Finally, I was back at the office. I've had to take the clients for a field visit showing them approximately where all the underground work should be laid out. After our visit, I had to entertain them with a nice dinner, and then accompany them to the airport. It was already 8:45 pm, and I was still stuck in traffic heading back to the office. I hoped I would reach back before that cafe closed. I may have to stay at a hotel for the night and figure things out tonight. I hoped Popeye was okay. He was probably hiding under the coffee table again.
"Sir, we are here."
"Thanks, keep the change."
Crap! I needed to hurry. It was already 9:05 pm, just past their closing time. Damn it! The lights were already out. I knocked on the door, but no one answered. Eh, there was a note on the door.
I have a family emergency, so I couldn't wait any longer. You can retrieve your things on the 36th floor. Please use code 0062 for access.
36th floor? I've never been up there before. All the floors above the 29th needed an access code, our company only occupied the 16th and 17th floor of the building. I guessed I could drop off my work files before I go get my stuff.
Eh, where was my wallet? I patted down all my pockets and it wasn't in any of them. Fuck! Did I drop it in the taxi? Why me? Why the fuck today? Who the hell did I kill in my past life to deserve this? Ughhh... take a deep breath Alak. You can get through this. Just the thought of having to report my missing wallet was irritating enough.
I reached the front door of my office to find it closed as expected as everyone was gone for the day. Shit!!! Seriously fuck! Fuck! Fuck! My employee ID was in my wallet too. I took it off during dinner. Why of all days? Now, I've got no cash, no cards, no place to go, and I couldn't even stay in the office for the night. I banged my head against the door, hoped that this was just some nightmare I could wake up from.
I dragged my feet back to the elevators and pressed the button to go up. I punched the access code 0062 for the 36th floor as instructed. Upon arriving, I noticed the whole floor was open. There were no additional doors to get through. I cautiously stepped out of the elevator. The office looked very modern with clean simple lines to its design. It looked so different from all the other floors I've been to including our company.
I didn't see anyone at the front desk. After all, it was past 9 in the evening. Most people would have left already.
"Hello?" No one answered. So I walked further into the office space looking around for a sign of life. The lights were dimmed, all the cubicles were empty.
"Hello? Anybody here?"
"In here." Someone finally answered from a distance.
It was coming from behind me on the left, so I turned my heels. I walked towards that way and saw a hallway. I walked down to find a huge office with frosted glass, and with soft lights on. I quickly walked towards it. I knocked on the glass door nervously.
"Hi, I'm sorry to bother you, but I think my belongings are somewhere here."
The man didn't look up from his huge monitor yet. He continued to click away on his keyboard.
"Uhm..." I tried again.
"Just give me a second."
He still didn't look away from his monitor. I was feeling a little awkward just standing there, but I didn't know what else I could do. I glanced at the name plaque on his desk.
I looked back up, and I saw his dark eyes looking back at me with a little smile playing on the corner of his lips.
"Hello. And yes, I do have your things. It's over there by the corner."
"Oh, thanks. I am sorry to have bothered you. I'm Alak Ronpaisarn by the way."
"Koran Sunthorn. Nice to meet you."
The man stretched out his hand to Alak and Alak grabbed it for a quick handshake. The man had a nice firm grip and a deep soothing voice, Alak found himself thinking. They both headed towards the corner where Alak's belongings were.
"I think that's all of it. Reena left in a hurry." Koran said as he put on his jacket that was hanging on the coat rack.
"Uh, yeah. It should be. Thanks again." Alak struggled to push two large suitcases, a small suitcase, a duffle bag, and his work messenger bag.
"Here. Let me give you a hand with those. I'm on my way out anyway." Koran offered.
"Thanks. You were the gentleman at the cafe earlier, right?" Alak asked looking expectantly at Koran.
"Yes, I am. I didn't mean to intervene earlier. Sorry about that." Koran said as he pulled along one of the big suitcases.
"That's okay. I should thank you instead. But didn't you say you're the cafe owner?" Alak asked as he dragged his belongings followed behind Koran.
"I'm that too," Koran said with a mischievous smile looking back at Alak.
Alak was caught off guard by the man's captivating smile. So much so that he almost bumped into him with all his stuff, but luckily he stopped right before he embarrassed himself.
