I am so dead.
Sitting in her silver Toyota in a completely still, New York City traffic jam, Clary Fray let her head fall onto the driving wheel in despair.
Why? Of all days, why today?
Despite her frantic-eyed look, Clary was prim and perfect. Dressed in her best cream colored business shirt and skirt, she was heading for a meeting. A very important meeting; in fact, the most important meeting of the year.
Her own company, Shadowhunter Academy Inc. was pairing up with their long term nemesis Morgenstern Circle.
Beside her on the passenger's seat, her phone buzzed with a new text message.
Luke Garroway, the screen flashed. Clary groaned, thinking of her boss, Senior VP, and squeezed her eyes shut before opening the message.
Don't be late, Fray.
For the ten-thousandth time in two hours, Clary glanced at the clock.
Forget it, Clary thought. There's no way in hell I can drive twenty miles in seven minutes.
Hell no, the incessant voice in her mind barked back. Since when did Clary Fray give up just like that?
Impatiently, Clary's emerald eyes flickered to the outside lane on the right, which was moving in fast, steady stream. She almost screamed in anger.
A tiny gap opened up to her right and Clary dove for it, heading in a straight diagonal for the speeding lane. Cars honked their horns, but she ignored it, concentrated on only squeezing past the cars at a standstill.
Without looking, she zoomed into the fast lane as quick as she could, laughing in delight as she finally sped along the way.
The laugh soon turned into a scream.
A huge force slammed into Clary's rear, sending her flying forward. Her brakes screeched, but they didn't have enough momentum to stop two cars – her own skidding car, and the car that crashed into her. Her hands, locked on the steering wheel, jerked wildly, and her whole car was sent spinning into bushes on the shoulder.
When her car finally stopped skidding, Clary looked outside. The cars in the fast lane were now inching along, edging into the slower lanes to avoid the debris from the crash. Somewhere in the midst of the crash, her window had broken and the pieces were glinting in the sun.
Clary peered outside look at the other car. It suffered even more damage than her car had. The front was completely bashed in, the lights broken and the hood squashed into folds.
Oh, my God, Clary felt her heart sinking as the realization settled in. Car crash. Me. On my big day for work.
She couldn't even tell what time it was, since the clock had stopped working.
Gingerly, she pushed open the door and stepped wobbly outside. Next time, I should definitely look before I turn, she thought, examining her rear bumping that was caved in beyond repair.
"Yeah, look what you've done now," an angry voice said. Clary turned around slowly.
She had to crane her head to look at the man since she was so short. He had blond hair that looked like it was spun from silk. It fell down in slight curls over his forehead. His face could only be described as beautiful, even with the huge scowl twisting his features. His narrowed eyes glowed golden, and although his mouth was set in a thin, frowning line, it would definitely have been full and red, dented slightly in at the top.
Everything about him radiated sexy.
"Excuse me?" She said, proud that her voice didn't waver.
"Do you know how important today is for me?" The man, who couldn't have been much older than she was, snarled, gesturing to his black business suit. Which, Clary observed, fit him extremely well, showing his clean cut shoulders, and offsetting his blond hair nicely. "I was already late, dammit, and of course, you just happened to have turned right in front of me and made me crash into you! This is going to take months of my salary to pay off."
His obvious distaste sparked Clary's red-hot temper. A chivalrous man would have asked if she was alright, but she didn't think he'd be that type of man.
"Do you know how important this day is for me?" Clary said, matching his steely tone with one of her own. Her lips curled back as she snarled, "I was late as well! If you hadn't been driving way past the speed limit, maybe we wouldn't even be in this mess!"
Instead of listening to her, the man had pulled out his Blackberry and was speaking into it. "Yeah, car accident on Southbound 145 on the right shoulder near Exit to McCarthy. I'll need my insurance, thanks."
He ended the call just as Clary's hand struck his cheek, the sound ringing out like a gun shot. After bending over on his knees for a few minutes, the man raised his head and glared up at her. There was a red handprint on his left cheek.
"What the hell."
"Were you even listening to me?"
"Yes," he replied, still glaring daggers at her. "I heard 'Oh my God, you're so sexy.'"
She planted her hands on his chest and pushed back, hard. He didn't even budge.
"Oooh," he grinned, but it was more threatening than flirtatious. "Are we being all touchy-touchy now? Am I supposed to like it? Because you're not doing a fine job at all. Are you like, inexperienced, or something? You're whole body is pretty small anyway. Nothing of mine could possibly even fit, so forget it, midget."
Clary felt her cheeks flush. She knew she was small, but this man didn't have the right to go around insulting like that. "Look," she said, keeping her voice deathly calm, even though her hands were fisted at her sides. "I don't even know you. We're both on a tight agenda – "
"I'll say," he muttered.
"And the best thing to do is to put aside our differences, do what the insurance needs us to do, and then be on our way."
"That," he said, "is actually quite reasonable. Coming out of someone like you, that is."
"You – you just can't keep out of a fight, can you!"
