Chapter 12: The Charity Ball at 10AX

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Kim's phone rang the moment she stepped outside Maria's office. It was Kris.

What the HECK I literally just got this phone how does she even have my number? Kim thought. She tried to find some way to quickly decline the call but it automatically went through. Of course.

"Kim. KIM! HELLO???" Kris's tinny voice said. It was outrageous that there was no way to decline a call in this world. The whole point of having a phone is to not have to actually talk to anyone ever.

"Heyyy, what's up?" Kim said, brute-forcing sunshine into her voice.

"I just wanted to check in and see how it's going with the Brandon Marlo thing. Did you get him out of retirement yet? Do we have the space for the Hamptons store?"

"Oh! Oh that. Yeah, things are moving forward," Kim said. "This Brandon guy is tricky. It's going to take a little wrangling. But it'll happen, don't worry!"

"Well what's your timeline, Kim. When can we expect to have the new store opened? Are we talking 1 hour? 3 hours?"

"I mean, it's complicated? Soon? Soon-ish?"

"Kim, this store is very important to your sisters and to this world, I hope you understand that. I know organizing and completing projects is not your best skill."

"Yup got it, OK. Hey I'm getting on the Metro so I might lose you, just hang on OK?" Kim said, and hung up the phone.

Bluh. She did not care about stupid Brandon Marlo or the stupid store in the Hamptons. And she couldn't string Kris along forever, either, but she would figure it out later.

After a quick ride over to LAX, Kim stood outside the Championship Business Centers. Probably her least favorite place in all of KKHollywood? It just seemed so sorrowful and devoid of character. A space devoted solely to random Business. Shudder. Plus the last time she'd been here she'd had to perform all kinds of arcane rituals in order to hack her phone, and had almost gotten herself killed by some Madonna-looking witch for her troubles. She shook off the memory and pushed through the doors.

Kim found Simon's new office for the Kim Kardashian Memorial Foundation for Celebrityship. It looked exactly like his old office tbh. She stood in the doorway and watched him. He was on the phone, going on about something and waving his arms around wildly. He looked the same. Tireder around the eyes, maybe. Sadder. Like his naturally animated state didn't come quiet as naturally as it once had.

Kim was about to say something when Simon's eyes landed on her. He stopped speaking mid-syllable and sat there, holding the phone, staring at her. "I'll call you back," he said, dropping the phone.

He was staring at her like he was afraid to take his eyes off her. It was a little weird and Kim wasn't quite sure what to say. Was he mad at her for leaving? She had kind of ditched him at the end, not saying goodbye or anything. Another thing that she had avoided thinking about much, in order to save herself the pain.

Simon came around the desk and walked across the room. He stood inches away from Kim, examining her face. His lips were trembling. He reached out to touch her face and when his fingers made contact with her skin he pulled back, startled, like he was shocked that she was actually real.

"It's really you?" he whispered. "You're back?" His eyes welled up with tears, waiting for confirmation from her.

"Hi Simon, yes, it's me, I'm back, hi!"

A tremor rippled through Simon's body and all at once he fell to the floor, clutching her legs and weeping. "You're back, thank the Goddess, you're back, I can't believe it. You came back."

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