Chapter 2 When morning tea was over, Kayley and I walked back to our area of the office. “Do you want to have lunch with us? We don’t do anything special, just gasbag in the break room while we eat and maybe go for a walk, and do a bit of shopping in Pitt St. It would be great if you could come,” she offered.
“I really would love to,” I answered genuinely, “but I am actually going out to lunch with a friend today.”
“Ok, never mind, maybe another time then,” she said as she sat down at her desk, and I continued on to the library.
I managed to work steadily until lunch and was excited to grab my bag and get out of the office for a while to have lunch with my best friend David, we have known each other our whole schooling lives and are both studying together at Uni. He was the one that had the idea of getting entry jobs in law firms while we were at university to get our foot in the door. He works a couple of blocks away from me as a filing clerk, so we figured meeting for lunch would be a great way to celebrate us both working now.
Just as I was about to leave the library I was held up by one of the solicitors asking me where a particular book was, it wasn’t in the library, so I had to chase it down. In truth, it only took about ten minutes, but I was feeling really bummed that I was then running late to meet David.
I rushed towards the lifts and could see the doors starting to close of a cab that was on its way down, so I ran for it – jumping through the shrinking gap before it got too small for me to fit through.
“Whoa Indiana Jones! I think you left your hat out there!” said the only other person inside the elevator. I sucked in my breath when I noticed it was Elliot. He was leaning against the side of the car smiling his sexy and very amused grin at me. He seemed really friendly – a stark contrast of the stoic man I'd met earlier that day. I actually looked over my shoulder to check he was talking to me. Seeing no-one else, I responded with raised eyebrows.
His brilliant blue eyes were dancing as he clarified, “You know - Indiana Jones? He just makes it under a door and then reaches back for his hat?” I shook my head, and he laughed putting his hands on either side of his head like his head might explode. I gulped as I noted the curve of his bicep through his shirt, “Oh my god! I can’t believe you haven’t seen that!”
I shrugged my shoulders and offered, “Sorry?”
He was still laughing as shook his head, “No worries; it's just a classic film – you should watch it some time.”
“I’ll be sure to put that on my to-do list,” I told him.
“You should,” he put his hands in his pockets and focused on the numbers as they counted towards the ground floor.
Standing close to Elliot, I noticed his height – I guessed he was around 6’3” as he was just a notch above me in my low heels. Gorgeous and tall, I was practically a puddle at his feet. I could feel my body humming with attraction. It felt like there was some sort of force that was trying to pull me towards him. I wondered if he was feeling it too as images of him hot, sweaty and naked flashed through my mind. Don’t think like that! I chastised myself, not wanting to fall prey to my hormones and make a fool of myself.
Despite the 'no dating' rule stating that I shouldn’t act on my attraction, I didn’t have time for men in my life. I had recently gotten out of a relationship and had no inclination to start another one – I needed to focus on my sport, my studies and my work; which I thought was more than enough for one girl.
“How’s your first day going?” his rumbling baritone invaded my thoughts and snapped me to attention.
“Huh? Oh, Not too bad!” I answered quickly, “just trying to figure my way around.”
“It’s not so hard. The office is really just a big circle, if you keep going eventually you’ll work out where you are,” he said as the elevator doors chimed open. “I’ll see you around Katrina. That was a pretty cool elevator entrance, it made my day,” he beamed at me, and I blushed uncontrollably.
He lifted his hand in a wave as he left. I lingered back in the elevator bay and shamelessly watched him walk away until David placed his head next to mine.
“Who are we looking at?” he whispered.
I blinked away my erotic thoughts of Elliot and turned to David. “Nobody,” I answered coyly.
“Nobody huh? I wish you looked at me like I was nobody then. I wouldn’t mind doing whatever was in your mind making your cheeks all pink like that,” he teased.
I swatted him on the arm. “Get your mind out of the gutter and come and get lunch with me. We've lost 15mins already.”
“As you wish my dear Trina,” he said wiggling his eyebrows up and down comically, he took my arm and linked it with his as we set off across the street to the nearest food court and have a quick chat and an even quicker meal.
David’s usually pretty popular with the ladies, and I noticed a few girls from my office in the food court looking at him with interest. In my heels, he’s the exact same height as me. He’s pretty easy on the eyes, with sandy blond hair and blue eyes that crinkle shut when he smiles his dashingly dimpled smile. Many a girl has fallen prey to that smile of his, and it has gotten him both in and out of trouble more than once. He is fairly fit, with a lean and wirey build with broad shoulders and a small waist. Occasionally, he trains with me, always holding his own fitness wise.
