"My honey I know
With the dawn,
that you will be gone
you belong to me
Just to little old me."
Lori leaned overlooking out the glass walls of her office. "Oh my gosh! Janet" She mumbled to herself. "TURN THAT SONG OFF! IT'S SO CREEPY!"
"HEY! DON'T YOU DISRESPECT MY TASTE IN MUSIC WHEN MY ITUNES IT'S ON SHUFFLE!" Janet swayed from side to side in her chair as she yelled back, one leg over the other she bounced her foot up and down to the smooth sound of the young girls singing.
"My honey I know
With the dawn
That you will be gone
But tonight you belong to me...."
Janet turned the volume down on the small beats speaker.
"Your iTunes is creepy," Lori mumbled to herself rolling her eyes. The music became faint then completely disappeared.
Janet pushed the spotless glass doors of Lori's office open with one hand, her tall stiletto heels clicked as she walked across the dark hardwood floors, her white blouse neatly tucked into her knee-length waist-high pinstripe skirt. Lori looked up and smiled as she watched Janet sit down in one of the chairs in front of her desk, then place a small stack of black folders down.
"Don't smile yet, we got more homes!" She said pushing the folders forward making sure they wouldn't tip over the edge.
Lori sighed. "Seriously!"
"Well, if we wasn't such damn good Real Estate agent, we wouldn't have these problems or money." Janet winked.
Lori sat quietly squinting her eyes. "Are you sucking up to me? What do you want?"
"What!? I can't just give my business partner a compliment!? Janet replied back laughing.
"So I guess that's your way of telling me to buy lunch this time?"
Janet leaned back with a smile placing both elbows on the armrests. "I knew all my talking would pay off today."
Lori laughed and rolled her eyes as she pushed herself away from her desk, she stood up and grabbed her suit jacket shoving her arms through the sleeves, then grabbed her winter coat, she picked up her large purse and winked at Janet before she pushed the doors open and walked outside to blend in with the none stop moving traffic of New York City, her heels clicking along with the noise of chatter and car horns, her hair blew along with whatever small amount of wind that made it passed the tall buildings.
She stood in line scrolling her phone as she waited for her turn. Starbucks was having their usual lunch rush that consisted of almost everyone that lived in the city, it was like everyone got their break at the same time and decided that expensive coffee drinks were the only thing they wanted. Lori sighed looking around the large space then down at her watch, college students sat in groups discussing whatever project from whatever professor that forced them all together, others casually enjoyed the newspaper and the aroma of brewing coffee.
"Hi, can I get two venti white chocolate fraps, both with whipped cream and one with caramel drizzle and the other with chocolate in and on top of the whipped cream. The name is Ell."
She knew what she wanted and how she wanted it, even a simple coffee drink she covered all the details. Lori never cut corners or half-assed her work, she consistently pushed herself and her staff to be smarter, better, account for everything, and accommodate anything, a neat freak, everything had a label, a description. Being one of the top real estate agents in one of the most sawed after cities just didn't happen overnight.
"ELL!" The employee yelled as she placed two large cups in a holder filled with more empty calories and sugar than anyone needed in a day.
She smiled picking up the holder and made her way to the exit. Walking, squeezing, and pushing past several other people waiting for their drinks. She looked down to scroll her phone as the buzz warned her of an incoming message once she felt in the clear of the commotion, but the cups smashed against her chest, cold slush like liquid covered her shirt and suit jacket dripping down her pants.
"I am so sorry!"
"Damnit!" She said squatting down picking up the cups. "Shit, look at my shirt." She cried out with a frown.
"Here let me help you," He reached down holding out his hand.
"Thank you." She grabbed it still looking down at her coffee-stained blouse which was now a light brown wet mess. She held on to his hand as she stood up straight.
"Please, let me pay for the dry cleaning." He offered. His voice had depth, as rich as dark chocolate, it finally caught her attention. She looked up, her next set of words caught in her throat as she glanced at how perfect he was, his low cut hair, his thick eyebrows that somehow were still tamed, his small eyes turned down at the corners, a full beard connected on either side of his face perfectly groomed as if it was just tapered hours ago, a plump bottom lip. Lori grew hot as she trailed down his body, broad shoulders, built chest, and flat abdomen. His clothing tailored to his body, his shoes shiny, the cologne he wore was alluring, literally. It stopped her from realizing what a mess she was, she had completely forgotten what happened between both of them.
"I... uh? I uhhh..." She stuttered over her words looking at him.
