Chapter 60:

Bailey Hollow: Introduction

New Leaf!

After a quick visit to the bathroom to fully refresh myself, I met up with Ren in the living room.Bookmark here

“Okay. Please pack things necessary for staying over for two nights.”Bookmark here

I nodded.Bookmark here

“Since I will be working for most of the time, it would probably be helpful to research about our destination.”Bookmark here

I nodded.Bookmark here

“And will be using my car…”Bookmark here

Of course, he has a car… But why did he specify that it was his car?Bookmark here

“We will probably be leaving around the time I start work.”Bookmark here

Why ‘probably’? That’s abnormal for the usually organized Ren… Bookmark here

“Oh… And my co-worker will be joining us.”Bookmark here

Ah, that’s why… Bookmark here

“Wait, your co-worker!?”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Morning of the next day… I was sitting on the couch with the things I had prepared. I was wearing blacks pants with a repeating white diamond pattern and a super cute green tee-shirt with a picture of Mako on it. Beside me was a backpack that Ren lent me to store things such as clothes, toothbrushes, and my phone charger — my suitcase would be unnecessarily large.Bookmark here

We aren’t supposed to leave until about thirty more minutes because we’re waiting for Ren's co-worker to arrive. Ms Bailey Hollow… Like anyone would be with someone they were meeting for the first time, I was a bit nervous. I mean, I’m going to spend at least an entire car trip to another city and back with her, so I’m focused on making a good impression. But I really shouldn’t worry. Ren said that Ms Hollow can be intense or headstrong, but she can also be docile. He also did not elaborate nor did I ask about other things. Hm…Bookmark here

But how’s her relationship with Ren? I remember Valerie mentioned Ms Hollow once, so maybe she’s another friend from high school. Hm… And maybe Ren will have the same effect as the one he had on Valerie on Ms Hollow — I mean when I was hired. Valerie said she hired me solely because I was associated with Ren, so maybe Ms Hollow will also like me for that reason. It’s a stretch, but hey!Bookmark here

While lost in my thoughts, I heard the doorbell ring.Bookmark here

“I will get it.”Bookmark here

I got up to answer but sat back down when Ren said that he would get it.Bookmark here

I heard the door open.Bookmark here

“Hey, morning, Ren! Are you ready for this?”Bookmark here

“Good morning Bailey. Yeah, I am ready…”Bookmark here

The voice was definitely friendly sounding, but not to the extent of Connie’s or Valerie’s. She seems to have a positive opinion of Ren — she’s talking welcomely despite it being the morning.Bookmark here

“So, over the phone, you said that someone would be tagging along. So, where is this person?”Bookmark here

Wait, did Ren not say anything other than that I was tagging along? Hm… I think he did the same with Valerie, so I guess it makes sense?Bookmark here

“Yeah. Camryn, come here.”Bookmark here

So I did… A went to meet with her in the hallway.Bookmark here

Intense… That was my first impression of her. Long fiery hair… Piercing bright green eyes… Her normal expression made her look annoyed… She had the stance of an assertive person… She was taller than me, about a head taller. She was wearing a blue blouse with a pink flower pattern and brown khakis pants. She also had a small purple suitcase at her feet.Bookmark here

Did Ren really befriend this person? I mean, Ren is submissive, while Ms Hollow seems dominant. How did they become friends? I mean, Ren is like water, while Ms Hollow is like oil. But it’s the same for Connie and Valerie, right? They’re both outgoing and energetic, while Ren seems more reserved. Hm… Maybe that’s Ren’s thing — opposites attract and such…Bookmark here

Ms Hollow walked up to me and stared. Woah… Even without anything happening, I feel intimidated.Bookmark here

“Huh… So Ren, who’s this? Or am I right in assuming that you should be arrested?”Bookmark here

Ah ha ha ha… That joke was even funnier the third time… But seriously, why do all of Ren’s friends joke about him being arrested? Wait, they were all jokes, right? If not, then why is Ren friends with them?Bookmark here

Ren walked up and was beside me.Bookmark here

“Oh, Bailey, you misunderstand.”Bookmark here

He gestured at me.Bookmark here

“This is Camryn. She is the person I told you about over the phone yesterday.”Bookmark here

“I see…”Bookmark here

She turned to Ren.Bookmark here

“So Ren, wanna do me justice? Introduce me.”Bookmark here

Along with her strong-willed demeanour, Ms Hollow also seems laidback like Connie and Valerie. Well, if she’s friends with them, it makes sense if their personality influenced her.Bookmark here