They reached the elevators, and Alak reached in his pocket to get his phone out. Maybe he could stay at Brandon's tonight. As he pulled it out and clicked on it, nothing happened. The screen was completely black. What the fuck is going on? Why are all the stars aligned against me? Alak wanted to scream out loud.
Not wanting to draw unnecessary attention from Koran, he quickly put his phone back in his pocket. The elevator arrived, and Koran pushed the suitcase and held the door for Alak.
Koran didn't say anything, but he noticed Alak's phone wasn't working. He reached in his own pocket to get his phone.
"Thak, I'm coming down," Koran said, and then ended the call. He turned to Alak, "did you drive? If not, I can drop you off wherever you like."
Alak was embarrassed, but what choices did he have. Maybe he could get a ride to Brandon's.
"No, I don't have a car. I would really appreciate it if it's not too much trouble." Alak said sincerely.
"It's no trouble," Koran said as the elevator arrived. As they came out of the elevator, the security guard quickly greeted Koran with a bow.
"Good evening Mr. Sunthorn. Let me help you with those." The security guard gestured for help from another guard to take the suitcases from Koran and Alak.
Upon reaching the exit, a black limo pulled up. The driver quickly came out to greet Koran and opened the car door for him.
Koran unbuttoned his jacket and got in the limo. He scooted in to make room for Alak.
"So where should we drop you off?" Koran asked.
Alak gave the driver Brandon's location.
When they arrived, Koran was surprised that they were in front of a bar.
"Is this where you are staying?" Koran asked out of curiosity.
"My friend owns the bar. I'll stay with him. Thanks for everything." Alak awkwardly smiled and then the driver opened the door for Alak.
"Sir, I can help take your bags." The driver offered.
Koran nodded and smiled at Alak. "Thak, please help Alak with his things, and make sure he is okay."
"Yes, of course, sir." Thak took Alak's two big suitcases and duffle bag, leaving him with only the small suitcase. They walked towards the bar with Thak following behind him.
"Hey, Alak!" The bartender Jennie greeted him with a big smile but then shot a curious look at all his stuff and the man behind him.
"Oh, hi Jennie. Is Brandon here?"
"Nope. Didn't you see him live stream a couple of hours ago in the Maldives? He has been bragging about his trip for months. That lucky bastard."
"Oh, I didn't know. I've been really busy. But thanks." Alak dejectedly turned around to find Thak on his phone.
"Yes, sir. I will be right there." Thak finished and hung up. He turned to Alak, "Sir, please come with me." Thak took Alak's suitcases back out of the bar. Alak had no choice, but to follow since the man didn't wait for his response. This was going to be one hell of a long night.
Thak walked back to the car and opened the door for Alak. Alak hesitantly looked inside the car and saw Koran on his laptop.
"Get in. It's getting late," Koran said without looking up.
Alak looked back at Thak, and the man smiled and gave him a gesture to get in. Alak got in and tried to run through all the possible places he could stay in his head as he climbed back into the limo.
Koran didn't say anything. It was awkwardly silent until Thak got in after loading Alak's things back into the trunk.
"Thak, take me home," Koran said as he continued to type away on his laptop without looking up.
"Uhm, Mr. Sunthorn, you can just drop me off at a hotel nearby. I don't want to trouble you anymore than I already have." Alak said.
"It's more trouble to head back into the city right now. I have plenty of room. You are welcome to leave in the morning as you please." Koran said leaving no room for Alak to argue.
"Uh, thank you Mr. Sunthorn. I will repay you once I straighten out everything." Alak said looking down at his hands on top of his work bag.
Alak silently looked out the window for the rest of the ride while Koran continued to work. If Alak was honest with himself, he was more than grateful for Koran's invite. Come to think about it, thank goodness he was not heading to a hotel. He didn't have his ID since he lost his wallet. He was broke and a nobody at the moment.
After a 15 minutes silent ride, they pulled up into the driveway of a beautiful modern mansion with great big windows. Alak was impressed. The mansion reminded him of the office that they had just left, and complimented the man that owned them.
Thak opened the door for Koran and Alak. Then quickly retrieved the pieces of luggage from the trunk. Alak helped by grabbing one of the luggage, and his duffle bag. Koran reached over and took the duffle bag.