His features are fairly similar to my own. We're often mistaken for brother and sister, second only to being mistaken for a couple - something that neither of us really wanted to cross the line into; a good thing for our friendship as David tended to have a new girl on his arm every week, and I tended to be more of a long term relationship kind of girl.
“So, are you going to tell me who that guy was you were perving on before?”
I rolled my eyes, knowing that if I didn’t tell David he would tease me mercifully until I gave up the information, “It was Elliot. He's the office ‘hottie’ that all the girls drool over.”
“How about you? Are you all of the girls? Because that’s what it looked like to me.”
“He’s hot yeah, and I admit that I was perving but I'm not going to make a fool of myself going after some guy I can’t have.”
“Who says you can’t have him?”
“Um! The fact that there is an office full of gorgeous girls in there, and he hasn’t dated one of them,” I said all indignant.
“Maybe he’s gay?” countered David.
“No, I don’t think so. There’s a 'no dating' policy.”
“That sucks! Where’s the fun in that?”
I laughed at this. “We can’t all be Mister Sex in the Filing Room with the Receptionist!”
“Hey, I’m all about the pleasure,” he said with a cocky half grin on his face.
“I don’t know how you get all of those girls to sleep with you, if they knew you like I do they’d run a mile.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah that’s so,” I told him only half-seriously. Truthfully, I thought that any girl that could hold David’s interest for more than ten minutes would find herself a very lucky woman.
He laughed and threw his scrunched up napkin on his tray and looked around the food court, watching the people moving around us. I turned my thoughts inward for a moment before bringing the subject back to me again.
“All joking aside David, I still don’t think I’m ready to start dating yet.”
His face went sombre as he returned his attention to me. “I know you’re not Trina,” he reached across the table and squeezed my hand. “I’m sorry for teasing you about Elliot. I wasn’t thinking.”
I blinked back the emotion that was suddenly prickling the back of my eyes.
“It’s fine. You didn’t do anything wrong. I’m the one that needs to let go and move on,” I took a deep breath and put a smile on my face, pulling my hand away from his. “Besides, a bit of harmless perving on a guy I can’t have seems pretty safe to me.”
David looked at me with an assessing gaze, “There’s no guy on this earth you couldn’t have Katrina. You don’t give yourself enough credit,” he cleared his throat and pushed his chair back, assuming the usual jovial persona that he likes to present to the world. I felt sure that his mother, and myself were the only ones who ever got to see David being serious.
“Well,” he said. “I hate to leave the company of a beautiful woman, but I need to get back.”
Flicking my hand down, I said, “Oh! That’s what you say to all the girls!” in a mock sexy voice.
He shrugged and smiled at me as he started to walk away with his tray, he seemed to remember something and paused mid turn, spinning slightly on his heels before turning to face me again. That’s when I noticed something, “Are you wearing hi tops?” I commented, surprised to see them sticking out of the bottom of a pair of dark grey dress pants.
He gave me a half smile that showed his dimple on only one side, “What can I say – they’re comfy…Hey, you want to hit the town on Friday night? We haven’t been out in the city for ages,” he asked.
“I do, but I have to go to drinks at work for a bit beforehand. The social committee chick was pressuring me so it seems pretty important - I will have a drink there and then meet up with you, ok?”
“Sure, I’ll email or text you so you know where to meet me.”
“Sounds good,” I said, standing to leave myself. We hugged good bye, giving each other a cheek kiss before we headed off to our respective jobs.
The lift was more crowded on my way back up to the office; the snooty receptionist was in there with Elliot’s PA, Beth as well as maybe ten other people from other floors.
The receptionist turned to me and said, “So was that your boyfriend I saw you having lunch with?”
I frowned and looked at her, not understanding how we went from frosty glares to questions about my personal life so quickly – I didn’t even know her name.
Taking my frown for incomprehension, she repeated herself slowly, “I said – was… that… your… boyfriend?”
“I heard you,” I replied. “I’m just not clear on why you’re asking me.”
She narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips while she exchanged glances with Beth. Beth smiled charmingly, in her stiletto heels, she was a half a head shorter than I was, her skin was creamy and flawless; she looked like a porcelain doll with large hazel eyes, full lips and a heart-shaped face. She was dressed impeccably and had a very slim build, looking like she just stepped out of a magazine ad.
