The woman crossed her legs, right over left, to stop her heel from tapping against the sleek green marble floor. She could feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand up from the blasted air conditioning. Luckily her black stockings hid the goosebumps forming on her legs. The woman chose to fiddle with the edge of her pencil skirt to substitute her nervousness, but her gaze was still fixated on the silver elevators doors on the opposite side of the room.
"Yes!" chirped (Y/N), jumping up from her spot on the gray leather couch.
She briskly brushed out the wrinkles that bunched up in front of her pinstriped, navy blue suit-jacket and skirt and smoothed back any stray hairs that escaped from her tight, neat bun. She then pushed her glasses back up to the bridge of her nose before facing the cornered desk to the left of the elevator doors, hands folded on her thighs.
Unamused by the interviewee's nervousness, the receptionist rolled her eyes and simply motioned her manicured finger to come to the desk.
Feeling her heart beating in anticipation, (Y/N) picked up her small purse that was on the thin glass coffee table in front of her and walked stiffly to the desk.
" I need you to fill out one more document before we can let you in," said the receptionist. Without breaking concentration on the computer screen, she handed (Y/N) a clipboard with the sheet of paper already attached to it; her white lab coat sleeve rolled up to her elbows, revealing two golden bracelets dangling from her wrists.
"Y-yes, Ma'am." (Y/N) squeaked. She noticed there wasn't a pen attached to the clipboard, so she searched the surface of the counter only to notice there were none to be found.
"Um e-excuse me Ma'am, but do you have an extra pen that I may borrow?"
The receptionist only replied with a sigh. She stopped her work and lightly pushed her chair to the other side of the desk. She picked up an empty coffee cup on the side, but quickly slammed it down in frustration. Looking around her workstation, she seemed to be troubled until her face brightened in realization. (Y/N) simply observed, hugging the clipboard to her chest with one arm, as the lady brushed back her short blonde hair to reveal a blue pen tugged behind her ear. She grabbed it, then handed it over to (Y/N). Her back straightened, heavy bosom out, and smooth legs crossed.
(Y/N), flushed for causing an inconvenience, reached over and grabbed the pen from the woman, gave her a quick thank you, and returned back to the couch, hearing the clacking of the keyboard resume.
Fanning herself, (Y/N) could only sigh at how tense she was. She set her purse back on the coffee table and plopped down on the couch for the third time today.
'Come on, (Y/N), you gotta relax! How are you going to pass this interview if you're a nervous stuttering wreck? This kind of opportunity comes only once in a lifetime, so I have to calm down!'
(Y/N) closed her eyes and took a deep breathe.
She reopened her eyes. A new kind of confidence washed over her: shoulders rolled out and loose, mind be ridded of any cooped up anxious thoughts. Clicking the pen in comfort, she stared at the insignia branded on top of the paper.
The leading company of future gaming and technology enterprises in the entire world. Infamously known for inventing the portable virtual reality Dueling Disk for the card game, Duel Monsters.
A couple of month's ago, an envelope, stamped with the company logo, was sent to every college student in the country. Inside contained a flat silver rectangle, about the same size as the envelope, along with a business card. Whomever was observant enough found a button on the back of the disk which opened up a blue hologram. The tiny particles danced near the center of the surface then waved together, forming a tall, handsome figure. Wearing all black with purple straps accessorizing his forearms and calves, draping a white studded sleeveless trench coat that refused to touch the ground, it was none other than the CEO himself, Seto Kaiba.
"Greetings, future employee," he boomed, his icy blue eyes staring right into you. "You have been chosen as one of many candidates to sign up for our $1,000,000 scholarship." He crossed his arms. His stature esteemed with arrogance, but had power and confidence behind his form.
"As Kaiba Corporation expands, we constantly seek new ideas to enhance our products. However, we're missing the spark that makes our corporation unique from all others. But now, we look no further. Because, we believe you-" The hologram pointed his finger forward with vigorance, "-the bright young mind of our future, can guide this company to a new light! But hold on, there's more."
