Irene’s blue hues glared a hole into the papers left scattered like a wind just blew everything to hell on her desk in her office. Today was supposed to a decent guy because the weather seemed promising earlier this morning, but the moment she set foot outside and specifically, into the company and her office, she was bombarded with plenty of paperwork given by her personal assistant aka who’s also her secretary, Nadia. Usually, Irene didn’t mind doing the work since it is her work, to begin with, but what does bother her, is that those papers are filled with numbers; quite possibly one of the many things the Farley heiress despised with all her might.

Despite her many years of experience as a CEO, she’s never been good around numbers. Even though most knew her behind a proxy, seeing as the dark diviner never aged no more than one year or two and retained her youthful appearance even after 60 years while everyone else from World War 1 and 2 either kicked the bucket already or is living what’s left of their life in foster homes or their own comfortable home with their family. Meanwhile, there’s her who looked not a day older than her 20s and would still be able to pose herself as young as 21 or 22 if she wants to. Nadia, for example, has been working for her since 1999, two decades long, and knew of her supernatural identity only because the flaxen-haired female trusted her enough to do so. The font printed on the white sheet regarding their financial ledgers had the diviner riling and it was only nearing lunch hour. The day did not go well with her today.

“Do you think we can run this thing back for another day? Because I don’t think I can handle more numbers than three times this week, and it’s only freaking Monday” she grumbled grumpily, blowing the stray strand of her fair locks from shielding her peripheral vision as she leaned against her seat, staring at the papers scrutinizingly as if it just killed her cat. In truth, she can probably set the entire stack on fire if she gets aggravated by them next time today, so Nadia chuckled and settled the arrangements and told her she’ll try to call a helper tomorrow. “I’ll call Jeremy tomorrow and see if he can help, is that okay with you?” Sighing in relief, a tired sleepy yawn escaped her as she nodded softly. “Yes please, thank you. I can’t handle those digits…” Surprisingly, for someone who’s been in the corporate world longer than any bachelor in the industry, she still never seemed to get around numbers, which is why she’s very bad with digits in general. Don’t ever show her the algorithms too, she’ll go nuts over it and god knows who she’d accidentally hex that day.

“Lunch hour is here, go and get yourself something to eat, Irene. You’re crankier when you’re hungry, and believe me, none of the employees like to see our cranky CEO.” The flaxen-haired female send a playful glare at her secretary before getting up and grabbing her coat and bag before bidding her a good afternoon and pushed the elevator’s button. Nadia wasn’t wrong, she’s already a force to be reckoned with, let’s not include her when she’s cranky seeing as the dark diviner is already temperamental in her own right. The elevator ride down didn’t take longer than a couple of seconds, and she was already making her way down the blocks as soon as she dashed out of the building. Since her company is located in the city center, it’s easier to get around there, so she didn’t have to drive to go everywhere because her residency is already further than most.

Irene has no intention on joining the local diviner community in Evermore just yet, and truthfully, she’s still new to the eternal city and it should take her a while to adjust to the new living arrangements here. Halfway making her way to the restaurant to have her lunch, she came across a bookstore who looks hidden away but very enticing. Is her lunch worth the wait for a couple of minutes to spare in there? Maybe she could pick up a few books on economics to aid her in this painful journey of financial works. How long is she going to depend on someone else to run a countdown on the ledgers every month?

So without any hesitation, she pushed the door to the bookstore slowly and stepped inside, peeking in halfway before doing so. From the sounds of the bells and open sign, it seems to be open so Irene quickly went to the said aisle to go looking for her books. Until she received a call from a representative from a certain company that tried to get ahold of them a few weeks back. From one minute turns to three, Irene ended up talking to him about the deal they were supposed to bargain with, and while her instincts tell her to wait until a contract is finalized, she’s a bit stressed from financial works and wanted things to get done with.

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Leigh had been pacing around in the back storeroom of the book store for the past hour or so, he knew it was for the best that the whole place had been tidied up and organized and he definitely praised Willow for her skills, the place looked so much better, with so much more space to be able to get in here and look at the stock. The problem was that at some point in the massive cleanup they did the other weekend they’d managed to misplace the order for a regular customer who he really didn’t want to let down. The kitsune was starting to wonder if perhaps it had been thrown out by accident when they were sorting through all the old stock because he literally couldn’t find it anywhere.

Sighing he headed back into the front of the store and sat himself down at the counter, it was a quiet Monday afternoon, most of his customers would make it around early in the morning on a Monday if they wanted something and by the afternoon everything moved to a more lazy pace. Not that he hadn’t seen to customers because there had been a few but he definitely didn’t feel rushed off his feet either. He didn’t mind, most of the sales they did were online anyway, most people preordered whatever it was they wanted, he got it delivered into the store next day and then they picked it up. He was just glad to be able to share his love of books with the world really.

