Internal poverty (Unedited)

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Chapter Six: Cruel

Taizya's POV
The following couple of weeks went by quickly.
I barely spoke to the Sir and neither did he to me.
I got to know Bwale more and he is a really great person. He doesn't talk much about his personal life much like Max and I didn't want to pry so I left it at that. He is Max's best friend and they seem really close.
Jason's quite bubbly and joyful. It's shocking how he manages to work for the Sir and still be in good spirits all the time.
He lives with his little sister and for his parents...I know they are alive living somewhere.
I'm in the office finishing something, when I hear noise coming from the hallway.
"What's going on?" I asked looking at a worried Bwale.
He shrugged and spoke with a sigh.
"I love Max and everything but he can be really insensitive at times."
I noticed the worried torn as he released those words.
"He found out this morning that Likanda has been slacking off." He looked at me as if he needed confirmation to carry on. There was an awkward silence that followed untill I spoke up.
"Why is that?"
"He has a five year old son that he's taking care of all by himself." He then turned to look at me. "You know Tai, it's kinda hard working here and being a good family man. Max demands a lot from us and he gets really aggressive when someone's weighing him down to the point where he gets rid of them." I gasped at the revelation. Oh, my poor Likanda."I just hope he doesn't take it that far." He concluded.
"I'm a little surprised at how much you know about Likanda, you two barely talk." He moved his gaze to the floor, suddenly finding it interesting. "Are you always this defensive about everyone who works here or is he a special case?" He looked up at me then walked towards the door after hearing something, I followed suit.
We were in the hallway witnessing a scene I wouldn't forget in a hurry. Looking at my side, Bwale was moving closer to the action. I stood where I was, frozen.
Maximo was fuming. I think I saw steam coming out of his ears. His jacket was off, held by Jason of course. His back muscles were flexing with every move he made. The veins in his neck were pulsing. Those biceps, shoulders and chest muscles were threatening to rip his shirt open. I couldn't stop staring. The sight made my cheeks and ears darken, sending shivers down my spine, I was attracted to him?
"What the hell are you trying to do Mr Sakalezhi?" Max said looking at the poor man in front of him. "You're behind on your freaking work that I am now forced to do for you because we are all behind schedule and you are freaking incompetent!" He growled making me and everyone around him flinch.
"I'm sorry sir but-" Max cut him off with a laugh.
"You have worked here for far too long to try and give some stupid excuses." He was speaking calmly but the rage in his voice was evident.
Bwale noticed as he placed himself next to Max.
"Let him explain max, come on he must have a reason for it. It not like him to slack off like that." His voice was challenging, I could tell from Max's expression that he was not amused.
"You are defending him." It was a statement not a question. "Why?"
His voice was gruff full of undeniable rage. "You knew he was slacking didn't you and you kept quiet."
"Sir it's not what you think, I'll make it up to you from now I just had a lot on my plate with my son and work-"
"Shh." He said still looking at Bwale with rage. "I should get rid of you."
"Max just calm down, I won't let you do that to him, he has a son to care for you should know better considering-"
"Shut up!" He cut him off, preventing him from finishing his statement. He was going to erupt. Whatever Bwale wanted to say just made him more mad.
"I don't give two f**ks about that Bwale. Likanda broke the rules and will face the consequences, so stop defending him like before, I will not tolerate it not even from you."
Bwale was fuming. I think Likanda almost shed a tear. "I will defend him Max, I'm not going to be cruel like you just to hide my own insecurities!"
Max's hand was in the air,but before he landed a punch on Bwale's face, he stopped himself.
The man was fuming with rage, his chest was contracting and relaxing at an erratic pace.
"I'm cruel? Huh." His voice held so much emotion. Bwale's face softened, as his words hit him hard. "Since I'm so cruel what will prevent me from letting Likanda off and suing him for negligence?"
Bwale was made well aware of Max's words and so was Likanda who began fidgeting. I was dumbstruck. Of course he could do that, he's the boss after all. But did Likanda deserve it? I almost voiced my thought after looking at the fear struck face of Likanda but someone halted the steps that I didn't even know I was making. I looked up and saw Jason giving a 'don't involve yourself look' while holding my hand. I stepped back.
Max moved towards Jason gesturing for him to hand him his jacket. He did and Max fastened it to himself. He turned and looked at Likanda intently. "I won't spare you for making me explain to the board on why we are behind schedule. I won't fire you either, but since you have such a Huge responsibility," he said emphasising the word 'Huge'."Take three months off, no take the rest of the year off. You will be informed when to retain." He then fastened his suit before muttering the final words. "Excuse me, and everyone get back to work. I think people are getting too comfortable here forgetting who their superiors are." He said glaring at Bwale then at me?
He then left to his office, his actual office with Jason trailing behind him.
I stood and watched Likanda heading to his office ready for his long leave. Before I followed to talk to him, Bwale was already behind him with a hand placed on his shoulder. I followed out of curiosity.
