Ethan stood at a distance, quietly observing the little boy join the other kids with a gentle smile. It was a rare moment of warmth and innocence that he cherished. Seeing Liam take a liking to him felt like a small
The connection he was forming with this little boy was something he hadn’t experienced before, and it made him feel better, lighter, and oddly hopeful.
“Maybe I’m not completely lost,” Ethan mused to himself, his voice barely above a whisper. For a man who had spent most of his life in boardrooms and cold, unemotional office spaces, this newfound connection with a child was both surprising and heartening. To have a child genuinely like him was a heartwarming, something he rarely. encountered in his high-stakes life.
Ethan found himself appreciating the change of scenery, having momentarily escaped from his imposing and unfeeling office. It was worth it. Here, amidst the laughter and innocence of children, he found a sense of peace he seldom encountered.
His hand slipped his hand into his jeans pocket, the sensation unfamiliar. He rarely wore anything other than suits, and the casual attire he had chosen for this occasion reminded him of the life he had left behind, even if just temporarily. Retrieving Liam’s drawing, he couldn’t help but chuckle at the endearing, albeit unrecognizable, depiction of himself.
He examined the childish doodle, admittedly, Liam showed remarkable artistic talent, even surpassing the abilities of most children his age. Ethan’s smile widened as he marveled at the child’s creativity.
It was an unexpected and delightful discovery
“You’re so lucky, Hazel,” he thought wistfully. In that moment, he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy for the life she had with her children a life filled with innocence, laughter, and moments like these. His heart heavy with longing for the simple joys that seemed elusive in his life.
Ethan made a menta l note to create more opportunities for outings and field trips for the children. He envisioned a special corner where Liam could find peace and quiet whenever he needed it, a serene spot away from the noisy bustle of the other kids.
Axel couldn’t help but observe Ethan closely as his boss sat in his office. There was something extraordinary about the smile that graced Ethan’s face. It was a rare sight to see Ethan in such high spirits. He had returned. to the office after making strange demands and changing into casual clothing. It was evident that something had happened to put his boss in an unusually contented mood and happy mood.
Ethan settled back into his chair, a small but genuine smile still playing on his lips as he held a piece of paper in his hands. The paper revealed a child’s doodling, and Axel couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow, his curiosity piqued.
“It’s a drawing of me. Liam made it,” Ethan answered Axel’s questioning. gaze with a soft chuckle. The fact that Liam had made a drawing of his boss was
intriguing, and it seemed to have brought unexpected joy to Ethan’s day.
Ethan’s mood shifted suddenly as he refocused on business matters. “When is the J.T mall inspection date?” he inquired after summoning Axel back to his office.
“It’s next week,” Axel replied.
“Tell them not to bother. I’ll do it myself,” Ethan declared, his decision made in that moment. He stood up and began to put on his suit, a clear indication that he intended to handle the mall inspection immediately.
“Right now?” Axel queried, his brows furrowed in mild astonishment at the abrupt alteration of their schedule.
“Right now,” Ethan affirmed firmly, the tone of his voice leaving no room for further discussion. It was evident that he was determined to proceed. without delay.
Axel acknowledged Ethan’s decision with a slow nod, though he couldn’t help but find it somewhat unusual. Over the past four years, Ethan had been known for his meticulous planning and adherence to schedules, not one to deviate from the routines he set for himself and others. Yet, here. he was, making sudden changes to their plans, disrupting important commitments along the way.
Following this unexpected shift, they embarked on a whirlwind tour of the company’s shopping malls, with Axel closely trailing behind Ethan, accompanied by managers and other staff members. Tension hung in the air as they watched their boss. It was an unusual sight because typically, such inspections were conducted by a dedicated team under Ethan’s
What added to the confusion was Ethan’s particular focus on the children’s store within the mall. This deviation from his usual routine left everyone intrigued, wondering about the reason behind this change in their CEO’s behavior.
“I’ll just take a look. Get back to work,” Ethan ordered, waving away the many workers who had been following him closely. As he turned, he nearly bumped into the store manager, who had been standing nearby. With a slight bow, the workers retreated, leaving Ethan and Axel alone at that end of the store.
Ethan paused when he spotted a kids’ painting set that appeared beautiful and unique. He approached it, picking it up immediately. An idea formed in his mind this would make a wonderful gift for Liam.
“Boss,” Axel cautioned, almost as if he could read Ethan’s thoughts..
Ethan sighed, his expression softening. “I know. I can’t buy them toys or anything like a father would because, to them, I’m nobody,” he said, his voice carrying a tinge of sadness.
“Here’s a plan,” Ethan continued, his tone growing decisive as he walked. away, still holding the paint set. “Let’s find out what all the kids in the kindergarten love to do, then we’ll arrange gifts that align with their hobbies for each of them.”
