80 CH80: An unexpected visit from Firah

    "I don't think there's any chef that is born great like in music or in sports.

    You have to burn yourself.... Messing up makes you a better chef."

    - David Chang


    It has been a couple of days since Delilah's eventful trip to Japan. To say that it was memorable and exciting was an understatement as she could still feel the exhilaration she had when she was there.

    She remembered how she and her two cousins were awed and fascinated with the capsule hotel [1] at the airport. They had spent their last night in Tokyo, sleeping at the capsule hotel because their flight was in the early morning. At least, they weren't in a hurry when morning came.

    It was an amazing experience, sleeping there. The hotel was so sleek and modern. Delilah felt like she was in some kind of airship with how contemporary and clean the place was. And although the capsule looks a bit cramped, when Delilah slept in it, it was surprisingly comfortable. They did not offer any breakfast so the three women can only buy their food at the restaurants at the airport. And it was fortunate that most of the restaurants were already open by the time they arrived there.

    As she reminiscenced about the time she was in Japan, she was rudely interrupted by Aubree who suddenly poked her head near her face.

    Delilah's eyes widened as she nearly screamed from fright.

    Aubree pulled back as she stifled her laughter.

    Delilah immediately kicked her not-so-strongly. "Stop scaring me like that."

    "Haha! Sorry, I just couldn't resist."

    Delilah just rolled her eyes.

    She was in her cubicle at that time. She had just returned from giving out souvenirs to her colleagues on that floor from Japan. She had bought them the typical souvenirs; a kitchen magnet. She was really bad in choosing gifts but it's the thoughts that count, right?

    So, after she had given her colleagues their souvenirs, she returned back to her cubicle. And instead of going straight to work, she began to day-dream, thinking of the days she had spent in Japan.

    That was how Aubree found her. She, herself, had just returned from meeting someone at the lobby when she saw Delilah looking dazed. Wanting to test whether she realized that there was someone in her cubicle, Aubree cheekily placed her face near Delilah, who earlier nearly screamed, much to the former's delight.

    "What do you want?" Delilah asked, none too politely.

    Aubree chuckled. "Welcome back," she said, as she dropped a stackful of papers on her table.

    Delilah's eyes widened again. "What the heck is this??" she exclaimed in surprise.

    "I met with Sheila the other day. And she apparently did not know that you were on leave so she left me this to give it to you once you return," Aubree replied nonchalantly.

    "The heck! But why this? This isn't what I'm employed to do!" Delilah exclaimed angrily, pointing at the papers.

    Aubree shrugged. She then leaned closer to her, whispering softly to Delilah's ear, "Don't worry. It's just some piles of papers that needed to be typed. She will forget about it soon when she's busy with something else," she reassured.

    Delilah narrowed her eyes at her supervisor, not believing her words. But really, what was the point of giving her these works if Sheila was going to forget about it?

    She could only let out a sigh. Sometimes she could never understand how Sheila's mind worked.

    She picked up the stack of papers and set them aside. 'I'll do these when I'm free,' she thought.

    Seeing that Aubree was still standing inside her cubicle, she raised her head and frowned, thinking why she was still there. She tilted her head in confusion as she tried to think of reasons as to why. 'Did I forget to give her her souvenir? Is that why she's here?' she thought to herself.

    "What's wrong?" she asked.

    Aubree let out a sigh, crossing her arms across her chest. "I'm in a quandary."

    Delilah frowned. "Quandary? What do you mean?" she asked again.

    Aubree rubbed her temples in dismay as she tried to think of how to explain to Delilah. "Matt and Sheila just paid for an advertisement."

    "And?" Delilah prodded more. An advertisement? So? Isn't it normal for a business to pay for an advertisement?

    "A TV advertisement."

    Delilah's eyes widened. Alright. She did not expect that. "So, there will be an advertisement about the company on television?" she asked, unsure. From what she knows, TV advertisements can be expensive. Probably like a thousand dollars or more. Especially when it will be aired during peak hours.

    "More like an interview on the local morning show," Aubree answered with a grim look on her face.

    "Interview?" Delilah repeated. "Who will be the interviewee?"

    When Aubree continued to keep silent, Delilah's eyes slowly widened again. She then burst out in laughter, rudely pointing at the former.

    Aubree smacked her back when Delilah continued to laugh, no sign of stopping. It seems like the idea of Aubree on live television is funny. The former did not know whether to feel offended or find it funny as well.

    After the smack, Delilah stopped laughing but her laughter turned to light chuckles as she turned away, failing to hide her laughter. "Seriously, how come it's you who will be doing the interview?" she asked, her face now serious.

    Aubree let out another sigh. "You know them. They just do this and that and expect us to continue on and make it more happening."

    "But the thing is, isn't it better for them to do the interview instead? I mean, being them the owners and whatnot? They did one last time, didn't they? It's not as if we have a public relations department."

    Aubree just shrugged, having no clue on how to respond to that.

