I am at my desk, reading a review of this new book I already have plans on buying. My manager walks by with a man and a woman, I click down the tab and begin to click my mouse. Next to me my colleague, Benji, does the same except he has the football results up. I glance at him and we both smirk, then put on our professional faces. My manager walks by and my mouse hovers down to my tab again, I’m wondering if I can click and collect it. The trio walk back to my desk.
“O yeah Amy can do that for you, she is our tech girl,” my manager says smiling at the two people she is talking to. “This is Dorian and Lysa.”
I want to roll my eyes, but such actions could get me fired and I have plans to spend money, so I smile genially. The guy, Dorian, is handsome, looks like Tom Hardy my analytical mind points out, the woman, Lysa, standing beside him looks like Yara Shahidi.
I look back down, my finger inching to go back to my page, as I spy Benji who has shrank the footie results to a micro-size, so he can keep reading them.
I get an email from Benji. [You may be the tech genius but I’m the real clever one muwaha]
I burst out laughing then try and style it out as a cough, my manager who has been going on about my skills looks at me in concern as does her companions.
I email Benji a picture of a middle finger. Dorian who has just shifted, glances at my screen sees this and smiles, I am utterly mortified and look at my manager before meeting his gaze, he shakes his head smiling.
Something passes across his features as he stares at me and I am sure I haven’t drawn breath for a solid minute because my mind starts to haze over as I absolutely stare at him. My mind must have short-circuited because I can’t look away and I feel a strange energy build between us.
His companion, Lysa makes a comment and he looks away and so do I. That my face hasn’t caught on fire at how warm it is must be some kind of miracle. I look back at my monitor, my emotions in revolt, I take in a shallow breath, my heart jack hammering in my chest.
I can feel his eyes on me again and I want to look up, but strangely I am afraid, angry at how one look has done so much to me, but clearly some illogical part of my mind disobeys and I lock eyes with him again; electricity erupts between us once more as though by looking away we broke the circuit and our eyes need only meet again before the circuit was complete again.
A part of my brain notes that Lysa looks at him then at me but again I can’t look away for several long moments before sanity returns to me again and I look away.
“So let me get this straight you didn’t go home with or even get his number?” Sedra asked leaning forward from her position on the floor.
The girls had gathered at Sedra’s house to help sort out her ever expanding wardrobe, but it had as usual turned into a gossip session. They were all sat in various parts of Sedra’s beautifully decorated bedroom.
Angie smiled, feeling confident at how well she had hit it off with Donato. Her happiness and new found confidence was less to do with him and more to do with how she saw herself.
“Yeah, I left the bar alone, since Jamie went home with someone,” Angie said.
“I get it,” Savy said with a smile, “you finally learnt how to flirt without being tipsy or drunk first.”
Angie laughed, “basically yeah.”
“Basically?” Jamie said with a laugh, “you lot should have seen her, when I came back from the bathroom she was talking to two different guys at once. I’ve never been prouder of you Angie,” Jamie raised her cup filled with her favourite smoothie in the air and the other girls followed.
“To Angie, better late than never!” Sedra said.
Angie laughed along with them, then turned to Sedra.
“So where are you taking me?”
They all laughed.
“I’m Riley,” the American said.
“Donato,” his friend said softly with the barest hint of an Italian accent.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Alana Jameson, but everyone calls me Jamie,” Jamie said with an easy smile.
“Angelina,” Angie said feeling a little shy by the focused look Angelo gave her.
“Beautiful names for beautiful women,” Riley said, then laughed as Jamie gave him a look, “sorry that was over-kill, I said I wanted to experience London, but the only who was free was Don here, he’s from Italy –”
“You thought; close enough,” Jamie said with a laugh.
“Don’t judge but I thought since he is European he must know something,”
“That’s not even acceptable.” Jamie said shaking her head.
Riley laughed, “well what can you do? Not every day can be spent at some small pub in Camden listening to Unity Five –”
“I love that band!” Jamie said leaning forward a little.
“So underrated!” Riley and Jamie said together and they launched into a discussion about how great fringe bands were.
“I guess we should leave them,” Angie said taking a quick sip of her drink as she and Donato moved down the bar together.
Angie took another sip from her drink and tried to remember the promise she had made to herself; she took a deep breath and relaxed her posture before she leaned her hip against the bar and looked directly at Donato before engaging him in conversation.
The conversation was a little stilted at first as they asked the preliminary background questions, but it started to flow better after a few moments and Angie realised that it wasn’t because he wasn’t interested, he seemed almost shy of her and usually Angie would laugh of such a notion, but almost thirty minutes into their conversation she caught her reflection in the mirror at the bar, it wasn’t just that her back was straighter and she looked chic in the clothes her friends had picked for her, it was the look in her eyes there was a confidence there that she hadn’t noticed before.
