If there was anything that Victoria Brooke could do, it was to look for a good story.
She was twenty three and was working as the an investigative reporter for Stealth, a journal publication which rose to the top on its 5th year of existence as it bagged awards for the most exciting stories. Everyone in Manila heard about it and raved about every article that got published, commenting on how it could even weed out as many secrets as it could, bringing surprises and revealing truths about every person from the top to the bottom ranks.
And she had been working for this company for almost a year. She couldn’t wait to get her next assignment. She had been commended by her other peers in other journal publications she had worked in even during her years in college as they continued to ask for tips from her on how she could manage to create great stories from practically nothing. She could imagine herself a few months from now at the International Journalists’ Gathering, receiving her award as Journalist of the Year…
“One nonfat venti cappuccino with two shots of espresso for Miss Victoria!”
She shook her head against the fantasy. Victoria had been trying to aim for the top, but no matter how hard she tried, and no matter how many commendations she got from her superiors even before she applied for Stealth, it did not seem that the top journal publication had deemed her worthy for any major assignments, which only took her away from her dreams of getting to the International Journalists’ Gathering. So far, all she was asked to do was research on gossip and verify them with the supervisor. She had not been able to go to the deeper and grittier stories.
Everyone knew that politics was grittier and more entertaining than showbiz itself, and she got assigned to the latter.
Victoria saw the barista, who looked like he was in his college years, kept glancing at her as he held on to her coffee. She marched up to the counter and forced her best smile at the barista. She wasn’t sure, but Victoria thought she saw him winking at her as she got her morning coffee. She thanked him, then walked out of the café into a bright sunny day. She checked her watch and took a deep breath as she realized that she still had an hour before she would be required to report for work. Victoria could have just stayed inside, but she wasn’t comfortable with the barista’s eyes glued on her for an hour. She thought of what else she could do, failed to do so, and proceeded to walk towards the office.
Victoria started up the computer, the machine humming quietly as if it wanted to match the ambiance of a quiet morning in the office. She saw some familiar faces from other departments, but she did not feel like chatting with them. She knew they would eventually wave her goodbye as they went out on their own assignments for the next two weeks. She sat down on her desk and browsed the files that she had been working on for the past week. Gossip, gossip, and more gossip. It was easy information to obtain, if one knew where to look. She also had several connections to the media companies, so being able to get information from them was easy as pie; it must have also been the reason that Stealth placed her in this line of work anyway.
She drifted to the receptionist’s table and noticed that the girl was not there yet. She did, however, leave a pile of envelopes on her desk. The journalist could not understand how she could be untidy, when she knew that the receptionist was the most organized person she knew.
Her eye caught a hint of blue among the envelopes. Curious, Victoria picked it up and was surprised when it had her name on it. It appeared to be heavy, and she wondered who it came from, as there was no name written on it. She turned it over and was surprised to see a note attached to it: For your eyes only. Taking a quick peek at the hallway, Victoria held the envelope to her chest and walked briskly, giving an air of someone who needed to finish some tedious demands that the magazine had asked her to do.
Victoria took a sip of her coffee before taking a pair of scissors to rip open the contents of the package. A blue folder fell on her desk with a loud thump. Once more, the journalist looked around to see if anyone had heard; people had started settling on their desks, but no one seemed to mind her. She slowly opened the file to see a photo with details about the individual that the source had probably wanted her to uncover and Victoria felt her insides freeze over as she looked it over.
Name: Angelica Mae
Current Employment: Rising Business Executive in Crown Halls Agency, a company specializing in properties and housing for the middle class individuals.
Other: She is suspected of being involved with collecting thousands of dollars from other sectors of the city for unknown reasons. Find it out, and I will give you the one thing you have been looking for.
Victoria was looking at the photo of a blonde, fair-skinned woman whose face was facing the laptop, as if her photo were caught in secret. She took in the dark blue eyes she knew well from when they would go to the restaurants around their hometown, to the natural blush on her cheeks which she had always envied from the moment boys from their state college would give her a second glance.
This was her closest friend, at least until the time that Angelica often left the campus due to business opportunities which came to her because of her natural ability to see the problem in marketing, sales, and even the people in the industry itself. Angelica ended up skipping graduation day due to having been offered a high position wherein she needed to report as soon as possible.
And now someone was trying to get to her.
Her skin pricked as she caught the sound of heels that tapped noisily on the floor. She immediately shoved all the files under her desk and faced her computer as she saw the high ponytail of her most admired individual in journalist in the company. She stopped right beside Victoria and she tried her best to school her face into neutrality as she faced her competitor for the top spot of the magazine: Jessica Winter.
“So, any interesting stories, Miss Victoria?” Jessica asked sweetly. Victoria pushed down her anger and gave Jessica her most endearing smile.
“You know me, dear. Just doing my job for the showbiz column.”
Jessica must have picked something up, because she stared at Victoria at this answer. Victoria cocked an eyebrow at her and gave her a curious look, rather than of someone who had just gotten information which might ruin her long time best friend, yet give her the chances of climbing up the ladder in journalism.
“Happy trails, little Miss Perky”, Jessica finally said, before moving to her cubicle.
Victoria took a quick look around, then began to work on the information given to her by the showbiz executives and assistants, which she proceeded to write. But for the first time since she got to the office, her thoughts began racing as she thought about the blue folder.
What had Angelica done this time? And who was the source? And why did he, or she, want Angelica exposed for something?
A/N: I wrote this in a rush to catch up with my organization’s daily prompts! I’ve missed a few days due to lack of motivation and the sudden amount of work I had to do. I wanted to add in more details to this story, but it seems that I’m tapped out for now. I might actually use this as part of my future novel drafts (if I ever have the time to write one). Hope you like it!