Chapter 2

"Okay Team, we'll resume the meeting this afternoon" I announced. 

Dad is kind but a bit impatient. His pet peeve is when people make him wait. An example is every time he picks us up at school, you only have 5 minutes to show up at the gates or else we'll have to commute by ourselves. 

Kuya Danny didn't say a word after that. He is just quietly walking side by side with me until we rode the elevator. However, I was surprised when  suddenly these words came from his mouth : 

"Chia, You're screwed"  I don't know if he's purpose is to frighten me because he looked so sad. Is he pitying me or what? 

"What do you mean?" 

He shook his head as an answer.

I can't understand. What did I do wrong that made him upset? Why did Kuya Danny say that I'm screwed? My mind is completely preoccupied that I didn't notice that we're already reached our destination. 

My heart beats faster as we reached the room. This is called "Audio-Visual Room" one of the facilities that are built to test the usability factor of a product. In front, there's a decent-sized monitor, 3 meters away from the monitor you'll see the rectangular granite table, walk a couple of steps away from where the table is, you'll see reach 2 rows with 10 student desk chairs. On the right side is a small window for ventilation purposes.

Kuya Danny opened the door. The cold breeze from the A/C welcomed me. I wonder who touched the thermostat because I forgot to bring my cardigan. That's fine, if I survived the frigid temperatures in Pennsylvania, I will bear to wear chiffon dress. What's colder is the gazes of people here. It feels like I'm in a witch trial right now.

Let's do an attendance check. First row, leftmost seat, there's Dad who is holding a whiskey glass and savoring it. My Kuya Leo that looks grumpy as always, Mr. Inoue who is one of the board of directors,  lastly, we have the trashiest among all rubbish,  Hana. 

You might be wondering who is this Hanna a.k.a Hanna the Thot. Lemme answer that for you.

Hana is a new employee who entered the company 3 months ago.   
Though her name means flower in Japanese, happiness, and grace in Arabic, she doesn't live to what her name signifies. If I will go to the therapist ('coz I really think I need to as long she exists in my perimeter), and he/she will ask me what's making me anxious over the past few days, I will just show her picture. 

I am the type of person who doesn't hold grudges easily unless you deserve it. Here's the glimpse of what she did in the past :

Exhibit A :

She made me buy makeup for herself. 

In her first week of working in the company, we noticed that she's not wearing any makeup. She said she doesn't own even a lip balm because she's poorer than a rat. I told her, she must look presentable because as an employee of this company, you have to be aware of how you present yourself.

Being a good citizen of this world, I bought her a complete set of makeup items from brushes to palettes. It is not just any makeup, I bought expensive brands. My mother said, "If you'll give gifts, make sure it is good". Sadly, it turns out that she is lying about her status.

Exhibit B :

She flirts all of the men (When I say men it includes my uncle, my Kuya Leo, Kuya Danny, the engineers even the Chief of Finance)  in this company. But what made me angry is she even did that to my boyfriend!

She sends messages to say that she's a better woman than me and she could give him what he needs. Good thing, my boyfriend knows how to distinguish gem and a trash

I wanted to fire her but I can't because the boys in the company said Hana inspired them to work harder. Mr. Inoue also recommended her so I can't dispatch her easily.

Exhibit C :

There are times when she's late for 2 hours and she won't even apologize. Reports that didn't pass on time is another issue, in other words, she is a procrastinator. I am just saying calmly that she has to be responsible because we are working as a team. After that, she'll make a scene saying that I mistreated her!  Of course, people will believe with her acting so I won't say anything because she is Hana the Saint, and I'm Eschia who has it all and doesn't understand the feeling of someone who has nothing.

I tried to have a good relationship with her, God knows I tried. But it seems like we're oil and water. 

"Eschia, I know that you are not in good terms with Hana but you crossed the line!" 

I came back to my senses when Kuya Leo shouted at the top of his lungs. Hey, I'm just 6 meters away from you, that's not needed! What kind of brother are you? At least greet me first. Where are your manners? I am your sister, we share the same blood then why are you siding with her?

"What did I do wrong Kuya?" 

"Why did you pass the same report that Hana submitted 3 days ago?" 

I knew it. She will resort to an old school trick to bring me down.

"Kuya, I don't know what you're talking about!"  

"Then what is this?" Kuya slapped the papers straight through on my face.

"You are a disgrace to this family!" 

I just closed my eyes when I saw that he was about to slap me again. 

If that's what makes you happy, go ahead! But I'll make sure you'll experience retribution later on.

I wonder why I didn't feel anything when Kuya slapped me so I opened my eyes and saw  Kuya Danny seized his wrist

"Don't be an asshole" Kuya Danny murmured 

Dad suddenly slammed the table.

"Dad, it's clear that Eschia copied Hana's report! We don't need this interrogation anymore!" 

"Do you hear yourself, Leo? If you are in Eschia's position, how would you respond?" 

