“Charlie!” The teacher yelled and all eyes went to the front of the room.
Biting her lips, the little girl knew already that she was going to be in big trouble this time.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ---------- Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
Walking with the Certificate of Death was mind-numbing. She didn’t know what to do next. Take the check to deposit for her final school payment or cash it for what could possibly be her last few good meal of the month? Sighing and clutching the purse to her side she was guided to the payroll department.
“I’m sorry to hear about your father’s death.” As well as some slight murmur in regards to condolences to her about her father.
“Pream.” The lady smiled kindly behind her desk and handed the younger girl the final pay in her father’s name. “If you need anything, here’s my business card.”
Smiling in return she accepted the business card that read Malee as well and began her descent down this hallway. Her father worked here since before she was born, she ran around the lower floors when she didn’t have school. He hadn’t really trusted babysitters to care for her. Wiping her eyes she turned to stare at the entrance one last time.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ---------- Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
“Charlie home yet?” Beginning to worry about his rambunctious daughter, he ran up the stairs and bumped into someone at the doorway. He had forgotten some documents that needed another pair of eyes to review. “What happened now?” The phone still up to his ears his other hand helping the girl on the ground up. “I’m sorry!” And he ran through the entrance and waited exasperatedly for the elevator to reach the top floor. Knowing the elevator’s reception won’t be the best, he asked for a text message explaining what his daughter did now.
Saying he was livid by the time he finished and grabbed his documents he was running again out the door and once again crashed in to the same girl who was at the door before.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” the girl muttered as she bent down to gather up the business card and envelope again. She was already chasing the paper over the street as the wind blew it earlier when it was knocked out of her hands the first time. She glanced for the cursed envelope and smiled as the wind stopped blowing and she was able to swoop it up with a smile.
Looking up from his phone, “what is she doing?” He saw her scrambling around for something that slipped out of her hands. Seeing that she was standing where oncoming traffic was. “Miss!”
Pream felt the wind get knocked out of her a third time, this time she landed on someone who grunted along with her. “Welcome to my world.” She said pushing herself up and the man emanated another groan. Pream had pushed on his shoulders to right herself up.
Dusting the dirt off himself he frowned, “no ‘thank you’?”
“I hit the pavement three times because you were rushing through me. Not around me!” Pream punctuated the last with a jab to his chest.
“Okay, I admit that twice was my fault.” He pointed at the paper in her hand, “the third, I was saving you from being hit by a car.”
Pream’s hand went to her mouth as she glanced to the side of them. They were inches away from the road and blushed. “Oh.”
“Oh?” He repeated after her, “that’s all you’ve got to say?”
Why is this man yelling at her? Pream’s eyes started to water again. Not again!
He whipped around to the voice and Pream took that moment to run from the mean, uptight man. He heard the girl’s footstep as she dashed away. He bent to pick up his briefcase and scratched his head. Did he just make that girl cry? What did he do? Gun closed his briefcase as the owner of the voice walked up to him.
“Who were you standing with?” She asked latching on to his elbows.
“I’m not quite sure, I was just helping her up.” He shrugged. “What brings you here Dao?”
She pasted on a concern look, “your household told me that Charlie was reprimanded again at school.”
Slapping a hand to his forehead, “I have to go!” Gun shook Dao off of him and again ran back to his car. His driver was already prepared and slammed the door closed and was out of the waiting zone by the time Dao ran to catch up with them.
“Cutting it close again, aren’t you boss?” His driver snickered.
“Don’t start.” Gun said as he looked out the window, “If that girl didn’t shock me with her tears, I would’ve left here on time.”
“And I assume it’s also her fault you had to run upstairs for your documents too?”
Gun glared at the rear view mirror but his driver avoided his eye contact and snickered at him again. “I’m beginning to think Charlie is rubbing off on you too.” Leaning against the seat he closed his eyes, “who went to go speak to the school this time?”
“Her Nanny of course.” The driver said as if it resolved everything.
He knew the Nanny would make up something sad and pitiful to excuse his daughter. It was like the entire household was on the little girl’s side. He grimaced, the household would take her side rather than his on any given day.
“You know she’s going to tell you, and suggest to you again, that Miss Charlie needs a mother figure in her life.”
“Shut up Jim.” Gun muttered.
