Chapter 1: And so shall we meet again

Everyday I think about the one day, Jeanine did something so unexpected, that I couldn't even sleep that night.

A lot of time has passed and a lot has happened since then. I've worked on four projects, had a relationship and started writing my Doctoral thesis but I still couldn't figure out why she should spare me. I had made a mistake, that was a fact for sure, but I'm definitely not indespensabe. She could've just disposed me to factionless, nobody whould've cared, but instead, she decided to spare me, an inexperienced initiant with no real value. I bet she already has planned something, I'll just have to figure out what.

It has been a busy day as usual so far. I've got an experiment set in half an hour, closing time is near, and the yearly gala for initiants will take place in half a week. I make a mental note to ask Maya if she wants to visit the gala with me later as I casually stroll down a hallway in the lab division.

After passing a corner I hear a voice I wasn't prepared to hear, not even after this long time; Jeanine is exiting a lab and talks to one of her Co. scientists or her assistant maybe. The poor man, who looks frightened by the way Jeanine is demanding answers from him, has blond, slicked back hair, a round face and stands around 5 feet tall. He is about to turn his head to where I am standing, so I press my body further into the wall, hoping they are not going to see me. I was about to get a hold on their conversation when my eyes landed on the watch on my wrist, reminding me of my experiment which I should attend soon to brief my Co. scientists before we begin. I try to figure out a way to get to the required laboratories without having to use the hallway in front of me, but I cant find a way that doesn't involve the need to reveal myself to the group in front of me.

I take a deep breath and go back a few steps to not make it obvious that I've been lurking the whole time. Nervously, I straighten my navy blue blazer and continue with a straight walk down the isle, trying my best to keep a cold face as Jeanine and her group turn around to detect the source of the steady walking noises, emitted by my dark blue ankle boots, hitting the floor.

"And so shall we meet again. Ms. North, if I remember right ?", I'm greeted by Jeanine, whose eyes wander, nearly to fast to be seen, up and down my figure, paying special attention to my face and it's expression. I don't even dare to flinch, but still, I'm pretty sure that she can feel my uneasiness.

I've come to a stop directly next to Jeanine. I turn to her and answer with a stern, but cold expression; "So it seems, and yes, you're right, as always Ms. Matthews.", a slight nod accompanies my statement and I earn a proving half-smile from her. She dismisses her group with a few words and turns back to me; "So far, you have proven my decision, to keep you in the faction, to have been a right one, or so I am told.", her watery-gray eyes pierce mine as she tries to intimidate me. Although I'm surprised she even remembers my name, I have to admit, she always knows what she has to say, to show people her opinion and make them treat her with respect, all at once. This woman truly deserves my admiration.

"Of course am I always motivated to archive my most efficient way of existing." Pleased with my answer, our faction leader nods a short goodbye towards me and catches up to her subordinates, who continue down the hallway, most likely to proceed with the newly run tests ,on whatever they are working on currently, to an office or one of the many conference rooms in the building above.

I remember my appointment too and hurry down the now free isle to get there on time and arrive five minutes early to a nearly empty laboratory.

A/N: Yes, I finally found the time and inspiration to continue Sephora's adventure. I hope you can forgive me the break I took to get my head off of this story. I expect future updates to occur more often, considering the current quarantine conditions and a hopefully more steady flow of inspiration. Stay at home and most importantly: safe, please ;)