Two months passed.
Kate was driving herself. She took a left turn from their mansion and went past an estate dear to her. It stunned her to see workers around the property when she perfectly recalled how a family of four lived there.
A frown formed on her face. She found herself parking right in front of the gates. Rolling down her window, she asked, “Are the Smiths having a renovation?”
The two workers carrying materials to the gates looked at each other, puzzled. One replied, “We don’t know the Smiths, miss. We were employed by a certain.” The worker pondered and replied, “Someone named Donald. Yeah. Donald.”
“The house is empty. I think this Donald is the new owner,” said the worker before he and his colleague excused themselves.
Kate stared at the home that formerly belonged to Manuel Ronaldo, Carlos’ father. She sucked in a breath, recalling how Carlos had always wanted to buy the house back, but then again, maybe his plans had changed.
Giving the property one last look, Kate muttered, “I guess it was never meant to be.”
She drove away, heading to her new workplace, the CSK Apparel. It was her first day on the job.
***Kate’s new office was humbling compared to the Wright Diamond Corporation, but she understood. It was a new company that was still at the stage of designing its products. The entire company occupied two building floors from one of Braeton’s highest skyrise buildings.
She settled in at her new desk, looking at the designation on the glass door. It read Kate Wright, Marketing Director.
Yes, her role was to put the products out there. Today, she was going to get a complete orientation of the different products that will soon be available in the market, and from there, she and her team would map out the marketing plan.
“Miss Wright?” A female attendant came knocking at her door, calling her attention. “You are needed in the main conference room. You, the directors, and the design team will be there to discuss the first line of products.”
“Certainly, lead the way,” Kate answered with a smile.
Kate was introduced to all directors, including the CEO of the company. The Human Resource Director, Arman, earlier explained that the company was shared by three owners. The lady, Catrina Ross, who introduced herself as a CEO, was only a stand-in.
“Directors, today, marks the completion of our team of executives, ending with Kate Wright, and it is because of this that two of the company’s major shareholders would like to see everyone today. I believe their flight will arrive any minute now in Braeton City,” Catrina announced.
Learning that she would meet the owners of the company made Kate smile. She wanted transparency in her new workplace. Although she was told that the owners had planned to reveal themselves eventually, meeting them sooner boosted her decision to work for CSK Apparel.
Catrina continued to express how everyone was vital to the company’s success. After thanking everybody for their presence, the design team presented the first set of products.
“Today’s generation of wrist watches are different,” Raffa, the design director, said. “They are sporty, and for women, they spelled of luxury.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, introducing to you our first product line. We have jade wristwatches for men and women in various designs. They are made of combined stainless steel, pure nephrite jade, and some pieces with gold in it, too.”
Hearing her favorite gemstone, Kate’s eyes were already rounding. She may very well be her new company’s avid customer. She could not help but remark, “God, I love jade.”
“And the brand?” Raffa said, “will say much of one of the owners. Introducing, RonaldoPlus.”
Kate was drinking from her bottle of water when Raffa revealed the brand. She choked on her drink and repeatedly coughed, catching the attention of many. After clearing her throat, she asked, “ex - excuse me? The brand is RonaldoPlus?”
“Yes, Miss Wright. All the watches will have RonaldoPlus as the brand. We will also introduce men’s sports apparel, and it will have RonaldoPlus as a brand too,” confirmed Raffa.
“Ronaldo.” Kate coughed. “Sounds familiar.” She faked a chuckle and sought, “That would not be... the one we all know of, right?”
She caught the CEO and Raffa grinning. Raffa stated, “I guess Miss Wright is not yet aware of the company’s owners.”
“I believe only three of the directors are aware.” Catrina smiled at everyone before disclosing, “Well, as long as we can keep it inside these doors, we will reveal the company’s shareholders. And! No one must know that they will come to see us today. This was their specific request.”
“The first shareholder of the company is Alexander Jenkins. Yes, Mister Carlos Ronaldo’s practice partner,” Catrina revealed, and at that very moment, Kate was already feeling her heart race.
‘If Carlos’ practice partner is a shareholder of this company, then -’ Kate could not finish her train of thought, for Catrina gave away the answer.
“And the biggest shareholder of the company is none other than Carlos Ronaldo, also known as, The Devil on court,” Catrina grinned at every executive, suggesting, “Isn’t it exciting? It’s not every day that we get to work under superstars.”
“And Carlos and Alexander are coming here today to welcome everyone!”
While Catrina was pumping everyone’s excitement, Kate’s face paled. She was in her seat, repeatedly swallowing air down her throat. Kate had already given up on Carlos. How was it she got employed in a company that he started? What will she do now?
