Chapter 1: First Day
Imaizumi Yui never loved something as much as she loved her newest job. It might be a position lower than her last, but the workplace was friendly and accommodating; plus her apartment’s a bus ride away from the building. Actually, this might be her big break after so many months of being jobless.
“Get the fuck out of my office, now!”
Well, that’s a start.
“If you’re gonna slander this company then might as well quit!”
A girl emerges from the said office, face pale in horror. Imaizumi suddenly feels chill sliding down her spine; it’s her first day at work and she could already feel her desk position crying.
Suddenly, a girl with a cup of coffee walks out of the break room. “Oh, you must be the new girl.”
Imaizumi bows deeply. “I’m Imaizumi Yui. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Such a nice name,” the girl extends her free hand, “I’m Koike Minami.”
Minami smiles and Imaizumi returns. She turns to the office door with a gold plate engraved with ‘Kobayashi’. The coworker immediately realizes the thought running through the new girl’s mind. “Don’t worry, it happens one in a billion. And I’m sure you had a share of the same scenarios in your old workplace, right?”
“Eh, it’s better, I guess.” She replies, “Although I never saw someone getting supposedly fired privately but ended up getting humiliated with these many people.”
Koike chuckles. “That’s Kobayashi Yui for you.”
Kobayashi Yui. She’s heard the name a couple of times but never really saw her in person. Except for news magazines, where she was featured for being the youngest yet the highest shareholder in the stock market in all of Japan. She’s literally a powerhouse, considering their age gaps and how really young she is. Heck, she could even fire people in just a snap of her fingers, and the thought alone scares her to hell.
“Your desk is supposed to be right there,” she points at the furthest place at the back, “But since someone just got newly fired then I recommend you taking her place, right there beside my stall.”
“Oh that’s goo— wait, you know she’s getting fired?”
“More or less, yeah. Kobayashi-san talked to me before the whole humiliating incident even happened.”
Imaizumi gulps. She seems like the type of person who has already taken measures once her mind’s been set. And she wasn’t even bothered in the slightest if one or two employees were instantly removed. It’s like she thinks they’re easily replaceable.
Christ, just how powerful is she?
“Koike,” Minami’s receiver could be heard from Imaizumi’s desk, “Come here for a while please.”
Minami scrambles on her desk for the pile of papers she was working on a little while ago. She presses the receiver to reply a quick “In a moment!” before she fixes herself in front of her little mirror.
Imaizumi never saw such a terrified employee in all the places she had worked for. Was it already normal?
“Do I look formal?” Koike asks, “Nervous? Or anything?”
The girl taps the last word in her laptop before turning to her supposed-to-be-senior. “Y-Yeah you do—“
“Okay see ya later!”
Imaizumi sighs as she scratched her head. Her first day isn’t going the same way as she thinks, but somehow there’s something strange she can’t seem to place her thoughts on.
At the same time she isn’t supposed to be thinking something else, because she’s currently writing a report on one of the company’s recent fashion events— an event wherein she wasn’t a part of the company that time, but fortunately she was able to watch the runway when she conveniently had the time.
“Wow you sure write a lot for reports,” Another girl peeks from Minami’s desk, “Can you do mine?”
“Just kidding, just kidding,” she laughs and waves. She emerges from the stall and extends out a hand. “I haven’t seen you here before by the way. I’m Shida Manaka.”
“Oh— Oh. Hi.” Imaizumi shakes Shida’s hand for a brief moment. She’s good-looking, blonde and obviously dyed but still looking sharp. There’s a cool presence surrounding her, and a friendly one at that. “I-I guess you’re my senior too then.”
“Hmm,” Shida squints and examines her closer, her fingers on her chin as if thinking about something. “Err, no. We’re the same age.”
“You’re a ‘98, you’re obviously a ‘98.”
“I’m sorry, what? How did you—“
“It’s a skill,” She winks, “Don’t tell anyone else.”
Imaizumi tilts her head in confusion, particularly at how eccentric she was. She goes back to her post, but Manaka still didn’t. She’s still staring at her working like a cat. “Have you met Yui yet?”
“Yui?” She raises a brow at how casual she was able to say her name on a first name basis. “You mean, Kobayashi-san, right?”
“Well everyone technically calls her that, since they like sucking up to her— oh, don’t get offended by that though, I specifically know everyone’s motives around her when I see them.”
“Oh you know, pay raise, promotion, a seat in her car, the good stuff. Even different CEOs from other corps try to suck up to her, taking advantage of her young age and try to rub against her naiveté. Hell, they even try to gain her trust so at some point they think she’d let them in on her share in the stock market.”
Imaizumi never heard something like that in her old workplace. Her ex-coworkers were genuinely happy when they found out she got a position inside Kobayashi Industries, but maybe that’s because they know too little about it.
“I’m sure you know business isn’t a walk in a park, do you? If you wanna win, you have to trust noone.”
That’s not entirely true, is what she wanted to say, but there’s no proof surrounding that yet, and she’s new in this corp for crying out loud, so who is she to tell them?
But even with all the stories she just heard, it’s kind of admirable to think her new boss might just be the one she’s gonna look up to for the rest of her days— if she’s gonna last that long, that is.
Kobayashi’s office door opens and out comes Koike. Manaka scrambles and goes back to her seat which is a stall away from Minami’s.
“How did it go?”
“I can’t believe I actually passed past the deadline,” she seethes, “ god, it’s too idiotic to think about it.”
“I’m sorry,” was all she managed to reply. “What did she say?”
“Well since she says she knows I didn’t mean it, she’s giving me two extra days to finish everything.” Minami tucks a hair behind her ear, a small blush appearing across her cheeks. “She’s so cool though.”
Shida appears and peeks from her stall, her office chair laid far back as she looked at the new recruit. “I forgot to tell you she’s a charming girl.”
“What?” Imaizumi’s mouth hanged a little bit. “Have you seen the way she yelled at the girl this morning?”
“Oh please,” Manaka waves her hand as if to dismiss. “That girl is a bitch anyway. Everyone around here knew how backstabbing she was, and the boss was just looking for the perfect timing to humiliate her.”
“Wasn’t humiliation a bit much?”
“Isn’t it even more humiliating when your own worker slanders your company online? It’s kind of hypocritical. I’m sure she’s just frustrated she wasn’t able to get into her pants.”
Imaizumi didn’t say anything after that. It’s her first day at work and she’s already having second thoughts. She thought she loved it, but maybe her old coworkers were too happy for her and made it seem like it’s a milestone to step inside a company as big as this; which might or might not be true, unless she experiences it firsthand.
“Just how charming then?”
“Her future marriage partner is so gonna be lucky.” Minami starts, “I mean, who couldn’t resist her smile? Or the— the way she looks at you when she’s serious?” Koike dramatically embraced her paperworks, giddy and everything. It’s like she’s on a whole different universe and on a different personality from when they first met. “She just looks at you and you’ll immediately fall for her! There’s something in her stares, as if they’re sucking you in.”
