Lilly stood on the sidewalk opposite the apartment building. Every second that ticked by, she feared seeing Evan Sun’s face appear in Emmy’s bedroom window, or worse yet, watch as Evan Sun bounded furiously out the front door. Good thing the street is bustling with people, Lilly thought. The taxi couldn’t come soon enough. When it did, Lilly hopped into the back seat and told the driver where to take her. He knew the way there by heart.
“Pratt, Pruitt, Swann & Associates,” he repeated in his native African accent. “I transport their workers all the time. It’s as if those people refuse to get their own vehicles and drive themselves. Fine by me…I love my job and the way those folks pay.”
Lilly smiled at his jovial spirit and watched out her window as the world of Beijing whizzed past. The cab driver got her to her destination in seventeen minutes. “So, miss, are you applying to work here?” he asked fixing his caramel eyes in the rear view mirror.
“Oh, no,” Lilly said shaking her head. “Just have to meet someone.”
“Okay. If so, I was going to suggest wearing something more business-like, you know?”
“Like stilettos?” Lilly questioned jokingly as she looked at her converse sneakers.
“Try a suit,” the cabbie replied.
“Got you,” Lilly grinned. “I’ll keep it in mind for a future time.”
“Alright. Do you need for me to wait?”
“I don’t know. And since I’m not sure, you’re free to go,” Lilly said. She tipped him generously.
As the cab sped off, Lilly stared up through the waning light at the gleaming gold letters embossed on the highrise office building which read “Pratt, Pruitt, Swann & Associates.” She swung open the glass doors and entered into a big waiting room which screamed professionalism.
“How may I help you?” the dewy-faced front desk lady with razor-sharp nails asked somewhat bombastically.
“Hi,” Lilly said. “Can you please connect me with Bo? He works here, I was told.”
The front desk lady looked at her doubtfully as she pecked a few keys on one of several computers which sat on her desk like minions begging to receive orders. “Last name, please. Do you know?”
“Um, no,” Lilly answered, drumming her fingers on the glossy wrap-around desk. “I just know him as Bo.”
“I see,” the front desk lady responded. Lilly had a feeling she didn’t, so she explained. “He’s one of my dad’s partners. They’re friends too. Actually, I think everybody here is one of my dad’s partners and friends because he works at this same firm only in another building in America — ”
“I see,” the front desk lady said again cutting off Lilly’s rambling. “Good thing there is only one ‘Bo’ lawyering here and unfortunately Mr. Wu-Cambridge left his office about ten minutes ago. You missed him. I’m sorry.” She made sure to emphasize Bo’s last name—Wu-Cambridge, and didn’t appear to be sorry in the least.
Lilly knocked on her forehead. “No biggie! Do you have his personal phone number, perhaps?” she asked sincerely.
The front desk lady looked up from her computer and stared at Lilly with unblinking eyes for all of ten seconds. “No, I do not have Mr. Wu-Cambridge’s personal phone number anywhere. Only his office number is available to me. Is there anything else you wish for me to help with?”
Before Lilly could reply, a middle aged, blond-haired man wearing a snappy serge suit and toting a briefcase emerged gallantly from the opulent tube elevator to the left of the lobby. Lilly slapped her right palm on the front desk’s surface before pointing to the man and exclaiming, “He! He can help me!”
The front desk lady flinched as she turned her head to the right. Still her long, jet black hair hung like a solid sheet of ice, not moving a centimeter. “Him? That’s Mr. W. W. Warwick III.”
“I know,” Lilly squealed in a strained voice before correcting herself. “I mean I don’t know, but, yes, I know he’s the one that can help me!”