The silver lining of this all was that there was no way that Keith would fire me–at least, for now.
If I thought about it with a cool head, the answer was as clear as day. I had to weather through this no matter what.
‘Coming this far, what was the point in trying to uphold my dignity?’ I berated myself ruefully.
“Emma, are you busy today by any chance?” Near the end of the workday, I went down to the secretary’s office and asked.
Emma was gathering her things and looked up at me questioningly. “No, not really. Is there more work for me to do?”
Worried that I would ask them to work overtime, Rachel and Jane tensed. I grinned wryly and said, “No, nothing like that. If it’s all right with you, I was wondering if you could give me a ride back home. In return, I’ll treat you to dinner.”
“Oh my God!” Jane exclaimed, and Rachel quickly jabbed her elbow in her colleague’s side.
“Then, we’ll be leaving first,” Rachel said, quickly slinging her bag on her arm. Jane also hastily said goodbye.
Emma waved at them and then turned back to me. “Dropping you off is no big deal, Yeonwoo. You don’t have to buy me dinner.”
“I want to. I owe you so much, Emma, and I need to eat something tonight anyway,” I said while grinning, and she laughed along with me.
“If that’s the case, that sounds good. Truth be told, I was exhausted from trying to read Mr. Pittman’s mood throughout the business trip.” Emma sighed as she shook her head, then she asked, “But you’re going back home? Does that mean you’re not living at Mr. Pittman’s place anymore?”
“Yes,” I replied, “I’m fine now. I’m all better.”
“Goodness, that’s good to hear.” Emma looked visibly glad for me. “Then shall we meet on the ground floor? I’ll bring my car to the front.”
“Sure. Thank you,” I thanked her and headed back to the office. I knocked at the same time as always and opened the door to see Keith wearing his suit jacket. I told him with an impassive face. “The preparations are complete. You simply need to head to the hotel. I have some matters to attend to, so I will be taking my leave.”
Keith froze. I told him goodbye tersely and exited the office right away. As soon as I got on the elevator, I took the medicine that Dr. Stuart gave me. It was the real deal, not the placebo. As the elevator descended, I took in some deep breaths to calm down.
“Yeonwoo,” Whitaker, who was waiting at the front door, called me.
I greeted him like always. “Mr. Pittman will be coming down shortly.”
“How come you came down alone? Is there a message that you need to pass along to me?” Whitaker asked, perplexed.
I shook my head and replied, “No. I’ll be leaving first–I have a prior commitment. As I had told you in our call earlier, Mr. Pittman is due to meet his new partner at the hotel, so you can go home after your tasks are done.”
“What?” Whitaker’s eyes grew round, but not because he didn’t understand what I said. I merely told him goodbye and walked away.
There was one time that I had left work alone in my car. Although, I had received Keith’s help in the end because of an unanticipated meeting and panic attack. Since then, this was the first time that I was riding in someone else’s car by myself. It felt weird. I felt like I was left behind in an unfamiliar place—an unfamiliar and lonely feeling. I shook my head as if to brush those thoughts away.
Not long after, I saw Emma’s car. I opened the passenger side door and got in.
“Are you okay with Italian? I found a decent place.”
Emma smiled and nodded. “I love Italian. I’m looking forward to it.”
“That’s good to hear.”