“I can’t believe you dragged me here,” Angie said on a hushed whisper to Jamie.
Jamie shrugged completely unconcerned, she looked amazing as usual and she was getting numerous admiring glances from all the men in the bar, and there were a lot of men.
The women had all dressed up and despite what she had promised herself earlier she felt intimidated. The flirting that was going on was borderline aggressive, there was hair flicking, light touching and girly laughs sounding all around the intimately lit bar.
“It’s like –”
“A competition,” Jamie finished as she walked confidently to the bar and ordered two drinks, “two strawberry daiquiris please,” Jamie said to the bartender before turning back to Angie, “Angie darling, this is a fierce battle, there are no trophies here for participation, if you want something you need to take it by the bulls and I’m talking literally.” Jamie said laughing.
Angie gave her a look as Jamie winked.
“Why not? You are single and need I remind you a virgin,” Jamie said on a whisper.
“I know,” Angie said petulantly, “everyone keeps –”
“Shhh, remember charming, your gorgeous and amazing show it to them,” Jamie said nodding at two guys who had just walk over.
Angie felt the strange compulsion to down her drink, she felt so nervous in her short dress Sedra had picked out.
“Hey ladies,” a man with dark hair and even darker eyes said, he had an American accent and Angie had noticed that he had at one point been the focus of every women in the bar.
He was well built and exceptionally good looking, so much so that Angie wondered what he was even doing here. He was with a friend who had a slighter build but was equally as handsome but just didn’t exude the same confidence.
“Can we get you ladies a drink?” the American said.
Her eyes snapped up.
“Too personal?” He said and he walked away from the door, still keeping a distance between them, as if he knew she was afraid and didn’t want to startle her, but at the same time moving away from the door.
“I’ve broken into your apartment, your personal space and you…” She shook her head.
He smiled and looked at her and she felt a blush hit her cheeks.
“So, I should go.” She said slowly.
“And you are welcome to come back –”
“Really? Just like that?” She said taken aback by how easy going he was taking everything.
“Sure, though I don’t think you need to lose any more weight Olivia, but then I’ve always thought you looked perfect.” He said with a shrug.
He said it so casually, something so personal, so intimate, like he had known her for a while, like they always spoke like this.
Olivia blinked, not sure what to do with herself or the compliments, she looked up at him; his eyes were so brown, like deep mahogany. He saw too much and for once the news didn’t disturb her.
“Well erm, thank you.”
“For the compliment or for letting you use my place?” He said cocking his head to the side.
“Your quite forward, Isaiah.” She said and noted his surprise at her using his name.
“And you didn’t answer my question Olivia.” He said with an easy smile, everything he did seemed effortless, even his posture, his arms loosely folded one long leg kicked casually over the other.
Olivia found herself smiling.
“For both,” She said before leaving.
It had been almost two weeks since Farid had seen Andi, even though he had looked for her every day.
“Hey!” A voice said behind him.
Farid turned around in surprise.
“Where have you been hiding?”
Andi smiled her hands full of files, she seemed like she was about to fall over from the sheer weight of it.
“I have a new job.” She said a little breathlessly, still struggling with the files.
“Here let me help you.” He said bending to relieve some of her burden.
“So we probably won’t be bumping into each other anymore.” She said softly.
“That’s a shame I always enjoy our morning chats.” He paused as they stared at each other, “You know I owe you dinner” he said following her to her door.
“That’s okay, really fine.” She said breathlessly struggling to open her door.
“No I insist.” He said holding her gaze for a moment, “I’ll pick you up at eight on Friday.” He smiled as she nodded.
“So what do you do?” he asked making himself comfortable on her couch.
Andi stared at him for a moment before answering. The entire thing felt so utterly surreal yet there was realness to his questions and his character, he was so normal, it made everything worse, if she had found him to be rude or standoffish then that might have been better. Andi hadn’t realised that so much time had passed; it was almost seven when she heard a knock at her door.
“That must be Penny” Farid said getting up to answer her door.
A beautiful woman, that Andi had seen a few times walked in, she had stylishly cropped short brown hair, and had on a lovely black pencil dress, that hugged her petite figure.
“It’s tiny in here” she announced as she looked around, her high heels clicking loudly on the wooden floor.
Andi stood up, disliking who had to be Farid’s fiancé immediately.
“Penny don’t be so rude” Farid said giving his fiancé a look “Andi this Penny she’s my –”
‘Your fiancé’ Andi thought, she sighed, this was typical of her liking a guy that was already taken by some beautiful, no doubt successful albeit rude woman.
“Thanks Andi” Farid said, he was in front of her all of a sudden, taking her breath away, why did he have to be so handsome?
“It’s okay” she said looking up into his beautiful eyes that appeared to be green in the light.
He seemed like he was about to say something when Penny interrupted, reminding him that they needed to go and sign some documents.