C1 Chapter 1
His name is Titan Sandoval. His staff appeared to be terrified by his entrance into his building, as they bowed their heads in greeting when he passed by.
Who would not?
He raised his arm to check his watch as he walked toward the elevator, tucking his hands deep inside the pockets of his black slacks.
"It's 12:05 PM."
I'm running late already.
"Sir, please join us as we meet with the board to discuss the ongoing market study for our new branch."
His schedule has been managed for the past ten years by Simon, who has been his secretary and friend. He has been with his secretary and the most-trusted person in the business ever since he took over as the company's boss shortly after his father died.
Titan swung his head around to get a good look at Simon.
Simon cocked his eyes brows and furrowed. "Is there a problem, sir?"
Titan gave a headshake. "Nothing. I'm simply checking myself in your glasses. That's all."
While Simon tried not to laugh, Titan stretched his lips wide as he proceeded to touch his cheeks and lightly rub his chin. Nothing looks better than me, Simon, are we right?
"Sure, sir. You still have a great look."
A few workers greeted Titan as they left, making the entire area mine, and grinned while he was clucking as the elevator arrived and opened wide.
Someone clucked behind me before I could get in the elevator.
Titan stopped and turned to see Simon's astonished expression.
"As if you are."
That was a woman's voice, mockingly saying those things.
He flicked his head down and saw a short woman, looking like a horse neighing. Titan's eyebrows were up, and his mouth slightly opened.
When he turned to look at Simon, he could see that he was straining too hard not to laugh out loud. But Simon couldn't hold it in any longer that he snorted loud enough to be heard, leaving Titan riling up.
What just happened, exactly?
As she rolled her eyes at me and looked at her fingernails, Titan tried not to sputter in front of her. At least, out of respect.
She cocked an eyebrow at him while putting her weight on one leg and tilting her head. "What? Did I say something wrong here?
Simon tapped Titan's shoulder just as he was about to speak.
"Sir, you must attend the meeting now."
Titan raised his arm and made the sign of waiting, raising his index finger. "Simon, this won't take long."
Then, shot her a look as she stood in front of him, exuding assurance. At that point, Titan couldn't help but look over every inch of her.
"What are you looking at?" She shoved him to the side as she sputtered and clucked into the elevator. "I don't have time for you. Do you not realize that?"
Titan gestured with his fingers towards her. "You're fooling with people you have no idea about, aren't you?"
Once more, she rolled her eyes.
"Why? Are you someone I ought to keep in mind? Are you truly deserving of my attention and my memory space?"
She used her index finger to tap her temple.
"Every memory that enters this space must at the very least be worthwhile and important to me."
She scowled and hissed. "To me, you're just another one of those pitiful bastards I've encountered."
Before Titan could answer, the elevator door shut, and she rolled her eyes once more.
With wide eyes and his mouth hanging open, Titan suddenly felt discomfort as his scalding rage suddenly rose from his center to his head. He was outraged that someone like her, a woman, could do it that he kicked the garbage can way too forcefully out of desire and soared to the next corner.
After he let out some anger, Titan moved embarrassingly towards the fire exit and skipped the elevator on the second floor in favor of lowering my head to the height of my nose.
What in the world was she?
As he ascended to the 25th floor, where the meeting was, he turned to face the mirror-like surface of the elevator.
Simon kept looking at his phone as he stood next to him, for whatever reason.
Titan turned around and snatched his phone from his hand. "Listen, how could that woman treat a rich, intelligent, and attractive guy like me like that?" He sighed in frustration and adjusted his necktie. "She won't see morning again if I could see that woman."
Instead of responding, Simon snatched his phone out of Titan's grasp. "You'll never know what comes in life, Titan. There will always be a few times in your life wherein you'll meet interesting people... like her."
The elevator opened and the security opened the doors for me as I hurriedly walked into the conference room.
The presentation began as soon as Titan walked into the room and looked around at the folks waiting for him, sitting on swivel chairs.
While the man described how the market study conducted for the new branch was going. Titan crossed his legs and rested back against the swivel chair's back.
As Titan listened to the numbers the presenter was giving him, he adjusted his chair a little with his foot and rested his elbows on the armrest.
When he heard the door eventually open, he turned his head once again and recognized the person. Just before he checked his phone and scrolled for fresh messages.
It was her. The same woman questioned his dominance, even though it appeared that she was only an intern.
Peach shirt with ruffles. tight black skirt with a high waist. Skin-toned, nearly worn-out stockings. two-inch-tall black shoe ID with a large print.
"Reyes, Stephanie. Intern."