“An - and what about the third shareholder?” Kate unknowingly asked.
Catrina turned to Arman, the Human Resource Director, seeking the answer, but when he shook his head, the stand-in CEO said, “That name has yet to be revealed. I don’t know her yet, but from what I heard, she is Carlos’ girlfriend.”
Kate’s face turned white. She was this close to wanting to puke! If she would see Hailey Mckenzie soon, there was a need to cancel this employment ASAP!
She was planning in her head, deciding what to do. When her senses returned, Kate clarified, “Do - do they know us? The new directors?”
“Not yet, Kate. That is why they had made the rash decision to fly to Braeton and meet all the directors.” Catrina giggled. She suggested, “I can tell you are star-struck, but leave that kind of reaction for later, Kate. We still have work to do.”
“And... only Carlos and Alexander will be coming?” She sought. Kate was not ready to see Hailey at all. She probably could bear to see Carlos, but to see the two of them being lovey-dovey might make her lose her cool.
“Yes, Miss Wright.” Catrina’s acknowledgment gave her a bit of relief. Maybe, just maybe, she could pull through that day.
‘Maybe this was better. I could finally get my closure.’ Kate’s mind wandered to the thought of seeing Carlos for the rest of that afternoon’s meeting. Will her questions finally be answered? Was this even real? Or will this be another fail?
The following product line was sports apparel. Those did not come as a surprise to Kate anymore. Sportswears reflected so much of Alexander and Carlos, and with the latter marking it with his name, Kate was confident the products would hit it off. Everybody loved Carlos.
‘Especially Hailey Mckenzie,’ Kate reminded herself. It was her way of not getting her hopes up for the near meeting of Carlos Ronaldo.
Hours passed, and Catrina said, “Oh, I think they are finally here. I have a miss call from Mister Jenkins.”
Catrina’s assistant left the conference room with the task of receiving the two major shareholders of the company. While the assistant was gone, everyone in the same room waited impatiently. Kate, for one, was feeling her heart drumming against her ribcage. Her gaze remained fixed on the door, bracing herself.
The double doors of the conference room opened, and two tall and gorgeous men walked in, making everyone gasp. Kate was about ready to faint.
Kate's hands turned cold and sweaty. Everyone was standing up, waiting for the doors to the conference room to open. Again and again, she swallowed her own spew. She did it so many times; that she felt her tongue become paper dry. How the doors opened played in slow motion in Kate's view. The first person to enter was a tall man with pale skin. He had long and curly blond hair, and he had beautiful green eyes. Alexander smiled at everyone, greeting, "Hello, everybody. It's nice to see you." The next thing Kate heard was the sound of another man's heels against the tiled floor. She gathered air into her lungs profusely as the door to the conference room further opened. Finally, Carlos walked in. He wore a business suit that stretched nicely against his broad shoulders and chest. He had one of his hands tucked inside his trouser pocket, and his grey eyes scanned the room. Kate could not deny how he looked breathtaking. Carlo's hair was fringed up. A few strands fell into his eyes. Hi
Taking a deep breath, Carlos tried to control his emotions. He shut his eyes as he took the lift to CSK Apparel, a company he founded with his friend, Alexander. That day would mark the beginning of his soon-to-be relentless pursuit of the girl, the girl he left behind; Kate Wright. “Relax, friend. This is the moment you have been waiting for,” Alexander reminded him, and that made Carlos nod. “I hope I made the right decision,” Carlos expressed. The plan was to see Kate after the end of the French Open, when he was confident everything was safe. However, Alexander convinced him otherwise. “No one will find out. We just need to be… discrete about your real relationship with Kate,” Alexander suggested. “Besides, your assistant is still in France, covering for both of us.” Carlos nodded. He knew that he needed to make it clear to his directors that no one must know of his visit too. At the thought of Kate, Carlos smiled. He was a few minutes away from finally seeing her up clo
“Were you followed?” Ethan asked Carlos. He was frowning after learning about Carlos’ current predicament. He rose from his seat and turned his back on Carlos. Ethan looked distantly through the windows, taking it all in. “I don’t believe so, uncle. The French gang still believes Alexander and I are in Paris, preparing for the French Open,” Carlos answered. “And the driver who drove me is a company employee. Like all my employees, he had signed a privacy clause. He won't say a thing.” “I understand you, Carlos. I understand your reasons for leaving, for chasing your dreams, for going after the reason for your family’s downfall, but it should not have been reason enough to cut us completely,” Ethan berated. “I.” Carlos gulped. “I regretted not explaining my side. Again, I am sorry, uncle, but when it all got complicated, I was already stuck in the situation and… I wanted to be man enough to handle everything.” Hearing his defense, Ethan sighed. He replied, “Carlos, dealing with ev
