Chapter 1

~ At Silver Sky Hotel ~

The hotel stood in the heart of Sterling City, glowing with lights and sparkling with different decorations.

For tonight’s celebration of the birthday party organized by Whittaker’s household, the wealthiest family in town, the whole hotel was occupied by every socialite in the city.

Luxury cars streamed inside like flies, and huge banners of the birthday girl hung at every post of the hotel.

Inside the grandest hall of the hotel, Vanessa stood by a wide table that was full of various pastries.

With measured precision, she layered the cupcakes one after the other, forming a grand pyramid shape.

She narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips as she go about her job with rapt attention, blocking out the chatters and laughter of the guests as the place bustled harmoniously.

Tonight, if Vanessa did her job perfectly, she could only imagine the amount of paycheck she would receive.

It would be double her lifetime savings, no, in fact, triple.

And that would make things easier for Vanessa.

With that money, she believed that the end to her years of search would finally come to an end.

As Vanessa carried on with her work, she couldn’t help but have a lingering feeling in her heart that something was amiss.

However, she was determined to finish her job without any distractions, so she shoved the thought aside.

But the interruption was inevitable. Vanessa was just about to place the last cupcake on the pyramid when she felt a tap on her shoulder.

“Oh, my goodness.” She jumped and quickly caught the cupcake before it fell to the floor.

“Relax, Nessa.” It was Drake, her best friend. “You’ve been working yourself out for three days straight. You have to get some rest, let me take over.”

“I appreciate your kindness, Drake.” Vanessa shook her head and picked up a tray filled with cupcakes to make another pyramid. “But nothing can go wrong, I have to make sure of it. And you see these people?” She lowered her voice and glanced at the crowd. “We have to make a good impression. Who knows? We might land a deal like this one.”

Vanessa couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the message that she had been hired as a pastry chef for this birthday party.

It had been the talk of the town for some weeks now. And she decided to try her luck and applied for the job. And miraculously, she got a last-minute call three days ago that she had been hired. And Vanessa couldn’t have been happier.

“Also, we can’t afford to make any mistakes,” she added.

Drake folded his hands across his chest and gave her a helpless look. “Don’t you think you’re taking this money-making thing too far?”

“Definitely not.” Vanessa’s tone was affirmative.

Drake sighed and shook his head at that.

“By the way…” She paused and straightened up all of a sudden. Her gaze swept across the crowd and her brows furrowed.

“Looking for something?” Drake’s lips quirked up at the sides. He seemed to know what was going on in her mind even though Vanessa couldn’t pinpoint that nagging feeling.

Vanessa nodded absentmindedly, then the realization dawned on her and her eyes flew wide. “Where is Mara?” Her eyes darted once more across the crowded room and she panicked.

No wonder she had that feeling that she had forgotten something.

“How should I know?” Drake shrugged his shoulders and chuckled. “She was here with you moments ago.” He picked up a cupcake and munched at it. “She’s probably somewhere in this grand hall making friends.”

Drake’s words only made Vanessa’s worry increase. She dropped the tray and didn’t stop looking around the place.

And confirming that her baby wasn’t among the crowd, she grabbed her bag from a nearby chair.

“Shit! Don’t just stand there.” She snatched the cupcake from Drake’s hand and dropped it. “Quick, let’s search for her.”

And she was off in a random direction before Drake could react.

In another hall inside the hotel…

It wasn’t as big and crowded as the other hall.

Here, every bachelor and bachelorette in the social circle was present.

Although they were also here for the birthday party, as business multitudes, an occasion like this was an opportunity to mingle and make connections.

And as this party was hosted by the Whitakers family, even those that weren’t invited had wriggled their way into this party, as this was one of the rare occasions they were likely to be acquainted with Alfred Whittaker, the most revered business tycoon in the circle.

Alfred sat on a couch, one arm sprayed across the headrest and he held a wine glass in his other hand.

His eyelids were half-closed and as he sipped his wine leisurely, no one dared to step near him, probably because of the dark aura emanating from him, or because of the two bulky guards standing by his sides. Or maybe because, just moments ago, one of the ladies who were brazen enough attempted to make a pass at him and got hauled out of the hall by his bodyguards as a result.

The people maintained their distance and only threw compliments at him from afar.

“Ah, Mr. Crawford, I heard you launched a silk factory some weeks back.”

Two guys were standing not far from where Alfred sat, engaging in a conversation.

“Absolutely! I made sure it was all over the media,” Mr. Crawford replied.

“But I heard you only produce a limited quantity of silk per day,” said the other man. “Compared to the largest silk industry in town, I can tell you’re lacking behind by thousands of miles.”

“Of course.” Mr. Crawford gave a dry laugh. “G.I industry is the largest producer of silk in the whole country, a lackey like me can only hold candles for them. Also, I don’t think I am competent enough to handle such complex business, if only I could get a collaboration or something of sorts, I am sure it will bring immense benefits to both parties.”

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