I know I should’ve asked about the whole half-proposal when Daniel woke up, but I decided that if he wasn’t going to bring it up, then I should let it go, too. I didn’t even consider it much of a proposal anyway. He was high. He was loopy. Would you?
I did indirectly ask him if he remembered anything before he slept. All he remembered was the dinner, Jenny and her friends from the block, and the next moment, he was asleep. So, I left it.
We went on perfectly after that. Except after I woke up I had a splitting headache, and I had to get to work in like an hour. I hurried up and eventually got there on time for the morning meeting in the conference room. Richard was nowhere to be found, thankfully, as I was in no mood for his bullshit.
“…alright, one last thing,” Phil said, our high up executive in charge of this department in publishing, “we’ve had a wonderful year of book sales with little to no casualties. I want to thank you all for working so hard and getting us through 2015!” People woo-ed and I smiled, but the sharp sounds were making my brains rattle. “So, to end, I hope everyone can make it to the Christmas-slash-New Year’s work party next week.”
As we fanned out, I sluggishly walked to my cubicle. Normally, I’m much more excited and keen for a party, especially my first one at my first real job in New York City, but the aftershock of last night was weighing down on me like a brick shed house.
“Eww you don’t look so good,” Noelle scrunched her nose at me.
I lifted my heavy lids. “Gee thanks.”
Noelle shrugged. “Sorry.”
“Hey,” Leo jumped in, “you guys seen the new guy?”
“Nope, not yet,” Noelle said.
I furrowed my brows. “What new guy?”
“Justin,” Leo said. “They just hired him.”
“At the end of the year?” I mumbled.
I stood up from my cubicle to peer overheard, and far off was a small crowd of people blocking the new guy.
“Come on, let’s go say hi,” Noelle said.
“I’m really not in the mood to introduce myself,” I moaned.
Noelle rolled her eyes. “Don’t be rude. You look fine. Let’s go.”
Noelle and Leo power walked while I waddled behind them. Eventually, I sifted myself through the crowd to find Justin, a black-haired, stomach churner. He was so hot, he looked like he was supposed to be a model, not in publishing. He had jet black brows, shaped and thick enough to perfection, with a pointed nose, strong chin, and almost black eyes. Everything made him look like a vampire, down to his black and white suit and the way he carried himself with confidence, not to mention his pale skin.
“Hi,” he held out his hand, snapping me out of my reverie. “I’m Justin.”
“Hannah,” I huffed, distracted.
I shook my head. “Anna, I mean.”
Justin smiled, white canines sharp and prominent. “Anna. Nice to meet you. You work with…?”
“D—David,” I cleared my throat. “I’m his assistant.”
We got to talking about the superficial stuff before the crowd dispersed, including me. When I went to get a latte later on (light soy, cinnamon latte), he was in the kitchen as well.
I grinned widely. “Hey.”
“Oh, hey, how’s it going?”
“I should ask you the same thing.”
He tilted his head this way and that. “Pretty easy sailing. Although, it’s probably because I only just got in, at the end.”
I shrugged. “You never know. Are you going to the party next week?”
“Oh, definitely. You?”
I nodded. “Definitely. I just have to find something to wear.”
“Oh,” he straightened up from leaning on the counter, “I can help you with that.”
“What?” I asked, confusedly.
“I’m good with picking out outfits,” he appraised me. “I can find the perfect dress to show off your ass, your boobs, your sexy legs, everything! But in a nice, classy way.”
I shifted uncomfortably. “Umm…”
Just when I was about to refuse, he interjected. “Oh, don’t worry, I’m gay.” He laughed.
I laughed with him. “You might want to open with that before you start drooling at the mouth over a girl.”
“Ha! Sorry,” he grinned. “Anyway, want to go on our break?”
I nodded. “Yeah, okay.”
Once break arrived, we hit a little boutique full of simple, but classy dresses I was dying to try. Black ones were glittery, midnight blues, satin pinks and reds, it was the perfect place to shop.
“What do you think of this one?” I asked, putting on a strapless pink one.
Justin scrunched his nose. “Don’t like it.”
I hopped into the change room and put on a red one. “I think this might be too flashy.”
“It’s nice. But no.”
I laughed and hopped in again. My zip got caught and I couldn’t pull it down, I was struggling so hard and long I heard, from the outside, “You okay in there?”
“Ugh,” I puffed, “the damn zip won’t budge and I’m scared to break it.”
“Need a hand?”
I sighed. “Yes, please.”
Yes, the change room was big enough to fit two people without sweating each other out. I lifted my arm up and watched as Justin, with concentration set in his eyes, pulled on the zip. Up and down, up and down, he went, until finally, he zipped me down.
“Ugh, thanks,” I breathed.
Without thinking, I took the dress off and put another one on while he was in here, watching me. “Sorry,” I mumbled. He didn’t care. “What do you think of this one?” I asked, standing back so he can appraise me.
He put a hand on his chin. “Hmmm, I don’t really like it. Try the black.”
I turned around and shimmied out of the dress, Justin watched my every move, and it was weird. I’m now starting to realise gay guys being icky about female bodies was just a stereotype. Turns out, they’re totally fine with it! Yup, my one and only focus group was Justin, but who cares. Paul is totally fine with bras and things.
“Now, what do you think, and it better be good,” I warned.
Justin laughed. “It looks great.”
I turned around and stared at myself in the mirror. It was a really short black dress with a little mesh hanging from the hem, elongating it, but not entirely covering my ass.
“Are you sure this is appropriate for work?” I asked.
“It’s a work party. It’s fine. You look great.”
He tilted his head and lifted a brow. “Oh, yeah.”
“Alright, I’ll get it.”
Justin and I departed when we returned to the office, and once I reached my desk, Noelle asked me about the bag.
