. She looks exactly like a professional model”
“No, she’s not a model, Jason. I thinks it’s time to leave. Take the ladies to the agency, I will meet up soon.”
“Ephyra, I hope to always see you around at the office. Or we could have lunch some other time.”
“No, no, not with this one Jason. She’s got a boyfriend,” Harry announced without thinking. Ephyra gave him a surprised look.
Boyfriend? That was a lie
“Oh really? Ephyra, I should have expected that, right?”
“Ummm… ” She looked at Harry. Ephyra wasn’t comfortable with the look on his face. “Yes.” She faked a smile.
“Go ahead Jason,” Harry said.
“Bye.” The ladies waved at him.
“Why..why did you tell Jason that I have a boyfriend?” she asked.
“And is that what you should be asking me right now?”
“Huh? I thought I asked you a question too?”
“I told you to get here by 9:00. What’s the time now?”
“9:30,” she replied in a low tone
“Good..You’re fired!” Harry grumbled.
“What?” Her jaw dropped. And Harry started to walk away. “Boss! That’s unfair!” she screamed. Harry turned to face her. “I got here before 9:30,” she said.
“There was no bus at the station. I couldn’t make it on time, so I arrived by 9:20,”
“Keep that excuse to yourself.”
“But I’m being honest here,” she muttered.
He studied her expression. “Follow me,” he said.
“Do you want to get fired?”
“So follow me.” And she followed him. “I need to get clothes for the models at my agency. So we would be very busy in the next couple of days,” he said. “Are you listening?”
“So let’s go to the clothing section.”
“That reminds me, don’t tell old lady anything about my agency.”
“It’s none of her business.”
“Okay.” She stopped.And cursed under her breath at the sharp pain in her ankle.
“Are you okay?” Harry looked back when he felt she was not following him again.
“Why did you pull off your heels?”
“There was no way I could trek to the station on heels. Are we still heading to the agency?”
“Yes, to get my schedules from my ex-secretary.”
“Yes she resigned this morning, so you are taking her place as my PA. So walk fast because we have a lot to do today.”
“Okay.” She followed closely. Finally, they got to the section. Ephyra saw clothing racks filled with clothes in different styles and colors. Gowns, silk dresses, jeans, shirts and all dresses over the section. There were lots of them. The three women in the section bowed to Harry when he walked in. Harry went to the racks and started picking out dresses from them. He threw them into Ephyra’s hands. Then she thought she might die of stress or the pain in her ankle.
“Boss, why am I the only one carrying these clothes? I thought the ladies are here to help?”
“Are you complaining?”
“You can give up right now.”
“No, I’m not giving up.”
“Okay, but remember that I’m not giving you a ride in my car to the office. You have to find your way.”
“No, not again Boss. Why won’t you let me in your car?”
“I don’t like sharing my car with anyone.”
“It doesn’t make any sense. I had an accident earlier while you were trying to—”
“Stop making up excuses,” he silenced her. He kept dropping clothes in her hands. “I can do you a favour,” he said.
“You have to pay me for the ride to the office”
“That’s not a favour,” she muttered.
“I wasn’t talking to you.”
“I would do you a great favour by giving you a ride in my car.”
“But I have to pay.”
“Yes, or else you have to carry these loads to the office alone.”
“Having a second party in my car makes me uncomfortable.”
“You have to believe me.” He grinned wickedly. Ephyra hated him for his toughness and because he was doing everything in his power just to make her give up.
“Okay, I’ll pay you.”
“What? Hundred dollars?”
“That’s too much for a fare around town.”
“Then take a taxi,” he said
“Did I tell you I need money to buy candy?”
“No, I don’t have enough money on me.”
“Then it’s either you trek to the office or call your boyfriend to bring you to the office.”
“How did you know I have a boyfriend?”
“Am I wrong?”
“Have we met before?”
“Maybe.” He shrugged.
“Where? When? I don’t remember seeing you anywhere except when I searched for Goldmynes.”
“Never mind.” He picked the last cloth on the rack.
“So does that mean you will give me a ride?”
“No, admit that you have a boyfriend and I will consider giving you a free ride.”
“But what has that got to do with—?”
“Fine! Then find your way alone!” He gritted his teeth, then he went to the desk to pay his bills. Two women calculated the price tag on each cloth.
“No need for that ladies,” the third woman at the desk said.
“Madam Isobel called in earlier and said you shouldn’t pay for anything.”
He gave her his card. “I am paying.”
“No sir, please I’m not ready to lose my job.”
“Calculate it and let me have the receipt.”
They calculated it and packed them into bags. There were a lot of bags to carry!
“Two thousand dollars, sir.”
“Okay.” He leaned forward on the big desk. “What’s your name?”
“Rose,” she replied with a smile.
