Many things can change in two years. But for Bai Min, not enough has changed. Her goal was still far from being reached. She had built a company from scratch just to show her affection towards a certain person. She had acted in many roles just to make up for everything she did to that person. But no matter what she did, it was not enough. Not enough to make up for the loss that that person had suffered for her. Bai Min donned a flawless poker face from the start of her day to the end of her day. She interacted with others only when she had something to gain and kept them at arm's length. But it did nothing to ease the heavy shadow cast upon her heart.
Bai Min adjusted her clothes, her thoughts clouded with painful memories. She straightened her blazer and buttoned up her blouse. Her appearance was a constant reminder of that person. She wanted to always be aware of her past mistakes, dressing in a similar fashion to evoke the feelings of guilt that she craved so much. Bai Min tried to be as accurate as she could be, but memories tend to fade in two years. She scowled at that thought. What use would she be to that person if she grew complacent with her current position? She wouldn't even have the right to be near that person if she forgot the debt she owed. A sharp pang always hit her every time she saw her reflection. It wasn't just the pain of seeing that person in the mirror. It was also the pain of realizing her worthlessness. As hard as she tried, Bai Min couldn't replicate that person's cool and confident aura. There was always a trace of something she could never erase, guilt. Something the money-leeches knew. Something they took advantage of.
Taking a deep breath to calm down, she switched back to poker face. Knowing this world has no use for a hesitant person, Bai Min steeled herself. There was no one but the emotionless President of Vision.
"Good afternoon President," everyone made a path for her and bowed as she walked by.
Bai Min silently nodded in their direction and continued without hesitation. Her face darkened when she remembered the contents of today's meeting. Bai Min's afternoon could potentially be ruined with one wrong topic. She took large strides, reaching the meeting room in no time.
~Vision's conference room~
The representatives and managers were having a heated argument when the door swung open. The sound caught everyone's attention. Bai Min swiftly entered and took a seat at the head of the table. The reactions of everyone in the room was mixed. Bai Min showed them no mind and stared at them with cold eyes. "What? Go on, I thought you were having a civil conversation before I came in," Bai Min's voice traveled around the room. Hushed voices echoed throughout the room.
When the conversation finally died down, a young representation stood up and gave her a summary of the argument. Bai Min's stare turned icier the longer the story went on, the representative sat down with a back full of cold sweat.
"Explain to me why you thought it was necessary to waste precious time on something like this." Bai Min spoke with a dark face.
A manager gulped, he opened his mouth to explain things when Bai Min interrupted him. "No, it was a rhetorical question. Ignore me trying to comprehend your unfathomable thought processes."
"I will not waste precious resources and time to gamble with some...rocks. Precious stones or not, there is no guarantee that they will be worth the effort. Anyone who wishes to go through with this will have to use their department's budget. If it goes well, they will be greatly rewarded. Your department will be held accountable for any losses suffered. Gamble safely, I cannot guarantee your position at this company if you end up in debt. End of discussion."
Bai Min glanced around to survey their reactions. One side seemed to be significantly happier with her decision but she decided to deal with that on another date. Her afternoon was already bad enough. Bai Min could see herself taking some ibuprofen later this evening.
The meeting was able to go smoothly without any major disturbances after that. Bai Min pinched her temples as she stood next to the door.
"President Bai Min is too thorough, we'll never advance if she continues to reject everything," an exiting employee seemed too invested in her conversation to notice the moody Bai Min.
"I'm sorry for worrying for the sake of a company I built from scratch. Would you like to be transferred to another company that isn't so cautious? I can even send you off with a recommendation," Bai Min replied to the nervous employee with a hint of annoyance in her voice. It wasn't a threat, merely an option.
Bai Min left the employee before she could get an answer.
Taking a detour to grab a quick coffee, Bai Min's thoughts swirled into a stormy cloud. She met an employee taking a break in the brewing room. She nodded in his direction and went over to the coffee pot. It was still brewing. Checking her watch, Bai Min decided to wait until the coffee was done.
. . .
Her phone rang as she was heading back to her office. Taking out her flip phone, Bai Min increased her pace. "Hello? Bai Min? I have some news for you," the speaker's voice was laced with excitement.
"Is it about her?" Bai Min's brows furrowed with anxiety, "Did something bad happen?"
Bai Min felt her heart freeze as the speaker revealed their situation. However, the speaker was quick to turn it around with two simple words. "She's awake."
Bai Min took a sharp breath. "Awake? As in. . ." she paused hope filling her voice, "fully conscious?"
"Yes." The reply was quietly worried, but Bai Min was too caught up in her joy to notice.
A flowery smile bloomed on her face as she made her way to the parking lot. Her steps were quick and light.
Bai Min attracted the attention of several employees as she rushed to her car. The bright smile was an odd sight to see on the face of the constantly icy Vision president.
Bai Min skillfully dialed her assistant, informing him of her emergency leave. She shut down his sputtering protests and greeted the receptionist on her way out. Bells rang in her head like the trumpets of a triumphant victory. Years of carefully built reputation came crashing down when her employees saw her nearly skipping to her car.
Bai Min got in her car and slammed the door shut. Her assistant came running after her shouting about an afternoon meeting. "Postpone the meeting!" Bai Min replied, "Better yet, take my place! I'll send you the files!"
The assistant was left standing stunned in the dust as he watched Bai Min's car fade in the distance.
~Pearl River Hospital~
Bai Min parked her car and ran to the front doors of the hospital, stopping to catch her breath and recollect herself. She took quick strides to reach the receptionist's desk. "Bai Min, checking in for room 104."
"I'd like you to know that you can check the patient out today." The receptionist smiled, speaking with familiarity.
"Thank you," Bai Min replied, her eyes twinkling with joy. 'I should've stopped to get some flowers.' Bai Min was disappointed with herself, but she couldn't wait another second. She marched to room 104, steeling her nerves with steady breaths.
Sporting a genial grin, Bai Min gently opened the door. What awaited her made her take a sharp breath.
Ethereal as ever, the angel's platinum hair shone under the golden sunlight. Her great beauty painted the dreary hospital room into a vivid portrait. Her formerly striking blue eyes were frozen with sorrow, appearing dull and desaturated. As if an angel without wings, her beauty was muffled by a blanket of melancholy.
"...I'm sorry," Bai Min's grin was replaced with an expression of undeniable guilt.
The subject of Bai Min's guilt showed no response. A heavy air of silence filled the room. The cold angel continued to stare out her window. Tears quietly dripped down Bai Min's face. There was no room for forgiveness in this merciless angel's heart.
Bai Min approached the bed. "Two years passed. A lot of things happened while you were gone. I tried to be just like you. I looked up to you a lot, you know?" Her voice quivered, she took a seat on the bed. "Won't you come home with me?"
Bai Min waited for a response, but she received none.