Chapter 58:

Business Trip: Start!

New Leaf!

One afternoon, Bailey and I were at the cafeteria eating lunch.Bookmark here

“Hey Ren, what do you have there?”Bookmark here

I looked down.Bookmark here

“Oh, it is a chicken and chow mein dish…”Bookmark here

“From Valerie’s, right? Yeah, I can tell…”Bookmark here

I nodded. She was right, this was from Alente Bistro. Valerie enjoys preparing dishes from a variety of places in the world. And therefore, different special dishes are put on the Alente menu daily, and the selection changes. Yesterday was when Alente Bistro was serving Asian food. This dish was not bought at the end of the day, so Camryn took the leftovers and I am eating them for lunch.Bookmark here

“Man, if I weren’t so busy, I’d also buy something from Alente. Ah, you’re so lucky…”Bookmark here

“Oh. Would you like some?”Bookmark here

She shook her head.Bookmark here

“Nah… I know that if I got a taste, I’d want to eat it all… You won't have anything left and I won't be able to finish my lunch… Geez Valerie, why must your food turn us into borderline addicts?”Bookmark here

I shrugged and took a bite of my food. Borderline addicts, huh? Personally, I do not think her food has that kind of effect. Sure, her food tastes better than ones sold at other restaurants, but I have not tasted anything warranting such high praise. But what can I say? Am I just not savouring the flavours enough? I don’t know, but regardless, I am not a food connoisseur.Bookmark here

“Hey, Ren…”Bookmark here

I looked up.Bookmark here

“Speaking of Valerie, have you been acquainted with her recently? During phone conversations, she mentions you. And recently, you have been bringing dishes from Alente. What’s up? You know she’s married to Connie, right?”Bookmark here

“Oh, really? Well… Yeah, I guess I’ve been having interactions with her recently.”Bookmark here

Through Camryn… I have no reason to hide Camryn from Bailey, so I should tell her about Camryn.Bookmark here

“Well, I-”Bookmark here

“Hey, guys! How are you?”Bookmark here

I turned around to face the person who interrupted me. A man in his sixties was approaching us. He was shorter than Bailey and me, maybe about the same height as Camryn. He was mostly bald with patches of grey hair on the sides of his head. He was wearing thick round glasses and was wearing a white button-up shirt with a yellow tie.Bookmark here

I nodded while Bailey quickly shot up from her seat and bowed.Bookmark here

“Good afternoon, Boss.”Bookmark here

“Um, g-good afternoon, B-Boss!”Bookmark here

“Woah, calm down Bailey. Um, at ease, soldier.”Bookmark here

Bailey slowly sank into her seat. She has always been weary around the Boss. She always tries acting really formal and professional around him even though he does not think it is necessary.Bookmark here

“Anyways, are you two doing well? Enjoying lunch? Ooh, Ren, that looks good…”Bookmark here

“Y-Yes… Thank you.”Bookmark here

Honestly, I did not know how to respond to that.Bookmark here

Bailey straightened her back as she spoke formally to the Boss.Bookmark here

“B-Boss, is there anything we can help you with?”Bookmark here

“Well, no… You know, just saying hey to my employees!”Bookmark here

Boss is really friendly to everyone he meets. Bookmark here

“Oh, actually, I do have something. I sent an email to both of you just now, but since you’re both together, I might as well tell.”Bookmark here

I raised an eyebrow and Bailey leaned forward.Bookmark here

“Ren, Bailey, the higher-ups have requested your help with something.”Bookmark here

“Oh?”Bookmark here

“See, an incident caused another Comeffecient office to fall behind on a major project. The higher-ups want our office to lend employees to them to help out. So, you two are going on a business trip! Well, I make it sound grand, but you two are just going over a few cities…”Bookmark here

“I see…”Bookmark here

Bailey stroked her chin.Bookmark here

“Okay… I am not declining, but may I ask why specifically the two of us were picked?”Bookmark here

“Why? Well, it wasn’t them who chose, but rather, it was me!”Bookmark here

“Oh?”Bookmark here

“I figured that the best course of action was to ask you two — the two best employees we have!”Bookmark here

I raised an eyebrow again.Bookmark here

“You two are no doubt the best employees we have here. Based on statistics and your supervisors’ comments, you two are the smartest, most efficient, and most hard-working people here. To cut costs and reduce the number of employees sent, I decided on you two.”Bookmark here