Imaizumi looks at Shida. Shida shrugs her shoulders. “Well, there’s your answer.”
Nothing answered that at all. What’s with Kobayashi Yui and why do most of the people she knows that knew about her act like she’s the most attractive person they ever met?
“Are you attracted to her too, Shida-san?”
“Oh no, no,” Shida waves her hand again, “People fall for her but for some reason she doesn’t work on me. I guess it’s because of our history as childhood friends.”
“You’re childhood friends with… the owner of this company?” Wow. That’s another thing she didn’t hear from her old workplace. “How come you’re working here?”
“Actually the stuff I do is really my forte. I’m from IT department but I choose to work here, so she just let me do whatever I want.”
“Wow.” Imaizumi sighs. This one landed on a bigshot, and childhood friends with the youngest president in the history of Japan. Record-breaker and highest stockholder. It’s scary to think they’re about a year or two apart but she’s still the smaller person between them. Literally and figuratively.
She’s printing her report when something clicked inside her mind. “Just for reference, just what kind of person is she? And why did she took over at a young age? What about her studies?”
Shida and Koike blinked.
“She’s a prodigy.” Both of them says without any hesitation at all.
“She’s pretty rude, but that’s how she goes. She doesn’t like sugar coating that much.” Koike chimes, “Although I never saw her smile at someone or compliment them entirely; she focuses more on constructive criticism rather than stroke her worker’s ego.”
“Because people think they’re superior over others when they get compliments from a higher-up. Actually it just depends on the person overall, but that shit is common in here before so, she decided to shut her mouth about it.” Manaka shrugs, “As for her history, no one knows about it; if we do though, it’s not our story to tell.”
She gets what they meant, although the stories surrounding her were really mysterious to the point that she immediately wanted to know everything about her. She did a little research, but it seems like the media is being paid to hide a lot more confidential info she has. Only her basic facts and achievements; nothing more, nothing less.
A speaker-like thing on her desk began to scratch different static sounds before a familiar voice could be heard clearly.
“Am I talking to someone or not?”
“Kobayashi-san?” She gently presses the receiver once again.
“Step into my office. In an instant.” The low voice was already playing inside Imaizumi’s head. “I don’t like slow people.”
“I-In a minute!”
She never thought she’ll be the next in line to scramble for her papers on her desk, along with her report still unfinished printing.
“Well, I guess your answers should come up once you talk to her,” Shida starts, “Who knows, you might even like her.”
“That’s not what this is about!” Imaizumi panics. Without turning off both her laptop and printer, she briskly walks to the damned office. “Just wish me luck.”
“Oh good luck.” Shida winks.
This is it. She’s about to meet the girl everyone seems to endlessly worship no matter how strange it could be. Is she actually the same person in the magazines and articles she featured in?
There’s only one way to find out.
“Come in.” The voice that invited her in was cold, unwelcoming. Nonetheless she opens the door and enters, and the first thing that her eyes landed on was a charismatic looking girl sitting on an extra large and comfy office chair, a mug of coffee on a hand and typing at her keyboard (christ, the Mac was almost as big as Imaizumi herself) and her face stoic, blank.
She closes the door and waits for a gesture for her walk towards her desk. She isn’t sure if that’s the right way to do it, but she’s not taking the risk.
The girl heavily taps on a key on the keyboard and stares back at Imaizumi with expressionless eyes. It’s horrifying, Imaizumi thought, and her hands are already ice cold in nervousness. Her report might even be drenched in her sweaty palms right now.
The two of them continued staring back at each other, and the new girl feels like her knees are about to give up any moment.
“So are you just gonna stand there and make me come to you?”
The girl gently puts down her mug above the coaster on her desk. “Then come closer.”
She quickly walks towards the desk, scared she might piss her off in the first day of work. Kobayashi extends a hand, and Imaizumi looks at it as if it’s a foreign object. What is she supposed to do? Shake her hand? Casually ignore it and pretend she didn’t see it?
“Give me your report.” She orders, and the girl immediately gives it, although she feels miserable for making her paper look like it was soaked under the rain. Surprisingly she didn’t mind, and she just begins to read it without a care in the world; although she occasionally glances at the new girl through her peripheral vision just because.
Imaizumi expected the president to be young, but not this young. Her complexion’s pristine and flawless, porcelain white and the rest is chiseled to perfection. Her brown hair, hazel eyes and cheeks with a hint of natural flush of pink. Her prominent nose and supple lips that matched the hue of her cheeks— everything was spot-on, as if she’s made to show the world just how perfect someone could be.
Wow. No wonder why people go overboard just to work under a boss as immaculate as her.
“I’d appreciate it if you’d rather focus your thoughts on something else instead of gawking at me, Imaizumi-san.” The latter squeaks, taken aback at how her boss read through her like a book. “Not like I cared though.”
The president sighs as she flipped the rest of the report as if to scan it. “Wording and compositions are well-constructed; but avoid being redundant with opinions that are already correlated.”
Kobayashi stamps on the paper to mark it as checked and returns the paper back to Imaizumi.
“I’ll work on it immediately.” —was all she managed to say, as she reached for the paper but then the former retracts it almost in an instant. “Ah.”
“But needless to say, you’re not that bad, considering it’s your first day at work.”
“T-Thank you..?” Her tongue almost slipped and she fumbles through her words. “That means a lot, ma’am.”
The small stutter made her boss smirk a little, weirdly amused by this new girl she took in. Imaizumi immediately notices and she feels the chill running down her spine again, as her hands shakily took the papers from her boss’ hand, then she bows and makes her way to the door.
“Oh and, try not to get distracted next time, okay?”
“Y-Yes, ma’am.” She quickly nods and shuts the door behind her. She brings her palm to her face in frustration, thinking about how she’s going to save her pride from that embarrassing debacle in her first meeting with her boss.
Her first day is undeniably a mess.
Right after her first meeting with the over-attractive president Kobayashi Yui, she finds herself being pinned with the task supposedly assigned to the newly-fired girl hours ago.
“Why me?!” Imaizumi scratches her head in frustration. She’s not in the best position to ask something as trivial as this, but c’mon, it’s her first day, shouldn’t they cut her some slack?
“Please, you’re the free one among us right now,” Koike sympathizes with her hands clapped together as if to plead, “And she told you that you’re more decent than most of the old employees around here.”
“Huh?” Imaizumi replies.
“You’re working on the same girl’s desk though, at least prove you’re better than that girl.” Shida snickers.
The new girl furrows her eyebrows, but she knew deep down there was nothing she could do. She sighs and opens her laptop. She glances at her watch, and there’s an hour left before their time out. “Fine. I’ll ask for an overtime today.”
