Smaradahana Chapter 5


“Good afternoon…” Luna leaned against the doorway of his office, “Can I come in?”

“Don’t come in!” He replied.

“What?” She jumped.

Panji got up from his desk and disconnected his laptop, “They have wifi at the coffee shop downstairs, don’t they?”

“Yeah…”

“Let’s go,” He held the laptop under his arm and a notepad in the other hand then walked to the door, “I could use a change of environment…”

“Should I bring my laptop?” She asked.

“I don’t think it would be necessary, today we’re just going to look at their web page,”

“Okay, let me help you with that notepad,” She took the notepad from his hand.

“Oops, okay thanks….”

* * *

“Let’s sit over there,” He pointed at a corner table.

“Let’s!” her voice was as cheerful as always.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Panji,” A woman greeted them.

“Good afternoon, Luna, this is Mrs. Sita, she’s the manager of this coffee shop.” Panji introduced them.

“It’s nice to meet you….” Luna shook her hand.

“Mr. Panji, it was a little bit difficult for us, we had to translate the recipe and instructions you sent us, and after a lot of trial and error we finally succeeded in baking the cake you ordered,” Mrs. Sita’s voice had a hint of pride in it.

“Ah, excellent. That’s great to hear…” He smiled widely.

“I’ll bring it out in a few minutes. Do you want something to accompany it with? Coffee or tea?” She asked.

“I’ll take a mochaccino,” Luna ordered.

“Ah…no! We’ll have black coffee, please,” Panji said.

“Hey, but I want a mochaccino…” Luna pouted.

“Trust me, you don’t! Come on, let’s get to work.” He smiled mysteriously.

“Cheap!” She mumbled. “If we were going to drink black coffee, we could have got it from the coffee machine in the office!”

“So the company that we’re bidding for is called Kediri Jaya Properties,” He started ignoring her complaint, “They have several properties across the country.”

“Kediri Jaya Properties?” She was surprised.

Panji muffled a smile, “Do you know them?”

Luna nodded her head, “I’ve heard of them, who hasn’t?”

He looked at her ambiguously, “Good! Then you have an idea of what they do….”

“More or less….”

“Okay, well, they want to upgrade the web pages for each of their properties, but since they’ve never worked with us before, they want to try with one first. And they decided that it would be for their hotel in Lombok. Here’s the site, tell me what you think,” He turned his laptop towards her.

Luna looked at the screen, she scrolled her finger on the touch pad to navigate the web page, “It looks like it was made a hundred years ago….”

“Stop exaggerating….”

“Look at these pictures, it looks obvious that it was taken using an analog camera.” She pointed out.
“There are a lot of information here, but it really doesn’t tell the visitor anything. For example, availability of rooms and what types are available, It needs to be more interactive. If a visitor sees the web page like this, it would leave them doubting the quality of the hotel itself.”

“Excuse me…” A waiter came to their table, “Your coffee and the special order…”

She put the cups of coffee on the table and then two small dessert cakes, before putting a plate filled with the cake she was talking about. “I hope you enjoy it,” She smiled.

He observed as she looked at the cake on the plate with her mouth opened, “Is that……” she couldn’t finish her sentence.

Panji smiled with satisfaction at her reaction, “It won’t be exactly the same as a real twinkie, but at least it would cure your longing.”

“May I?” She asked.

“I ordered it especially for you! Go ahead!” he said while picking one up with a spoon and putting it on her dessert plate.

Luna picked the cake up with her finger and took a bite, “Mmmm…….it’s not exactly the same, but it is delicious. The texture is very close to the original, I love it. Thank you so much….. I take bad all the bad things I said about you…….”

“Does it remind you of something or someone?” He asked wistfully.

Luna nodded vigorously, “Mrs. Thomson, the lunch room administrator at the school I went to in the US.”

“What?” Panji almost flipped the table in annoyance.

Luna laughed remembering Mrs. Thomson, “She would strictly prohibit anything and everything wth sugar in it….”

Panji sighed in despair, “Do you like it?” He asked.

“I do thank you……” Her voice was very sincere.

