Single and Transferred
The searing fires of a thousand suns forces their way into Noh’s eyes and he groans loudly at the intrusion before rolling over to escape. Burrowing into the pillow on the other side doesn’t work either as it jerks away and smacks him on his already pounding head. “What the fuck?!”
“Get your ass away from me. I’m not your pillow or your boyfriend.” The grumbling voice of Ohm manages to wake Noh up a bit, enough for him to open one crusty eye.
“Shut the hell up, you loud fuck. You’re gonna split my head in two.” Noh rubs a hand over his eyes and looks around at the blurry but familiar surroundings. “How did we get home and why are you in my bed?”
“Don’t ask me. Ask your new boyfriend.” Sitting up, Ohm scratches his belly and yawns widely. “Last I remember, it was just the three of us left at the club.”
“Boyfriend? What the fuck are you talking about?” Scratching his head in confusion, Noh sits up and looks over at his best friend.
“You don’t remember Mr. Perfect from last night, the guy you almost flattened when you fell off the stage?” Ohm shakes his head with a teasing laugh. “Poor Yu. She’s gonna be devastated when she finds out you’re leaving her for another guy.”
“Fuck you.” Noh raises his middle finger in the general direction of Ohm. “I’m not dating anybody right now, not even Yu.”
“When the fuck did this happen?” Sitting up in surprise, Ohm stares at Noh. “And why don’t I know about it?”
“Last week. You were busy helping n’Mick with his project.” Noh gets off the bed and stretches while walking towards the open bedroom door. “Yu told me she fell for someone else so that’s the end of it. It’s not like we were really going out anyway. As long as she’s happy, I’m good with it.”
“Who’s the other guy? Anybody we know?” Ohm follows him out as he asks his questions. “What do you mean you weren’t dating? You two have been together since Uni. How are you not devastated?”
“Damn it. Let me get something to eat before you interrogate me. I’m starving!” Noh stomps over to the kitchen and freezes. “What the…?”
Sitting neatly on the table under a netting tent is a large tureen of what looks like soup. The smell is delicious, fragrant with herbs and chicken broth. Next to this is a bottle of medicine, a pitcher of water, and a square white piece of paper with neat handwriting on it. Noh picks up the note and reads it.
I’m guessing you will wake up with a hangover.
Hope the soup and medicine help. Don’t forget to drink lots of water.
Make sure Ohm has some, too. Thanks again for letting me join the party
and crash at your place.
See you Monday.
“Nice of him to think of me, too.” Removing the tent, Ohm dishes up two large bowls of soup. “He’s totally prime. You hit the jackpot this time.”
“He’s not my boyfriend.” Noh says distractedly as he stares at the note. “He stayed here last night? What does he mean? I don’t remember making any plans on Monday.”
“I don’t know.” Barely paying attention to the conversation anymore, Ohm is fully occupied with his bowl of soup. “It’s your first day at the new job, right? Maybe you agreed to meet for drinks after to celebrate.”
“I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t even know how late I’ll have to work or anything.”
“Then just call him and ask. He already knows you were drunk so it shouldn’t come as any surprise to him that you forgot.”
“Do I have his number?” Noh looks all over the counter and note but doesn’t see anything with a phone number on it. Going into the bedroom, he rifles through his clothes and wallet. With a bellow of triumph he pulls out a rumpled business card and walks back into the kitchen while studying it. “Fuck! I can’t read anything on it. One of the drinks must have spilled on it.”
“Did you put his number in your phone?” Ohm asks while taking the last spoonful of his soup and eyeing what was left in the large tureen.
Picking up his phone and unlocking it, Noh runs through the contact list. With a frustrated sigh, he shakes his head at Ohm. Noh tosses the phone onto the counter and sits down to eat his soup. “Guess I’ll find out on Monday.”
“So what’s the deal with Yuri?” Deciding that Noh really doesn’t need another bowl of soup, Ohm scoops the rest into his bowl. “Half the gang are expecting you to announce your engagement any day now and you’re telling me that the two of you were never together?”
“It’s the truth. We have always been friends, only friends. People assumed we were dating since we spent so much time together but that doesn’t mean it’s true.” Noh continues to eat his bowl of soup, quite oblivious to the scrutinizing eyes of his friend.
“What the hell, man? All this time has just been an act and you never said a word to me?!” Angry at being left out of the loop, Ohm throws his spoon down and folds his arms. “Do you really even consider me a friend?”
