Meeting

(Excerpt Six)

Like D had mentioned, corporate (well more like some of their reps) was making their rounds. The week came and they had decided to come in a little later, something about unforeseen interruptions. It didn’t matter to any of us at our office as we were prepared for them. We were a boring lot anyway, we rarely had any issues that we knew would hinder us from running our “shop” the best way possible. Our employees were satisfied, happy even. Service seemed to be the best it could be this month, so numbers were shooting up. It looked like the corp folks were in for a treat!
The day I decided to be a little on the late side was when I walked into the conference room, and was immediately hit with a musk of strong cologne. The smell overtook the entire space it felt like, and it was debilitating to my sense of smell, but I smiled through it. Choking was a tender word for what was happening to me at that moment.
I walked in and was immediately introduced to a few chairmen, one chairwoman (Carla; I only remembered because she was the only woman and she smelled very sweet), and finally, the man we had all been waiting for: Andrei. He was very tall. That was the first thought that came to mind when I saw him. His handshake was very firm, he barely smiled, and he didn’t really say anything. He just nodded his head like that was enough. His eyes were definitely worth remembering, as they were a very confusing thing for me because I couldn’t tell if they were hazel, green, gold, or what! I just knew there was something about him. Something more. I let that stay on my mind as I mingled around the room. I ended up getting stuck with talking to chairman Bob Rossford. He was old, wrinkly, pale, and probably was the reason for the over indulgence in cologne. As I was speaking with him, it was wafting off of him quite viciously. He kept trying to get closer to me and I kept backing away bit by bit, without trying to look like I was trying to escape. He wasn’t funny but he thought he was. I just humored him by laughing when he did. My fake laugh wasn’t too bad.
And while I was trying to give him some of my attention, I let my eyes slide over to where Andrei was. He was quietly watching everyone. He wasn’t talking to anyone. And then he caught me looking. I tried hard not to look too much but it was odd that he didn’t feel like talking to anyone in the room. I took the time to take notes on him with every sneaking glance I had of him. He had dark wavy hair, maybe even black, with a part to the side. You could tell he took pride in his appearance as no hair was really out of place but also looked like he wasn’t trying too hard, if that was possible. He had a nose that looked like it had been broken once, as there was a scar on the bridge of his nose. His skin was very tanned, more tanned than D, and D was a beautifully sun-kissed Greek. He had a bit of a mustache that didn’t interrupt the fullness of his top lip that led into the fullness of his bottom lip. He had dark lashes that were so thick that it looked like he was wearing mascara, but he wasn’t. His navy suit was expertly tailored and fit him like a glove with no tie, top two buttons undone on his almost grey dress shirt. He appeared to be at least 6’2. I considered myself somewhat good at judging height and that’s what I was getting from him. His shoes were hard-soled, black, and shiny. And under all that, was an energy. A great sense of power, like you knew he was the man in charge of everyone in the room. His silence spoke volumes.
I was almost tempted to bother him but someone beat me to it. D walked over and introduced himself and finally Andrei cracked a genuine smile, or it looked genuine, as they shook hands. And Andrei started talking. I wanted to lean in closer to their direction to hear what his voice sounded like but I didn’t want to be too rude to Mr. Rossford. Well, anymore rude than I probably already was unbeknownst to him. He was in good spirits and needed someone to stick around and humor him. I obliged but I kept throwing my eyes in D and Andrei’s direction. I caught a bit of their conversation because D was just that loud, and it sounded like they weren’t speaking any English. And I finally caught a hint of what Andrei sounded like and it was a deep and haunting voice. Smooth and thick like molasses. He played with his mustache a little, almost like it was a nervous touch that he did but I didn’t know him at all or enough to make that sort of assumption. Then he caught my gaze again. It was getting unnerving for me to keep letting that happen but I was being nosy. So it was my own doing.
Then it looked like Andrei was excusing himself and was walking over to me and Mr. Rossford’s direction, and he was. He put his hand on Mr. Rossford’s shoulder and Bob looked up at him. “Oh, Mr. Vulpes, care to jump in on this little conversation?”
Andrei smiled. “No, Bob, I just came to dismiss you while I spoke to this young lady who seems to have a staring issue.” He pronounced the ‘s’ in issue like you’d say ‘sue’, the name. His accent was quite thick. I couldn’t place the accent though.
Bob gave a hearty laugh. “Well, let me leave you to it!” Bob turned his attention back to me. “Seems a little reprimanding is in order for you. No one has ever told you that staring is rude?”
I was confused and probably looked it as I watched Bob walk away and harass Morissa, who didn’t seem like she had the patience for it.
“I’m Mr. Vulpes, your name is?”
I returned my attention back to Andrei who had his arms crossed and was giving me stern eyes. “I’m Makaela, and I wasn’t staring. Well, I wasn’t trying to,” I told him, and it was true. I really wasn’t trying to stare but he was rather odd to me.