Other customers often came in because of the back room he kept as an almost private library of sorts, at first the room had just been for him and Willow to be able to chill out on their breaks but after offering a few of the regulars the chance to see it, he’d been more flexible with letting people buy a book and then settle in there for a while and read it. It didn’t bother him, he enjoyed giving people the chance to enjoy whatever it was they had decided took their interest that day and sometimes it felt nice to give someone the peace and quiet they obviously craved. He didn’t let just anyone in there though, there were a few people he picked out as special to allow them to use it, mostly regulars but also the guy who had saved him from being robbed too.

Deciding there was almost no hope of finding this order before tomorrow when he knew she would want to pick it up his teeth sank into his bottom lip, he had leverage for favors over his courier so he supposed it was time he called upon them. He started with the stock distributor, not his favorite people to talk to, they were kind enough but not really the fastest to deal with a query. He waited on hold for about 5 minutes before they finally put him through and he explained the situation. Thankfully, they had the stock he needed but only at a warehouse in the next city over. He let out a long sigh and asked them to put it on reserve for him, he was going to need to grovel to get his courier to go out all that way at short notice.

He called up the courier and lo and behold found himself on hold again, the music was repetitive and annoying so he held it away from his ear as he waited when he heard a customer come into the store, the blonde he’d never seen before but regardless he waved a hello to her, though she seemed to be on a mission so he left her be to look for what she wanted in the racks. He was still on hold when he heard her phone ring and she started chatting. He was doing his best not to pay attention to it because it felt rude to listen in to her conversation but she was talking pretty loudly.

The kitsune leaned against the desk, tapping his fingers on the table as he listened to the on hold music and the blonde talking loudly about some kind of business deal. The numbers she was talking about sounded big, a lot of money but there was something that bothered him about what she was saying, she was talking about how the deal was supposed to pay itself off in a certain number of months but with the upfront costs he’d heard and the actual price of the share of the company name she had mentioned, it seemed almost impossible. Honestly, it sounded like the other company was trying to save themselves from going under and screwing hers over to do so. He pursed his lips for a moment, his eyes moving to the paper as he started writing down the numbers he heard and ran them in his head, no that wasn’t going to work out at all.

He looked around for a moment but didn’t say anything, it was rude to listen in on another person’s conversation but then also she was about to get royally screwed over if she took that deal and it seemed like it was pretty close to being closed too. He pulled a conflicted expression before the other end of the phone finally connected to the courier service.

When she first entered the bookstore, her eyes were already wandering from one aisle to another. Strangely enough, Irene does like to read, though once she recalled her past years, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise nor a strange occurrence, seeing as the blonde occupied most of her time reading when she lived in the manor while growing up. When was the last time she had the chance and time to actually sit down and read a book of her liking, though? Way past the one year mark, that’s for sure. The guy who she presumed to be the owner of the bookstore stood tall and lithe behind the registry counter. When he offered her a smile, she gave one right back at him. How she wished that smile would actually have a much more longer-lasting effect on her because today has been utter hell. And it's only what- 1 o'clock?

Lately, her company has been a bit of a burden to hold on to, but nonetheless since it is her family company; something she’s also worked on for the past few decades, that wrapped up her entire lifeline of work there, shouldn’t she at least, try to fix things? Losing it over a few days of frustration seemed way too childish for her. Then comes this call, from that one guy that has been pestering her to sign the deal with empty promises. Sure, they’ve had their fair share of investments on multiple branches of businesses throughout their many years of operating, but all of that took heavy precision and a long time to reach a consensus. That’s why she never stopped having weekly board meetings to discuss where they’re currently standing at.

A part of her is telling her not to accept this shady deal, it seemed too good to be true and for someone who’s been in this industry far longer than most who’s still a CEO, Irene knew the risks and whatnot. The problem with this is that she’s never had to decide on her own when it comes to financial terms, she’s bad at numbers and even Nadia was better than her when it comes to them. “Do you think we can reschedule this conversation to another day? I’m sorry, Mr. Ilaine, but I still need to reach a consensus on this with my board of directors. To be fair, you’re also interrupting my lunch hour, sir. Surely this can wait for another few hours by the very least, no?” her voice remained calm and reserved, but internally, she’s just trying her best not to impale this guy on the front gates of his own residency. Calm down, Irene, she reminded herself.

Her temper won’t get her anywhere, especially with someone like this guy. The business world is harsh, it’s calculating and cruel, it will not be lenient. There’s the weak and the strong, and by all means, she intends to stay on top as one of the strongest. Following the grumble of complaint from the other line did cause her to tap her heels impatiently as she leaned against the aisle she found herself in, her blue hues staring straight into the book covers presenting in front of her. “Mr. Robert Ilaine, I highly suggest for you to reschedule this call for another time or another day,” she sighed, bringing her free hand to massage her temples. This was getting highly stressful, with the person on the other line being very persistent. He is incessant, she’d give him that, at least. “If I agree to sign the deal, would you come by the office and legalize the contract by the end of the week?”

