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 Season 6

Episode 19

(One step closer)

"I see,"  Charles said. Autumn's disappearance was a big blow for Isla. Three years had passed, but she still had not gotten over the loss of her best friend. Apart from Charles, Isla was the only other person who could not let Autumn go.    

 And because they felt the same way, Charles was always hesitant to see Isla.     
He feared that he might slip into endless sorrow once again if he met Isla.     

"Has David sorted the documents?" he asked Alice. He told himself to focus on business.     

"I'll go and check it now,"  Alice replied. Since they'd been discussing business, Leila was left alone. As she stood outside Charles' office, she suddenly felt awkward. Charles realized he had kept his guest waiting for a long time. So he told his assistant, "That's all for now. I need to see your plans as soon as possible. You may go now,"  he told Alice.   

Alice nodded, and then turned to leave. She noticed Leila and reminded her boss, "Mr. Lu, Leila has been waiting outside. Will I tell her to come in now?"    

"Yes, ask her in. And by the way, bring me some coffee,"  he requested. Charles settled in his chair and waited.     

Leila entered hesitantly, approached Charles' desk and stood stiffly. When she worked there, she could handle anything. Now, she dreaded the changes. Even looking at Alice, she couldn't help but cast an envious glance at the woman.     Then the doubts started to creep in. 'What if I no longer qualify as a secretary?' she asked herself.    

 "What are you doing standing there?" Charles broke into her thoughts. "Have a seat,"  he offered. She gave an embarrassed smile and took the seat opposite her former boss. In spite of her nerves, she couldn't stop thinking how handsome he still looked.   

"So, how does it feel to be back here?" Charles inquired. "There hasn't been any big change. What can you say?" he prodded.     

Leila nodded, and then shook her head. Realizing how confusing her actions were, she hurriedly explained to Charles, 

"Yes, the place feels familiar, but the environment seems different. And it's somehow strange. When I worked here, I don't remember it being this intense. I look around now and notice how busy people like Alice and David are. It seems like no one has time for a break."    

Charles laughed at her description and explained, "After incorporating Sun Company into Shining Company, there's more work to do. Recently, we've been planning to enter the fashion industry."   

 And this made him think. 'Women are now considered a main consumer group. The board members all agree it is a promising industry. We have to carry out our plans soon.'  

"That only means you'll be even busier, Mr. Lu,"  Leila pointed out. The woman felt her patience running thin. They had been talking for a while, but so far, Charles had not offered her a job. But as impatient as she felt, she couldn't bring it up herself.   

  "Not only me. You'll be busy as well,"  Charles corrected her. Leila lifted her head to see if she heard him right.   

  He was smiling, and the words finally sank in. Leila's eyes widened in shock. "What do you mean, Mr. Lu?" she aked, wanting to be sure.   

  "Haven't I made myself clear enough?" Charles inquired pleasantly. "With the company growing so fast, we need more hands on deck. We've been hiring people. But I still haven't found a proper secretary. When we spoke on the phone, I thought you could handle the job,"  Charles expounded.     

"You must be kidding, Mr. Lu,"  Leila smiled nervously. She wanted to test if Charles really wanted to hire her. So Leila pretended to refuse the offer. "It's been so long since I've done something like this. It's far different from being a housewife. I might not be competent enough for this job,"  she said.   

Putting on a bitter smile, she continued, "Mr. Lu, I wish I could help you." 

Hesitating for effect, Leila added, "But I'm not sure if I can handle the work. And as you mentioned, this is a critical time for the company. I wouldn't want to hold you back."   

 Charles stared at her in disbelief. "What happened to you?" He couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Are you the Leila I knew? From what I saw before, you were a determined and fearless girl. Where did all that confidence go?" he asked.     

Leila blushed in embarrassment. "Mr. Lu, you flatter me,"  she said. "But it's been a long time since I worked in a company. My fear is failing to meet your expectations,"  Leila argued.    

 "I believe you,"  Charles said, hoping to convince Leila. "Do you remember when you first worked here? You knew nothing. But you learned very quickly and did your job well. Have you forgotten that?" he encouraged her. "There is nothing you can't do as long as you're willing to learn,"  Charles reminded Leila.   

She remained hesitant, and frowned a little. Leila asked herself, "Should I give in now?"   

 The man was persistent. "Just agree,"  he said. Charles had invited Leila to give her a job, but not to persuade her to accept his offer. At her hesitancy, he was running out of patience, so he said coolly, "If you want to work here, you can go to the HR Department and finish your entry procedures. But I won't force you." 

   Leila shut her eyes briefly, and then finally nodded. "Since you put it that way, I won't decline the offer. But I need to make one thing clear. I'm here to work. If you're not satisfied with my performance, tell me and treat me like the other employees,"  she declared.    

 "I will do that,"  Charles replied as he gave a smile of satisfaction. Then he added, "As for your salary, you can talk to the people in the HR Department. I am sure you will receive more than enough for your needs." She mumbled her gratitude. "As for your working hours..." Charles paused.   

He knitted his brows while giving it considerable thought. "I know you have a child who is too young to take care of himself. So, I am allowing you to leave the office, if necessary. There is only one thing I hope you can guarantee: you finish your work every day. You can bring it home and get it done after you've put your son to sleep. Are you agreeable to these conditions?" he asked. "Can you do that?" he asked Leila again.   

  "That will not be a problem,"  she responded with a confident smile. "Once I accept your offer, I promise to work hard and perform my duties faithfully. I will live up to all your expectations. You have my word on that,"  Leila vowed.   

  "I'm very glad to hear that!" Charles said, bursting into laughter. "Why don't you go straight to the HR Department and complete all the entry formalities?" 
he suggested. "And by the way, when can you start?"  

"Tomorrow!" Leila answered immediately, eager to get back to work.    

 "Well then, I'll see you tomorrow." He smiled as Leila left his office.     

Things went so smoothly she could hardly believe what was happening. When she finally signed her contract at the HR Department, Leila realized it wasn't a dream.   

And in her miņd, she was screaming,
"Now, I am a step closer to getting Charles!' 

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