This night belonged to me. I had just arrived in a limousine at Canlis, a luxury restaurant in Seattle, to meet up with my family. I was to be the guest of honor, and after eight years of tireless perfection in medical science school I than deserved it. My hair had been styled neatly in a fancy, fashionable bun, and my wine purple dress that hugged my lean figure and displayed shoulders had me feeling confident and sexy; I was invincible.
“Good evening miss, are you on tonight’s guest list?”
“Yes, I am Samantha with the Todd family,” I replied courteously with a nod. I did my best to look casual and bored as I waited for the hostess to run my SIN in the system and verify that I hadn’t shown up under false claims. I could hardly wait to head inside to be the center of attention. Everything in me wanted to dance about like a little girl at her own birthday party.
“Right this way then,” the hostess finally beckoned as she smiled before leading me through the foyer and into the reserved room where my family and their friends filled a handful of tables.
“Sam! We’d begun to wonder if you were going to show up,” my mother, Katherine, exclaimed. There were smiles, handshakes, and many congratulations. I happily accepted each one before finally sitting down between my parents as the various guests similarly took their seats once more.
“So,” remarked Jason Todd, my father, “how was the final exam? I presume all went well as usual?”
“Of course it did. Did you expect anything else,” I asked with a triumphant smile.
“Not at all,” he replied casually. My father was more than used to my condescending tendencies. “Is everything for graduation in order then?”
“Almost. Mr. Everette wants me to come in later tomorrow evening to sign a few documents so he can clear things on his end. It shouldn’t take long.”
“Brilliant,” Mr. Todd smiled and stood from his chair to address the other guests. “Absolutely brilliant, my girl. Before we begin dinning this fine evening, I’d like to say a few words,” dad announced as he chimed his glass of champagne. The room immediately fell quiet as all eyes turned to listen to the speaker. “All of you are, to some degree or another, familiar with my daughter Samantha and what she has accomplished over the last eight years. Perhaps as her father, I am speaking in bias when I say that I seem to have raised a little genius. I still recall my speechlessness when I got the phone call from her mother while at work that she’d graduated from high-school two years early. Soon after that she began to exhibit some unusual supernatural talents and was officially registered as one of the rarest and most versatile types of Awakened known to man. I mean, I had my hopes when my daughter was born like every father does, but I was thrilled to see her rise above her fellow students and prove to the school that she was already above everything they had to offer. Of course, no one in their right mind was going to contain a bright young girl with so much potential. Either that, or they couldn’t stand that fiery attitude of hers anymore.”
The joke earned a quiet laugh from everyone who was present. I gave the crowd a cheesy grin as their eyes fell upon me and I basked in the momentary spotlight.
“Seriously though, I am very proud of you Samantha,” he continued after the room was quiet once more. “Not only did little Sammie finish high school two years early as a valedictorian, but in her eight years of attending SEVOUM, not one point was marked down from any of her assignments or examinations, which is no easy task at such a rigorous university. That’s ten years of ruthless study and careful determination. Sam has always been the top student, and now she is on track to be the leading expert in the most cutting edge biological technology at EVO, just like her father. In honor of such long and hard years of dedication, I propose a toast to Samantha Todd.” He raised his glass and everyone else followed suit. “To Samantha, the world’s next great mind.”
“To me,” I proclaimed proudly as I stood next to my father and raised my glass. Once again the room filled with laughter and shortly after my father took an exaggerated drink from his glass to signal the rest to do the same. I similarly partook of the champagne in my glass before sitting down and watching the servants bring about the food.
After several hours of music, socializing, and having a little too much to drink, it was finally time to go home. I said my goodbyes to my family before being dropped of and crashing in my bed after a hot shower. For the first time in too long, I’d finally have a day to myself. The first part of my morning was spent trying to get rid of the hangover from the previous night with a hearty breakfast followed by several glasses of water.
Next up on the agenda was my daily cleaning routine. School or not, I wasn’t about to live like a slob. I’ve always been what many call a “neat freak,” but I personally considered my habits to be anything but unhealthy. My apartment was nice, but small and humble. I found it to be far easier to clean a small space than to live in something spacious and luxurious. Of course my mother insisted I get a full sized bedroom instead of a small studio apartment. “In case you ever get a boyfriend,” she’d told me with no regard for my opinion.
