Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Today's muse: Oh, wouldn't you just like to know!
* * *
A glance out her office window told her that she’d worked too late. Again. The office tower across the road had dark windows which meant that it was at least midnight and the automatic timers had engaged.
Emily turned her wrist, narrowed a look at her watch. Yup. Twelve-fifteen.
She hooked her bag over her arm and walked out to the elevator. Working late was not an anomaly for Emily Grant, so walking through the office in complete silence, flanked by dark offices, didn’t bother her. She rather liked it. There was a general exodus around six o’clock, which made it easier to accomplish tasks that required her undivided focus. By eight, the place was empty. It was bliss.
She pushed through the secure glass doors into the corridor, pressed the down button. She was tired but had accomplished much more than she had expected. The proposal was finished and she could present it to the board on Monday. She was confident they would like her ideas and move to make the changes she was suggesting.
She closed her eyes, took in a cleansing breath, and let it out in a disappointed sigh when she heard footsteps. She knew everyone in her office was gone—had been gone for hours—so whoever was working late was with the investment firm across the hall.
Emily cursed the slow elevator. Now she would have to share the ride with a stranger. Not that she was concerned for her safety. She could look after herself. But she would have to make Small Talk and, dammit, it was too fucking late for that.
“Oh, hey.” Tall and lean, he wore a charcoal suit with a vibrant yellow and orange tie. He carried a leather briefcase. She recalled his name was Frank. He’d introduced himself the first time they’d met at the elevator several months ago. She’d had the hi-how-are-you-nice-weather-we’re-having conversation with him almost every day since then. The mundane had recently shifted to flirting, but it was still late. Not to mention, she had a chardonnay chilling at home that was calling her name.
He grinned at her. “We seem to be on the same schedule.”
She noticed the dimple this time. It softened his look, which was all dark and broody, a little dangerous. God help her, but bad boys had always been her weakness.
He pressed the down button.
“Why do people do that?” Emily asked.
He frowned at her. “Do what?”
“Press the elevator button when it’s already been pushed. The elevator isn’t going to get here any faster if you push the button several times.”
“Yes it will.” And to make his point, he pressed the button once more.
Emily let out a surprised laugh when the elevator chimed its arrival. “Well, it appears you have magic hands.” Oh god! Did she just say that?!
He held his arm out to keep the doors open. “I do,” he murmured as she eased by him.
She licked her lips. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that late. Should she ask him out for a coffee? A drink? More?
Frank’s finger hovered over the service button and he glanced over at her, lifted one eyebrow in question.
No, it wasn’t late at all, Emily thought, and nodded her consent.
Her smile bloomed as the elevator stopped between floors and the lighting shifted to a dim emergency glow.
He pressed her against the elevator wall, pulled her chin down with his thumb. His mouth was hot and greedy against hers, his tongue offering promises.
Oh god, she thought, naughty, naughty boy.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's words: jockey, kindred, lopsided
* * *
It had been a pretty good week, in Amanda’s opinion. She landed the Miller account and collected on receivables that she’d been chasing for six months. Both brought in over six figures. She’d have a quick drink to celebrate, then head home.
She crossed at the light in long strides, despite the narrow pencil skirt and three-inch heels she wore. She’d always thought that stepping into The Master’s was like walking onto a movie set. Walls were trimmed with warm wood. Sofas were covered in dark fabric. Music was quiet and comforting. The place just begged you to sit and enjoy a drink.
As she edged onto the last empty high top, Frank bustled over. “Do you want a table, Amanda?”
She shook her head, set her clutch on the bar. “I came to have a drink.”
Frank—the owner and occasional bartender—nodded. “Rough day?”
“No, actually, a good day. This is a celebration drink. Not a crying drink.”
He beamed a smile at her. “The usual?”
The man next to her leaned over. “I’ve always wanted to go to a bar and order ‘the usual’.”
He was about her age, Amanda judged, wore dark trousers and a linen shirt in robin’s egg blue. The cuffs were rolled a few times, revealing what she judged was a tattooed sleeve on his left arm. His eyes were trusting and danced with laughter. She decided he was harmless.
“In my case, it either means I’m predictable or I drink too much.” She shrugged. “Probably both.”
“That depends. What’s ‘the usual’?” He turned to face her, his body language telling her he not only asked the question, but wanted to know the answer. Okay, she’d play along. After all, he was cute and she was in a dry spell right now.
“Dry Martini. Bombay Sapphire. Neat. Three olives.”
“A kindred spirit.” He nodded his approval. “Stirred, I presume.”
Amanda smiled. The man knew martinis. “Of course. Bond doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Tattoo Boy snorted. “Right. Vodka. As if.” He lifted his glass in toast when Frank delivered her drink. “To a good day.”
She lifted hers in response. “Cheers.”
She jutted her chin at his tumbler. “Scotch?”
He nodded. “Laphroaig.”
He offered his hand. “I’m Sam.”
“Amanda.” She took his hand, pleased with his firm shake. Setting down her glass, she turned his palm. “Calluses.”
His eyes seemed to lose their luster then and he pulled his hand back. “I’m not a desk jockey.”
Instantly contrite, she apologized. “That’s not what I meant. It’s just that, well, you’re wearing that gorgeous shirt and with the ink.” She waved her hand and up and down. “It all doesn’t fit together.” She let her shoulders slump. “What do you do?”
“I’m a mechanic.” Sam all but barked out the reply, as if he dared her to ridicule him.
“Automotive or industrial?” She sipped her drink, could see her response surprised him. “My brother’s a mechanic,” she explained.
That seemed to relax him. “Automotive. And motorcycles for clients that have them.”
“Oh yeah? I’ve been taking my bike to Murphey’s for service, but it’s a little far. Where’s your shop?”
“You ride?” She could see he was stunned by this revelation, but he quickly recovered and smiled. His grin was crooked and showed a small dimple in his right cheek. He was rapidly moving from Cute to Hot.
She smiled. “I have a Triumph America.”
“Nice.” Sam narrowed a look at her. “Wait. You named it, didn’t you?”
She laughed. “Gertrude. It sounds British.” She smiled into her drink, watched him shake his head. “You didn’t answer my question.” She pulled an olive off the skewer, popped it in her mouth.
“What? Oh. Right. My shop’s in Malvern, off Windsor Road.”
He signaled Frank, waved a hand between them, lifted two fingers. “You’ll join me for another.” It wasn’t a question and she found she liked his authority. “What do you need done?”
She gave him a blank stare as her mind raced. Oh, she could think of a lot of things she needed done.
“With your bike,” he clarified.
Oh. Right. “Just regular maintenance. Get it ready to put away for winter. Fuel Stabilizer. Oil change.”
He smiled at her use of the term. “I’ll give you my number. Call me and we’ll set a time for you to come in for an oil change.”
Was he flirting?
“If you want, we can enjoy a ride first. Then I’ll look after,” he sipped his scotch, “...changing your oil.”
Oh, yeah. He was flirting.
She arched one eyebrow. “We’re still talking about motorcycles, right?”
He shrugged, gave her his lopsided grin. “Sure.”