Chapter 15:

Lunchtime with Bailey

New Leaf!

“Have a great day at work!”Bookmark here

“Thanks. Goodbye.”Bookmark here

When he finally left, I plopped myself onto his couch.Bookmark here

Thus begins my exciting career as Mr Morales’ personal housekeeper. Yeah, whoo, cue the celebratory fanfare!... That is what I would be saying if this job were actually exciting. One full day has passed, and nothing of note really happened; I don’t know, it might be too early to judge. My basic duties are to keep the condo clean, tend to and greet future guests, and prepare breakfast, lunch, or dinner for Mr Morales. There is actually very little to do because the condo barely has any things, and this is a guess, but I think a very minute number of guests will visit.Bookmark here

Preparing meals may seem to be more exciting, but I doubt it will be. That is because Mr Morales actually provided me with a ring binder full of detailed recipes for various meals. And the most surprising part was that each page was printed — in colour — and was laminated; this guy is either super thorough and organized or has too much time on his hands.Bookmark here

Anyway, this guide makes things super easy for me, but it also makes things incredibly boring. With a guide, I’ll barely fail, but that’s exactly why it’s boring — I’ll barely fail. From my various experiences, I’ve realized that having to do super simple tasks drains the fun out of it. I think that failing and overcoming your struggles is far superior to constantly succeeding. Finally winning over an obstacle… when one finally does, it just means that they’re growing, and that feeling of growth is just so rewarding. I think that’s the mentality of many athletes, gamers, and other competitors.Bookmark here

I sighed.Bookmark here

Well, that’s probably not true all of the time — I think I’m a prime example. I’ve failed at things a lot of times, and those losses were utterly heartbreaking. When I finally conquered those hindrances, I thought that the feeling of success would outweigh the sadness, but alas… I hope I’m just being impatient. Those losses will pay off, right?Bookmark here

Ren’s POV:Bookmark here

It was currently time for lunch. As I was about to leave to eat at my usual place outside of the building, a familiar woman’s voice called out to me.Bookmark here

“Hey, Ren!”Bookmark here

I turned.Bookmark here

“Ah, hello Bailey.”Bookmark here

With her fiery red hair and bag hanging at her side, she spoke to me.Bookmark here

“Yo. So, how are things?”Bookmark here

“The same as usual I guess.”Bookmark here

“Hm… That so? Okay. You aren’t busy and you’re about to leave for lunch, right? Let’s go to the caf — I’ll join you.”Bookmark here

I was about to eat outside as usual because I was not busy, so I had no reason to refuse whenever Bailey asked to accompany me during lunch.Bookmark here

“Sure.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

The cafeteria at my building was not anything special; just a large room with tables for employees to eat at. The cafeteria reminded me of a mall’s food court, so there were pathways lined with tables with stools and fake plants decorating the area. There was also a long station along a wall where people could buy lunch. I did not know what was served because I have never bought from there, but I hear that the food there is only decent. I opted for the healthier and cheaper option of preparing my own meals.Bookmark here

I was waiting alone at a table by a window because Bailey told me to wait while she bought something.Bookmark here

While I was waiting, something felt… off. I was not looking at my surroundings and was instead looking out of the window, but I could still feel something. And this feeling was why I normally ate outside. I… felt… like… a disturbance. I did know how to explain it well, but I felt like I was being a bother to someone. I did not know who I was bothering because I was not looking their way, but I still felt it.Bookmark here

“Oi, sorry Ren.”Bookmark here

I turned and looked at Bailey. Bookmark here

“Those stupid people were being stupid and were holding up the line. Seriously… Anyways, let's eat.”Bookmark here

“Yes.”Bookmark here

Bailey sat in the seat in front of me with what looked like a bowl of noodles. We began eating our meals.Bookmark here

I do not know why, but right now, I did not feel that aura from before. Since the feeling always faded whenever Bailey sat across from me, it was safe to assume that it was her doing and that it was not a mere coincidence. In fact, the feeling faded whenever I ate lunch with another colleague to discuss things that were related to work — but it was different. The feeling always drastically dimmed whenever Bailey sat with me, but why; I do not think there is much of a difference between what she and our other co-workers do. This mystery always intrigued me, but I guess it never really bothered me to the level where I needed to solve it.Bookmark here

“Hey Ren, what’s that?”Bookmark here

She slid her bowl to the side and stood up and leaned her body towards me. She was referring to the contents of the plastic container that Camryn gave me.Bookmark here

“Hm… is this fried rice? What? I’ve never seen you eat something like this.Bookmark here

That is because I have not prepared this meal in a long time. The booklet that I provided Camryn with was a recipe book that contained all of my calculated nutritionally efficient meals that I usually prepared and brought to work. I stopped making this because I devised better meals, but Camryn probably chose this one because it was easier to make. I did not mind her decision because the fried rice recipe was certified by me.Bookmark here

“They don’t serve any here, so I haven’t had any in a while. Ren, mind if I try some?”Bookmark here

“Not at all.”Bookmark here

“Oh, thanks!”Bookmark here

She took the chopsticks that were laying on her bowl and used them to pick up a cluster of rice. She ate it and… Bookmark here

Her face showed a disgusted expression. She quickly swallowed it but took a large sip of water from her bag after.Bookmark here

“Gah, w-what the hell was that!”Bookmark here

“Fried rice.”Bookmark here

“G- I know that, smartass! I mean why does it taste like that — it’s so salty. It’s homemade, right? I think you added too much soy sauce. You know, too much sodium will kill you.”Bookmark here

“This amount is not lethal.”Bookmark here

“Dumbass, I know! I was exaggerating! Just, tweak your recipe or something.”Bookmark here

“Okay.”Bookmark here

Bailey sat back down and continued eating her food.Bookmark here

I guess Camryn added more soy sauce than the amount specified in the booklet because the variation that I ate today was noticeably saltier than the last serving I ate. Oh well, the effects that the higher sodium levels have on my body are of no concern to me. The taste does not bother me either; the saltiness is a bit annoying, but since it was prepared by someone else, I should not complain.Bookmark here

When we finished eating, we began to return to our workstations. Bookmark here

The topic of Camryn never appeared while we were eating. Well, I did not need additional advice about Camryn, and I think talking about her would seem like I was asking Bailey for help — I did not want to worry someone else by moving my affairs to them.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.