As Damon stared at Mia, move so graceful around the conference, trying to get to Chris, he couldn't help but think. The day he first saw her, through the dingy laptop screen because he was too busy in Spain to bother with interviews in New York. He was on the eighteenth floor, the view of the city mesmerising in every sense. On the screen he noticed the room which wasn't very abstract, it's the brilliant mix of the lavish and sleek interior that was captivating, none of it helps in toning down the pressure of the interview in the room. It has been going on for more than an hour, and it doesn't seem like the three interviewers are anywhere near the end. It's boring.
He glided his fingers gently on the wood while rounding the corner of the table and settled back in his chair, watching as another one failed. Damon was tempted just to close the screen and get it down with. Leave it with his father to handle it on his own, but he promised. After what felt like forever another candidate stumbled through, red in the face as the door slammed behind her. He narrowed his eyes on the person.
The person was young, way too young. Not exactly the level of experience they were looking for, but they could work with it. Young people were easy to mould. She introduced herself as Mia Grace. The passion of her voice rang in his ears, making him almost take a double turn at the screen. He tilted his head lightly and zoomed the view to see the applicant correctly.
Nervousness was palpable on her face. She looked pale due to the pressure of the interview. Her hands were folded together in her lap, her posture tight and warm at the same time. Unlike others, her answer didn't seem rehearsed. Mia was also brutally honest about the reason she applied for a particular job, not shying away to expose her achievements as well.
Sunlight made her baby blue eyes gleam like diamonds, and those eyelashes just cast shadows on her high cheekbones. She looked ethereal. Not that he's staring. When she walked out of the room, Damon picked up his phone and sent a message to Chris.
"Hire Mia Grace."
"Sir?" Her voice broke his thoughts.
The sunlight filtered through the windows, making her side of her face glow. Mia was nervously chewing on her lips, almost urging him to lean forward and pull her lip away. Shaking his head at the thought, he arched his brow. "What is it?"
"Chris has to leave for another lunch meeting, so he won't be able to join us."
Of course! He should have known better than to rely on his friend. "Too bad. I was looking forward to having lunch with him."
"But sir you..."
He abruptly stood up, cutting her off and straightening his blazer jacket. With his jaw clenched tight, he turned towards her. "What do you want to eat, Miss Grace?"
Mia twisted her lips, shifting on her feet. "I sort of made lunch plans with Jane, sir."
His shoulders visibly deflated at that. Why did he think that it will be two of them? Something was seriously wrong with him. Besides since when did he care about other company? He was happy on his own. As much as he wanted to see her squirm throughout the lunch, he let her go.
"It's alright, Miss Grace. You can leave"
The next morning he got a call from his mother. He was summoned to his parents place. A matter of urgency, they said. So the thirty-three year old had no choice but to agree. That's why he drove off as soon as he got ready.
Damon stepped out of his Audi, gravel crunching beneath his polished shoe. Sunlight reflected off his sunglasses as he shifted his gaze toward the sprawling estate. On the marble steps lined by perfectly cut shrubs, a few visitors lingered in their pastel dresses and suits, sipping flutes filled to the brim with champagne. They were laughing and chattering and already before he's even entered the heart of the party, Damon wanted to climb back into his car and return to the quiet comfort of his flat.
He wondered if it was worth it. Travelling two hours away from New York just to see his mother throw another lavish party. The same old rich boring people who have too much time on their hand. That's why the parties. To gossip and boast about their wealth accumulating in bank accounts.
Taking a deep breath, he adjusted his platinum cufflinks, righted his collar, and started toward the steps.
"Good morning, Master Damon," Alfred greeted him as soon as he stepped into the house. The man gave a small bow of his head, balancing a silver platter in his hand. He stood in his crisp black suit in the gleaming foyer, a grand staircase ascending behind him.
"Alfred," Damon cheerfully said, patting the man's shoulder. "How have you been?"
He's one of the best chefs in their kitchen. Actually, the only one who's able to handle his dear mother's diet fads and run along with them. That's why Alfred has been working for over fifteen years with them. Quite a feat.
"Very well, sir. Care for some ceviche?"
Damon eyed the spread and shrugged, plucking one of the crisp tortilla chips topped with ceviche off the tray. He popped it into his mouth, chewing as he strolled alongside Alfred through the house and towards the garden. "Been perfecting that recipe, haven't you?" Damon asked in a teasing voice, with his mouth still a little full.
Alfred grinned, "I have, sir. It's your mother's new favourite."
"Should have known. It tastes excellent," Damon assured him, giving his shoulder one last squeeze. He stepped once again into the blinding sunlight and onto the marble patio, the verdant lawn spreading out before him.
A white tent stood in the centre near the garden, surrounded by rose bushes and blooming trees with stringed lights connecting the space between them like zip lines. More guests scattered around with their drinks in hand and gossip drifting between their laughing mouths, standing beneath white umbrellas to shade them from the summer sun.
His parents lived and breathed extravagance. It gleamed on every detail his eyes reached around. From the overly posh teacups served and glamours hats on the ladies to the ice sculpture melting in the sun. It's ridiculous. What's the point of them?
But as the oldest son and heir of Rossi, Damon couldn't say he hated it all either, not entirely. Having more than enough to do anything at any given second is a blessing no one can deny. And living carefree and comfortable— that's nice too.
But somehow it's not enough. It's never been enough. That's why Damon never rests. He wanted their family to be even more successful, take the dream of his father to the pinnacle. Throw it in the faces of people who didn't believe in his father, in their family. That's why, even in retirement, his father chose to work. Something Damon will never understand. He earned everything, why not rest for a while? Rest is for the devil His father said when told about it.
Damon sighed loudly. Well, here goes nothing.
Before he's gotten very far, he felt a strong arm wrap around his shoulders, almost tangling him in a surprise chokehold.
"Norton" Damon huffed, pushing at his cousin's arms and taking a step back. Oh for crying out loud they were in their thirties! When will he learn to act like that?
"Hi, Dro! Nice of you to show up towards the end of the party."
Damon rolled his eyes at that ridiculous nickname. He combined first letter of Damon's name and brother. "I don't see this ending anytime soon."
The champagne tower was still intact, so there are still a few more hours to go. Besides, that's the thing with these kinds of parties. They never end early. Something he doesn't appreciate at all.
"Did you come all alone?" His cousin raised his brow.
"Why? Do you see anyone with me? I can't?"
"When will you stop answering like this?" Norton made a face.
"When you'll stop asking stupid questions."
"Rude" His cousin twisted his lips. "I was hoping you would bring that chick from office. Mia, was it? She's so fucking fine!"
Damon gritted his teeth at that. He didn't like it at all. The way his cousin was talking about Mia. It flared something inside his gut, something he couldn't explain. "She works for me. That's unprofessional."
Just then, his father and mother approached him, a massive smile on their faces. That's why he attended the parties, alright, only for them. They hugged him before narrowing their eyes at him.
"Where is Mia?"
His family adored her for some reason. Maybe it's because she lived alone in New York and his father saw himself in her.
"I thought I wrote in the mail to bring her along" His mother glared at him.
Damon sheepishly smiled. "I didn't read till the end."