Although you’re welcome to read the post below as a standalone item, it may make more sense if you start at the beginning of the story with Installment 1. Also, fair warning for language.
I shook my head as I put the key in the ignition. I had no idea how Thea was going to get through the day like she was, covered in that soda. Sticky… Cold… Wet… I licked my lips tasting both the soda actually on them and the hope for more later with her. Her. Who knew she was hiding all that under her frumpy clothes? And that bra… Damn that thing screamed trouble. I shook my head again, chuckling, and headed home.
Pulling into my apartment complex, I tried to view it as if I was a stranger. Clean. Open. Well lit. I don’t know why it mattered, but I couldn’t shake the hope that I’d get Thea here tonight after dinner. I knew there was no way I was going to let her pay for dinner. Not after seeing that top plastered to her. Nope. She was going to get the full Nathan Carnahan treatment. And then hopefully the FULL Nathan Carnahan treatment. I smiled at my lame joke, and the fact that it’d clearly been too long. Women can smell desperation a mile away, Carnahan, so get your head in the game.
I pulled my clothes off and jumped in the bathroom for a quick shower. I even grabbed the manual razor I typically left unused in lieu of its more convenient electric friend. No, if I had any hope of getting into Thea’s good graces, I needed to bring it. I made quick work of giving my face a closer shave than earlier this morning, quickly washed, and grabbed a towel. I only had a few minutes left before I needed to head back to the office.
Sitting down in front of my computer, I scrolled through emails when I arrived at one from Ender Williams. I opened it first, my curiosity piqued.
I appreciate the care given today on my project; however, I believe your attention may be better spent on a different area. Although your reputation for ‘closing a deal’ may allow you to insert yourself into various tasks on the sales side; here in analytics, your expertise is not only unnecessary, but unwanted. I thank you for your passing interest, but please ensure it is limited to this afternoon’s misunderstanding.
I blinked. Re-read the email. Blinked again. And smiled. That son of a bitch is jealous. I put my hands behind my head as I leaned back in my chair, stretching. What a pathetic douche. I stood. This definitely required a response in person.
Taking the long way around the floor, I craned my neck to see if I could catch Thea in her office. Who wouldn’t want another look at that top glued to her? Unfortunately, her door was closed and she was on the phone looking out her window. Sighing, I knew waiting for her to turn around would only be creepy, and if the game was to woo her, creepy couldn’t ever be a thought that crossed her mind. I finished my loop at Ender’s desk, folded my arms along the top of his cubby wall, and tucked my chin on top of them.
“So, I guess you didn’t realize your special project requested a second opinion on how successful it might be under your expert eye?”
Ender pulled his ear buds out of his ears, “What?” His face told me to fuck off, but I decided to go with the message actually spoken.
“I said, Thea’s buying me dinner tonight. She insisted after she dumped her lunch on me. Although, I’m pretty sure you saw that part… from a distance… which seems to be your whole schtick. Brooding and distant. Good thing we both know mine is closing the deal.” I winked and whistled airily as I sauntered slowly back to my office.
Christ that felt good.
I wiped my sweaty palms along my thighs again. I emailed Thea to meet me at Che Rosé at 7 for dinner. It was only just now 6:50, but I was a bundle of nerves in anticipation of her arrival. Why? You’re Nathan Fucking Carnahan; you don’t get nervous over chicks. They get nervous over you. Too bad that pep talk hadn’t worked as I stared at myself in the mirror at home and it wasn’t working now.
I felt her before I saw her. I looked up toward the door. She tucked her hair behind her ear on one side as she asked the maître d’ to find our table. My father taught me long ago to ensure you arrived before your date. “It shows good manners and allows you to get your wits after first seein’ ’em.” I could hear Dad’s voice now.
My eyes traveled down dangling diamond earring, her ear still visible from her nervous hair tuck, down her neck. My Adam’s Apple bobbed as I followed her neckline down its dangerous trajectory deep into her cleavage. The red fabric sat light but snug across her tanned skin; the mahogany of her hair completed her perfection.
Her eyes met the maître d’s as he gestured for her to follow him, and the moment she stepped around the podium I was lost in the expanse of her legs. Who knew knees could be this captivating? I certainly hadn’t, but hers were. Mostly because they ended with a sensual curve to her calf and then down to her dainty ankles, wobbling to hold steady on black heels she was clearly uncomfortable wearing.
I chugged a few gulps of water, set down the glass, and stood to pull out her chair. Her eyebrows raised in surprise as her mouth opened slightly. Her right hand wrapped her hair around her ear again as she smiled at me. I smiled back. Christ I’m a goner.
I pushed in her chair and returned to my own across from her, licked my lips to ensure my voice would come out as confidently as I needed it to, and greeted her.
“You look stunning.”
She blushed. Game on.