False String is a short story written by Reiu Somao-i and shared with The Ugly Writers under the theme Independence for the month of July
Jackson Delawar was a great leader and employee in the company he was working in. He handles a team composed of ten members serving their clients overseas as IT support to their database system. His team was the most recognized team because of their speed and accuracy in service delivery.
He doesn’t have any problem with his career at all because he got the best team but he was not prepared when a storm came into his life.
It was six months ago when he realized that he had fallen in love with someone. He wasn’t sure if it’s right or wrong because he knew this person for quite some time now but never really paid attention until that day when the person in question caught his interest.
Jax wanted to think that he was just probably love deprived because he was not in a relationship for the past three years now. Finally, he also questioned his sexuality when he felt something inside him growing, he was falling for a man.
Well, in his eyes, the person was not really masculine or bulky when it comes to physical appearance. Instead, he was timid, skinny and pale. He was working on his team for nine months now when he got transferred from another team.
Jax, who was in a trance while looking at the person who’s making him go crazy at the moment, came back to reality when he heard one of his team members call him.
“TL!! TL! (Team Leader)”
“What?” He asked.
“Escalation please.” Hamlet, a petite chubby girl with curly hair and big framed eyeglasses snapped her fingers at him.
“Error 561 prompt. What’s that? We don’t have data about it.”
“Did you look into our list of error prompts?”
“Yes! But there was no data. The client on the line is getting irate now and is demanding escalation.”
“Wait, let’s ask first.” He chatted on the group chat for his team to ask who among them knows or encountered the said error prompt.
Everybody replied negatively except for one person.
Nickel Roscher is typing…
Nickel Roscher: I’ll get the call. 4220. Thanks.
Nickel or Nick in their team gave his phone extension to transfer the call to him.
“Nick, are you really getting it? The client is getting irate now.” Hamlet warned the guy who was covering his head with his white hoodie jacket.
The pale and silent guy who was stationed at the end of their bay gave Hamlet a thumbs up. She immediately informed the client that the call will be transferred to someone who’ll help with the issue.
Jax was quite worried so he listened to the phone call, a power bestowed to him as a team leader.
The client was very upset at first but when Nick started to explain to him what was the error and how to fix it, the client calmed down and slowly followed what Nick was instructing him to do. Finally, they discovered that it was on the client’s end why the error occurred but the client was very thankful to Nick for helping him. He even promised to give a good word to his supervisor about Nick.
The team was really impressed with what Nick did, of course, especially Jackson.
Nickel Roscher: I’ll add the report to Error prompt files for your reference.
The entire shift that day was exhausting but overall good for them. It was then when Jax noticed Nick going to the pantry when he took a break. He followed the lad and saw Nick getting some coffee.
“Hey, that’s your third now.”
Nick looked at his team leader. His hand stopped moving. “Don’t take too much caffeine, your eyes also look bad now. Aren’t you getting enough sleep?”
“I’m fine. I can have another coffee.”
Jax stopped Nick’s hand and snatched the styrofoam cup from him. “Just drink water or go to the sleeping quarters and take a nap first.”
“Boss?” Nick spoke.
Jackson’s eyes moved down and saw his hand still holding Nick’s. He immediately breaks it off and lets go of Nick’s hand. The skinny guy looked disappointed because he won’t get a cup of coffee.
“Huh? What?” Jax was still feeling embarrassed that his mind was not really functioning. Perhaps, it’s because he was talking to Nick that he felt his heart beat so fast.
“Can I sleep for 30 minutes? I’ll just do one hour overtime.”
“Ah, yes. Go. 30 minutes then.”
“Thank you.” Nick spoke softly. As he walked away, a scent of mint invaded Jax’s nose. It was Nick’s scent.
“Same as always. I’m really going crazy now.” Jackson mumbled to himself.
As day goes by, Jackson would always treat Nick like a normal team member but there’s just a small difference from the rest. Example, whenever he would treat the whole team for a hot coffee, he would give an extra two sachet of creamer to Nick because he knows that the latter wants his coffee creamy.
He would also sometimes ask Nick if he was too sleepy to drive his motorbike home and would offer him a ride instead.
Those little gestures of Jax were really nothing for Nick but Hamlet’s eyes were seeing something more.
“Nick!” she called when she saw Nick in the pantry.
“Come here! Let me ask you something.”
Nick just tilted his head and looked at Hamlet with curiosity.
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“None at the moment.”
“Well… If I remember correctly, you once said during our training days that you are a Bi. Is that true?”
They were hired at the same time in the company and they were quite close because of that.
Nick nodded his head. He didn’t deny it at all.
“Did you have any past relationship with a man, errr.. If you just don’t mind.”
Hamlet couldn’t hide her squeals and was hitting the table with her hands because she couldn’t contain her excitement. She’s an avid supporter of Boys Love.
“Can you share it with me? You know how fond I am of this kind of story.”
“Why? I mean, you never asked before.”
“Err.. I just wanted to hear it first hand from the people who experienced it. If it’s not okay, then it’s fine.”
“Well, I don’t think it’s the right time to talk about it, still on shift. We can if we have a break.” Nick replied nonchalantly.
Hamlet was so excited and she couldn’t hide it until Jax noticed that the lady was getting chummy with Nick. His eyes squinted not knowing that the whole team could feel his menacing aura.
The lady felt it too but instead of getting scared, she looked at Jax with a knowing-it-all eyes and she smiled wittily while wiggling her eyebrows.
A private message pop in front of Hamlet’s computer.
Jackson Delawar: What are you scheming, Ham?
Hamlet Condor: I could see it all, boss. Nick is a Bisexual. Give it a shot!
Jackson stood up and called the lady. “Hamlet! Coaching in the meeting room, NOW!”
Hamlet was actually smiling. She could see the confused look of their team members but Nick doesn’t give any attention to it. Jackson, on the other hand, was forcing himself not to smile.
Read previous entries from Ms. Reiu Somao-I at The Ugly Writers: