"Ne..." Onodera Ritsu whispered to the closest guy beside him, tugging his headsets a little lower from his ears. "What's the possibility of getting a call from the same person within a day, everyday?"
Kisa Shouta, mouthed 'wait' to the brunette before making his closing spill. "Thank you for calling NTT. This is Kisa, have a nice day!"
The darkhaired guy right away pressed on the 'break' button to stop calls from coming in and raised a brow at Ritsu. "What the hell all of a sudden? How many people are here in Japan? I'd say 0.00001% probability!"
Ritsu rolled his eyes as if in deep thought and shook his head. "No...no reason at all..."
It has been three months since Onodera Ritsu, 25 years of age, trying to be independent, started working as a customer care representative for NTT Docomo*. The training was a breeze, but soon after being put up with the real deal, the brunette had messed up a couple of accounts before finally getting the hang of it.
During his first week on the floor, there was this one caller who was having a problem with his network connection. Ritsu had done all that he could but the problem wouldn't go away. This caller had been irrate.
"What are you there for? You're new aren't you? Give the damn phone to your supervisor!" the caller shouted.
His heart drumming violently, the urge to just drop the call was so tempting for Ritsu. Gulping despite his dry mouth, with sweaty fingers, Ritsu rolled down the mouse to look at his policies on the glaring monitor before him.
"Uhmm...Si-sir...I know this is upsetting...but rest assured I am here to assist you..."
"Assist?!" the voice roared. "All you've been telling me is refresh my fucking phone for the last ten minutes!"
On the verge of tears, Ritsu closed his eyes and inhaled slowly. "Sir...If it's okay with you...I'll have to transfer you to our technical department for better assistance..."
There was a menacing laugh on the other line. "Transfer? You should have done so at the very beginning! You're so useless!"
Ritsu had grown a lump in his throat. He never expected that there would be harsh people who could say that. Probably because they couldn't see each other's faces, the liberty to just trash out was there. Ritsu shut his eyes, mustering the last optimistic voice he could.
"Thank you for your patience...please hold on why I connect you..."
The moment Ritsu heard the call finally got routed to the technical department of their company, Ritsu's tears started falling down his flushed cheeks. Kisa Shouta who have been there for a year now looked at Ritsu with a concerned face.
"Aww...Ricchan, don't take it to heart. There are just those kind of people..." Kisa patted Ritsu on the shoulder and focused on his work once more.
All the while Ritsu just stared at this monitor with his last caller's account still open. The name said Takano Masamune. From all the trauma Ritsu experienced, the brunette wished from the bottom of his heart never to get a call from anyone like that man.
But the next day, Ritsu got the same caller.
There was a loud snort on the line right after Ritsu greeted.
"What the...this voice is so familiar," the deep voice started. "You're the guy who transfered me after wasting my ten minutes right?"
Ritsu froze, his fingers couldn't even type his notes on this man's account. "Why oh why on Earth!" Ritsu cried in his mind.
"How may I help you...Sir?" Ritsu tried to sound as cool as possible. But he was doubtiing the sound of his voice.
"I just want to know if my account has been cleared. I just paid."
"I can do this..this is just easy..." Ritsu cheered himself.
The brunette scrolled down Takano Masamune's account. And felt that this time, maybe he should just really hang up.
"Hey...why are taking so long? I'm just asking you my balance. Is it zero?"
"Uhmm..." Ritsu frowned deeply and gritted his teeth. Damn this bastard can't touch me so why should I be afraid!?" "It says here...that you still owe 64,543 yen sir."
What phone expense...it's too much...Ritsu thought.
"WHAT?" the voice roared. "That's bullshit! I even have my routing number!"
"If-if you just paid Sir, the reason that it might not be showing here yet is because it's taking for our system to synchronize the new payments. After a couple of minutes it must show here..."
The line was silent for a long while. Ritsu thought that he was already having a 'dead air' call.
"I'm here. I'll take that explanation. You know now to coat things up huh.? But let me tell you one thing Mr. Representative, there's no synchronization happening okay? The moment I pay, it's automatically deducted. Why I've been with you guys since I was in high school!" the voice just rumbled. "I'll let this pass for now and check with my bank. You might be able to fool some other idiots about syncronization and stuff but not me. Ja."
Again, Ritsu was left staring at the rude Takano Masamune's account.
