About a month later one afternoon after work, Enson and Chun were heading to Wallace’s house to pick up some items Chun had forgotten at the office. It was more like Chun was supposed to go alone, but he was still in fear of Wallace’s wraths—for his forgetfulness—so he invited Enson along.
“I thought you were coming alone,” Wallace said as soon as he opened the door and saw Enson with Chun.
“Um…” Chun stuttered. “We were heading to the KTV together, Boss.”
Wallace had on his amused expression then. “He sings?”
“Against the law?” Enson returned, not missing a beat.
Chun didn’t know how to react, except clearing his throat, which might have been a mistake. Then he turned that into a light cough. “Boss, about the files. I’m sorry for forgetting.”
“Come in,” Wallace said, opening the door a bit wider for both to enter. Wallace was actually wearing a bathrobe. It was as if he had already showered and was enjoying his time off—when he realized Chun hadn’t taken the files from him earlier, so he had to call Chun to come and get it hence not caring to change back to more appropriate clothes to greet guests. “Wait here, I’ll get the files.”
Chun nodded, letting his eyes wander around the hallway that led to the living room and the rest of the house. Enson was also studying the place, but only casually as he closed the door behind him.
“Nice place, huh?” Chun said to Enson after he was done inspecting whatever portion of the house he was able to take in.
Enson nodded, even if he had to admit it.
“Who is it?” A female voice asked somewhere down that hallway.
They heard Wallace’s voice reply to the other person. Then Enson realized why the female voice sounded familiar.
“It’s Penny!” Chun yelled out before he even realized he was yelling. Then he cupped his hands to his mouth, giving Enson a look before darting his eyes past the hallway. He wondered if Wallace and Penny had heard them.
Yes, the voice was Penny’s. It was like Penny had been exposed so she walked out from some room down the hall and revealed herself to them. She was also seen in a bathrobe but a different color from Wallace’s.
“No way…” Chun mumbled under his breath, still not believing it—although he had yelled out Penny’s name. “But they argue like cats and dogs.”
Enson sent Chun a look, indicating that Chun shouldn’t talk about Wallace and Penny when they were right there. Yet Enson didn’t need to speak up to give Chun even more warnings. Wallace walked back to them then. He gave Chun the files in his hands before reaching for the door.
Enson had to drag Chun out of there since Chun was still staring in shock at Penny. Chun finally recovered when he was outside the door and uttered some words of goodbyes to Wallace, not daring to mention Penny.
“You shouldn’t spread this around at work,” Enson told Chun when they were back in Chun’s car. “In fact, you shouldn’t talk about them at all.”
Chun nodded, still thinking about what he just saw. He quickly shrugged it off and focused on driving.
“But this is just too weird,” Chun rattled out at last when they were at some red light. “I mean, come on now.”
“Maybe they just want to keep it a secret.”
“But there are no rules against employees dating.”
“They’re not regular employees.”
The rest of the way to Enson’s place, Chun was still going on and on about the whole matter. Enson didn’t care to stop Chun, even though he didn’t want to hear about it anymore. He knew it was better to let Chun exhaust all his possibilities at that moment than to have Chun accidentally let it slip out at work. Although Enson didn’t want to believe what he just witnessed along with Chun at Wallace’s house, pieces of the puzzle began to click into places for him. He finally understood why Penny was friendly toward him one second and then withdrew the next. It was too hard for her to play it cool.
The next day at work, Enson arrived early. He didn’t seek out Penny for morning tea like many times before. He didn’t even check up on Chun to see if Chun had lost it either. He went straight to his office and locked himself in, trying to get some work done before the shop opened. It wasn’t until fifteen minutes before opening that someone knocked on his door.
“Hey,” Enson said casually as he opened the door to Penny.
“Can I come in?” Penny asked politely. She had two cups of tea for them both.
“Sure,” Enson responded, his state still passive and confused as he returned to his seat.
Penny placed the cup in front of him before settling down to drink her own tea.
“So, what do you need?” Enson asked, still trying to keep it cool.
“I’m sorry you had to find out at such a time,” Penny said at last, clutching the teacup in her hands. “I meant about me and…”
Enson shook his head. “It’s none of my business really. I shouldn’t meddle in your business when you didn’t ask. I have to apologize for causing the misunderstandings between you two with the wedding gown project and all.”
Penny wrinkled her face. “You knew we were dating that long?”
Enson shook his head. “I guessed.”
Penny nodded, her face seemed a lot more relief than in the past few months. “Then we’re good?”
Enson nodded, smiling. “We’ll always be coworkers, nothing more.”
Enson shook his head. “Don’t worry about me. It was a misunderstanding on my part.”
Penny wasn’t as convinced of his current state. But she got up anyway, leaving his office after offering him a friendly smile. Enson followed her to the door and then shut it after she was already gone.
That afternoon, another incident occurred. It was around closing, and they were down to about three clients.
“Welcome to Felicity,” Rainie rattled out the usual cheerful greeting as she spotted a couple entering their shop. “How may I help you today?”
The young man offered Rainie a friendly smile while the young woman’s eyes were darting around the shop, like she was searching for something. Rainie felt a sense of uneasiness washed over her as she waited for further developments while still maintaining a bright smile on her face.
