The little boy grinned at her, waving his hand high above his head. His school uniform was crumpled from playing tag at the park. A part of his shirt was no longer tucked in, his shorts somewhat dusty and worn. The little blue ribbon, wrapped under his collar, had come undone. His socks weren't immaculately white anymore for there were specks of dirt from the sand area. His shoes no longer had the polished shine it had in the morning; it dulled very easily when its wearer was active.
"Hey Niel!" Katie greeted back.
The man tapped upon his desk with his fingers impatiently.
"Where has that woman gone? It's her first day on the job and she's not even here!" he thought furiously. He fiddled with his necktie, loosening it with one finger. He checked the folder where the information and résumé of the woman whom he approved for the job.
"I really want to get today over and done with…" he muttered, shaking his head. He dropped the folder onto his desk, planning to return it when he got back. He stood up and walked toward the door. He couldn't believe he'd start working with his new secretary by picking her up.
"Where to, Mr. Edwards?" his chauffeur asked as Edwards got in his car.
"135 Portsmouth St., Charles." came the quick reply.
During the trip, Edwards untied his necktie completely. He never liked tying things around his neck. He
only wore the necktie out of formality. It was one of the few things that he was raised with. After a few minutes, he arrived at his destination.
He got out of the car and looked up at the building. "…She lives here?" he murmured, running a hand
through his hair. "This is unexpected… She seemed to have studied in the same school as I did when I was in elementary school… It was one of the finest. Why would she live here?" Edwards thought incredulously.
He knocked on her studio door and waited. Nobody answered. He knocked once more and waited for a minute. When he couldn't wait anymore, he tried opening the door and amazingly found it to be unlocked. He walked into the small studio and found her lying down serenely in her bed, books scattered about. She was still in her pajamas. He looked down at her and placed an arm at his hip. He frowned a bit, though not out of anger.
"She must've been really busy last night, if she's still sleeping. Personally, nothing would keep me from work unless I had severe stress or an illness…" he thought to himself.
He placed his hand gently upon her forehead.
"Hmm, she's not feverish…" he murmured.
At this, the woman woke up. She sat up on her bed and covered herself with a blanket when she saw Edwards standing over her bed.
"W-who are you?" she asked.
"Hello. I'm your new boss, Mr. Edwards." he greeted her formally, reaching out to her with the hand that he had placed against her forehead.
"Oh… Um… If you don't mind, would you please step out while I make myself presentable for work?" she said, blushing slightly.
Edwards felt himself blushing slightly as well. He retracted his hand which he offered for a handshake and used it to fiddle with his necktie instead.
"Oh yes. Well, I'll uh… I'll wait downstairs in my limousine. Sorry about that." he muttered as he strode out of the studio.
The woman watched him leave and shut the door, and then she just stared upon her bed. "I knew I shouldn't have done all that reading before I went to sleep…"
"Okay, it's snack time!" called out the teacher as she handed glasses of milk and a plate of cookies to Katie and Niel.
Niel quickly drank his glass down since he had just finished playing with his friends.
"Niel! You've got a milk moustache!"
"Huh?" Niel raised an eyebrow at her and wiped it off with the back of his hand.
"Nope... It's still there!" Katie giggled.
"Where?" Niel asked, slightly confused.
"I'm not sure… Come closer!" she insisted.
Niel lent forward, pouting.
"Are you sure I wasn't able to get it off yet?" he asked
Katie pecked him on the lips then laughed.
"Hah! You fell for it!" she said in-between laughs.
"Aww! Now I've got cooties!" Niel teased, pouting once more.
"Want a cookie?" asked Katie, offering hers.
"Okay!" replied Niel, quickly forgetting to be annoyed and took the cookie gratefully.
"I know! Let's share instead!" he said, breaking the cookie in half and giving her the bigger piece.
"So… What shall I call you, Ms…?" Edwards asked her as she entered the limousine.
"You can just call me Katherine… I suppose I'll just call you Mr. Edwards, right?" She replied.
Edwards nodded and moved to make space for her. Katherine sat beside Edwards, and placed her hands on her lap. Edwards just stared out the window throughout the whole trip, stroking his necktie. He realized it was undone and he tied it immediately. When they arrived, Edwards got out of the limousine and held out the door for her. Katherine thanked him and Edwards just smiled warmly.
"Now, my office is up here…" Edwards said as he led her up to his office.
"Your desk will be right outside my office."
Katherine walked over to her desk and sat down. Everything she needed was there.
"Thank you very much, Mr. Edwards," she said gratefully.
Edwards smiled and bowed a bit, then went back into his office.
Katherine glanced about her surroundings. Her desk was made of sturdy particle board as was the normal for desks. She found her chair to be comfortable and it only required minor adjustments before it was perfectly situated for typing at the flat-panel display and top of the line computer she would work at. She looked at the door leading to Edward's office. There was a metal plate with something inscribed into it.
