I continued to walk down the hallway. It was empty and I was glad for that. I don’t want anyone to see how miserable I am.
I feel so bad for Tom.
I like him, I do. But no one can replace Matthias.
I’m the one who said I can’t forgive him but I guess I did betray myself for saying that.
Matthias, do I have to let you go again? You appeared in my life and I can’t find a good reason for that.
In my mind, I can’t help thinking that you only want me because of your selfishness.
“I’m dizzy.” I said to myself while clutching my head.
I stopped walking and never realized that Matthias was in front of me. I looked up to him and stared at his face. He’s so handsome I can’t take my eyes off of him.
“What?” I snapped and he just smirked.
“Nothing much. You look like shit.” He said and I snorted.
“Thanks for saying the obvious.” I mumbled and stepped aside to walk. “Excuse me.”
He suddenly grabbed my hand and I gasp. That same sensation returned and my skin crawled at the slight touch of his hand.
“What?” I asked but still not turning around to face him.
“Are you alright?” He asked.
I lowered my head. He must be asking that because of my poor performance back at the meeting. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Good.” He let go of my hand and sensed that he was now facing me. He ruffled my hair and leaned down to kiss the back of my neck.
“I miss you so much, Earl.”
At that moment, every nerve and cell inside my body rejoiced.
“Stop saying that.” I said and he pulled away from me.
“I’m so tired of your shit Matthias. I can’t keep up with it anymore. You left me twice and you expect me to accept what you’re saying now?” I faced him to spat at his face but froze when I saw his expression.
He was – sad?
An emotion I never imagined for him to have.
“Give me…one more chance to prove myself.” He mumbled.
Why was he asking me this? “What?”
He bit his lips and for so many years I saw how vulnerable he was. “I’m asking you to give me one more chance.” He looked straight in my eyes, plunging me with so many emotions I can’t handle. “I want you, Earl.”
“But you left me.” You don’t know how much pain I suffered just to forget about you. But even though, I still can’t forget that you’re the only one I loved.
“I know. But – ”
Suddenly, the door opened and Mr Thomas came out holding a folder.
We both grunted and turned around to face him. Mr Accosi looked at us with wide eyes. “Is something wrong?”
Matthias groaned and looked at me. “We’ll talk later. Think about what I said, Earl.” He walked away and I watched him disappear at the corner.
Mr Accosi approached me. “I didn’t think you are close to the him.” He said and I forced a smile.
“Uh, yeah, we’re talking buddies.”
“Oh,prima che mi dimentichi [ Before I forget ], here are the files for you to check on.”
I was about to return to my office when Tom appeared beside me while holding his phone.
“Hey, can I borrow your phone?” He asked.
“Huh? What happened?” I asked giving him my phone. He took it and shook his head.
“My phone’s dead. I need to call someone.” He said. “I’ll be quick.” He turned his back and started dialling. I waited for him patiently.
A few minutes after, Tom finally returned my phone to me. “Thanks. Acossi wanted me to talk to his client.” He hissed and I chuckled.
“Yeah, he gave me the files for his client.” I said and he rolled his eyes.
“Damn that Acossi.” He muttered. “Thanks for the call.” He said before waving his hand at me and getting back to his office.
I sighed and looked outside the windows only to see the tall buildings already lit up their lights. I didn’t even notice that it was already this dark. I glanced at the wall clock and cursed when I saw that was already 8:00 pm. Way past my working hours. I fixed my things, turned off the mac and stepped out of my office.
Only few people were outside my office. Some were typing non-stop to their own desk while the others were chit-chatting, maybe readying in going home.
Speaking of home, I really need to find an apartment. But I’m too tired to do it right now. I walked to the elevator and was about to push the ground level button when Matthias appeared in front of me.
He smiled and I scowled. “What?”
“Can’t I use the elevator?” He asked sarcastically while entering the lift. I rolled my eyes and finally pushed the ground floor button.
I fidgeted nervously. I don’t really want to spend any more time with him alone. Damn this elevator, why’re you so slow?!
Matthias looked at me. “So, are you doing anything this night?”
I puffed my cheeks and nodded. “Actually, I do have to do something. Rest.”
“Do you really need it?” He asked teasingly and I can’t help but to smile at what he said.
“Yes.” I answered and he shrugged his shoulders.
“Fine. I was just thinking that maybe we could eat dinner together.” He mumbled and looked at me with sad eyes. “Guess I have to eat alone then.”
I twitched when I saw him pout in the most cutest way I’ve ever seen. Don’t be tempted, don’t be tempted! Earl, get a grip!
DON’T BE TEMPTED!
“This pasta’s so good.” Matthias praised while eating the appealing spaghetti meatballs covered in cream sauce. I sighed and stabbed the piece of ravioli and put it in my mouth to chew.
In the end, we ate dinner together in Italianni’s. I knew I told myself not to be tempted but shit, I just can’t say no to this person.
Yeah, I still love him and I need him but I can’t tell him now. Not after what he did to me. I still want him to prove to me that he’s willing to do everything to get me back.
Sounds a little mean and sadistic but whatever, what he did to me five years ago was far worse than what I’m doing now.