He didn’t say anything, just looked at me. Maybe even through me. Then I saw him look me straight in my eyes then his eyes went down like he was sizing me up, then back up into my eyes. I was wondering if I should be offended in that moment. “What do you do here?”
I was feeling nervous all of a sudden. I cleared my throat a bit, then spoke. “I’m the operations manager. And what do you do?”
I tried to be funny but it looked like it wasn’t going to work on him. He just kept on with that so-serious look. He didn’t answer my question, just kept on glaring at me. Almost like he was having thoughts. Maybe not nice ones. Or giving me a taste of my own medicine since I was stealing little stares at him earlier, or glancing. I was hoping I wasn’t going to be fired. He made a sound like ‘hm’ and smoothed his forefinger and thumb over his mustache. I noticed the cupid’s bow on his top lip was prominent and I liked that. He had nice lips but then I noticed the split in his top lip on the right corner, a scar. Then I snapped out of that and reminded myself he’s the boss.
“I apologize if I was staring, I honestly wasn’t trying to.” I took a sip of my water that I came into the room with. He still didn’t budge.
“Makaela. That’s a nice name.” He unfurled his arms from across his chest, to let them rest at his sides.
He definitely had a strong accent, and was confirmed to be one I hadn’t heard before, but a strong European accent for sure. Now that he was closer to me, I could see his eyes were indeed hazel, and they held gold and green flecks within them. He had high cheek bones. He was very well sculpted, accept for that nose. It wasn’t crooked or anything but there was a bump there, just a tad. He was looking me over too, I could tell. So we were both being a little rude in the moment, staring at one another. He smoothed his hair back a bit and it barely moved. He probably had a lot of holding spray in it for it to hold its shape the way it was. He was slim but more than likely an athletic slim figure, not without muscles. I could just tell.
I then felt like he was towering over me all of a sudden. I knew he was tall but he made me feel incredibly small in that moment, looking at him.
“I am a little unsure what to ask you about now,” I gave a nervous chuckle. He barely cracked a smile but he did allow for a bit of curl of the lips. His energy seemed to relax a bit as well.
“You are nervous and I don’t see why. I am just a worker, like you. I just happen to work from a higher…um…position. I am sorry, my English still leaves much to be desired. I do not visit the U.S. often. I only practice when I need to. So forgive me.” He tucked his right hand into his pocket. “My apologies. I’m Andrei. Vulpes.”
He still didn’t offer me his hand to shake so I just nodded. “Nice to meet you but you already introduced yourself. Some of us here were curious about you.”
“You shouldn’t be. I’m very stale.” He finally smiled. He was breaking a little at a time.
“Well, we just want to see the man behind the title.”
“Were you curious?” He asked as he kept his eyes on mine. It was making me uneasy, as he was my boss’s boss’s boss, and he was very attractive.
“I was. Kind of.” I was going to mention how Andy and Morissa were the most curious but I kept my mouth shut on that. “How do you like it here so far?”
He shrugged. “I’m not in love. Not my style. I miss my country honestly. I am here for business and business only, so I do not intend on getting too comfortable or familiar here. I will do my duties and see myself away from here soon enough.”
He sounded like he didn’t too much care for his new position and that was freaking me out because he was the CEO, and here he was, admitting that he wasn’t a fan already.
“I’m sorry to hear that.” I wasn’t really sorry.
“It is quite alright. You have a lot of sushi here. Why?” He looked seriously perplexed.
I let out a snicker. “I don’t know. Sushi is very popular here.”
“You should show me a good sushi place. Maybe you can make me love it.” He looked serious again. I could tell he wasn’t joking, although I secretly wished he were. He didn’t look like someone who joked a lot. His English was sounding a bit better as well.
“Are you for real?” I was honestly astonished. I felt like my eyeballs were about to push through my lids.
“Yes, I’m very serious. I want to see what’s so delicious about this sushi. I don’t eat sushi.”
Um. “Oh. Oh. Okay. I can do that. Should we bring the rest of the group in on this?”
“No. They’ve had sushi. I have not. I don’t want them all around. I just want you.” He touched my arm tentatively. Then dropped his hand back to his side. He was being weird and it was making me feel awkward. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t scream sexual harassment. Not then anyway. This attention was my own fault. After he touched me, I looked around to see if anyone noticed. No one seemed to be paying us any mind.
“Well,” I started, then took another sip of my water. He was making my mouth incredibly dry. I kept looking into his eyes. I swallowed quickly and finally finished, “I don’t see the harm in showing you a good sushi spot. You sure you don’t want to bring someone with? Besides myself, of course.”
He shook his head, his hair still stayed in place. “No. Just you. Just me.”
I nodded quickly. I looked around again to see if anyone was watching us, and they weren’t, or appeared to be better at sneaking looks than I was. Now I was in trouble, all because I was looking too much. “Okay. I can do that.”
“Perfect. I will get your information and we will take a car service. I will arrange for this. You just make sure to think of the best place to show me.”
And he turned and walked away from me, leaving me to wonder what the hell just happened. I felt somewhat embarrassed and foolish. My boss’s boss’s boss basically was forcing me to go on a date with him, and he probably didn’t know it. Or, maybe he did.

