After a quick visit to the bathroom to fully refresh myself, I met up with Ren in the living room.
“Okay. Please pack things necessary for staying over for two nights.”
“Since I will be working for most of the time, it would probably be helpful to research about our destination.”
“And will be using my car…”
Of course, he has a car… But why did he specify that it was his car?
“We will probably be leaving around the time I start work.”
Why ‘probably’? That’s abnormal for the usually organized Ren…
“Oh… And my co-worker will be joining us.”
Ah, that’s why…
“Wait, your co-worker!?”
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.
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…
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!
While lost in my thoughts, I heard the doorbell ring.
“I will get it.”
I got up to answer but sat back down when Ren said that he would get it.
I heard the door open.
“Hey, morning, Ren! Are you ready for this?”
“Good morning Bailey. Yeah, I am ready…”
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.
“So, over the phone, you said that someone would be tagging along. So, where is this person?”
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?
“Yeah. Camryn, come here.”
So I did… A went to meet with her in the hallway.
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.
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…
Ms Hollow walked up to me and stared. Woah… Even without anything happening, I feel intimidated.
“Huh… So Ren, who’s this? Or am I right in assuming that you should be arrested?”
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?
Ren walked up and was beside me.
“Oh, Bailey, you misunderstand.”
He gestured at me.
“This is Camryn. She is the person I told you about over the phone yesterday.”
She turned to Ren.
“So Ren, wanna do me justice? Introduce me.”
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.
“Okay. Camryn, this is Bailey Hollow. She is an old classmate from high school and university. She is currently my co-worker at Comeffecient.”
“Ah, just an old classmate and co-worker? Ren, you know you can think of me as more, right? But whatever…”
Ms Hollow put out her hand for a handshake.
“Hello, Camryn. I am Bailey Hollow…”
I returned the handshake.
“N-Nice to meet you, Ms Hollow…”
She shook her head.
“What? Nah, just ‘Bailey’ is fine.”
“O-Okay, M-Ms Bailey…”
She quietly signed. Oh, did I do something to offend her? S-Sorry…
“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…”
“R-Right… I just… Um…”
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?..
“Ah, actually, I’m moving a bit too fast…”
Ms Bailey stopped me. She spoke bluntly and seemed zealous.
“Actually Camryn, what’s your relationship to Ren 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.”
In contrast to her energetic manner earlier, she was more serious. I think she’s suspicious of me.
“Camryn, who are you?”
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…
“Ah, you know what?”
Ms Bailey interrupted me.
“We gotta be on the road now if we want to arrive at the specified time, right?”
“Correct. Let us go then…”
I watched as Ren went back into his room to retrieve some things.
As I waited, Ms Bailey walked up to me and put a hand on my shoulder.
“Ah, sorry kid.”
I turned to her. She seemed more relaxed than how she was earlier — less sceptical.
“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.”
“Oh, no… I wasn’t scared at all…”
“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…”
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.
“No… No! Ms Bailey, I definitely will tell you about my past!”
“‘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…”
She shook her head.
“Don’t rush. You can tell me wherever you feel like you’re ready.”
She stuck her thumb up.
“Oh, and just ‘Bailey’ is fine. No ‘Ms’ is necessary… Anyway, Camryn…”
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…
“I hope we get along!”