“Don’t even go there, asshole!” Setting down his own spoon, Noh glares back at Ohm. “It was never an act. Other than your dumb ass, she is the closest friend I have.”
“Why didn’t you ever say anything, correct anyone? You could at least have told me!” Pouting, Ohm whines looking like an overgrown five year old.
“I DID tell you!” Noh defends himself vehemently. “Don’t you remember? When Yu and I first started hanging out, I told you repeatedly that we weren’t dating and you never believed me. I got tired of trying to convince you though.”
“Oh shit! I do remember that. I thought you were just joking or trying to keep your relationship low key or something. Never thought you might be serious. Sorry, Noh.” Ohm hangs his head, a frown turning the corners of his lips down.
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” Picking up his spoon, Noh resumes eating. “To be honest, it was kinda nice that everyone misunderstood. Weird guys stopped bothering Yu and those crazy fan girls stopped chasing me so much. It was peaceful.”
“You did have a lot of fans stalking you during uni thanks to our band being so popular.” Ohm chuckles at the memories. “Just like last night, people went gaga over that silky voice of yours.”
“Not my favorite part.” Rolling his eyes, Noh stands up and takes the dishes to the sink to wash them.
“What about this new guy? Do you know who it is? Have you met him yet?” Ohm follows Noh to the sink and picks up a towel to dry the dishes Noh is washing.
“Not yet. Yu says they aren’t dating at the moment, but she doesn’t want the guy to misunderstand about us. It’s fine. She’s happy and I’m going to be busy with this new job anyway.” Walking over, Noh grabs the large tureen to wash. “Speaking of, we need to go shopping. I need something decent to wear at this new place.”
“To the mall?” Ohm asks with a depressed sigh.
“To the mall.” Noh confirms with a grin. “We can stop at the music store after and then get a bite somewhere, my treat.”
“Let’s go!” Ohm shouts with a lot more enthusiasm.
The rest of the weekend goes by quickly. On Monday morning, Noh dresses with the utmost care, making sure every hair is in place and his clothes are orderly. The days of his buzz cut head and untucked shirts are far behind him… well, the buzz cut is anyway. The sloppy clothes are left for his days off. Today, he’s decked out in navy slacks, a navy suit jacket, and a crisp white button-down with a thin navy tie. Considering it’s his first day, Noh wants to play it a bit more conservative until he gets the feel for the office. He walks out of the apartment that he shares with Ohm looking handsome and professional.
After a short drive, Noh pulls his classic scooter into a large parking garage where he is stopped by a gruff security guard. Noh gives the uniformed guy his name and is given a temporary employee parking permit with his assigned space marked on it. The guard had to check the number three times and is considerably more respectful as he gives directions to the space and lets Noh drive by, even giving him a wai. Noh isn’t too sure what to make of this but shrugs and finds his parking spot which is near the entrance to the building and tucked between several expensive-looking vehicles. If Noh really considered such things, he might feel embarrassed parking his little scooter among all that money but that is not Noh. He pats the tank of his vehicle affectionately and walks into the building with his black backpack and helmet in his hands.
A short walk down a stark white hallway and Noh finds himself in the huge reception area of White Industries. The main entrance off to the left has a double set of large glass doors at either end with the entire two story wall made up of sparkling glass panes. Several comfortable red chairs and low coffee tables are located in the far corner waiting area for the convenience of visitors and staff with what looks to be a fully stocked coffee and snack bar. Located in the center of the room is a curved reception counter with six people in matching black and red outfits, some on the phone and others greeting people as they enter or answering questions. Behind this is a long row of silver elevators constantly transporting the riders to the various floors. Noh just barely manages to keep his jaw from dropping as he realizes this is where he is going to be working from now on. He takes a deep breath to calm himself and confidently walks up to the reception desk.
“Hello. Welcome to White Industries.” The pretty clerk smiles at him with a wai. “How may I be of service?”
“Hi.” Noh automatically raises his hands to return the gesture. “My name is Napat Nawahindakarn. I’m a new hire and was wondering if you could direct me where I need to go?”
“Just a moment, please.” She enters his name into the employee search on her computer and her eyes widen a bit. Glancing up at him, she presses a few buttons on her phone and turns to the side. Noh doesn’t catch most of the conversation except for his name. Ending the call, she removes the headset and swiftly walks around the counter to stand beside Noh, her hand held towards the café in the waiting area. “Would you like a coffee or something to eat before we proceed?”
