- POV Switch -
“Did you hear? The head of the Serizawa Company is interested in a commoner!”
The voices gossiped in every nook and cranny of the mansion that Sashen inhabited. She strolled purposely through the halls and attempted to ignore the talk of the maids and butlers, but to no avail.
Whirling around, she shrieked, “SHUT UP AND GET BACK TO WORK!”
She listened as hundreds of shoes thudded across the carpeted floors and clacked against the marbled tiles. She turned around and continued on her way to her father’s office. She was momentarily joined by a tall, lanky boy three years older than her. Together they strode onward.
“What are you doing here? You’re a whole week early,” she snapped grouchily at her companion.
“I am intrigued by the latest news,” he answered, his voice smooth and rich.
She would’ve swooned had she not known him all her life. She rolled her eyes and demanded that he go away.
“Never in a million years, I mean, we’re talking about my fiancée here,” he told her, smirking slyly and rubbing his chin with a leather gloved hand.
“You’re so gross and annoying. Leave me be,” she demanded, taking longer strides.
“Not until I meet your father and discuss the things I was to discuss with him a week from today. Aren’t you forgetting that I got taller over the break in which I hadn’t met you?”
The length in which he walked covered the distance in which twice hers would. She muttered to herself, but kept at the pace she was going. The young man slowed down a bit so that they were walking side by side again.
He bent over and looked at her face closely before commenting, “Aren’t you a bit too young to be wearing makeup already?”
She shoved him away from her and snapped, “Father thinks it makes me more sophisticated, and if father likes it, then I will wear it.”
“‘If father likes it,’ huh?” he repeated thoughtfully. “Isn’t that just and excuse you’re giving because you’re too embarrassed to say that you’re using makeup to impress other boys.”
Her face flushed brightly as the correct answer hit her.
“Shut up!” she fumed, practically running now.
He sped up a bit, but still continued to walk beside her. He chuckled lightly and touched the hair that bounced against her back as she ran.
“You still have the softest hair I know.”
“Stop raising people’s hopes you fool! You’re going to get married soon if what father does succeeds,” she snapped hotly.
“Oh? You have feelings for me other than utter hate and disgust?”
“Why do I even bother,” she muttered to herself.
The young man laughed aloud and smiled broadly.
“You never change Sashen,” he whispered softly into her ear before turning a corner.
She stopped dead in her tracks and turned to watch as the young man disappeared from view. She looked down at the frilly red dress she wore and clasped at the material, her knuckles turning white.
“You haven’t changed much either,” she murmured to herself before continuing.
When she had reached the door to her father’s study, she knocked quickly and waited to be let in. The door clicked open and was held wide open by an old butler. She sniffed haughtily as she swept passed him and into the dark office.
“You called for me father?” she asked, dropping into a cushioned couch that faced the desk her father stood behind.
“I did, indeed,” he answered, frowning at her. “Next time, sit with more grace please. Where is he? I had sent for him as well as for you.”
“I chased him away,” she replied straightforwardly, shrugging her slender shoulders slightly. “He was as annoying as he was years ago.”
Her father chuckled, something she hadn’t heard him do in years. She looked at her father curiously, her eyebrows poised in surprise.
“Well, since you chased him away, I need you to go find him again,” her father said, leaning forward on his cane.
“There’s no need, sir,” the young man announced, walking in through one of the secret entries.
“Welcome. It’s been awhile,” her father greeted, offering a hand to be shaken.
“Long time no see, sir,” he answered, shaking the given hand.
“Have a seat and then the meeting will proceed,” his host motioned to the empty spot beside his daughter.
The young man turned around and sat down beside her, feeling her stiffen as he shifted into a better position. The father sat down in his leather swivel chair and linked his fingers together in thought.
“What is it that you want to know about my fiancée, sir?” the man started, leaning forward, placing his elbows on his knee, and cupping his chin with a hand.
“She’s an interesting character with a tongue that lashes out ferociously. Her wit and determination is incredulous as well, but her manners towards those of higher standings is simply disrespectful,” the father answered, cocking his head to the side, evaluating the young man’s moves.
“Those are the qualities that have led my feelings to be where they are today,” the man responded, a blank and bored expression appearing on his face.
“Is it really?” Sashen wondered, turning her head to look at him. “What is there to like about the varmint?”
“Don’t call her that, Sashen, or I am obliged to hurt you,” he replied, narrowing his eyes in warning.
“What? Are you fuming at my words? It’s true isn’t it? She’s as plain as the tiles that I step on every morning, ruined beyond recognition with only blemishes to be found,” she said, haughtily.
“And same goes to your beloved Student Council President,” he snapped. “If I remember correctly, you don’t even know his name. On top of that, you haven’t even spoken to him before. Don’t put me in the same hole as you.”
“Daddy can always pick up his files and give them to me,” she returned hotly.
“In the world of common people, that’s called stalking, which is something very much frowned upon. When that rare chance of dating him comes and he finds out you stalked him to get to know him,” he paused for emphasis. “You really want to ruin that rare percentage?”
She turned angrily in the chair to face him and attempted to slap him, but he withdrew out of reached and smiled at her smugly. She sniffed and turned her head toward her father, hiding her humiliation.
“Enough you two,” her father’s voice rebuked.
“But father! He started it!” she yelled in frustration.
