Chapter 59 - Offer Accepted
Moreover, Keith’s decisions always proved right. The ending of a movie that everyone refused to accept and voted against was once praised as the year’s best closing scene. There were also times when he cast nameless actors and turned them into stars in one leap. Would Keith’s decision be correct this time as well? Everyone had their doubts, but there was no choice but to follow him.
On top of that, he saw to it that Chase would be given multiple times the compensation for the role change. I recalled the endless trail of zeros that was printed on the contract.
I belatedly added, “Then please tell me what he wanted to do, what he disliked, or what he wanted to fix.”
He didn’t answer. I waited patiently.
“Well, um…” The manager was forced to open his mouth. He hesitantly continued, “He said that he wanted to tell you that directly, and asked to decide on a date to meet.”
“Hahh…” I ended up sighing deeply out loud.
It was common in this field for popular stars to come up with their own conditions and give a hard time to the production companies. However, being so prideful against Keith Knight Pittman was unheard of. Was this wild act only possible because Chase was one of the Millers?
“Understood. I will report this to him, but I can’t guarantee that he will accept it.”
“Of course,” he, too, replied unenergetically to my warning.
When I realized that this man was in no better position than me, I felt sympathetic. How could this race of Extreme Alphas be so lacking in compassion toward others?
“Hahh…” I sighed deeply once again.
Just then, I heard the faint sound of a car rolling in from outside. Keith was coming back. I quickly got up and left the reception room.
When I opened the front door, I saw Charles standing at the bottom of the stairs. He was preparing to welcome Keith. The car, which was approaching from a distance not too far from us, drew a large circle around the small garden in the middle. As the car came to a halt and Keith was getting out, I stood beside Charles and waited.
Whitaker exited first and immediately walked—basically ran—over to Keith’s car to open the door for him. Keith, who got off the car last, lifted his head. He spotted me and jolted. It was probably an obvious response to an unexpected situation. I wondered if there was really a need for him to jolt like that just because he saw me, but I let it go without thinking too deeply about it and waited for Charles to open his mouth first.
“Welcome back. Should I prepare for your shower?”
Keith indifferently brushed past the butler, who was asking a fixed question in a monotone voice, and answered simply, “No.” On these kinds of days, he usually showered over there and didn’t shower again when he came back home. Keith’s reply was once again just as anticipated.
He added disinterestedly as usual, “It’s fine. You’re dismissed.”
Charles nodded shortly and turned around. Keith turned his back toward him and walked straight toward me. To be exact, I just happened to be standing in his path.
Keith had a cigarette wedged between his lips, which he probably smoked throughout the ride. As he approached closer, I caught a faint scent of his pheromones mixed together with the usual cigarette smoke. I consciously tried not to smell the body wash that must be mixed in there somewhere, even though I knew that it couldn’t be done by will.
I continued to stare at his face and wait for him until Keith finally stepped onto the same step I was standing on and opened his mouth.
“What is it?” he asked, with his cigarette still lodged between his lips.
Every time he moved his lips, the cigarette bobbed up and down. For a moment, I wished in vain that I was his cigarette. However, when my thought reached the fact that its final moments would be being thrown onto the floor without hesitation once its use had been satisfied, I returned to reality.
Keith was still looking at me. Barely suppressing my beating heart before his cold gaze, I replied as usual, “I was in a call with Mr. Chase Miller’s manager. He doesn’t like the new conditions and would like to speak to you face-to-face.”
Keith’s eyebrows twitched. He pulled out the cigarette from his mouth. “Chase wants to see me?”
I glanced at him and tried to read the room, feeling anxious inside. What if he got angry? It was possible since it was Keith we were talking about. I desperately tried to think of how I would react if that happened. Since Charles was here, thankfully, I would be able to receive some help. I felt a little relieved when Keith unexpectedly sighed in exasperation.
He bit down on the cigarette that was hanging from his long fingers and pulled it out once again before opening his mouth. “When?”
“Huh?” I ended up showing a stupid reaction once more.
This time, Keith’s face actually crumpled into a scowl.
Before I set his temper on fire again, I quickly recited his schedule. “They didn’t specify an exact date or time, but as for you… you’re free next Tuesday for lunch.”
“Then slot it in.”
“…Understood.” I was dazed for a moment when the conversation ended so effortlessly. I was sure that he would be extremely angry or something of the like, but it had been wrapped up so anticlimactically. Had Keith expected something like this to happen?
While our exchange happened, Charles was holding the door open and waiting for Keith. Keith brushed past Charles like it was the obvious thing to do and stepped inside. I belatedly followed after him and hastily moved my legs. Keith began to climb a long set of stairs to head to his room on the second floor. Since my room wasn’t far from his room, it unintentionally seemed almost as if I were following him.
As I continued to walk behind him, he twitched and turned toward me. “Is there something more to say?”