Leigh sighed as he got the usual drabble from the courier company and smiled politely through it as the let the person on the other line speak though he rolled his eyes to himself, every time he called this place it took like 20 minutes to get hold of the person he needed and he didn’t have a direct contact so he constantly had to wait. After a few moments he asked to be put through to the local Evermore branch and speak to Tony, Leigh had been working with Tony for a few years now and covered him a few times when he needed a few extra dollars for dinner, he was a single father with a young daughter and he worked very very hard to provide for her. Leigh didn’t mind and supposed they were kinda friends, but only in the professional sense. After finally getting through he spoke “Hey I know this is really last minute but I need your help to get some stock before the afternoon” he spoke and then leaned his head to the side as he listened to the male speak.

“Yes, I’m aware it’s not on your route but I’ll make it worth your while okay, I got a customer who always shows up to work without fail and I really can’t let her down again” he sighed softly until he finally got a yes “You are a lifesaver, Tony” he spoke with a relieved sigh, he really needed to stop misplacing stock. Though now the storeroom had been fully cleaned out and organized into alphabetical order he hoped this would be the last time. If it wasn’t them Willow was going to be on his case the way she always seemed to be lately, the redhead had really brought a sense of force to the store and he supposed that was a good thing considering their sales had increased greatly since the redesign at the weekend and nearly all their regular customers had complimented the new look, except Gus, who had complained about not being able to find his way around anymore until Leigh personally helped him.

As he ended the call he went onto the website and processed the tracking label for Tony and sent it through via email before his attention moved back to the only customer in the store, she was still on her phone so he didn’t want to hover over her while she was busy with her conversation. He could feel the distaste coming from her in waves and whoever was on the other end of that line was probably really glad they weren’t on the receiving end of her scowling because she looked like she might set one of the science fiction novels on fire at any moment. Leigh tilted his head a little in concern, seemed like the other company was going for the bombardment tactic because they knew their deal was a desperate bet.

Hearing the name of the male she spoke Leigh very slyly opened his computer and typed it into Google before pulling up his LinkedIn to ensure he worked for the company he suspected he did, he opened the stock exchange page for his company and hummed softly as he looked over the shared history and the fluctuations, he pressed his lips together. It was very very risky for a big company to take any deal with them, in fact from the numbers he was hearing it was practically daylight robbery. When he heard her agree to sign the contract by the end of the week he muttered under his breath “Your company’s death sentence” but it seemed he’d spoken a little louder than he thought he did because he realized the blonde was now staring right at him. Leigh cleared his throat a little awkwardly...well now he was busted for listening in so he supposed he should do something. So he did what his mind logically could think of at that moment and made a gesture as though he was cutting his neck with his finger to suggest she cut that deal where it was for now.

That guy on the other side of the line was being incessant again and it’s been over 20 minutes of conversation with him already, albeit a worthless one but still very much considered as a ‘conversation’, or whatever others would word it. Irene tapped her feet on the ground, the sound of her heels digging in the carpeted floor that provided a sense of aesthetic that was pleasing to the eyes. In fact, she even darted her gaze downwards and ended up counting how many lines it had rather than hearing whatever Mr. Illaine had to tell her. The desperation lacing his voice should’ve been enough to tell her that this deal is basically yelling ‘scammer alert’ in bright red font covered in neon signs and yet Irene still hasn’t hung up.

Hanging up while the other is still speaking of the other line is extremely disrespectful and while she is many things, being ill-mannered and rude is not in Irene Farley. She has her own way to deal with those things, but admittedly, lately, nothing has been kind to her. She just escaped a random rogue attack by vampires a fortnight ago and now she’s being bombarded by a very relentless male who would never dare look her in the eye and explain why they wish to have her signature on that contract. With their monthly expenditure fluctuating as of late, the female Farley didn’t want to burden herself with subcontracts but seeing as this company has been trying to get in contact with them for the past few months, there was no way she could evade them any longer. So the first thing she thought was to say yes and see where that takes them. A foolish decision but she’s very tired and sleep-deprived, she wasn’t supposed to be logical.

Reckless of her, Nadia would scold her the first thing she returns, for sure. Despite her pleas to reschedule their discussion to another day and time, he would not budge, much to her chagrin. Sinking her teeth on her bottom lip, she let out a heaved sigh and leaned against the aisle, eyes gazing on the science fiction novels arranged neatly before her instead. It’s bad enough that he interrupted her lunch hour, now he’s being demanding? God, if he ever meets her directly face to face, she was sure he wouldn’t be able to utter a single word upon seeing the look she’s wearing. A frown creased her features when she was halfway finalizing things but heard someone telling her it’s a death sentence.

Arching her eyebrow in confusion, she turned her gaze away from the novels and eyed the male by the registry counter, wondering if that statement was meant for her. Maybe she’s thinking too much into it but just as she was about to resume her pointless conversation on the phone, the tall male made a sign, indicating that she should cut it before she delves deeper into a troublesome land. Torn between keeping her voice leveled on the conversation and darting towards the male about what he said earlier, Irene cleared her throat a few times before coming back to the land of the living. “I’m sorry Mr. Illaine, but we’ll discuss this further next week when we meet. I’m a bit preoccupied as of me, I’ll talk to you later.” With that, she swiped the red icon and ended the call, still fixating her blue hues at the male that stood not far from where she was and made her way to the counter as she tucked her phone inside her bag.