“But I am a guest, am I not?” the young man asked, mockingly.
“He’s right Sashen, calm down a bit,” her father soothed.
She bit her lips in fury but remained silent.
“Now continuing on, I want to meet your fiancée to test her wisdom and willpower,” her father proposed.
“Is there anything that could harm her in this trial you wish to give her,” the man asked cautiously.
“Not anything that could ruin her image and looks. Besides, you wish to see her again, right?” the father proposed, his eyes gleaming slyly.
“That’s correct, I do want to see her. But remember this, if you harm her or cause her to cry, I will come find you. I will ruin your reputation and make sure you regret being associated with me,” the young man threatened, standing up and stretching his long, thin but muscular arms.
“Your empty threats mean nothing to me, boy,” the father returned, calmly, his brows creased in anger.
“Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you,” the man replied, walking toward the door.
Abruptly, Sashen stood up and shouted, “Marry me instead! We’ve known each other longer and I know you and your spontaneous personality more than anyone. We’re the perfect fit!!”
“Imposing yourself on me doesn’t make you cute, it makes you look desperate,” the man answered, looking straight in front of him.
“I thought you liked me!” she screamed, her cheeks burning up in fury.
“I’ve always hated you,” the answer came. “Pompous, snobby, and overly conceited, you think everything is yours and that you can do as you please. It’s disgusting.”
They room went quiet as the words slowly sank into each person.
“I like you the way I like all those other girls. Empty love, is what I like to call it. Besides, I despise girls like you,” as he continued, he turned around to face her, folding his arms in front of his chest. “Girls who think they rule the world merely because their father has high standings. Without him, where would you be in this society now, Sashen? Huh? Can you tell me that?”
She stared at him, shocked at his words. She stuttered to herself, words incomprehensible to both herself and her spectators.
He continued, raising his hands up as though he was shrugging, “No. You can’t, just like I thought you couldn’t.”
Sashen’s father slammed his hands down upon the desk and stood upright.
“Silence! That’s enough! How dare you talk to my daughter in such a way? You are just like that girl, sharped tongued with words full of empty threats! Another word and I’ll have my men escort you out of this house,” he roared, taking enough of the insults that were directed toward his beloved daughter.
“Should’ve done that when he started talking,” Sashen added, angry tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Too late,” the young man replied, turning around and opening the door. “See you later,” he called over his shoulder.
The door closed behind him, leaving the father and daughter in a heavy and suppressed atmosphere. They both sank into their seats with a groan. Sashen continued to sniff as her father dialed a series of numbers into the touch screen panel on his desk.
“Yes sir,” a voice beeped. “Can I help you with something?”
“How are the spies doing?” the father asked, wiping his forehead with a lacy, white cloth.
“You mean the spies that are trailing the members in the Student Council? It’s been successful sir,” the person behind the intercom reported.
“Good. Now tell them I said to keep half of the spy team and let them continue their routes with the Student Council, but take the other half and let them follow our new guest. I want him watched under constant surveillance. Be sure to do so with the utmost care. That boy is a mystery.”
“Yes, sir,” the voice saluted. “I shall send them this report immediately.”
The screen beeped once and turned off. The father sank back into his chair for only a second before the screen flashed a lime green color. He leaned forward once again and pressed a button.
“Mr. Serizawa?” a deep voice called.
“It is I,” he returned. “Who am I speaking to?”
“Renkai of the Renkai Corporation Company,” the answer came immediately.
“Renkai? You mean the head of the-”
“Yes. It is me,” the voice interrupted. “I have a few people telling me that you yourself as well as your men are bullying them.”
“And?” he inquired, confident that there was nothing the man hidden from the screen could say that would make him guilty.
“Abandon your thoughts of getting away freely. My advisor tells me that you’ve been causing trouble for the people in my school. This includes the principal that took the post a few years back, his secretary, and the members in the Student Council.”
The father jumped in shock and stared intently at the screen before him, trying to penetrate the black screen that separated him and the voice that spoke beyond. His daughter stood up and stared at him, eyes wide in fright.
“So the school was funded by you,” the father exclaimed to himself loudly. “I should’ve known.”
“It is indeed, but not only that. I am the very founder of the school. What you’ve done is like an insult to me,” the voice told him. “I demand you pay for what you’ve done.”
“How much?” he asked in a no big deal tone.
“Four billion stackrem,” the voice snapped, annoyed at the attitude the father had given him. “Surely that is enough to compensate for what you’ve done, harassing my students and staff.”
“Four billion stackrem?!” he roared, incredulously. “Are you insane?!”
“I could ask you the same,” the voice responded. “What do you think you’re doing stalking my men like you rule the world? Until you can surpass me, then you are nothing but a roach. You aren’t even worth it for me to stomp upon.”
The father opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted as the voice in the intercom continued, “Besides, with a growing company like yours, losing four billion stackrem shouldn’t mean much to you. You’ll get it back, eventually.”
“We’re talking billions of stackrem here, sir,” Sashen’s father pleaded.
“Oh? Now you want to plead? Too late,” the voice scowled. “I expect that exact amount at my main building at two p.m. sharp.”
The link went dead.
“What do we do, father?” Sashen whispered, her voice shaking in terror.
“We give him the money,” her father responded, defeated. But he stood taller and announced, “But remember, Sashen, the game has officially begun and the first move has been made.”