“Um, no. Thank you.” Noh refuses, wondering if this is how all new employees are treated. “I’d like to head on up, if that’s okay.”
“Of course! Please follow me.” The receptionist guides him to an elevator separate from the others near the hallway where he entered and pushes the call button. It’s not long before a low pitched “ding” is heard and the doors silently slide open. Letting Noh enter first, she follows, swipes a card he didn’t notice before through the slot at the top of the panel, and presses the button for the top floor. This is making Noh crazy nervous as the top floors are usually reserved for all the executives and their staff. During the hiring interviews, he was made to understand that the position is that of a clerk. Why would he be going anywhere near the executive floors? Before he can delve too deeply into the possible answers to that line of thought, the elevator reaches its destination and the doors slide open once more.
“This is your floor, Khun Nawahindakarn. Secretary Sutterland is waiting for you. Please have a nice day.” Noh steps onto the floor and turns to ask the polite receptionist a question only to see the elevator doors close behind him with her on the other side. He’s left alone with the set of frosted double doors in front of him.
“What in the hell is going on?” Muttering to himself, he straightens his tie and smooths his hair. If he has to go into the lion’s den, he’s going in looking the best he can. “Buck up, Noh. What’s the worst that can happen? … Getting fired on my first day and embarrassing the shit out of myself.”
With a less than confident sigh, Noh pushes open the door on the right and walks into a large, elegantly furnished room with wide hallways branching off on either side and ornate double wooden doors directly across. In front of either hallway is a wide desk with state-of-the-art computers, stained wood filing cabinets along the wall, and an efficient, sleekly dressed secretary. Neither of the two secretaries bother to look up as he walks up to the curved desk in the center of the room, looking like a smaller version of what’s in the entrance to the building. The slightly built man sitting there is dressed in a dapper black suit with a matching vest and red bowtie. He glances up through wire-rimmed glasses at Noh. As he’s about to speak, the doors behind him open and a graceful older woman with silver just barely touching her long, black hair enters the room.
“Khun Nawahindakarn, welcome. If you will, please come with me.” She gives Noh a friendly smile and nods at the man sitting in front of him, who returns to his work.
“Hello. Are you Secretary Sutterland?” Feeling strangely at ease with this lady, Noh greets her with a wai as he walks around the desk.
“Yes. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She guides him through the doors and into another room with wide windows on either side giving beautiful views of the city. On the other side of the room is another desk similar to the other secretaries’ in the previous room with similar cabinets lined up along the wall and computers on the desk.
“It’s nice to meet you, too, but can you tell me why I’m here?” A bit in awe of his surroundings, Noh looks hesitantly at her. “I thought I was being hired to be a clerk.”
“Yes, that was your original work assignment but another position opened up and you were transferred. While your work experience is lacking, you fit the other requirements and you came highly recommended. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to notify you of the change as the decision was made over the weekend. I do apologize for that.” Secretary Sutterland bows her head slightly then continues across the room.
“I was transferred already? I haven’t even started yet. Can you tell me what my new position will be?” Very confused now, Noh follows her blindly as he tries to process this situation.
“I will be happy to answer any questions you may have later. For now, our CEO is waiting to see you.” Sitting down behind the desk, she picks up the phone and pushes a button. “Khun Nawahindakarn is here… Of course…”
“You may go in.” The secretary says after hanging up the phone. “I will bring in some refreshments in a bit. Is there anything you’d like? Coffee? Tea? Water?”
“Um, Coffee, please.” Noh answers as he looks uncertainly at the door.
“Hot or Iced? Sugar? Cream?”
“Iced with vanilla cream if you have it. Thank you.”
“Of course. I will take care of it.” Seeing that Noh hasn’t budged any closer to the door, she secretly smiles and walks over to open the door. “Please.”
With no choice, Noh walks through the opening into a very spacious office with several overstuffed chairs, a long meeting table and chairs off to the side by another set of wide windows, and a giant dark wooden desk set to the back. A few photos in ornate frames grace the wall behind with row upon row of bookshelves on either side from floor to ceiling. The shelves contain neatly organized and labeled binders of all sizes, folders, and dark covered books. When the high-backed chair swivels around, Noh stops dead in his tracks.