Derek parked a good walk away, so we ended up taking a nice stroll.
“Sorry about the run out,” Derek said, “I just had to get out of there.”
“Katherine seems lovely.”
Derek smiled. “Oh, indeed. A little too involved though. She’s an incredible romantic; anything to do with love, she loves.”
“I think that’s a good characteristic to have.”
“Not when we’re on a…” he looked at me, caught his tongue, and then started again, “friendship dinner thing, it’s not.”
I eyed Derek, wondering if I just made a mistake about agreeing to dinner. To him it could mean something else. To me it was just dinner. Or was I denying it? I made it clear in the beginning though, that it was a strictly ‘as friends’ thing. What if he just agreed to agree? I couldn’t tell where we were at. It was all too weird. Too confusing.
Derek was about to say something when we were closing in on a few hysterical voices. Two guys and two girls were near and huddled around a tall iron fence. The girls were climbing over and out, or in I couldn’t tell, either way, they were both held up by the two guys for support.
“Hurry up, Poppy!” one of the guys said.
“Shut up, Jackson,” she giggled. “I can’t see!” her long brown hair kept falling over her face, and she tried moving it back. I couldn’t tell how tall she was from this angle, but I saw she had hazel eyes and the most gorgeous tanned skin that could only be perfect because it was natural. She looked Asian, but only half Asian. The other half will remain a mystery, at least for now.
“Hold us up. Be careful, Tony,” the other girl said. She had green eyes, almost the same colour as my green eyes, long brunette hair (longer than Poppy’s and therefore, clearly more disobedient), and a bangin’ curvy body, her face peppered with freckles. She was wearing shorts over tights, and a leather jacket; while the other girl wore jeans and a white blazer. A blazer that I think now would need to be sent to the drycleaners after this.
Tony laughed uncontrollably. “Okay, Kat, just hurry up!”
Both guys looked identical, besides the fact that Tony was light-skinned and Jackson was dark. Both muscularly built, and both looking just as smokin’ as the girls.
Derek turned to me with a smile. Our faces lit up at the sight of these people fooling around, and they didn’t even look like the kind of people that did this on a daily basis. I could almost picture their usually legal lives. Once Tony noticed us, he completely lost his attention (and grip) of Kat and she ended up falling flat on her butt, just before his feet. Jackson got distracted and lost his grip with Poppy, she followed not long after. Splat! On the ground, just like that! They all looked too drunk to care about the pain, I’m sure they’ll feel it in the morning though. Both men lost their footing and ended up falling on their butts as well, when that happened they started laughing even louder.
“Kids,” Derek said.
I laughed. “The amount of pain they’ll feel later on…”
“Oh, they sure will.”
We continued walking on (as if we hadn’t just witnessed these people flailing about; and most likely doing something illegal) once we saw that they were beginning to get up. Although the men seemed a little less drunk than the girls, Derek was kind enough to call for a cab before we left, and then notify them when he snagged one.
“It’d be better if they didn’t drive home,” he said.
“For everyone,” I added.
I hadn’t really seen anyone call a stranger, or a bunch of strangers at that, for a cab before. It was really nice of him to do that. As he did he looked like he belonged on the sidewalk of New York City, hailing a cab from Wall Street or something. I wonder where Daniel is right now. Derek was getting chat up by the girl named Poppy and the guy named Tony at the cab. Both of them, and Derek, ended up writing something down on pieces of paper, and then they exchanged.
“Their numbers,” he said, waving the paper in his hand as he walked towards me, “apparently we’re going to become good friends.”
I smiled. “Really?”
“Their words not mine.”
I laughed. “Riddled with alcohol.”
Derek chuckled. “You know it!”
On the way home, Derek started to fill me in on the meeting-slash-party we never really got around to talk about. Apparently, the new creative director is named Jo Ann. A tall, slender woman with short brown hair and blonde ‘bits’ in them, as Derek calls them. She’s been in the business for a very long time, and knows how to work it. She’s married and has one son. She’s considered a nurturer, but when it comes down to it, she works hard and has balls of steel; a much needed trait in this business.
“She’s really nice,” Derek said. “She’s already got some new ideas on sprucing up the place. And a set of interns.”
“She’s wasting no time.”
“I wonder if I could transfer,” I pondered.
Derek chuckled. “Is Eddie really that bad?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, you tell me.”
Derek chuckled again and then sighed. “He definitely wasn’t expecting me. I’m not even sure what my being there did for him.”
“Well, I have to face the music first thing in the morning of that work-day.”
“Good luck to you then.”
I laughed. “Thanks.” I’ll be needing it.
I ended up sleeping for most of the drive. By the time we got to my place, I felt like I entered REM cycle. In my sleep, I heard my name being called from a distance. It became louder and louder and more familiar as it grew. Eventually, I knew it was Derek waking me up, brushing away some of the hair from my face.
“Hey,” he whispered as my eyes blinked open. “You look beautiful.”
Nope. That can’t be good. I smiled as politely as I could, and then started gathering my bag. Derek stopped the engine and got out of the car at the same time I did.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Walking you to your door.”
I rolled my eyes lazily. “Derek get back in the car.”
“Because…” I couldn’t find the right words.
“I’m just walking you to your door. Make sure you’re feeling okay and shit.”
And shit? Okay. That could work. “Fine,” I muttered.
It took all of two seconds to get to the front entrance, can you believe it? Shocking I know.
“Thanks,” I said, smiling with my eyes half-closed.
Unexpectedly I felt warm lips and the light suction of a kiss on my cheek. The sudden spring on me made me open my eyes wider. “Thank you,” he said when he stepped back.
I furrowed my brows. “What was that?” I asked after a moment of silence.
Derek grinned. “What was what?” I narrowed my eyes onto him. He was playing games with me, and it was starting to get to me. “Goodnight, Anna.”
“Goodnight, Derek,” I sighed.
He wandered off, retaining that sly, proud smile on his face, and leaving me in my state of bewilderment. I wonder if everything was exaggerated due to my sleepiness, or this evening was as real as I thought. One thing’s for sure, I met a lot of interesting characters tonight.
When I walked into the advertising agency, I made sure I looked my best and was well-rested. If I was going to get verbally bashed by Eddie I may as well look great while receiving the wrath, right? Just as Eddie had said (ordered or commanded more likely) I went straight for his office.
Alyssa, one of the interns that work with Janet, pulled me aside just a couple steps away. “Firstly, you look amazing, who’s your stylist?” she laughed. Her joke made me loosen up a bit and I was really grateful for that. “Second of all, I heard Eddie is pretty mad at you. He’s throwing a bitch fit as we speak.” I laughed again.
Alyssa was a tiny but curvy girl, with white as rice skin and light blonde hair that was just below her shoulders. She was interning as a graphics designer at the advertising agency, something that she is really passionate about. Only twenty-three and already working at her dream job? Lucky her!
“I don’t want to say it sounds bad,” Alyssa said, “but it sounds bad.”
“I don’t know what to tell you, dude, shit happens.”
“Well get ready, sugartits, because shit is about to happen as soon as you walk through that door.”
I scrunched my face. “Sugartits?”
Alyssa nodded. “Yeah, it’s a new thing I’m trying out on people.”
“Sounds like something a pimp would say.”
Alyssa snickered. “I think I actually heard a pimp say it in a movie or something. Ain’t that something?”
“I’m starting to freak out,” I breathed.
Alyssa grabbed my shoulders. “Ride long, ride proud, ride strong.”
Alyssa nodded. “Keep ridin’.”
I took one long inhale, and another similarly long exhale. I fixed myself up, looked at Alyssa for approval, and then trudged my way into the lion’s den.