I smirked inwardly at what I thought.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“Nothing.” I picked up the glass of red wine and sipped it.
Matthias was just staring at me. “Shit, I really need to get you back.”
Good thing I didn’t cough at what he said or else I might blow the red wine I was drinking. “W-what?!”
He smiled and shook his head. “Nothing. Just eat, Earl.”
I watched him eat his spaghetti and I smiled. He never really changed. I guess, he did with all his new attitude of being persistent. He’s still the same Matthias I knew and loved.
I lowered my head when I suddenly thought of Tom. Maybe I should really end it with him. I do feel bad for him for everything that he did but I don’t want to continue our relationship just out of pettiness.
I played with my fork and thought of a way how to tell Tom that we need to break our relationship. Partially because of Matthias and partially because I don’t think I can keep up with our situation anymore.
After all this years, Matthias was still the same person I loved.
Tom – he was a person that came to me and let me feel that I am loved again. That time, I never imagined that I’ll see Matthias again so I agreed to have a relationship with him.
“How did you meet this Tom?” Matthias asked bitterly and I looked at him. He was now sitting lazily on his chair, one arm on the back of his seat while he sat cross-legged.
I cleared my throat. “About a year ago. He was one of my colleagues in the other company back home and we got along together. He helped me with my promotion and then the rest was history.” I answered.
“Hmmm.” He drank his wine in one gulp and put the glass down.
“So how ’bout you? What happened when you…left me?” I asked. I was really interested in knowing what happened to him.
He looked away. “Just the same, I guess.”
Was it me or did something horrible happened? I mean, the way his reaction was when I asked him drastically changed. Like he wanted to forget something.
“Sorry I asked.” I mumbled and he snorted.
“No worries. Doesn’t matter anymore. My past wasn’t that interesting. It’s full of bullshit.” He spat and I nodded. I don’t want to push him in something that he doesn’t want to tell.
I looked at the time and saw that it was 10:16 already. “I need to go.” I said and stood up. I took out my wallet and grabbed some euros. “Here’s my share.” I gulped when I saw him glare at me.
“I can fucking pay for you food.” He said and stood up leaving money on the table.
“Wait the change for the money…”
“Don’t need it. Come on.”
He pulled me out of the restaurant leading me to his black Audi. He opened the car door and I remained standing on the side.
“What’re you doing?” He asked nonchalantly.
“Uh, waiting for you to drive away?” I answered.
“Get in you idiot.” Matthias commanded.
“But I’ll just take the bus…”
“Get your ass inside or I’ll throw you in.”
I sighed in defeat and opened the car door. I hopped inside and Matthias started the engine.
“I’ll drop you to your place. Where is it?” He asked while clicking some buttons on the GPS monitor attached near the air conditioner.
I panicked. I can’t tell him I don’t have a permanent place yet. If I lied to him and tell him a random place, he’ll probably know it eventually and will pummel me to death.
What to do?
Matthias clicked his tongue impatiently. “Where do you live?”
“Eh – uhm – ah, could you just drop me off on Tom’s place?” I paled when I saw his face turned deadly.
“Do you want me to kill you right now?” He asked in a deep voice that made my spine shiver.
“N-no! Uh…” Shit, I’m starting to be the old Earl again. Damn you Matthias and you’re affection.
“The truth is…I’m still looking for a place to stay.” I said and panicked when he glared at me.
“You’ve been living in Italy for how many months and you still don’t have a place to live in?!” He yelled angrily and I bit my lips.
“S-sorry.” I stuttered.
“Fuck, you’re such an idiot.”
He glanced at me and I kept my eyes on my lap.
My eyes widened when I saw his hand on my leg. The next thing I knew was that he was leaning towards me and I met his lips in a kiss.
I closed my eyes and felt his warm lips on mine. As I thought, it was perfect. Nothing can compare to his kiss.
It was soft, it was tender and it was everything I could ever imagine.
Matthias pulled away and smiled when he saw my face. I looked up to him, vision in haze, breath so hot and cheeks flushing like a girl.
I really love Matthias.
“Let’s go home.” He pulled out of the parking lot and drove to the main road.
“Home?” I asked still caught up in the kiss. I looked out of the window and saw the city lights of Italy. It was calming and nostalgic. People were walking on the streets, laughing with their family, playing with their friends and just talking.
I love this sight.
“Can I turn the radio on?” I asked Matthias and he nodded. I pushed the button and an Italian music came up. It was jazzy and mild and I liked it.
Matthias opened the door and let me enter first. He turned on the lights and ushered me inside.
“I’ll just stay for the night.” I said and he rolled his eyes. He threw his briefcase on the floor and went to the living room. I sighed and picked up his bag and put it on the table near the door. I took off my shoes and put it on the corner before entering the living room.
I saw him lying down on the sofa, one arm covering his eyes. He looks exhausted.
I sat down on the couch and looked out the window. Tall buildings with bright lights. I can’t get used to this kind of sights.
Matthias looked at me. “What?”
“Nothing.” I smiled. “Thanks for letting me stay.”
He smirked. “Why? You think this is free?”