The Kaiba copy paused for a moment, closing his eyes. A smirk lifted his face.
"Not only will we pay for your tuition, but we're also offering a paid internship if the individual chosen is deemed best fit for our corporation." Lifting his eyelids, his piercing pupils beamed with confidence. How can a tiny replica feel so real? It was as if Kaiba's presence was actually there in just a couple of pixels.
The hologram let out a light chuckled.
"So tell me. Do you have what it takes to accept my challenge?"
His words left finality ring in the air.
(Y/N) let out a satisfied huff, clipping the pen back on the clipboard.
She got up and made her way back to the reception desk. This time letting her thoughts wander instead of worrying about her conduct.
'Well, here I am. Those late nights dieting on ramen noodle cups and coffee lead me to the finalist round. I still can't believe not even the top of my class made it past the application and essay questions. I wonder....what kind of people are they exactly looking for?'
Then again, when (Y/N) first walked in the lobby, the final contestants seem to be an... interesting group. Majority of them looked like they came from a prestige background. Always glued to a cell phone or typing away on a small laptop with a calculator on standby. Their whole appearance was sleek and untouched, not a dust particle out of place. Probably sons of big named businessmen trying to strike a deal with the CEO in order to impress their parents. Oddly enough, other guys, bearing suits like their mother forced it upon them, were trading Duel Monster cards with each other. Actually, (Y/N) remembers seeing a little boy amongst the group, at least 10 years old, participating in the festivity. She assumed that he was either a child of one of the employees or a little brother to one of the finalist, but he was called in just like the others were. So, maybe, he could've possibly been...
'There's no way...' (Y/N) thought, arriving at the couch, now fishing in her purse so she could use her phone to kill time, 'He hasn't even come back yet. So he must've just ran off back to a daycare or something like that.'
Well , if she really thought about it, not a single person has returned to the lobby. One possibility could've been that everyone else left through a different exit. However, they were all permitted to this entrance only since entering through any other would've caused traffic in the main building. Unless, they're holding everyone until they get the results in.
In fact, how long has she been here for? She was advised in the email to arrive 2 hours before her meeting with the hiring manager. Surely, it was past midday already.
'Lets see. I woke up at 5:30 today so I could put on makeup and fix my hair into this bun which probably took a good two hours. Then I had to iron out my outfit, then I ate breakfast and I-'
(Y/N) snapped her head at the sound, turning around to stare dead center at the soft yellow light luminescent on top of the elevator entrance, signaling it's descent.
She quickly grabbed the miscellaneous items scattered all over the seat cushion and stuffed them in her purse. Her heartbeat increased with each passing moment. She checked over her appearance one last time; making sure that everything on her was straight and cleaned off any smudges that somehow got on her glasses.
The elevator let out a soft 'ding' upon it's arrival.
'Here we go,' (Y/N) thought anxiously. She slung the strap of her purse over her shoulders and crossed her arms behind her back as well as her fingers for good luck.
The elevator slowly reeled its doors away to reveal a stark man wearing a black suit, his finger pressed on an ear piece.
"Mhm...Yes, sir....Right away sir," he murmured softly in the tiny mic, then rested his arm beside him, completing his intimidating posture.
"Ms.(Y/N) (L/N)" he called out in a strong, professional voice.
"Y-Y-Yes!" (Y/N) managed to speak out. Her legs were already feeling like jelly.
Although his sunglasses hidden away his expression, the bodyguard can easily see through the woman's nervousness, just like the others before her. Instinctively remembering his gentleman code, he raised his left hand towards her, then motioned a path to the empty space next to him for her to follow. It was a gesture of no harm.
"Right this way, Ms.(L/N)," he said.
Somehow taking one step over another without stumbling, (Y/N) trotted her way to the elevator. She took one last glance at the desk beside her only to see the busty receptionist staring right back at her with a bemused expression on her face. She quickly flashed her glasses and continued on with her work.
