Oh. Oh, right. That’s today.
Excitement filled me to the brim, leaving my fingers and toes tingling in my state of anticipation. It was happening. My life as a lawyer was finally happening. I was going to do great things. I promised that I was going to solve every case, never back down, never look back. All my sleepless nights of studying, preparing for and acing tests, working three different part-time jobs to help put me through college was finally about to pay itself off.
I joined Alex at the kitchen island, resting my elbows on the dark black granite surface. He placed a plate in front of me with a wickedly handsome smile.
“Help yourself,” he said.
“Thanks,” I mumbled as I picked up the fork sitting next to me to pluck a fluffy pancake up from its pile. “So where are all your other housemates? They going to join in on this feast?”
Alex chuckled, a knowing look in his eye. “I don’t have any. I live alone.”
“You live alone,” I echoed, amazed. “But how do you afford this place all by yourself?”
He winked at me mischievously. “Trade secret,” he teased.
“You’re not secretly a mob boss or something like that, right?”
He threw his head back and laughed, boisterous and confident. I felt myself smiling, his laughter contagious. “No,” he answered, “I promise I’m not.”
“Just full of secrets, then.”
“I like to keep an air of mystery.”
“I think it makes me more interesting. Wouldn’t you agree?”
I snorted, trying to suppress the stupid little giggle that threatened to bubble from my lips. Alex was surprisingly funny. I watched as he reached for the pot of coffee and poured me a mug.
“How do you take your coffee?” he asked.
“Two creams and two sugars, please.”
“You like it sweet, huh?”
“Yeah. I’m not a fan of bitter stuff.”
“Duly noted,” he hummed to himself.
He shook his head. He grinned again, clearly enjoying himself. “Nothing.” He started to eat his breakfast, consisting of a mountain of fluffy scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, a single pancake with a generous bath of maple syrup, and a mug of black coffee. I was keenly aware of the way he watched me, his eyes dark with an intense focus. I could tell he was studying me, tracing my figure with his eyes. He looked deep in thought, doing his best not to look as interested as he did. It wasn’t working. The way he watched had my stomach doing giddy little flips, excited to know that I was the object of his full attention. I had made myself perfectly clear yesterday that I wasn’t looking for anything relationship-wise, but this didn’t seem to stop him from undressing me with his eyes.
In the corner of my eye, I happened to catch the time off of the microwave’s built-in clock. It was 7:45AM.
“Ah, shit,” I hissed. “I’m going to be late.”
I rushed to my bedroom, basically flinging my unpacked suitcase onto the bed. My clothes were a wrinkled mess, but considering the hectic day I had yesterday, who could blame me? I didn’t spend much time throwing together an outfit, slipping into a simple navy work dress. The fabric hugged my body, cinched at the waste with a fabric belt to accentuate my figure. It cut off just above the knee, which I sincerely hoped wasn’t too risqué for my first day at a major New York-based law firm. I managed to find a pair of comfortable black flats, which I slipped on quickly before grabbing my purse which I had left on the floor the night before. I returned to the living room, brushing my mess of curls with my fingers. It was just going to be one of those days where my hair was going to be wild no matter what I tried.
Alex’s eyes catch mine, his lips parted slightly in wonder. He brought his coffee mug up to his lips, attempting to hide his bewildered expression. I did a little twirl, teasing him in kind.
“Do I look okay?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he coughed. He sounded uncomfortable. “Good. Real good.”
I sighed, trying to remain calm. I was so excited I felt like I was about to burst. “Wish me luck,” I said as I rushed out the front door. “We’ll talk more about this whole living situation when I get back.”
“Sounds good,” he called after me. “Good luck!”
* * *
Richardson & Sachs wasn’t difficult to miss. It was a towering building with level after level of glass windows, reaching far beyond what I could see on the street below. I entered the building through the massive rotating doors, immediately greeted by the receptionist in the front lobby.
“Hello,” she greeted. There was a tiny heart-shaped box of chocolates sitting out on her desk, no doubt an early Valentine’s gift from her partner. “How may I help you?”
“I’m Tia. I’m supposed to start today.”