And then Ioniko’s sister was hooking her arm around mine and dragging me to the nearest table, saying, “You have got to tell me everything.”
“Sit,” she ordered with a gesture to one of the vacant chairs, and I found myself meekly obeying even though I was a good three years older than her.
A few moments later, and Kat was back with two steaming mugs of coffee, and I said awkwardly, “Thanks.”
“Aww. You’re shy,” she cooed. “Is it because I might be your future sister-in-law?”
I sputtered on my coffee, heard the other woman choke and giggle, and when I looked up, it was to see Kat brushing a hand over the wet splotches of coffee spit on her blouse.
Oh my God, someone effing kill me now.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry—”
“It’s fine,” she reassured me with a laugh. “You’re totally forgiven…” Her tone became mischievous once more. “As long as you fill me in on the rest.”
Fifty minutes later, and Kat had successfully exploited my shame, and I had somehow ended up telling her everything that had happened so far between Ioniko and me. Strangely enough, she also seemed absolutely gleeful about the way I kept blowing her brother off, and when I was done talking, she told me right away, “You did the right thing, and now…” A devious expression crossed her lovely face. “Let me take care of the rest…”
“But there’s nothing—” To take care of, I ended silently. But there was no point talking out loud since Kat had already given me a little wave and was now walking away.
“I’ll be right back,” she tossed over her shoulder.
The naughty wink that had accompanied her words was a little worrying, but I forced myself to cast all thoughts of it aside and start thinking about more important things like work. Since Sara and I had decided to launch the next batch of side stories in three weeks’ time, this meant I had roughly a week to finish my part of the project.
It took a while to find my groove, but when I did, I typed page after page and only stopped when my stomach sounded growling. I headed to the pantry and was in the processs of draining a cup of noodles in the sink when Ioniko’s sister suddenly popped out from nowhere, and my heart nearly leapt out of my chest.
“Gaaaah.” I quickly righted my hold, with the plastic cup nearly slipping out of my fingers. “You almost cost me my lunch!”
“Forget about lunch and tell me what you think of this guy.”
“Kat!” I half-laughed, half-yelped as she practically shoved her phone in my face.
“Oh, sorry, too close?”
“Even for someone half-blind, yeah.” I flicked a glance at her phone, which indeed showed some guy’s photo. “What is this about?”
“I’m just trying to figure out your taste in guys.”
“And then I’m going to make my brother jealous.”
“Kat!” I nearly lost hold of my noodle cup for the second time.
“It’s going to be fine, don’t worry,” she said reassuringly. “You only have to tell me if the guy is cute or not. That’s all.”
I shook my head. “I really don’t think…”
Kat’s puppy-eyed look proved impossible to resist, and I said with a sigh, “Fine.”
“Great.” She showed me the photo again. “So this guy, cute or not?”
My brows furrowed. “He looks weirdly familiar.”
“But is he cute?”
Kat fished her phone out of my hand, and I started on my noodles as I watched her swipe and click on her phone. When she also seemed to take a screenshot, I asked curiously, “What are you doing?”
“Oh.” What did that even mean?
She gave me her phone back, and on it was a photo of another guy. “How about this one?”
Type. Swipe. Screenshot.
“How about this?”
Type. Swipe. Screenshot.
I frowned. “That guy looks familiar, too.”
“Or maybe not.” It wasn’t like I had any old male friends to forget. My high school was exclusive for girls, and Sara was the only one I had hung out with in college.
“Is he cute though?” Kat insisted on asking.
“I guess.” I was starting to feel bothered about the whole thing, and I couldn’t help feeling relieved when after about twenty more photos, Kat’s assistant had politely butted in to remind Kat about calls she had to make and force her boss back to work.
Safe at last, I thought with a sigh as I returned to my desk. I knew I was being stupid, but just thinking about whether another guy was cute or not made me feel like I was being unfaithful—
Stupid is right, Mathers, I scolded myself, so stop thinking that way.
I glanced up in surprise. The man who had addressed me by my name looked as if he came straight out of a Jane Austen novel, with his longish black hair and aristocratic features…and oh my God.