I nodded. I can't help but glance at the perpetrator of this scenario. She smirked when our eyes met then switched back to being a victim in front of my brother. I should've disposed of you earlier. I'm sorry girl but today, you've already crossed the line. 

Kuya Leo didn't say a word. He came back to his seat. 

Tsk. Are you still my brother? Did your brain shrink when a thot started to seduce you? I pity you brother. You have a good face. You're intelligent too. But what you think is "love" made you blind. You're not aware that you're just playing with fire. 

Now, it's my time to break this silence

"It's not my fault! I didn't intend on doing this, I could guarantee you! " I explained

"Then how will you prove it to us?"

Looks like an innocent question right? Nah, he's trying to provoke me.

"First of all, I will apologize to Mr. Inoue for witnessing this unruly event" 

"It's okay. What's important is to resolve this" 

Resolve this my ass! You're just here to see if Hana is at fault or not. I could sense your plasticity old man! But I have to calm down. Just smile Eschia, he is one of the board of directors after all. 

"We've gathered here to solve the mystery of why I and Hana have the same feasibility report. I want to settle this quickly so I thought of a good way to determine the culprit. And that's to recite the contents of the reports. If you're the  one who made it, at least  you have an idea of the what's written there "  

The four men nodded. 

"That makes sense," they  said in unison

Oh Hana, why did you become so pale suddenly? And why are you trembling? Did someone touch the thermostat again? No. Did you see a ghost? Maybe?! But this thing is for sure. You're the one who copied my team's report. Just continue doing that. It's such satisfaction seeing you scared. 

"Hana is the first speaker. Then, I'll go outside to avoid 'CHEATING',  Kuya Danny will go with me, and when it's my time to explain, I will return here. Sounds Fair?" 

"Hana, stand up," Mr. Inoue said 

Yeah, stand up girl! Listen to Mr. Inoue. 'Lemme see what you've got

Hanna stood up.


I interrupted her. Thank me later girl. I will stall time for you. 

"Father, the report's here how will you check the contents without looking at it?" 

"You silly! Then pick the papers" Dad shook his head 

"But why will I pick it up? I'm not the one who dropped it in the first place. Kuya Danny let's go.I'm thirsty I wanna have some juice" 

Before I leave the conference room, I made sure that I saw my Kuya picked up the papers.

I decided that we'll just wait in the lounge of this floor since it is just a few walks away from the conference room and the good thing is that there's a vending machine so I could enjoy a cold cup of cranberry juice.

The clink of coins seemed loud because no one should stay here during work hours. I turned to Kuya Danny and asked him if he would like to have a drink. 

"No, I'm good" he replied

I shrugged my shoulders and enjoyed my cranberry juice. What a refreshing drink it is! Perfect for the scorching hot weather in Manila. I think I should have another cup. 

"I think you're innocent. If you're really guilty, you won't be celebrating like this. You should've had tantrums. And I saw in your eyes that you're fighting for the truth. The way you presented your self and the solution is admirable too" Kuya Danny stated as if he was a detective in a murder mystery movie. 

Wow! I could only say is, Thank You. I'm really happy that someone believed me" 

He patted my head.  I think he'll never change because ever since we were kids he pats my head whenever I did a good job.

Now, I became more confident in proving that I am innocent. I think I should get my second serving of cranberry juice. 

I was about to drop another coin when I heard heavy footsteps. In just a minute, a familiar face came to me 

"Ms. Eschia, this is the flash drive you're asking for. Good Morning Sir Danny"  

Blair is catching her breath while she hands me the 'evidence'. 

"Why didn't you use the elevator? Are you on a diet again?" I asked

"I don't have a choice! The elevators are under construction" 

What a poor assistant. Should I give her a raise this month? 

"Thanks, Blair. As a treat, bring some cold drink with you on your way" 

I gave her the second serving of my cranberry juice. She needs it. 

"Let's go back. They need you now" ordered after he put his smartphone in his pocket. 

I was surprised to see that Mr. Inoue and Hanna were gone. Dad explained everything. Right from start, Dad knew that she is Mr.Inoue's sugar baby. He let these events happen because he can't think of any reason to reject Mr. Inoue's favor. Now, he has a reason to fire the bitch. I hate you Dad. I'll tell Mom you drank whiskey again. 

"That's unacceptable! I should kill that bitch!" 

Callista started to stab her cake as if it is her "real target". I tried to appease her and gave an assurance that we will never encounter the trash again.

"Finally! I'm on my bed!" I never felt so happy after lying in my bed. Callista is such an energetic woman that I feel exhausted after hanging out with her.

What is it again? Why do people have to knock during the times when I need peace! I frowned as I opened the door. So it was Mama. She hugged me tightly while saying that they love me. What happened? I'm so tired of hearing bad news. Mama please, let me rest. 

"Honey, listen to me. I apologize for what I'm about to say to you with a heavy heart. Trey has passed away" 

My eyebrows arched then I started to laugh crazily like what a maniac does. What is she saying? My boyfriend's not dead! We just had a conversation an hour ago! 

There's no way that he's dead!

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