Work. It’ll never betray you as long as you’re the best.
Pushing the pile of dirty clothes that littered my floor into a corner for later, I grabbed my last clean outfit and chugged a beer before heading out the door. A little bit of rain, and everyone forgets how to drive. Traffic moved at a crawl until I reached my exit. I pulled into the parking lot with twenty minutes to spare.
“I swear every time I see you, you have a different car,” Joe said as we got onto the elevator.
“Well, when absent parents want to make up for it, they tend to shower you with gifts,” I said.
He scoffed, “Well, give my father that memo. Drinks tomorrow to celebrate my new promotion?”
“Sure, but who says it won’t be to celebrate my new promotion,”
He laughs as more people filed in, “Good luck.”
“When you work as hard as me, you don’t need luck.”
I made another ten sales throughout the day, three of which were whales with a hefty commission. My cell buzzed in my bag; I peeked at the screen. I rolled my eyes and silenced it again. An hour later, it buzzed again, I muted it, but it immediately goes off again. Jamie pushed out from her desk to give me the death stare. I offered an apologetic smile and grabbed my bag to head to the bathroom. It rings again.
“What’s wrong? I’m at work,” I said, hoping she didn’t hear the annoyance in my voice.
I needed to be out on the floor, making sales before the deadline.
“I’ve been calling you all week and even sent a letter. I haven’t heard from you,” Mom said.
“Been busy trying to land this promotion. Look, Ma, I gotta go, but I’ll call you back tonight.”
“No need, just read the letter. It’ll explain everything,” she said before ending the call.
The hairs on my neck prickled at the sudden ending of her call, and that letter I didn’t open. I thought it was just more money or another gift. I cursed under my breath as I tried to push it from my mind. The rest of the day went by quickly. Mr. Lewis came out of his office with a big smile.
“It’s 6 o’clock, and that marks the end of our quarter. I wanted to thank all of you for your hard work. This quarter we’ve beat our projected profits again. To show my gratitude next Friday, I will hold a party at my estate. Free open bar, food, music, and cash prizes,” he said.
Finishing up my paperwork for the day, I straighten up my desk before making my way to the parking lot. Mr. Lewis fumbled with his car keys.
You would never guess that it was raining earlier. Not a drop insight, one of the things I love about Miami.
I dashed over, “Could I have a moment of your time, Sir?”
“What can I help you with, Ms.Davis?”
“I placed in an application for the Sales Manager position, and I wanted to know is there anything extra you’re looking for in a candidate?”
“Like what,” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“A foreign language? Particularly Japanese, I noticed we’ve been getting more business in that area. We’re short-handed on speakers of the language.”
“Don’t worry, you and Mr.Melendez are on the shortlist. You will have my answer soon. Anything else?”
“No, sir. Thank you,”
After Mr.Lewis sped off, I reached into my backseat for the cooler and grabbed a beer. Best investment ever, I could fill it up once a week, and the solar power keeps it icy cool. Right as I bring it to my lips, some asshole parked behind turned on his high beams. I leaned out and caught sight of a matte black Porsche. Who hit the lottery? The most expensive car I’ve seen here was an Audi.
It pulled up next to me with tinted windows. The driver dropped the window, but it’s too dark to make out anything but a masculine frame in a suit. I faced forward and sipped my beer. As long as he isn’t blinding me or the cops, I’m fine.
“I hope you don’t plan on driving after that,” a gruff voice said.
I turned on the radio to cut any further conversation. What’s it his business if I am or not. It’s just one, and I won’t even be buzzed after this. I’ve been drinking since middle school and driving drunk since I had my permit. Hell, I passed the test drunk. Not one crash or DUI. So he can suck it.
“Did you hear me?”
My beer slipped from my hand and splashed into my lap and upholstery. I pushed my car door open to clean it up when I bumped into him. He towered over me by at least two feet, his dark suit is tailored, black hair slicked back, and he smells like sandalwood.
