Chapter One: The Hopeless Romantic
At first glance, Genevieve Tsang appeared to be the epitome of the modern day independent woman. A successful dealmaker in her own right, she had worked her way up the corporate ladder to secure her position as Assistant CFO (Chief Financial Officer) in one of the leading firms in Hong Kong, ALP Dyson. She dressed the part, in her tailored Herringbone shirts and Armani pencil skirt, and had a penthouse apartment in the covetous position of Central. And all this had been accomplished at the tender age of twenty-three.
But, Genevieve was not your typical business-minded girl. She still kept all the emails she had received from past lovers in their individual folders of her account. She held on to the photos, the empty chocolate boxes and the soft-toys. She believed in love at first sight. She had always poured her heart into each of her relationships, craving the warmth and tenderness that only a man could provide. Of course, Genevieve would never share such views in the male-dominated office. She cringed every time she heard of the latest office gossip, where the conversations tended to revolve around the size of the secretary's breasts, the hotness of Angelina Jolie and the boasts about who had the most conquests. It seemed that the 'work-hard, play-hard' mentality had united with a love for 'fast cars and fast women' in the office culture. Genevieve suspected that this would always be the case in an industry where time was of the essence, and business meant there was no time for pleasure unless the two could be mixed.
And indeed, Genevieve herself had at first been the subject of many a suggestive offer. At 5 foot 8, with exotic Eurasian features and a slender yet curvaceous figure, she had heard more than her fair share of accusations that she had slept her way to the top. But sooner or later, the men had figured her out as the 'clingy, emotional, needy' type and had backed away. They didn't need any more nagging at the office when they received enough of that emotional crap from their wives at home. No, all they were after was a satisfying lay after a hard day's work.
On the other hand, Genevieve had been in a long-term relationship for the last two years. She had met Jack Whitfield whilst studying for her MBA from Stanford University, and he had happened to follow her to Asia after graduation. She truly believed they were meant to be together, and even though he would neglect to answer her phone calls for days on end, she remained blinded to any of his flaws. Her friends had tried to dissuade her from continuing the relationship, and tried to subtly raise in conversation that he was a player, who enjoyed pleasuring himself with a harem of other women whilst leeching off Genevieve's finances and generosity. But Genevieve would hear none of it. Jack had told her that he loved her. And that was enough.
'Miss Tsang, Mr. Whitfield is on line one,' Daphne, Genevieve's secretary called out.
'Thank you, I've got it Daphne,' Genevieve's heart never failed to skip a beat at the thought of hearing Jack's rumbling baritone voice.
'Baby, let's have dinner tonight,' was all Jack needed to say to make Genevieve feel as if she were the luckiest girl in the world. They planned to meet at 7:30 at one of the priciest sushi places in town. Genevieve opened her top desk drawer and pulled out a smartly wrapped box. She grinned as she remembered searching for the perfect pair of cufflinks for her lover. It was their 25th month anniversary, and even though most people would not consider it a landmark, to Genevieve every day, every week, every month was a cause for celebration. Her friends rolled their eyes and called her over-the-top and desperate, but Genevieve would not be deterred from her firm belief that every person should express their true feelings.
Swiftly tidying away the remaining papers on her desk and filing away the last contract in her in-tray, Genevieve made her way out of the ALP Dyson building and caught a taxi to the restaurant. As she expected, even though Jack was unemployed, or as he called it 'taking a sabbatical', Genevieve still ended up waiting for him at their table. To pass the time, she tried placing her present for Jack in different positions to find the most aesthetically-pleasing one. Twenty minutes and two glasses of water later, Jack finally arrived, looking rather dishevelled. Genevieve looked up and smiled as she recognised his handsome face. She was about to call out his name –
Then, her smile faded and tears welled up in her almond eyes. Jack turned to reveal a long-legged blonde hanging from his arm. She couldn't bear to watch but her eyes remained fixed on the scene, torturing her. Jack leaned towards the giggling blonde, pressed his lips to her mouth and kissed her deeply and passionately. The blonde responded by reaching for his hands and seductively placed them on her large boobs, encouraging him to rub them and her to moan softly. Rather embarrassed by the public displays of affection, the waiter began to lead the couple to a table adjacent from Genevieve's. The self-preservation instinct in Genevieve told her to run. But she remained rooted to the ground, silently crying. Suddenly, Jack looked up and although she saw that he had registered her presence, he continued to walk to the table, arm around the blonde's waist. Genevieve couldn't help herself. She marched over and pulled Jack's arm.
'J-J-Jack, I don't understand. I-I thought you wanted to have dinner tonight to celebrate being together for another month…I thought you loved me.' Genevieve stammered.
'Who is she?' the blonde asked innocently, 'Can you tell her to move away because she's causing a scene. I'd like to order the salmon and avocado salad,' she turned to the waiter.