After being on the floor now for three months, there hasn't been a day without Ritsu getting a call from this man. Takano Masamune was just as rude as hell that Ritsu thought his stall must be cursed. He almost had a phobia and got scared each time a call comes in. He was so afraid getting a call from that customer. He was everything but nice.
And within that three months, Ritsu had eventually got the hang of dealing with Takano, even the other rude customers, thanks to the pioneer named Takano Masamune.
During lunch break, Ritsu, shivering from the airconditioners in the cafeteria in full blast, slumped on his seat with his tray of food. Kisa Shouta, trailing behind him.
"What Ricchan, you still got the same caller today? It's been going for a while now right?"
Ritsu took his chopsticks and started getting the noodles of his ramen. "Yeah...but I am not bothered by him anymore. I can even handle drunk customers now, thanks to him," the brunette exhaled with a sound of sarcasm. "I just wonder why? Customers can't assign representatives right? if that's the case I think he's bullying me."
Kisa who sipped from his carton of milk, grinned at Ritsu. "Maybe this is some kind of fate?!"
The brunette's eyes grew wide, clearly saying 'hush'. For in their team, it was only Kisa Shouta who knew Ritsu's real self.
"Just saying...For three months, you've been getting a call from him...if it's not destiny then I don't know what it is. There are millions of people out there...why you?"
That had Ritsu thinking.
"Thank you for your patronage, this is Onodera, how can I help you?" Ritsu asked. He was trying to fix his button that went undone on it's own so he wasn't looking at his monitor. He thought he would get a panic attack at the account that popped out on his computer.
"Good afternoon," the voice greeted. Ritsu had to blink twice. The familiar commanding voice just greeted him "good afternoon"? More than being shocked from getting yet another call, the thing Ritsu couldn't believe that after three months, for once the 'pioneer bastard' as what Ritsu calls him, greeted him like a person.
"Eh...ah...good afternoon..." Ritsu replied unsure about what was going on. "How may I help you?"
"Listen, don't you feel weird that my calls are always routed to you of all people?" the voice asked, the sound of papers being turned in his side was loud for Ritsu to hear.
"Ah...I've been thinking about it for a while now...Sir..."
"But hey..." the voice paused and Ritsu heard a faint chuckle on the line. The sound of the voice laughing coming from his headseat felt like the man was actually just behind his back. "I think you've improved a lot. I guess I am the jerk in your life but thanks to me, right?"
Ritsu looked at both his sides, nervous. This kind of call should be cut politely or his call time would soar up the ceiling. Besides, they were just practically chatting!
Forcing a laugh, Ritsu tugged his mic closer to his mouth. "I guess so..."
"What the? You're not denying it?"
"...!" caught off guard, Ritsu was left without words.
"Anyway...you like books right?"
"Ha?" Ritsu felt lost. He didn't know anymore what was going on with this customer. "Uhm...Sir...I don't mean to be impolite...but...this...I am working..."
The voice on the line sighed like he was frustrated. "That's why I am going to tell you...this is the last time I'm ever calling again."
Call it stupid, funny even, but it shocked Ritsu to his very core. The part of receiving a call from this caller had been a part of his day ever since the beginning of his job. The sudden thought that it was the last call suddenly made Ritsu got confused with his standing as an employee that helps people out, or as a human, who for the dumbest reason grew accustomed to hearing that voice.
Ritsu even doubted that he wouldn't have lasted in that job if it wasn't for this customer's 'training'.
"Last time? You're going overseas...Sir?" Ritsu almost forgot to add the 'sir' at the end. He wasn't asking as a customer representative. He knew from his core, he was asking as Onodore Ritsu.
The voice laughed. "No...I love my spot here," the voice replied. "Ah, could it be that you would miss me?"
"What are you saying?!" Ritsu exclaimed that made the other representatives turn their heads at his direction. Embarrassed, Ritsu lowered his head and his voice. "I am merely...asking...Sir!"
"Don't worry, you'll not miss me..."
"I'm sorry but I don't understand what you're trying to do here..." Ritsu murmured, totally flustered now.
"I'm interested in you."
Ritsu's lips wanted to say something, but he was out of words.
"I've been ever since the start...so..."
Out of all the things Ritsu had been hearing, he just blacked out and dropped the call on the spot. Gasping for air that his chest needed, Ritsu slowly removed the headset on his head and placed them on top of his table.
"I don't know him...but why...this..." Ritsu moved his mouse to the close button to shut Takano Masamune's account. And as he did so, Ritsu felt this searing pain like he just lost something important.
