Chapter 25 - An Unexpected Visit
Emma called out and stopped me as I was about to walk into the hallway. I saw her face filled with fear and shook my head gently but firmly. “That is something that you have to do from now on, Emma.”
I bid my farewell and turned around once more. Emma no longer tried to stop me. However, I didn’t need to see with my own eyes to picture the worried look she must have had on her face as she stood there. She would be confused at first due to the suddenness of the situation, but Emma was quick to catch on. She had also worked in my stead whenever I was away, so she would be able to get to work fairly quickly. In any case, if there came a day when I no longer held the position of secretary, she would have taken my place. It was a matter of whether it happened sooner or later.
‘Now then, who should I ask to be my reference?’ I thought as I returned home, a little less anxious than I had been leaving the house. Even so, I made sure to bolt every lock into my house and leaned a chair against the door when I returned home.
That was a week ago.
Since then, I had been chilling at home all day. Emma called me many times during the first few days, but even this gradually grew less frequent. I felt a little melancholic, but this was the reality. When someone quit, there was always someone else to replace them. The belief that only I could do something was the most dangerous and meaningless.
I had to start pulling myself together.
I lightly shook my head to free myself of idle thoughts. As I turned my steering wheel and drove into the parking lot, I told myself that I would start looking for a job starting tomorrow.
* * *
I quickly finished grabbing groceries from a supermarket. Just as I was loading the groceries into my car trunk, I felt a sudden vibration in my pocket. I flinched and pulled out my phone. It was an unknown number. After a moment of hesitation, I pressed accept.
As soon as I said my first word, a piercing scream stabbed my ear. “You damn bastard! What the hell happened?”
My eardrums throbbed from the shrill, soprano screech that came out of nowhere. I reflexively lifted the phone off my ear and blocked my painful ear.
“…Who is this?” I replied, scowling as I held the phone away from my ear.
She continued to scream at the top of her lungs, “Son of a—! How could you let this happen? Who do you think I am?! Did you think I backed down just to be treated like—”
Since she was just repeating what she had to say instead of answering me, I decided to just hang up. More than anything, it was difficult to listen to her jarring screech. Just as I was about to press the button, however, I was struck with an idea as to who she might be.
“Miss Kate Elisa?” I took the chance to gently ask when she fell silent. She once again began to scream immediately.
“Yeah, you only just realized? Dumb motherf*cker.”
If she were in front of me, I would have punched her in the face. Of course, that was what I thought in my brain—even if she were actually in front of me, I wouldn’t have been able to lay a finger on her. Back to reality, I sighed and listened until she calmed down a little, waiting for a chance to speak.
I kept the phone away from my ear as I got into the car. I realized that I had been distracted from my fear at that moment when her voice finally died down.
When I took the opportunity and called out her name, she immediately pranced at me as if to eat me alive. I sat down in the driver’s seat and made sure to lock the door before intentionally speaking more slowly and calmly than usual. “Please calm down and listen to me. First, do tell me why you called me all of a sudden. I can’t help you when you’re so aggravated.”