"Your blouse? I want to pay for it to be dry cleaned." He repeated with her hand still in his. Lori blinked several times bringing herself back to reality. The noise of the coffee house hit her ears again, still standing in a puddle of melted liquid, an employee appeared behind her with a yellow bucket full of clean water and a mop. "Step over here so he can mop up. Careful I don't want you to slip." He slightly pulled at her, without hesitation her body followed him, she grew tense as she felt his other hand propped against the center of her lower back guiding her to the nearest chair. "I'm really sorry, here sit down you've got some on your shoes... a lot actually." He said before grabbing a handful of napkins. He kneeled down in front of her and began wiping the light brown liquid from her high heels. Lori watched in a trance as the stranger cleaned off the entire surface of her nude heels he didn't miss a spot on the shiny leather. "Do you have a specific dry cleaner you go to?" He asked looking up at her.
She remained silent for several seconds. "Uh... no no that's not necessary. Please. No." She finally turned down his offer, waving him off.
"Well please let me replace the drinks, at least." He looked up at her still kneeling. He licked his lips then smiled showing a perfect set of white teeth
"Yeah, sure. Thank you." She smiled back following his eyes as he stood up and smoothed down the front of his suit jacket.
"I'm Aubrey." He held out his hand. Lori admired it before grabbing it. His nails neatly trimmed all the same length and cleaned. It was obvious he got manicures and got them on a regular basis.
"I'm Lori." She finally grabbed it with a smile.
"Nice to meet you. You can't possibly go back to work like this!?" He laughed and pointed down at her shirt.
She also looked down at her shirt. "Don't worry, I keep extra clothing at my office for situations just like this." She shook her head still dabbing at her shirt with a new set of napkins.
"Smart woman. Well, your bra is showing so..." He pointed down at her cleavage and looked around the shop to see if anyone took their own peeks. Lori grew red with embarrassment and quickly pulled her suit jacket together, buttoning it. "Stay here, I'm going to get your drinks." She sat, still feeling embarrassed. Yet no one paid attention to her even with how much of a disaster she physically was, her jacket came in handy as it covered most if not all of her once white silk Chanel blouse. She watched Aubrey walk back to her holding a cup holder with three cups in it, admiring him and all his attractiveness, he was calm, cool, and collected even in situations of spilling coffee all over a stranger. "Come on. I'll walk you back to your job, that's... also the least I can do and don't worry I'll carry this!" He teased her raising the cup holder. She couldn't help but look down and laugh covering up how much she was blushing for no reason.
"It probably is a better idea that you do that." She agreed.
Aubrey pulled the door open for her with his free hand allowing her to walk through it first, then quickly rushed to pull open the second set of doors, she chuckled to herself. "So, where are we going?"
"Oh, I work right down there." She pointed her finger. "That building on the corner."
He looked down the short length of the sidewalk at the corner building noticing the fancy hanging sign. "Ahh, real estate!" He read the fancy cursive.
"Yeah! How'd you know!?" She looked at him confused almost stopping in her tracks, she thought to herself trying to recall if she told him what she did.
"Well I mean I don't have 20/20 vision at least not from this distance but I know for a fact that sign sticking out above the door says Real Estate!" He pointed up at the slightly swinging metal sign. Lori felt even dumber.
"Well, at least I know the sign works." She said shaking her head. "It can be seen from here!" Aubrey chuckled again watching her shrug.
"You should have no problem with success then." He said looking over at her. They both stopped at the front entrance of the door. "Once again I apologize for the blouse." He repeated pulling his coffee cup from the holder.
"It's fine. Thank you for the drinks and carrying this for me." She said taking the holder from him.
"Well hopefully, I'll bump into you again."
"Maybe, hopefully without coffee in hand."
"Absolutely." He smiled showing off that perfect set of teeth again then gave her a quick wink before disappearing back down the sidewalk.
Lori pushed open the doors stepping out the cold and into the heated three-story building, she waited as the elevator took its time getting to her, the button with a black number two lit up. She sighed and looked down at her blouse again, then thought about the man that caused for it to look like such a mess, then finally stepped off the elevator onto her floor.
"What the hell happened to you!" Janet asked looking Lori up and down. "That is not how you left this office!"
"You think!" She said sarcastically. Janet giggled as she followed her into her office watching her pull her arms from the sleeves of the black suit jacket. "We're going to have to order something for lunch, I'll have it delivered," Lori spoke while looking down at her clothing. The longer she looked at it the more irritated she grew.
"I'm cool with that. What you thinking?..."
"Chinese!" They said simultaneously.
