Chapter 16:

Back to the Present (Part 6)


At the café

Today I’m supposed to meet this mystery person at the café, truth be told I’m no longer scared I’m determined, determined to find out who this person is and put a stop to their bullshit, I’m done living in fear.

According to all the crime movies I’ve watched… and the internet, people who send these threats are only doing it for some sort of demand, as long as I meet these demands, I should be good, whatever they say I’m just going to agree.

Unless they tell me to kill someone, I’m NOT doing that! Not after what happened also, I’m not an assassin just a small writer who gets bullied by her boss, speaking of the devil.

“Reiko, has the paper been submitted?” he asks leaning against my desk.

“Yes,” I say without sparing him a glance.

I then realise what he said and I give him a questioning look.

“I submitted it yesterday; didn’t you check your email?” I ask bringing my glasses down slightly from the bridge of my nose before I push them back up as I turn my gaze back to my laptop.

My boss lets out a laugh before placing his hand on my shoulder making me uncomfortable.

“My bad,” he says bending down so he’s speaking in my ear.

I close my laptop and put it in my bag before quickly gathering my things and getting up.

“See you on Monday,” I give him a small smile before hurrying away.

But the gap between my desk and my boss is narrow so I accidentally brush him with my behind as I go past.

“Oh geez, sorry,” I feel my cheeks heat up in embarrassment.

Again, he laughs, “Don’t worry, I didn’t mind.”

He sends me a wink, smirks and pats my lower back just inches away from my butt before he walks away, I quickly make my way to my car and get in to collect my thoughts and drink some water before calming myself down.

My boss is old and perverted and it doesn’t make it easier that I’m the only female working here, but I have to bite my tongue and just bear with it, if I do something to anger him, he could give me a bad reference which could jeopardise my future if I wanted to leave.

I get home and have a shower, I decide since it's Friday I was just going to relax, I’m ahead with my work and I deserve to relax, especially with the way I’m treated. You’re probably thinking, ‘Reiko, why are you still there? Kick him in his soft spot and make him sing Soprano for a week before giving him your resignation and you’re right but you see, I’m so close to being head editor, once I’ve got that promotion I will leave, I just need to be patient and work even harder.

I get out of the shower and wear my bathrobe, in the middle of drying my hair I remember what else I have to do today, I have to go to the café and meet the mystery person! Argh! Shoot me!

I walk back into my room and open my wardrobe, I stare at my clothes for a few seconds before throwing something on, I take a glance at my watch to see that it's nearly coming up to 6 and I have to meet him at the café at 7, yup he sent me the exact time as well.

Am I being stupid?

Should I even be doing this?

What if this is a serial killer?

So many questions are swirling in my mind, I don’t know what to do, and what’s the guarantee that this person will even show up? I mean they didn’t turn up the last time they called me to the woods!

As I glance at my reflection in my full-length floor mirror I look down at my outfit, I’m wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a large cardigan, and ankle boots. I wanted to wear something comfortable but also something that would be easy to give a straight butt-whooping.

On that note, I changed my jeans into some blue shorts instead, now that’s better, and it’s easy for me to raise my leg without any restrictions when I need to give a good ol’ roundhouse kick.

Picking up my crossbody bag I sling it on my shoulder, my phone pinged and when I look at it, it's my boss, rolling my eyes I decide to ignore it when my phone started ringing.

“Sir, I’ve already clocked out, can’t this wait until Monday?” I ask him both politely but firmly.

“Where’s the fun in that? The edits for the article you wrote have returned, so you need to come and collect them,” he told me.

I sighed annoyed; this man never lets me rest! I can go and collect them, no problem, but then he’s going to tell me I have to get it all corrected by tomorrow! Which if you ask me is not fair!

“Fine. But you’ll get them back on Wednesday,” I state, quickly.

There’s a minute’s pause before he speaks up again.

“Fine,” he says, before ending the call.

