Chapter 7 - Aldrich
I am beginning to wonder why I even bother coming to work now. I do nothing, but sit in this office every day. Karolina is relentless. My father is reasonable, but this is a dagger to my core. I can’t work if she is constantly coming to the hotel. It’s unfair and selfish. Does she never tire of her games?
I am at the computer, playing games when I decide to check my email. I need to make it a habit. I have noticed that Danica responds to my emails within a few hours that I have sent mine. Even when I schedule my emails. I only schedule them because I don’t want to bombard Danica’s inbox. Sure enough, when I open my email, there is a new reply from Danica. I grin and open the message.
April 5, 2016
Subject: Re: Question 2
You would expect Adam to be based on someone I know. But, no, he isn’t someone in real life. However, he does have some character traits found in my older brother and his friend. Who is actually my friend too, the very one I got the idea from.
Danica Kensington - Author
P.S. I completely understand. If you ever feel that you do want to talk about it, I am all ears.
P.P.S. Oh, that’s so sweet of you to say. But I doubt too many people would actually miss me. My family and friends, yes. There are so many other authors in this world. No one would grieve over me for too long.
My smile grows when read how Danica is willing to listen when I am ready to talk about my situation. That is truly someone who cares, no matter the circumstance. However, when I read what follows that postscript, my smile disappears. Why would she think that no one would grieve over her for too long? I shake my head and frantically start a reply. However, following suit of our previous emails, I compose a new message with my next question. In the postscript, I state my opinion, in a nice way.
April 8, 2016
Subject: Question 3
You say that your older brother’s friend is also your friend. Do they know you write books? Is it something you are quiet about, or do the people around you know your profession?
P.S. Perhaps . . .
P.P.S. They would miss you . . . I know I would, considering we have been exchanging emails for some days now. Considering . . . I feel a connection to you because of what happened with my mother. I would definitely feel bad knowing I had been talking with you one day, and then you are gone the next.
Surprisingly, the moment I press ‘Send’, I am convinced that I should get to know Danica better. I just don’t know how, not without coming onto her. What if she suddenly gets uncomfortable and stops replying to me? I am a stranger to her, afterall. Yet . . . Something about her makes me want more than just an email. In this email that I’ve just sent to her, I am expressing that. In a subtle manner, but still.
I close down the browser and text Jordan to see if the coast is clear. He responds that Karolina and Michael have not yet left the hotel. I sigh and decide it is as good a time as any to go home. I rise from the desk, double-checking that I have not left anything out of ordinary, and leave the office.
When I arrive home, Laila and her mother are preparing dinner for themselves. I do not think they were expecting me back yet.
“Should prepare you something?” Laila asks with a wide smile.
“No,” I shake my head, returning the smile. “I ate on my way back, plus I’ve a bit of work to do.”
Laila’s disappointment is evident as she nods and goes back to her mother’s side. I hurry out to my room and close the door. I turn on the overhead light and go to my desk. The computer is hibernating from my gaming session earlier today. I close any unnecessary programs before opening my web browser. I’ve only sent my email to Danica a little over an hour ago. She’s already replied. I grin and open the message.
April 8, 2016
Subject: Re: Question 3
Yes, my brother and friend know that I write books for profession. He is one of the main reasons I chose to write for a profession. When I was in high school, he caught me writing all the time. Between him and the inspiration of how my grandparents met, I have been writing for a good many years.
Danica Kensington - Author
P.S. Perhaps is better than nothing, I suppose.
P.P.S. I would be hugging you right now, if we were face to face. That is, truly, the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. I have a very curious nature . . . You speak like someone very mature and . . . wise, I guess? How old are you?
She wants to know my age? Okay, I do want to get to know Danica better. I do want to share more about me with her, but . . . Perhaps I am jumping the gun too quickly. I want for Danica to know about me. I just . . . I don’t know how to share those details with her.
“How can I turn this around?” I ask aloud, tapping my fingers against the desk’s surface. “C’mon Dante, think. She believes you’re someone she wants to know about. Why else would she ask that?”
I glance around my room before letting my gaze fall onto my computer screen once more. I am about to compose a new message when my father’s voice enters my ear.
“Son, can I disturb you a moment?” he asks, appearing next to me. “What are you doing there? Who are you writing?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I reply, hiding the browser. “Did you need something?”
“No, I just wanted to apologize for Karolina’s current behavior. I do not think you deserve to be treated the way she is treating you. If needed, I can speak to the prime minister and request that he stops her from coming so often.”
“It would be convenient . . . Karolina appears at the moments I think I can breathe.”
“I will speak to her parents tomorrow,” Dad says, patting my shoulder. “And remind me to change around your work hours. Perhaps we can turn this around.”
“I hope so,” I sigh, nodding.
“Did you eat?”
“Yes, before coming home.”
“Alright; we will talk in the morning. I had to bring home some of my work. There are several events coming up and I do not want anything to overlap the other.”
Dad kisses the top of my head, which surprises me. He hasn’t done that since I was a young boy. Before my mother left.
“I love you, son,” he says as he leaves.
“I love you too,” I tell him before the door closes.
A couple days later, I finally send my next email to Danica. She replies within the hour. And much to my surprise, I learn so much more about her.
April 10, 2016
Subject: Re: Question 4
My grandparents went on a school trip to Europe for their second to final year before college. They were not in the same school, but met when the two school mingled for some activities. They ended up spending time with each throughout the rest of the trip. When they came back to Oregon (that’s where they still live), Gramps would write Gram a letter every week. Then, somehow, Gram landed up in the same high school and they started dating exclusively.
A year later, for my gram’s eighteenth birthday, Gramps proposed. They were married six months later and my dad was born ten months after that. They inspire me simply by being there for me.
Danica Kensington - Author
P.S. Oh, well I send you virtual hugs. The kind only a teddy bear can give. And believe me, my hugs are magical. You will actually feel it through this email.
P.P.S. Dodging my question by turning it in my face, huh? I will humor you, but you will have to tell me. Eventually. I am going to be twenty-three in June. I’ll still be travelling though. So I won’t get to celebrate it much.
I chuckle when I read about her teddy bear hugs. A warmth swells in my chest, and I start to believe that she is actually hugging me through the computer. And she is almost twenty-three? I tilt my head to the side. She is only a couple years younger than me. I grin as I get excited just hearing from her. Writing her my next message will probably bring out more of the both of us. It is going to be . . . off topic. But worth it. I hope.