For once without Plan-B

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Chapter - 6: Friend or Boss??

The week went by fast with me making every effort to avoid Drake and my every effort going in vain as I end up going to Night College in Drake’s car.

Also with the help of one of my colleague I finally managed to get a 1BHK apartment for rent which was not so near to my workplace but it was not as far as the one I had seen earlier. I made up my mind to shift to the apartment next morning as it’s Saturday and I neither have office to attend nor college to give lecture.

“Hele, please don’t leave. I mean why are you so stubborn on leaving this building and going somewhere else. You know I would be worried for you’’ Pearl spoke almost in tears

“Pearl we already had this discussion. We will be meeting everyday at Night College. You can come down to my apartment anytime you want to and spend time with me, I would also meet you here whenever possible. Moreover, because of my presence Albert I mean Bert has almost stopped coming to your room to spend the nights and I feel much guilty.’’

‘’Does it really matter Hele. If I at any point have to choose between you and my boyfriend I would choose you and you know that. Come on you are my best friend’’

‘’I know Pearl, please don’t make it difficult for me to make a move. 5 plus months later I am gone to another continent totally. Let me get prepared for the detachment. My moving out is important for both of us’’

Pearl felt really bad and left from there making me sigh. But whatever I spoke is truth. I have only Pearl whom I can call as mine, she is the only one I am attached to and I want to get detached slowly, so that when I leave for NY I can feel less pain. I knew it is a stupid logic but still I felt it is right thing.

After packing all my stuff in boxes, I set them in the living room and waited for Pearl to arrive. I wanted to spend some time with my bestie. After an hour Pearl came and I went and hugged her. “

“I am sorry if I hurt you Pearl’’

‘’No, I am sorry. I should have understood you but I was me, silly, stupid and foolish’’ she wiped her tears

“I love you Pearl. You know that. You are the only one whom I can share anything with.’’

‘’Okay. I don’t want to cry more. Let’s spend the night with some movie and popcorn.’’

That night we spent watching the movie and slipped into sleep at some point. The next morning Bert came to help me move. Pearl and Bert came along to have a look at my temporary house. I thought Drake would also come but to my disappointment he didn’t show up. Somehow I tried not to show my disappointment. I expected Bert or pearl to talk about Drake but none of them spoke about him and I had no guts to ask them about him.

After having their lunch and getting the rest of things set in their places Bert and Pearl bid bye to me and I thanked them many times for their help before they left. Closing the doors I walked towards the couch and looked around. My apartment was small yet cosy. The main door led to a medium size living room, walking straight you would enter the kitchen and a small dining area. The kitchen thankfully was equipped with refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and OTG oven apart from electronic stove and few cupboards. Before entering the kitchen, if you turn left you have a bed room with attached washroom. No bath tub but a shower cubicle, a washbasin and the pot. There were washing machines and dryers available in the basement of the whole apartment complex and I can do the laundry by paying to use those machines.

I took a nap for some time and went to the supermarket nearby to buy the groceries so that I can officially start independent life full-fledged. When I came back, I checked my mobile to see if Drake has called or messaged. There was no way he wouldn’t know about my shifting here today as Bert or Pearl would definitely inform him.

“Should I call him? No why should I. Come on when I left from the bar last week, he messaged me. So, what! He thought he did something that I left. Still, I should just call and ask if everything is alright. No leave it. I will cook and rest. I have lot of work to do tomorrow before I start my second week of work’’ I had battle of thoughts going on within me and I needed to stop them at any cost . So I did what I had to, kept my mobile aside and went to cook something.

Soon after I completed having dinner, I checked mobile to see a message from one of my colleague asking me to check mail. Thankfully the office provided me laptop for work and I bring it home everyday. I opened the laptop and logged in and after a couple of minutes I could finally open my mail to see an invite for a party from management the next day in De Riveria hotel, Leuven. There was a dress code specified as they were celebrating 10th anniversary of De Riveria. It was mentioned that every employee both temporary and permanent must be present as there would be some official announcement too that would be made.

Sighed I closed my mail and thought of how to travel to Leuven as it takes almost an hour from Ghent to Leuven if I take train. Cleaning the dirty dishes and doing a bit of laundry took the rest of my time and I was totally exhausted. I checked my mobile every now and then anticipating a call or message from Drake but nothing showed up making me more disappointed.

“Why I am thinking so much about him? Why am I even expecting his calls or messages? He is ..aaahhhh forget it. I must make some preps for tomorrows party.’’ I took break from constant D-thoughts and went into the closet to find a suitable dress and matching accessories. After arranging everything, I decided to book a cab next morning to reach the venue.

I opened my laptop and started reading some book online and slipped into sleep midway. Sundays are meant to be lazing around but today wasn’t so. After getting relieved of morning breath and body load, I went to make some breakfast and caught up with the news. While I was about to get into the shower my mobile rang.

“Pearl. Howz you?’’

“Good . I am gonna pick you up and we both will be heading to Leuven for the party’

“I thought Party was for staff, but I am glad you will be there”

“Well Drake invited me and Bert for the Party. He already knew you are invited as you are an employee’

“Hold on, What has Drake to do with this party?’’

“Hele are you serious? You don’t know who Drake is or are playing it dumb”

“Pearl I am not playing dumb. Wait he said me few days before the same ”you don’t really know who I am “ but I kind of ignored.”

“then let it be. You will know everything in couple of hours anyway”

“But Pearl”

“Hele… Bert and I would be there exactly in 2 hours, so you better be ready, we better be on time for the party. Now bye”

She ended the call making me confused all the way more.

