Hazel and her children exited the building, heading home. Along the way, they made a brief stop at a small store to purchase some pins. As a family of three, they joyfully arranged the kids’ paintings on the fridge. Hazel took a step back, admiring her children’s artwork with pride. Liam’s piece, in particular, stood out as a well-drawn masterpiece; it was clear the boy had a gift for creativity.
After their creative display, the kids washed up and enjoyed their dinners before heading to bed. Hazel lovingly kissed each of them goodnight, a daily routine that held a world of affection and reassurance.
Now alone in the quiet of her home, the disappointment of the day weighed heavily on Hazel’s mind. She felt an overwhelming urge to cry, the emotional toll of hearing that her daughter’s hope had been retired. by the doctor, followed by the sudden termination of her hard work contract, had taken its toll.
Unable to find solace in sleep, Hazel turned her attention to work. She dedicated herself to designing and refining their prototype, determined to make it even more impressive.
After spending long hours working, fatigue finally overcame her. Hazel retired to her bed, the darkness enveloping her room as she turned off the lights.
Downstairs, in his car, Ethan waited patiently. He had driven around town aimlessly Kate that night after being unable to shake the feeling of restlessness. He subconsciously made his way to Hazel’s home. He stared up at the third floor of where the lights remained on for some time. His handsome face bore a melancholic expression as he continued to watch. It was as if he couldn’t tear himself away. He had the sudden urge to climb the stairs and knock on the door, but he restrained himself reminding himself that he had no right.
He sat there in his car for what felt like an eternity, his thoughts a whirlwind of emotions. When the lights finally turned off in Hazel’s apartment, Ethan reluctantly started his car and drove away, leaving behind questions and unresolved feelings.
The following morning, Hazel was in rush to prepare her children for kindergarten. She hurriedly got them ready and dropped them off at the school. As they arrived, Daisy’s excitement was evident as she dashed into her classroom without hesitation. Liam, however, displayed a more
cautious demeanor. He lingered at the door, casting frequent glances. back at his mother, watching her until she disappeared from sight.
With a sigh of mixed emotions, Hazel hailed a taxi and directed the driver to take her to Tesco Empire. She was dressed smartly in a crisp. white shirt, office pants, and high-heeled shoes. Her ponytail held her hair neatly in place, but her slight trembling betrayed her nervousness. She tried to calm her nerves by humming softly during the ride.
When the taxi stopped in front of the imposing high-rise building, Hazel received a supportive text message from her superior, which read, “Good luck.” She sighed and powered off her phone, menta l l y preparing herself.
The exterior of Tesco Empire was not just massive but also elegant, radiating an air of intimidation. It resembled an exclusive and opulent hotel rather than a workplace. Hazel couldn’t help but feel awed by the grandeur of the building. She wondered who the CEO and mastermind behind this architectural marvel was. The sight alone made her realize why the CEO might be difficult to impress – a man with such impeccable taste would undoubtedly have high standards. Nevertheless, she was determined to give it her best shot, even though she now felt somewhat humbled.
Stepping through the colossal transparent doors, Hazel gasped in awe once more as she entered the building. The interior was even more breathtaking than the exterior had hinted. It was simply astounding, making her mutter to herself, “So this is what Tesco is like.” The building was unlike anything she had ever seen before. The sheer beauty of the place left her both inspired and slightly overwhelmed.
The floor she found herself on was exquisitely furnished, spa c i o u s yet somehow restrained. Only a receptionist and security personnel occupied this area. To progress beyond this floor and reach the company’s location, she would require access.
Approaching the front desk, she greeted the receptionist politely, saying, “Hello, good morning.” The receptionist responded with a polite smile and inquired, “Good morning. Would you happen to have an appointment?”
Hazel knew she would face this obstacle, it was nearly impossible to meet with the CEO, especially considering the formidable atmosphere within the building. She replied, her nerves still evident, “No.” The receptionist’s once-friendly smile faded, replaced by an unreadable expression tinged with a hint of apprehension.
The woman’s expression shifted from polite inquiry to incredulous disbelief. Even though she had worked at Tesco Empire for nearly two years, she had never met the elusive CEO. That’s how exclusive and unreachable he was.
“Then I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave,” she said coldly.
Hazel, however, wasn’t ready to give up. She desperately wanted to speak to someone, perhaps the manager or a director. The receptionist’s initial sternness began to waver as Hazel tried to explain her purpose.