Though really, I found the entire thing to be silly. I wasn’t going to get tangled up with another boyfriend for a while after my first two relationships flopped in less than a year. Both of them explained that they thought I was too arrogant and “sort of a bitch,” but the fact that they’d had similar issues with me was just coincidence. Probably. I certainly couldn’t be the one to blame for turning the relationship sour.
I passed the day with study and a couple of classic romance films. I knew that even I would become rusty if I didn’t revisit the information regularly. Of course, it wasn’t all old stuff either. I had my own projects I’d been working on for some time, and I would require new information to break new ground on the development.After a long day of hard work, I rewarded myself with another hot shower. One hour of preparation later, I made my way back to my university campus. I stepped out of my little car and into the heavy Seattle rain. Seeing as I wasn’t terribly keen on having my image ruined before I even made it out of the parking lot, I quickly deployed my umbrella above my head for cover. I’d chosen to dress professionally for this particular occasion with a white button-shirt and a pinstriped matching coat and short skirt. Of course, to compliment my sharp looking attire, I made use of a neat bun to top off my competent look. While I could have selected something casual, I wasn’t about to pass up making an impression on any surprise guests that Mr. Everettee had decided to have along.
As I approached the glass fancy double doors to the lobby, a fully expected message displayed on my glasses lens in my favorite pink text for me to see: “8:00PM Appointment with Sterling Everettee in 5 minutes!” I still had more than enough time to get through reception. I refolded my umbrella and stepped up to the front desk to be greeted by the middle-aged woman behind it.
“Good evening, Sam. I didn’t expect to see you at all today.”
“Well, I shouldn’t be too long,” I explained somewhat hastily, “Mr. Everettee apparently has some papers for me that need signing.”
“That’s peculiar,” the woman remarked as she paused to view her records. “But sure enough, I can see your appointment right here. I won’t keep you any longer. You know where the office is.”
“Thanks,” I nodded quickly before walking to he back hallway to the staff offices. All the way down to the end, I could see Mr. Everettee’s office which sat perpendicular to those of the rest of the staff. He always loved talking about the design of the building whenever the subject came up, boasting about how it was his idea to place the staff offices like a committee table. All of the standard offices were parallel and facing in with the big man at the end looking down the entire way. His office resembled something close to a room in a mansion. It had a semicircular back wall made of glass to allow a full view of the large hedge garden outside. I knocked on the open door as I stepped inside the massive office andMr. Everettee looked up to me from his desk in front of his terminal.
“Mr. Everettee? I hope I’m not intruding. I’m here for my eight o’clock appointment.”
“Of course,” he smiled as he gestured to one of the chairs along the wall, “go ahead and close the door then pull up a chair in front of my desk.” I did as I was told and eased the door shut before quietly sitting down.
“Let’s see,” Everette muttered to himself as he flipped through his drawer, “here it is. I wanted to give this to you. I spent quite a bit of time on it.” The man set a letter down in front of me.
“A letter of recommendation?”
“I’m sure a young woman of your reputation doesn’t need it to find a spot in EVO labs, but it’s the least I could do.”
“I’m honored, thank you.”
“Yes, of course. Let’s start with the real business then, hmm?” Everette placed a small stack of pages down where the letter had been only moments ago. “These are a collection of personal research grants. I’m sure you’ll be wanting to conduct your own studies aside from what you’re assigned. Each one was given to me from one of several contributors who insisted I see to it that you apply. Clearly everyone can see just how brilliant you are. Perhaps I can interest you in a drink while you fill them out?”
“Of course.” Everette stood with a smile and turned to grab one of the many bottles than sat on a self. “Do you have a taste for good wine?”
“I did grow up in a sophisticated family.”
“Brilliant. I am certain that you will like this then. It’s the finest bourbon to my tongue has ever tasted.” I got to work on the applications as Everette poured the drinks. Everette set the glass down in front of me, and I took a sip after tapping my glass to the rim of his.
