Thursday, September 10

Black Roses: Chapter II

Chapter II

“Milton, Milton! Hey, are you listening to me? Milton?”

That familiar voice startled Milton, snapped him back to reality.

“Oh, yes. I’m fine. Never been better,” replied a dumbfounded Milton as he ran his hands across his table, making a mess of the papers stacked on his table.

“What’s wrong, Mil? You’ve been so detached lately. Anything disturbing you? Sometimes I wonder what is going inside that head of yours,” said the familiar female voice. “One of these days, I’m going to knock some sense into you, Mil. Whatever it takes to make you stay focused. You are slowly losing it…”

“I’m fine Mag! Just that I’m a little bit occupied lately, that’s all…” Milton retaliated.

“Occupied? With what?”

Milton stared at the frowning woman looking at him. It was Magdalene. She is one of his best friends. She is his co-worker at the firm he is currently working in. They have known each other for 4 years since they both joined the firm at the same time. Magdalene knew everything about him, and Milton knew everything about her. Well, almost everything.

“Forget about it, Mil. Lets go out and have lunch; I’m not so in love with our local cafeteria – they serve the same food almost everyday!” Mag complained as she rummaged through her handbag for her cell phone.

“Why were you here again, Mag?” a confused Milton questioned her.

“Why? Well, isn’t it obvious? I’m bringing you out on a lunch date, silly!” Magdalene giggled, as she grabbed Milton’s arm and dragged him out from his comfy chair and led him straight out of his office.

“Where are we going?” said Milton, as he struggled to keep up the pace behind Magdalene.

“It’s a surprise, Mil. Just wait and see. I know you’re going to love it!” Mag replied confidently, with a cheeky grin, as they entered the lift.

“Okay, lead the way Miss Know-It-All! And you’re driving!” Milton exclaimed.

And with that, Magdalene whizzed through a crowd of people waiting in front of the lift as it opened on the ground floor, and a poor Milton had to bump into several people in Magdalene’s wake. Boy, this woman has some spunk! – Milton whispered to himself.

As soon as they reached the car park, Magdalene quickly opened the car, got into the car, started the engine, fastened her seat belt, and adjusted the mirrors – all in less than a minute.

“You coming?” Magdalene shouted from inside the car.

Without even answering, Milton immediately got in the car, and before he even closed the door – Magdalene was already reversing the car.

“What’s the big hurry? Geez, Mag! Tell me! You seem extremely excited – what’s going on?” Milton demanded an answer. The truth is, he was a bit surprised and scared to see Magdalene in such a peculiar mood.

“I’m so excited, no, too excited – but I can’t tell you just yet. It’ll spoil the mood! I promised not to tell you until we reach there.” answered a smiling Magdalene.

“Promised? To whom? What kind of surprises do you have up your sleeve this time, Mag? It’s not even my birthday yet, and it’s not April Fool either. And it’s not your birthday too, so…”

“Just shut up, Milton Myers! Did you know that you can be so annoying at times? Just sit down calmly and relax. Oh, and you need to straighten up your necktie. You want to look good later, trust me.” Magdalene snapped in just before Milton could even finish his sentence. Milton looked down on his tie and saw how crooked it was. Thanks to that abrupt exit from the firm, not to mention bumping into some innocent bystanders – he thought, as he straightened up his tie.

Milton slowly sank into his usual daydreaming trances – what is going on today? Magdalene was in an awfully good mood. Usually she is no more enthusiastic than your old tabby cat, which spends most of his time basking lazily under the sun. The only thing that usually throws her into overload is food. Not just any food. It has to be free food. FREE FOOD. However he had a gut feeling that no food joint in town is being extra generous as of today, he thought. Maybe she got an increase? Impossible. If she was going to get extra bucks, he was sure that he was going to be among the first to know about it. What else? Milton didn’t like the game of guessing. If it was morally right and civically sound, he would be extorting the answers from Magdalene right away. Maybe he would use Magdalene’s greatest fear against her, as a coercive force. Perhaps she will give in to him when he threatens her with a toy mouse. That thought alone provoked a slight giggle, as Milton imagines the probable consequences of such action.

“Mil, why are you laughing all of the sudden? What is so funny?” a curious Magdalene asked, looking outside the window as she maneuvered the car around the roundabout.

“Nothing. Simply.” Milton softly replied, with a smile.

“Mil, sometimes I just don’t understand what is going on in the silly head of yours.” Magdalene said bluntly.

“Well, for the record – you’ve said the same phrase twice already today.” Milton grumbled in response to her presumably condescending comment.

“You know Mag, I –“Milton’s words were cut short by his cell phone ringing.

“Nice ring tone you have there.” Magdalene remarked. It was Heidi Montag’s Body Language.

“Yes? No. Okay. Fine. No, I’m not going to be in until end of lunch hour. Emergency errands. Mag? Yes, she’s with me. Oh okay, no problems. Sure, I’ll tell her. Thanks Al. Hey, do you want anything from downtown? Since I am going there? Oh okay. Sure. See you around then. Bye.”

“Who was that?” Magdalene asked.

“It's Al from HR. He wanted to know whether I am still in my office. I guess he wanted to discuss about the upcoming Wize Project 2009. I was supposed to come up with a design theme to suit the whole thing. And Al wanted his ideas in too, although he was assigned to the human resource department,” Milton sighed, as he looked blankly to the outside view.

“Emergency errands?”

“Well, I don’t know what to make of our current situation. So I just told him I had emergency errands that need to be meted out A.S.A.P. Luckily he is not much of a nosey person, unlike some others.” Milton replied, with a slight giggle.

“And I heard my name being mentioned. What was that about?” Magdalene inquired.

“Oh, that. He said the materials you ordered from the publishing house have just arrived, and he sent those to your secretary – since your office was barred shut.” Milton answered non-chalantly.

“Wow – that’s good news! Now I can work on the advertising ad for the Wize Project. Well, I needed those since the boss wanted some specific “moments” incorporated into the ad.” Magdalene smirked.

“I hope you didn’t order something from Russia! God forbid, he will go berserk talking about motherlands and vodka!” Milton remarked, as both of them burst out in fits of laughter.

“Well Milton, here we are!” Magdalene said as she swerved the car into a parking lot, and the car came to a sudden halt.

“The Four Seasons? Are we having their lunch specials? I thought you said their appetizers were not appetizing at all, and I remember you said you despised their halibut in wine –“Milton said to Magdalene in a very surprised tone, before she butted in.

“No, we are not here for the lunch. Some people are expecting us here. You’ll be surprised!” Magdalene exclaimed, as she grabbed her cell phone and started to call somebody.

“Hey, we are here already. Where are you guys? Sweet. Let’s meet in the lobby then, and I have a clueless Milton tagging along. Yeah, sure. Okay then.” Magdalene put her cell phone back in her handbag and gestured to Milton.

“C’mon Mil, make it snappy. Snap-snap!” she said, as she snapped her fingers twice.

“Okay, I’m coming! Sheesh.” Milton grumbled.

Who could that be? Milton asked himself. He had no idea of whom is he going to expect at the lobby of that grand hotel. Maybe some big shot executive who is interested in my latest design projects, or maybe some major event organizers looking for the right design theme – who knows? A list of probable, or more correct to say – profitable people, raced across his mind like a bullet train whizzing through a tunnel.

Upon reaching the Four Season’s magnificent entrance, Milton and Magdalene were warmly greeted by doormen as they opened the doors for them.


Milton thought he heard the 2 distinctive yet familiar voices shouting from afar. Obviously they were not people from his imaginary list earlier.

“Oh. My. God.”

And Milton got the shock of his life. A pleasant shock, that is.