The duo beside her sighs in relief.
“You can go ask her for an overtime,” Manaka points at the door that dreaded Imaizumi’s pride. “She might get the wrong idea if you stayed late without telling her anything.”
Going back inside the lion’s den is suicide. Imaizumi knew Shida was trying to shake her systems and she’s damn well good at it; but she’d rather wait until the actual time they could leave and think about her plans later on.
She thought this’ll be a cinch until her laptop started to screw up. The whole hour she was trying to save was spent on acting like she’s a goddamned engineer; and the fact that Shida’s IT intellect didn’t help, that shit totally blew out of the window.
By the time she was able to make it work, it’s ten minutes before they leave and she’s already seeing some of her coworkers go one by one. Ten minutes isn’t gonna do much difference, so she presumes asking Kobayashi-san about it would be the best option she has.
Staring at the door is just the same as looking down from above a building. Nauseating.
She enters once again, but not looking at her boss directly. Kobayashi furrows her eyebrows at Imaizumi. “May I help you?”
“U-Uhm, I was wondering if I could take an overtime today.”
“On your first day?” The president comfortably rests her back on the leather chair, resting her arms at each of its sides. She continues to gaze right at her eyes, but the new recruit seemed to avoid the stare.
“I-I have no other choice, besides I could work under pressure anyway.”
Kobayashi hums as a response. She rests her cheek on the palm of her hands, not breaking eye contact with Imaizumi. “Glad to see you’re taking your work seriously then.”
There it is. The latter inhales deeply and her hands became shaky as hell. The contradicting low voice along with the compliment was so nice to hear, although maybe she’s being too obvious with the avoiding-her-gaze thing.
“I don’t consider you rude, but next time you should try talking to me without looking everywhere inside my office,” Imaizumi inwardly grimaces, and looked her boss in the eye even if the thought scared her to death. Her eyes were so blank she could hardly even see what’s going on inside her head. “Got it?”
“I’m sorry ma’am.” her voice was obviously shaking that she probably heard it. She clenches her fists and buried her nail in one of her fingers to snap her out of her trance.
“I suppose I’ll be staying for an extra two hours to finish some of my work,” Kobayashi suddenly starts, “Would that be enough time for you?”
“It’s more than enough, really.”
She leaves the room as quick as she can before her boss says anything else. It’s a precaution, because again, it’s her first day and it seems like everything’s already upside-down than what it originally was.
If not upside-down, it’s a war-driven mess.
It’s just her, Kobayashi and another girl left inside the building. She’d be lying if she didn’t say she’s scared as hell, but fuck it, she’s scared to death. She could clearly feel the fear emanating from the only large office with the wooden door, how cold it was even though she knows it’s just the air conditioning unit behind her.
Good thing her chocolate bar was there to accompany her. It’s like it’s the only best thing that could happen at nine in the evening when you’re stressed and needed to type at least fifty words per minute. She was about to enjoy a piece when she heard a light rustle at the other end of the room.
She tries to turn and peek at the source of the noise. “Is anyone there?”
“Bah!” She yells, her lungs suddenly leaping in her throat at the sudden scare. If she was holding her food it might’ve been sent flying across the room.
“God I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you.” The voice was reassuring, along with the tap on her shoulder. “I-I shouldn’t have done that. Sorry.”
“I-It’s fine, to be fair I’m a jumpy person so…”
“Okay,” The girl replies with a soft smile. She has short, brown hair and droopy eyes. “I’m Risa by the way. Watanabe Risa. I’m Yui’s temporary assistant.”
“To be honest we’re still… kind of in a re-innovation. We’ve changed plans for other departments; some got either promoted or demoted, or neither. Her previous secretary recently just quit, so since I’m a bit higher than any of you guys here, I reckoned I’d be assisting her for the meantime until she appoints a new secretary.”
“I see.” Imaizumi blinks. She needs to get her job done, but it seems like Risa has something more to say. “..And you’re telling me this because…?”
“..So uhm, right now I kind of had an emergency, and I need to rush home. If there’s anything Kobayashi-san needs, will you handle it for me?” Oh great. Just when she’s about to finally experience peace in her first day, or rather, first night, at work, this happens. What could go wrong?
“Okay. Sure.” Her mouth speaks before her brain could work, and this impulsive replying habit of hers was really taking massive damage. She internally facepalms her bad decisions.
Risa gives a really grateful smile and thanks before she fixed her desk before she left the building. Now this part gets worse, because Kobayashi and her were the only ones left, and the former just came out of her den for the first time since she arrived. “Imaizumi.”
Her head shoots up from the computer screen, and she could feel the devil creeping around her. “Y-Yes?”
“I’m done with my work.” She says, “Are you done or..”
“Sorry ma’am, I-I need a couple more minutes.” She bit her lip. This is just getting worse and worse. She’s two pages behind and the font needed is so small it could barely cover the entire page in two divided paragraphs. “You may leave me if you’re in a rush.”
“Not really.” She coldly replies. “I’ll just wait then.”
“Oh no, don’t. I might waste your time.”
Imaizumi sighs, scratching her head for the nth time today. Somehow this feels uncomfortable, because now her boss was sitting at the chair beside her, legs crossed and sternly observing her work. The silence was eerie and her stare was heavy, distracting, deflective.
If only Kobayashi didn’t fire the girl this morning, then none of this would’ve happened. Oh sweet little girl, what have you done? If only Kobayashi wasn’t so damn attractive than what the internet media described her then she’d be done with her work hours before the deadline. Now her mind was blank and the insertion point kept blinking on blinking, staring right back at her because she literally couldn’t think up of anything else. She tries to side glance and check on her boss but it just ended up in a brief moment of staring contest.
“Didn’t I just tell you awhile ago not to get distracted?”
Imaizumi clacked her teeth internally. She’s already more than a distraction than anything else, besides, she’s the true reason why it was difficult to think of words to type anyway.
“I-I’m not getting distracted.”
“Well stop looking at me then.”
...So much for being narcissistic.
Imaizumi knew there’s nothing left for her dignity so she just makes a run for it and types whatever comes into her mind.
She looks at her boss who was biting her lip whilst looking at the bar of chocolate sitting comfortably on top of her desk.
“Do you want it?”
Kobayashi immediately shakes her head, but her stomach growls before she could even say anything else. Imaizumi takes the bar and offers it to her. “You can take it if you’d like.”
“I don’t.. really eat sweets at night.”
“Unless you’re hungry.”
After a few more push, her boss slowly took the unopened chocolate bar from her hands. She examines the packaging, and strangely looks at her with skeptical eyes.
“This is commoner chocolate.” Unconsciously, Imaizumi felt a giggle bubbling inside her. That was oddly cute.
“Calling it a commoner chocolate doesn’t make it any less good-tasting though.”