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Aware

(Excerpt 5)

I woke up in the middle of the night to Mitch’s soft snoring. My queen-sized bed was a decent size for me but with him in it, I felt like I didn’t have any space at all. He was on the left side and I was on the right, but it felt like he was everywhere. Or maybe I was just being selfish, and was too used to sleeping alone, and didn’t want to share my space with anyone. Or maybe I just didn’t want to share my space with him. Whatever the case was, I wasn’t in the mood to be in my bed with someone else. Besides, it didn’t seem all that long ago that Darius was sharing this very moment with me.
I curled up in a ball remembering Darius and how he liked to spoon. How I had fit perfectly as his little spoon and him the big spoon, his arms encircling my tiny waist or around my shoulder, his hand under my pillow alongside my hand under my pillow. I sighed remembering how his chocolate brown skin felt so soft and smelled so good-muscles working in his sculpted arms.
Darius was my ex and I thought he was the one. Actually, I knew he was The One. You know, “The One”. I always figured he was probably too good looking for me, and I kept telling myself that, especially when my eyes met his in my old gym, where I met him. He wasn’t a trainer, just some guy I always noticed because he was in the gym around the same time that I was, when I was actually going. Nowadays, you couldn’t catch me going through a gym entrance to save my life. But that’s where I met him.
He was lifting weights, of course, working on his upper body. I definitely was paying attention, because he was a very good looking man. He had dimples, a bit of a goatee but it didn’t look cheesy on him. Nice, straight white teeth. He always kept his black hair neat, trimmed, lined up, but he had a bit of gray at his temples at the age of 38 and I loved it. He was gorgeous to me.
I was on the elliptical and I was trying to focus on listening to the music and pushing myself to keep going. I was very slim, trimmed, but curvy in all the right places, but I was striving to have my cardio be on point. I remember I was in the zone and when I reached for my water, I miscalculated my reach and smacked the bottle right off the holder and it fell. It rolled a little and I took off my headphones, not wanting to wait for the elliptical to slow down, and tried to step off when I damn near twisted my ankle like an idiot. I tumbled a little and fell on my knee but it didn’t hurt all that bad, it was just an embarrassing moment for me. I tried to play it off like I didn’t care and continued to get my bottle when Darius came up to me. I looked up at him as he started talking, saying hello and asking me if I was okay. I nodded and got up. “Yeah, I’m fine, thank you.”
He smiled and that’s when I became putty. “You sure? You look like you were about to break your ass hitting that floor like that.”
I shook my head and smiled. “For real, I’m good, thank you again for asking.”
I started to make my way back onto the elliptical when he just stood in front of it, watching me almost. “What’s your name, if I may ask?”
“Makaela.” I offered to him but didn’t ask for his. I didn’t want to seem too easy, too interested. Playing games, I guess.
He stuck out his well-manicured hand. “Darius. Nice to meet you, Makaela.”
“You as well,” I said as I shook his hand. It was soft, which was surprising.
“I see you in here working out, and I always think to myself how mean you look. You probably get that a lot.”
I just looked at him and he lost some points with me. I wasn’t sure what he was trying to get at but it was not what I wanted to hear, especially if he was trying to hit on me.
He pointed at my face. “See? That look right there: mean. You look like you’re ready to beat my ass in here just for saying that.” He just kept smiling, like I was amusing him.
I got safely back onto the elliptical and proceeded to reach for my earphones. “Are you hitting on me or trying to get my number or what, because that’s not going to help you at all.”
He laughed. “I’m sorry, I’m not trying to come off rude, or disrespectful even. I was just trying to make fun with you, not of you.” He said as he let the humor fade a bit. “I wanted to talk to you, I would like to talk to you. Outside of this place. If that’s alright with you.”
I pretended to give it some thought but I already knew the answer was yes and always had been yes from the very start that I saw him and that spine-tingling smile. I noticed he wasn’t extremely tall, 5’11, but that was more than tall enough for me standing at 5’0 flat! I looked into his brown eyes and said, “Alright, we can do that.” And we did that.
We shared many great moments together. We traveled together. I got to meet his family back in his hometown of Chicago. We even moved in together, talked about possibly getting married and starting a family together. Our own little clan, the Williams Clan, he’d say. The love making felt like we could move mountains and shift the earth on its axis. We had what I felt was a soul quenching relationship for the 4 years we were together. He was a beautiful soul to me and I loved him for bringing me light. Right until the very end.
Darius 3 and a half years into our relationship was offered a position overseas in Japan. I was willing to quit my job and follow him to his next destination because I was serious about us. And he said he was as well. He was working for FedEx as a senior marketing specialist and they wanted to relocate him to Japan. He accepted. We discussed when it would be taking place and how soon we needed to sell everything we weren’t taking with us and packing up everything we were taking. We had approximately six months to figure this out but we were both so excited about this new beginning. Our babies would learn a different language, learn about another culture and be so blessed. We just knew our lives were going to be forever changed for the better.
The day came when he had to go back home to tell his folks the good news about the job and how close we were getting to leaving for Japan and possibly, getting married before we left. I dropped him off at the airport and got to see him off. We kissed goodbye and it was all good. When he touched down in Chicago O’Hare Airport, he called me to let me know he made it and was on his way to his folks’ home. I got a call the next day from his mother. She told me that Darius had been shot while out trying to buy some celebratory champagne to bring back to their house so they could toast to all the great things that were happening, and he was in the hospital. I was so on edge and was willing to drop everything to be by his side. His mother told me not to worry, that the doctor would let her know how bad it was. The day after that, his father called with the grim news of Darius’s passing. I didn’t immediately cry. I felt so numb. I just let him tell me, heard the straining in his voice as I listened. When I hung up, I just went to my room and let the hot tears stream down my face while I laid down on my bed, our bed. I didn’t have Mr. Chow then, so it was really just me, by myself.
I remembered taking a shower eventually and just breaking down, bawling so loudly in the shower that I was sure the neighbors probably thought I was dying! Or crazy. Either one, I was there in the breakdown and feeling every ache in my chest. It felt like my heart was ripping and tearing. I sat in the shower for over an hour just letting the tears flow freely. I cursed God, I cursed all that was good because of Darius’s death. I didn’t even reach out to my best friend. I just let myself be consumed with anger, sadness, rage, melancholy. Everything that was not happy and joyful, I wrapped around me and held it close. I held it so close that I just let myself stink with the scent of it.
I took time off from work and after almost two months of being a total recluse, I decided to talk to Sandra and she forced me to come out with her for a drink. I didn’t want to but she said it was what I needed. I told her she couldn’t tell me when to stop grieving and that I had every right to want to be alone. She wasn’t hearing it and picked me up. I got into her car and didn’t pretend to be happy about the whole thing. I was unhappy, and it showed.
She drove us to North Park and we went to Seven Grand. “I promise you, you’ll thank me for this,” she said once we got inside. It was a Friday and it was relatively quiet for a Friday night. But then again, it was a slight chill in the air that night. Fall had made its way to us. She ordered a cocktail, I ordered a ginger ale. She said hell no and made me order a whiskey sour. I let her. Once we got our drinks, she and I started to play a bit of pool, even though I was trash at it. We did it and then the drinks started coming a little more. I was having a fairly okay time of it, I even laughed a little here and there. I was right in the middle of a spill of laughter when I accidentally bumped into this delicious gentleman by complete accident, almost spilling my drink on him. I looked up and met green eyes and a mustache set in a tanned face, only it wasn’t a tan, he was just olive skinned. I couldn’t tell that night anyway. “I’m so sorry,” I told the nice guy as I got back to my game with Sandra.
“No need to apologize, you’re fine,” he said, as he walked by, probably to meet up with friends while I continued on with Sandra.
When we were all set to leave, because she got her buzz and so did I, we were walking out of the exit and I felt someone bump into me. I turned to see what the asshole looked like and it was the same green-eyed fellow.
“My turn to apologize, I guess,” he said as he stopped walking by me.
“Apology accepted,” I told him as I was turning back to leave with Sandra.
“You’re really pretty. I just had to tell you that,” he said and I turned back to face him.
I was intoxicated, and the wind was biting my cheek so I was sure I was blushing pretty hard. “Well thank you, you don’t look too bad yourself.” I stared up at his eyes. “You have some really pretty eyes.”
He smiled, the wind playing in his hair. “Thank you.”
“Oh my gosh, come on, I’m freezing out here!” Sandra was ready to go.
“Let’s talk later. Here’s my card,” he pulled out his wallet, which was pretty much congested with receipts and business cards aplenty, finally handing me his card.
I read out loud his first name. “Dimitri. I like it. I’m Makaela.” I stuck out my hand for him to shake.
He grabbed my hand in his as he shook it, and his hand was warm. “Dimitri and Makaela. Sounds nice together, right?” He joked.
It was my turn to smile, as I started walking away from him and towards Sandra. “I’ll call you, Dimitri.”
“I hope so,” he said with a smirk. He had one dimple, I noticed. I just waved and turned back to Sandra as she looped her arm through mine while we walked to her car. “I think he’s very cute. You really should call him,” she told me as she pulled out her cellphone and just ended up calling us an Uber to my house since we were both intoxicated and clearly couldn’t drive.
I thought about it. “Maybe. I don’t know yet.”