"Hey there, my man!" he said, suddenly cheerfully, plastering a fake smile on his face as he brushed past Clary.
So fake, Clary thought.
"I was just suggesting to this midget over here to stop arguing and to just get on our way," the man said to the insurance man who had just pulled up. "So, how 'bout let's run this thing over with me once and I'll just be on my way."
"Actually," Clary said, striding over and smiling pleasantly, earning a startled look from the blonde. "I was thinking the exact same thing! I'm kind of in a hurry, sir, so if you'll please hand over the papers I'll be signing right now, I can make this quick and easy for you."
"How convenient," the blonde said through gritted teeth. "I'm in a rush as well. Come on, man." He flashed a warming smile at the confused insurance guy. "I'll sign first."
"For the record," Clary said, stepping closer and placing a hand on the insurance guy's bicep. She could feel him shudder. "He hit me. We should take this to your car, sir, and get it over with."
The insurance guy glanced between the man and Clary, unsure of what to do.
"Buddy," the man tried again. "We're all men, right?"
"Please?" Clary ran her hand up the insurance man's arm. "I promise I'll be quick." She widened her eyes and pouted her red lips, which were coated in red lipstick.
"Alright," the insurance guy relented. "Sorry, man. Ladies first." He turned around and started walking to the car.
Clary spun around, tossing her head back to smirk at the furious man.
Loser, she mouthed.
She was late, by twenty full minutes. Clary burst through the gliding doors of Shadowhunter Academy, panting as she impatiently waited for the elevator to open.
Once in, she hit the button for the highest floor, sending her up to one of the highest skyscrapers in New York City. Before she entered the room, she paused, smoothening down her hair and dusting off her clothes, catching her breath. Her feet hurt like hell.
Six inch heels were not the thing to run in.
"I don't know what in the world has gotten into her," Clary heard Luke murmur, sounding flustered. She stopped outside the door. "Normally, she's ahead of time. I assure you, this is the first time anything like this has ever happened."
"Do not apologize," a lower voice replied. "I should be the one apologizing. My employee isn't here either. He is very arrogant and he always gets his ways, but I specifically told him to be on time today."
Clary pushed open the door.
Seated all around the long rectangular meeting table was Luke, the CEO of Shadowhunter Academy, Jocelyn Fairchild, VP Magnus Bane, and Directors Aline Penhallow and Jordan Kyle. Across from them sat five people from Morgenstern Circle.
Luke hastily greeted her. "Clary! Finally! Sit here," he gestured to one of the two empty chairs at the head of the table. "Did you not get my message?"
Clary grimaced, sitting down. The chair beside her was empty. "I did. I'm sorry, but I was in a difficult dilemma this morning. Traffic was horrible, and I got into a little car trouble."
"It's alright," a tall man with hair almost silvery-white said. His eyes were dark. "As long as you're here, Ms. Fray. I'm Valentine Morgenstern, CEO of Morgenstern Circle."
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Morgenstern." Clary shook his outstretched hand.
"These are my VP's: Robert Lightwood and Stephan Herondale," Valentine gestured to two men sitting on his right. "This is Ragnor Fell, one of my Senior Directors," he pointed at a man with stringy hair. "And this is Sebastian, my other Senior Director."
Sebastian had black hair and the blackest eyes she'd ever seen. He was quite handsome, and around her age. He smiled at her warmly. "Hi, Clary."
"Shall we begin then?" Jocelyn said.
"Very well," Valentine agreed. "I'll fill my sales person up later."
"So as you all know by now, MC and SAI (A/N: Morgenstern Circle and Shadowhunter Academy Inc) have teamed up on our most recent product: The Demon Spray, which is an Antivirus software." Jocelyn said. "We have decided that we will sell this product together, since both companies worked together on it. We have decided to team up our best sales people to make this work."
"Clarissa Fray is the best employee we have for this temporary operation. She is the youngest employee in our company; however, in just one year, she has amazingly been promoted from engineer to VP. She knows her engineering well, and even graduated from MIT half a year early. As our part-time sales lady, she has sold more programs than any of our full-time sales persons."
Valentine nodded. "Based on her portfolio, I believe she will be suited for this job. I assure you, our sales person is every bit as qualified as Clary. He is fairly young as well, although, by your resume Clary, he seems to be two years older. He is absolutely the most important asset in our company. Even if our products are low quality, he can make them seem like gold."
"Although I do have to warn you," Robert Lightwood said, "he is extremely arrogant. He can be frank and he might get on your nerves, but he is vital to our plan."
"So, Clary, you will be partnered with the sales person from MC in order to sell this project," Jocelyn informed her.
"Wait," Clary said. "Who is this sales person?"
The door suddenly banged open, thudding against the wall with an audible crack. Jocelyn winced at the damage, but all the members of MC barely reacted. It wasn't like they actually cared about SAI.
In the doorway stood the same man that had screwed her car not only thirty minutes ago. He was panting heavily, his tie askew and his hands on his knees.
"This," Valentine said, sounding resigned, "is him. Jace Wayland."
Tell me what you think of it!