“But the quality is low no matter which side you look at it. It says it’s premium, but that’s just a marketing strategy; it says it came from the finest cocoa but in reality the base is just manufactured—“
Her stomach growls again, interrupting her.
Imaizumi expectantly looks at her boss, unconsciously smiling.
“..Maybe just a piece then.”
She bites a piece. Imaizumi gets back to work and lets her be for the meantime. Sooner the piece became larger and larger, and the new girl was too concentrated in her work that she barely noticed her chocolate disappearing.
“Good. You can submit that first thing to me tomorrow.”
Imaizumi stretches her arms and searched for the chocolate on the desk, only to see the wrapping and— nothing. “Where’s my chocolate?”
There’s nothing left.
“..I just ate the last of it.” Kobayashi says. The smaller girl blinks, surprised. “Not bad though, never thought I’d be eating commoner chocolate in my whole life.”
“You never ate one?”
“My father usually went overseas when I was a kid, so I was always fed with everything expensive.”
“Must be great living the good life, huh.”
Her voice and expression turned cold in an instant. “Not really.”
“Sorry ma’am.” Imaizumi immediately replies. “I didn’t mean to.”
“It’s fine.” Kobayashi stands and grabs her bag. She searches for her car keys while the former searches for her apartment keys which seemed pretty difficult to find at the moment. “You ready to go?”
“My apartment keys are stuck at the bottom of my bag,” she says, before sighing. “I’ll just search for it on the bus ride home.”
“Bus?” Her boss repeats. “You do know buses stop at 9, right? It’s 10:30 now.”
Imaizumi glances her watch and cusses. It’s late. Too late.
“I guess I’ll walk..”
“Where do you live?”
“Shibuya.” She nonchalantly says as she places her laptop inside her bag, the rest of her papers inside the drawer.
Kobayashi plays with the keys in her hand. “I’ll take you there.”
“What?” Imaizumi shoots up from her seat. “I could walk home.”
“You’re not gonna walk in the streets of Tokyo at 10:30 in the evening. Anything could happen.” Her boss’ tone was final, and it seemed like arguing about it would be foolish so she just followed her towards the elevator and parking lot, no matter how awkward it was.
Christ, even her car was luxurious. An elegant black Dodge that looked like it could match the raven, and she could even see her reflection clearly at the littlest shines. It was exotic.
“Get in.” Kobayashi says as she saw Imaizumi hanging around the car door, thinking if she’d leave any fingerprints at the smallest touch. As she sat on the velvet car seat, she could feel herself sinking into the softness of it, along with the revving engine beneath them.
As soon as they left the parking lot, Kobayashi opens the GPS. “Where in Shibuya?”
“Oh I’ll give you directions.” Imaizumi simply says. It’s just a few turns, really, and the last route was around a kilometer straight.
“Uhm, thank you, Kobayashi-san, for this. You don’t know how much I appreciate it.”
And there goes the silence setting in between them.
Imaizumi had contradicting feelings as to what happened at her first day at work. First she was excited, met Shida and Koike, then she became frustrated because of the sudden pinpoint of tasks on her despite being a newbie, then she briefly met Risa; and now she’s inside the car of the top company owner Kobayashi Yui.
Somehow having the same name as her didn’t sound so bad anymore.
Now she could perfectly understand why people really loved her. She may be cold, arrogant, narcissistic at times; but that’s not entirely true. She could be kind when she wants to be, although Imaizumi knows that’s just how people are. It still feels as if there’s a wall between them, and looking at her from the passenger seat, beside her, there’s a lot more kept deep inside her, something neither Shida nor Koike knew.
The girl clad in white shirt and dark blue blazer, highlighted in different shades of orange and red from the streetlights outside; eyes shining in pessimistic brown.
She really is an eyeful. As if she could see her for so many times in a day and not get tired about it even for a second or two. There’s so much charisma to her presence no matter how she makes the people around her see her as ignorant and cold. She’s enchanting to the point that Imaizumi eventually felt butterflies flapping inside her stomach.
“Is this your place?” Kobayashi’s voice broke her out of her trance.
Imaizumi looks around. “It’s actually still a few blocks away but I could easily walk until there. Thank you ma’am.”
“You can drop the ‘Ma’am’ if you’d like. It’s pretty mouthful if you ask me.”
“Still formal sounding, but it’s better than getting called ‘ma’am’. It makes me feel old.”
Imaizumi chuckles as she removes her seatbelt and went for the sidewalk. Kobayashi slides her window down to see her clearly from the car.
“Well then, thank you, Kobayashi-san.”
Her boss gives a light smile.
“See ya, Yui.” She winks, before revving the engine and drove away.
Imaizumi’s eyes widen. Did she hear it correctly?
She just called her Yui.
She shrugs but giddily grins, and began to walk the rest of the way to her apartment.
Maybe her first day wasn’t so bad after all.
That night seemed to have drastically weaken her progesterones that she couldn’t find herself falling asleep anytime soon. The clock ticks at one o’clock and there’s around less than eight hours left for her to catch up on sleep. At this rate Imaizumi thought of calling a friend over and ask to knock herself out cold, because not even the blue light of her phone couldn’t trigger any form of sleepiness in her system.
The clock ticks after twenty minutes. The crickets are still singing and it’s not helping despite several sites claim they’d help people sleep; but no. It doesn’t work on her, for now, strangely. At this point she’d rather sleep than think about contemplating about what the hell is she doing in her life; but for some reason she doesn’t feel like it’s what’s wrong.
She thinks it’s a case of homesickness, since looking by the window from her bed seems so bland, unlike the view from her room back in Kanagawa, where no lamp matched the light of the moon. It’s unnerving, being so far apart from her family. But then again, maybe she’s still bothered about being too pushy with her boss a few hours ago, when she never thought that her relationship with her family was strained. She shouldn’t have said anything and shut her trap as early as possible; stupid, big idiot.
The clock ticks again after another ten minutes. It ticks at random intervals, and Imaizumi thought it’s broken, or maybe it’s just its way to snap her out of her thoughts when all she just needed to do was fucking sleep. Her shirt and bed is comfy, the air conditioning unit’s warm and the duvet’s snuggled against her body, but the comforting feeling still doesn’t trigger anything at all.
Somehow maybe it’s the thought of her boss that makes it harder for her to sleep.
Imaizumi went to her work first thing in the morning due to the fact that her body failed her miserably last night. With dark circles under her eyes, she went to her desk with Manaka noticeably glancing at her ridiculously looking groggy face. A new stack of papers greeted her on her desk, complete with each one with post its with specified instructions straight from her boss, but there’s something else that caught her eye; the chocolate last night, sitting on top of the printer with another post it pasted on top, with words written: “In case you were still feeling bad about the chocolate I ate last night.”