“Wow, this is really good.”
“I’m glad you think so. This stuff is a real gem, not easy to come by. But, when I see something I want, I pursue it. That really is the key to my success.”
“I think I can relate,” I nodded as I took a second sample from the glass. I talked about my experiences at school, and Everette gave some history on how he’d managed his own position in the university. We both had our laughs and a couple of drinks. After about an hour and a half, I was finally finished.
“I can’t believe there are so many organizations pushing for me to succeed,” I chuckled as I looked over the entirety of the stack of papers. Everette set the glass down in front of me, and I took a sip after tapping my glass to the rim of his.
“You really are a bright girl, Samantha. I admire you as much as any of the individuals who sent over those grants, if not more. It would please me if you’d have dinner with me tonight. What do you think of that?” My heart felt as if it had come to a dead halt. The wine, the dimly lit office, all of it after hours; how could I have been so stupid? This pervy old man just wanted to get in my pants.
“No, absolutely not,” I stated bluntly. I wasn’t going to beat around the bush. “Is that why you brought me here?”
“Of course it was. You’re sure I couldn’t convince you otherwise? We could have a fine meal amongst some candles, partake in some more delicious wine, and perhaps even head back to my place when the whole thing is over?”
“I think I should go,” I said as I stood from my chair.
“I don’t think you want to do that,” he interrupted. “I always get what I want Sam, and tonight I want you. You’re a smart girl, you must realize what kind of position you’re in. You don’t get a degree, or any of these grants unless I say you do.” Everette had hit a nerve; I stood from my chair and leaned in closely with a glare of hatred in my eyes.
“You can’t do this, I earned that degree!”
“Oh, but I can. So what’s it going to be? Do you want to keep your precious dignity, or make a small sacrifice for the opportunity to continue down the road of success? What are you really losing here? If you come home with me now, I can give you the best night you’ve ever had in your life. We can still see about that candlelight dinner if that’s what it takes to get you wet.”
“You’re disgusting,” I told him with repulsion before turning to leave.
“Sam, I swear to God, if you walk out that door, I will ruin you. You know I can.” I paused with my hand on the doorknob. What this what I really wanted? Was denying this man the pleasure of my flesh worth all the years of stress and hard work that I would be throwing away?
“Go to hell.” I slammed the door closed and hastily strode down the hallway as tears began to pour down my cheeks and sobs to escaped my lips. I could only hope I’d made the right choice.
I ignored the receptionist as she called out to me in concern as I flew by and rushed to my car through the rain. I sat down behind the wheel and took several deep breaths to help compose myself. Was it really all over just like that? Like being shot in the knees five feet from the finish line of a marathon, it seemed I’d been permanently incapacitated in the field I’d worked my whole life to get to. I started the car and headed home. I wasn’t going down like this. My tears quickly evaporated under the flames of determination that burned within me and fueled my ambition.
A small part of me wanted to go back and give Sterling Everette a piece of my mind, but for now I needed sleep. I was well aware of how powerful a good night’s rest was in decision making, and it was a tool I would need yet again. As soon as I got home, I undressed into a tank top and cotton shorts. I settled down to another movie to take my mind off of this evening’s events before finally drifting off to sleep near midnight.
I was awakened by a knock on the door. I groaned groggily as a sat up from my sofa; it was still too early.
“Samantha Todd,” called a voice from the other side of the door, “this is the Seattle Police Department, open the door.” What business could the police have with me at this hour? I slowly forced myself to my feet and trudged toward the front door. “SPD, Ma’am, open the door or we’ll make a forced entry!”
“Hold on,” I called out, only a few paces away. When I finally opened the door, a man in a suit stood before me. Behind him where five SWAT team members all of which held a sophisticated assault rifles pointed in my direction. I instinctively took a step back and timidly put my hands in the air. I wanted to run back inside, but I knew I needed to face these men directly to avoid trouble. “Can I help you,” I asked nervously.
“Samantha Todd? We have a warrant for your immediate arrest.” Arrest? Was this Mr. Everette’s doing?
“I’m going to have to ask that you come with me, Ms. Todd.”