How Not to Be Seduced by Billionaires

By: Marian Tee

The overall impact was phenomenal.

Wow was all I could think.

“Hello, Yanna. My name is Charli – without an E – and you will be reporting to me.” Her voice was very, very cultured, with the slightest hint of a French accent.

She was terrifying. I was tempted to run away, but only the prospect of working in my dream job kept me in place. I shook her hand gingerly and winced at the tiny tremble in my voice as I said, “Hello, Ms. Charli. I’d just like you to know how excited I am to work for you and the company.”

“Just Charli, ma belle.”

I nodded dumbly and gratefully took the seat she indicated with a wave of her well-manicured hand.

“Now, you know what Kastein company is?”

“Yes.” I recited what I learned from the Web, which was pretty much everything since I had a photographic memory. “It’s one of the fastest growing companies in Europe and North America. It specializes in real estate and entertainment. Mr. Erik Kastein concentrates on real estate while his son Constantijin Kastein concentrates on turning books and mangas into blockbuster movies and TV series.” I didn’t want to sound like I was trying to impress her or anything, even though I really was. I just wanted to make sure she knew I wasn’t taking this interview lightly.

“That’s right. Magnifique,” she murmured with a beautiful smile. “Now, we’ve hired you to be our marketing specialist.”

I blinked. “I thought you were just looking for a researcher.”

“True,” Charli replied. “But your research will be both textual and on-field. The thing is, we’re not really interested about where you’ve graduated, what your degree is, or even where you worked previously.”

I straightened at her words, now even more confused.

“What we were really interested about was your ability to meet business talents with your main passion. And that’s reading, no?”

It took me a while to adjust to her French, umm, verbal peculiarities. She said ‘no’, but what she really meant was ‘yes’…yes?

I finally nodded. “Err, yes, I love to read.”

Her face remained unsmiling as she asked, “But you can’t write to save your life, no?”

The way Charli said it made me wince, but it was true. “Yes.”

“And that’s why we need you. We are not interested in hiring writers. They are often biased and egoistical, often unable to appreciate anyone else’s writing over theirs. But you - you know how to judge books and writing without being a writer yourself and that’s why we need you.”

“I see.” But I didn’t.

“This is what you’d call a dream job, ma belle.”

I jerked in my seat at her words.

The words sounded eerie, more like a curse than a blessing.

Charli leaned close. “Your main job is to know and if you could, predict, what the trend in the market is right now regarding these materials. You need to look for projects worthy of international viewership. You have a blog, no?”

The sudden switch of subjects made my head whirl a bit but I nodded again.

“And you review works, there, no?”

“Yes.” Did she Google me too? How did she know so much about me?

“So I want you to do the same here, but only this time, you get heard.” She leaned back on her chair and looked at me with her naturally green and incredibly sharp eyes. “You will take the job, no?”

“I’d be crazy not to,” was all I could say.

Afterwards, Charli told me that I along with the two other applicants called back for a second interview yesterday had the same jobs. We would work as a team and individually, depending on necessity. The salary she quoted for me was standard pay in the industry, but she told me this could go higher in a short time, based on my performance. On the bright side, she did say I’d get free meals at work, excellent overtime pay when needed, and transportation allowance.

Mondays to Thursdays, I was required to report in office attire. Fridays were anything-goes. My work schedule would be from 8am to 5pm. No grace period. Oh, and one thing else, Charli reminded me as a post script — office romances were not allowed.

Déjà vu struck me for the second time, and I almost shivered at it.

Constantijin was still nowhere to be found when I finally walked out of the doors of Kastein, Inc. My phone rang just as I reached the other side of the street.


“Did you miss me, Yanna?”


It was him.


The whole world disappeared the moment I realized who I was talking to. People were constantly walking before me, drivers honking their horns, and there was even a construction crew a few feet away drilling into the cement, doing God knew what. But none of their noise reached my ears.

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