I put my face in my hands and groan as my sister comes in the kitchen. “Dani, leave him alone.”
“What? I think it’s romantic.” She sighs dreamily.
“What if this is less like one of your stories and more like one of mine?” Renee says as she pulls Danielle in close and kisses her neck.
“You mean instead of them falling in love and having lots of dirty sex, he murders her and then goes on the lam until a badass female detective finds him?”
“Badass British female detective,” Renee corrects.
“Right,” Danielle agrees as they both turn and face me then pretend to scrutinize me like I could really be either of these options. “He does have the jawline of a serial killer.”
“You know, I didn’t come here to suffer this kind of abuse.”
“Oh, but you did.” Renee fills my coffee mug up and then her own. “But we really don’t have time to decide for certain. We’re meeting with Garret Global in an hour and I need to call the staffing agency today to replace Oscar in IT.”
“He moved, right?”
“Yeah, his wife had the baby and they wanted to be closer to family. Now we’ve got this vacant spot and I want it filled quickly.”
“I need to go pick up the file.” I wipe away some nonexistent crumbs off the counter and then stand up.
“Why don’t you just sign it digitally and we’ll print it at the office?” Renee comes around the counter and grabs her bag.
It takes me a second before I come up with a good excuse. “I made a few notes.”
She sighs because it’s not unlike me to tinker with a contract until the final second. “Fine. Meet me there. I’m not going downtown at this hour.” She grabs Danielle and I look away as I walk to the entrance of their apartment.
I hear the two of them whisper and Danielle giggle before my sister comes to the front door to meet me.
“Ready?” she asks me, and I nod.
We get downstairs and just before we get in separate cars, I call out to her, “You gonna drop that ring on her finger or am I?”
She scowls at me and I shrug. “She’s the one, Nee. Stop messing around.”
Renee gets in the back of the car without the help of her driver and I hear the door slam. I laugh as I get in my own car and then tell my driver to go to my place.
I’ve been trying not to think about Erin being in my place, and what it’s going to be like to meet her for the first time. I’m also trying not to get my hopes up, but I think it’s too late.
I talked to security last night and told them to call me the second they arrived. It was so late that I know going over now will probably wake her up, but I can’t wait. If I don’t do it now, I might not get the chance. What if she doesn’t need to stay there another night? What if she goes back to her place and that’s it? It’s my only chance and I’m not going to miss it even though it could be nothing at all. Maybe the way I feel when I think of her is my own desperate desire for companionship. I can’t help but envy Renee and Danielle when I see how happy they are. I shouldn’t put stock into meeting a complete stranger and it meaning anything, but somehow this feels different.
I realize we’ve been sitting at the curb for a long moment and I was sitting here trying to prolong the moment before my imminent disappointment.
“Thanks,” I call to him as I exit the car and go into my building. When I go inside, the doorman is different than the one on night shift, so talking to him won’t yield any results. Not the ones I’m really looking for. Was she shaken up? Was anyone else with her? Why does she smell like heaven on earth?
When I get to my floor I’m nervous as I take out my key and unlock the door. I’m not exactly quiet about it because I want her to know someone is here. I shut the door a little too loud, hoping she’ll wake up if she hasn’t already.
I walk into my place and see the file sitting on the table right where I left it. I walk over and grab it then glance around. There are two bags by the front door that don’t appear to have been opened. Both are pretty big and I wonder how long she’s planning on staying with her grandmother.
When I walk into the kitchen there aren’t any dishes lying around but I see another hair tie on the counter. This time it’s baby blue and I pick it up and put it on my wrist with the orange one. I don’t know why I have this urge to collect little pieces of her, but it feels like Hansel and Gretel leaving me breadcrumbs.