74 CH74: Preparation for work and travel

    "Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy,

    And cooking done with care is an act of love.'"

    - Craig Claiborne


    Nearly a week has passed by and the three cousins had already bought their plane tickets. Verily they planned to buy the tickets after a week was over but Delilah had told them to buy earlier instead since the price then was too good to miss. She was also worried that the tickets might become more expensive.

    So immediately after they bought their tickets, Farah continued to purchase their JR Passes, which will arrive after two weeks via email. Once that was done, they surveyed the bed and breakfast places and the areas that they wanted to visit. All of these were done by discussing through their group chats and transferring money online.

    With plane tickets and the JR Passes all paid, all that's left was the booking of rooms and itinerary. There wasn't much left for Delilah to do.

    One morning, she was checking and reading other people's comments and reviews in regards to their trip to Japan at the office, during her little break from work. She also took note of their advice on getting the best deals and the best places to go. Since they opted to go during the cold season, there were many people who had recommended to go to an onsen [1]. She was too absorbed in reading the comments that she did not notice Bella standing behind her, peering over her shoulder.

    Delilah was about to turn around and get up to go to the toilet when she realized that Bella was standing right behind her. She stifled her scream, her eyes widened in surprise at the latter's sudden appearance. She covered her mouth with both hands to stop her scream and she then smacked Bella on the arm.

    Bella blinked her eyes innocently, her arms hugging the file of papers to her chest. "What? What's wrong?" she asked, wide-eyed.

    "What are you doing? You scare me!" Delilah exclaimed. "Any closer, we would have kissed!"

    Bella pretended to blush and said, "Aww. I didn't know you wanted to be kissed."

    Delilah smacked her on the arm once more. "Want, your head!" she cursed.

    Bella laughed, trying to avoid Delilah's smacking.

    After Delilah stopped trying to smack her, Bella handed her the papers that were in her arms.

    "What's this?" Delilah asked, looking confused as she flipped through the papers.

    "Aubree just left this a few minutes ago and told me to pass it to you," Bella said. "She said she had texted you the instructions."

    Delilah frowned, tilting her head in confusion. "But where is she?" she looked around and only then she noticed that Aubree's cubicle was empty.

    Bella tapped a finger against her lower lip and said, "She said something about an emergency and had to leave quickly."

    It was then Delilah realized that she hasn't been checking her mobile phone for some time now. She grabbed her mobile phone from her table and sure enough, there was a text message from Aubree. Apparently, she had to go visit her grandmother in the hospital and will be back in the afternoon. She needed Delilah's help to go through the papers and once she felt that it was fine, she could just immediately send it over to Matt.

    Delilah skimmed through the papers that Bella had handed to her again. It seems like it was a report on accepting new interns from a local university. One of the local universities in the country was starting their three months semester break and they were wondering whether the Kang Company would accept any interns to help train and teach the students.

    Delilah frowned when she saw her name being listed as one of the trainers in the report. She immediately texted Aubree and asked why her name was there. Aubree replied back, saying that it was Sheila who put her name there.

    Delilah could only sighed and said thank you to Bella for bringing the papers over.

    After Bella had left, Delilah placed the papers on the table and went to the restroom to do a little 'business' since it was actually what she wanted to do before Bella scared her.

    Few minutes later, Delilah returned back to her cubicle where she continued on with the report that Aubree had left for her. She frowned in concentration as she skimmed each page. It took her nearly an hour to finish reading and made some adjustments to it.

    Apparently, there were some dates that clashed with the date and time when she would go traveling. She quickly made another adjustment for that and changed the date. She texted Aubree in regards to the adjustment and the reason why.

    Aubree was quick in her replies because no sooner Delilah had sent her the text message, in mere seconds, there was already a reply from Aubree. She thought she would be busy taking care of her grandmother.

    Aubree then replied that it should be fun and instead of sending the report straight to Matt, it was better if Delilah placed it on her table since there was an adjustment. She would need to check on it.

    Delilah shot her a quick reply of 'Okay' and continued on working on the report.

    It took her another couple of hours to be done with it. She would probably be done earlier if she wasn't playing mobile games or chatting in her chat groups.

    It was nearly lunchtime when she was finally done with the reports and had placed the report in a large brown envelope before putting it on Aubree's table. Stretching her arms above her head, she did a little stretching from left to right. Ignoring the amused looks from her colleagues, she stopped and returned back to her cubicle to grab her phone and purse.

    Going down the stairs, heading straight for the cafeteria, she waved hello at Bella, who was still manning the receptionist table. Inside the cafeteria, she went straight to one of the stalls and placed her order. Once she was done, she looked around for an empty table. With a sweeping glance over the noisy din of people who were having their lunch there, she saw Sofia sitting alone at one of the tables. Sofia was one of the HSE Safety officers, working under Sam's. It has been a while since she last chatted with the woman.

    Walking over to Sofia, who was currently eating her noodles, she sat down across her and greeted her hello. Sofia looked up, surprised and smiled when she saw it was Delilah. She then greeted back.

    Delilah then placed her purse, phone and the pager which was used to alert the customer that their order was done. "What are you having?" she asked.

    Sofia finished chewing before answering, "Fried Kuey Teaw with chicken," she answered. "What about you?"

    "Just some cream soup," Delilah answered, with her chin on her palm.

    Sofia cocked an eyebrow. "Are you on a diet?" she asked suspiciously, looking doubtful.

    Delilah rolled her eyes. "Do I look like someone who is on a diet?" she asked sarcastically. She then answered before Sofia could say a word, "I just feel like eating soup for now."

    "Just soup?" Sofia asked again, still in disbelief that Delilah only ordered one dish.

    Delilah rolled her eyes again. "Fine, fine. And some fries," she admitted.

    Sofia then laughed out loud.

    They began to talk with one another while Delilah waited for her food to arrive. The latter also asked what the people in the Safety department were doing and whether they have any projects. The two compare notes on their departments, laughing at some stories that they have exchanged.

    Shortly after, the pager let out a beeping noise, to indicate that her food was ready. Delilah excused herself and got up to get her food.

    And when she arrived at the table with her tray, Sofia had just finished her food. However, she decided to stay for a while to accompany Delilah and continued their conversation.

    The soup Delilah had ordered was mushroom soup with garlic breads on the side. The soup looked thick and when Delilah grabbed one of the breads and used it to dip in the soup, the bread quickly absorbed the liquid, turning it to a greyish colour. She took a bite and thought the taste was a bit bland. It did not have the creamy taste that it should have. There was a hint of chicken stock in it and bits of cutted mushrooms.

    Delilah narrowed her eyes at the soup in front of her. Although it tasted good, it was just that. There were only the broth and bits of mushroom. There were no herbs to add to the taste which was regretful. If she didn't know better, she wouldn't have thought that the soup was made from a packet.

    Noticing her mood, Sofia asked, out of concern, "What's wrong, Delilah?"

    Delilah just shook her head as she continued eating her soup. Guess her expectation was too high. What can you expect from a dish that only welcomes money and does not give any care?

    She sighed inwardly. 'I should cook some mushroom soup... someday,' she thought.


    [1] Japanese hot spring.
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