I looked at my reflection through the mirror one last time, making sure that I will look presentable and professional enough, and perfectly fit for the position I am aiming for.

  Yesterday was the cut-off for submitting applicants resume, and tomorrow will be the last day for the interview before Mr. Craige make his decision. I was scheduled for the interview today and because I found out that Mr. Craige was the one who does the interview, I practiced everything to be perfect.

  Practicing for my answers in a job interview was not my style, even when I was in my internship as a journalist. I want to answer each question on the spot and honestly, but this one has to be done perfectly.

  I need to make sure that I will pass the interview and be chosen to be his secretary. It needs to happen to be able to execute my plans.

  The lobby of Craige Inc. was big, it has the usual vibes of a company building owned by a wealthy businessman.

  I walked to the clerk and asked for the interview section for secretary applicants. The young man behind the desk looked at me from head to toe, then his eyes narrowed a bit before he flashed an all set of teeth smile.

  "Oh, yes, miss. The interview will be held on the 3rd floor, hallway 2, Interview room 7. The elevators are this way,"

  He then extended his hand to point a direction. I walked to it and it lead me to a set of elevators where a few people wearing executive clothes were waiting. Half of them turned their heads on me when they heard the sound of my stilettos and I cleared my throat to ease the weird consciousness I felt because of their looks.

  Waiting for the elevator didn't take long. As long as the doors slid open, I immediately stepped in and waited for the others to come in and wait until the doors closed, then I punched on the floor where I was about to go.

  From my peripheral vision, I saw realization registered in their faces when I pressed the third floor. Then I felt their stares at my back as if cold daggers digging on my skin despite the thick executive blazer I was wearing.

  "Is this hiring for secretary thing really a big deal for them?" I asked mentally asked myself.

  Luckily, the elevator arrived on the third floor in no time and I immediately stepped out of it. A sigh of relief escaped my lungs when the elevator closed and the arrow moved up.

  That was something.

  I blew out a breath and looked around me. I am in another lobby but this time, there were a set of sofas around with people sitting, holding folders and envelopes. I looked at the plate beside the elevator where the words, INTERVIEW FLOOR were written.

  My sight caught a blonde woman walking in my direction while holding a tablet. I readied myself and smiled when she reached me when she smiled in return.

  "Hello, miss. I'm Hailey Valdez and in charge of assisting applicants for Mr. Craige's secretary. I assume you are miss Hazel Quin, as stated here?"

  She then showed me the screen of her tablet where my infos were shown. I nodded and she informed me that the interviewees will be called alphabetically, and they're already in letter H.

  I looked at my watch and saw that it's just 9:18 am. I guess some interviewees came here too early. I followed miss Valdez as she led me in the second hallway.

  There were still a lot of applicants waiting, each of them holding a brown folder. Noise filled my eardrums as each of them practiced their answers for the possible questions that the CEO will ask.

  I sat on one of the sofas, beside a tanned woman in black executive uniform. She too was holding a folder where the questions she was expecting to be asked were printed, and silently practicing her answers.

  After a while of staring at her, she finally looked at me and I met her emerald eyes. From the looks of her, I know she's nervous. Her hands that were holding the folder were a bit sweaty despite the air conditioner.

  "Hi," I greeted her in a low voice.

  She offered me a slight smile and greeted me back with, "Hello. You're an applicant too?"

  I smiled back, "Yes. And I just got here. Does this seat taken?"

  "No, it's fine. You can sit there all the time that you are waiting."

  Her voice was a bit raspy and her vibe gave me the feeling that she's not straight. Even the way she sat with her stilettos told me that she's not straight, so, I just smiled and let her practice her thing.

  Unlike them, I don't have a folder with me where the questions that would possibly be asked in the interview were. My requirements were submitted and evaluated online.

  So, I fished my phone out from my bag and scrolled through it, not minding their voices. Normally, I would put on my earphones but that would be a wrong move since we're being called alphabetically. I might not hear it when they call me.

  I spend my time browsing through the net, reading new articles that were published by my previous company, and I had to admit, I'm missing my job as a journalist. It's been a week since I resigned, and truth to Geraldine's words, the company didn't give me a good feedback, nor a referral to other companies. It made my blood boil because what was written on their feedback was opposite to my performance.

  Sleeps while working my ass. I was always on time when it comes to submitting our final draft, sometimes, before the deadline.

  But anyway, that won't doesn't matter now. If no company will accept me, I can create a website and publish my articles there, which I am really planning when I succeed in my plan.

  "Miss Quin?"

  I blinked when I heard my surname being called.

  "Ah, yes?"

  Miss Valdez smiled and informed me that it's already my turn. I nodded and stood up and looked at the tanned and curly woman beside me. She felt my look and when our eyes met, she smiled and mumbled,

  "Good luck."