She bit her lip and stifled a laugh. She looked around to see if anyone was looking at her because they saw their boss placing something on top of the new girl’s desk, but looks like there’s none. I guess she didn’t need to go back to the convenience store and buy one for herself, and to think that the notorious president of Kobayashi Industries would be this appreciative of others, a thought very far from others’ perspectives.
Just then, Minami arrives, looking at Imaizumi who was staring on something she was holding in her hand. The smile was something else, so she knew it had to be something very surprising, as she slowly went up behind the new girl and glanced at the little post it in her hand. Her expression went from uphill then downwards, with her gesturing Manaka at something they both didn’t knew. When Imaizumi moved, she shuffled as if she’s nonchalantly passing by.
“Good morning,” Minami starts, coughing knowingly directed towards the IT expert, although the other girl seemed oblivious about it. “How was overtime last night?”
“Exhausting,” Imaizumi replies, sitting on her chair as she began to do the papers. She tried so hard to not lose her composure. “but I’d say it’s pretty fun.”
Manaka rolled a few tiles back from her stall. “Never did anyone said something good about overtime. Did something happen?”
She and Minami exchanged glances and Manaka winked, successful for slipping a question unbeknownst to the girl in front of them. “Oh nothing, just… something I didn’t expect.”
“Spill. What is it?”
“Okay,” Imaizumi pauses from her work and sighs. “I didn’t expect Kobayashi-san would be kind. Last night she kept on insisting on staying behind and wait for me so it’s just, it felt nice. But I guess it’s a given since it was late.”
With a slow nod to register everything she had said, Minami and Shida smiled. It’s not bad at all. They both knew it’s really dark around the hallways once the lights go out, plus she’s the new girl, she could get lost in the entirety of the building in no time. Kobayashi was just considerate enough, though she still was cold about it, no doubt. Koike chimes in, “That’s a given. So you’re cool with her now?”
“More or less, yeah. Though I didn’t know she takes her employees home too when they take an overtime.”
Now that’s where Manaka and Minami stopped dead in their tracks, and stared at Imaizumi like a deer in the headlights. That’s the strangest thing they heard in years ever since Sugai’s affair with the CEO of Moriya Agencies, and this one might actually be a bigger shot too. Shida cleans her ear with her pinky, to check if she’s hearing it right, while Minami was about to spill her cup of coffee from the overflowing milk she’s pouring. Imaizumi blinks and tilts her head in confusion. “Did I say something bad?”
“W-when you said take you home, you mean…?” Shida gulps. “You didn’t.. got in her car.. right?”
“Oh, the black Dodge?” Imaizumi beams as she recalls.
“You got into her car?!” Shida slams her hand on her desk while Minami almost blacked out. They both exchanged another set of glances but Manaka was feeling excruciating pain from not being able to feel the revving engine of Kobayashi’s sexy car underneath her. She felt betrayed, when the new girl was able to but she couldn’t. Dang, her childhood friend could be mercilessly mean at times. “How could you! That was my dream ever since she bought it!”
“Well I didn’t mean to!” Imaizumi raises her hands as if to calm the upset IT expert. “I insisted on going home by bus but she didn’t give any damn about it and got me into her car!”
Minami groans in frustration as well. “Maybe I should get an overtime today.”
Shida places a hand on Minami’s shoulder. “Miichan, don’t push your luck… it’s over. We lost to the new girl.”
Yui laughs at how overreacting they were. “You guys are way too overreacting. It’s a given she’d do that because the buses weren’t around anymore. It’s late ten last night when I finished.”
“Seriously? When I finished my job at almost eleven she asked the guard to hail a taxi for me.” The tech manager crosses her arms. “And I spent around four thousand yen because of the traffic!”
Yui turned silent, but Miichan interrupts. “That’s because she hasn’t bought the Dodge yet that time…”
The three of them turned silent eventually. Manaka was still sulking at her desk while Minami’s hands were shaking because of what Imaizumi had recently shared and for the fact that this is her third cup of coffee in the morning. Imaizumi kept herself busy with her work until Risa comes up to their desks.
“Yo Risa, how ya doing?” Manaka waves with a monotonous voice.
“Just roaming around checking the new girl.”
“You like her too Risa?”
“Psh, silly, I figured I’d come here because last night she looked like she’s in a panic.” Imaizumi scratches her head as she remembered, although she’s practically laughing about it since she realized it didn’t end up as bad as she thought. “You okay there?”
Yui nods her head and raises the papers she’s currently working on. “Just simple sorting for today I guess.”
Risa nods in approval. She checks on Minami as she typed on the keyboard. It was slower than the usual, and her eyes were droopy; Risa’s face got pretty much concerned, so she checks the break room for any free space before approaching Shida. “Can you bring Miichan to the break room? She looked like she needs to catch some sleep.”
“Sure thing.” Shida slowly nods, and checks on Koike. Wow, she didn’t realize the bags forming under her eyes. She stands and walked to her desk, tapping her shoulder to catch her attention. Sure enough, Minami jumps in surprise, her eyes forcefully opened wide. “Miichan, let’s go to the break room. You can rest there for a while.”
Upon hearing those words, Miichan smiled but her body eventually gives up, falling heavily to Manaka’s arms but just enough for Manaka to carry her. Risa taps Shida’s shoulder as a sign of gratitude, as she bought her to the other side of the room. Risa sits down on Minami’s desk to check on her work, mostly it’s well-written but some were already gibberish and difficult to decipher because her mind was already in shambles. Imaizumi stares as Manaka carried Koike to the break room, worried.
“Hey, is she gonna be okay?”
“Don’t worry, she’s been like that ever since she started. We make sure she gets enough rest before she can work again. Until then, she’s gonna be there with Manaka till she’s fine.”
Imaizumi slowly nods.
“How about you? Is everything okay?”
“So far, yeah. I admit my first day was a hassle but having Shida and Koike-san around is pretty comforting.”
Risa genuinely laughs. “There’s a lot more friendly people around here, you just gotta know them.”
“That reminds me, how long have you been here?”
“Ever since Yui started.”
“You call her Yui as well?” Risa nods, much to Imaizumi’s surprise. “You’re childhood friends with her too?”
“Oh, I guess Manaka told you about that huh. The three of us were close back then. She used to be the tallest among three of us, but that changed as we grew up, we grew taller than her, and she became the most mature. I guess that’s what you’ll expect when your friend’s the eventual successor of your family’s entire fortune.”
“So you two worked here to look after her..”
“She’s better than us but we can’t just leave her be. All people are vulnerable especially the toughest ones you know.”
As if on cue, both of their heads turned to the wooden door at the end of the room. Imaizumi wondered what Kobayashi was doing right at that time; did she get enough sleep? Or is she buried in her own tasks? She didn’t knew much about her at all, while Risa’s just summarizing everything she’s allowed to tell her, for whatever reasons whatsoever.