Lori continued unbuttoning the blouse and completely pulled it from her body, revealing a lightly stained white bra. "Damnit, it got my bra too!"
"That's a good bra too! That's a Vicki don't tell nobody bra!" Janet chimed in shaking her head as if Lori needed to be reminded of how expensive and nice it was. She frowned at Janet and pulled the slim closet door open that stood in the corner of her office behind her desk and reached for another blouse, only this one a cream off white color with little gold buttons on the cuffs of the sleeve. Lori slid her arms through, fixing the collar, taking her time buttoning it down her body. "You still didn't tell me how this whole thing happened."
"This guy bumped into me at Starbucks. I will admit it was my fault, I was looking down at my phone not watching where I was going!" She said rolling her eyes, neatly shoving the bottom of the fabric into her fitted pants making it look as neat as possible.” He offered to pay for the dry cleaning but I told him no need... he was actually extremely nice and polite... and very attractive."
"Well hell! Did you get his number in the process!?"
"No! I got a coffee-stained blouse, Janet!"
"Well did you at least get his name!?"
Lori paused for a moment thinking to herself, she had managed to let his name slip from her in moments of chaos even in the elevator she was only thinking about how attractive he was. "Uh... shit, I mean he told me his name but I guess I forgot it." Janet shrugged and picked up her large half-melted coffee and took a long sip from the green straw. "AUBREY !"
"Who the hell is that? Janet said pulling her lips from the straw speaking with a mouth full of liquid, her words jumbled.
"The guy! Aubrey! His name was Aubrey!"
"That's an awfully feminine name!" She frowned.
"His name might be feminine, but he was far from it!" Lori said with a smirk
"Ooooo! Let's google him!"
Lori frowned stepping out of the way as Janet walked past her and took a seat behind her desk. "But I don't know his last name! You can't just google a regular ass name like that!" She said thinking the Internet at least needed a little more information than that.
"Please. The government got us so open you can google somebody by the last four digits of their phone number. The internet is a scary place!" Janet took another sip from her drink and waved Lori's argument off. She reached for the mouse and pulled up Google typing the name, she sat quietly running her eyes over the several people that popped up with the name, very few being men. "Is this him?"
"You did not find him! How the hell di... oh my God that is him!" She said sounding shocked, she bent down at the waist hovering over Janet as she clicked through severally articles and photos of the mystery man.
"Regular my ass! This man owns several nightclubs, restaurants, and lounges here, California, and in Toronto!"
"Oh, shit is right! Girl, you done bumped into Daddy Morebucks!"
"Well, how the hell was I supposed to know!?"
"You take your ass back to Starbucks and let him spill something on you again!"
Lori rolled her eyes and stood up, she walked around her desk over to the filing cabinet and pulled the top drawer open. "I am not bothering that man! That man probably has a whole wife..."
"Was there a ring on his finger?"
"No... I don't really remember now that I think about it... he had nice nails though. But all them women hanging on him in those images!? A man like that has a lot of baggage!"
"Yeah! And you know what's in those bags! Money!" Janet said dramatically she leaned back in the chair with a smirk crossing one leg over the other.
Lori pulled a folder from the open drawer then shut it. "You are such a gold digger!" She teased turning around and walking up to her desk.
She swayed side to side. "I am not! I just require my men to be of a certain... class."
"Yeah, rich." Lori shot back shaking her head and laughed.
"Graham?... Graham... that name sounds familiar. Didn't we work with a Graham? But Aubrey doesn't sound familiar..."
"Is that his last name?"
"I think we did... now that you mention it I do remember a Graham."
A knock on the large glass door pulled them from their mid-day gossip. "Janet, you got some clients here." A staff member said poking his head into the door.
She nodded and jumped up. "Oh shit, thank you, Thomas!" She hurried from around the desk, her heels clicked frantically across the floor as she headed for the door. "Don't forget! Chinese!" She said taking a sip from her drink she pushed open the door.
Lori nodded watching her through the glass walls of their office shaking hands with her clients, a smile on her face, she sighed and sat down placing her hand over the computer mouse and scrolling through the google information on Aubrey Graham, several articles on the several thriving businesses he had, five star ratings, celebrity meetings, amazing parties. It was no doubt about him being successful in every department of life. She chuckled and closed out of google.
Turning her attention over to the very familiar Chinese take out menu, she opened it looking down at her and Janet's usual order, something that they seemed to be getting at least twice a week. Knowing she had no business consuming the greasy Americanized food she picked up the phone and dialed the restaurant number.