Okay this should only take 15 minutes, and then from there it’s half an hour to the café, so I’ll get there 15 minutes early, okay this is doable. I get to the office and luckily my files are at the reception desk which makes life a lot easier.

I thank the receptionist, go back to my car, put everything in the back seat and then make my way to the café, once I get there, I stay in my car for about 5 minutes to collect my thoughts and calm my racing heart.

I grab the pepper spray from my glovebox and see that I also have a letter opener in there, I contemplate for a few seconds to whether or not I should take a letter opener but decide it's better to be safe than sorry, placing both items in my bag I get out.

The cool air touches my face making me calm a little, I guess the constricting air of my car wasn’t helping with my nerves, as I look up memories flood back in my mind, I haven’t come here in 10 years, and it looks a little different, more modern, I guess a lot of things have changed in 10 years.

In some ways, even I have changed in the last 10 years, not just with the way I look or the way I dress, but the way I speak, the way I think, and the way I carry myself, I’ve become a lot more mature, more confident.

Channelling the confidence and strength inside me, I open the doors and step inside, once I do the smell of coffee hits me in the face in the most amazing way that I start to feel nostalgic, I walk up to the till and order something I haven’t in a long time.

“One Vanilla latte please,” I smile.

Once I’ve got it, I turn around and what I see shocks me to my core, at the far back corner, the place I used to sit once with my friends, was Emi, Daisuke, and Kaz! I stand there for about two seconds, I blink until someone bumps into me breaking my trance, once I know it’s real, I slowly make my way there.

My heels click against the floorboards and once I’m close I open my mouth to speak but nothing comes up, I clear my throat which then gets everyone’s attention, and they look at me with wide eyes.

Finally, Emi gets up pulling me in a bone-crushing hug, I wrap my arms around her and bury my face in her shoulder, she’s still taller than me, she’s still wearing that ponytail that she used to, my best friend that I once knew hasn’t changed one bit.

When she lets me go, I make my way to hug Daisuke, I wrap my arms around his waist while he wraps his around me, he hasn’t changed either, except his hair is a little longer than it was before.

Kaz gets up and we look at each other for a few minutes before I jump wrapping my arms around his neck, his arms are around my waist and he lifts me slightly, I take a deep breath inhaling his strong citrusy but musky scent, a few tears roll down my cheeks, I’ve missed this, I’ve missed him, heck I’ve missed them all!

We pull apart and a few tears escaped his eyes which I wipe away before he does the same to me, he kisses my forehead before pulling out the chair next to the one sitting on for me.

“I’ve missed you guys so much,” I say reaching across the table and holding Emi’s hand.

“I’ve missed you too,” she says.

“How have you all been?” I ask.

We all tell each other what we’ve been doing for the past 10 years before just sitting in comfortable silence and basking in each other’s company.

I feel Kazuki’s hand grab mine under the table, he strokes my knuckles with his thumb before locking his fingers with mine, his hand feels warm, and his grip is loose but firm like he’s afraid if he lets go, I’ll disappear.

A few more comfortable minutes go by before I ask the question I’ve been wondering for a while, “Did you all get an anonymous message as well?”

Kazuki and Emi all nod slowly.

“He said we’ll know who he is,” Emi told us, her voice low.

“Same,” I say.

“I wonder who he is,” Kazuki asks as he stares blankly at the napkins in the middle of the table.

No one speaks for a few seconds, but I notice that Daisuke was shifting uncomfortably in this seat.

“You okay, Daisuke?” I asked.

He flinched; it was barely noticeable but I noticed it.

“Yeah.” He stated.

“You sure? You’ve been quiet,” I raised an eyebrow.

Now it wasn’t just me but Emi and Kaz looking at him too, with the three of us glaring at him, he took a deep breath and admitted to something I never think he would.

“I may have been the anonymous person to send those messages,”

The three of us stare at him shocked.

“WHAT?” we yelled.

He nodded and I felt hand my curl into a tight fist.

God, grant me patience and not strength because if you give me strength, I’m gonna end up killing his idiot!