Melt

Excerpt 4 (Chapter 3)

I managed to get my server fixed and back up, running better than it originally did when I first took the position. I got to leave out of the building on time today, so I felt like today was a wonderful day. Then I remembered I had dinner to look forward to with Mitch, a dinner I almost forgot because I did tell him I was suppose to meet up with my girl, Sandy. I called Sandra on my way from work since I knew traffic was going to be a bit of a hassle. She picked up on the second ring, which was quick for her since she never seemed to have her phone on her when I called. “Hey, it’s me. Are we still meeting up for drinks?” I asked her while I kept my eyes on the road. I was thankful for the cars now having the capability to bluetooth up your phone to the stereo.
“Oh, shit! I totally forgot. I just agreed to stay another hour here. Can I take a rain check, I’m sorry!”
“Yeah, that’s fine. I was just calling to make sure and because Mitch wants to go to dinner. I was suppose to do breakfast with him but I totally slept late.” I merged onto the 163 north and was going to get off at Washington Street. I could’ve taken the street way again, but I didn’t want to.
“Ohhhh, dinner is it? I thought you two were over trying to get back together. I see that you’re a liar now,” she teased.
“Ha ha, I’m not lying, we’re not working on that. I told him we’re better off as just friends because he is still in limbo about what it is he wants relationship-wise. I don’t have time for all of that.”
“Mhm, you a liar,”she retorted. “You’re going to go to dinner and then have a glass of wine or even sake, and forget all about what you just told me. I know you,” she was laughing and I could the machinery going in the background. She worked in a warehouse as an operations manager as but she didn’t do the heavy work, she just made sure the people who did, did it correctly. I still worried anyway because it wasn’t toys in the background, it was the real deal.
“I’m not lying to you and I’m not going to forget. I promise,” I told her as I made my way down Washington to turn onto Park Boulevard.

And just like that, Mitch and I were making out in front of my door in my apartment building. I didn’t forget, I just also really enjoyed making out with him. And he knew that.
We managed to separate long enough for me to open the door to my apartment and usher us inside as I closed and locked it behind me. “I see nothing has changed in this place,” he said as he walked to my couch. Mr. Chow came walking out of my bedroom, looking mean but that was just his face. I walked into my kitchen and filled Mr. Chow’s bowl with his cat food, giving him a rub down as I did.
“Of course,” I told him as I began to put the cat good away. “What would I change? I like my place the way it is.”
I had a fairly open floor plan space where you walk through the door and my kitchen is off to your right with a breakfast nook, no wall separating it so you can just walk in. Through the front door, you could walk straight into the living space (no dining area because it was just me and Mr. Chow, rarely any guests), where my dark red sectional face my flat screen, the love seat was to the right of it. I did, however, have a fireplace, of blood red brick. It was my favorite feature, with a mantel above it where I had pictures of my mom and my siblings. My flat-screen TV was above the mantelpiece. I could sit on my sectional and be warmed by the fire. I never had both going at once. I had my stereo to the left of the fire place, with windows to each side of the fireplace. I had a desk with my laptop to the right, behind the love seat. The door to my bedroom was there next to my desk area. Bathroom was at the left side of the room, left to the entrance of my apartment while I had a bathroom in my bedroom as well.
It wasn’t a tight space but it wasn’t grandiose either but big enough for me to fill the space with what I liked and still have room for a huge, black lacquered vase full of bamboo to fit in front of my left window. Paintings on my wall. My living area was all beige colored walls because I wanted my furniture to stand out.
My kitchen was all white walled and stainless steel pieces. Stainless steel fridge, stove, and microwave. The cabinets were a brown, smooth wood that was so dark it could’ve been black at first glance. Sink was steel as well, shiny. I had a dishwasher but I barely used it because I liked to wash my dishes. If I was in a rush and hadn’t done the dishes the night before, I’d throw them in there and let the dishwasher handle it, but that was far and few in between. I always kept some Glade plug-ins in the sockets of my kitchen and my living area. Especially in the bathroom because that’s where I kept Mr. Chow’s litter. His pee was strong so I needed to keep the smell down. The Glade helped with that.
I was very comfortable with my home. The fact Mitch was trying to be funny about how I hadn’t changed anything was ridiculous.
I walked over to my sectional and sat next to him while he sat right in the middle of it. I had throw pillows that my mother bought for me that were a beautiful hunter green and burnt orange that I felt went very well with the couch. Mitch was playing with the burnt orange one.
“You don’t like my place?” I asked him.
He smiled. “I was just messing with you, I love your place. I’d move in if you’d let me.”
His smile was one of his best features and another reason why I was still immensely attracted to him.
He had a very attractive face. He was a very tanned Latino with thick eyebrows that he seemed to like having waxed, I noticed, as of late. Thick, black wavy hair that he had buzzed on the sides and back, very neat on top. He had up-tilted brown eyes but I swore they were hazel when I first met him but he kept telling me they were just very light. He set the precedence for me when it came to kissable lips because he had really amazing lips. That’s why I didn’t mind making out with him at the very least. His nose was broken once but you couldn’t really tell unless he showed you because it was a very normal nose; not narrow, but somewhat straight, almost wide through the nostrils.
He was tall, six-foot-one, with broad shoulders and a small waist. He used to be chubby but he grew up and got fit because he felt like he wasn’t healthy. I admired him for it but I didn’t think he needed it. He thinned out but bulked up and it fit him very well.
He was one of those guys that got sexier as time went on. He was funny, a great kisser, great lover, and had a very nice spirit about him but he hid most of his flaws from just about everyone. His flaws had a tendency to be serious issues that he didn’t like to share, of course, and would keep them from everyone until he got it under control. That, and he had a habit of lying and being very conniving but he was growing out of all of that. He was turning into someone a woman would love to have. Me not being one of them because I just couldn’t see it anymore. I really wanted to, once upon a time, but time had a way of making things just dissolve. He didn’t understand but he should’ve. Yet some things stayed the same, like that sexy smile of his.
I just returned the smile and put my legs up, curled to my chest as I wrapped my arm around my legs and used my other arm to rest my chin upon as I looked at him, “You know damn well I would never extend that type of invitation unless we were in a relationship and had been for a while. Successfully, might I add.”
“I know. I just had to throw that out there. Just so you know, I would accept the invitation. You’re very clean and I like that, because I’m pretty clean myself,” he put Mr. Chow back on the floor and he sauntered off back into my room where I placed a little bed for him.
“Glad to hear that you’re a clean person and all that, but we’re not moving in together anytime soon or maybe even ever so let’s not even discuss anything like that right now,” I smoothed my hand over his arm, playing a little. He took it as a sign to start rubbing on me. I wasn’t feeling in the moment of trying to continue what was started in the hallway outside of my door, so I didn’t return his advances. I slightly recoiled under his touch and he caught the hint. His eyes grew serious as he stared at me. “We could always just talk about making things between us for real. I’m ready for a relationship, Kaela. I’m ready to settle down, I want a family. I need to have a kid or two soon. My clock is ticking now!” We both laughed at his little jape, because I knew he couldn’t stay serious for too long. Much like how he was with his fleeting mentions of wanting a real relationship and settling down, ‘for real this time’ he’d say.
“I can’t even take you serious, Mitch,” I let the laughter die from my eyes. “You say you want a relationship, you say you’re ready for a family, but your actions always contradict that. Or maybe it’s just with me that your actions say something different. Either way, it never seems to work with us. And I’m tired of trying, I really am. I just want to leave that alone and just be friends. Okay?” I was mentally exhausted, “I thought we already talked about this; I feel like a broken record right now!”
He then did something I didn’t really expect because I was basically telling him we will never have a part two. He grabbed me by my shoulders and pulled me into him, his lips landing on mine. His lips always had a way of leaving me weak. Just a little bit.
I let him kiss me, I admit that. I didn’t pull back. I melted into him with his soft lips on mine. He opened his mouth slightly, to let his tongue reach into my parted lips and massage my tongue with his. I always did enjoy a nice, wet kiss. It was always like nirvana for me. My heart sped up and I reached my arms around his shoulders, bringing our bodies closer together, chest to chest. His teeth nibbled at my bottom lip, tugging at the last moment. I moaned into his mouth, then sucked in his breath, like I was trying to suck in his very life force. His hand went to the back of my head, keeping me from pulling away. I wasn’t going to. I didn’t want to.

