Chapter 29:

0.29. Happy Anniversary!

We Got 'Shipped' by the Goddess


“Happy anniversary!”
“Boss! Happy anniversary!”

“Happy anniversary Mister Winston!!”

“Get the beer!”
Pop!

“Who suggested the party popper?!”
“Someone’s going to have to clean that up..”
The office’s 2nd anniversary. Party poppers exploding, raining confetti on the floor. Coloured paper and silly tape hung on the ceiling, and a parade of clamorous colleagues.

I blew out the piece of confetti stuck to my head.

My boss placed the box in the center of the office and unveiled the cake.

A chorus of gasps.

“It’s huge.”

“Is that edible gold?”

“I’m taking the chocolate.”

“Everyone settle down, settle down.” Pu’er had to placate everyone.
“Ahem. I’m glad to see that everyone is excited about this special occasion.”

My boss showed a winsome smile to everyone.

“I thank you all for supporting my secretary throughout her career, which indirectly supports me in my work. I hope we can continue to get along into the future.”

“Yahoo!”
“Thank you too boss!”

“Same here boss! Let’s get along!”

“Cut the cake.”
“The knife?”

“Here.”

“May this year be a prosperous one also.”

The cake knife sunk into the frosting.

===

Cake fights are a thing in this era. Depending on what kind of people you mix with, it’s an inevitable result.

“Come here!”

“Stop! Stop! I’m sorry, okay! I’m sooorry!!”
You don’t sound sorry at all!

I smear some of the cream on Lianne’s face. Now we’re even.

“Hey! There’s still some cake left, who wants the last piece?

“Ugh.. my hair..”

“Be careful not to touch your monitors with your oily hands. It’s going to be hard to clean later.”
“Drinks anyone?”

I wouldn’t go as far as to say this party was chaotic, but it was certainly a little messy. Nevertheless, people were enjoying themselves in this merry mood.

Lianne swiped some of the frosting from my cheeks.

And then put the finger into hirs mouth with upturned eyes.

Don’t you know about hygiene?!

Shoot. You’re too close. Too close!
“Why.. does it feel like you two have grown closer?”
“Are you already planning a family?”
“Shush.. boss is here remember?”

I suppose it's impossible to sweep things under the rug, not especially when we have so many discerning eyes in the office.

“Because we have, obviously,” xe quipped in pride, showing off hirs flat board.
“Lianne..”
“Wow.. that’s so sweet.”

“Congratulations lel.”
“I don’t even have a girlfriend boo-hoo.”

Too bad for you.
“Avner,” Lianne called.

“Yeah?”

“Can I take it that this is your answer?”

My answer huh? Hm..

I swiped some of the cream from hirs face and touched hirs nose with it.

“Hey!”
“I still need Pu’er’s agreement on it though.”

“So that’s it huh? Then I shall see to it!”
“Lianne? Hey! Don’t just..”
I chased after this darned elf who made hirs way towards Pu’er who was in a conversation with Mister Winston.
“Miss Pu’er!”

“Hm? Yes?”
“Nothing. Just saying my greetings. Hello boss.”

Lianne bowed towards the two of them.

“How’s the cake?”

“Cake?”

“PFftt.. right. Your faces.”

“Xe started it,” I groaned.

“It’s not bad. Where did you get it?”
“There’s a bakery on the ground floor of the headquarters. I got it from there.”
“Oh, that place. I should buy some for myself next time.”

“Lianne?”

The elf with the cream on hirs face grabbed Pu’er hands and tugged.

“What?”

“Just– follow me.”

They eventually parted from us and began whispering to each other. Not sure what that’s about. Anyways.

“How have things been on your side, boss?”
“Not too bad I suppose.”

“Is it? How about your love life? You told me you found someone already.”
He scratched the back of his head looking embarrassed. Bruh, you’re the one who texted me about it yourself. You’re begging to be asked.

“About that.. we’ve been going out. Not sure how xe feels about me though I think it’s quite positive for now.”
“That’s great news! I wish you happiness boss!”

“I know. I know. You don’t need to be so sarcastic, you know?”
“I’m being genuine, okay?”
I slapped his back, the two of us laughed at each other.

===

“Lianne likes you, doesn’t xe?”

“What’s up with that all of a sudden?”

“Xe talked to me just now. And I thought maybe that’s the case. You know hir better than I do so you have an answer to it right?”
“Yeah well.. I’m not going to force another person into the relationship if you’re not comfortable.”

“I suppose you can use one of your ‘wishes’. Maybe I would consider it.”

Psyches. That again.

“As if.”

“A Seraph never goes back on her promises.”
“Yeah.. as if I’d believe that.”
“I’m being honest here! I swear in my name as Seraph!”

I still have one wish I can use. The score between us has been bugging Pu’er a lot. She wants to own a ‘wish’ too so she can hold me captive like how I am now– in a sense.

“Too bad we don’t have Bleu around. Otherwise we could actually keep fighting to see who’s actually on top.”

We’ve reached the point where our battles create massive explosions on the battlefield that make it hard to incapacitate someone without killing the other.
“How much has your erosion value recovered?”

{EROSION VALUE: 102}

“It's 69.”

She gave me a cold stare.

“Fine. Fine. You got me. 102.”
“We can go one more bout.”
“No way.”
We walked silently side by side.

I glanced over at her hands loosely swaying. I could just reach over and grab it at this distance..

“Pu’er.”
“What is it?”
“I know this is weird to ask but.. could we hold hands?”
“What’s up with that all of a sudden?”

Don't try to copy me!
Without her permission, I scooped her hands into mine and interlocked our fingers. It was so embarrassing I didn’t know what to say. Worse when Pu’er is silently accepting it.

I peeked at her face, she was looking at the ground in the other direction.

“Where do you want to go for dinner?”

“Dinner? Right. Bleu isn’t around, hm.. how about..”

Pu’er and I were still staying together at my apartment, and shared a single car to work.

Our interlocking hands broke apart. I turned to her who had come to a stop.
“Hm? Pu’er?”
{WARNING: YOU ARE BEING WATCHED}

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