Smaradahana Chapter 4


“Ha…ha……ha……” Batara Brahma laughed while pulling back his head in satisfaction, “Finally!”

Batara Narada shook his head, “But they are not really together yet, they’re just getting to know each other. They need more time and opportunity to be together for something really serious to happen. Besides that your son hasn’t completely forgotten the mortal woman he married and it seems like she sees him as nothing more than a friend.”

Batara Brahma couldn’t help but agree, “You’re right,”

“Of course I’m right, I’m not the heavenly counselor for nothing!” Batara Narada boasted.

“Although I trust my son’s love and loyalty to his wife, but the mortal realm is not as simple as it used to be. I think it’s time for a divine intervention or two,” Batara Brahma said while nodding his head.

* * *

“You have to cover for me at the office for a while,” Roni said while packing his back, “After I’m sure how mother is I’ll come back as soon as I can.”

“Okay, are you sure you’ll be alright to drive to Bandung by yourself?” Panji asked.

“Of course I’ll be alright,” Roni assured him. “Nuri will forward you my meeting agendas for this week, I’m sorry to say that you’ll have to bring in the sales for me while I’m gone. But I’m sure you won’t have any problems with that.”

“Don’t worry about the company.” Panji said assertively patting him on the shoulder, “Take care of your mother, give her my regards, I hope she recovers soon.”

“Thanks, cousin. Call me if you need anything, or drop me an email.”

“Okay, don’t worry yourself too much,”

* * *

Vespa

“Hey, what are you doing standing here at this hour?” Luna drove up to him as he stood on the side way waiting for a taxi.

“I’m waiting for a taxi. Roni had a family emergency and had to drive to Bandung so I don’t have a ride.” Panji explained.

“Huh! Here,” She handed him a helmet that was hanging on the side of her Vespa. “Hop on.”

“What the heck,” He shrugged, wore the helmet, and he saddled up behind her.

She changed the gear and turned the gas.

“If you wanted to take a taxi, you should go earlier, at is time, most of the taxis are taken, and don’t forget the traffic jams all around the city. But on this baby, we can cut the commute time by taking detours,” She bragged.

“How come you still have an old scooter like this?” He asked.

“This was my late mother’s when she and my father began dating. My grandparents kept it, for keep sake. When my grandmother passed away last year, I rescued it, got it fixed, and now I’m using it.” She told him.

“You’re interesting, you know that,” He said. “You have a very unique personality and taste.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Well this scooter, the ice cream the other night, and especially that ridiculous necklace you have around your neck, why do you wear it all the time?”

“This necklace? It was a present from my friend Sam. It was the first present that I’ve ever received from a boy, so I keep it as my good luck charm,” She explained.

“This Sam, was he your boyfriend?” He asked with a hidden smile.

“No, just a friend,” She said.

“So if he was just a friend why do you still treasure his gift?” He asked as they turned into the office building parking space.

“Who says I treasure it?” She argued in a feisty tone after he got off the Vespa and she put it on the stand.

Panji secured the helmet on the holder and then slipped his had under her pendant “You wear it all the time how many years has it been? Eight? Nine? Do you know why a boy would give a girl a necklace?”

“Why?” her voice quivered, not understanding why she was feeling nervous standing so close to him.

“So she would have something of him near her heart,” He slowly released the pendant.

She blushed, taking deep breaths to calm her beating heart.

“So how about you give me a ride to and from the office every day and I pay the gasoline?” He asked.

Luna nodded as she smiled shyly, “Okay…” She whispered.

Panji smiled, “Let’s go…”

* * *

“Panji, where are you? Why haven’t you come home?” Mrs. Dari said on the phone.

“Ma, I’m doing good. I’m living with Roni and I’m helping him out in the company,” Panji explained.

“We need you here in the Kediri Jaya, your father is covering for your responsibilities, but we need you here!” She complained.

“Ma, I need some time and space for myself. Understand me, please…” He pleaded.

“At least let me deliver your things, your clothes and your car….”

“Just my clothes, leave the car there. It’s better for me if I don’t have a car.”

Mrs. Dari sighed “Fine! I’ll have the driver deliver your suitcase to Roni’s apartment. ”

“Thanks, Ma….” He replied. “Hey Ma, one more thing.”

“What is it Panji?” She asked.

“Can you pass me over to Papa, please?”

“Of course…”

“Panji, what is it?” Mr. Erlangga’s deep voice echoed through the receiver.

“Pa, the websites for our properties. I think they can use an upgrade, can’t they?”

“Hmm…, now that you mention it. It does seem like a good idea. I think we had a complaint a while back from one of the guests at our hotel in Lombok saying that the pictures on the webpage are different from the actual hotel. We haven’t updated after the renovation.”

“So we could hire Roni’s company to do the project, can’t we?” He asked.

“Hmm, we can. Send me a proposal and budget, then we can talk about it. Let’s do the one for the hotel first because it’s the most relevant at this moment.”

“Okay, Pa. I’ll get working on it.”

* * *

“Luna, Panji is looking for you!” Boy relayed.

“What’s up?” She wondered.

“I sent him a file, but apparently he couldn’t open it in his computer, I think he doesn’t have the program installed in his laptop. I would help him,  but I don’t have administrator access.” Boy elaborated.

“Okay, give me a minute!” She said as she saved the file she was working on. She got up and headed to Panji’s office.

“I heard that there was a damsel in distress in here,” She said from the door.

