Caught in traffic is like my life before I left Elon, just a waste of time. There is a procession of headlights on the highway. Tail lights are snaking their way down the road and over the brow of a hill, cars bumper to bumper, exhaust fumes are belching out, blurring headlights through the driving rain. The highway has become a giant parking lot. I sigh and wait.
After waiting for what seemed like the longest hour of my life, I have finally arrived at my new working place. A place where I wouldn't be forced to breathe the same air as Elon. A place where I wouldn't be forced to do as he bids. A place that is no way related to him or is his. A place that is far, far away from him. I knock on my boss' door. As I enter his office unit, I keep my eyes downcast lest my boss notices my nervousness, lest he notices the beads of sweat that have broken out on my forehead. Lest he notices my cheeks that always redden when they don't have to. My boss clears his throat and begins, "Miss Gemma. Will you please take a seat?" Miss Gemma. Gemma. Gemma. As a reflex action, I look up and into his eyes. Elon.
I am back at my unit now. How the heck is this possible? How on Earth did I end up with him again? I am frustrated and annoyed and confused. So many things at the same time when I hear a knock. A soft one. I wipe my damp face and pretend to brush off invisible dirt off my dress. "May I come in?" It is none other than Elon, of course. I nod hastily and began pacing forward and backward, in exasperation. "Miss Gemma, please sit down." Miss Gemma? How sweet. I grit my teeth, chew on my lip, and do everything to keep the anger in me composed, to not kill him on the spot. The temperature has suddenly dropped and all I can think of is our last night together: the night where he refused to recognize me when I was all alone, the night when I needed him the most. The night that was one of the most difficult nights of my life. The night that changed my life forever. Elon snaps his fingers, a clear indication to bring me back to reality. "Gemma..." he begins. But I don't let him continue and leave my own unit.
Today is a new day. And Elon hasn't arrived as yet. His assistant, Mark tells me that he has been stuck with some emergency. Good. He also handed a pile of thick files to me. He said I had to assess all of them. Not good. From the corner of my eyes, I see a new girl approaching me. "Hello. You are Gemma. The new worker. Right?" I nod in reply. The new girl keeps on talking and chewing gum , occasionally popping it when I see Elon approaching my cabin. Not again, I silently plead God. Unlike yesterday, he enters my cabin, without a knock. "Sia, we've got some new work. Please go to your unit right now." Sia. So her name is Sia. I stare hard at him, noticing how in some ways he hasn't changed even a bit from all those years ago. His r's and p's roll the same way too. Elon casts a look at me. A brief one and leaves. I remember our last night together, again.
'Elon, is this your wife? Do you have anything to do with Gemma?'
'No, I don't have anything to do with her. I don't know her. Please take her away.'
Please take her away. Please take her away.
"Do you know him?" It is Sia again. "Know who?" I reply, appearing disinterested from wherever her conversation is heading. Deep down, I know it is about Elon. "Know who?" I say again.
"Sir Elon. Do you know him from somewhere before?"
"I don't." I appear to be confident, lest she suspects something.
"But..." she lets her thoughts trail away, leaving me to wonder what she is up to.
"Sir Elon has called you in his unit. Right now." Mark's emphasis on 'right now' tells me that Elon summoning me in such a hurry has something to do with Sia's conversation from yesterday. I gulp down the last of my coffee and head out.
"Miss Gemma, these calculations are all wrong. Where were you while assessing them?"
I was, as you would say, not mentally present, Elon. Mentally absent, Elon. Mentally absent.
He looks into my eyes and I realize this is the first time he has made eye contact with me since I joined his workplace. The hazel in his eyes looks almost gray and his nose is more abridged than my last memory of it. In addition to the goatee, now he has got mustache too. I can't help but smile. In some way, he has changed since I last saw him. "Miss Gemma, the calculations," he says again. "They are all wrong. What have you done? If you carry on with this reckless behavior of yours, we will have to fire you."
I mouth the word ‘fire’ and smirk, raising my right brow soon afterwards.
"Yes, fire." His eyes linger on mine as he reads my lips without any hindrance, like always. "Mark. Will you please leave the two of us? Alone."
Yes, please. I say without actually saying it.
Mark shoots a displeased look at me and leaves Elon's unit. Elon pushes away his chair and stumbles a little. Weird. He comes near to me. His breath is heavy as he speaks. "Miss Gemma, what is happening?" After all these years, he still knows how to do it: he knows how to pretend to be unaware of the thing he is clearly aware of. He knows how to disown someone. After all, that is exactly what he did all those years ago.