"Idiot...you should have let him finish..." Ritsu whispered, his mood hitting the gutters.
That evening, after Ritsu's shift, the brunette instantly went to his locker to get his bag and go home. Perhaps drop by to some bar and drink. He didn't want to admit it but he was so bothered realizing that he just ended the last time he could have at least listened to the voice. Now he felt like a loser and an idiot.
Slamming his locker shut, Ritsu removed his jacket since he'd be leaving the freezing workplace and again would be enveloped by the warm breeze of the summer night. However, his thoughts got interrupted by a shouting. It was Kisa.
"Ricchan! Ricchan!" the guy that looked so young, people didn't believe his real age paused to catch his breath.
"Our supervisor is calling for you. She looked tense...what did you do?"
"Huh?" Ritsu stood there his head in shambles. "Oh shit...maybe they caught me dropping one of my calls!"
"What? Of all the times, why today? You know they're doing quality check!"
"Eh...but that one was just an accident!" Ritsu looked worried. "Ahg...what do I do? Am I going to be fired?"
Kisa rubbed his chin. "I don't think so...maybe a warning first? Now go...she looked like she'd explode!"
Ritsu ran his way to their supervisor's office and slowly went in the room. With his heart beating wildly for the worst, Ritsu tried to calm himself.
"Uhm...Aikawa-san...you we're calling for me?" Ritsu asked the woman who was facing the window, gazing at the early night that already settled in.
The woman turned her head. "I've been waiting for you...I don't know what you did Onodera...your call got recorded by the higher ups and the boss was really upset. Why did you do that? Of all the days you could drop a call, why today during a quality check? I am also going to get in trouble for this!" Aikawa, who was pretty if not for the huge frown on her forehead walked past Ritsu. "Well? Follow me!"
All the walking they did and the elevator ride, Ritsu was feeling his stomach aching. He didn't want to get scolded like some unprofessional. But, thinking about it, he did dropped that call because his customer that time kept on repeating the same thing over and over and over again they were going nowhere. To be honest it was even just an accident. The want to drop the call made him press the 'drop' button when he was just supposeed to press 'hold'.
"Damn it...it's really shitty today."
When the pair reached the huge, frosted doors, Aikawa motioned for Ritsu to come in. "Just say sorry and don't talk back. You're in the wrong here, understood?"
When the frosted doors slid automatically, the brunette right away caught a whiff of a premium coffee. At least the boss was not that crazy about what he did that he was even drinking coffee. Unless, the boss was thinking of pouring it over him? Ritsu shuddered at the thought. That's maltreatment.
Ritsu looked around, and found the site manager behind his table, reading a newspaper that was hiding the manager's face.
"What you really did was rude you know? Have you been doing that with all your calls, cutting them when they're still talking?" the manager asked.
Ritsu thought it'd be a woman, but no way from the low voice he just heard. Being the nervous wreck that he was, Ritsu took a step forward.
"No...no sir...I...I don't do that...just this once...I promise I'll never do that again..."
"You better, because I don't want getting feedbacks that this company's representatives are rude."
The silence continued for a long while that Ritsu started to just stare at the tiled, sparkly floor below him. The crisp rustling of the newspaper sounded louder because of the silence. It made Ritsu look up.
Ritsu just saw a pair of the deepest, hazel eyes he had ever seen in his life. The face wasn't the kind one would call beautiful but the manly feel around him was enough to make Ritsu feel being cornered against a wall.
"As I was saying...I am interested in you."
Ritsu just stared. He must have had the dumbest expression ever as he gazed at the man. The site manager of the company branch he was working in was smiling at him!
The brunette's brain stopped processing things.
The man stood from his seat. It was only then that Ritsu realized the man wasn't even in his suit. He was just wearing his white, work polo with the sleeves rolled to his elbows. The tie was dangling loosely around his neck. A few buttons had been left undone. As unkept as it looked like, it looked sexy.
Like a statue, Ritsu just kept on staring as Takano Masamune started taking his strides towards him.
"What? I don't believe this. You mean all this time, you don't know that you're talking to the site manager?"
"Huh? How should I know that?" The brunette asked softly. He was just...blank.
"Tsk, Tsk..." Takano shook his head lightly and patted Ritsu on the head that surprised the other. "You're not reading your policies properly, are you?"