When (Y/N) took position next to the tall bodyguard, she stood completely still, grasping her purse in front her to prevent it from swinging into the person next to her. The last thing she saw was the now empty lobby before the man leaned in to press the button on the bottom row, signaling the machine to close its doors and ascend to the requested floor.
(Y/N) couldn't help but let out a startled gasp when the elevator jumped started at an accelerating speed. She instinctively grabbed the handle bars behind her so gravity couldn't made her fall down on the shiny steel floor. She looked up to the body next to her as she adjusted to the speed to see if he was alright, only to find out he didn't even move an inch from the spot he was standing on!
'He's probably used to doing this,' she thought, pulling herself upright again.
The next few minutes passed with silence. (Y/N) didn't want to ask any questions. She thought her shyness might be mistaken for rudeness and that was the last thing she wanted to do. So, she distracted herself from the anxiety eating her up inside by looking at the panel on top of the grid of buttons, indicating each floor that they passed at a considerable pace.
After a while, (Y/N) began noticed the small space she and her companion were in and how little air condition there was in here compared to the lobby. She felt heat radiate underneath her suit jacket, but she refused to air it out. Her palms gotten sweaty from holding her purse for so long. Sticking to her 'no movement equals professionalism' philosophy, she tried to shift her weight on one leg to the other so she can relieve some pent up agitation. However, that didn't stop the sweat from forming on the back of her neck. Not able to handle the thickening silence anymore, (Y/N) faced the man, who hasn't even twitched a muscle so far, and struck up a conversation.
"U-u-um, excuse me Mister....Mister," (Y/N) sputtered, looking for a name tag or an id card that gave way his name so she could properly address him.
"Roland." he replied blandly, not even turning his head to face her.
"Mr. Roland," (Y/N) repeated back, twiddling her thumbs to calm her nerves, " was Mr. Thompson expecting me for long?"
The only sign that gave any indication of movement was the slight twitch of whiskers on his upper lip. (Y/N) awaited for his answer.
"Unfortunately, Mr. Thompson will no longer be conducting your interview this afternoon."
(Y/N) couldn't help but bite her lip, 'Wait does that mean my interview is cancelled?!' She immediately regretted that thought. A weight of disappointment settled on her shoulders. 'Hold on. That doesn't make any sense. They would've kicked me out by now. Or do they just need me so they can take a commemorative photo with the winner?'
"Since he left at such an unexpected notice," continued Roland, " we can't find anybody on staff available at this time to replace his position. So, my boss, Mr. Kaiba, will be interviewing you in Mr. Thompson's place."
First, relief washed over her, erasing her previous suspicions......but was instantly rammed out by fear. She froze on the spot.
' How the hell am I supposed to impress the Seto Kaiba!?'
(Y/N) abandoned the hold on her purse in favor of gripping her own hands. Her agitation left nail marks on her palms. She tried to control her nerves but the constant bickering between her reassurance of the situation and self-doubt swirling in her head was making her feel sick. This wasn't the first time (Y/N) dealt with immense anxiety, but it always came at the worst of times. Even now, she still doesn't know how to completely overcome it. Her thoughts were running a mile a minute and the elevator was becoming stuffy and hot despite the ac blasting overhead. She knew had to calm down before she started developing second thoughts and run home with her tail between her legs.
'This isn't the end of the world...I have to focus...Concentrate...I have to remember...I have to remember why I'm here...'
When (Y/N) turned 5, she knew her purpose in life: to see the world. To discover and explore every inch of the globe step by step. To see the variety of cultures, food, and people that contributed to rich society of mankind. To learn all languages and learn the histories of every country. She wanted to be a pilot, then a linguist teacher, then the president, then a museum curator, then an archaeologist. But as (Y/N) grew older, the reality of her dream coming true became smaller and smaller.