I just can't explain what happened today. I now know not to get Max angry, he clearly has anger issues. But Bwale defending Likanda is what confused me the most. I know I haven't been here for long but those two barely spare glances at one another.
I remember a few weeks ago Likanda and I were having lunch when Max and Bwale came in the diner. The two men just looked at each other for the longest time until Bwale broke it. I never asked what the heck that was about but decided not to pry. But the way Bwale defended him in front of Max; his best friend, made me a little curious.
After stalking the two men like a creep, they made themselves comfortable in Likanda's office. Leaving the door ajar, I made myself comfortable eavesdropping on a conversation that had nothing to do with me. Am I prying? Nah. Am I being a creep? Definitely but who cares, I'm curious.
"You shouldn't have done that you know, challenging Max is never a good idea besides I deserve what's coming to me." Likanda said gathering his belongings. "You made him really mad and ready to kill." He said with a chuckle.
"I don't regret what I did today, the words I used yes but not defending you." Bwale Said helping him with his things. Likanda sighed and walked towards Bwale. I became even more shocked at what I was witnessing. Likanda pulled Bwale into a tight hug and Bwale held him tighter, then the tears followed from both of them.
"I'm sorry I-I should have been there all those years back when all those things were happening to you. I shouldn't have left, I'm so sorry and now you're going through all this and I still can't do anything about it. I'm such a useless friend and you deserve-" he was cut off by Likanda.
"Stop talking, none of this is your fault ok? Stop blaming yourself over something you cannot control. Whatever happened happened. It hurt me when you left and then I found you here. We, working for the same company and department, it brought back so many memories." He spoke looking into Bwale's eyes that were glistening with unshed tears. "Everyone thought something weird was up between us but I threw all their thoughts to the dogs, and then you trying to talk to me, make me reason with you....I didn't want to forgive you but I realized I never hated you not even for a second. You're practically my brother and we should have fixed things instead of me ignoring you all those times." So they are, were friends. "We will talk a little later but I think you should talk to Max, he's super pissed that you said he's cruel, he hates that word." Likanda said amused.
Bwale wiped his face off the residue tears, with a Stern face he pulled some of the boxes off the floor. "I will come over tonight and see your son it's been a while. We need to catch up." Likanda rolled his eyes at him.
"You need to talk to him, otherwise he'll burn down the office."
"I will. But first I have to prepare myself for everything he'll throw at me." They held each others shoulders and laughed aloud.
"Come on, carry these to my car." Likanda said killing the laughter.
"Sure thing boss." After that I made myself disappear into my office, busying myself with work I wasn't doing. I followed their movements as they disappeared into the elevator.
I sighed looking at my desk. I had a lot of information to said to 'Astek' but I needed Max's signature of approval. I couldn't just walk into his office now I've never even been there before.
I looked for Jason but he was with the board of directors explaining what just happened and Bwale was MIA. I'm so screwed. I glanced at my watch, time was not on my side, I needed that signature and I needed it now.
After giving myself a pep talk, I matched towards Max's office and stood there breathless. Just freaking knock Tai. I did.
"Come in Jason." He said, his voice still gruff. I matched in slowly looking anywhere but him.
"It's not Jason sir," I said slowly.
"Then get out." He didn't even spare me a glance.
"I will, I just need your signature on these Sir." He looked up and motioned me closer to him. I handed him the papers and he began skimming through signing where necessary. I took a sit and he shot me a look I didn't like but ignored it either way.
"Are you going to get rid of Likanda Sir because I don't think you should."
He side glanced me then narrowed his brows still flipping pages.
"Tell Makaika to ready himself, in a few weeks we will be going to visit the site of construction." He stood up and handed me the papers. I stood as well. "Ok Sir, but you haven't replied to my question just yet." He grabbed me by the elbow and dragged me towards the door. "I'm tired of everyone getting on my nerves," he spoke through clenched teeth. "I'm tired of everyone disrespecting me, I'm tired of everyone talking to me with disrespect, I'm tired of people getting into my business and them lying to me. Leave now." He was irritated but I was not backing away.
"Why are you like this?" He looked at me like I was crazy. "Why do you act like the world is your enemy? Maybe most people here consider you only as a boss but I consider you a human with feelings, I care." His eyes softened but he didn't trust me yet so I was expecting his answer to be anything but friendly.
"Don't get too comfortable with me intern, leave, I have much to do thanks to your friend Likanda's incompetence." He moved closer to me his breath fanning my face, my knees felt weak. "Thanks for the care sorry that I can't reciprocate it. Now leave."
His eyes held so much emotion. He was hurt and he couldn't mask it for one second. I wanted to know more, no I needed to know more. I couldn't find a trace of happiness in them and it was killing me. What or who hurt him? That pained look in his eyes wasn't from just today there's more much more and now I need to know what.
I walked out catching a whiff of his cologne. "Have a nice day Sir, don't stress yourself to much." I then closed the door before he replied.
Oh Mr Maximo you've kept to yourself for too long, it's time I see a genuine smile from you.

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