2.4. Problems

Brittani sounded off on the phone. I hope she would tell me what’s wrong. I didn’t like seeing her upset.

p3

“Toby..?” She began to cry. “I’m leaving… I have been accepted into the Bridgeport Film Academy. You know, it’s my lifelong dream to be an actress and this is an opportunity I just can’t miss…”

p1

I wished I had faith in long distance relationships,and that distance wasn’t a problem, but there was none I could muster. We would be miles apart. Distance breeds anxiety. I believe our relationship would be worn down by it. We weren’t just used to separation.

“Here, take this. It is my parting gift…” I gave her that ‘Romance in the Rain’ painting. I knew it belonged to her all along. But I never thought it would be under such circumstances that I would be giving that away. I intended it to be a proposal gift, perhaps?

p2

Lest to say, it was a painful goodbye. No wonder people said the first cut is always the deepest.

p4

***

I could see I wasn’t the only one moping around. Eleanor wasn’t smiling, and it was a definite abnormality. She wasn’t speaking much to us either. It was as if she wants to shut us out. If only I knew why.

e2.png

“Toby, I just wish to be alone.” She spoke with such sad eyes that could make my heart break. I didn’t want to see my BFF like this. I would very much rather listen to her llama jokes all day long. She was supposed to be the bubbly one. And not the gloomy cloud that was looming over us all… It was too unlike Eleanor.

e3.png

I tried asking Leila. Perhaps Eleanor might choose to confide in her instead. Sometimes it takes another girl to understand. She simply shook her head. Eleanor wasn’t talking to her either.

e1

And what’s with that baggy sweater she seemed to be so into these days? It looked like a potato sack. She never liked potato sacks. There was certainly some malady bugging my cousin, something that none of us could understand. It pained me knowing Eleanor was struggling, and I could not help.

It seemed there was only one thing left to do. A girl might need her mother most at these times.

***

(Rachel’s POV)

“Oh plum! Not Nick Alto again…”

t5

I slammed the phone. That Nick Alto was getting on my last nerve. He never ceased to criticize my performance as a CEO. It was as if he had an entire department devoted to scrutinize my every move, analysing the details of every report with a magnifying glass. He wanted to find faults. I knew he was almost selected as Simbook’s new CEO, before surprisingly the Board decided on me. He might still be sour about it.

v7

(Confession: I didn’t take screenshots for this part,  so I reused two pictures. Because I didn’t want a whole chunk of text.)

The audacity of him to denounce me to the Board of Directors! About my latest acquisition of SimLife Goggles. He argued it was a venture that could potentially cause the company to bleed money. But any seasoned business person would know there won’t be returns without risks. How couldn’t he? Obviously he had a bone to pick. Making a compelling case in front of the Board was tough. Luckily Mr Landgraab and Mr Goth agreed it would be a worthwhile risk. But it was a triumph I didn’t relish.

What bothered me most was that he knew almost too much about the company. Intimate details he wasn’t supposed to. I had a lingering suspicion someone might be feeding him information. Just that I hadn’t a clue who.

I need to get to the bottom of this.

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