Bailey blushed under her interlocked fingers.Bookmark here

“Oh, really Boss? T-Thank you, Ren and I are flattered.”Bookmark here

“Ah, no need for thanks when I’m just stating the truth…”Bookmark here

Bailey smiled frivolously and adjusted her seating position.Bookmark here

“Okay, so when do we have to go?”Bookmark here

“Tomorrow…”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah, then we can- Wait, hold on! Tomorrow?”Bookmark here

Boss was scratching the back of his head in embarrassment.Bookmark here

“That’s so sudden… Why is it so sudden! Uh, Boss…”Bookmark here

Boss clapped his hands together and bowed.Bookmark here

“Sorry guys, but it’s not really my fault. See, the other office has been behind for a couple of days now. They thought they could make up for being behind, but they couldn't —their rushing even made it worse. So, they sent the request at a late date. See, their project is due in three days…”Bookmark here

I tilted my head.Bookmark here

“And there is quite a lot they have to do to finish. With the amount… you’ll probably need those three days… I’m really sorry guys.”Bookmark here

I decided to cut in.Bookmark here

“Boss, it is not your fault. Really, it is the other office’s fault for sending the request late and making our schedules tight.”Bookmark here

“Yeah Boss, do not worry.”Bookmark here

Boss rose from bowing, looking guilty.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I know… But I’m sorry for having to put you two through this…”Bookmark here

“No, it is fine. I accept the task. Bailey, do you accept as well?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I also accept!”Bookmark here

Boss stared at the both of us. He seemed proud. He seemed relieved. It looked like he was going to cry tears of joy.Bookmark here

“You guys… Thank you so much!”Bookmark here

He bowed.Bookmark here

“Um, really, t-that is not necessary…”Bookmark here

He raised himself again.Bookmark here

“Ah, Ren… Gah, you’re just so nice. Man, if only my own son were like you…”Bookmark here

Right… I do not know how to respond to that… I looked over at Bailey and she was angrily glaring at me — was she jealous?Bookmark here

“But yeah, anyway, back to work. So, the deadline is in three days, and that is about the amount of time you’ll need. Tomorrow, you will depart and can use the remaining time to work. The next day, you will probably work through the entire day. And on the last day, your work will be less. So, if you two work your hardest, or at least at the pace that the superiors outlined, then I’m sure you guys can get back by the evening. The company will be covering your gas, hotel, and meal expenses, so don’t worry.”Bookmark here

Bailey and I nodded.Bookmark here

“Sorry guy, we’re really pushing you two, aren’t we. However, I took breaks into consideration while formulating your schedule.”Bookmark here

I nodded.Bookmark here

“I see… Yeah, that is reasonable. Right, Bailey?Bookmark here

“Yeah, we can totally do it!”Bookmark here

Boss nodded again in excitement.Bookmark here

“Ah, thank you so much today. You know, you two are done for the day.”Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

“Sure! Since you guys will be on the road tomorrow, go ahead and prepare. Don’t worry, I’ll inform your superiors and teams of your absence.”Bookmark here

We nodded again.Bookmark here

“Right! We will not let you down, Boss!”Bookmark here

He turned and got ready to leave.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I knew I could count on you two… I know you two won’t disappoint tomorrow… Okay, see ya.”Bookmark here

“Goodbye.”Bookmark here

“Um, g-goodbye, Boss!”Bookmark here

And with that, we watched as our Boss trotted away from us, also making stops to greet other employees.Bookmark here

Shortly after he completely left, Bailey stood up.Bookmark here

“Um, Ren, we’re s-sharing a ride, right?”Bookmark here

She seemed to slightly stutter.Bookmark here

“Yeah. We can take my car.”Bookmark here

“Oh, y-your car, huh? Well, it’s more spacious, so sure!”Bookmark here

Bailey quickly packed her lunch and moved from the table and turned around. She seemed excited.Bookmark here

“See you, Ren. I’m going to prepare for our trip tomorrow… I’ll call later to set up a meeting time, okay?”Bookmark here

“Okay.”Bookmark here

“Great! See ya.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, goodbye.”Bookmark here

Once we said our farewells, I watched Bailey run towards the elevators to get her things from the office. When she was fully gone, I also decided to pack up my remaining lunch.Bookmark here

Thinking back, I said that I can join in helping, but that may not be true. After all, Camryn may need me — she does not have work at Alente Bistro during that time. Hm… Well, she is fourteen years old, so she is old enough to be by herself — she even did so while she was homeless, so it should be fine. Also, why didn’t consider her? She’s a factor in my availability, so I think it would have been necessary. Am I growing ignorant? Or do I just not care as much about Camryn? Oh… I hope it is not the former...Bookmark here

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