“I don’t mean to pry but is there any reason why you did what you did earlier?” If he had something to tell, now is the right time.

Numbers had always been Leigh’s thing, he was the kid back in school that people would challenge to name every prime number in order or throw him quick calculations and he would just be able to spit the answer back at them without much thought. He’d always just figured he practiced more than everyone else or his brain just worked in a different way. It wasn’t until people started making fun of him in high school that he’d started hiding it. Sometimes he purposely put wrong answers on tests so that he wouldn’t be top of the class and draw attention to himself, it was easier that way for him.

The joke was on them he supposed though, because what he’d managed to do with numbers in his adult life had taken him places he never even thought about before, he never even dreamed that he would be doing a P.h.D and contributing to the future of society, he never expected to have the in-depth and powerful understand he did of the stock market and he certainly never pictured himself being able to use the money he made from research papers to have a place of his own. Sure, a book store wasn’t what most people expected, his parents had been surprised when he brought them here for the first time and told them about his plans but to him, it was everything. He loved being able to share information and knowledge with the world, that was what kept his fire burning.

It was a little lonely though, while Leigh had his parents and a few business associates he talked to regularly, he didn’t really have that many friends. He was always awkward around people and said the wrong thing, scared them off or made them think he was strange. He was strange he guessed. Especially considering his default action to make when he heard the woman talking about making a deal like the one he had overheard. He wasn’t the best in pressured situations and he had accidentally made one by talking out loud instead of keeping his words to himself. He widened his eyes as she came towards him, watching as she ended the call with the incessant male on the end of the line. People like that would drive him crazy so in his mind, he was praising her ability not to go completely berserk on him.

When she asked him to explain further Leigh cleared his throat awkwardly, unable to look up at her because she was directly addressing him after he’d just quite obviously eavesdropped on her conversation “It should be me apologizing for prying, I mean you were talking quite loudly and numbers kinda just run around in my head and give me problems I want to solve so I couldn’t help but start running them” he coughed realizing he was nervously rambling at her and stopped “Okay sensible answer coming in three, two one” he took long breaths between each one “That other company is trying to use yours to save their ship, but from their state of affairs and the current market trend, investing in them right now would cost several million in loss and is unlikely to recover” in order to prove he wasn’t just making stuff up he slid the calculations he’d been doing on the notepad in front of her. “Current stock price” he pointed out and then from his calculations he pointed out the final total “Potential loss” he added and then continue “My financial outlook” he nodded and bit his lip wondering if she was mad he’d gotten so involved.

Irene had to admit, when she saw the number on her phone, she was so tempted to swipe the red icon and not the green one. But alas, her other side got the best of her and there she was, sitting for god knows how long of a lecture she’s going to hear from Robert Illaine, and of course, if she messes things up, from her personal assistant slash secretary, Nadia, too. God, can weekend just come already? At this point, she was sure that she’s going to end up dying young. Well, albeit not too young considering she’s over 87 years old. The dark diviner wasn’t usually patient, her tolerance level goes above the records when needed, but that’s how fast it takes to get her to snap too, so surprisingly it wasn’t as easy to keep her grounded, in any way. 

Make no mistake, Irene Farley is notoriously known for her cultivated hard-scaled exterior that stretched out her road wider into becoming a well-known businesswoman. The woman is a harpy when it comes to business, and she won't wait to swipe you with her talons. Don't let her innocent-like appearance fool you, she remembered that's what people around her said. She didn't pay any attention to it because she thought it wasn't wrong, to begin with. The Farley heiress made sure to exploit every aspect she could, taking in opportunities while others turned a blind eye due to her being a woman who seemed inexperienced. Her youthful appearance often deceived people, especially those who’s only met her once or twice on a professional basis. And Irene being Irene always found a way to make it to her advantage. 

She couldn’t even recall what the male from the other line was actually on about, this was a bad decision but why is she not hanging up yet? Perhaps it’s just because it’s naturally her to lean towards the easier option. The male by the registry seemed to know what he was talking about and it wasn’t as if she couldn’t spare a few minutes to see what he is on about, so why not? Irene spared him a small smile, dismissing all that he said about prying, honestly, she would have cared if it happened on any other days but today? If what he was warning her from investing millions of dollars that would eventually go to waste, then she should be the one thanking him and not the opposite. “Don’t worry about it, it’s fine, what were you talking about the sales?” she asked softly, her tone definitely matching her default look, but far from what she looked like earlier, she was close to tearing whoever it was on the other line before but now she’s like a curious girl who wanted to learn more.

