She made herself look at him and forced a smile, saying, “Thank you for being so nice to me—-” Although Taylor returned her smile, it was one that didn’t reach his eyes, and her voice faltered.
She watched him take a deep breath, and she bit her lip hard at the sudden urge she had to run away. But then a moment later, the doors opened to her floor, making Vivian almost sigh in relief. “This is me,” she said awkwardly, all the while forcing herself not to just bolt out of the elevator like she wanted.
“And so it is.” Although Taylor’s voice was pleasant, his eyes were intensely focused on Vivian, and a shiver of awareness ran down her spine.
As she turned her back on him and stepped out, fingers suddenly encircled her wrist from behind, and she stiffened. A moment later, Taylor was standing right next to her, his breath tickling her hair as he muttered, “I think it’s time we cleared the confusion and I lay it all out in the open once and for all.”
Vivian’s eyes widened.
“I’m not just being nice when I talk to you and spend time with you, Vivian. I like you. I’m attracted to you, and I want you to go out with me.”
Taylor’s grip on her wrist loosened.
By the time she found the courage to turn around, the elevator doors had closed and Taylor was gone.
Vivian tried to forget Taylor’s surprise admission as she went to the locker room and changed into her second uniform for the day, and surprisingly she succeeded. What her mind still had trouble forgetting was how much of an idiot she had been with the other guy.
This totally proved it, she thought glumly. She had the worst taste in men.
As she tied her hair, she went to check the to-do list for today and saw that she had been assigned to clean the first four floors, which included the lobby. Wheeling her trolley out of the storage area, she headed to the service elevator and upon reaching the lobby, she saw that the crowd in front of the announcement board had already thinned.
Good, she thought. I can just maybe sneak a peek and see what all the ruckus is about.
Parking her trolley on the side, Vivian patiently made her way to the front.
She read the list of names absently, even knowing that she was too unimportant to warrant the bosses’ attention. They probably didn’t even know she existed—-
And then she saw it.
Vivian Day, to report to Human Resources immediately
She tried reading it several times just to be sure she wasn’t imagining it.
That really was her name.
And HR wanted to talk to her?
Walking back to her trolley like a zombie, she wheeled it in front of reception, and ignoring the way the receptionist wrinkled her nose in disgust, she said haltingly, “I saw my name on the list.”
The blonde’s thin brows arched. “Are you certain?”
“I wish I wasn’t,” Vivian mumbled, “but I am. It says I’m supposed to go to HR?” She knew where the department’s office was, but company policy requested every inter-department visit to go through reception for record keeping.
“Your name?” the blonde asked as she reached for the receiver.
The blonde nodded. “Hold on.” Her tone was brusque, but it changed quickly enough when her call pushed through, turning sweet and friendly as she asked if there was an appointment for Vivian Day. When the call ended, she glanced at Vivian and, turning her nose up, she asked, “You know where HR is?”
Naturally, Vivian thought, since I’ve been cleaning the entire building for almost a year now. But since she wasn’t ever the type to make waves, she only allowed herself a small nod.
“They’re expecting you.” The receptionist’s tone had become brusque again.
The receptionist made a show of ignoring her as she turned away from Vivian and started swiping on her phone.
Vivian knew she should be used to it by now, but the truth was…she didn’t think she ever could be. Turning away, she pushed her trolley back towards the elevator, wondering all the while why some people thought her job was demeaning. Was it better she robbed banks instead?
After returning the trolley to the storage area, Vivian went straight to her superior to let the older woman know about HR’s request to see her.
“You’re sure it’s your name you saw?” Beth asked, but her tone was more worried than surprised.
Vivian gulped. “It’s a bad thing, isn’t it?”
“Of course not,” the older woman said quickly. “It’s simply…unusual.”
An idea occurred to Vivian, making her pale as she asked, “Do you think it’s about the…incident?”
After a beat, Beth said firmly, “There is no use jumping to conclusions. Just go and meet with HR and see what they want.”
Right, Vivian thought numbly as she again made her way back to the elevator. No jumping to conclusions, she warned herself. But it was easier said than done, and by the time she did make it to HR, she was an emotional wreck inside and secretly convinced that somehow that man had gotten her fired.