Panji looked into her eyes, it twinkled with happiness, that was enough to make him feel relieved. “I’m glad you like it…”

She stopped smiling and her tone became serious, “Mmmm…..I think I need to apologize in advance, I know this won’t be proper…..”

“What are you saying?” His heart thumped in anguish.

She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.

And just like a love stricken teenager all over again, Panji almost fainted in happiness.

* * *

“I need to make a stop before we go home, you wouldn’t mind going with me, would you?” She asked.

“Of corse I don’t,” Panji replied. “Where are we going?”

“My house. I have to pick some things up, I don’t want to go alone because I don’t want my father to lock me up in my room again like he did when he tried to get me engaged,” She said.

Panji wondered if Mr. Dartono would recognize him, but then he decided that it was unlikely. On the night of the party, he stayed out of the light for most of the time that they were talking. He had a beard and long hair. “Okay….”

“All aboard…” Luna bantered.

Panji saddled behind her, “Charge……….” He shouted while pointing to the front prompting her to laugh out loud.

As they were driving towards her house he couldn’t help but wonder how her sunny disposition affected his humor. He had always been a very serious and reserved person but with her he was able to open up and laugh from the heart. Leaving all his sadness and pain behind him.

“There’s my house!” She pointed out.

Of course Panji knew already, but he didn’t want to give himself away so he answered, “It’s nice… ”

Luna stopped in front of the gate, Panji hopped off, “Do you have the keys to the lock?”

Luna reached into her handbag and gave him a set of keys, “It’s the one with the square top!”

Panji put both arms through the fence and unlocked the gate, he pushed It open so she could drive her scooter into the driveway. As she was driving slowly, he walked beside her until they reached the door of the house.

Luna got off her scooter and opened her hand so that he could give her the keys.

She unlocked the door and pushed it opened, “Take a seat!” She said.

Panji made himself comfortable on the couch, on a decorative table he saw several photographs of her and her parents when she was younger. He froze when in one of the photo frames he saw a class picture, he smiled nostalgically when he saw himself standing behind the younger her.

“Who are you?” he heard a man’s voice behind him.

Panji turned around to face the man, by his expression Panji was certain that the man didn’t recognize him.

“Good evening, sir…” He greeted, “I’m a friend of Luna, from work….”

“Ah..” The man expressed still giving him the evil eye. “And your name?”

“My name? Panji…..” He said doubtfully.

“Panji? Huh! That’s not a common name, but I’ve been hearing it a lot lately,” Mr. Dartono rubbed his chin.

“Hi Papa…” Luna came out from inside the house with a big bag.

“Luna, my baby. I thought you decided to come home….” he said.

“Hi, Pa..” She said nonchalantly. “Nope, I’m not staying. How did your engagement party go?”

“The groom-to-be ran away too…” Mr. Dartono frowned.

Panji bit shifted in his seat feeling uncomfortable.

“Well, at least we have one thing in common, ” Luna laughed, “Pa, you met my friend Panji, haven’t you?”

“Yes…..” Mr. Dartono indicated.

“My cell phone?” She opened her hand in front of her father.

Mr. Dartono took a deep breath, he took out her cell phone from his pocket and put it in her palm.

“Thanks, Pa! I love you….” She kissed him on the cheek. “Let’s go!” She said to Panji.

“Are the two of you……” He couldn’t find himself to finish his sentence.

“What are you thinking, that we’re dating? or that we’re living together?” Luna teased.

“Luna!” Mr. Dartono scolded her.

“Panji is my neighbor, Pa…” Luna said. “And a friend from work. Don’t think too much about it. Besides, if I’m old enough to be married off to a widower, I’m old enough to find my own friends.”

Mr. Dartono exhaled he looked at Panji, “Hey, please take good care of my daughter.”

“I will,” He said. “Excuse me….”

* * *

“This is the list of recommendations that Luna came up with for the website of the hotel in Lombok,” Panji showed the list to Roni.

Roni read it carefully, she’s suggesting to upgrade the platform, to create an online booking system.” Roni observed. “Which is fine, but it won’t do the client any good if they don’t have trained back office staff to manage it.”

