Chapter 5 - Beta-feigning Omega
Everyone at the office thought that the mother had left the child and run away. It was a fairly common thing to happen in this line of work, so he didn’t even need to fabricate any details. All he needed to do was smile bitterly, and everyone else did the storytelling. It was a fairly useful excuse until recently.
Rose’s sympathy toward the “piteous single dad” began to turn into romantic interest ever since she had gotten divorced a few months ago. Of course, this wasn’t at all favorable to Josh.
Ignoring Josh’s clear rejection, Rose closed her face in. “But doesn’t your son need a mother? Poor boy, he’s at that age where he must be missing his mom… There hasn’t been any news from his mother, has there?”
Josh scrunched up his brows ever so slightly. A night of sex, no strings attached, was one thing; he couldn’t meet Rose’s expectations in the way she hoped.
“Wait, Rose—this is too close,” he warned.
His attempt to keep her back didn’t stop her. Rose puckered out her lips even more and closed her eyes. She was definitely trying to kiss him. As her lips came very close to touching his, Josh blocked them with his hand.
Rose, who had ended up pressing her lips against Josh’s palm, shot open her eyes.
Having met her eyes right in front of their noses, Josh smiled gently. “I don’t want to see you and her fighting over me, Rose.”
Rose jolted at his warm voice before squinting. “But she’s not here.”
“Well, who knows? She might appear any moment.”
“You’re teasing me, aren’t you?” said Rose, creasing her brows.
Josh shushed her and whispered, “Listen! I hear footsteps coming closer. Maybe she’s already here.”
“What?” Rose exclaimed and turned around, unable to hide her disbelief. Just then, the door abruptly flung open.
“What is this? What are y’all doing so early in the morning?”
It was their boss who appeared, gruffly replacing his greetings with questions. Rose panicked and hastily propped herself up.
Josh sat up and greeted him back as if nothing had happened. “Hello, Mark.”
“Were you waiting for me?”
Mark glanced at Rose as she hurriedly turned around and smoothed out her attire before walking straight into his office. Josh quickly followed after him and closed the door behind them.
“Phew,” Josh sighed exaggeratedly.
Mark, who was making his way around his desk, glanced at Josh behind his shoulders. “Why don’t you just go along with it? It must be hard for you to raise a kid alone.”
He was saying the same thing as Rose. Josh repeated the lie that he had already told countless times. “The mom will come back when she’s done with her education.”
“Yeah, sure,” Mark replied flatly and lodged a cigarette between his lips. Josh quit smoking back when he was pregnant with Pete. He had never smoked since.
He stood as far away from Mark as possible so that the stench wouldn’t seep into his clothes and began, “Mark, would it be possible for me to get a payday advance?”
“Payday advance? How much?”
“Geh!” Mark suddenly began to cough violently. Josh grew so scared that Mark might stop breathing that he subconsciously recalled the steps for CPR. After finally regaining his breath, Mark asked doubtfully, “Did you gamble?”
“No,” Josh shook his head and answered honestly, “My mother is sick, and I need some money.”
“You mentioned that she suffers from chronic illness, right? Is it her blood pressure?”
“Yes, and kidney problems… a few different things,” Josh replied with hardly any emotion in his voice. Since he didn’t want to appeal to Mark’s sympathy, he spilled the words that he had prepared as formally as possible. “I’m also behind on some hospital fees… I do have a bit of savings, but nowhere near the amount I need. Is there anything that could be done by any chance?”
Mark silently puffed on his cigarette. Was there really much room for leniency at this small security company?
After a long contemplation, Mark sighed and replied, “…I’ll think about it.”
He didn’t say no, but he seemed very hard-pressed about something. Josh was curious, but he didn’t think he would get an answer even if he probed.
“I’ll take any kind of work… even if it’s just building security,” Josh reiterated before stepping out.
Mark grumbled, “How are you gonna get 10k just from building security work? Talk about realistic.”
Josh could only smile awkwardly before exiting the office. Behind him, Mark was still smoking with a serious expression on his face.
The child, who had been under the care of Mrs. Robert, beamed as soon as he saw Josh’s face before pinching his nose.
“You smell like smoke, Daddy!” he reprimanded.
Josh quickly brushed off every corner of his body. Pete waited until he was ready and stretched out his arms. Josh swooped up the child and rubbed his lips against his round cheek.
When Josh blew raspberries, Pete twisted his body, unable to bear the ticklishness. The boy seemed to have been gifted a new toy by Mrs. Robert yet again. A small, unfamiliar car was in the grasp of an equally small hand.
When Josh glanced toward Mrs. Robert, she smiled and explained, “I just decided to get it. It reminded me of Pete when I was passing by.”
Josh felt bad turning down her goodwill, so he smiled and thanked her instead. He didn’t forget to make Pete thank her, too.
“Did anything happen in particular? Pete wasn’t being naughty or anything?” asked Josh.
“Pete’s a sweetheart as usual. I’ll be okay with you coming back later, even. After all, I very much enjoy the time I spend with Pete. You’re always welcome, so don’t you worry about it,” reassured Mrs. Robert.
Her gentle smile showed that her words were genuine. Since Mrs. Robert, who was living off of her pension, had given Pete a gift, Josh felt the need to return the favor somehow.
‘Now that I think about it, she said that her bathroom light had gone out,’ he thought.
Josh glanced past her shoulders before changing the subject and asking, “Is there anything you need fixing? I have today off and got some time on my hands.”
Vol. 1 now available on Amazon Kindle. It has been edited and formatted for ebook and print release. Please leave a review and ratings on the book. It helps us tremendously! Your continuous support allows us to provide you more official content.
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