Over the next few weeks, Bao could not keep from smiling. Her business was booming. She was on track to get interviewed by Sinuessa’s notorious reporter, Dwight Shrute. And maybe the biggest reason was that Adel was never away from her side for more than a few hours. They found themselves glued to each other’s side. She even gave Adel a job as the head gardener at her bookstore. She created an entire garden area that was creating just as much business as the bookstore. She felt like another person when she was around, she could do anything.

During their morning runs, they listed places they had never been and where they wanted to go. She and Adel sat at the bottom of waterfalls and would splash each other until they were soaked. After long hours of working in the café, Adel would coast Bao into riding bikes with her through the park trails. Everything felt to perfect, a heavy feeling started weighing on her as her heart fell more and more for Adel.

On the 10th missed call from June, Adel felt conflicted. She had been so engrossed with Bao; she had completely dropped her friend. Adel felt terrible and was about to pick up the phone and dial her friend back. Suddenly she hears the door to the inn bathroom in her room open, Bao just got out of the shower. She smiles and puts the phone down, another hour won’t hurt, she thinks.

Bao was in a great mood. She started the morning cuddling with Adel. That seemed to be her new routine and she loved it. She was lost in thought she didn’t even hear her sever Erin handing her some letters.
“Bao...” she said. Her face looked concerned.

Bao snapped back to reality. “yes, what is it.” She grabbed the letters and started rummaging through them. She stopped and looked at the medical bill from the Sinuessa general hospital. She felt her face heat up. During the past few weeks, Bao had talked to everything in her life, except for maybe the most important thing…

She took a deep breath and kept sorting through the mail.
“Bao, the phone” Bao had been so distracted by her secret she hadn’t even heard it ringing.

She dashed to her office and answered the phone. She was surprised she was not out of breath but she attributed that to her couple runs with Adel.

“Mrs. King,” the familiar voice on the line said. Bao felt her breath catch.
Bao was hesitant to answer. She knew exactly what she was going to say but the words still surprised her anyway.
“Mrs. King. Listen, he’s almost ready. It’s imperative- “
She choked the words out before her crying would leave her unable to talk.

“I know. I know. Just schedule for me to come in sometime next week.”
There was silence on the other end.
“You and I both know it will be sooner than that”
“I need more time.” A single tear rolled down her cheek.
“You and both know, time is not a luxury we have.” With that, the line went dead.

Bao wiped her cheek. Her day was taking a turn for the worst and she just could not believe it. She walked out of the café. They had just finished their rush hour so they would be fine without her for a few hours. She sat on one of the patio chairs and looked at the fresh mint Adel had helped her plant. She never had a green thumb, but the way the dirt felt in between her fingers was doing something for her soul. Or maybe it was her new teacher. They sat learning the Latin names of plants for hours while Bao played with Adel’s bushy eyebrows. It was in those moments, Bao felt like she could tell Adel anything. As if on cue, soft brown hands covered Bao’s eyes. She breathed in the scent of eucalyptus.

“What’s a five-letter word for faith,” Adel murmured in her ear. Bao smiled. Adel had gotten addicted to a two-dollar crossword puzzle after they picked some up after shopping for dinner. Adel asked for her help all the time, and rather than telling she didn’t know. She bought a thesaurus.

“Trust,” Bao said. Suddenly realizing she did not deserve Adel. She did not deserve to be happy.

Untroubled. Carefree…