“Tell Milly that she needs to find a new girl, the one that she sent yesterday was boring, dirty and tiring. Call Leila and tell her that I need those samples by 10 o’clock today, or else she can start looking for another job. Then call Cécile and remind her that for the fortieth time, I don’t care for any of that common food dripping in grease, I don’t understand what she’s trying to do to me, but I don’t want any of that street pizza. Tell her that I want something from Jean Georges’ but not any meats; the last time they gave me medium when I asked for medium rare, and tell Rakshata that I saw the pictures from yesterday and that she needs to find some women who are more masculine. I’m sick of this saturation in this traditional definition of beauty for women. Why should I have to do what everyone else is doing? Is it really that impossible to find a masculine woman? Am I asking for the Red Sea to part? Am I demanding world peace?”
“N-no, of course not.” Suzaku was too busy scribbling to really hear what Kallen was saying. His hand flying across the page, he tried his best to remember everything that had been asked of him, when he heard: “Also, I’ve got plans this evening so whoever wants to see me after 4PM will have to wait until tomorrow morning. The driver doesn’t need to pick me up; someone else will be.”
At that, both assistants looked up. If evening plans that neither had made or knew about hadn’t done it, the fact that someone else would be picking C.C. up sent up red flags. They didn’t know for sure, but if they had to take a wild guess, they would have to say that she had a date later in the evening, which was incredibly strange to imagine. A date? Who would want to go on a date with Cera Corabelle? Or rather, who was brave enough – or stupid – to dare ask for a romantic evening out on the town with her? She was so cold and so uncompromising, even with how clever and beautiful she was, she didn’t really seem like the type that would be enjoyable company.
But then Suzaku remembered the Englishman from several weeks back. The memories of the man walking around C.C.’s home as if it were his own filled his mind, and the way that he had cared for her and looked after her before carrying her off to what he now suspected was their shared bedroom. Which was even weirder since he just realized that he was the only one in their entire staff of a hundred-and-something people that knew about this romance that had somehow remained a secret even from those whose jobs were to know and remember every single minute detail of C.C.’s life, both personal and otherwise. He felt his chin itch like it always did when he was uncomfortable.
“Can I help you with something? Or would you prefer your little own assistant who likes to stand around all day and waste everyone’s precious time?”
Starting, he shook his head before vaporizing and reappearing behind his desk. He heard a sigh from the office before a, “How in God’s name is this magazine supposed to function when there’s so much incompetence devolving this production?”
When Kallen walked by later in the hour while C.C. was on the phone, she smacked him on the back of the head with a folder of pictures from yesterday’s shoot, and while it wasn’t exactly something that he relished in, he understood and accepted. He had messed up not only once, but twice, on top of messing up in front of the one and only. If she hadn’t smacked him, he probably would have.
“Pull yourself together,” she growled. “This is no time to be daydreaming.”
“Right.” Clearing his throat, he nodded. “Of course, of course. I’m on it,” and immediately got up and ran.
. . .
At 8PM, Suzaku leaned slowly out of his chair to peer into the office. Kallen had already long gone after some family emergency, as well as the other departments. In fact, it seemed as if it was just him and C.C. alone on the entire floor, which was… Which was actually very, very bad. It had been silent in there for hours ever since 3:30PM when the Englishman had called, and to say that things had been silent since was the understatement of the century; it had been extremely difficult to remember that she was in the office, rather than the dinner appointment she had had cleared her entire evening for.
Inching forward across his desk, he tried to peek inside to see what she was doing, when he heard her call for her in a voice he had never heard before. Careful not to fall out of his chair, he quickly appeared in the doorframe of her office. She slowly swiveled around in the dark office to reveal by the light of the sole desk lamp her swollen eyes.
“I need you to go to Hermès for me and pick up 10 scarves, and then to Armani after for 20 coat and Yves Saint Laurent for some belts. Oh, and on the way back, I want my dinner here waiting for me by the time I come back.”
“Where are you going…?”
She looked up at him darkly. “Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware that I had to tell you every little detail of my private life.”
He changed gears. “What can I get for you for dinner?”
“Please bore someone else with your questions,” she sighed. Rising from her chair, she drawled, “I need my coat and bag.”
“Yes, of course.”
He should have gotten his own coat right after to catch the nearest elevator. He should have called for the driver right away if only so that he could get everything that had been asked of him. But instead, Suzaku stood there quietly in the dark and silent office. He approached her desk and traced it with his eyes, following the glossy photographs and mock-ups and markings and such before they fell upon…
Even with his fear that he would be fired, when Suzaku had left her home that day, a small part of him had thought that maybe there was just something about the Englishman that made C.C. into someone who wasn’t so cold and wasn’t so fearsome, that maybe there was someone who could really just mean so much to her that they could make her cry like any other human.
And for that, Suzaku felt horribly.