“Welp, that’s just a handicap, I’m sure you’ll know her better in the future.”
“If destiny feels like playing me.”
Risa chuckles as she stood up from her desk. “Well I’m gonna go off. She might scold me for goofing around.”
Instead of going back to her desk, she goes straight inside the break room to check up on her damsel in distress. Manaka was playing from her nintendo while Minami was—as expected— sound asleep. Her skin’s paler than usual, but she’ll just wait for her to wake up before she advises her to go to the clinic. “She’s still asleep, come back later.”
“Just passing by. I haven’t had anything to do yet.”
“Wanna play? I have my Switch with me.”
“No thanks, I just want to be around you for a moment.” Risa sits down on the chair beside Shida, placing her head on her shoulder. She stares at the phone screen while Manaka continued to play, although for some reason she couldn’t focus because of Risa’s warmth beside her. “I thought you’re good at this, your health’s depleting faster than your opponent.”
“I-I accidentally used the wrong pokemon.”
“Why’re you using Croagunk on a ground-type pokemon?” Risa continues as her face leaned closer to Manaka’s, trying to take a good look at the screen. “Isn’t that—“
“I know!” Manaka exclaims. Of course she’s not going to tell that seeing Risa’s face that close to her was draining her focus. It’s her habit, but it’s something Manaka didn’t want to point out unless she wanted her friend to avoid her for something trivial. “I-I’ll try again later. Master Ball didn’t work.”
Risa doesn’t reply, until Manaka continues searching around the game’s district. “I miss playing with Yui like before.”
Wave of nostalgia suddenly hits Shida right in her face. That’s exactly the same reason why she was playing the game as her pastime, because right now Yui would be too busy to fit something like that in her schedule. But even then, there are more fun things to do with her rather than sitting on their asses slacking off playing a retro game from twenty years ago. They had better things to do, and certainly it’s not playing games either. “I know. But after this upcoming event I’m sure she’ll have time to spare… I guess.”
“Nah, that’s pretty blurry. There’s a lot of stuff going on in her life that I think that event’s only a minor occasion in her schedule.”
“Well why don’t we just ask her out to lunch?”
“That’s pretty good. Where to then?”
“...I’m gonna check for next time.”
Just then, Suzumoto enters the room with her packed lunch. Manaka’s ears immediately perked as she paused the game, while Risa left the room. “What’s for menu?”
“A middle finger and none of my fucks,” Suzumoto bites. “You’re gonna take all my food again!”
“But I’m hungry! Just a bit. I promise.” Manaka cutely grins, but Miyu isn’t taking any chances. “Maybe just a bit of chestnut?”
“That’s strictly off-limits. Buy your own food!”
Manaka sulks. Oda suddenly comes in, clad in her weird uniform and her satchel barely hanging from her shoulder. There’s a small brown box in her hand and obviously the client is inside the room. “Is Suzumoto Miyu-san around..?”
Suzumoto’s eyes widened exactly as she brought her chopsticks into her mouth. Manaka raises her hand and points at the girl beside her. “Right here.”
Oda walks up to their place, and strangely, Miyu was quiet and her cheeks began to flush. “Package for Suzumoto-san,” Oda calls as she takes out a clipboard with receipt attached to it. “An online order of paper clip boxes and post its.. correct?”
“Please sign he—“ suddenly, the courier’s stomach growled so loud that Minami stirred from her sleep. Manaka’s eyebrows furrowed as she sternly stared at the all-too-sudden perspiring Oda Nana. “—re. I’m sorry. I haven’t had any proper food yet.”
“Sorry Odanana, our midget here is pretty salty today—“
“Take whatever you want,” Mon interrupts as she hands her bento to Oda. “Just don’t empty it out.”
“What?!” Manaka exclaims, “You’re unfair!”
“My food, my rules.” Suzumoto sticks her tongue out towards Shida. “You should’ve used your money for food!”
“Sun and Moon was out! I’m not gonna let internet spoil me while I wait two months for my wage!”
Risa could hear the noise from the break room but she didn’t mind. Oda was here for the fifth time this week, maybe because of their boss or just plain coincidence, but she’s not gonna think about that for now. She enters the room with the golden plate written on its door, only to greet her with an eerily quiet room while the girl on the chair across the room continued typing, as if she didn’t hear her come in at all.
“Hey,” Risa starts, calmly, and Yui’s eyes looked at her. “I’m done.”
“What took you so long?”
“Stalled a bit, she might notice if I came immediately.” She says, with this grin present on her face that only screamed the worst towards her childhood friend. “She’s an amusing girl.”
“She seemed to do excellently with her old work; she has decent salary and there’s an application filed for a promotion higher than the average position. I contacted their human resources for confirmation and it seemed like she rejected the offer, as per a fellow employee’s advice. Few days after, she reported about resigning for unknown reasons, personal excuses excluded and definitely off the case.” Yui’s tone is constant, colder and colder with every word that comes out of her lips. “It’s intriguing.”
“Oh?” Risa raises her eyebrows, “You? Intrigued? With an employee? Yui, did you eat lunch already?”
“Don’t mistake it for something else.” Kobayashi rests her back on her chair, a bit troubled. “The company’s at the peak for several years, and I’m aware several others spent most of their time vying for a space in my shares, so I just needed a bit of a double-checking.”
“Pfft, Yui, you’re overthinking.” Risa starts, “She seemed really genuine with her work. Look.” She walks towards the venetian blinds and pulled down a bar, to reveal Imaizumi tampering with a photocopier that seemed alien to her. She presses a button, and papers began to fly around like a dispenser. Risa closes the blinds to save her from second hand embarrassment. “She’s a klutz but she’s doing great. You even liked her work last night.”
“It’s not the best but it’s not the worst either. I’ve seen better but she performs efficiently when needed.”
“I’m guessing my emergency last night was a big help?” The taller girl smiles, while Yui just scoffs and brushes it off. She rolls her eyes before she goes back to her desk to continue typing. “You even brought her home.”
“I have no choice?” For the first time, Kobayashi’s tone left its monotonous cage. “You know how city life works at night. I just did it out of hospitality for the new recruit.”
“Yeah I get it.” She replies, as she pulls down a bit of the blinds again to see Imaizumi sheepishly giggling at Manaka who was busy fixing the copying machine. Seems like she got what she needed as well, judging by the fact that the papers were already binded with clips and the other wasted papers were already tucked in a spare envelope just above the machine. “She seems like the type that you couldn’t leave your eyes on. For mysterious reasons.”
Yui looks at Risa from her place with her peripheral vision. Her words were true, yet there’s still a bit of uneasiness hanging from the depths of her being. Two of her childhood friends already had an impression towards her; well, don’t get her wrong, she deeply trusted both of them and with how they seemed to fairly look at a person from different angles, but that’s no reason for her to let her guard down easily.
