64 CH64: Becoming a babysitter

    "Respect for food is a respect for life,

    For who we are and what we do"

    - Thomas Keller


    It was a windy Friday morning where the sun had just gone up the horizon. Though, it was soon blanketed by few wandering clouds, making it less visible as light rain started to drizzle down on the ground.

    Delilah had just arrived at the office, after she had parked her car. She shook her umbrella dry before walking into the building. She carried her umbrella, careful for it to not drip on the floor.

    Ahead, Bella was already working at the receptionist table. She looked up when Delilah walked in. She greeted the latter with a smile.

    Waving goodbye, Delilah continued going up the stairs, straight to her department floor. Inside the department office, just near the entrance, there was a wide umbrella stand. She placed her umbrella in and continued walking to her cubicle.

    There were soft murmurs and light tapping of keyboards reverberating across the office. It seems like most people have already arrived and are hard at work.

    After removing some essential items from her handbag, such as a mobile phone, she quickly stowed away her work bag and handbag before switching on her computer. While waiting for her computer to load, she got up from her desk and went to the cabinets which were placed on the other side of the office.

    Sliding a finger across every folder spine, she finally found what she had been looking for and slid it out of the cabinet. Opening the folder, she flipped through the pages, skimming through the words, she nodded to herself in satisfaction before shutting it closed. She closed the cabinet door shut and went back to her cubicle.

    She was reading the report that was inside the folder when her phone rang. She picked it up and said, "Hello, Delilah speaking."

    "Hey Delilah! I got Howard on the line for you," Bella said.

    "Alright. Connect him in."

    Shortly after, she could hear Howard speaking on the line. "Good morning Delilah. How are you?" he asked, starting out the pleasantries.

    "I'm good," she answered. "How about you?"

    "I'm great. So, I'm calling about the paperworks that I sent to you a few weeks ago?" he enquired. "Also, have you done the background checks of those people in the list?"

    Delilah frowned. She could have sworn that she had sent those ages ago. Even though she wasn't done with the background checks, at least she had finished the paperworks earlier. And that was what she had replied with.

    "I see. You've passed it to Amy, you say?"

    "Yes, I did. You can confirm it with her," Delilah replied.

    "Alright. I'll ask her. Thank you again."

    She murmured 'no worries' before hanging up the phone. However, before she could continue doing her work, her phone rang again. Picking it up with a puzzled look on her face, she answered, "Delilah here. May I help you?"

    "Yo! Did that doofus call you?"

    Delilah blinked in surprise at the sudden question. "Amy?" she asked slowly.

    "Yeah, it's Amy!" the other person on the line said, sounding angry. "What did he say to you?"

    Assuming that she meant, 'Howard', Delilah replied, "He said that he didn't receive the paperwork that I gave to you. Though, I did tell him that I already passed it to you."

    "Yeah, wasn't that like a couple of weeks ago?"

    "Yes, it was. Didn't you place it on his table?"

    "I did!" Amy exclaimed. Delilah could sense how annoyed and frustrated she was. "If he had come into the office once in a while, he would have known!"

    "He doesn't?" Delilah asked, confused.

    "No! He comes like twice or three times in a week!"

    Delilah frowned. "Where has he been all this while?" she asked.

    "To the government offices." Again, Delilah could imagine Amy shrugging nonchalantly.

    Delilah frowned deeper. "What is he doing there?"

    "I seriously don't know. Anyhow, at least, I know that you know that I actually received it. You do know that I left it on his table, right??"

    "Yeah, I was there when you went into his office to put the papers there."

    "Good, good."

    "Are you alright, Amy?" Delilah asked in concern.

    "I'm... just fine," she answered slowly. She then let out a sigh. "No, I'm just... a little tired."

    "What happened?"

    "Well, Sheila is back here. And yeah, it's been a bit hectic here. She brought along her daughter and the thing is..." she paused for a few seconds before continuing on, mumbling her last few words, "I became the babysitter."

    "You became what??"

    "I became the babysitter!"

    Delilah held her head in resignation. "Amy..." she said slowly.

    "I know, I know! I should say no but..."

    Delilah sighed. Amy has always been too nice. Although she can be blunt, for example, the way she confronted Matt the other day about the budget he had used. But she can be too nice where it was hard for her to say 'no'. It has always been a concern for Delilah. And seeing it's a task from the boss, even if it's not in your job description, Delilah could understand why Amy found it hard to say 'no'.

    "Just... take it easy, okay?" Delilah advised in the end. "If you can't take it anymore, just tell them. I'm sure they will understand. You have other things to do, other than being a babysitter"

    "Yeah, I will. Thanks D."

    "No worries."

    The two hang up the phone.

