I was late.
That was the only thing on my mind as I frantically tried to push past the throngs of people on the ever-busy streets of New York.
Now don’t get the wrong impression, I’m usually quite punctual. As a matter of fact, I’ve never been tardy for anything in my twenty two years of living- at least not until today. And it honestly wasn’t my fault.
My worthless excuse of a driver showed up late to work this morning. Apparently he had an argument with his wife and she refused to let him leave on time, meaning I had to spend an hour waiting for someone to do the job I’m literally paying them for.
Talk about pathetic.
When he finally showed up it was too late to avoid the usual New York morning rush hour. To cut the long story short, I ended up using the subway like an animal and he ended up with one more reason for his wife to leave him.
After about the hundredth frustrated sigh, I finally reach my destination- the Terrence Tower. The glass covered skyscraper was the headquarters for Terrence Inc., which is one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world. They own a whole chain of family-oriented brands and services, the biggest being their toy company Terrence Toys. They were a big name in the corporate world, which is why getting a job here was a huge deal to me. My career as a data analyst was made if I got accepted and I was one interview away from doing just that.
There was nothing that could stand in my way. Nothing at all.
Mustering every bit of confidence I had, I strutted into the looming tower like I owned the place- head high, eyes forward and hips swaying. The lobby which was lit by chandeliers wasn’t crowded but there was enough people for me to easily go unnoticed.
Only thing is that I’m Hannah Umel Oba and I do NOT do unnoticed.
My attire proved this to be true- a bright red two-piece suit, a zebra print blouse and glossy red stilettos. I accessorized with Chanel sunglasses and my favourite Rolex watch. I smirked to myself as several eyes turned to me, unable to resist sneaking a look. I whipped my hair for dramatic effect, causing a wave of whispers to erupt to my utmost pleasure.
They all cleared the way for me to walk through assuming I was a VIP. They assumed right.
With a spring in my step I made it to the receptionist’s desk, where I got tons of envious glares as well as directions to the CEO’s office. Being the person I am, I decided to take my sweet time walking to the elevator just to give everyone more time to stare. I’m sweet like that.
But if I’d known what was coming next I would’ve just used the stairs instead.
Just as I rounded the corner to the elevator doors, I heard someone yell something indecipherable behind me. Before I could turn to see what was going on, I was forcefully slammed to the ground by someone. I awkwardly landed on my arm, breaking my watch in the process, while my body cushioned the fall of whoever assaulted me.
I was still trying to recollect myself when I heard the sound of something crash close to where I lay. Pushing off my assailant, I sit up to find one of the lobby’s chandeliers scattered to a million pieces barely two feet away. I gasp in horror as I realize how close I was to meeting God.
And I certainly wasn’t ready to do that.
All around gasps ensued and a small crowd formed around the scene, thankful I wasn’t crushed yet puzzled by the situation. How on earth did that chandelier fall?
Still in shock, I didn’t realize someone was calling me. “Miss? Miss, are you okay?”
Looking up, I’m greeted by the face of the person whom I owe my life to. He’s clearly of East Asian heritage, with pale skin and black hair. His worry filled eyes are an identical colour to his hair.
He reaches out to help me up, but I don’t take his hand. Instead I give him a once over, trying but failing to hide my judgement of his generic work attire- a brand-less sweater with a dress shirt and khaki pants. Overall he’s pretty average looking and certainly not the kind of person I would normally associate with.
Picking myself up, I curtly reply, “I’m fine. Thank you for saving me”
I quickly turn to walk away before he could reply but he grabbed my arm. “Wait. Are you sure you aren’t hurt? I think you should see a-”
“I said I’m fine” I snarled, snatching my hand away. “Don’t ever touch me again”
He seemed confused by my reaction but didn’t bother prying. “I’m sorry,” he said calmly, “I just wanted to make sure you’re alright”
“I am so you don’t need to worry about it. My wellbeing isn’t your concern”
I began to walk away when he called out to me, much to my annoyance. “Wait!”
“What now?” I spat angrily. “What do you want? A ‘thank you’ card? Or better yet would you like to replace my broken Rolex?”
Taken back by my outburst, he looked around awkwardly. “I just wanted to say you’re welcome”
Huffing in annoyance, I rolled my eyes before strutting away and into the elevator. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as the door slowly closed, clearly disapproving of my treatment of the boy who just saved me. Not that I cared really. Before the door closed, I heard someone say something along the lines of “ungrateful bitch”.
Rolling my eyes, I glance at the clock on the elevator wall and sigh in frustration.
Just great. I’m really late.
Well that was weird.
At least that’s the only way to describe what just happened. You’d think saving someone’s life meant they’d be nice to you but clearly not everyone understands how politeness works.
After assuring all the onlookers of my wellbeing, I returned back to the receptionist’s desk where I previously was. I’d been booking an appointment to see Dr. Kennedy Terrence, the CEO of Terrence Inc., when I noticed one of the chandeliers randomly spinning on its own. When I looked closer I realized the metal chain holding it up was about to break and there was a lady walking unnaturally slowly right under it.
I didn’t even think twice before rushing towards her, yelling for her to get out of the way. She didn’t hear me and I had no choice but to push her out of the way, right before the chandelier came down.
Thankfully I got to her in time or she would’ve been a flesh pancake. Although she didn’t seem too happy about everything.
“That was really brave of you” the receptionist said, cutting my thoughts. She was a petite lady with very dramatic eyeliner, yet somehow she made it look good. “That lady would be dead if not for you. And yet she was so awfully rude to you. The nerve of rich people is something else”
I just shrug in response. “It’s no big deal. Perhaps she was having a bad morning”
“Bad morning my ass. She’s clearly one of those spoiled Manhattan girls who thinks they’re better than everyone with their designer clothes and plastic tits. I mean the way she walked in here says it all. Ugly bitch”
I internally cringe at her use of a cuss word, trying not to let my sensitivity show. I didn’t want to continue the conversation because I’m not the gossiping type and I didn’t want to pass a judgement on someone I barely knew. And in all honesty the lady in question was far from being an ‘ugly bitch’.
With flawless dark skin and chocolate brown eyes framed by long brown braids, she was at the very least a ‘very beautiful bitch’ if there ever was one.
“Anyway, when can I see Dr. Terrence?” I ask, trying to change the topic.
“What was your name again? J-Jung-hwa-hwan-”
I moan internally as she butchers my name. “It’s Park-Lee Junghwan. Hwan for short”
”Sorry,” she giggled, pushing her bangs out of the way. “I’m not really good with Chinese”
I’m South Korean but who cares, right?
Ignoring her uneducated generalization, I just smile. “So when can I go up?”
“Actually your name is under VIP, Sir. You can see her now”
“Are you sure?” I ask confused. “Did you spell it right?”
I glance at her computer screen to make sure she did, and there wasn’t any error in sight. I was listed under VIP clients much to my surprise.
“You may go up now, Sir. The VIP elevator is that way” the receptionist points toward a set of doors with ‘restricted area’ above it. “Is there anything else I can help you with, Sir?”
I shake my head in response, bothered by the fact she’s suddenly calling me ‘Sir’. I thank her for the directions and turn to leave, but not before she slips a piece of paper into my hand.
I open it as I enter the elevator and can’t help the blush that immediately covers my cheeks. In cute cursive handwriting is her number and her name; Candy. Shaking my head I fold the paper and put it in my pocket.
Today really is a weird day.