Wading Through

Chapter 2 (Excerpt 3)

The meeting was just a few of us managers. D, myself, Morissa, Andy, and Mark. It wasn’t the most exciting meeting. We talked about the day to day, how many calls we were generating per hour with the workers, any mishaps we felt should be discussed (basically it meant any of the workers who were being pains in the ass and how to go about the disciplinary actions for each case), and then the change in CEO.

Morissa and Andy both were dealing with the transitions inside our company, seeing as how our corporate office was located in damn near Silicon Valley (they both were tech geeks and both had come from corporate so they knew a lot more about the inner workings in that place than any of us did). Morissa the Firehair I called her because she was a tall, ivory-skinned, freckled-faced woman with the reddest hair I had ever seen and piercing green eyes with a cute little up-turned nose and pink lips. A vibrant red, not pale or fading like others, almost as if she colored it but she said she doesn’t. And I didn’t see any reason to argue about it. She normally wore it down, as it was past her shoulders, to the middle of her back. When I first met her, it was a chin-length bob, so it grew quite a bit in the past 2 1/2 years that I was working there. She wasn’t tall and skinny, but tall and full-bodied. Curves. She was proud of it too. She looked like she could fight if she needed to though. Andy was tall and thin, nothing curvy about him, not even his chest or derriere. He was all angles and pointy chinned, wide brown eyes and long, straight nose. He used to have his brown hair long and down his back as well but he since then cut it for a more manageable hair style that he could just run some hair goop through and let go. He got rid of the long hair only to grow out a monstrous beard. I guess it was a choice between the two, not both. He was somewhat handsome, although his lips were a little too thin for my liking, and very homosexual and he let it be known. He had a group of admirers until he brought his boyfriend to a company picnic and they all just fell off like flies.

