Chapter 58 - Crow
“…So I told them that I would submit a report by today. I will contact the director again and confirm the progress. You don’t have anything scheduled for lunch, but you have a meeting with your lawyer at three. She will bring a copy of the contract that will be signed with Mr. Chase Miller. Lastly, Mr. Grayson Miller left a message asking you to call back…” On the way to work, I reported dryly using a voice that had no emotion whatsoever. All the while, Keith didn’t say a word.
I continued to read through the daily schedule until the end in the exact same tone. If it were Grayson Miller, he would have cheekily pointed out, “So boring. Are you trying to make me fall asleep?” Keith, of course, did no such thing. All he did was smoke his cigarette while staring ahead. I finished reading out the schedule and waited for his reaction.
Keith was not at all different from usual. My memory of him sitting on the balcony as he leaned against the guardrails last night felt like a dream. Perhaps the incident had no significant meaning at all. All he did was look down, and maybe we just met eyes by chance.
It was just my empty hope giving it another meaning.
I smiled bitterly for a second before hastily returning my expression back to normal. I glanced toward Keith, but he didn’t seem to be interested in me at all, as expected. He would never even know that my facial expression had collapsed for a moment. I felt relieved but also, as usual, wistful.
‘Now that I think…’
I remembered that the contents in my bottle of medicine had been reduced greatly when I checked this morning. It was not surprising that I was running out faster than I had accounted for, since I was taking more than usual. Recalling what Charles had offered, I pulled out my phone. Just in case I didn’t have time to stop by the pharmacy, I was planning on sending him a message asking him to refill the medicine. In any case, if I were to continue taking them at this pace, it would be good to have them stocked—the more, the better.
‘I also have to pick up my things.’
A much longer time had passed than I had anticipated. Until now, Charles prepared everything that I needed for me. He even gave me a suit to wear to work. It was Keith’s orders, but that didn’t make me feel any more comfortable. I told myself that I would go shopping to buy myself one or go home to pick up my things as soon as I got better.
‘If I get better enough to do all that, shouldn’t I just go back home?’ I quickly brushed off the momentary thought. I would just focus on the task before my eyes.
I was speedily punching out the message when Keith opened his mouth. “What business did Grayson have?”
I quickly sent the message and immediately put my phone back in to answer Keith’s question. “There was no explanation. His message only asked for you to contact him.”
Keith knitted his brows without a word. Though he was never the chatty type, being closer to him than before made me relive that fact more clearly than ever. Every morning, I went to work in the same car as him. I reported his daily schedule to him in the car every day and waited for his next order, but I could never get used to this repeating silence. It always messed with my heart.
“Tell Chase Miller…”
“Yes, Mr. Pittman?” I replied right away.
He inhaled his last smoke and rubbed the finished cigarette against the ashtray to extinguish it. “…To change his role from Sebastian to Crow.”
“Pardon me?” I asked in reflex before hastily shutting my mouth. I took a moment before adding, “That would be a supporting role, not a main role.”
Keith didn’t say anything. All he did was shift his gaze and glance at me.
I immediately replied, “Understood. What should we do about the main actor, then?”
“Just find some suitable candidate and use them.”
“Yes, sir,” I replied politely and quickly noted it down. There were a lot of places I needed to call as soon as we arrived at work.
A recollection of his face struck me. He was currently the most popular actor in Hollywood and the third child of the Millers. Unsurprisingly, he too was an Extreme Alpha—one with the purple eyes that were characteristic of Extreme Alphas and the gaudy blond hair that belonged to the Millers.
“He’d have to dye his hair black,” I caught myself muttering. I quickly added, “Of course, it would still suit him.”
An awkward silence took place as Keith just stared quietly at some documents. Feeling ill at ease, I desperately checked over the schedule. I scribbled in some necessary items with my pen before opening my mouth without much thought.
“What would you like to do in the evening? Would you like me to invite Ms. Naomi Parker to a hotel?”
He still didn’t say anything. I waited for a bit before looking up. He somewhat seemed to be lost in thought.
I gazed at his side profile as I asked once again, “Mr Pittman, should I call Ms. Parker to a hotel?”
“What?” He turned toward me a beat late. I realized that Keith hadn’t been listening to what I had said. At the same time, our eyes met without warning.
My heart abruptly sank and pounded like crazy. I swallowed my breath but couldn’t avert his gaze. Keith didn’t shift his gaze, either.
The spacious interior of the sedan suddenly felt unreasonably tight. It was getting harder to breathe. I exchanged shallow breaths, all the while not even daring to blink. Keith merely continued to stare at me. To be precise, he was staring at my lips. My lips became completely parched under the pierce of his gaze. Unable to endure the moment, I slid out my tongue and licked them. The faint scar that remained on my lips stung, as if I had been burned by his gaze.
Just then, Keith scrunched up his brows slightly. He opened his mouth like he was about to say something. “You know…”
I tensed up as if all my senses had gone into my hearing. I stiffened my whole body so that I wouldn’t miss even his softest breath.