We were merely heading in the same direction, but instead of telling him the truth, I decided to ask him what I was curious about.
“Um, what kind of condition do you think Mr. Miller wants to put forward?” I quickly justified my question, “If there is anything you have in mind, I would at least like to prepare for it. That way, the contract can be signed smoothly.”
Without so much as batting an eye, Keith said nonchalantly, “Nothing much.”
I managed to stop myself from exclaiming ‘Huh?’ once more, but I opened my eyes widely instead.
Keith continued annoyedly, “He just wants to give me a hard time. He’s just like that.”
“I see…” I tilted my head in confusion.
Keith pulled out another cigarette and began, “Tell Grayson…”
He stopped himself in the middle of the sentence. When I heard Grayson’s name, I also flinched, but this was about work. I quietly waited for Keith to open his mouth again.
After a short silence, he said, “Never mind. It’s fine.”
“…Understood.” Since I didn’t have anything more to say, I shut my mouth.
The sound of his and my footsteps was the only sound that quietly echoed amidst the silence. Just as we reached the second-floor hallway, Keith sighed out a long puff of cigarette smoke.
I thoughtlessly blurted out, “Are you tired?”
Keith glanced over his shoulders. Feeling like I had asked an intrusive question, I quickly tried to change the subject.
However, to my surprise, Keith opened his mouth first. “A little.”
‘Did he have a lot of work recently?’ I hastily wondered, staring at Keith’s back as he continued to walk at the same pace.
Now that I thought about it, Keith didn’t seem to be feeling too great recently. Whenever I said something to him, he reacted after missing a beat, and he often seemed to be staring into space. It was hard to pinpoint it, but even Keith had admitted it himself.
I wondered about what could have been the cause, but nothing came to mind. Steward’s comment suddenly popped into my head, but I soon denied the possibility. There was no way that it was because his pheromones were piling up and messing with his head. After all, Keith was seeing Naomi even more often than before. Even tonight, he was on his way back from the hotel.
I felt a hint of bitterness and hesitated before opening my mouth. “Um, would you like me to give you a short massage?”
Keith came to a sudden halt—so blatantly that it almost made me feel flustered. He slowly turned his head and stared at my face.
My face flushed red in embarrassment. “Well… I learned it as a part-time job…”
Keith lifted off the cigarette from his lips. After briefly breathing out the smoke, he asked, “Learned how to give a massage?”
“Yes,” I nodded. “I used to do part-time jobs to support my living costs… Oh, I also have certification, if my skill was what you were concerned about.”
Keith slowly took his cigarette to his mouth. The silence during the mere few seconds that it took until he breathed out the smoke once again heavily pressed onto my shoulders. “Come to my room in 10 minutes.”
Despite having clearly heard what Keith had said, I doubted my ears. I only came to my senses when the door quietly closed.
‘In 10 minutes.’
I desperately put my hand over my mouth to suppress my scream.
* * *
Ten minutes was too short a time to calm me down. I took multiple deep breaths, sang the national anthem but forgot the lyrics so frantically searched the internet, read some poetry, then took some more deep breaths. The methods I used to calm myself down just made me more jittery. When I belatedly checked the time, 13 minutes had passed.
‘Of course, it had to be the number 13.’ Feeling unlucky, I rushed out of my room. At times like this, what Keith had once said always came to mind. Thanks to that, I never forgot to check myself out even among all the kerfuffle.
“What’s up with this beaten-down getup?”
My heart began to throb again, but I endured it and stood before Keith’s door. It had probably been 15 minutes by now. I was five whole minutes late. I took another deep breath before knocking.
I could visibly see my hand trembling, but I somehow managed to knock on the door properly. I opened the door after a few seconds of silence.
The same landscape of the room that I had seen that morning entered my sight. Even the mocking smile of the goddess as she stared down at me was the same. I ignored the goddess of love and beauty and instead looked straight ahead.
Keith had already changed. He was wearing a pair of comfortable cotton pants and was shirtless. It was to be expected since I had offered him a massage, but I couldn’t decide where to place my gaze and lowered my head. However, his torso that I had already gotten a glimpse of was already deeply imprinted into my mind.
My heart pounded like it was going to explode. In fact, I could barely hear anything thanks to the sound of my heart. If my whole body’s senses hadn’t been focused solely on Keith, I wouldn’t even have noticed that he was moving.
Keith merely glanced at me before turning away his body. I saw him climb onto his bed from my peripherals.
“Um, it would be great… ahem, if I had some lotion.” My voice broke, and I frantically cleared my throat. Keith didn’t say anything in particular as he pointed at the bathroom in one corner of his room. I quickly moved my body and headed into the bathroom.
The layout of the bathroom was not too different from the one that was attached to my room. The only difference was that it was much larger. The toiletries inside were also fairly similar. I noticed some simple over-the-counter medicine like painkillers where I would also put my medicine, and I quickly found the lotion.
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