I was good friends with Andy outside of work but we didn’t talk all the time. Morissa, however, was like a recluse and didn’t speak to anyone from work outside of work. She got on very well with just about everyone, but she didn’t make it a habit to get too personal with anyone. That made me respect her but also not trust her and that was fine with me, seeing as how I didn’t trust that many people anyway. I knew I could trust D though. He sat in his chair like he was a boss indeed. He came from corporate as well. He was the first to come, and just decided to stay.
“So from what we gathered while we were at the corp office, the new CEO is from a bigger company over in Europe. Tech based. Nothing like this that we do here, but very successful nonetheless,” Morissa said as she handed over a packet of paper to D. “He gets results. Why he decided to come over to our company remains to be seen, but then again, no one has told us a damn thing. We’re still a little left in the dark on the minuscule details of the deal, but all we know is he’s a very big deal in London and Japan. The umbrella corp that owns our company and oversees our corp here also was partnering with the company this new guy was head of. I think Andy can probably explain it a lot better because truth be told, I’m still a little flabbergasted about this. I’ve never seen a business make this type of move and not tell their employees or hell, the shareholders about who they’ve appointed to the position.”
I was concerned because Morissa was a self-professed know-it-all and for her to not know much of anything when it came to her job was very worrisome to me.
We all looked at Andy as he cleared his throat. “Well, to be completely honest, all I got was a name. At least I got that. His name is Andrei Vulpes. I can’t Google him though because I didn’t get any pictures-”
“Wait, you were looking for pictures of this guy?” D interrupted Andy, in disbelief.
Andy nodded. “Well, yeah, who doesn’t Google people? Anyway, so I tried to Google him, nothing much came up. It just gave some old man and other mundane information about the old man that was pictured but I’m pretty sure he’s much younger than the man I saw.”
“Okay, so we don’t know who the new CEO is. Why does this matter to us, any of us?” D said. I was almost going to say the same thing but I had my listening ears on, not my turn to speak.
“I feel like we need to put a face to the name. We’re just curious. Aren’t you the least bit curious yourself, Dimitri?” Morissa was playing with her hair but her eyes were all for D’s reaction and response.
D shrugged. “I can honestly tell you that I don’t give one iota about what this guy looks like, what his favorite color is, his favorite music or artist or any of that irrelevant bullshit, I care about what he can do for us. And what he has to offer to this company, to our brand. We generate over $2.5 Billion per year. That’s on average. This is what we’re good at, and all I want to know is if he can keep this coming. If you’re gonna Google him, Google his business acumen, see what his so-called successes are. Can we do that, if that’s what we’re doing, researching people?”
He looked at both Morissa and Andy for an answer. Morissa was the only one that answered because I think Andy was offended. “Of course, Dimitri. Andy and I will do that. Aside from that however, we are still on the rise as far as investors. We’ve just added that new porn star Hailey Storms via the marketing team to our new ads. So far, response has been favorable, more or less.”
I stifled a laugh. D looked over at me with tight eyes. Everyone else just looked at me like I hadn’t been there a minute ago and now I just sort of appeared out of thin air. “Sorry. I had a tickle in the back of my throat. Please continue.”
D gave me full on angry face for a second before averting his eyes back to Morissa. I only laughed because I caught the corner of his mouth twitch a bit when Morissa brought up Hailey’s name because D and Hailey used to have a thing going on for a short while before he and Ana started dating. I just thought it was funny how his ex hook-up was now the face of our company. Funny how life worked. For him, anyway.
“Okay,” D started as soon as he had the floor once again, and everyone’s full attention,”so we’ve got the new face, it’s working out, and that’s great. This quarter looks like it’s bound to be a very promising one. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and continue on our rise. Anything else we need to discuss?”
“So, is anyone else having issues with their servers? Or is it just me?” I asked.
“Mine is running great.” D said.
“I don’t have any issues with mine,” Andy gave his answer. D rolled his eyes. For some reason, Andy was seeming to annoy D lately. I wondered why.
“It better be working fine, what with you Googling people.” D fired out.
Andy gave him a death stare. “I’ll pretend like I didn’t hear that.”
“Mine is running well as well. Have you downloaded anything, or opened up any files in emails lately?” Morissa seemed to be the only one who was somewhat concerned. Whether it was genuine or not, I couldn’t really tell.
“I haven’t. Just the usual emails, no files that seemed to be corrupt. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
Mark smiled. “Well have you been watching any porn lately?” He was trying to be funny and I wanted to throw something at that smug face of his. He reminded me of Matt Bomer with his dark hair and light eyes, great cheek bones and very nice, full lips, but his attitude was down-right deplorable. Very hoity-toity. He was a trust-fund baby and his father just so happened to be one of the chairmen for the company. He was very good to look at but he was just one of those guys who felt they deserved absolutely everything for nothing. He had no problems letting people know his grandmother was legendary screen siren Margot Rudebaker. He mentioned it at least three to four times a day. As handsome as he is, he can’t seem to keep a relationship for more than 3 months. That and he is just a playboy, a huge playboy. He admitted that if he could marry three women at once, he would in a heartbeat. He and D were very good friends. That should’ve made me wary of D but D wasn’t like him personality wise. Plus, D was getting married so he was definitely nothing like Mark.
I almost ignored him because that’s what I usually did with Mark because he really had nothing to lend to the company except for his lovely face, but I was in a charitable mood and decided to give him an answer. “No more than you have, my dear.”
“And yet my computer is working just fine. So, what did you do to make it not run smoothly?” He leaned back in his chair in a dark navy cashmere sweater that probably cost more than my entire outfit put together.
“It doesn’t matter,” D interjected. “You already called IT, right?”
“Yes I did. They’re sending a guy today before 2.”
“Perfect. Problem solved.” D smiled. He was so handsome sometimes but I had to remind myself not to look too hard.
“We just have one thing that I’m a little worried about. There’s been some creep calling and the girls have blocked him but he still keeps calling, maybe from a different number every time. It’s making them on edge. Two women have even said they won’t be able to work here anymore if it happens again.” I told D, well, everyone, but more pointedly D.
“I think Ana brought that to my attention as well, so I don’t know what exactly we can do about it except for report it to the police since he’s basically harassing the girls. Other than that, that’s the best we can do at this present time.” D looked around the room at each of us. I think he was just trying to see if anyone would bring up Ana. Maybe I was being paranoid, like it was my news. “Anything else you guys want to bring up or can we go back to our day?”
“Congratulations?” Morissa smiled. She knew. I just looked at her and waited to see if she’d finish it.
D played confused. “Congratulations? What do you mean…”.
“I mean…you’re engaged, aren’t you?” She asked.
D almost didn’t answer. He just shook his head. “I don’t want to talk about that but I am indeed engaged, yes.”
Morissa laughed. “Why are you acting like no one would’ve found out? My God, you’re so weird! It’s not a secret that you and Ana have been seeing one another, I saw you two out and about. And I ran into her last night and she showed me the ring. I just put two and two together, just like everyone else. That, and she is telling some of the girls in the office building.”
Mark let out an uproarious laugh. “You just got bagged! I can’t believe it! You, engaged! I thought you were going to be a bachelor for life.”
“Yeah, yeah, get it out, get it all out,” D smiled but his energy said peeved. He really didn’t want anyone to know. I almost felt bad for him. This is supposed to be a joyous moment and here he was acting as if it was a taboo thing. “I’m in a good place in my life and I just so happened to have met a wonderful woman so I made the call. And I’m not regretting it.”
“Your parents must’ve been giving you shit for not being married already with at least two kids,” Mark told him. He was a dickhead. “Well, congrats, and with every fallen soldier, that leaves me millions more women.”
“Okay, that’s enough, let’s end this little meeting. Good chat, you guys.” D rose up from his chair while everyone followed suit and gave him their congratulations and handshakes. I just smirked and started walking out. As soon as I was walking back to my office, I saw a few girls and a guy gathered around Ana’s desk, and I could hear her talking about how D popped the question and her reaction and all that great stuff. They should’ve spread like mustard but instead they pretended not to notice me coming their way. I cleared my throat and that garnered me a backward glance or two. “I don’t think it’s break time yet, is it?” I asked them as they all started to stand up. They realized I was serious and told Ana they’d talk to her later. I just looked at Ana while she pretended to be reading whatever was on her monitor. “Ana, did the IT guy call yet?”
She looked like she was startled. “Oh, um, no, no calls yet. Not for you, but I do have something for Morissa. Can I go tell her?”
“Yeah, of course.” I started walking through my office door when I heard her get up from her seat. I closed my door and rummaged through the packet of paper Morissa had handed out. I was barely reading anything on it because I was too busy wondering what was so good about Ana to have her receive a ring in eight months? Was it true love for them or was she just some conniving little wench? And why was I so damn perturbed by it, by her? I just couldn’t put my finger on it but I didn’t trust her, no matter what, and I was feeling guilty about it. But then again, like I mentioned, I hardly trusted anyone anyway. And then I thought to myself, maybe I’m just jealous. Jealousy tends to be an ugly monster, and here I was letting it lead me by the hand.

