“Su-Ning… what are… why?”
“I wanted to see your natural reaction, with no interference from me. I told Ho to get your Goddamn clothes back to you and to leave you alone. I told them all to go easy on you and respect your decision.”
Hearing Su-Ning say that after all that she had gone through since the firepit was overwhelming. Emi’s guard came crashing down. She wiped her wet eyes. “Su-Ninggg…” she cried.
Su-Ning couldn’t help but smile, wiping her own eyes as well.
“Enough about the deal. How is the training coming along? How are you?” Su-Ning asked.
“I ahh… trained them in this building here today… like this.” She stepped back, gesturing to her naked body. “Also slept here overnight.”
“I am so sorry Emi! It must have been a long and horrible night for you.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” Emi admitted, not wanting to mention that Ben had been with her. He had still not messaged. Maybe he didn’t want to interrupt her meeting? Did he even know she was in a meeting? Was he still with Liz?
“I’m sorry about Ho, Emi,” Su-Ning said, looking distraught on the screen. “I have always had trouble controlling that woman. It’s hard as she was my nana. She practically raised me. The truth is the resort was half her idea as well, I mean, all the smart stuff she took care of. I was never good with managing little details.”
“Why does she hate me?”
“I don’t think she hates you. She might be jealous that you and I became such good friends so quickly. I didn’t let her get close with me for many years after a great fallout that we had when I was a teenager. She had to work her ass off for a long time to regain my trust.”
Emi watched Su-Ning, amazed that she was finally talking about such things.
Su-Ning continued. “Ho is thorny with everyone. That’s just her character. She’s a HAPA you know. Half Japanese and half Chinese. Honestly, I think she has a negative bias towards both races as she never felt she truly fit in. Except for me, she has no Chinese or Japanese friends.”
Emi nodded, surprised the demon had friends at all.
“Just try to survive a little longer with her, okay? Don’t let things escalate and you should be fine until I get back.”
“So, you don’t want to test the app?”
Emi shook her head, emphatically.
“That’s too bad. I was hoping it wouldn’t be that big a deal since you were a mailgirl at the company party and also outside at a firepit party… in the news as well.”
“That wasn’t really me. I shouldn’t have let others mess with me like that.”
“It happens. Sometimes strong people can get off on playing submissively.”
“I’m not submissive,” Emi said, surprised at Su-Ning’s comment.
“I didn’t say that… well, this is a big deal to me personally. It will save my ass, my resort, my family… but keep in mind I’m NOT asking you to be a mailgirl…”
Emi felt relieved. Even though she had no intention, regardless. Still, the way Su-Ning said it had gotten to her.
“But please, at least agree to the other terms. Create the app. Help Ruth get that cruise ship wharf built. It would mean a great deal for the island.”
Emi nodded. “But they said it was all about me, myself, doing the testing… they want to hype the mailgirl 9 as a real… thing.”
“Fuck them. You don’t have to do that Emi. They want this more than you dislike the idea of running around the office dressed as… well, as you are now,” she laughed.
“It’s a Halloween costume,” Emi explained, feeling awkward about it. She was glad that Su-Ning seemed to be on her side.
“Trust me Emi. If you have to, walk out on the deal… they will fold and agree to your terms. You can nail this. I can count on you… right?”
Emi nodded, but what if they let her walk?
Su-ning pulled out a bottle of whisky, placing it on the table. “Jake agreed way too easily. That could mean that he already had some interest in bringing his cruise ships to our island, regardless of all this hoo-ha that Brandy was going on about. He can make money on this island with textiles as well.”
Emi was so glad to get this information. “If I walk and they don’t cave? Then what?”
“Then fuck them,” Su-Ning said, looking dead serious. Or was she looking scared? Emi wasn’t sure, still feeling uneasy about everything.
“I really can’t be a mailgirl. Seriously.”
“I know Emi. If they insist upon it, then let the deal die. They don’t deserve us. Business will probably pick up. We will survive. We might not get in the black until my grandkids get involved, but hey… that’s what long-term investments are all about, right?”
“Ah… yeah, I guess,” Emi wasn’t entirely sure if Su-Ning was being straight with her. Without enough business, Su-Ning might not be able to pay her employees while waiting for things to pick up.
Someone was talking to Su-Ning in Chinese. She turned away from the camera, beckoning them over.
A friendly-looking old woman smiled on the screen at Emi, and an old man with a cane was struggling to walk towards Su-Ning in the background.
Emi angled the laptop lid up so that her breasts didn’t show.
“That’s my Mom,” Su-Ning said proudly. “We are on a waitlist for a specialist that is supposed to see my father. He’s allegedly one of the three best in the world for my father’s condition. The only one that doesn’t cost ten million dollars,” she said before downing a shot of whiskey. “I probably should have fixed Dad properly, rather than putting it all into the resort,” she said, looking miserable.
The old man faltered and stumbled, almost falling. “Oh no! Behind you,” Emi yelled.
Su-Ning got up and ran to him. Her mother followed. They tended to him for a moment, and he seemed okay. Su-Ning came back while her mother helped him limp off-screen.
Emi watched, admiring how close her family was.
Su-Ning seemed stressed, combing her hair back with her fingers. “Look Emi, I gotta go,” she said, glancing back toward her parents.
“Ahh… okay, goodbye Su-Ning,” Emi said, unhappy about having to cut the conversation short.
“Don’t worry about the deal. I trust in your judgment. I’ll back whatever you decide,” Su-Ning said.
Emi nodded. “Take care of your family!”
“Will do!” Su-Ning said. She paused for a moment, looking like she was about to say something, but then the screen went blank.
Emi sat there, staring at the laptop. Slowly she made her way back to her seat and sat down, thinking about everything Su-Ning said. She felt a little better. She was armed with some knowledge. She was ready to set her terms.