“I got a dress for next week,” I explained. “Justin even helped me pick it out.”
She angled her brows in confusion. “Justin?”
“Yeah, he totally helped me pick out a dress. He was in the change room with me practically the whole time.”
“It’s fine.” I leaned in and whispered lowly. “He’s gay.”
“Say what now?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. “At first I didn’t think he was, even in the slightest, but turns out—”
“He’s not gay, Anna.”
I fell quiet, thrown a little off guard. “What?”
She tapped on her phone. “I found his Facebook and Instagram page and he’s totally not gay.”
She showed me pictures of him with tons of girls, doing what guys do. His bio read like a dating profile for psychotic nymphos.
“This doesn’t prove anything,” I said, heat prickling the back of my neck.
Noelle rolled her eyes. “He just told Leo, who just told me, about a threesome he had with, you guessed it, a couple of girls.”
“Maybe, he’s just…” I started, trying to find any other reason other than that he lied to me just to see me half-naked. Then, I shrieked, “That son of a bitch!”
Half the office turned around and the buzz of conversation dipped low for a split second. I smiled and lowered my head, reaching around for Noelle. “That son of a bitch,” I hissed.
“How were you supposed to know?” Noelle shrugged, trying to ease me from my stupidity.
In all honesty, how was I supposed to know? What was I supposed to do, ask for proof? Is there a gay man’s ID, riddled with rainbow glitter? I don’t think so. By the way, that actually sounds like something Donald Trump would come up with and implement in his presidency.
“You know what? He wants to play? Then let’s play.”
“What are you going to do?” Noelle asked.
I pulled out my phone and texted Paul: ‘You free this weekend?’
“Payback’s a bitch, because I’m going to set him up on a blind date!”
Note to self: don’t set up a meeting with your real estate agent an hour and half after work. Chances are, you’re not going to make it on time.
Daniel and I bolted around his place trying to appear semi-presentable before setting out. I should have just told him to meet me there after work but I wanted to change first to make myself appear well off. Instead, as we rode in the cab, I looked frazzled.
When we hit the apartment building we jumped into the elevator and I was secretly wishing Supergirl would push against the resistance much faster. I was puffing and sweating in my jumper, coat and jeans. What the hell was I thinking? I looked like I just went hiking in the Sahara desert.
“Hey, are we going to talk about it?” Daniel asked, holding my hand.
“About the apartment? I thought I already told you?”
Finally we arrived in front of the door and I knocked, hearing voices inside.
“No, I mean, about what I asked you while I was high last night?”
I turned to him with a face tomato red and a sheepish smile. “Uhhh…”
The door flew open and our agent stood before us. Her blonde hair was pulled into a tight bun and she wore pointed, cat eye glasses that somehow didn’t make her look beyond the age of forty.
“You’re thirty-seven minutes late,” she hissed.
“I know! I know! My fault,” I admitted. “Can we please see the apartment? Pretty please, it won’t happen again.”
I begged and pleaded, because if Daniel and I weren’t distracted by the apartment I knew we’d have to talk about last night. And I wasn’t entirely ready for that yet.
“Oh, alright,” our agent said, “come on in.”
I sighed with relief and walked in, immediately bumping into a woman.
“Oh, shit, sorry!” I said, real classy, my hair frizzy and flying over my face. I tried sweeping the flyaways back.
“It’s okay. I’m okay,” the woman giggled. She was about my age, blonde and tanned even though there wasn’t a ray of sunshine out.
“Everything alright babe?” I heard a voice coming from behind her. Footsteps approaching.
“Yeah, we’re cool,” she said, turning in the direction behind her. She stroked her silky blonde hair with a hand encasing a rather large engagement ring. As much as I liked to avoid it, it was staring right at me in the face. Thanks, universe!
“You good?” Daniel asked, holding me at the waist to pull me closer.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m good,” I panted, sounding like I just came back from running the marathon.
I was fixing myself up when I heard my name. It wasn’t Daniel that called it, but Adam.
My heart dropped and I furrowed my brows. Great, I looked like a confused hobo that hadn’t showered for days. “Adam? W—What are you doing here?”
“We’re shopping,” he said, wrapping his arm around the woman. “What are you doing here?”
“S—Same.” I flickered my eyes between Adam and the new girl. “You’re engaged?”
“Married, actually,” Adam corrected.
“We’re getting the ring resized,” the woman said, proudly grinning. “Umm, how do you guys know each other?”
“We used to be good friends,” Adam said, and then he cleared his throat.
“What the fuck?” I breathed, still fixated on the fact that ADAM IS MARRIED!
“I’m sorry?” the woman asked with a smile, bringing her ear towards me.
I shook my head for a quick recovery. “Oh, I said, hutchum…good…luck.” I cinched my nose, not even I was convinced.
“Oh,” the woman said. “Thank you?”
“No, no, thank you.” I started backing away. “Thanks for everything. Nice seeing you,” I swung my arms. “Thank you. Thank—” I turned around— “Yoooouuuuuu!!” and smashed into our agent holding up a tray filled with champagne in champagne flutes.
The agent glared at me, like she was trying to kill me with her mind.
“Sorry,” I squeaked.
After a moment, as I was walking over shattered glass, further crushing the assortment beneath my feet, Daniel smiled at the agent and nodded politely. “Thank you, but we’re not interested.”
I guess he figured to reject her before she rejected us.
“Time for a new agent,” Daniel muttered in my ear, trying to elevate me from my humiliated mood.
I appraised myself and eyed Daniel. “Time? What is that? I clearly have no concept of it!” I did the robot at each word.
“Umm…” Daniel said, staring at me in bewilderment.
Hello, I’m crazy, and you are?