“Is Penny in?” The young woman finally spoke up, staring at Rainie at last.
“Uh…” Rainie stuttered, not expecting the sudden question. She looked toward Chun’s direction for help as she saw Chun walking into the lobby.
“Penny’s with a client right now, ma’am,” Chun rattled out, walking over to the three and flashed on his charming smile to disarm the intensity building up in the room.
“I’ll wait,” The young woman said.
“She’ll probably be awhile, ma’am,” Chun said, glimpsing his watch real quick. “If there’s anything we could help you with in the meanwhile…”
“I’m here to see Penny,” the young woman repeated, her voice firm this time.
“Lighten up, honey,” the young man whispered into his companion’s ear. Then he turned to Chun and Rainie. “We’ll just wait over there.”
As the young man directed the young woman to the lounge chairs nearby, Chun exchanged a look with Rainie. Yet it wasn’t long before he offered to go get some beverage for them while Rainie tended to the front area.
After Chun was gone and Rainie went back to her current tasks, Enson walked out and spotted the couple sitting by the lounge chairs. His expression reflected of surprise as he stopped in his tracks. Yet his hesitation was brief, because he quickly approached the couple and flashed on his sincere smile. The couple got up from their place and shook Enson’s hand before addressing him in an informal manner. That had caught Rainie’s attention slightly, because she snapped her head up to watch their interactions before returning to her typing tasks.
“What brought you two here today?” Enson asked, settling down at a chair next to the young man.
“Visiting Penny,” the young man answered, his smile sunshine like how it had been from the start.
Enson turned his attention toward the young woman at this point. “Is this about Wallace?”
Enson had lowered his voice on purpose, so Rainie wasn’t able to hear him like before. Yet Chun had heard him because Chun had returned with water for the recently arrived guests. In fact, Chun almost spilled the water glasses in his hands if he wasn’t careful. He quickly distributed the glasses before nodding and backing away from the scene. Although he had done it slowly, waiting for Enson to continue. Yet it was like Enson knew Chun’s motive, so he turned his attention to Chun, indicating that Chun should leave them alone for the time being.
“You knew?” the young woman asked at that moment, staring at Enson with much suspicion in her eyes.
Enson nodded. “Just recently.”
“She told you?”
Enson shook his head. “I found out by accident.”
“The more you should stop her from making a fool of herself.”
Enson shook his head again. “I have no right to interfere with her personal life, you know that.”
“Well, I can.”
Upon saying that, the young woman got up and it looked like she was making her way toward the archway that led into the wedding gowns and tuxes area.
“Ruby!” the young man called out then, rushing after her.
Enson was also rushing after Ruby, not caring to explain to the others left behind in the lobby.
“Don’t make a scene,” Enson warned as he approached Ruby and had a hand on her shoulder. “You know this is not the place.”
“That’s right,” the young man tagging Ruby chimed in. He wrapped a hand around her shoulders at that point. “You know she doesn’t take it well when you confront her like that.”
Enson scanned the front desk quickly, making sure Penny wasn’t around before turning to the couple. “Why don’t you and Alec go to the coffee shop around the corner? I’ll tell Penny to meet you there.”
“That’s right,” Alec said, still displaying his friendly smile. He tugged Ruby’s arm and tried to calm her down as they made their way back out to the main lobby.
Enson made sure to escort them out all the way, seeming like he didn’t want to take the risk with Ruby changing her mind and ending up making a scene in front of their clients.
“Problem?” Chun asked Enson when both parties were already gone. He had been lurking around the entrance and was anxiously waiting until the couple was already out of sight.
Enson turned to check on the last two clients sitting at the other side of the lobby before gesturing for Chun to follow him. Rainie was still tending to the front desk by herself. Tammy had taken half of the day off to tend to some personal matters hence her lack of presence earlier, and not being able to help Rainie handle the sticky situation.
“Don’t pass this one around either,” Enson told Chun in a warning tone as they were making their way back to Penny’s territory.
“Who are they?” Chun whispered to Enson.
“Ruby wants to meet you at the coffee shop around the corner after work,” Enson told Penny as Penny walked out from the direction of the dressing room. He had ignored Chun’s question on purpose.
“She was here?” Penny asked, her voice worried.
Enson nodded. “Alec’s with her so it might not be that bad.”
“She looked upset though,” Chun jumped in all of a sudden, not wanting to miss whatever that was. “Enson had to persuade her to go to the coffee shop or she would’ve made a scene here.”
Penny turned to look at Enson then, wanting to say something. Yet Enson shook his head.
“It’s my job to do damage control around here,” Enson said, not wanting to take credit.
After saying that, he turned and made his way back to the main lobby. Penny and Chun exchanged a look before Chun shrugged. Penny soon recovered from her puzzlement and spoke up.
“About what you saw yesterday…” Penny began, feeling unease for some reason—although she had authority over Chun.
Chun shook his head then. “Don’t worry. I know not to pass it around.”
Penny nodded. “Thanks.”
Chun left—just like Enson—after those words.
© Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Posted: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014