“Okay, thanks.” He turned away from her.
“Let’s go,” he said to Ephyra without making any attempt to carry any bag. Ephyra eyed the bags. “Come on, or else I won’t give you a ride in my car.”
“Okay.” She carried all the bags with her strength. And Harry was stunned to see her carrying them without stress. She managed to get the bags into Harry’s car outside the mall. She stuffed them in the booth and entered the car beside the driver’s seat. Ephyra sighed in relief.
Goldmynes Company—Isobel’s Office
Eleanor barged into Isobel’s office without listening to the words of the secretary.
“Madam Isobel, I’m so sorry. I tried to—”
Isobel silenced her. “You can go Tracy.” Then she stepped out of the room. “Where are your manners Eleanor?” she said in a low tone.
“Oh! Sorry Madam Isobel, I lost them the very moment you hired a new worker for Harry.”
Isobel smiled. “Anyways sit down and let’s talk.”
“No,” she declined.
“Okay, so why are you here?”
“Why did you hire a new worker for Harry even after he made it clear that he doesn’t want any?”
“Did Harry complain to you?”
“He doesn’t have to—”
“And why are you concerned about this new worker? From what I can remember, Eleanor you never cared about them.”
“Things are different now.”
“What is—?” Isobel paused. She thought for a second and it struck her. “Oh I see.”
“What do you see?” Isobel busted into laughter. “What’s so funny?” Eleanor asked angrily, fury crashing over her.
“Are you jealous of the new worker?”
“Jealous?” Eleanor repeated
“Yes, jealous that she’s beautiful. And you are concerned that she might capture my son’s heart.” Eleanor glared at her. “How did you find out about her?”
“And what do you mean by capturing Harry’s heart?”
“Well it’s just something you couldn’t achieve for years, but I feel Ephyra will do better.”
“What? But you told me that I was going to marry Harry no matter what. And I’ve been waiting for years.”
“And does he loves you?”
“You said he loves me.”
“I said, but did you ask Harry?”
“Why are you doing this to me? I wanted to give up on him but you begged me not to.”
“You are wrong Eleanor. Have you forgotten the deal?”
“Deal of making Harry fall in love with you. I told you that if you succeed then I won’t oppose your marriage to him. And you promised to help me talk to him in return. You promised to bring us back together, but what happened? You failed at everything Eleanor. And I still kept working on your career. I didn’t give up on you, hoping that someday you would win his heart and help reunite us. You were only concerned about your love for him that you neglected your promises, my emotions of wanting to be close to my son again.”
“I can’t believe this,” she muttered.
“So you think she can win his heart?”
“My deal with her is not about winning Harry’s heart. It about reconnecting me to my son, and also teaching Harry what loves means, true love which comes from the heart without pretence.”
A tear slid down Eleanor’s cheek. “Should I apologize to you?” Isobel asked.
They heard a knock on the door.
“Come in,” Isobel said. She expected Tracy but Harry walked in.
“Good afternoon Old Lady.”
She stood up from the chair and went to him. “Oh son! How are you doing?”
“I’m fine.” Eleanor wiped her face. “When did you get here?” he asked her.
“Not quite long.”
“She was at your office?” Isobel asked
“Yes.” Harry dropped a brown envelope on the table.
“The payment of the clothes I bought at the mall. The lady at the desk refused it.”
“I gave the order son.”
“This is business.”
“Yes I know, and its all yours.”
“How on earth did you find out I was at the mall?”
“Ephyra told me when I called this morning.”
“Yes, and are you getting along well?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I’m just curious. Since you didn’t call me the first day she showed up at your doorstep, till now.”
“I am kicking her out of my house very soon”
“Come on son. Don’t be too harsh on the poor lady, she’s only trying to make a living.”
“Accept this money and I’ll let her stay.” Then she collected it from him. “Well I plan to pay double of the money you offered her and more by the end of the week.”
“She won’t accept it. She’s different from the other women I’ve hired, son.”
“Are you in love with your maid?” Eleanor blurted out.
“She is my PA.”
“Oh that trash. You’re e calling her a PA?” she spat out. She carried her bag and made her way to the door.
Anger crashed over him and he clenched his fists. “She’s not a trash. Her name is Ephyra and she’s worth more than you are Eleanor.”
Isobel gasped in shock.
“What?” Eleanor turned to look at him.
He jerked free from her grip. “We have to stop this nonsense now. Let’s not pretend anymore.” He looked at Eleanor. “I don’t love you Eleanor and I never did. And I can’t love you,” he said and walked out of the room.
“I can’t take this anymore,” she said. “You will pay for humiliating me like this Isobel.” she announced and stormed out of the room.
Eleanor promised to make them pay for causing her pain. She won’t let things go just like that. No one hurts her and gets away with it, she concluded.
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