Chapter 3

Faith adjusted to her new position within two weeks. To her relief, she didn't have to interact with Anthony as much. Most of the time, their meeting lasted for only five minutes or less.

They were small tasks. The coffee here, sign documents there, nothing she couldn't handle. And the pay was good. At least enough to cover bills and medicines for her impatient father.

Things were going well until one day.

On one Sunday afternoon, she heard the dreadful news about her father.

She was making coffee for Anthony as usual when the receptionist Lana came into the break room.

"Um...Faith, you have a phone call," she said.

"What's the matter?" Faith looked at Lana, whose face was pale as a ghost.

"Um...you better take this call," Lana quickly said and left.

Faith felt nauseous. She had a bad feeling about the phone call.

"Hello?" she picked up the phone and waited for the other person to speak.

"Faith, this is your uncle Rudy."

Uncle Rudy? She hadn't spoken to that guy since two years ago. Why was he calling all of a sudden?

"What's the matter?" Faith demanded to know.

"Mary called me. Your father, he...he passed away this afternoon," Rudy exhaled.

Dad died? Faith stood there dumbfounded. She didn't know what to feel. It was almost like a relief. Faith quickly shook her head as if to shoo the bad thoughts away. She should be sad, not relieved.

"Is Mary okay?" she asked her uncle.

"Yes. Just come home quick," Rudy said and hung up the phone.

Faith put the receiver down and walked to Anthony's office in a daze. But not before she finished making the coffee. It was as if nothing was wrong.

She placed the coffee on his desk and just stood there.

"What is it? Do you have something to say to me?" Anthony gave her his usual cold stare.

"Is it okay if I leave early?" she whispered slowly.

Anthony wrinkled his forehead. "For what? There are plenty more to do around here."

"My father...um....he died," her voice came out hoarse and shaky.

She thought she saw a hint of warmth in Anthony DeMarco's eyes. "Is that so? I'm sorry to hear that. You may leave then. Let Ms. Nancy know, and I'm sorry again," he said.

She nodded and hurried off.

It turned out her father had experienced a seizure and was taken to the hospital, but he didn't make it. Faith took off a few days of work and took care of everything. By the time the funeral was over, she had no money left in the bank.

Which means she has to work an extra job to take care of Mary.

The following week, she received news from the bank that her house will be taken away soon if she doesn't make payments for the mortgage. She had been delaying it since most of her money went into her father's treatments. She was at a loss. She had no money and no relative who could help her. How would she feed her sisters? Where would they live if the house was gone? She had to think fast.

An idea came into her mind. She was responsible for bringing the expanse papers to Anthony and have him sign them and approve them. Then she got to take the company credit card from Nancy so she could order office supplies. Anthony was a busy man, so he never looked at those papers. What if she makes up a fake paper and has him sign it and keep the money to herself?

No, that would be stealing. The poverty was making her lose all sense of morality.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, so one day she did it. She took the company credit card and paid for the mortgage payment.

Another week went by, but no one said anything. Maybe no one suspected her after all.

She was in the break room preparing coffee for Anthony, then all of a sudden, she felt a presence behind her. She was startled as Anthony stood by the door, staring at her intently.

"Faith, may I see you in the office?" he said and walked away.

Anthony never personally called her in, so Faith was scared. He knows! She quickly went into the office.

"Close the door," he said grimly. Faith obliged.

"I want you to take a look at this expense report," Anthony said and gave her the piece of paper.

Faith took it in her trembling hands. She already knew what it was, so it was pointless to look at it now.

"Care to explain what happened?" he retorted.

"I am sorry," she said quietly. "I didn't mean..."

"DO YOU TAKE ME FOR A FOOL, Faith Williams?" he roared. Faith recoiled at his sudden outburst.

"No sir, I don't, I swear!" she said and burst into tears.

"Do you realize this is stealing? Do you think this company is here to cater to your personal needs? Tell me why I shouldn't fire you and call the police to drag you into jail?" he asked.

"Please...forgive me. Just this once. Please!" Faith begged.

"Why would I do that?" his angry eyes bored into hers.

"I'll do anything. Anything you want! I have to support my sister. She has no one," she cried, but Anthony didn't say a word.

"Please...Mr. DeMarco...there must be something I can do for you to stop you from reporting this. Anything? I'll do anything you want." she whispered and impulsively grabbed his hands and looked into his eyes.

"What are you suggesting, Faith? Are you offering to sleep with me?" his blue eyes burned into her.

Faith flinched. She didn't realize what she was doing. But if it came down to this, she was willing to do anything to save her family, even if it meant offering herself to her boss, as he crudely put it.

"Would you accept if I did?" she said quietly.

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