 It’s scary how duality becomes, especially when it can be used easily to deceive another. The blonde leaned closer to see what he wrote on the piece of paper, her sapphire hues darted over from one edge to another, reading the content on it that was filled with numbers that would usually make her brain go awry but basic enough for her to understand. She pulled the notepad closer and hummed to herself as if she was thinking about it deeply before averting her gaze back to the taller male before her. “This is really good, are you a professional analyst? Your calculations are sleek and clean, feels like you had a calculator for a brain,” she chuckled and placed her bag aside on the counter, and put her hands on the counter while facing him, “I’ve been terrible with numbers for as long as I can remember and this is truly a better revelation after a while, it happens when your company does not have any consultant for financial stuff like this, not any permanent ones, at least.” 

Irene tilted her head slightly to the side and grinned, it wasn’t easy to get a genuine grin from the harpy herself, but the therian in front of her looks so innocent-like and shy. “I could’ve lost millions, but you saved me from that, thank you, Mr-?” 

Leigh wasn’t really the kind of person who actively made conversation with strangers, it wasn’t that he didn’t like people but he never really knew what to say and usually he came across as awkward and out of place. Probably why he didn’t really have many friends, people tended to just pass him by without ever really getting to know him. He supposed that’s why he was so caught off guard when she called him out for his offbeat comment that he hadn’t meant for her to hear. Frankly, he was starting to worry if he was digging himself a hole considering that when he started to awkwardly ramble it was very hard for him to stop and the blonde was looking at him like he was completely crazy. Then again, anyone he talked to about numbers and figures tended to look at him like that.

The way she dismissed his apology surprised him though, most people had this obsession with their privacy that meant that even if you were giving them the most useful information in the world they would still be mad at you for invading it. He hadn’t even really meant to but when he heard numbers that intrigued him it was kinda impossible for him to get them out of his head and the only solution was to do the calculations that were screaming at him in his head. Perhaps that was strange to most, it definitely got him some strange looks but he found that people tended to be scared of what they didn’t understand. His brain worked in weird ways, his mother referred to it sometimes as being a human calculator, except it went far deeper than the average usage. He was always calculating algorithms to produce outlooks and forecasts. “I have a thing with numbers” he admitted quietly “Give me some and I just can’t help running the possible outcomes” he showed her his scribbles which he attempted to try and explain as simply as he could.

“Not a professional analyst officially, unless you count my theory papers as professional but I dabble in stock predictions mostly” he responded honestly and rolled his shoulders back, not that he would be majorly opposed to being a financial analyst but it was rare that anyone would recruit an analyst like that and if they did, certainly not on a part time basis that would work with his book store “I can probably make a pretty good guess of what most share prices for large companies are on right now without even looking at my computer” he admitted “the company name you spoke on the phone, they’re not in a great place, though they’re good at convincing their investors otherwise” he pointed too the row of numbers he had written which showed the downward trend of their trade heading pretty quickly towards zero “I’ve never really done anything like bookkeeping, I guess you could say I’m a financial analyst of sorts, just not for anyone in particular, impartial as most would say” still he didn’t stand for people being outright robbed in broad daylight just because a company was struggling and knew how to make themselves look better than they were.

His dark gaze finally managed to find the strength to meet her for a moment, just to catch the impressed looking grin on her face which made him echo it with one of his own, when she prompted for his name he stuttered “Leigh” he spoke and shook his head “No Mr, just Leigh is fine, I don’t really do…” he wrinkled his nose a little “business formalities, that’s why I went for the book store rather than the nine to five” he nodded a little and ran a hand through his hair and cleared his throat “Was there anything, in particular, you’re looking for? I can always recommend something if you’re just browsing” he was doing his best lately to actually talk to customers and understand their motivations for coming to the shop in the hopes he could get a few more returners.

Irene wasn’t used to talking from personal views, the only way you would get her to talk is if you are her client, presenting documents in your hand to talk further on your business with her, or if you are one of her workers. Even then, she made sure to keep minimal contact with all her employees for future references. She’s harsh, but not cruel. No, not that. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to get to the heiress, be it either one of the two. Which is why, it was already surprised to see the blonde approach the male with a curious outlook masking her delicate features, prompting for him to talk more regarding the fluctuations and his calculations. He may have saved her ass for all she knows, and she is many things if not thankful or indebted to people who helped her out. From the looks of things, it seemed that the stranger didn’t mean for her to overhear him, as ironic as that sounded since he was the one who accidentally heard her not-so-quiet-and-subtle conversation on the phone with one of her most infuriating clients.

 This is why she does not deal with investors and clients directly, mostly because her temper would more so than often, take a hold of her and well, let’s just say the dark diviner is not exactly the person one would even think of messing with. Sure, the privacy violation thing did get on her nerves earlier, but who cares about that if this man just saved her the deal from being stressed out for a good few minutes? His voice was timid, though it didn’t take a genius to see that he was only being shy despite how the voice travels along, the timbre and tone made it clear that had it not been up to his persona right now, she would definitely throw herself off the board because it intimidates her. It wasn’t the first time she’s heard someone who owned such a set of voice, but it is the first time she met someone who was so shy and timid. One look and she knew he wasn’t even acting for the sake of it. Hear him out, Irene, she mumbled to herself. There’s no harm in doing that right? Surely, she could hear this guy out especially after he spoke out and she had asked him to tell her more about it. Yeah, no harm in doing so.