“..That’s all for now, Risa. You can leave.”
She raises a hand and waved, before she leaves the room. Kobayashi stares at the folder opened on her desk, and the photo pasted on the application form stared right back at her, only livelier, with her somehow… fake, smile. Various thoughts ran through her head. She didn’t look like the type, certainly not someone who’d deceive. Risa was right. She shouldn’t be overthinking just because of a someone new to her eyes… or was it? Just a tiny little secret; she couldn’t get her mind off of Imaizumi. She’s on a whole new, different level. Maybe because she’s the only person she saw who was openly ecstatic about being in the company. It’s quite admirable, since she got so used to seeing her other employees feigning gratitude whenever she’s around, while Yui’s carefree but still looked promising. She might need a little more observation on her though.
Who knows what will happen if she kept it up.
Few days— actually weeks, already passed. Imaizumi met a whole lot of other people from different departments. There’s Saito Fuyuka, called Fuuchan for short, Manaka and Risa’s slightly more mature friend, basically a veteran who knows the works around the building. She works as Nagahama Neru’s supervisor from Hiragana department. Sato Shiori, Kobayashi Industries’ key fashion designer, was there as well. Nagahama seems to have a knack for assistants, since aside from Saito there’s also Yonetani Nanami, that served as the whole company’s advisor in case any complications arise. She’s not entirely under Nagahama’s wing, but the latter treats her one, as Imaizumi occasionally spots Neru acting a little bit too playful for Yonetani’s liking. She’s a part-timer and currently studying in a university; pretty much explains how Fuyuka and the others heavily imply about Neru’s advances on the younger girl.
They got together once again when the fashion show started. It’s a minor occasion, maybe an old piece or two was showcased and the rest was left for the main events. It’s strange how Kobayashi chose not to go-all out and lay-low for the meantime. Risa explains it’s a strategy they do sometimes so as to not overpower each of their pieces if they used all of it at the same time. It’s a pretty useful tactic, as well as a safe bet especially Sato’s brain might be at risk for overloading. There may be others who could replace her but Shiori’s just too valuable to let go.
Backstage, Imaizumi sees Minami with a change of clothes in her hand, presumably for the model assigned to her in the event. A tall girl, taller than Shida and Watanabe, with golden brown hair from afar. Upon closer inspection she’s more of a blonde, and her body proportions perfectly match compared to an average model. She looked more than perfect, to be honest. And they’re laughing at how the tall girl seemed to have a bit of difficulty fitting herself for one of their pieces; they.. have a pretty good chemistry, Imaizumi notes.
Imaizumi was so caught up in the show that she didn’t realize that her boss was nowhere to be seen in her sight. Even since the morning, nor the day before. She taps Risa’s shoulder. “Is Kobayashi-san around? Haven’t seen her recently. I’m sure this event’s important to her.”
“Oh, she, she uhm— She doesn’t have all the time to check on here today so she left it to me. She has somewhere else to go.”
“Oh.. I see. Too bad.”
“It’s been a long time since I last interacted with her. And I kind of want to make up for the trouble of her bringing me home on my first day.” Risa doesn’t react much, but she understands; it’s just that Yui’s never too fond of getting paid back at, nor in the right mood to entertain silly things such as this. Imaizumi knew her boss wasn’t the kind to accept offers either, but of course, she’d choose not to hear more of it. “It’s okay though, I know there’s a lot on her plate.”
Risa pats her in the back. That’s the least she could do, when they’re assigned in this event when Kobayashi isn’t around. Imaizumi emptily looks at the stage, unaware that she’s slowly getting consumed by her thoughts. Somehow she felt a little disappointed with how things are, that talking to her boss was unexpectedly comfortable to do; yet she couldn’t summon the energy to do so. Maybe that whole thing was just a beginner’s luck, and she’d never talk to her for the rest of her days inside the office?
She sighs as she forcefully blurred her vision as to not let the whole event ruin her thoughts.
It got boring as it lasted. That was the same thing Kobayashi thought when she’s sitting at the far end of the table, the voice unintentionally muffled by her ears due to her lack of attention. She always hated these kind of meetings, sales and stocks and all that crap, fake smiles and people who agree with anything she says out of sheer reputation. Plastic. Suck asses. This was her first meeting in two weeks and she’s already internally screaming in agony for the fucking time to pass. Why does time have to be so slow when you least needed it?
Another week passed, and for the first time in seemed like years, the comfortable feeling of her office greeted her once her fingers flipped the light switch on. It’s late night, and she just came from Amsterdam, and somehow she didn’t feel like going home. No one was there to greet her back anyway, so she’d just rather go back here and be greeted with paperworks.
She could see a faint light across the room but she’s too exhausted to care. The sudden flight was bad in its own way, and her private jet’s landing was a bit sloppy, which sickened her even more to hell. She can’t blame the pilot since it’s heavily raining and it’s almost zero visibility; but she’s still alive anyway. She noticed Risa’s handwriting on her table from her place on the couch beside her desk, reminding her again for more appointments settled a few days from now.
What she didn’t notice, however, was the figure standing on her door, quietly observing her while she fiddled with her fingers, obviously nervous but nonetheless, the concern in her face was dominant. “Ma’am?”
Relieved to hear that voice once again, Kobayashi unconsciously smiles. “I told you to drop that, remember?”
Imaizumi stammers. “I-I’m sorry. I’m still not so used to it, not when I uh.. uhm..”
“..haven’t talked to me in several weeks?” She finishes, and the girl hums as a response. She really is strange, in so many ways. “I don’t talk a lot, really. And I’m not always around.”
Imaizumi hums as response once again, until she suddenly felt like something was missing, and before Kobayashi noticed it, she hears her mumble an ‘Aha!’ out of nowhere. She opens an eye— she didn’t realize her eyes were closed— and looked at her empty door. She was nowhere to be seen, and a few minutes passed, she guessed she already left because of how late it is, so she just kind of, kept her eyes closed, rested.
..Until she hears slight clinking of china and soft whisper that mumbled words very incoherent to her ears. She opens her eyes to see Imaizumi with a mug in her hand, and the faint aroma of cocoa wafting inside the room. Imaizumi never left the smile from her face, and from Kobayashi’s view it was pretty heartwarming. Maybe strong enough for a little flashback to hit her at an untimely manner.
“Should I place this on your desk or..?”
“I’ll hold it.” She sits upright and takes the mug in her hand. She emptily looks at the beverage before taking a sip. It was unexpected; the taste, the flavor, the cream, the chocolate. It’s enough to invigorate her spirit for a moment, and since she just came from the chilly weather outside, the warmth from the drink was perfect. She felt warm.
“I used to make that whenever I’m tired. It keeps me awake for a few more hours.”