“Hey, yeah….Boy sent me this file for the client. I need to review the attachment before I forward it, but I can’t open the file. Boy said I need to install a certain program.”

“A viewer,” Luna replied curtly as she shooed him from his chair for her to sit in it, “You should save your files, because I need to log you out.”

“All my files are saved, you can close the programs and log me out if you want,” He replied sitting on his desk near her.

Luna didn’t understand why she became very aware of herself by his proximity. Her heart began to pound and her hand was shaking as she could feel his eyes on her. She tried to concentrate on what she was doing to keep herself calm and in control.

Panji glanced at her, he could see the color of her face beginning to change and her body tremble. He didn’t want to move from where he was sitting as he was enjoying the moment.

“I really appreciate your prompt response to my request,” He said.

“Of course!” She murmured avoiding to look at him, “Always happy to make sure that everything runs smoothly here in the company.”

He nodded, “Always the go to person to help the new kid at school, some people never change.”

“Sorry?” She looked up, finding his statement strange.

Panji looked at her for a few minutes, waiting to see if his words jogged her memory.

“What do you mean?” She asked again.

Panji shook her head, “Never mind….”

“Ah, okay…” She said. She thought to herself, “Poor guy, he’s still not thinking straight because of his sadness.”

* * *

“Getting cozy with our new neighbor, are we?” Nuri threw herself on her chair.

“I’m just being friendly to him, I mean he is going through a very rough time,” Luna defended herself.

“Hmm….is that so?” Nuri leaned forward, her head was only a few centimeters away from Luna’s, “Then why are you blushing?” She whispered.

“Stop teasing me!” Luna shrieked.

“Ha…ha…ha…..” Nuri laughed, “My dear Luna has finally shown some interest in a man,”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about…” Luna looked away.

“He is handsome you know, despite his spiky head that is. Ha…ha…ha….” Nuri laughed again

“At least his head doesn’t look like a roll-on anymore, like when he first started working with us.” Luna tried hard to hide her smile, she bit her lower lip so that Nuri wouldn’t notice her expression.

“Hmm…..” Nuri gave her a smug look.

* * *

“Hey, what do you usually do for dinner?” He asked when they were at the parking space of the building, ready to head home.

“Both Nuri and I are usually too tired to cook, so we either buy something to eat at home or make instant noodles.” She replied.

“Hmm, what do you say if I treat you to dinner? We can stop by someplace on our way back to the apartment.” He asked.

Luna smiled, “Why not? What do you want to eat?”

“Anything that’s spicy and oily,”

“Do you do deep fried?”

“I have a love affair with everything deep fried!”

“What about tempe penyet?” She offered.

“Oh, yeah!” He grinned.

“I know a good  place, if you don’t mind eating out of a food stall,”

“Take me there, baby!” He joked.

She laughed as she kick started the Vespa.

Tempe Penyet

* * *

“How’s your mother?” Panji asked.

“She’s better than she claims to be. Her sickness was provoked by our neighbor who is about the same age as me having a baby. My mother wants to know when I’ll start production.” Roni said, “I’ll be here one more day, then I’ll go back to Jakarta.”

“I’m glad to hear that it wasn’t anything serious.”

“So how are thing s there? At work and your personal life.”

“Work is good, my personal life is improving,” Panji smiled to himself, “Oh, and I have good news for you. Kediri Jaya needs to update the webpages for their properties, so I spoke to my father, and he’s willing to consider our proposal. So i’m going to start working on it tomorrow.”

“Hah! I’m not on the boat for working in your parents’ company, but doing a project for them under the flag of my own company is a different thing all together. Plus having a client like Kediri Jaya under our portfolio is a good sales pitch for future clients.”

“See, it turns out I’m good for something after all, huh?” Panji sneered.

“I never thought you weren’t.” He paused, “So, how did you manage the transport to work this morning, it’s not like the area where we live is an easy place to get a taxi. We’re at traffic jam central.”

“Actually, I acquired a transport service this morning, I’m very happy with the speed and convenience of this service that I have a permanent contract with the provider.”

“You didn’t fall into a con did you?”

“No…, our neighbor Luna. We’ve agreed that she’ll take me to and from the office every day and I’ll pay for the gasoline. It usually takes an hour to commute in your car, with her it took me twenty minutes to get to the office.”

“I can’t believe that you agreed to go to work on her scooter,” Roni laughed. “Not even Nuri is crazy enough to do that.”

“And why not?  I like it.” Panji defended

“Suit yourself, man.” Roni replied.

“Hey, back to business. Who can help me with the proposal for the Kediri jaya project?” Panji asked.

“Well, if it’s for a webpage, it would be Luna, your chauffeur. She is our web designer you can work with her on the project. I’ll drop her an email to give her a heads up, I’ll copy you on it.”

Panji smiled widely, “I like that idea…..”

* * *

Luna read the email at her desk about the new project, inadvertently her heart skipped a beat in excitement. She didn’t want to be too obvious so she replied the email in two words “Will do!”

“Can I set up an appointment with you at 3 PM so we can start working on this? I want to study their current webpage together and produce a list of suggestions of potential improvement so we can start creating a time frame for the project and build the budget.” An email response from Panji entered in her inbox.

“3PM will work out just fine for me,” Was her reply.

“I’ll see you at 3PM, Thanks,” Panji wrote back.

“Guys, you don’t need to copy me in every single email, it’ll fill up my inbox! Thanks!” Roni protested.

“LOL!” Luna’s answer was informal.

“Okay, Chief!” Panji responded in kind.

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