“What has Drake to do with this party? Who is Drake Johnson?” the question plagued me but I tried to ignore only because whoever he might be , everything is temporary for me except my feelings for him may be.

I shaved and then had a long shower. I put on a red halter neck knee length dress which hugged my curves till my waist and then the dress was free flowing sort making it comfortable and perfect for a party. I applied subtle make up and curled my hair at the ends, allowing them to fall free over my back. I put on diamond earrings, which were gifted my grandmother, and then completed my look with 2 inch black strap heels with red bows at the side. I took a good look at myself and checked if I had everything in my red clutch.

A few minutes later Pearl called me saying she was waiting in the parking lot. I locked my apartment and reached the car.

“Hey Helena. You look stunning” Bert greeted me with a hug and opened the door behind for me to get in.

“Thank you” I smiled and got in.

“Hale…you look amazing” Pearl was full of smiles when I got in the back. She was in the passenger seat next to Bert who was driving.

“So will you atleast tell me about you all coming to office party and what has Drake to do with it”

“Nopes” they both said in union.

“For someone so intelligent like you Helena, I am surprised you never noticed or knew about Drake”

“why would I? I mean I never had time to think about anything and especially about that Playboy” I replied

“Not everything you see must have to be believed Helena. Everyone has a reason to act so”

“What does that mean?’’

“I am not the one to tell you. One day may be Drake would tell you” he huffed

“I donno. May be me not knowing everything about him is good for both of us” I mumbled

“What does that mean Hele?’’ Pearl asked

“Nothing. I am moving out in few months, what will I do knowing about him.”

“Right” Bert sighed and gave a disappointed look which was not left unnoticed by me.

We were pulled to the VIP parking and Bert opened the door for Pearl and me as soon as we reached the venue. All three of us walked in and I was feeling strange for reasons unknown. Though I had dismissed about knowing everything about Drake, I knew I wanted to know about him, be with him and God knows what else I wanted to do with him. Taking a deep breath and calming my not so good thoughts we entered the party hall where almost all the employees were gathered. My eyes searched for that one person who royally ignored me for almost 2 days.

“Bert, Pearl, Hele” I listened to the voice finally I was dying to listen to from behind. All three of us turned around to the direction we heard our names and there stood Drake in a Black Suit with red tie.

“Did you two decide to coordinate your dresses?” Pearl asked making me gasp in shock . I gave her a death glare asking her to shut up.

“Thanks Man for inviting Pearl and Me” Bert said giving Drake a bro hug or whatever. Drake pulled Pearl into hug next and pecked her cheek.

I was grazing the floor , not knowing how to face him. I knew he was checking me out as I could feel his gaze and goosebumps were already making their appearances.

“Welcome to the Riveria Party Hele” he said and I looked at him taking his appearance in whole. He is sinfully handsome and unabashedly sexy.

“Hele” Pearl almost yelled looking at two of us

“What?” Drake and I said in unison

“From when did Drake start calling you “Hele”, I thought that name was reserved only for me” she pouted

“Relax, he was persistent on calling me with a nickname, I denied but he said he will call me babe if I let him not call Hele. Hele was much better than babe, so …’’

“Nice move bro” Bert patted Drake and all the 3 burst into laughter making me annoyed.

“Well I am gonna meet my colleagues. You guys continue” I left from there

After the meet and greet Bert, Pearl and I settled at a table with some snacks and drinks and waited for the announcement.

A lady in her mid 50’s came onto the dais and smiled.

“She is Drake’s mom. Mrs. Lente Johnson. This Chain of Hotels was result of her hard work” Bert whispered to me, making my jaw drop.

I looked at him and then at Pearl and they nodded.

That means Drake is technically my BOSS” I felt knots in my stomach as I thought so.

“No” Pearl said

“Drake is not technically your boss” Pearl said.

“Did I say it loud?’’

“yes” she replied

Drake was supposed to take over the chain of Hotels when his father died 6 years ago. But he saw her sister Krystle was very much interested to run it. So he convinced his mother to let her sister to take over, while he would start something of his own after pursuing his masters.” Bert explained further making me surprised and proud at the same time.

Drake doing that for his sister made me proud, Drake has ensured his sister never experiences what I have always experienced in my family. He is good , scratch it he is an amazing person.

Now Krystle runs this chain of Hotels and Drake comes here often to help her with the work. That’s exactly why he is been seen around your office and has been dropping you to the night tuitions everyday” Pearl continued.

As soon as I took in all the information, suddenly a thought came making me feel guilty.

There, there, don’t even think you have been offered this job because of Drake. He never knew you applied, if its makes you feel better. Infact none of us knew , that you would out of blue apply for the job. They had hired you purely out of your talent and there was an urgent requirement. Drake’s family doesn’t know you are his friend, reason - you were never seen with him. So don’t even feel guilty” Bert spoke as if he read my thoughts and Pearl held my hand and pressed it making me feel better.

I nodded and we all gave our attention to what Mrs. Johnson was speaking. For a while the speech was interesting and informative and then

“So Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honoured to invite Mr & Mrs Viceroy , CEO, Viceroy Investment Group to inaugurate our first branch in Amsterdam from here”

As soon as Mrs. Johnson announced it, all the blood from my body felt drained and I suddenly started feeling suffocated.

They are here. Mr & Mrs Viceroy, my parents are here

Pearl , Bert looked at me shocked and I was lost.

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