Offended, Ritsu furrowed his brows. "Excuse me, but I happen to read them properly!"
"Then..." Takano narrowed his eyes. "Why didn't you realize who you're talking to. My name is practically at the top corner of the company policy." Takano leaned closed and winked at Ritsu. "Caught yah."
Now blushing though Ritsu didn't want it, the feeling of loss he was having just a while ago was replaced by a feeling of annoyance. It seemed like Takano could always stir up crazy emotions from him.
"For punishment..." Takano whispered.
"Yeah...you'll go with me tonight and eat dinner."
"The punishment is, 'get to know each other better'. Or I will flag you for the other drop call you made today. I was monitoring you."
Ritsu couldn't believe what he was hearing. First the man was an annoying customer, now he was his boss, then he said he was interested in him and that very same man was now blackmailing him!
"What...what makes you think I will follow you!"
"There's no way you won't. Now come with me...I'm hungry..."
Takano pulled Ritsu by the arm and dragged the brunette out of his office. To Ritsu's horror, his supervisor was there outside, grinning like a pervert.
"Good job Onodera! Big fish!" Ritsu read his supervisor's mouth in shock.
His supervisor was a fujoshi, obviously.
As Ritsu was being dragged to the elevator, the only thing he could do was look up the ebony black hair before him, with his arm being pulled hurriedly but gently.
Surprisingly, Ritsu didn't feel any disgust and objection at all.
"Well...it won't hurt I guess...this 'getting to know each other' punishment..." he told to himself.
Three months ago...
The site manager rarely visited the branch he was handling. That was why it was only the supervisors who knew how he looked like. Just that day, when he had to check on some documents he left in his safety box in his office. He frowned at the number of people that day. He chose the wrong day to come to his empire. He forgot that the Human resource department was having an ongoing interview sessions for applicants.
Only dressed casually, Takano decided to look into one group interview just for the fun of it. After all he was kind of bored. His branch had been doing so damn well that he was left with mainly nothing to do.
The interview hall with different smaller rooms to avoid distractions was jammed pack full. On the first stall, the door was left a little ajar. He stopped on his track when he heard laughter coming from inside it. He stepped closer and, shamelessly eavesdropped.
"Oh my...are you sure you came to the right company? Shouldn't you have come to some charity?"
The other applicant seated on a blue, metal chair giggled. And in the middle of that room was a brunette, with cheeks flushed yet the look on his face was as if saying 'bring it on!'. The determination in those green eyes, for no reason intrigued Takano Masamune.
"No...I mean...I wanted to be of help with other people...besides...I think, communication through phone, without even seeing each other's faces takes a lot of passion to be caring..." the brunette continued.
"Look, uhm..." the interviewer looked at the resumes once more. "Onodera-san...It's a given the people working in telecommunication companies should act polite on the phone! Now tell me, why should we hire you?"
Takano could see the brunette gain another shade of red on his cheeks, still the feisty aura was there. "You should hire me, because...no matter how irrate and mad the customer is...I won't hang up on them."
"Hmm...it seems that you graduated from a good school. Why as a call center representative?"
"I...I just feel like I am destined here."
Takano did not do anything for Ritsu to get hired. But the moment he realized that the brunette, who answered like he was answering essays for highschool subject during the interview was hired, he decided to monitor him discreetly. It was his liberty, having his own commands of his own with the company's system, he could pretend he was some other named guy or use his own name.
At the first week, the brunette was doing so bad he thought the guy would resign soon. He even pretended to be an irrate customer just to make the guy get used to how harsh the world of telecommunication representatives were. Without him knowing, the meer monitor that he was supposed to do for only a couple of days lasted for three months.
And he really enjoyed teasing the brunette through the phone. Those three months of only conversing on the phone for a few minutes had developed into the urge to actually know this Onodera Ritsu who never did hang up on his despite him being a jerk.
He enjoyed listening to the voice that always sounded nervous when it was him calling. He could definetely imagine Ritsu's face.
It wasn't love just yet. Attraction, curiosity and interest would be more appropriate. That was why, a phone conversation was not enough.
He had to be close with this person that caught his attention. And thus came up with a plan. "The getting to know punishment' for the accidental drop call Onodera Ritsu made.
THANK YOU FOR READING! I HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT! PLEASE TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS!
*NTT Docomo is a Japanese Telecommunications company.
This idea came to me because my phone couldn't connect to anything! LoL. but refreshing did work for me..^^