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Pilot: Reaping Clockwork
PILOT CHAPTER


[2013, May 4]

Kay has always hated running. But now it is not the time to think of what to hate. It is not even an option not to run because it's late. Really late.

Her heavy glasses and bag keep on alternately slipping down and is obstructing her movement even more. Gosh, why do I even have to be in that stupid meeting. And more to her annoyance, why do her brain decided to forget the date. She is too absorbed with work that she no longer have capacity to remember an important date where she could finally meet them, her old 'lost' friends. She can't lie, she do miss them. One of those days, she do wonders of their well being although that's not quite her personality and today finally happen.

Running up the crowded stair about to leave the subway, it rings again; her phone, it can't seems to stop ringing. She intentionally leaves it unanswered just because she knows who's calling. It's unnecessary, not when she's already standing outside the rendezvous.

Kay takes a deep breather before she institutionally have a glance down to her watch. 8.30pm. It's already that late?! The cloud darkens as day is leaving and night emerges. 

Kay: Fuck it, they will forgive me. -grin

As so she believes, muttering under her exhausted breath from all the running she strides toward the restaurant and a klutzy looking waitress immediately comes waddling to welcome her in.

Kay: Hi, Karyn Becker.. I have a reservation under the name of Romanov..

Says Kay as she reaches the front desk. The usher smiles at the mention of the name. She runs her fingers through the register. Kay gathers her waist length hair into a messy knot. Is it me or is it too hot in here? Kay's eyes wander at the interior of the restaurant. Hmph.. Not her kinda hangout place. She would prefer somewhere more laid back. This is too high end for her taste.

That 3 storeys building is an exclusive high end restaurant and she suddenly is flooded with suspicions of today reunion.  Am I being too simple here? to think that them are capable of being the normal friends who happened to call in simply to invite me for a simple normal dinner?

That aside, what's bothering her now is she can't seems to find them, not in this crowds of customer.

Kay: Why do we have to meet somewhere crowded like this? Ugh!
Waitress: Pardon miss?
Kay: No, sorry.. I'm talking to myself. -grin

She observes the busy girl flipping the guest book, constantly going back and forth for missing out the name in the register. Her uniform is for those trainee staff. Her panic gestures, biting the corner of her lips and that slight perspiration on her forehead suggested Kay's theory. New here, huh? More than the obvious incompetence she is reminded of her old aloof self, she can't help it. She used to be that clumsy fragile looking waitress too; back when she’s in the college, midst of her sophomore year. The transition period she called.

A senior waitress comes for assistance seeing the line building up behind. She lightly shoves the younger one aside.

Waitress: Sorry about that. She's new. Your reservation please.
Kay: It's Romanov.. my date. -snapping out of thought.
Waitress: Ah..I was informed.
Kay: Informed? -surprised

The waitress takes out a different list. Kay wait impatiently as the waitress is going through what seems to be a list of customer before she finally leads her way up the stairs toward one of the VIP's room. Not downstairs? Wait, what? Private room?

Kay: I'm not expecting this.

She is in her from work button down, acid washed out jeans, unruly titanium grey long hair and smeared makeup heading toward an official reunion dinner? I might as well jump down the drain now. There are guards outside the room and she suddenly reminded of why she hates formality so much and her past entirely but nothing she could do about it now.