"Daniel Nathan Edwards" it read.
Katherine just shrugged it off and busied herself by arranging her things so she'd be accustomed to them.
"Uh… Ms. Katherine?"
Katherine looked up and saw Edwards peeping out from his door.
"Yes, Mr. Edwards?"
"I'm… sort of craving for a snack." he said, opening the door so he could walk out.
"Well… I uh…"
"How about we go out for coffee? This is just for business matters, nothing personal. We could both have a coffee break there and get to know each other. I just feel that I'd rather like to know a few things about the people I'm working with. I find it better than working with a stranger." He grinned sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck.
His eyes lightened up as he got an idea. "I know! Let's go to Starbucks! Don't worry about the expenses. I'll handle it." he said, as he held the door open for her once more.
Katherine blinked for a moment. She shrugged and got up and followed Edwards to the limousine. She was still feeling a bit drowsy, which is understandable as she just woke up. When they arrived at the limousine, Edwards opened the door for her once more. Katherine gave him a smile as thanks and got in.
"So what would you like to order?" Edwards asked, grinning at her.
"I'm all right with anything. I don't think I should be on caffeine at the moment though." Katherine replied, checking her watch.
"Hey Katie, what's that you're reading?" asked Niel as he sat down beside her.
"It's the story about 'The Three Little Pigs'!" she replied, smiling warmly at Niel.
"What's that about?" asked Niel as he cocked his head back and frowned. "My parents never read that to me…"
"I can read it to you if you'd like…" she chirped.
"Wow, you sure love reading." he replied.
"Hey, Niel… What'll you be when you grow up?"
"I don't know... But I'm going to make you my business partner!"
"Yeah! That's a good plan!"
"Here we are, Mr. Edwards." Charles said.
"You can get us after 30 minutes or so, Charles. Thank you." replied Edwards. They both entered Starbucks while the limousine drove off.
"I'll have three Vanilla Frappes, please. Oh, can I have three Ham and Cheese with Egg sandwiches as well? "
"All right, then. What is your name sir?"
Edward paid for their drinks and sat down at the nearest table. Katherine joined him as well.
"So… What schools have you gone to?" he asked as Katherine sat down.
"I've been to Christian Alliance International School for a while..." she said. Edwards sat up straight when she mentioned the school.
"For a while?" he asked, cocking his head back and frowning a bit. "What do you mean by that?"
"Well, my dad's company suddenly shut down so he couldn't afford to let me study there anymore. So I transferred." she explained.
"Calling Edwards… Your drinks are ready."
"Excuse me for a moment." he said to Katherine as he got up and walked over to the counter.
"I'm sorry sir. We've only got one sandwich left… Nothing else is available." the clerk said, handing Edwards the sandwich and drinks.
"Never mind then… Instead of refunding the sandwich, keep the money as a tip. I don't really need it." Edwards said. He brought the drinks and the sandwich back to the table. He kept the third frappe in a separate paper bag, for Charles.
"Here's your drink." He said, as he placed it in front of Katherine. "Err… they ran out of sandwiches. Would you like to share instead?" he asked. He halved it and offered her the bigger half.
"Thanks…" she murmured as she took the sandwich. She bit into it and washed the sandwich down with a sip from her frappe.
"You know, you remind me of this girl I knew when I was little." Edwards said. "I know that must have been really sudden, but I just can't get it out of my head."
He stroked his chin thoughtfully, sipping his drink as he did. He looked out the window and found the limousine waiting outside.
"Oh, there's Charles… We'd better go. We can eat on our way back to the office, anyway." he said as he got up. He placed his half of the sandwich in his mouth, and picked up the paper bag with Charles' drink. Katherine had already finished her half of the sandwich so she just brought her drink along. Edwards handed the paper bag to Charles and walked to the back of the limousine. He bit into the sandwich then held it in his hand, using the other one to open the door for Katherine. Katherine was about to enter when she looked at his face, full of bread crumbs.
"Niel!" she yelled, shocked.
Edwards blinked for a while.
He dropped the sandwich and held her tightly. "Katie!"
"Niel, I thought you'd outgrow your messiness by now…" she teased, pulling out of his embrace.
"I… can't believe this. I've just hired Katie as my secretary." Niel said in disbelief, still holding her shoulders.
"Mr. Edwards… perhaps you'd like to step in the limousine by now. We're causing traffic…" Charles called out from the driver's seat, snapping Niel back to reality.
"Oh right!" Niel said, shaking his head. He helped Katie in the limousine and entered after her.
"This explains the books I've found by your bed…"
"…and why your necktie was undone."
"So… Still want to be my secretary?" he teased.
"No thanks. I'm going to be your partner, just like we planned when we were little."