"Oh, I've got it. You don't have to do that." Alak attempted to take the bag back from Koran, but Koran just continued to walk away.
Thak walked ahead to quickly open the door for them.
"Thak, please take Mr... Alak's things to the first guest room. Thank you." Koran said with a polite smile.
"Yes, sir." Thak nodded, and walked away, taking the suitcases with him.
Koran turned to his guest, "I'm sorry. I forgot your last name."
"Oh, it's Ronpaisarn, Alak Ronpaisarn. I can't thank you enough for your kindness. I promise I will repay you."
Koran smiled, "Don't worry about it. You can take the guest room down the hall. I'm on the other side over there if you need me. You can help yourself to anything in the kitchen. Thak can get you settled in for the night. I will have to excuse myself now. Goodnight, Mr. Ronpaisarn."
"Goodnight Mr. Sunthorn." Alak turned around to find Thak waiting for him. Feeling a little embarrassed about his circumstances, yet helpless at the moment, he followed Thak to the guest room.
"Mr. Ronpaisarn, please make yourself comfortable. There are fresh towels and all the necessities in the bathroom. If you need anything else, you can call me anytime. Here is my card." Thak handed Alak his business card.
"Mr. Thak, do you happen to have a charging cord I can borrow. I don't have one with me, and I need to report my missing wallet." Alak took out his phone to show Thak.
Thak frowned, biting down on his lip. "I'm afraid I don't know if I have the necessary cord for your model. Let me check the study room." Thak walked away leaving Alak alone in the guest room.
Alak went to open his duffle bag, thinking to himself what were the chances he would find a clean pair of boxers in there. Well, apparently zero. There were zero chances in any of his belongings. Chet didn't pack any of his boxers. Instead, he had some really random things in his suitcases. Things like the cookbook that Chet got him for one of their anniversaries saying he really wanted to have home-cooked meals. There was the winter coat that he had only worn once when they went to Seoul skiing because Chet had an inkling that he was a natural-born skier. By the way, that trip turned out to be a nightmare.
Alak fell back sitting on the ground in front of all his opened suitcases.
What the fuck am I supposed to do with this stuff? Five years for a day like this. I wonder if Popeye has been fed. I need to get him back no matter what. Alak sighed.
The door was still open, but Thak knocked anyway to get Alak's attention.
"Mr. Ronpaisarn, I've found a suitable charging cord, but it seems like your phone isn't working properly. I've tried to charge it, but it's not responding. I have a spare phone that you can use here. Also, I have made the necessary calls to report your missing wallet."
Alak was very surprised as Thak handed him his broken phone and the spare phone.
"Thanks, but how did you do that? You don't have my information."
"I have my resources. All I needed was your full name. So, you don't need to worry about it. All your banks and credit card accounts have been notified of your lost wallet."
"Thank you. I don't know what else to say for all your help. And, is this a new phone? Are you sure I can borrow this?"
"No worries. Go ahead and use it. We have many of them. All the employees get one, so Mr. Sunthorn keeps quite a few in stock. You should probably get some rest now. I have already programmed my number into the phone. So, call me if you need anything. I will take my leave now. Goodnight, sir."
Alak didn't really know what else to say. He walked over to close the door behind Thak. He grabbed a pair of shorts and a t-shirt from his luggage and hit the shower. The bathroom and the shower were beautiful. The shower had a massage function that shot out water with perfect pressure to relieve stress, and he was beyond stressed. If there was always a silver lining in any situation, then this must be it. Alak stood under the shower a little longer than necessary, but he was glad for it.
He continued to be amazed by the luxurious bathroom. The huge vanity mirror automatically lit up when you stepped closer to it, the closer you got, the brighter it got. To the side of the mirror, it showed the time, date, and temperature outside. Then he looked up, and he noticed that there were mood lights and speakers in the ceiling.
Alak wondered, if this was just the guest bathroom, then the master bathroom must be out of this world. He got dressed, and with no clean boxers available, he did the next best thing. He flipped his underwear inside out.
He came out of the bathroom, and realized the only thing missing in this brilliant room was drinking water. He was thirsty, so he took a chance, and ventured out towards the kitchen.
Apparently, he wasn't the only one thirsty.