    Delilah leaned back against her seat as she recalled her conversation with Amy. There were times that she did feel sorry for Amy but it was not as if she would go over and take over the babysitting job for her. Even if she has some sympathy for the woman, it doesn't mean she shouldn't look out for herself. Yes, it may seem selfish but there are times that you have to look out for yourself. And again, it doesn't mean that Delilah wouldn't help out.

    She was still in her own world when Aubree walked past her cubicle. Tilting her head in confusion, she knocked on the wall of Delilah's cubicle, startling the latter to reality. "Hey, what's up?" she asked.

    Delilah looked up and shook her head. "Nah, it's nothing," she replied. She doesn't feel like telling Aubree about Amy. "What about you? What are you up to?" she asked.

    Aubree shook her head. "Nothing. I'm just going up to the Safety department to talk about updating the rules and regulations."

    Delilah nodded. The two then waved each other goodbye. But they did make some plans to have lunch together. They decided to try out the new Thai restaurant a few blocks away.

    A few minutes before lunch time, Delilah was still working on the background checks, though, she spent most of the time waiting for the replies of the other party. She ticked off some of the companies that she had contacted and questioned before going through another set of companies.

    Just then, Aubree walked into the office and headed straight to Delilah's cubicle to inform her that she was going to grab her handbag and then they could go for lunch.

    Delilah nodded. She immediately put her computer to sleep and grabbed her handbag.

    Since the restaurant was just a couple of blocks away, they decided to just walk, instead of using the car. It was no longer drizzling by the time they walked out of the building. But they could smell the scent of after rain, which was earthy and nice, making one feel cozy and cool.

    The two women walked on the street for a few minutes until they reached one of the shophouses nearby. In the shophouses, there were several shops and one of them was the new Thai restaurant. They could tell which one was the Thai restaurant because of the decoration in front of the place.

    The place looked simple and pleasant where there weren't much decorations to fill the area. There were two hanging plants on both sides of the entrance with a restaurant menu board placed outside. And what made it obvious that it was a Thai restaurant was that there was writing on the restaurant's name sign in Thai.

    When they walked in, they were greeted by a strong burst of spices and herbs. It was quite nice and it even made them more hungry. The inside of the restaurant felt warm and comfortable. Similar as to when one goes to a Thai massage parlor. The chairs and tables were made of wood, where it was covered with Thai cloth, which was extremely colourful with their bright colours.

    The two women grabbed a table and thanked the waitress when she handed them the menu. Looking at the menu, there were so many foods to try that Delilah nearly ordered more than she could handle.

    Luckily, Aubree told her to relax and that they will come by here again if the food is nice.

    Delilah nodded as she agreed that it was a good idea. Besides, she can't say for sure that the food is nice unless they try it first.

    Few minutes later, the two finally decided on their meal and placed their order. Once done, the two began to chat with one another while waiting for their food to arrive.

    Just as Delilah was about to show Aubree some pictures of a new bubble tea shop that just opened nearby, their food has arrived. Delilah had ordered pad thai whereas Aubree had ordered Tom Yum Fried Rice.

    Delilah could feel her nose twitching and tingling from the spices of Aubree's fried rice. She chuckled when she saw an enormous amount of chili and lemongrass in her rice. As for Delilah's pad thai, it doesn't smell that appetizing due to the bean sprouts but she did not mind at all.

    She scooped some noodles into her fork. The noodles felt sticky and velvety as she scooped them. She could smell some sour scent from the tamarind being used in the pad thai as well as the lime. As she ate, she could feel the numerous flavours exploding in her mouth. From the musky taste of the dried shrimps and fish sauce to the sour taste from the tamarind and to the sweet taste from the sugar. She loved how the noodles slide silky inside her mouth, bringing all those flavours together.

    It has been awhile since she had pad thai. It was hard to find a good pad thai since some restaurants use ketchup as a substitute for tamarind puree, which is a no-no for Delilah. It doesn't feel authentic and nice as the original taste.

    She understood that there were times that there might be difficulty when it comes to getting the right ingredients, hence why substitutes exist. Nevertheless, if there's an actual ingredient, why not use them? Sure, it can be tedious, especially for a person like Delilah who can be a bit lazy.

    As she ate more pad thai, she closed her eyes in bliss. Then again, she thought to herself. If we already have the right ingredient, she felt that was one way to respect food as you enjoy them in their original state, or in this case, original recipe.

    She shook her head, chewing on the noodle. Sometimes she talks nonsense too so it was better to ignore the last two paragraphs.

    Aubree was watching Delilah the whole time and found it weird that there were a lot of facial expressions going on; from being happy, satisfied, embarrassed and now, resignation. It was comical too that she couldn't help ask her what was wrong.

    Delilah jumped and raised her head to find Aubree looking at her with a weird expression on her face. She laughed awkwardly. "Haha, it was nothing. I'm just enjoying my food."

    "Next time again?"

    "DEE-finitely. I want to try the pandan chicken next!"
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