 “You have a thing… for numbers?” Initially, the Farley female furrowed her eyebrows in confusion, her head was gearing up trying to comprehend his words slowly, until she eventually raised them in amusement, “Yeah, mathematicians usually say that. A lot.” Maybe people don’t judge a book by its cover and perhaps she doesn’t either but it was obvious that Leigh already exude an aura of someone who is quite the intellectual themselves and it didn’t take her long to get the message after examining him. Was he an analyst? Financial analyst, maybe? “If you have done research papers, that considers you a professional, no?” she murmured faintly, her head was whirring with solutions right now and if this guy can help her, the better. “Stock predictions?” That’s the first. Irene has never met someone who dabbles in stock predictions, this was slowly drawing the dark diviner in to this mysterious guy, who is he?

 The blonde made sure to listen to him attentively, so he wasn’t anyone else’s financial analyst? A green light and bulb literally just came around her and she pressed her lips into a thin line, hearing him with curious eyes, if she was going to get extra knowledge, might as well. When he introduced himself after she asked his name, Irene had a small grin curving on her lips, and they were genuine, “Well, hello there Leigh, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir-,” she stopped halfway her words because it was only then that she realized she slipped up again, calling people by their titles and formalities had been a norm for the blonde heiress, “sorry, I’m not used to talking… outside of business hours.” Brushing her hand against her skirt, she extended her hand towards him, “It seems only fair if I introduce myself, I’m Irene. Irene Farley.” His book store was surprisingly quite aesthetic, it gives her a sense of serenity and tranquility mixed into one big bowl of peace, and it suited him. 

“Nine to five, I wish… I think mine is eight to ten, but then again it is mine, can’t expect anyone else to go more than nine to five without ridding myself of humanity” she chuckled and pondered momentarily when he enquired if she needed anything else, “My company is currently in a mess, our financial consultant retired about a year ago and we’ve been running amok with no direction. We’ve been trying to hold on to it, but nobody is that good with numbers, not as good as the predecessor and I… like I said earlier, numbers and me don’t work as well as many would like to think so I was here trying to get some books to learn about it” she pursed her lips and sighed heavily, “If only I have the time to even go back and read about it… but sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to achieve greater ones. My secretary told me to get Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett, but I’m none the wiser” she shrugged.

Her questioning tone as he talked about his like for numbers wasn’t unexpected, everyone he had told about his like for math tended to give him that same expression, he could never really explain why but numbers just made sense to him, patterns and calculations that had definite answers were where it started, it just all came together in his head and explained a lot of the questions he had about how things worked. Moving into the algorithm area was much more of a trial and error game, there wasn’t one single answer to the question, it was like trying different possibilities to see how close to accurate you could get, sometimes it worked, sometimes it was really off the mark “Well I don’t think I’ve ever formally called myself a mathematician” but it was pretty close to what he did, he supposed, he just wasn’t the type to lord titles over others or try and overstate his own worth.

Her question about research papers made him shrug his shoulders “Well at first I just wrote them because it interests me, seeing how far I can go into a topic and what it discovers” it was clear he just really liked the academic side of life, always had, made a lot of sense to him and he liked structured programs which allowed him to push limits. “Nowadays you’d be right, I do make some money from my papers, plus a lot of companies pay me to do some financial freelance work” he didn’t mind providing that sort of stuff as long as it was a company he liked and they gave him the room to make his own conclusions and predictions without asking him to bend them to make it better for their investors. He played with his earring as they talked, one of his slightly nervous traits.

He supposed you could describe him as a pretty casual person, at least, if anyone could get him to actually speak to them without becoming a stammering, blushing mess, he was quite casual. Titles and the way people acted like they were above someone else or had more power because of their experience, that wasn’t his speed. He could have probably been pretty rich and powerful if he’d chosen to go that path and heavily get involved in stock trading but instead, he had chosen the quieter life with the cute bookstore. He smiled softly when she corrected herself and he reached his hand out to meet hers and shake it “No worries, old habits die hard and all that” he smiled softly meeting her gaze “Nice to meet you Irene” pretty name, he thought to himself as he pulled his hand back, familiar too, definitely a CEO he’d heard of before.

She confirmed as much when she continued, saying she worked long hours but because it was hers she sacrifice that time “That’s quite the dedicated schedule” he commented and nodded, there had been times when he worked that long for the book store though, so he totally got it, you put everything into what you created, whether it was big or small. His brow furrowed when she said her company was struggling with financial advice, he figured most big corporations usually had a CFO involved to do those kinds of things though it wasn’t a necessity and he guessed in this case they hadn’t managed to find someone they trusted enough to take the post over “Well I’m no business kinda guy but if you needed some financial consulting I could probably help” it hadn’t taken him long to figure out that merger would be a really bad idea, he was sure he could help with the rest. He looked over his desk for his business cards, he had two sets, one for his professional services and one for the book store, he fumbled through them dropping the half-open stack all over the desk and biting his tongue to stop himself cursing as he looked up at her apology before finally getting one of his consulting cards and placing it on the countertop.

