Katherine wiped the sweat off her forehead with a microfiber towel as she ambled her way towards the kitchen where Styles was having breakfast. She had just finished a run around the neighborhood and was about to get some breakfast. There was a home gym in her apartment but she wanted to get out and have some fresh air so she could think clearly.
It was also a chance for her to do a survey around the area to check for any unusual activities — aka Shadow's eyes on her. She didn't see anything suspicious and came back home to her apartment in a better mood. It was supposed to be Amelia's job to do so but she had been out since Monday and Katherine hadn't seen her since. She wondered if she was okay.
"Morning," she grabbed a bottle of water from the counter and chugged it down.
"Mm. Hey. How's the run?" Styles gulped a spoonful of cereal and followed it with another, milk dripping onto his shirt but he didn't notice.
"Clear." She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and passed the table napkin towards him, nodding at the mess on his shirt. "Is Amelia here yet?"
"Tch. I just changed a minute ago." He grabbed a napkin and cleaned himself with it. "No, last I heard of her was yesterday afternoon. She said she's close to catching her lead so she couldn't come back."
Katherine grabbed a cup of greek yogurt and started eating. She didn't have much appetite and was feeling lazy to cook or make anything else. If Damien saw her eating only this, she would definitely hear it from him. He was always picky with breakfast, always making sure she ate well. Why was she thinking of him this early anyway? How did her thoughts shift to him while eating yogurt? She scoffed at herself privately.
Noticing that Katherine became quiet, Styles wondered if something was going on with her. "Did you need help with something?"
"I'm pretty sure it's not nothing. You've been sighing since Monday evening when you came home after the King dropped you off. Come on, try me."
Katherine licked her lips and stared at Styles. She contemplated whether she should tell him or not while the other patiently waited for her. She knew she could always count on him but she was hoping to talk to Damien's mother about this matter. Exhaling a deep sigh, she set the yogurt cup aside and sauntered towards him.
"Okay…" With Styles facing her, she started, "Last Saturday night at the party… when I turned off the comms, Damien and I talked."
"Are you sure you only 'talked'?" He made an air-quote on the last word and winked.
She slapped his arm and clicked her tongue, annoyed at his tease. "Be serious." He made a zipping gesture of his mouth and waved a hand at her to continue. "He and I had a conversation and he told me a lot of things… Well, it was more like he talked and I listened. I…" Her voice trailed off, unsure of what exactly she was supposed to talk about with him. Biting her bottom lip, she became really quiet.
"Look… I may not know how you feel for him exactly because I've never really been in love before, but if you're having troubles about telling him things, think about the pros. Does it outway the cons? That's an easy question. Your feelings will get in the way but you are great at what you do when you set your feelings aside. You're clearheaded on missions and have been at the top because of your skills.
"You take advantage of your resources to survive… Our situation right now… we're in the gray area and we're fighting to survive everyday. If he was someone you only know by acquaintance, I'm sure you'd use his resources. You'd bargain if there's a need and it won't stop you as long as you clear the mission. Am I wrong?"
"You know I don't want innocent lives to get involved, Styles. Even if he were only an acquaintance, I wouldn't want his life to be in jeopardy."
"Except he's not only someone. He's Damien f*cking Park for god's sake. You know what Amelia told us about his background. He saved you that night too — tell me you're aware that he's capable."
"I know that. But that's the thing. Even if I know that fact… I don't want him involved in this mess if I can help it."
Styles placed his hand on her shoulder as though the act was going to help get his message across her. "Sweetheart… Whether you like it or not, he's Frederick Park's nephew… Lawrence and Falcon's son… He's already involved. Trust me, he's better off knowing for his and our sakes than for him to be kept in the dark from all this." He shrugged. "Besides, we need all the help we can get. I have faith in you and Falcon but I'm sure you know our small team can't handle Shadow alone."
Katherine knew and understood that Styles was making so much sense. She knew that already and hearing it from him only added to the pressure building up within her. How could she allow herself to put Damien in danger deliberately? He's precious to her. If she could, she would keep him as far away from her as possible… somewhere Shadow couldn't reach him. If only that were possible.
She had to talk to Amelia very soon. She couldn't take this anymore. Grabbing her phone, she sent Amelia a text message and put the phone away after. "Thanks, Styles. I'll consider what you've said."
"No problem." He gave her a small smile and when she turned on her heel, he added, "Hey, Queen… Don't be so hard on yourself. I know you're only trying to protect him, but I can bet with my life that he only wants to do the same for you."
Katherine brought paper bags of supplements that she gave to the executives in the company. With a sweet smile and some small talk as she distributed some stuff to them, she was able to get a good sense of those who were genuinely friendly to her or those who were obvious of their wariness of her presence.
Director Bai, whom she gave the rare tea leaves on her first day, was very cheerful when she visited him in his office. While she casually conversed with him, she subtly studied the space, looking around until she caught sight of an old picture on his bookshelf. When she took a closer look, she saw her dad in it along with a few other people. Director Bai then told her about the people in it and the story behind the picture.
In the middle of his storytelling, Katherine's phone rang. Her grandfather asked her to come up to his office right away and so she excused herself out of the director's office.
Chairman Young's Office
Knocking on the door, Katherine slowly went inside and plastered a youthful smile on her face. "Grandpa, you wanted to see me?"
The smile on her face slipped when she saw that her grandfather was not alone. There were two huge leather sofas in the middle of the office. Chairman Young sat on the right sofa with a teacup in his hand and a wide smile on his face as he listened to the man in front of him.
On the opposite sofa was none other than Damien Park, crossing his legs and leaning his back on the backrest ever so casually as though he was lounging in his own domain.
The two of them turned their heads towards her at the same time and saw her standing by the door while staring at them.
"You have got to be kidding me," Katherine muttered under gritted teeth. Five days in a row? Really?!
"Hi, Katherine," said Damien Park, locking his intense gaze with hers.