When (Y/N) turned 14, her parents and her school mentor told her that her dream was impossible. Although she had the smarts and the grades to meet the qualifications of a prestige college, she lacked the finances, the reputation, and overall experience to be accepted. Even though the area was less than suburban and had little to offer in the "miracle opportunity" department, any job in her small hometown will ensure her a well-off future. During that time in her life, (Y/N) felt lost. She did not know what to do or where to start when she was not motivated to do anything.
And it was when she hit rock bottom that she knew she had to do something.
When (Y/N) turned 16, she got her first job as the local grocery clerk. Working late nights and studying early mornings, (Y/N) was determined to make sure that she will go to college and she will travel the world. If she needed more money, she worked extra shifts. If she needed experience, then she found volunteer services around her hometown or in neighboring towns. If she needed to build her reputation, then she entered contests, and won. Through tough and stressful moments, arguments and makeups, bullies and acquaintances, (Y/N) managed to graduate with high marks.
When (Y/N) turned 18, all her efforts paid off. A letter came in the mail offering a 2-year scholarship to Domino City University, paying off tuition and books. Immediately thrilled by the opportunity, (Y/N) accepted. The money that she saved went to paying off an apartment near the university. Packing boxes upon boxes, giving kisses and hugs goodbye, and thanking comments of congratulations, (Y/N) felt like she was finally taking her first steps towards her dream when one-way flight to Domino City took off into the star-dotted night sky.
"We have arrived," announced Roland.
His voice startled (Y/N) out of her trip down memory lane. The same determination that motivated her three years ago arise at that moment, burning in her eyes. It eased her gnawing anxiety but her heart was still thumping loudly in her ears.
The steels doors of the elevator dinged before opened slowly to reveal a bright, long hallway adorned with blue marble flooring. A blast of cold air was met once again relieving the pent-up heat in the tight compartment. (Y/N) only heard the almost silent humming of machinery working behind the silver walls.
"Please, follow me," Roland spoke once again. Not even giving a glance back, he stepped out of the elevator and made his way down the hallway.
(Y/N) gulped, taking the chance to wipe off the sweat on her palms on her skirt and her brow with her suit jacket sleeve. Her breathing now leveled and her composure relaxed.
'This is it. No turning back now,' (Y/N) thought. Before the elevator doors can close on her, (Y/N) took a shaky step out onto the hallway, the light tap of her high heel meeting the floor echoing lightly. She briskly caught up with the bodyguard making sure she kept a safe distance behind him.
The rest of the walk was listening to the unrhythmic sounds of Roland's leather shoes and (Y/N)'s high heels bouncing off the walls. The woman's gaze was fixated on the back of the man in front of her. Her mind was occupied to planning exactly what will happen at the meeting from her dialogue to the smallest detail of her posture. More sooner than she expected, the duo arrived at the end of the hallway only to be met with a single huge door with a large black panel next to it. Roland turned around to face her.
"Wait here," he commanded.
(Y/N) only nodded in acknowledgement, still reading her thoughts. The bodyguard turned back around and instinctively placed his right hand on the panel. A green laser appeared at the bottom of the screen then moved up slowly to scan his handprint and with an affirmative beep the door slid open to the left with a whir.
He walked in, the door automatically closing behind him, and made a beeline to the back of the room. He approached the familiar wooden desk. Its occupant currently hidden by multiple blue screens floating in front of him. The room was mostly quiet. Only beeps from the machine and the light taps of fingers working against the desk's surface like a keyboard could be heard. Roland assumed the professional position and waited patiently for his boss' recognition.
"What is it now, Roland?" his boss asked brusquely, too busy reading the information displayed in front of him than acknowledging the presence of his most trusted subordinate, "This better be good news."
"Mr.Kaiba, the final contestant has arrived," spoke Roland.
The response was a very heavy sigh. His boss pressed a button on his desk that minimized the floating screens. They revealed a very irritated Seto Kaiba. His face scrunched in a scowl, hands folded in front of him in a firm grip. Very lowly, he spoke.
"Bring them in."