He then ducked his head slightly embarrassed as he came out from around the desk “Well you’ve come to the right place for books, we have a lot of accounting-related books, mostly because I’m pretty biased” he started weaving through the shelves looking for the book he had in question in the back corner “I found this one pretty good without being too heavy for a beginner” even if she did take on a financial consulting he saw it as wise that she understood the ins and outs of the basics too, to stop anyone trying to fleece her like today, he held the book out to her and smiled softly.

Irene was far from stupid, admittedly she can quite inexperienced and dry around the areas of numbers or mathematics in general, she is not someone who delves in arithmancy for fun after all, but she had other skills equipped to survive the business world. She's not entirely hopeless around it, if not she would never have preserved her family's legacy by protecting the company till today when so many men had tried to take it from her grasp. Even the shareholders and sometimes, the board of directors, were against her choices and decisions yet they were still being made. Whilst Irene respected the opinions of many, it didn't mean she would bow down to the likes of the power hungry people who wished to do nothing more than destroy the legacy she has continued and created all the same in Unruly Eve. 

The blonde definitely rake in their thoughts and it has made her company flourish so far, but most of them were humans so they passed away quite easily. The flaxen-haired female was in no way, an immortal, she can still be affected the same way a disease can robe a human's life. She is a mortal, after all. But being a supernatural surely has made many people skeptic about their surroundings and one of those people would be her. She could see the humility radiating off Leigh, a stranger she just met in his bookstore who was kind enough to help her out with her problem that would very well cost them a fortune if she went along with it. "Humble people don't do that, they don't omit any titles, it's refreshing to see those kind of people haven't perished and gone extinct yet" it was meant to be a compliment towards him, seeing as he's done nothing but be kind to her, a treatment so rare Irene couldn't completely comprehend her head around it. 

Her ears perked up the moment he spilled that some companies did hire him to do a few freelance work. This can work. She can make this work. "Do they now?" Pursing her lips, she parted them slightly and offered him a smile, "Are you still doing that kind of work? Say if a company would like to hire you to go through a few financial papers or ledgers for you to analyze, would you do it? Of course, you would be paid handsomely as per your work." The tone she had was so hopeful that he would be free enough to take the job, at least for now. She desperately needed someone she can trust on that and with the retirement of their CFO, it was no joke. When he commented on her schedule, Irene couldn't stop herself from snickering, yeah it was pretty hectic and packed, every single day, she wondered how long she can go on like that. "You do what you have to, I guess. I don't want it to fall down with one single mistake like a domino… I want to be sure if anything like that ever happens, I would have a counter-effect to salvage what can be saved."

 It was clear that despite her dislike on other corporate leaders, she loved the company, it was quite possibly the only thing one can relate when talking about Irene Farley. She was glad to know that he could help her, willingly at that too. He was probably the kindest guy she has ever met and meeting such a guy like that when you've been surrounded by cutthroats, can be refreshing. The way he stumbled on his steps and movements while trying to search for something made her stifle her laugh by placing one hand to cover her mouth. What a cute guy. Her sapphire blue hues followed his steps as he showed her a book, one she figured just as much when he explained to her on what it entailed. "Pretty descriptive" she noted and ran her eyes to wander around the aisle, "When did you start liking numbers? At a young age, I presume?"

Leigh probably would have been good at the big league business running stuff if he wasn’t so shy, running a bookshop was hard enough for him though, he honestly didn’t think he’d have what it takes to talk down other business owners and drive really hard bargains. He guessed he was just too nice and therefore not cutthroat enough to do what was necessary in such a setting. That’s why he had settled on something much smaller but equally important to him, the shop was small and business wasn’t exactly booming but he was sharing something he loved with the world in a setting that made sense to him. It was just him and Willow running the place so he didn’t really have anyone to worry about and the redhead knew what she was doing well enough not to bother him too much.

He shrugged his shoulders a little and smiled “Labels aren’t my thing” he admitted with a bashful smile, there were a lot of reasons for that, mostly stemming from the things he had been through in high school, he could have been labeled a lot of things back then, and was in fact and some of them seemed to follow him through his life. He hated the idea that you could put one person in a box based on a single thing about them, yes, he was gay, did that make him the entire person he was? No. Yes, he was a recovered addict, did that make him the entire person he was? Absolutely not. So he tried his best not to put anyone else in a box either, which meant he always tried to see people for who they were and not who society painted them as “I think there’s more to people than just the word someone uses to categorize them” he admitted with a gentle smile and nodded.