Titan scoffed as he intertwined his fingers and muttered and read the entire big print before focusing on her.
She moved the folders she was carrying over to the table and gave them to the trustees. She handed copies of the report to each man in a black swivel chair as she sat on the side next to another woman, seemingly oblivious to him.
She appeared confident enough to wear sheer peach-colored long sleeves and a pencil skirt that exposed virtually all of her legs up while trying too hard to concentrate on the report.
Titan snarled as he intertwined his fingers while the man providing the report continued discussing the metrics and future actions in front of the board members. Whatever the cause, he suddenly experienced internal anguish that compelled him to look in her direction.
When he did, she was glaring at me and her face was etched with worry. She was no longer as sure of her ability to sit properly. In an effort to disregard his presence, she swallowed, nearly dropping the water bottle.
Without taking any action, it appeared as though Titan had endangered her life while seated. He rolled his eyes as he listened to the board's assessment of the research and then switched his attention back to the report.
"I think everything is good. The data are much more accurate than the ones you provided months before. The only tweaks we must do to ensure everything is in order before we begin this project are all that I need to be aware of this week. Was I clear?"
Everyone in the room nodded in response.
Then, Titan stretched out his arm to look at his watch.
He quickly got up and hurriedly turned to the door to leave in order to go to the elevator. I must work quickly at the office.
Fortunately, when the elevator finally arrived, there was no personnel present. With Simon on his side, Titan entered thusly without incident until he got up to his workplace on the 30th floor, running to his office.
As soon as he got there, he turned and looked at Simon. "You know what to do right here, Simon."
Simon nodded. "Yes, sir." Before he turned to leave the office, he looked at me with his eyebrows furrowed. "By the way, I'll be downstairs if you need me."
"Don't bother." Titan gestured to dismiss it. "As if it helps. We both know it doesn't make any difference at all."
Simon nodded. "I agree, sir. Anyway, got to work."
"Sure, you can leave now."
"Alright." He walked towards the door and slammed the door shut.
When he left, Titan went to work and spent the next three hours there, sitting on his swivel chair and glancing at his watch once again.
Titan took the folder and looked over the papers he needed to complete before the deadline. Without realizing it, he lost hours to nothing but sitting in the office.
He sat back against the chair after finishing the last folder and sighed in frustration. If this hadn't happened, I could have worked more leisurely than before.
Exhausted, Titan shut his eyes. "Why do I have to continue being in such a race?" He paused and turned his head to stare at the city's dazzling lights. He got up to his feet and looked off in the distance.
"After ten years, there is still no sign of improvement in my prognosis. Who harmed me like this?"
Titan was so desperate that he wanted to cry. However, he had a strong impulse not to.
I'm not sure. Maybe.
Unable to find answers, he leaned against his swivel chair and reclined until he nodded off.
On top of his glass table, Titan's phone vibrated that woke him up, rising his torso in fear. He gasped as he glanced at his watch. "Shit." His eyes widened as he quickly got up, feeling dizzy. It's coming.
He inhaled deeply and let out a long sigh to relax while raising his arms in the air and smiling as broadly as I can.
"Titan, everything will be alright. You'll be fine, I assure you," he whispered, tapping his hand on his chest to calm his nerves as he moved in the direction of the door and slightly opened it to check whether anyone was inside. Everyone appeared to have left.
Titan returned to his desk, took his phone, tucked it into a pocket of his slacks, and walked over to the door, softly opening it.
He was sprinting along the hallway while rubbing his fingers, combing through his dark hair in an effort to maintain his cool even though he was about to be in deep shit.
Titan kept sprinting—some could say he was running a marathon—toward the elevator and descended with all of his senses on high alert, scrutinizing every cubicle in every office as he went inside the elevator when it opened.
He dialed Simon and leaned against the cold metal surface in frantic. "It's coming, Simon."
"Alright, I'll park the car at the entrance. Are you coming now?"
"Yes, I'm coming down," Titan said without showing any emotion at all as if everything was alright. And because he was trying to keep a secret, pushing people away was the best thing he thought.
For him, the act of showing care was a flaw. Titan hated it when he has to show his frail side. He preferred to be in situations wherein he could keep his status and be a strong man who has never experienced setbacks.
Despite the circumstances, Titan looked up at the gleaming surface of the elevator and noticed how good he looked. He chuckled a little when he saw his reflection, still looking damn good.
When noticed that the lift had halted and was silently opening, he stopped and looked around. It was already dark as some lights were turned off, leaving the security lights on.
Nobody was present. Except for the guards, who else would be at work in the middle of the night?
With his life on the line, Titan sprinted outside and into the building.