“Let’s try this again,” she said. “Hi, I’m Beth, and this is Bianca.” She held out her hand to shake mine, and I reluctantly took it.
“Katrina,” I said cooly, not at all comfortable in this situation.
“I’m Elliot’s PA and Bianca, as you probably already know is the receptionist.”
I nodded, confirming I did indeed, already know.
“Forgive Bianca, she just saw you with a guy at lunch time and was wondering who he was. No harm intended.”
“I’m sure,” I said warily, there was something about these two that set my internal alarms off. I didn’t like them. “To answer your question - no, he’s not my boyfriend.”
“Oh, so he’s your brother?” Bianca probed.
“Why is this so important to you?” I asked, willing the lift to travel faster so I could escape this conversation.
“Just curious - he’s a good-looking guy, I wanted to know if he was fair game; That’s all,” she said challenging me with her eyes.
I narrowed my eyes a little. “He’s not my brother or my boyfriend, and I don’t discuss his ‘game'. It's none of my business.”
Beth and Bianca once again exchanged glances as the elevator opened, and I was granted the freedom to walk straight back to my desk instead of continuing a conversation with those two.
I’m not stupid and I knew Bianca was interested in David, but I’m not his pimp. I don’t do set ups – he’s perfectly capable of finding girls on his own.
I let out an exasperated sigh as I plonked down onto my chair. Happy to move on from the elevator interrogation, I checked my emails and started sorting through my 'in' tray again.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, but I was happy to go home even if that meant enduring the million and one questions my mother was going to ask me about my first day.
“How was it?” she asked the moment I stepped through the front door. I swear she must have been staking it out.
“It was alright, busy and a little overwhelming but ok.”
“Did you meet any new people?” she asked.
“Of course she did mum! It was her first day and there would have been an office full of people she hadn’t met before!” my older brother chimed in.
I smiled at my mum. I knew she was just excited for me. She had never worked before and found the idea of me working in an office very glamorous.
“I met everyone briefly but clicked fairly well with a small group; they were nice,” I said squeezing her arm. “I’m just going to get changed ok?”
“Did you meet any nice boys?” she asked hopefully.
“Mum,” I replied in warning.
“I just think you should try moving on. Was there anyone there you might like?”
“Get off her back Mum!” my brother called out. “She’s not ready alright.”
“Thank you Tom,” I called out gratefully. My brother was annoying, but at least he stuck up for me.
“You’re welcome. You'll owe me later.”
I rolled my eyes at him and looked at my mother, giving her a tight smile, “Can you leave the ‘boy thing’ alone please. I don’t want to date right now.”
“Yes but if you’d just move on, have a bit of fun, you might forget,” she pleaded.
“I’ve already forgotten, see!” I gave her the biggest happiest smile I could muster.
She smiled back at me, a sadness in her eyes. “Are you going training?”
“Yes, I will just get changed and head out.”
“What does that mean?”
“I just thought we could talk more about your first day.”
“There’s nothing much more to say mum, it really wasn’t that exciting.”
“Get off her back!” my brother yelled again.
“Sorry,” my mum said quietly.
“It’s fine. I just want to get a ride in before I call it a day.”
The front door opened and my dad walked in. “Hello family!” he called out as he did every time he came home.
We all called out ‘hi’ in unison with varying degrees of excitement, “How was your first-day kiddo?” he asked as he walked past me into the kitchen to search the fridge for a cold beer.
“Pretty good – I was just going to get changed to go for a ride.”
“Ok, see you when you get back.”
I went into my room and got changed into my riding gear. I could hear mum telling my dad that she couldn’t understand why he didn’t ask me more questions; 'pretty good’ could mean anything she told him. I couldn’t quite hear what his answer was, but I managed to get out of the house without any further questioning so I could go on my ride.
I loved the peace that training gave me, whether it was going for a run, a cycle, a swim or doing weights, I felt calm when I was working hard. It’s like my brain stopped, and I didn’t have any worries left. It was tranquillity at its best for me.
After a couple of hours I went home, ate, showered, dodged more questions and flopped into bed. I had uni the next day and caught up on some of my readings before I drifted off. I was working Monday, Wednesday, Friday and at university on Tuesday and Thursday as well as training most days. I was really going to have to work hard to keep on top of everything.