Axel sighed. Lately, his boss had been giving him unusual tasks, all because of those adorable little munchkins who had managed to crac k through Ethan’s seemingly impenetrable exterior.
“If they were your kids, life would be so much easier,” Axel mused to himself as he watched Ethan admire the paint set and select a matching drawing set. It was hard to ignore the striking resemblance between. Ethan and Liam, not just in looks but in temperament as well. Moreover, the deep connection Ethan had formed with the kids was undeniable. These days, their boss seemed more human, less snappy and brooding than before. Axel felt a newfound ease in their working relationship after over four years of working together.
Ethan, holding the paint set in one hand and another exquisite toy that left Axel baffled, exited the store with an evident sense of satisfaction. Axel couldn’t help but mutter to himself, “Great, more extra work.”
As they left, the manager of the mall approached Axel, his nervousness
palpable. This was the first time the big boss himself had conducted an inspection. “Is the inspection over?” he asked anxiously.
“Apparently,” Axel replied, his gaze fixed on his boss’s retreating figure. It was clear that Ethan had come to the store not for an inspection but for personal reasons.
“I need a set of toys suitable for kids aged four to seven,” Axel relayed Ethan’s request to the mall manager.
The man immediately sprang into action, grateful and relieved, albeit puzzled by the CEO’s unexpected choices. After all, Ethan had only entered one store, the toy store.
“Please deliver them to this address,” Axel instructed as he scribbled the details on a piece of paper and handed it to the manager.
As Hazel walked into the kindergarten,to pick her kids up, her eyes widened in astonishment. The normally well-organized play area was now transformed into a colorful sea of new toys. Liam was clutching an exquisite paint and drawing set, his eyes sparkling with excitement. Meanwhile, Daisy held onto a colossal dollhouse that was nearly as tall as she was.
Devin, noticing Hazel’s surprise smiled warmly. He approached her, eager to explain the unexpected gift bonanza. “Hazel,” he began, “the school is committed to nurturing the creative passions of its young students. Today, we decided to surprise the children with these wonderful gifts to encourage their artistic and imaginative sides.” He receited the words Axel had told him in order not to rouse suspicion.
Hazel was momentarily taken aback by the generosity and
thoughtfulness of the kindergarten management. “Wow,” she managed to utter, her appreciation mirrored in her wide-eyed gaze. The toys were clearly not just your average playthings; they were high-quality, educational, and undoubtedly expensive.
However, Liam, always the inquisitive one, sensed the perfect opportunity to divert his mother’s attention. With a sad pout, he presented his wounded leg as if on cue. “Mommy, I hurt my leg,” he announced, looking up at her with a touch In hope of a comforting embrace.
Hazel, juggling her emotions between surprise and concern, quickly shifted her focus to Liam. “Oh, my sweet boy,” she cooed.
Bending down, she carefully inspected his leg.
Liam beamed as he proudly showcased his leg, now fully healed. “It’s okay now, Mommy. Mr. Wood cleaned it all up for me,” he announced. with an infectious smile that could melt anyone’s heart.
Hazel couldn’t help but raise an intrigued eyebrow at the mention of “Mr. Wood.” Her gaze shifted to Devin, the kindergarten manager who still lingered nearby, seemingly overseeing the departing children. “Mr. Woods?” she inquired, her curiosity piqued.
Devin cleared his throat, offering a concise explanation. “He’s one of our workers here at the kindergarten,” he lied smoothly.
“That’s nice,” Hazel responded, her eyes softening as she looked down at her son. “Liam’s usually quite fussy about letting anyone touch him. He must have really made an impression on him.”
Liam nodded vigorously, his face lit up with affection for Mr. Woods. “Yes, Mommy. I drew him a portrait as a thank you,” he revealed, his voice brimming with pride at his artistic gesture.
As they prepared to leave the kindergarten, Hazel was confronted with at logistical challenge-these new toys were rather large, and managing them was turning out to be more of an ordeal than she had anticipated. She had Daisy on one side, eager to get home and explore her dollhouse, and Liam on the other, babbling enthusiastically about his day with Mr. Woods.
Just as she began to contemplate how to transport the newfound
treasures, a car pulled up right in front of them. Devin stepped in with a helpful suggestion, his concern for the children evident. “You should get- in,” he recommended, sensing Hazel’s dilemma.
Hazel, initially hesitant, found herself swayed by Devin’s assurance. “It’s okay,” he reassured her. “He’s my personal driver. He’ll give you all a ride home.” Grateful for the assistance, Hazel offered her thanks, and with a collective shrug, they all climbed into the comfortable vehicle.
Throughout the ride home, Liam chatted animatedly about his day at kindergarten, regaling his mother with tales of his adventures with Mr. Woods. In contrast, Daisy remained quiet and focused, her little mind. undoubtedly consumed with thoughts of the new dollhouse waiting for her at home.