'Who is my girlfriend?' Carlos pretended to ignore her question and asked, "I haven't seen Kaleb. Where is he?" "Are you avoiding the matter here?" Kate suspected. "Why aren't you answering my question?" "Why are you interested in finding out who is my girlfriend?" Carlos asked back, and he could see Kate's stunned expression. He swore; he saw her clench her jaws as a reaction. "I - I just figured I want to know who I am working for," Kate reasoned. "What's wrong with that?" "Really?" Carlos pursued. He folded his arms across his chest, looking intensely at Kate. "You don't have any other reason for asking that?" Carlos caught how Kate struggled to reply. She wound up snorting, letting out a laugh before answering, "No. That's it. What other reasons would I have?" "I don't have a girlfriend," Carlos finally cleared the misunderstanding. "I don't know why Catrina thought I had one, but no, I don't, and you will eventually meet the company's third owner." Before Kate could ask m
*** FLASHBACK: During One Of Carlos’ Highschool Tennis Practices. *** After tossing the ball up in the air, Carlos’ knees flexed, and his trunk rotated at a forty-five-degree angle in a pro-drop position. “Arrghhh!” He grunted as he hit the tennis ball with his racket in a powerful serve. The ball landed on the opponent’s service area, garnering Carlos his last points. “Game Ronaldo!” The referee announced the win, making Carlos’ supporters jump in their seats, cheering him on. When Carlos took the side bench to rest, Kate rushed across the court. “Here, let me get your water.” “You did such a good job! I’m so proud of you, Carlos!” Kate squeaked in excitement. She was so happy for Carlos that she unwittingly helped him wipe the sweat off his face. “Kate!” Carlos groaned. “My team is looking at me now.” “So, what?” Kate replied, her eyes wandering to Carlos’ opponent for that practice match at school. “I can’t take care of you?” When she saw Tyler walking in their directio
“You take a lot from Manuel Ronaldo,” Hugo Bonnet said, his eyes studying Carlos cautiously, waiting for a reaction. While Carlos felt rage running throughout his entire body, he swallowed all his emotions down his throat. He quickly formed a sneer as if revolted by being compared to his own father. Carlos replied, “I am… nothing like my father.” Carlos turned to his friend, Alexander. Then he shifted his attention back to Hugo. He said, “My father was selfish. More than that, he failed to manage his finances and left mother and me in a helpless situation.” “I would appreciate it, Mister Bonnet, if you don’t mention him before me,” Carlos requested. While his eyes were filled with fury, they were bitterness secretly meant for Hugo and not for his father, Manuel. Hugo’s former mischievous grin turned into a wide beam. He declared, “Well, I think… we can get along just fine." “I hope so, Mister Bonnet. I am here for money and money only. I know making business with you is the fast
“Hello, Catrina,” Kate greeted, entering the door of the CEO’s office. She extended her hand, giving Catrina a copy of her marketing proposal. “This is the marketing plan my team and I have devised. I also sent you a soft copy of the entire outline as well.” “I understand that Carlos’ endorsement contract with Rolex ends in two months, so my suggestion included for him to wear the watches even before our official launch -” “Carlos?” Catrina raised a brow and said, “You are on a first-name basis now with Mister Ronaldo?” “Kate, I don’t mind that we call ourselves on first name bases, but our boss remains to be our boss. Unless he says otherwise, you will address him as Mister Ronaldo,” Catrina directed. “Is that clear?” Kate fell silent. She gulped, realizing how the entire office was not yet aware of her connection with Carlos. Her father, Ethan, had specifically reminded her to keep it to herself, given Carlos’ involvement in an undercover police operation. In response to Catrina
Kate’s eyes fluttered open. She winced, realizing her phone was vibrating. Still half asleep, she checked the time. When Kate realized it was still four in the morning, she groaned, complaining, “Who calls at this time?” She was about to cancel the call, when something in her, call it an unknown force, urged her to answer her phone. When she slid the home screen open, she mumbled, “Do you know what time is it?” “It’s nearly noon here in Paris.” Hearing that voice, she longed for; Kate was wide awake in a flash. Her voice broke in and out as she called his name, “C-Carlos?” “It’s the first day of the tournament today. I’m sorry I woke you up. I was just… wondering if maybe… you’ll wish me luck?” Carlos said on the other line. Kate’s heart was already racing, thrilled at the unexpected call. She replied, “Of course, good luck with your game. I know you’ll do great. As usual.” There was a second of silence, but soon Kate heard Carlos say, “I miss you, Kate.” ‘Oh, my god!’ In her he