I paled. “Woah, you want money?”
He rolled his eyes and I chuckled. “Come here.” He motioned his fingers to let me come. I stood up and moved beside the couch he was lying on.
“What?” I asked and he was still smirking.
He pulled my hand and I ended up lying on top of him.
“What’re you doing?” I asked as he snaked his arms around my waist.
“Hugging you.” He whispered and I blushed.
“Really.” I said and he nodded.
“Tell me you love me.”
I gasped but Matthias only smiled. “No way.”
“Come on.” He massaged my butt cheeks and I moaned.
“S-stop doing that!”
I froze when he suddenly stopped moving. I looked at him and saw that he was already asleep. I pinched his cheeks and he mewled softly.
Agh, even this guy has his own cute moments. I smiled and slowly untangled myself from him. I went to his bedroom and sighed when I saw how thrashed it was.
Sheets were crumpled and laying down on the floor, pillows everywhere, food wrappers on the table, clothes hanging on every chairs. Damn. There’s no way he can live like this.
I got the sheets and closed the door before going down back to him. I put the blankets on him and caressed his face. He really looks senile when sleeping.
I turned off the lights and went back to his room to clean up his mess.
I woke up to sight of bright sunlight. I slowly got up and stretched my sore muscles. It’s hard to sleep in a couch, yes. I looked at Matthias and saw that he was still sleeping.
Okay, time to cook breakfast.
I headed to the kitchen and opened the fridge only to see five eggs, a carton of milk, three packs of beer, two vodka bottles, three bottled water inside.
What the hell does he eat?
I quickly stashed the eggs out thinking that I can cook something out of this for breakfast. After cooking, I neatly put the food on the table and grabbed a note and wrote something down.
Thanks for letting me stay. I cleaned up your room by the way.
Eat your breakfast, okay?
See you at the office.
I put it near the plate and went back to the living room to get my stuffs. Matthias was still sleeping, of course, but I decided not to wake him up. I locked the door with the password he gave me and went out of the condo to go to work.
“Where were you?” I looked up only to see Tom in front of my desk.
“Eh? Uhm, I slept over to one of my friends.” I answered and he sighed.
“I kept calling you but you weren’t answering so I thought something happened.” He said and I felt guilty about that.
“Sorry.” I stood up from my chair and walked towards him. This might be the good to tell him I want to break up. Or is it?
“Uhm Tom…we need to talk.” I said and he smiled at me.
Shit. Earl, you can do this.
“What is it?” He asked.
I sighed and gripped my pants. “Can we uh…I – I need to tell you something.”
“It’s about – ”
I was about to tell him when the door burst open and Mr Accossi came inside.
“Harrison, to the meeting room ASAP.” He said and I just stared at him.
He narrowed his eyes telling me that it’s urgent. “NOW.” He went away slamming the door close.
“Shit. I’m in trouble.” I said and Tom laughed.
“Don’t worry about it, ’kay?” He kissed my forehead and I sighed.
“Let’s talk later. Coffee maybe?” I asked and he nodded.
I opened the door to the meeting room and gulped when I saw the two CEO’s of the company. Well, Matthias was there, sitting on the far-end of the long table, while Mr Brambani and Mr Donati.
Wait, why was Matthias here ?
Mr Brambani smiled at me. “Sit down, Earl.”
I nodded and pulled the chair and looked at them. “Is something wrong?”
“You see Earl, we need you to do something for us.” Mr Donati said and I bit my lips. Oh shit, don’t tell me they want me to transfer companies again.
Sensing my stress, Mr Brambani patted my shoulder. “Relax, Harrison. We are not gonna kill you, sì?” He looked at Mr Donati and he agreed.
“As the chief finance of Altrees, you have the sole power to do this.” Mr Donati fished out a folder and gave it to me. I gulped when I saw the PRIVATE stamp pasted on the front.
I flipped it open and saw the statements of the retired employees from the company.
“What?” I read it silently and gasped.
They were saying that their monthly salaries were being deduced to the point that they only get 20 % of their supposed income.
“How’d you get this statement?” I asked. “It was totally different from what I read.”
“Yes, we know. You see Earl, we personally interviewed the people who quit their jobs. And that was what they exactly said to us.” Mr Donati explained.
I gripped the folders. This must be the Executive President’s doing.
“What do you need me for, sir?” I asked.
“We need you to track down the salaries of the executive personnel.” Mr Brambani said and I looked at them in awe. Only the people from the same department can see how much they get and it’s not a part of my job.
“That means you can have access from everyone in the executive department.” Mr Donati said. “Including us.”
“We do not want to continue these allegations in our company. A lot of people already resigned and we can’t allow that anymore.”
“I understand. I’ll do my best to do this job.” I answered and they smiled at me.
“Thanks Earl, this is a huge favour we’re asking but you are the only one who can do it.”
“Thanks for trusting me.”
Mr Donati chuckled. “Don’t thank us. Thank that monello [ Brat ] over there.” He pointed at Matthias and he only glared at him.
“Stai zitto vecchio. [ Shut up old man ]” Matthias mumbled and I forced out a smile.