  Once again, I nodded and told her good luck as well before walking to the dark door that will lead me to the CEO of this company.

  My hands were a bit cold when I twisted the knob open. Unlike in the hallway, the interview room was warmer which helped to ease the coldness of my hands.

  I looked ahead and there I saw him, wearing a gray suit with a black tie on his shirt. His hair was neatly combed and clean. He cleared his throat and that's when I get back on my senses. I squared my shoulders and walked towards his table, but did not seat immediately.

  "Good morning, Mr. Caleb Craige. I'm—"

  "Hazel Quin. Applicant no. 456."

  "456?" I asked in shock.

  So, this means there were more than 500 applicants. I didn't know about that, all I know was that there were too many applicants but not this many.

  "Yes, applicant no. 456. Please, have a sit."

  I took a deep breath and sat on the visitor's chair. And in an instant, I felt the pressure when you are on a one-on-one interview with someone from the company who's in a higher position than a mere interviewer.

  "So, your name is Hazel Quin, 24 years old and from New Town." I nodded, and he continued. "So, according to your resume, you were a scholar and graduated AB Journalism in New South Wales University with high honors, and has a two years job experience in CBNews, and resigned just last week."

  He looked at me to confirm his statement in which I nodded in return.

  "Yes, sir."

  "Then, may I know why did you resign from your previous job? As far as I can remember, journalism is a great job and you get a high salary with it. So, why resign and apply as a secretary? Do you know that you get lower pay in this job than your previous one?"

  I already expected that he would ask me for a reason why I resigned, but not about the difference between a journalist's and a secretary's salary, but then I nodded.

  "Yes. I am aware that my salary won't be as large as it is when I was still a journalist, but I would still go for this position, sir. I'll suit myself in a low salary but with fair employee treatment than a high salary with a company that tolerates favoritism."

  His brows creased, "Favoritism? Are you saying that they are tolerating favoritism in CBNews?"

  I gave him a brief explanation of my experience in CBNews, then the usual questions for an interview followed, with some questions I didn't expect as well, but I was able to answer them.

  At 10:04, we finished the interview. I secretly took a deep breath when he started writing something on the folder where my printed resume was compiled. I took that moment to stare at him.

  From his side profile, I can see how pointed his nose was and his perfectly sculptured jaw. I narrowed my eyes when I saw a scar on his left cheek, it was a bit deep but you won't be able to see it if you won't look at it closely.

  I wonder where did he get that?

  "Your interview is done, miss Quin. Thank you and please wait for the confirmation email that will be sent to every applicant to let them know about their application result."

  I stood up, thanked him as well, and bowed my head before stepping out of the interview room. Thank heaven!

  "Do you think it's right that you told him about our company's unfair treatment?"

  Geraldine and I were enjoying our combo burger as I told her how my interview goes. Even after I resigned, we remained friends. After all, we've been together since third-year of college. So, resigning from my job won't affect our friendship.

  "Well," I put my burger down and sipped on my coke, "he asked me, so I told him the reason why I resigned. As simple as that."

  She swallowed the piece of burger she's chewing first before replying, "What I mean is, do you think he will believe you? I mean, the reputation of CBNews in the public is good. Their dirty deeds inside the company were never revealed because of their connections."

  "He's a CEO, so I think he's not that dumb to believe in fallacies." I shrugged.

  Geraldine sighed and nodded sarcastically. I rolled my eyes in return and enjoy the rest of my burger. It's her lunch break and we decided to meet at the burger house near the company building.

  We still keep each other updated and she's also updating me on what's happening in the company although I told her not to. I don't want to stress myself about their irregularities.

  "But Hazel, do you think you will be chosen as the right one for the position? You know, out of 947 applicants."

  I took a deep breath, "Ge, I believe in myself, and besides, being an ex-journalist is an advantage. You know, journaling schedules and such, taking notes, and all that."

  "Well, you are Hazel Quin after all. You're intelligent and have a computerized brain."

  I chuckled at her remarks. Well, I was really known as a proud woman with pride higher than Mount Everest and they also called me 'The Woman with Computerized Brain' for a reason that I know almost everything, may it be in English, Science, Math or History, even inventions.

  She was about to say something again when my phone vibrated, and an email from Craige Inc. popped on my notification bar. We shared a look before I typed my passcode and together, we read the email.

From: Craige Inc.

To: Hazel Quin


  We are happy to inform you that the CEO was impressed with your responses to his questions on your one-on-one interview and find you perfect for the position you are aiming for. Congratulations! You are now hired as his secretary.

  Please go to Craige Inc. on Monday for your schedule and to sort out your responsibilities with Mr. Caleb Craige.

Best wishes,

Craige Inc.

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