“The colour is starting to fade,” Ahly said, pulling at a strand. “It’s so hard to keep up bright red.”
“The girl that played Lola in Run Lola Run didn’t wash hers for like seven weeks or something,” I told her. “Milla Jovovich did the same in The Fifth Element.”
Ahly narrowed her eyes. “Who?”
“Oh, one is a foreign film and the other is a—”
Toby slammed a couple of books on the shared desk, rattling our monitors. “Can you believe this!?” He pointed at the books. “I studied historical literature, manuscripts, first printings; the greats, Vonnegut, Bronte, Heller, Orwell; vintage books, modern classics, and these pieces of shit is what the world wants!?” He scoffed, deflated in his seat. “I give up on humanity.”
Ahly grabbed one book from the pile, reading the title before turning the cover to me. “Fifty Shades. Otherwise known as—”
“Grab her by the wet pussy?” Toby interjected.
Ahly and I coughed awkward laughs. “Chillax Trumptastic Jr., all will be well.”
I grabbed another book. “Anna Todd.”
“One direction fan-fiction,” Toby said, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. “I keep suggesting these great stories to the boss and he keeps blowing them off. Finally he sits me down and gives me these books.”
“Chick-lit,” I shrugged.
Toby shook his head. “No, chick-lit I don’t have a problem with. It’s bad chick-lit that’s bad; no, worse, popular, bad chick-lit. Like, are we trying to destroy the world?
“I don’t know,” Ahly said before nudging her chin at me, “what do you reckon, Captain Planet?”
I smiled. “I know you think this is bullshit,” I said to Toby, “but if you just keep at it, churn out the books that grab the big money, then maybe the boss will lay off you a little more. Then, you’ll get more control on the things you want to pick out, and he’ll trust your opinion enough to go with it.”
“I guess,” Toby mumbled. “I don’t know, man. I need to grab a drink or something. Anyone up for it?”
“Middle of the day?” I asked.
“Oh! Me, me,” Ahly’s hand shot up and she started pointing at herself.
“Anna?” Toby asked.
“Count me out. Boss still loves me,” I teased.
“Oh, fuck off,” Toby half-smiled.
After Ahly and Toby got back, slightly tipsy I might add, my stomach decided to rumble and catch the attention of the two.
“You should’ve come with us,” Ahly said.
“Yeah,” Toby added sleepily, “liquid lunches are the best.”
I put everything in sleep mode and started grabbing my bag. “I don’t even know what I’m in the mood for, but I do know I need more than a liquid lunch. I’ll see you guys later.”
I scanned out of the building and found myself standing on the street and looking at the map on google images to kick start my appetite for something until I started smelling smoke.
“No reception in there?” a man asked, amused.
I turned to find Michael, in his same leather jacket and white shirt, leaning back against the building. “Ugh don’t you have a home to go to Wonderboy?”
He laughed. “Man, you really don’t like me, do you?”
“My God, Sherlock, I think you’ve got it.”
He laughed again, taking a swig. “So be it.”
“What are you even doing here anyway?” I crossed my arms over my chest.
“Your girl’s boy works here, remember?” he pointed with his thumb.
“What, did master put you out?”
He laughed again. “You’re funny when you’re angry.”
“I’m not angry.”
“Uh huh,” he drew in smoke again. “Tell you what. I’ll stop hovering if I get to pick the place you get to eat lunch.”
I shifted my weight from one leg to the other. “You won’t join me?”
“You want me to?” he wriggled his brows.
“Ugh—” I was about to turn and walk away when he started howling at me to turn back.
“Alright, alright, alright,” he raised his hands, pushing off the wall and throwing his cigarette on the sidewalk. “I won’t join you.”
“Done deal, then.”
We barely walked three blocks when we rounded an alleyway where the sun shone less, making it cooler, and a quaint restaurant situated on the side.
“This is it?” I asked.
He nodded. “Easy. They serve pretty good burgers here.”
“Well…thanks,” I said.
He grinned, up close I could see the tattoo peaking at the base of his neck. “You’re welcome.”
He didn’t move, so I just went inside. The place was mostly empty save for a couple of people so I picked a booth and looked at the menu. All I thought about were getting the sides and making my own meal when the bell to the door rang and Michael walked passed and sat in the booth across from me.
I dropped my menu and narrowed my eyes. “You’ve got to me kidding me.”
Michael acted nonchalant. When he spotted me he pretended to be surprised. “Oh my God, what are the odds?”
“Are you being serious?”
“Can I join you?”
“Fantastic,” he stood and sat at across from me in my booth.
“Michael…” I whined, kicking my feet.
“Anna,” he mimicked my voice.
I chuckled. “I hate you.”
“Good, makes things more interesting.”
“Oh jeez,” I rolled my eyes. “I’ve got only an hour to eat lunch.”
“So?” he shrugged.
“So I can’t go anywhere else.”
He shrugged again. “So?”
I dropped my menu. “So you said you weren’t going to join me.”
“Are you going to keep saying ‘so’ until you tire or do you have a purpose?”
“Oh, I won’t tire.”
“Oh, I’m sure.” Arrogant bastard.
He snatched the menu from my hand. “Let me order, I know what’s good here.”
Before I could protest, he shot up to the bar and started ordering away. While up there my phone started buzzing with messages.
‘So sorry!’ Chloe texted. ‘I didn’t mean to do it! Please don’t hate me!’