Breakfast. The first thing everyone thinks of after waking up in the morning.
Rudy, Rebecca, Lilim, Angelica, Lucy, and Joe were having breakfast. Lilim and Angel sat beside each other. Rudy sat alone with an empty chair beside him— where Lucy would usually sit.
And Joe was sitting on Rebecca's chair with an empty chair beside him.
Rebecca thought Lucy would sit in her usual place, so she went to sit beside Joe, But Rudy tapped on the table to get Rebecca's attention and asked her to sit beside him.
No one noticed Rudy's gesture except Rebecca, Lilim, and Angelica. They were perceptive of Rudy's actions as they knew they served an important purpose.
Hence, Lucy sat beside Joe, and the family breakfast began.
Everyone was having breakfast, but Rebecca was eating last night's dinner as the breakfast was sort of like a dinner for her since she would sleep after a while.
No one was talking, but they exchanged glances. Although it was good manners to not talk while eating, it felt awkward. But Rudy wanted things to stay like that since that would mean the breakfast would end faster.
"Did you bring souvenirs for me, dad?"
"I did, yeah. But I don't have them with me. The suitcase only has my clothes and some important documents," Joe responded immediately.
"When will it come then?"
"After the weekend. So on Monday, I guess. I bought souvenirs for everyone, actually. For Rudy, Rebecca, your friends, Rudy's friends, and of course, the neighbors too."
"You know my friends?" Rudy raised his brow, trying to recall if he had ever told Joe about his friends.
"Umm… Eric and.. Elise… am I right?"
"It's Alice, dad."
"Oh, right. The names sound the same. Also rhymes with Eris." Joe nodded. "Rebecca told me about them. Lucy also often talked about Alice and how she wants to be friends with her."
"Is that so?"
"And this is…" Joe looked at Angelica and asked, "Rebecca's friend?"
"This one is Angelica, Rudy's classmate. And the other one is Lilim, Rebecca's… friend."
Lucy introduced them.
"Is there any… err… program or something?" Joe asked nervously.
"What's that?" Lucy asked while grabbing the slice of bread.
"How should I say it…? Uhh… I assumed Rebecca or Rudy might have made plans for the weekend or something since their friends are here."
"Yes, We do, actually." Lilim quipped. "I am unemployed and looking for a job. I got in contact with Rebecca over the phone, and she asked me to move to this town. In short, I will be staying here for a while until I get a job and make enough money to rent a house."
"Oh, that's sad. Can you summarize your resume for me? I might be able to help you get a job," Joe asked politely.
"Since when did 'you' start giving jobs?" Rebecca suddenly asked.
"I got promoted, I told you guys… right?" Joe asked, wondering if he had forgotten to tell them.
"Yeah, you did," Rudy responded.
"Yeah. I was promoted to section chief, and while I was on the business trip, I was promoted to the chief director."
"Wow! Two promotions back to back?!" Lucy exclaimed. "You must be doing an amazing job, dad. All your hard work finally paid off!" Lucy rejoiced with a happy smile on his face. 𝒃𝙚𝒅𝙣𝙤𝒗𝙚𝒍.𝙣𝙚𝙩
"That means you are going to be busier than ever, am I right?" Rudy asked without looking at Joe.
"Kind of, yes. I got more work and more responsibilities. I could relax and give the work to the employees under me, but that's not a good action of a chief director. It's against my ethics."
"Yes. You are a good man, Joe." Rudy leaned back in his chair and looked at Joe with a smile on his face. "I know it."
'If you weren't, I wouldn't have let you anywhere near my girls. I also thought of a possibility that Joe in the other world line might be different from this one. But the results came out negative.'
"Still, two big promotions. Looks like you are graced by blessings, dad."
"I sure hope so. Usually, something unimaginable happens, I get nervous because everything could fall down."
Rudy was smiling at Lucy and Joe, until he noticed Rebecca glaring at him from the corner of her eyes.
It wasn't a normal glare, it was a judging glare, emotionless.
'I guess I got caught.'
It was all Rudy's doing.
Rudy knew where Joe worked, and after becoming the world's richest person, he bought the entire corporation where Joe worked at. And then, he became the man behind the screen, who ran the corporation from the shadows.
He was the one who promoted Joe and sent him on a business trip so he wouldn't come home. And then he promoted him again to keep him more busy. He knew Joe was a simple man with ethics and ideals, and he would never misuse his powers.
All that, just to keep Joe away from home, away from Rebecca.
Rudy planned to send Joe on a few more meetings and trips every month, so he would rarely be present at home.
That was the simplest and most peaceful solution Rudy could come up with. After all, Joe wasn't losing anything. He earned for his hard work, for what he deserved.
In fact, Joe should be thankful to Rudy for making his life better. Joe was a corporate slave who worked under multiple seniors and directors, and they made him do their work.
He lived a life worse than a rat, but Joe rose up the ranks after Rudy's move. The people who enslaved Joe were now working under Joe. The humiliation to them was a perfect revenge for Rudy.
Rudy saved Joe and gave him a better life, and he didn't feel guilty for keeping Joe away from his family.
Lucy was happy, Joe was happy, and thus, he was happy.
However, Rebecca didn't seem happy after she realized what Rudy had done. And the glare in her eyes didn't vanish even after several minutes had passed.