“I am a representative from Starlight,” Hazel began, her tone pleading, “we were contracted to work on Tesco’s new acquisition, J.T.”
The receptionist visibly relaxed upon hearing this information. She seemed to let her guard down a bit. Hazel continued, “We were supposed to finalize everything next week, but suddenly our agreements werç terminated. I need to speak with someone, maybe not the CEO, but perhaps a director?”
The receptionist hesitated but still seemed reluctant. She was reaching for her landline, presumably to call security, when a familiar voice interjected.
Hazel turned around, instantly recognizing him. It was one of the representatives who had initially reached out to Starlight.
“Hello, Mr. Newman,” Hazel greeted him with a sense of relief.
He nodded slightly and addressed the issue at hand. “Our agreements have been terminated. Starlight will be compensated.”
Hazel wasn’t satisfied with this explanation. She moved closer to Mr. Newman, determination in her eyes. “That’s not how business is done. We won the bid fair and square. For months, we turned down other contracts to focus on J.T., and now you’re just backing out? There was no error or breach from our side. You can’t just dump us after stringing us along for months.”
Mr. Newman’s response was short and decisive. “It’s the decision of the executive.
Hazel couldn’t accept this without further explanation. She pressed on, Why?
“We don’t have a say in this,” Mr. Newman tried to reason with Hazel.
Hazel’s frustration bubbled over. “Well, that’s bullshi t!”
Mr. Newman flinched at her curse word. He warned sternly, “I suggest you comport yourself.”
With a sigh, he softened his tone and explained, “Listen, your contract was made with a different board. The CEO rejected Starlight personally. The only thing I can do for you now is to suggest that you bid once more. for a place. If you can impress them, then you might be re-contracted.”
Hazel’s eyes lit up with hope. “You mean it?”
Mr. Newman nodded. “Yes. Companies are applying for the J.T. bid. Starlight should apply once more, and if you get selected, so be it.”
“Really?” Hazel asked with renewed hope, her heart beating faster. Mr. Newman affirmed his statement with a firm nod.
This time, the CEO will personally select the company to handle the renovations. He has high standards. You should get to work,” Mr. Newman advised before walking away.
Hazel felt a rush of happiness. She had come seeking answers, and now she had found another opportunity. If she hadn’t come today, she wouldn’t have known there was an ongoing application process for the design position. It was such a big deal and so exclusive that it wasn’t even being announced.
“Thank you very much, sir,” Hazel said, beaming with smiles. There was hope, and they could impress the board to regain their contract. Happily, she ski p p e d out of the building, her mood significantly lighter than before. She had already begun brainstorming ideas to improve their project. Knowing that the CEO had high standards, she was determined to create something elegant and classy.
She quickly hailed a taxi and left for her workplace, Starlight eager to get started to renew their bid.
She made a call immediately to Chloe,
As Hazel left, a sleek black car pulled into the company’s driveway with an air of importance. The man in the back seat, who appeared to be the boss, quickly exited the vehicle and hurriedly made his way into the building. This unexpected entrance left the security guard momentarily confused, his gaze tracking the elegant arrival.
“Is there a problem, boss?” Axel inquired as he caught up with Ethan at the company’s reception. This abrupt entrance was highly unusual, and Axel couldn’t help but wonder what had prompted it.
The lady at the front desk stood up immediately, her eyes widening. The boss had always used his own exclusive entrance, making this the first time she had seen him up close. Her curiosity was piqued.
Ethan appeared to be looking around frantically as if searching for something. He stopped in his tracks and chuckled sadly, surprising those around him. “No, Axel, nothing is wrong,” he replied calmly, although his recent actions had caused quite a stir.
The receptionist released a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding. She couldn’t help but wonder why he had rushed into the building in such a manner, as if he were looking for someone or something.
Ethan turned around with a tinge of sadness in his eyes. The previous night, he had spent hours at Hazel’s house, aimlessly driving for a long time before parking at the building where she lived. For some inexplicable reason, he had remained there until all the lights turned off.
Now, in the morning light, he had rushed into his own company, a behavior that was entirely out of character for him. All because he had caught a scent – a familiar blend of Eucalyptus and cinn a m o n. It reminded him of Hazel, and it had almost overwhelmed him. He berated himself for such thoughts, questioning his own judgment. There was no way it could have been her.
With that, he turned and exited the building, heading toward his exclusive parking lot, leaving a puzzled Axel following closely behind. The receptionist was left with lingering questions about the boss’s unusual behavior.
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