'Genie, you can't possibly think I'd want you forever. You make me sick with your overbearing, suffocating personality. I can't stand it anymore. Sure, you're fucking hot. And I love fucking you. But Jesus, give a man some space will you. It's over.' Jack responded vehemently. Then turning to the blonde opposite him, he said,
'Sorry babe, she's one of my exes. I can't help having crazed ex-girlfriends after me. They just can't get over me.'
Somehow, Genevieve managed to get back to her apartment. She felt as if her heart would explode and she could do nothing but let out frustrated shrieks, screams and sobs. She huddled on the floor of her bedroom for what seemed like an eternity. If only the pain would go away. Not able to stand it anymore, she instinctively pulled her car keys out of her purse. Genevieve didn't drive often, especially not since moving to Hong Kong. But the feel of it exhilarated her, and she needed something, anything, to get Jack out of her mind.
Speeding along the highway, Genevieve had rolled down the top of her Audi TT convertible so that the wind had dried her tears. The cold air was like a pain-killer, numbing the hurt he had caused. Deciding she would like some music to keep her company, Genevieve took her eyes off the road momentarily to fumble for her CDs. When she looked up again, Genevieve found herself heading too quickly towards the large black Porsche Cayenne in front of her. She tried to brake but it was too late. Her bumper had driven into the back of the Cayenne, which was now dented. Genevieve panicked. Her insurance company would not be happy with her for causing such an accident and she really, really did not want her premiums to rise just because of one misjudgement. Genevieve had a few seconds to formulate a plan to get out of this mess. Her eyes widened as she saw the driver's door of the Cayenne open and a tall figure march towards her. He was Caucasian. And they were in Hong Kong.
'I'm sorry Mr. Jones; please allow me to call you back in five minutes. There's just been a minor setback on my end.'
Genevieve heard the sound of a cell phone being snapped shut. She jolted back when a hand rapped loudly at her window. Meekly she opened the door.
'I think we both agree this was clearly your fault. I don't have time to deal with such trivial matters, so can you just give me your details and I'll get my assistant to sort it out'.
Genevieve glanced up to see who owned this stern, authoritative voice. Dressed in a crisp suit that emphasised his muscular build, with dark, impenetrable, onyx eyes, a strong jaw and a shockingly handsome face, the driver of the Cayenne was surely a model. That would mean he couldn't be too intelligent.
'Sor-ree la. I China no Engwish speak la,' Genevieve stuttered in what she hoped was a convincing portrayal of a non-English speaker.
'You don't speak English?' the driver asked incredulously. Genevieve stared blankly before again trying,
'Sor-ree la. I China no Engwish speak la'. He glanced at his wristwatch and his jaw twitched with impatience.
'Fine, I guess I'll just have to find you later. My car doesn't seem too damaged and I can probably drive it. I'm late as it is.' With this statement, he pulled out his cell phone, snapped an image of the stunned Genevieve, dropped his business card in her lap and stormed back to his car. When she processed what had just transpired, Genevieve freaked. Pulling down the car mirror, she moaned as she realised her hair was a mess and lipstick was smeared across her cheek from crying. Quickly she ran to the front of the Porsche and yanked open the front door.
'No. No. No photo!' This time Genevieve's broken English was not an act. Not knowing what to do, and not wanting some stranger to have her photo, she just managed to pull out her own business card and give it to him.
The next morning, Genevieve arrived at the office 10 minutes late, an anomaly for her. She noted that a couple of the young female interns had huddled around a desk and she could hear whispers of 'Oh my gosh, he is drop dead gorgeous!' and 'Do you think we'll get to make coffee for him?' She didn't have time to think much of this, as Daphne promptly greeted her,
'Miss Tsang! Of today of all days you choose to run late like a normal person! Mr. Lee wants you in his office now for something important.' Phillip Lee was Genevieve's superior, the CFO. She quickly made her way there.
'Ah, Genevieve. Lucas Henney has just arrived in Hong Kong, the god-son of Mr. Dyson himself. He's just arrived from the States and his experience has extended across the ALP Dyson offices in Seoul, Sydney and recently, New York. He'll need an assistant to help him over the next month and I believe you are certainly qualified. The rumour is that he might be appointed as the next head of the Hong Kong branch,' Mr. Lee informed her. She followed him into the corner office reserved for the 'big boss'. After Mr. Lee announced her entry, he closed the door.
Genevieve looked up to see that the new boss had turned his chair so that he was facing out the window. She cleared her throat,
'Excuse me Mr. Henney, I'm Genevieve Tsang, and I will be your assistant at ALP Dyson Hong Kong. Is there anything I can do for you?'
'Yes actually, I had a car accident yesterday and was hoping you could sort out the insurance issues. Some crazy Asian woman driver rammed into my Porsche, so please also get me a replacement car.' Genevieve's throat went dry. Upon receiving no response, the chair turned and Mr. Henney faced his new assistant with a hint of disapproval in his eyes. Then, the disapproval turned to realisation. He glanced down at his cell phone.
'I thought you couldn't speak English,' he smirked.