Reflections

Excerpt Two

“The transition was almost too much for me. The blaring light from the morning sun, coming from my window on the right side of my bed was blinding but I welcomed it. Then my alarm went off from my phone. It did its vibrating dance on my nightstand as I grabbed for it to turn it off. Just in time to rise and get ready for work. With the sunlight dancing from my light curtains, I had no choice but to talk myself into having a good day since the sun was out to play. No sooner had I resigned myself to having a positive outlook on the new day, my phone vibrated on the nightstand, the noise was soft as it moved across the top. The phone lit up with the name ‘Mitch’. I quickly picked it up and swiped right to answer it. “Hello.” My voice held an edge of raspiness from the sleep.
“Good morning! Did I wake you up?” he greeted, sounding concerned. I was hoping he was genuine. Being that he used to be one of my closest friends, and also my ex, I safely assumed it had to be genuine.
I yawned. “No, I woke up before my alarm went off, so you’re good. Why are you calling me so early?”
“Well, I just wanted to call you and say hi.” His voice held a smile. I could hear it.
“Oh, well this is very kind of you, thank you. And good morning to you as well.” I was pleasantly surprised, rubbing the side of my neck to loosen it up.
I had known Mitch since I was 14 and he was 15. I was a love sick puppy for him from the age of 18 until about 22, then he decided to cheat on me. Interesting how things worked out like that. He chased me for years and the moment I gave in to his advances, he couldn’t handle it. Sure, he asked for another chance after the mistake had been made but I knew I couldn’t trust him from that moment on. We were miserable about it for a while but enough time had passed that we were both in good places. Had relationships outside of one another so time did, in a way, heal the old wound. So much so that I was able to maintain a real friendship with him. We had moments where there would be flirtatious acts, skirting with the idea of being together again but it was always short-lived. It never went past the talking stage, and I was fine with that. I didn’t feel like playing games with him anymore and he wasn’t ready for what I wanted. Even now, with us being 29 and 30, he still couldn’t quite figure it out. I wasn’t going to help him with that either, that was something he had to do on his own.
“It would be nice to get some breakfast with you before you went to work but, I’m already on my way to the office myself so, maybe we can do dinner tonight, what do you say?”
I had forgotten that we were suppose to do breakfast. He had only just asked yesterday and I agreed. I felt somewhat like a schmuck for forgetting so quickly like I did.
“I’m so sorry, I totally forgot, dinner sounds nice. I think I was supposed to get drinks with Sandy after work so let’s play it by ear, okay?”
He sighed, and it sounded like disappointment. “Alright, that’s cool. Let me know. I’m going to go now but hit me up later, yeah?”
“Okay, and I’m sorry again, Mitch. I’ll text you later.”
“It’s alright, I’ll talk to you later.”
“Bye.” I pressed the end icon and talked myself into getting up. It was 7:38am, which meant I had about an hour to take a shower, make me something to eat (or get something on the way to work), and hurry off to work in time to be there a few minutes early. Luckily I pack my lunch at night so I was happy on that front. I had a moment of remembering the dream and how weird it was. All that darkness, the eery noise, and the heavy breathing. I didn’t like dreams like that. I wasn’t afraid, but I was uncomfortable. As it were, I couldn’t sit in bed and dwell on it, I needed to get a move on.
As soon as I got out of the shower, I threw on my favorite band shirt (this selection just happened to be Pink Floyd; cliche), some black skinny jeans, and my black and white converse sneakers. I didn’t need to dress fancy for my job.
I worked as a fantasy liaison. More or less a phone sex operator but I was no longer just a worker bee, I was the operation manager. Moving up in rank helped a lot! I no longer had to worry about clients and things of that nature, I could just worry about the other girls and boys. I made sure the day to day was carried out efficiently, making sure the employees got their breaks, that nothing illegal was going down, and that the systems remained up and running. Even in the sex industry, you have to remain professional. I did that very well.
I had enough time to brush my hair, and with the tiny curls that I had it took a long time to wrangle it in. I was growing out my natural hair and the curl pattern was very tight but it didn’t bother me much until it came time to try and put it in a ponytail or Bantu knots. Any natural woman would tell you it was literally a pain in the neck, wrists, and fingers, to get it styled just right for the twist out to come out as close to perfect as possible. If I had the time, it took my time. But this morning, I only had a certain amount of time to lend. So ponytail it was.
Having done that and made breakfast, I was ready to face the day.
I left my gray furred cat, Mr. Chow but most days just Chow, in the living room to his own devices. He was a happy cat for the most part, but he didn’t feel like being bothered this morning and that was fine by me. I departed and felt like I was missing something but didn’t have time to stop and think about what it could be.
Traffic wasn’t too thick as I made my way towards the downtown area from Normal Heights, taking the street way down Park Boulevard to try and avoid as much of the traffic on the freeway as possible. It was nearly impossible to avoid any traffic, what with transplants moving in, but today proved to be an anomaly. It was extremely surprising because it normally was hell. I thanked God for small miracles. I was glad that I had envisioned myself having a great day and was hoping it would stay that way. We were about to find out if that was going to remain true.
I parked my car in the open spaced parking lot off to the right of the high-rise that held our business firmly tucked into a whole floor off of sixth and G. We were working on either another building, but bigger, to house all the workers or purchasing an extra floor from the property owners. So far, neither of these things were taking place. It wasn’t from lack of funds, that wasn’t it at all, it was simply procrastination and time. Things like that took time, our manager told me. Time and money. I didn’t care what happened, I didn’t plan on staying with the company for long if I could muster my way out before anything else happened.
All these thoughts were going through my mind as I took the leisurely stroll to the building door.
When I got in the elevator, I was trying to make sure to remind myself to smile. I had a habit of not smiling a lot and it made people feel “uncomfortable”, namely my co-worker Ana. I didn’t really care if it unnerved her that I didn’t smile all the time (“A lady should always appear happy, even if she’s having a bad day!”), it was the fact that my boss was fucking her and he was actually someone I cared about, as friends. So I humored him and smiled every time I walked into the door, like now. It made me unhappy to have to do it but it was a small price to pay for him to have some sort of happiness. For his girlfriend’s sake.
I saw him as I walked through the first few cubicles from his corner office. Our eyes met, he nodded his approval. I just arched my eyebrow, feeling my smile starting to waver a bit. I played the part for all of a second until I saw Ana. Unfortunately…she was only a foot or two away from my office door thanks to someone saying I needed a “friend”.
“Good morning, Kaela!!!” she sing-songed with her high nasally-toned voice. I let her use my shortened name even though she wasn’t my friend and I didn’t see her being a friend in the near future, or far future for that matter.
Her blonde hair was pulled back in a simple pony-tail, her brown eyes glittering with so much warmth and happiness that her face was glowing, cheeks rosy against a porcelain skin. She waved a well-manicured hand and I caught a glimpse of something sparkling awfully bright. She was wearing a powder blue cardigan and a plain crew-neck white t-shirt and that allowed my eyes to be all for that sparkle. All that simplicity against this massive glittery shine.
I made my way over to her desk and lo and behold, she was the proud owner of a brand new engagement ring. I tried to keep the surprised look off of my face as best as I could but it reached my eyes before I could stop it. “Wow…congratulations! D did a great job!” I said as I held her left hand in my right, staring down at the monstrosity of a ring. It was huge! As far as diamonds, D probably spent at least more than a month’s salary on it, maybe two months. White gold. Diamond cushioning diamonds. It was almost disgusting.
