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C4 Four

Aria's attention was brought back to the TV as the news reporter announced a breaking story. She watched intently as the events unfold, completely absorbed in the information being shared. Suddenly, her father entered the room, dressed in his usual black shirt and long pants.

"Good morning, Father," Aria greeted him with a smile, taking a bite from the fitbar in her hand.

Her father nodded in response, but Aria couldn't help but feel like something was off. Last night, she had come home to find him in a deep conversation with Congressman Agustos Villamore in the living room. She had listened from the hallway as they talked about a factory project and the profits they would make. It was then that she heard her mother's name mentioned in relation to one of the lands where the project would be built.

Unable to resist her curiosity, she had entered the living room, only to be met with shock and fear on the faces of both men. She remembered how Congressman Villamore's face turned pale when they saw her, and she had been left feeling uneasy ever since.

"You need to get ready," her father announced, interrupting her thoughts. "We'll be leaving later."

Aria adjusted the tie of her white bathrobe and removed the towel from her head, turning her attention back to the news. But her mind was elsewhere, wondering about what her father and Congressman Villamore were hiding from her.

Aria watched the news with a sense of detachment as she chewed on her fitbar. A flash report of a terrible accident on EDSA played on the screen, and she couldn't help but think that when it's your time, it's your time. She flipped channels, her attention drawn to her favorite cartoon movie, the Powerpuff Girls. She giggled, completely absorbed in the cartoon world until the maid interrupted her.

"Ma'am, Sir is calling you to the dining area."

"I'm full and on a diet. Tell him," Aria replied without even looking up at the maid.

"Ma'am, Sir said-"

"Can't you just tell him I am on a diet!" she shouted, suddenly realizing how her outburst had scared the poor maid. The woman's eyes were watering, and Aria felt a pang of guilt for treating someone who was only a few years older than she was so harshly.

Taking a deep breath, Aria looked at the maid and spoke more gently. "I'm sorry. Please tell my father that I am on a diet." She knew all too well that whatever her father wanted, it had to be obeyed. The thought filled her with disgust, but she pushed it aside, not wanting to dwell on it.

Ava carefully braided Aria's long black hair, her fingers deftly weaving the strands together as she gazed at the magazine in her lap. The room was silent except for the soft rustling of the pages as Aria turned them.

"Did you sleep well?" Ava finally asked, breaking the silence.

Aria looked up, meeting Ava's gaze in the vanity mirror. A smile curved across her face as she considered the question. In fact, she don’t have a good sleep rather her thought was about the talk of her father to the congressman.

“Good,” she lied.

Ava finished braiding Aria's hair and pinned it in place, spraying a fine mist of hair spray to keep it in place. "Before I forget," she said, "did you do what I told you to last night?"

"Yes," Ava replied, walking over to the bed where she had placed a black shoulder bag. Aria watched as Ava retrieved a brown folder from the bag and returned to her side.

"Here's what I found," Ava said, handing the folder to Aria.

Aria opened the folder and looked at the man's face, which appeared expressionless in the photo. "I got this from Wikipedia," Ava added, as Aria scanned the information in the file.

"He's not that bad," Aria commented as she gazed at the man's picture. Her eyes traced the chiseled jawline, the long upturned nose, the eyebrows that looked as if they had been sculpted, the auburn tapered hair, and finally rested on his striking cloudy gray eyes. Despite the sharp lines of his lips, they were unsmiling.

Aria shifted her gaze to the information that Ava had gathered on the man. "He's got a private life, a family, but he never reveals who they are," she read. "He graduated from Yale University, so he's smart. He's a geeky computer tech, which is why he built a multi-billion-dollar tech corporation. Is this all you got?"

"That's the most information you can find online, Aria," Ava retorted.

Aria tossed the folder into the trash bin beside the vanity table with a shrug. "It was a waste of time," she said dismissively. "I'm not into social media or browsing."

"I know you're ready," Ava said. "I'll drive your car."

Aria stood up from her seat, her gaze fixed on the elegant brownish-red coat dress that she had chosen to wear. She completed the look with a black glove and mismatched brown heel boots.

"No, I can handle it," Aria said firmly. "I want you to take care of all my appointments and let them know I'll be back this afternoon, assuming this meeting with the prime minister ends soon."

"Okay," Ava replied simply, and followed her out of the room and into the spacious living room.

Aria stopped and turned to her assistant. "When I get to the office later, order my favorite ice cream and have Lucas come to my office this afternoon," she said.

Ava's eyebrows raised slightly in surprise. "What are you planning?" she asked.

"Just doing what I always do when something's bothering me," Aria explained. "And before I forget, bring the Lang poem book that I left in my mother's room to the office." Aria was not fond of poetry, but thanks to her mother's influence, she had begun to appreciate it and had even become infatuated with it. She sometimes wished she could write poetry, but she had never been able to write even a single stanza.

"I'll call Lucas," Ava said. "Have you told your father about him?" her voice tinged with worry.

"If I did, my father wouldn't let me be friends with someone like him," Aria replied. "And he won't know, anyway."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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