Panji took note in his notepad. “I think I can bring this up to my father, an online booking system will make the hotel more competitive. We can even sell training as an added service.”

Roni looked at him and nodded, “I didn’t think of it that way. You really know how to squeeze the money out of people, don’t you?”

“It’s common sense,” Panji said.

“It’s capitalism,” Roni replied.

“I never thought that you were against it.”

Roni shook his head, “I’m not. I’m glad that you’re bringing in money for the company.”

Panji shrugged, “What can I say, I’m always passionate about the things I like.”

“And what about Luna, do you like her?” Roni let out.

Panji was rendered silent, he didn’t expect his cousin to catch on his feelings for Luna so soon, “She’s a very positive person and has the ability to make the people around her become caught in her cheerfulness.”

“Just that?” Roni winced.

“Why?” Panji asked. “Should I have any other feelings?”

“No, I’m glad you don’t.”

* * *

“Hey. take a look at this proposal draft, tell me what you think,” Panji wrote.

Luna replied shortly, “Okay.”

She opened the attachment and read the content, her facial expression was serious and concentrated.

“What do you think?” Panji unexpectedly showed up behind her.

“You should make it clear here that the client will provide the images and the contents.” She said.

“Hmmm, images and contents, huh?” He glanced, “What else?”

“Nothing else, it looks great to me.”

“Okay, thanks for the feedback,” He replied.

* * *

“So you’re serious about this web site project, aren’t you?” Mr. Erlangga asked as Panji sat in front of his desk.

“I am, Pa,” Panji replied.

Mr. Erlangga read the proposal, “It looks reasonable budget wise, are you sure it can be completed in a ?”where do I sign?”

Panji nodded assertively, “This is based on the timelines of earlier projects.”

“And what about the training of the back office staff?”

“The developer can deliver it. Who better to deliver the training than the person who created it.”

“Okay, good! Where do I sign?”

“On the fourth page.” Panji opened the document.

“I’ll put Herlambang in charge project.” Mr. Erlangga said.

“What I’m not part of this company anymore?” Panji furrowed.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I know that I’m taking a break from working here at Kediri Jaya, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t do some work for the company. I’ll take charge of the project. I know our vision and mission for the hotel more than anyone else, and I know the developer, I think I’m the best person to do this.”

“Okay, but what about the images? You need someone in the location to take the photos. I want to hire a professional photographer,”

“That won’t be a problem, I’ll travel to Lombok. Do you have someone who you prefer? I’ll arrange the photo shoot and everything.”

“Here, this is his business card.”

“Okay, leave it al to me…” Panji nodded.

“Panji,” Mr. Erlangga said, “I’m glad you finally got your flare back!”

“Thanks, pa…”

* * *

“It was approved?” Roni cheered.

“Yep,” Panji confirmed.

“Well, of course it was approved, why wouldn’t your father approve a project that you’re pushing through.”

“My father wants me to travel to Lombok to meet up with the photographer. He wants professional photos for the website.”

“I think that’s reasonable. But are you sure that you have the right taste in graphics to be able to direct the photographer?”

“Why wouldn’t I, I have good taste!”

“Yeah….right!”

“So what do you suggest?” Panji asked leading and directing the conversation towards his goal. “Who can help me with this? It has to be someone with the right experience and who knows the objective of the project ”

“Well the only person that I can think of is Luna, she’s the one who has been working on this project with you, and she has a good eye for photography.”

“She does?” Panji tried to control himself from jumping up and down.

* * *

“To Lombok?” Luna’s voice was obviously excited.

“Yeah, to Lombok” Roni reiterated, “I can’t let Panji go alone for the photo shoots, it’ll definitely be a disaster, he has less artistic taste in him than a toaster.”

“Toasters don’t have artistic taste,”

“Exactly!”

“I’ll be glad to go. It’ll give me a feel of the place….”

“Okay, good, I’ll let Panji know that you are willing to travel there to help him.”

Luna nodded, “Count me in.”

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