However, someone bumped his torso so hard that they hurled all the papers that were now strewn across the floor as he turned the corner, a meter from the entrance door.
She ran over to the papers and grabbed each one individually while screaming, "Oh my gosh."
He attempted to stand while his butt was on the ground in a frenzied, nearly crawling manner.
"Sir?" In contrast to the voice he heard in the elevator, hers sounded agitated. "Oh my—"
She took hold of his hand and pulled him up.
When she looked up and saw Titan's face with his eyes widened, she copied him as her eyes widened, too.
Just as I was about to run, Stephanie repeatedly called me, but she never left him alone. Instead, she followed him to the door.
I've got to go to the parking lot, damn it!
"Let me leave!" Titan screamed his heart out as he attempted to free his hand from her firm hold.
"I'm really sorry, sir." She repeatedly bowed in prayer.
Titan nodded while attempting to push her away, choking in front of her due to the rapid and loud throbbing in his chest. He couldn't allow this common, unattractive, and underprivileged woman to damage his reputation.
She was, however, too powerful for a woman.
"I recently started working here. I've never met the boss." She halted and whimpered, "I'm unaware that you are in charge. Kindly, sir. Please do not let me go. My survival depends on it."
Titan tried his hardest to keep patience at a maximum, trying not to sputter when he uttered, "Fine. Just let me go."
"Do you mind if I inquire, sir, why you seem to be in a hurry?"
God. For foolish conversations, I have no time. I must flee and hide!
Titan squeezed her hand so hard since he had no other choice but to do so as he, with Stephanie, ran with him, on the way to the door while scanning the area for other individuals.
Realizing Simon wasn't there, he hurried to the corner where he believed they would be alone with a woman he barely know. He waited for her to gasp for oxygen while panting before he had to explain something.
"Sir, why are we fleeing?"
Agitated, Titan looked at his watch while she fanned herself with her hand.
"Did you cause serious difficulty for yourself? Did you encounter a chase? Mafia? Gang? Mob?"
He gave a headshake. "It's worse than you can imagine."
"Look, I don't care what occurs to me tonight. Notify no one else. Could you guarantee me that?"
Titan gripped both of her hands as they locked eyes, as he struggled to remain calm despite the impending tragedy that he had never intended to tell anybody except for Simon.
His instinct told him that he just met someone special.
Although she appeared unremarkable and uninteresting, the way she made him feel at that moment was more peaceful and calming, giving him the impression that he could trust this person.
"Why? There will be a consequence for you?" She turned her head away, trying to make sense of what Titan was saying as her jaw dropped.
"I'm pressed for time to explain. All you have to do is see my secretary, bring my clothing, and drive me home."
Her brows creased. "What? Wait. I'll deliver your clothing, and take you home?" She stopped and kept her eyes on him.
It appeared that she doesn't believe everything he said.
"Just go ahead, alright?"
"How could I?"
"I'm sorry, Stephanie, I don't have time to explain. Do it now!"
Titan lowered his head and sighed in frustration as he searched for other approaches. Then, he tightly gripped her shoulders and stared into her eyes, shaking her slightly to stir her dozing senses.
"You are not required to comprehend what I'm saying. Simply do it, and I'll pay you twice what the business has promised."
Her eyes appeared to glitter when she heard the other offer. It was something Titan already anticipated. These individuals live off of money—neither sincerity nor ardor.
"Don't think I'll ever be appreciative of everything you did for me tonight."
"Why is it the case?"
She grasped his shoulder as he tried to contain his fear while he started to feel his cheeks and forehead both began to perspire. She reached for her handkerchief and delicately patted his face's damp area and neck with it.
He initially flinched since he was not used to people touching him the way she did.
Titan mentally snarled as he turned his head away, taking a deep breath while watching the seconds on his wristwatch ticking away.
She questioned why he spoke a whispered, more like a grumble, count from ten to one.
While Titan stared in horror, she shifted her body to look at what was happening. Damn, I didn't anticipate having you witness this after ten years of hiding.
At that moment, he also noticed Simon standing not far from where we were. His eyes widened when he also noticed Stephanie covering me.
Titan once more looked down to see the long hand settle at twelve o'clock.
The thunderstorm grew louder, the surroundings were illuminated by lightning. The unexpected eruption of the skies frightened her, and she pressed her ears; noisily roared up in the sky, and numerous brilliant lightning strikes close by.
Her eyes constricted.
She slowly opened them, her eyes widening as she saw how Titan was growing smaller and brighter. She watched his clothes as they dropped to the ground, pressing down with her eyes.
She gasped and covered her lips as her hands were released. When she heard him, she immediately held her breath.