However, Keith didn’t say anything more. All he did was continue to stare at me with a scowl. I merely waited for his next words.
Keith didn’t seem to be planning on saying anything more. I watched as he lifted up his arm without so much as blinking. His slender fingers were approaching my cheek. My breath became so ragged that it almost made me dizzy.
‘Should I say that it’s because of his pheromones? Will Keith be fooled again?’
‘No, could I even lie?’
‘If that hand touches me…’
Just as I subconsciously closed my eyes, a ringtone suddenly sounded. I hesitantly lifted up my eyelids. Keith was still staring at me with his hand directed toward me.
The phone continued to ring. Beethoven’s piano sonata was the only thing that shakily lingered in the air in that silence.
I thought I heard Keith sigh briefly before he retracted his hand. Regrettably, his hand backed away from me without having touched me. I had to clench my fists with all my might in order to suppress my desire to grab his hand and kiss it.
While Keith was on a call, I finally managed to renew my resolve and calm my head. As I slowly regulated my breath, the gentle scent of his pheromones grazed the tip of my nose at last. I saw a familiar building outside the window. We would be arriving soon.
“Tell her to come to the hotel,” Keith said suddenly after hanging up.
I blanked out for a moment before comprehending his words. “I will pass it on to Ms. Parker. Would seven o’clock work? You don’t have any dinner appointments tonight.”
When I asked as formally as ever, Keith nodded briefly. He didn’t look in my direction anymore. I muttered some simple words of confirmation and quickly jotted it down on one side of the schedule document, intentionally shifting my gaze downward so as to not let him find out about my mixed feelings.
After work, Keith dropped me off at the mansion and headed straight to the hotel. This happened often, but watching him drive away left me bitter and made it difficult to walk away.
My schedule thereafter was the same as always. I ate the dinner that Charles had prepared and had a session with Steward, who had visited me.
“We could now adjust these sessions to about twice a week and put you on meds,” he said as he pulled out the medicine from his pocket. They were the kind that he gave me whenever I lost control. “If you feel like you’re going to have a panic attack, take this. If it still doesn’t help, you can take an additional dose of this one.”
The second medicine that he gave me was unfamiliar to me. I curiously examined all sides of its container.
Steward explained, “Take these only when the first meds don’t seem to help. Even then, it’s better if you don’t take them if possible. As effective as it may be, it comes with greater side effects. Take the first meds to start, and if you really don’t think it’s working, take the second one. But what’s important is for you to try to calm down. If you do end up taking the second meds, give me a call. I’ll have to check on how you’re feeling and how the effects take place.”
I nodded in agreement at Steward’s repeated advice and rechecked the order of the medicine.
“Phew.” When I exaggeratedly moved my shoulders and breathed deeply, Steward smiled bitterly and patted my shoulders. I flinched out of reflex, but I didn’t stiffen up like I used to. Steward nodded proudly.
I saw Steward out and returned to the reception room. When I was left alone, a sigh automatically escaped my mouth. As I sat there blankly, I heard music coming from afar.
At first, I didn’t realize what it was. I merely blinked my eyes before finally snapping out of it. I frantically pulled out my phone and checked who had called. It was Chase Miller’s manager.
“Yes, sorry for picking up late. What is it?” I quickly brought the phone to my ear and apologized.
The person on the other side began, “No, I should be the one apologizing for calling so late. I thought it would be best to relay Chase’s message as soon as possible.”
“Yes, of course. It’s absolutely fine.” I quickly got ready to take notes. The manager followed with a sigh. I was struck with a bad premonition.
“He said he didn’t like the conditions.”
I almost spat out a groan without realizing. I had almost forgotten. Chase Miller wasn’t such an easy man. Changing roles must not be an easy course of action in an actor’s perspective, but there were some people who could be negotiated with and some who couldn’t. Chase was most definitely the latter.
“He doesn’t like the conditions?” I asked again.
The manager replied apologetically from across the phone, “Yes. Chase said he would like to void this contract. Since the contract was first changed on your side, it must be possible without any fault on our—”
“Wait, please wait!” I desperately cut him off. “I thought you had accepted it when I called you this afternoon. I gave a notice that the role would be changed, and we decided that we would readjust the details of the contract after I sent you the exact changes by document—”
“We did say that, but what can I do? Chase says that he doesn’t like what’s written in the contract.” Once again, his deep sigh trickled out from the other side of the phone.
For a moment, I was stumped and at a loss for words. What in the world did he not like about it? We had offered him much better conditions than what we had offered before. We held a meeting specifically for Chase Miller’s role change and rewrote the contract through the lawyer.
The changes to the contract that was made accordingly to match the role change were, thankfully, accepted without much objection. However, the board members still couldn’t seem to accept why Chase Miller had been cast as a supporting role as opposed to the main role. However, since they had been recently criticized about some details on multiple occasions, nobody dared ask Keith why.
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