I looked back at D watching from his office with a broad smile on his face. He was happy that I was shocked. Oh well. I smiled at Ana and then excused myself to walk over to D.
He was pretty handsome as far as handsome faces went. Dark, thick wavy hair, deep green eyes, square jaw with a bit of stubble developing, dimpled chin, his bottom lip was sensuous and full, top lip not really the same but I didn’t care because I wasn’t dating him. He was wearing his most casual best as well: black band tee (Ramones, I silently judged him for it), dark blue denim, and black and white high-top Converse Chucks. It was strangely coincidental that we were both almost wearing the same exact outfit. But he was wearing the Rolex his dad passed down to him and it was a very nice piece; a little uber high-end meets somewhat low-end, “affordable”. His tanned olive skin was all due to some good old Greek blood.
I put out my hand for him to shake. “You bastard, how could you not tell me? I thought we were friends!” I said to him through smiling clenched teeth.
“I wanted it to be quiet for a while. That’s all.” He let go of my hand and wrapped me up in a gingerly hug. He even pat my back. I returned the hug.
I stepped back from the hug and my smile melted. “This is insane.”
“Which is precisely why I didn’t tell you that I was thinking of popping the question.” He started walking to his office. I took that as a signal to follow so I did. I didn’t close the door however because I didn’t want Ana to come to the door and be all weird about it.
“If I had told you, you would’ve tried to talk me out of it and I didn’t want anyone trying to tell me what to do.” He said as he sat in his chair.
I gaped my mouth, playing offended. “I would never!”
He laughed. “You would too! My parents were pretty overjoyed. I outdid myself with the ring, right? That thing is a beast!”
“You can say that again! I don’t like it but then again, I don’t want a ring that big.” I said, sitting down in the chair in front of his desk while he sat across from me in his chair behind his desk, playfully smug look on his face.
He looked at me across from the desk and the light he had faded around the edges. “I know you don’t. How’s the loverboy?”
I sighed. “I don’t want to talk about it right now. Maybe later when you’re not all glowing from this new development!”
He smiled, his lips kind of glistening from his chapstick use. “My new ‘development’ is suppose to be a discrete development, so we can talk about your love life in great detail since I have nothing exciting to talk about. I’m prying on purpose.”
I swiftly gathered myself and stood up in a rush. “No thanks. We got work to do anyway, that’s why I’m here, isn’t it? Come in, do my job, clock my hours, then leave. We can do the personal stuff on our own time, remember?” I tried for a sweet smile but it probably failed seeing as how I did not enjoy talking about my love life, or lack thereof. No need to discuss such trivial matters.
D gave me the raised arms, the sign of surrender. “You’re right. No need to talk about that. Very inappropriate of me. I apologize, Kaela.” He stood as well. “I apologize but are you not going to tell me because of our little past?”
I was waiting for him to bring that up, to tease me about it.
We almost had a relationship. And I do mean almost. I had to nip it in the bud before it got too intense. We had a few dates and found that we got on really well, but the fact that his parents probably wouldn’t approve of their successful and handsome son being with someone who wasn’t of the fairer skin tribe didn’t sit well with me. As much as he and I enjoyed one another’s time as a couple, I decided to let him know if it wasn’t dating with a purpose, then we couldn’t continue. He didn’t like it, he didn’t have to like it because I wasn’t comfortable with his parents’ views and he didn’t appear to be the type to go against mommy and daddy. He understood and it just so happened we ended up working together. So fun! I was just glad that we had ended on amicable terms and it wasn’t a nasty end to it all.
I just breathed out a little harder than was necessary, almost annoyed. I decided to shake off the memory.
“Nope, that’s not it at all, and we’re way past that anyway,” I made it a point to look out of his door to where his fresh fiancee was sitting. I couldn’t see her but I did it for effect. He got the idea, of that I was sure. “I just don’t have much of anything to talk about in that area of my life. If I did, I’d have no issue sharing that with you but not in the office, you know that.”
He nodded. “Okay. Well…we have some things to go over, as far as work is concerned. Some numbers to look at. I’ll let you get into your office, get your things together. Then we can meet in the conference room in about, let’s say 45 minutes, an hour maybe?”
“Yes,” I agreed. “I’ll shoot for 45 minutes but I’m probably counting on an hour. I need to check my emails anyway, maybe do a call-back or two if it’s that type of morning.” Thinking of the emails was really making me tense up. I started realizing what kind of day it might be. “I’m hoping for just a call or two. I have to send over some emails to IT, my computer has been acting a little lagged. I need someone to either come out and check it out or lead me through it via phone. I’ll send you a call or message, keep you in the loop. Did we ever hear back from corporate?”
D turned on his computer monitor. It was fairly new so you couldn’t hear the hush of it stirring to life. “I did not actually. You should probably ask Morissa or Andy about that. They were handling that whole thing, I’m not even sure what’s going on.”
“Well, if you are truly my superior, then you’d have known that we are going through some major changes,” I teased D a bit, it warranted me a snarky look which I answered with a smile. “Apparently, we’re getting a new CEO. No one knows who he is, where he’s from, or even if ol’ boy has social media. Which is actually very odd seeing as how almost everyone has some sort of online presence. They’re keeping this all very under wraps, kind of like someone I know who just got engaged on the low.”
D rolled his eyes and said,”Rub it all the way in now, get it all out of your system so you don’t accidentally blurt it out while we’re in the meeting please.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it. Not my business to blurt out. I promise,” I gave him my word. “But it doesn’t mean anything to you that they’re not telling us who they’re replacing Scooter with? I mean, I know Scooter isn’t as young and succulent as you or I, but he wasn’t senile. Yet.”
“Not my concern. My only concern is keeping my end of the business up and running and making sure my team is strong. And bringing in numbers better than the year before, that’s really all I care about,” D slapped his keyboard.
I put my hand on my hip and almost said something smart but thought better of it. I really needed to get a move on with my tasks. I felt like I was already behind. It made the bottom of my neck ache. “I’ll talk to you later. Congratulations again. I won’t speak of your little secret anymore.”
“It’s not a secret really, don’t say it like that. Just…I don’t need this ruining her chances here. I really just don’t want anyone judging her anymore than they already do,” D said with sincerity.
He really did love her. For a second I was doubting that and questioned his getting engaged-wondering if he did it to please his folks because he was almost 40 or if he really was having these feelings for this girl. I should’ve said woman but I couldn’t. Ana was younger than him, younger than myself. She was still in college for Pete’s sake, but she managed to steal his heart in as little as 8 months. And that was why I was questioning his getting engaged so soon. I shouldn’t have been but it was there, in the back of my mind. But, none of my business.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say all of that. But I’m going now. See you at the meeting,” I backed out of his office and hurriedly walked two doors down to my office door, and by Ana’s cubicle. I didn’t want to look at her but I had no choice because she was right there. I gave her a quick upturn of the lips that could pass for a smile, then opened my door as swiftly as I could without looking like I was trying to get away from her. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her, it was that something about her didn’t jive well with me. Her energy didn’t sync with my own. And there was nothing wrong with that, I just chose to stay away from anyone who I felt didn’t mix well with my aura. It sounded weird saying it like that but that was the best way I could explain it. It still sounded bitchy but it was the truth.
As soon as I got inside of my office, I shut my door and gave myself a moment to appreciate my view. It was downtown San Diego, and it was so heavily congested with high rises that my view was literally me looking into another building’s window. What a morning it was already, and it wasn’t even 10 yet. Not even close.”