Kay: Ugh, formalities.

~~~~~~~~~~

Valerie: Thanks lord! You are finally here Kay!! 

A girl in black roses printed dress sprint out of her seat as Kay step inside the room and another girl with a completely opposite look is smiling her teeth out as she sees her presence. Valerie Romanov and Kazuhiko Miura, her best friends. The oldest friendship she ever had.

Kazu: I thought you're not gonna make it today. This girl here about to bawl her eyes out calling your phone non stop. Glad you are safe and sound Kay. Come come sit.
Kay: Why didn't you guys tell me it's a formal dinner? I'm not properly dressed for this. Sorry  Val.
Valerie: Nah that's okay. It's not formal.. I just want us to have a nice private dinner.. besides you hate crowds remember?

Kay smiles as she takes her seat opposite the two. The waiter places the napkin on her laps which for a second shocks Kay.

Kay: Guys I'm really sorry for being this late. I come straight, right from a meeting. You guys even had to travel here. I'm so embarrassed.

Kay is trying her best to smile, brushing off the awkwardness. Valerie and Kazu look at her shaking their head in unison. It's okay. You're here.

The three course meal proceeds with not much interruption. Kay is practically swallowing the whole course in one breath. It's a habit she developed for being starved of proper meal since she started working for the firm. Low pay, hellish working hours. Valerie chuckles at her speedy friend. Kazu on the other hand is more interested in small talk with the newly arrived Valerie. Yep, that's right. Newly arrived from abroad.

She had been away for a few years for her study. Not that it's impossible to meet her but all of them were very much preoccupied with their own separate lives to even bother to set up a meeting. Excuses after excuses, that's how they manage to dodge the yearly high school reunion.

Kay for one is steadfast on not going back to Lennox High. She was hurt pretty badly there. The funny thing is, she couldn't even recall what so bad about it. Other than being the timid little girl constantly needing a protection from her two powerful friends, school was not that bad. Was it? Kay shrugs away the remnant of curiosity she has over the well being of the school alumni. Fuck them. I don't want to remember.

Valerie: So I heard you got promoted.
Kazu: Congratulation!

Kay pauses her chewing.

Kay: You're talking about me?
Valerie: Yeah you silly.
Kay: You knew?
Kazu: You talked about it in your blog. Of course we know. We're a big fan of your blog.
Kay: Oh that.. Haha.. I forgot.. Well I'm quitting that job.
Valerie: Why? I thought you like it there..

Kay puts down the fork, chugs down some amount of the red wine in her glass. Kao looks at her, amused. Ah, Kay's affinity with liquor.

Kay: One of the school alumni works there and she recognized me. And then the story of our connection spreads out.
Valerie: And so?
Kay: Well, the only reason they promoted me was because they want me to talk to you guys about our company for investment.
Valerie: What's the deal? I don't mind investing.
Kay: My point exactly.

Kay picks up her knife and continues to carve out the remaining of steak she has in her plate. Kazu smiles at Valerie who seems oblivious of Kay's feeling when it comes to this matter. That friend of hers has always been so intimidated by them. Kazu understands her completely.

Kazu: You're reaching, Kay. From what I know you are very capable. That's the reason why they promoted you. Besides, you are over qualified for the job. It's a small firm. They can't afford to lose you. Not when they're having a meltdown crisis.
Kay: And you know this how?

Kay turns her gaze to Kazu. Air goes stale. Kay has a suspicion. She doesn't reveal that much information in her blog.Meltdown crisis? Not even her colleagues know about the internal struggle at the company. If she's being smart, which she is, she won't go around announcing it to investors. Don't tell me her friends have been spying on her all this while. Kazu keeps her cool. Kay seems to be agitated. Suspicion suspicion.

Kazu: Don't worry. I'm not spying on you. I met Mary a while back and we talked about work and stuff. Long story short we were casually talking about everything when your name popped out.
Valerie: Mary?
Kazu: Yeah, you remember Mary. From the student council.
Valerie: Oh yeah. Mary Andrews..
Kay: Are you sure that's all you guys were talking about? Mary.. I didn't know she has a big mouth. I won't go around telling those sorts of stories to the public.

Kazu smirks at Kay's remarks. Karyn Becker, still playing detective I see. Kay soon drops her anxious look and focus on the succulent meat in front of her.

Kazu: Okay, to be honest she was trying to convince me to help out with the situation. But you know I don't have that kinda money. I turned her down and that's it. Drop that look of your face Kay. I don't snoop around, you know that.

But you do.. And I knew that.. Kay's eyes meet Kazu's straight and piercing.

Kazu: So where are you planning to go next?

Kazu tries to change the subject, steer it away for a bit.

Kay: I'm thinking about going back to Larkins. Work for my dad for a while. Who knows I might be helpful.
Valerie: That's good news! We can see each other more often then.

Meeting the girls more often is not her intention when she decided to go back to her hometown. It's just an issue of bore. Kay has been living in San Berken for almost two years now and she is bored with everything. San Berken is a bigger city to compare to Larkins but there's something missing. It feels like she won't find what she want from the bustling city. At least someone is happy with her decision to move back to Larkins.

Kay: Enough about me. What's new? Kazu and I keep in touch.. Well, online at least.
Kazu: Yeah, and who's the one that always end up leaving early if it's not the socially deprived Miss Becker here. -chuckles
Kay: Oh come on! You know I hate chat.
Kazu: Yeah yeah.. Same old excuse.

Kay grins at Kazu's complaint. Sorry girlfriend. I really do hate chat and catching up. Kay taps the brim of her glass prompting the waiter to fill it up again. Steak and red wine is a great combination after all. No one would mind if she drain the whole wine cellar, would they?

Kazu: Hey, I think you've had enough. You should go easy on the red wine.
Kay: Hah, this thing is harmless. I can take more.
Kazu: You sure know how to hold down your drink.
Kay: Wanna bet how much I can actually take?
Kazu: No thanks.

Valerie giggles at them bantering. It's good to see them like this. She can't help to feel left out. Maybe she shouldn't have studied abroad. Things would have been a lot more interesting with these two around.

Valerie: I need to make a mental note on your drinking Kay..
Kazu: You should. She drinks like an old man.
Kay: You're the one to talk, Miss Absinthe. Anyway, I was asking about you Val. So? What's up?
Valerie: Well.. For a start.. I'm getting married this Fall.

Kay almost spurt out her red wine when she hears the news. Marriage?!


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Tuesday, October 1, 2013