“So you’re planning on keeping me awake then?”
“Of course not! It’s not like that..”
Kobayashi scoffs, albeit amused. “Why are you still here anyway? It’s late.”
“I kind of thought I’d finish my tasks for tomorrow so I could make time for some other things. I didn’t want to get cramped with too much work.” She sheepishly says, “Please don’t mind me, if it bothers you.”
“As long as you’re not in my way then it’s fine.”
Imaizumi beams. She’s glad she’s able to pull that cup of cocoa off given how clumsy she was in the kitchen. Good thing she still had the chocolate she bought earlier— and hopefully her boss wouldn’t mind drinking a cup of diabetes. Kobayashi pats on the space next to her, and she takes the liberty as a sign of respect; she’s looked stiff and awkward, but that’s just how she still is. Her boss’ aura seemed to never leave her even if it’s just the two of them.
“You seemed really constant with your work,” Kobayashi suddenly starts, “care to tell me why?”
It seemed unprofessional, though it’s a subtle way for Yui’s thoughts to clear up. Imaizumi didn’t look like she mind, but she’s certainly surprised. She thought Kobayashi was the type not to pry, mostly she just didn’t care at all anyway.
“Somehow working here feels really different from my old job. They’re.. sincere, and welcoming. Don’t get me wrong though, I mean, my old workplace was really great, but unlike here, everybody has their own little worlds. It kind of felt more like natural selection rather than benefiting from each other. In here it’s like.. no one proceeds when one gets left behind. Do you know that?” Imaizumi asks, but rather than being at all confused, she’s rather amazed. “Plus the environment around me is nice. It might not be the best, but I’m certainly happy to work here. You’re the boss after all. I’m thrilled to work in a new environment.”
Kobayashi frowns. “You don’t need to be so flowery.”
“I just did,” She replies, “but it’s the truth.”
Kobayashi never needed that reply in the first place. She already believed her far before she said anything else anyway; because she already saw too much even back then when she first started. And the thing with her old workplace? She scratched that shit already, because it turns out she was being bribed to return in her workplace, since most of its employees started to leave when their new boss arrived. And even with how high the pay was, or how superior her position would be if she really did took it, she’s still right here. Somehow the thought of it was… a relief. Strangely relieving, because the office became noisier when this girl arrived, yet at the same time she noticed that time flies really fast when she’s around; And for the first time, she meant it in a good way.
“Suit yourself,” The boss replies, indifferent, but it didn’t matter to Imaizumi. “I suppose this drink made my head get a little fuzzy that I wasn’t able to register everything I say. Pardon if I seemed rude.”
“N-No, not really. Sorry if I said too much.”
“Don’t worry.” Kobayashi stands from the couch and pats the empty mug on the coaster above her desk. If anything, she should be the one apologizing for being too overreacting, especially with Risa. She haven’t seen her in a while too, but she knew Risa could handle herself well. “It’s late. I’m gonna take you home.”
Sensing that might be a bit too much, Imaizumi shakes her head. “I could manage. I know the way back to my apartment.”
“ Yui,” Kobayashi’s voice was low, stern. Imaizumi swallows her saliva, and her pulse skipped a beat when she didn’t expect her boss to say her name again on a first name basis. “It’s almost twelve in the evening and you’re wearing a pencil skirt.”
“And that’s bad because…?”
“What is it?”
“It’s none of your business.”
“But you just said—“
Kobayashi didn’t say anything. She stares at her employee with dead, expressionless yet intense eyes. Imaizumi fidgets. Her boss takes a step closer; and out of instinct, her feet moved a step backward. Kobayashi didn’t back down one bit, and took more steps closer, with Imaizumi moving backward with every step her boss makes. “K-Kobayashi-san?”
No response. Her legs were wobbling and she’s already scaring her. Did she say anything bad? She tried to recall, but there wasn’t enough time. The more she moved back, the more she stepped closer. Her palms were sweaty again, also her feet, and she could feel like she’s gonna trip any moments now if she wasn’t careful. Thankfully she didn’t when she took another stride backward, but then something was resisting her whole body from moving any further.
A fucking wall.
The door was open, and before she could slide outside, Kobayashi slams her hand on the space just beside her head. Guess that way’s closed, so she quickly tries the other way, but her boss was quicker. Her hands were already planted still on the wall and she’s locked inside. Her breath hitches. “K-Kobayashi..san?”
“Do you really want to know what would happen?”
She squeaks, “M-Maybe not any more.”
“But you seemed really curious,” Kobayashi’s voice was soft, velvety, intoxicating. It’s frightening. If only she could take back everything she said…. but she couldn’t. “Aren’t you thrilled to know?”
The softness of her voice made her want to just melt and degrade along with the other chemicals on the ground. Her face was so near, and her eyes began to darken; her voice was so sweet, just like the scent of the chocolate whenever she exhales, and— so distracting — the warmth, because of their close proximity, was oddly comforting; even if she feels stressed because she felt like her purity’s on the line.
Kobayashi leans closer. Shit shit shit shit. Her initial reaction was to sink, if that made any sense, because her face was too close and her scent becomes stronger, as if a little more push would turn the tables in the wrong direction. It might be off-track, but she never had her first kiss, and if this might be it, then she’d rather not get kissed at all. She shuts her eyes as closed as she can that she felt her eyes gauging inwards, and she purses her lips if that could help anything.
One, two seconds.
Three, four— nothing.
She opens her eyes to check if there’s something wrong, and hell yes of course there is. The reason why it took so long was because her boss wasn’t leaning much closer at all, she only paused at a very close point. Her lips curled into a small smirk, as slowly, Imaizumi’s cheeks and ears began to flush an embarrassingly, vibrant red.
“Still plan on walking home?”
Imaizumi Yui blinks, fast, trying to register— or not— whatever shit that happened. Kobayashi releases her hands from the wall and frees the girl between her; although she’s not worried about that at all because she’s technically paralyzed in shock, her jaw hanging ajar. She grabs her coat as she walked out of the office. “My car’s at basement two.”
Short moments after, Imaizumi’s brain finally connects with every muscle in her body, as she storms out of the office and stared at Kobayashi’s back as she walked down the hallway. “How sure are you?!”
“Oh I know.” Her voice replies, condescending. “I’m your boss after all.”
Imaizumi groans, regretful. Of-fucking-course. What could’ve she expected? She’s dealing with the president of the renowned Kobayashi Industries , the alpha among the herd of sheep. She just sighs, defeated, as she takes her coat to meet with the notorious Kobayashi Yui at the depths of the building, knowing full well what it takes to actually be a stride close towards such a powerful girl.
It was fun the first time on her first day; but to be frank, this one’s better.
Much, much better.
Back at it again with the writer’s block lol hahaha this isn’t initially what i intended to type but it’s actually much better. Next chapter could take a while.