    After a couple of minutes of more chatting, Aubree left Delilah's cubicle and went to hers. So, other than that, there weren't any much eventful things happening that day. Unless one counts Firah's unexpected visit to the office as a non-eventful day too.

    It was after work when Firah stopped by. Both Delilah and Aubree were still at the office. Aubree had to stay behind because she had a last-minute meeting with Sheila, whereas Delilah was just late. She had been lazing around that she did not realize that it was already after hours.

    She was about to pack her things when she received a text message from Firah that she was coming over. Delilah frowned. Although she was happy that she was coming over, the other message after the latter said she was coming made her frown. Why? Because she said that she was already coming up.

    Delilah let out a light chuckle in dismay. She was still the same Firah she knew.

    Just as she placed her phone down on her table, Firah came walking in the office. Saying hello to some of her ex-colleagues who seemed surprised to see her at the office, she quickly walked over to Delilah's cubicle.

    She sneakily entered and sat down on Delilah's chair.

    Turning around, Delilah gave her a smile and greeted her hello. She then asked Firah why she was here. It was not that Delilah did not welcome her but she just wanted to know what was her purpose in coming there.

    "I was just bored. My hubby is out doing the laundry at the laundromat," came her airy reply.

    "How come you're not with him?"

    "I don't want to. Let him do the laundry."

    "He's fine with you coming here?"

    "Of course, he should be! I didn't scold him for going out to play football. Why should he scold me for visiting you?"

    Delilah just laughed. Then she suggested that they go to a nearby coffee shop and have their talk there.

    They were about to leave the building, after waving goodbye to Bella, who was still behind her receptionist table, working. It appears that she was working late since Sheila and Aubree were still having their meeting upstairs. Just then, Matt came walking in. He looked up with a surprised smile on his face when he saw Delilah and Firah.

    He nodded hello to both of them. It seemed that he was about to go up the stairs to join the meeting with Sheila and Aubree but when he saw Firah, he got distracted. He asked Firah how she was doing and where she currently worked.

    Seeing how it seems like Matt was going to have a long conversation with Firah, Delilah discreetly guided them to the visitor's lounge. Delilah sat next to Firah while Matt sat across them.

    They continued to talk for nearly an hour. Many times Delilah had to sneakily nudge Firah with her foot, hinting that they should go. Unfortunately, she does not get it. Delilah even purposely asked her whether her husband was done with the laundry. But again, Firah does not get it as she brushes away the former's question, replying that he probably wasn't done yet.

    Delilah could only inwardly sighed as she listened to them talking half-heartedly.

    Soon after, Aubree came down to the lobby, seemingly to be looking for someone. After asking Bella, who pointed her to a direction, Aubree was surprised to see the three of them at the visitor's lounge. She immediately walked over. She happily greeted Firah and then turned to Matt, saying that they were waiting for him upstairs.

    Matt quickly got up and said his goodbyes to both Delilah and Firah, before following Aubree up. Aubree turned her head to them and waved them goodbye too.

    When the two of them were alone, Delilah rolled her eyes and scolded Firah for not getting her hints. Firah was surprised and burst out in laughter when she realized what she had done wrong. She apologized for being 'slow'.

    They then say their goodbyes to Bella and walk their way to the nearby coffee shop. Since they were too lazy to drive and were in need of fresh air, they decided to just walk. It was not that far either so they both did not mind.

    The coffee shop where they were headed to was quite small, as it only took the corner of the building area. It was a bit narrow as the seatings were in a bar seating. The other space was for queuing. And when they walked in the shop, they were greeted by the strong smell of coffee beans. It was fortunate that these two women loved coffee so they actually felt the smell was quite nice. The inside of the shop was warm and gave out a comfy feeling, with dimmed lights. Though, it was not that dark, just to the extent that it brings a relaxing atmosphere.

    They queued for their drinks and food. And luckily, there were some seats left at the bar seating. They climbed the tall bar seat and made themselves comfortable.

    They talked for a while as they waited for their orders to be called. When the wireless coaster pager beeped, Delilah got off her seat to pick up their orders.

    Returning back, she served Firah's orders while placing her orders in front of her. Delilah had ordered chicken mushroom quiche and hot mocha. Firah ordered a chocolate croissant and hot latte.

    The quiche looked as if it was freshly baked as there was still steam coming out from the dish when Delilah sliced through it. The pastry of the quiche easily crumbled under her fork as she scooped up some parts of the quiche. As she took a bite, she could already taste how the crispy pastry slow melts in her mouth and how creamy and rich the chicken and mushroom were. The fillings were fulfilling and satisfying. And she liked how the rich and savoury the fillings were, together with the pastry.

    The two women continued to chat as they updated one another about what had happened in their life. Although Delilah found it funny still how Firah was already married since she still acts as if she was single, going out alone at night, without her husband, it was quite nice to chat with her after so long.

    It was times like these when impromptu and last minute catching up session felt as nice as the quiche!


    [1] Google image capsule hotel.
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