Ren nodded.Bookmark here

“Okay. Camryn, this is Bailey Hollow. She is an old classmate from high school and university. She is currently my co-worker at Comeffecient.”Bookmark here

“Ah, just an old classmate and co-worker? Ren, you know you can think of me as more, right? But whatever…”Bookmark here

Ms Hollow put out her hand for a handshake.Bookmark here

“Hello, Camryn. I am Bailey Hollow…”Bookmark here

I returned the handshake.Bookmark here

“N-Nice to meet you, Ms Hollow…”Bookmark here

She shook her head.Bookmark here

“What? Nah, just ‘Bailey’ is fine.”Bookmark here

“O-Okay, M-Ms Bailey…”Bookmark here

She quietly signed. Oh, did I do something to offend her? S-Sorry…Bookmark here

“Um…So Camryn, why’d you want to come with us? You know this is a business trip, right? Like, we don’t plan on doing anything in that city other than work…”Bookmark here

“R-Right… I just… Um…”Bookmark here

What should I say?.. I… I’ve come to realize that the main reason I decided to come was that I would feel lonely if Ren left… But why? Ren isn’t the only person I, or rather, isn’t the only person that left me. So why? I shouldn’t have a problem with abandonment, right?..Bookmark here

“See, I…”Bookmark here

“Ah, actually, I’m moving a bit too fast…”Bookmark here

Ms Bailey stopped me. She spoke bluntly and seemed zealous. Bookmark here

“Actually Camryn, what’s your relationship to Ren here?”Bookmark here

Huh?Bookmark here

“So, are you a relative? Do you perhaps know Ren from the other people he knows? Ren never had a partner and probably never will, so you’re definitely not his child or something — or I guess bringing up the age range would have been an easier justification.”Bookmark here

In contrast to her energetic manner earlier, she was more serious. I think she’s suspicious of me.Bookmark here

“Camryn, who are you?”Bookmark here

I was intimidated… Yeah, Ms Bailey had a personality that made me wary, but she was also asking about my identity… So, I’ll have to reveal my past… It’s weird that I dread this even though Connie already knows about it from Ren. I don’t know, I think I just don’t like when I have to tell others — that’s why I never made an effort to tell Valerie when she was never asking despite her being my boss… I just don’t want to personally face my past…Bookmark here

“I…”Bookmark here

“Ah, you know what?”Bookmark here

Ms Bailey interrupted me.Bookmark here

“We gotta be on the road now if we want to arrive at the specified time, right?”Bookmark here

Ren nodded.Bookmark here

“Correct. Let us go then…”Bookmark here

I watched as Ren went back into his room to retrieve some things.Bookmark here

As I waited, Ms Bailey walked up to me and put a hand on my shoulder.Bookmark here

“Ah, sorry kid.”Bookmark here

I turned to her. She seemed more relaxed than how she was earlier — less sceptical.Bookmark here

“I was probably scaring you, right? I mean, you were sort of stuttering. And I know I can look and sound pretty intimidating — especially when I’m asking those types of interrogative questions.”Bookmark here

“Oh, no… I wasn’t scared at all…”Bookmark here

“BS… But if you don’t mind at all, then I guess it’s fine… Anyways, if you aren’t comfortable with revealing those types of personal things, then it’s fine. But it would still be nice if you did…”Bookmark here

“Yeah…”Bookmark here

Then I turned to her. I think… I think if it’s Ren’s friend, then I am sure I can trust her. Besides, every acquaintance of Ren I met was nice.Bookmark here

“No… No! Ms Bailey, I definitely will tell you about my past!”Bookmark here

She shrugged.Bookmark here

“‘Tell me about your past’? Why did you word it like that and make it sound so grand? Is it perhaps because it is? Huh, I’m pretty curious now…”Bookmark here

She shook her head.Bookmark here

“Don’t rush. You can tell me wherever you feel like you’re ready.”Bookmark here

She stuck her thumb up.Bookmark here

“Oh, and just ‘Bailey’ is fine. No ‘Ms’ is necessary… Anyway, Camryn…”Bookmark here

She turned her head to me again and smiled. And… It was a nice smile. Much like Valerie’s and Connie’s, it was very relaxing and welcoming. Her smile wouldn’t give a stranger the first impression that she’s assertive. And, personally, I thought it made her prettier — almost mother-like…Bookmark here

“I hope we get along!”Bookmark here

“O-Oh… Y-Yes!”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.