“Miss Dao is trying.” Jim shrugged and he made a left turn. “I mean even we know how subtle her hints are to you.”
“I said shut up Jim.” Gun said this time opening his eyes and staring out the window. They rolled to a stop and he noticed the girl again, this time she was in a taxi just staring off into space. She looked familiar, but he was certain she doesn’t work for him. Looking for work maybe? “Jim” Gun asked, “the girl next to us in the taxi, she was at the office today. Can you find out what she needs?”
Jim tilted his head at his boss then looked back at the taxi, he saw her walking out of the payroll office. Of course he also saw her land on his boss on the sidewalk as well. “I can ask for you.” It was odd, his boss said need not want. Interesting indeed.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ---------- Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
Charlie crossed her arms as Gun sat his daughter down on the couch for a talking to. “Nanny Mai.” Gun, unlike his daughter, crossed his arms behind his back. “What excuse did you make for her this time?”
“I didn’t make any excuse!” Mai waved her hands dramatically, “I explained that she was missing parental figures in her life. Her father works early morning to late night….” At his glare she quieted with a little angry huff. The Nanny was still young, but spoiled his daughter often. His replacement for the other nannies had been a traumatic experience in its own. This was the only one who stayed no matter what kind of tantrum his daughter threw.
He walked slowly behind the couch Charlie was on and studied her, “I feared your terrible two’s when everyone warned me of it. It’s more like beware of the frightening five’s.” Leaning over the couch he placed his hands on her head, “I buy you whatever you want, take you wherever you’d like to go on weekends and vacations.” He shook his head and pulled her up over the sofa causing her to giggle automatically. “You always laugh, you always smile when I’m here…”
Charlie then frowned at him. He hugged her tighter, “Tell me what’s wrong.”
“I’m hungry.” She shoved herself out of his hold and walked over to the dining table.
“What’s for dinner then?” Gun asked following his mini-him for dinner.
Charlie again smiled, “lemon chicken and broccoli.”
Gun scooped a large helping of broccoli into his plate, again causing his daughter to giggle. He sighed and smiled as he scooped the chicken for her plate.
He spoke with her and planned their weekend as they ate. Charlie’s smile stopped when the doorbell rang. She frowned as she watched her dad look around to find out who was here.
“Auntie Jan.” He got up to greet her. “Would you like to join us for dinner?” Gun heard his daughter let out an irritated sigh before she got up from her chair and walked up the stairs, grabbing her backpack that hung on the banister nearby.
Apologizing for her behavior, he had one of the servants put out another setting for his distant aunt. “It’s fine, it’s fine.” The lady waved off. “Your Uncle’s 60th Birthday is coming up.”
“I have it marked in my calendar.” Gun smiled, “Charlie and I will be there in Chiang Mai, I promise.”
Jan said painfully, “it’s an adult’s only party Gun.”
His smile faded a little, “I can’t be away that long from Charlie. It’s a weekend long house party.” Thinking a little bit, “I can rent a nearby hotel and head back nightly.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” His aunt admonished, “there’s going to be drinking, and you’re going to drive every night, that’s dangerous!”
“Jim won’t mind driving me.”
His aunt shook her head, “your driver would be tired. He’d have to drop you off, then head back to drive Charlie around town then pick you up again? Even I’m tired for your driver just mentioning it.”
Gun twirled the fork around his fingers. He never went away from his daughter long, if he traveled for work, she went with him.
“She’s got a nanny and the entire house staff to take care of her.” His aunt reminded him. “You’re going to have to let her be someday anyway.”
“It’s a few months away, we’ll see how it goes.” He smiled and then scooped up the chicken for his aunt. “Besides, it’s not going tobe any time soon, she’s six going on seven.”
“You’re so busy being wrapped around your daughter’s finger that you’re not even out there looking for a mother figure for your daughter.”
“She’s fine.” Gun shrugged it off. Everyone always said this phrase to him. Everyone’s answer to his troublesome daughter is a mother figure.
His aunt eyed him dubiously, “she glued her teachers glasses case to the desk.”
Gun smiled sheepishly.
“The lid of the case also had glue that caused her hand to stick with that case.” Gun shrank a little in his chair as his aunt continued. “The other hand was glued to the glasses that was also glued to her nose.”