He saw the look she gained the moment he said he did freelance work, that was a look of someone getting a sudden idea, he stifled the urge too chuckle as the way she acted so coy about the realization and then immediately followed it up with an offer “I have a few terms along the lines of unbiased recommendation and freedom to share the ideas I see fit but” he shrugged his shoulders a little “I’m sure we can work something out, seems like you’re in a bit of a pinch after all” he spoke softly, lowering his voice as he was sure she didn’t want everyone in the store to hear that “I haven’t looked into your company personally but I can already estimate the power it might hold if other companies are coming to you for mergers” even if it was to save themselves from a sinking ship this meant there was means to save them. “Well everyone’s a little afraid of failure” he commented and looked around the store knowing he felt the same about his business, worried about not keeping up with the times or being relevant enough and eventually going out of business because of it “But then if we don’t try, we don’t succeed either right” he surmised with a bashful smile.

It became evident to him quickly that she wasn’t just another CEO screwing over the world for every penny she could get, this was someone who wanted to make something of the company she owned, it made him wonder if she was self-made or whether it was a family business she was trying to hold the weight of. Either way, he was planning on doing his research into her business endeavors later. When he was practically tripping over his own feel like a giraffe that just stepped on ice he blushed when she laughed and shook his head at his own clumsiness, he handed her too book he had picked out and then shrugged at her question “Never thought about it really” he admitted with a shy smile “As long as I can actually remember? I don’t think there was like a eureka moment, I just always kinda knew” he grinned “So I was the nerd in school basically” he picked out another book and looked over it thoughtfully for a moment “And when did you know you wanted to go into business?” he asked curiously, wasn’t every day you got to speak to a big CEO in person after all.

When she first set her foot inside the aesthetically pleasing and miniscule bookstore, she wasn't surprised to find the owner being very sweet and kind. She did, however, was surprised when she was greeted by the fact that the owner was not only humble and nice but he was also quite the intelligent young man. With the knowledge he possessed alone, which she wasn't even sure how vast and outstretched it was, he could easily land himself a high position at any firm or company. Namely, even hers, honestly. Which is why Irene pursed her lips in wonder why Leigh didn't pursue that career path but knew quick enough why he resorted to a simple life such as owning a bookstore at the city centre when he could be working in the office. It was no wonder she was enthralled and admired his working qualities and the way he viewed life as.

 "I'm guessing you don't like working office hours? To keep yourself cooped up in the cubicle doing secretarial work from 9 to 5 kind of guy? Talking and negotiating can be quite the exhausting career choice so I'm not surprised, if anything I'm impressed by you, Leigh" she admittedly truthfully, Irene had never been taken aback by someone like this. Granted, the female had met a few niche groups of generally nice people but never one quite like him. It was interesting how easily he had earned her respect and it hasn't even been longer than 10 minutes of her being in this bookstore. "You're a very peculiar person, Leigh. You seem very young yet so wise, smart too… it's such a shame to see a young and promising talent like yours go to waste" she furrowed her eyebrows and pressed her lips into a thin line, stating how upset she was to hear this, had he been someone she knew or someone in her company, she would've given him a raise and promotion. If there was anything that Irene liked even more, it was people she could trust. Being in such a competitive industry takes its toll on you and you can never know who to trust. 

"You're very… admirable so to say" she grinned sheepishly, "Though I do agree with you when you said there is more to that and how you should not be so quick to categorize someone based on some of their actions alone. It's just not right, not to mention, quite superficial." The way her bright hued eyes lit up with excitement and enthusiasm when Leigh agreed to lend a hand in helping her out was similar to a child who just received a present on what she wanted so badly on Christmas, Irene had to suppress the laugh from escaping and masked it with a smile instead, "You have no idea how relieved I was… thank you, Leigh" her cheeks were probably sore from all the smiling but she didn't mind that either. "Yeah you'd find that Unruly Eve can be quite uh… interesting" That's one way to phrase it, over the past few decades, the female Farley had succeeded in expanding the company as a whole to branch out in plenty of other departments to suit the industry's needs. 

"It's a long standing company, it's been standing since 1876. The name alone brings power, and you know, sometimes the easiest way to get somewhere is thru connections. A name alone connected to yours can bring you… to a lot of places" It was why she had plenty of companies lining up for merging contracts. "Doesn't stop from any internal corruption and conflict from happening though" she laughed nervously. He wasn't wrong, Irene herself hated failures more than anything, which is why it remained as her biggest fear ever. Past tragedies didn't exactly let the highlight die. "You're right, if we don't try then we'll never know" Her company has been run by her as proxy for almost 70 years, nobody else seemed to know who the proxy every decade was, only that they were all females and had one name as their pseudonym; ranging from Beatrice, Ryna, Jessica and whatnot. Little did they know, it was all really just Irene Farley. It wasn't until 4 years ago when she emerged publicly. 

"Aha, a smart guy since childhood then, what a prodigy" she teased playfully, when he asked her when she wanted to get into business, Irene laughed because she found the irony in it, "Honestly, it's a family legacy. I'm basically the only child the previous family had and if I don't take care of it then who will? Started learning about business after my parents' death at 18." She knew this could be slightly hard to make sense if Leigh decided to dig in the history of the company and the family that owned it since the beginning but she'll handle that later. "Didn't really fit me at first but then I saw the appeal in it and voila~ Do you have any other interests other than this?"

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