“What’s your problem,” I asked, bending over into the car to grab a napkin.
“Your drinking before driving and now your office’s dress code. That’s quite short; black silk is a nice choice, though.”
“Excuse me? Who are you to come over here questioning me and looking up my skirt?”
His chiseled jaw tenses up; he closed his dark brown eyes and took a deep breath like I’m the one ruining his evening. He reached into my car and took my keys, then pulled out his phone.
“What the hell? For real, who are you because I’m about to snap. Am I being Punk’d right now?”
“You would know if you read the letter you received weeks ago. I called you an Uber and prepaid one for tomorrow; the driver will give you your keys when you get home, or would you prefer I call the cops and have them check that cooler in the backseat?”
I can’t afford a DUI so close to this promotion. I cursed under my breath. How does he know about the letter my parents sent me? I reached into my bag and pulled out my phone, and dialed my mother after the third time I tried my father. Of course, like always, when I need to talk to them, they’re nowhere to be found.
“I don’t like to be kept waiting, so what’s it going to be?”
We glared at each other. I wanted to tell him where he could shove it so much that it hurt. He started to smirk as he inched closer to me. His dimples begin to show, which made him look quite boyishly handsome despite his age. He had to be in his late thirties, early forties.
“3,” he said.
“I know in my heart you’re not counting down like I’m some child right now,” I said, crossing my arms.
“2,” he said in a deeper tone.
His lips begin to form the last number, “Fine. The fucking Uber.”
“That’s not how you ask for something.”
Could I just run him over with my car instead? That’s right; he took my keys.
“Can you call me an Uber, please?”
“It’ll be my pleasure,” he said.
It arrived fast, and I hopped in even quicker. The crazy man handed the driver my keys. Right before we pulled off, he leaned in, “Read that letter and pick something more appropriate to wear tomorrow.”
“Why don’t you tell me what it says since you’re more in the loop than I am?”
“After meeting you, I know you wouldn’t believe me nor like it,” he said with that same dimple-filled smirk.
He reached into his jacket and pulled out an envelope with a wax seal. Tapping the car roof, the driver took off. The seal had a lion gripping the name Torres. It sounded so familiar. I think my father does business with the Torres family. Taking the contents out, I find a handwritten note and a picture of me. After reading the letter, my stomach began to turn.
“Can you take me to the Rooftop Hideaway instead,” I said.
“I was told to take you straight--”
I handed him a fifty-dollar bill, and he turned in the direction of the bar. This can’t be happening; it’s a stupid joke that my parents are playing. Probably for not always answering their calls. I’ll check it when I get home, but first, I’m going to get lit. I found a seat at the bar.
“The usual,” the bartender asked.
“Yes, with a shot, please.”
He chuckles, “Damn. Tough day?”
“You could say that,” I said with a light smile.
Many drinks later, I was on the dance floor swaying to my own song. The late-night crowd started to pile in, and the DJ switched to house music. After one twirl too many, I made a hasty retreat to the restroom. I flipped my bag to my back, so I don’t ruin it while I pray to the porcelain god. It’s time to go. I checked my phone to be greeted by a black screen. I hear water running.
“Excuse me, what time is it?”
“Five,” she said.
It’s really time to go; I have work in a few hours. I pulled myself up and headed to the front door. The warm night air soothed me as I stumbled home. Lucky for me, I lived nearby, and the walk may help sober me up some. My stomach did backflips, and I released it in the bushes of some business.
A car door slams with great force then a gentle hand pulled my hair back. I’m sure my curls are all jacked up, but at least they won’t be covered in vomit.
“Thanks, I won’t have to worry about washing it now,” I said.
“You will if you want to cover up the liquor smell for work tomorrow,” a familiar voice said.
I rolled my eyes hard. Crazy man struck again.
“Psycho, do you have a tracking device on me or what?”
“I ordered the Uber, so it notifies me of where the passenger gets dropped off at.”
“But did you have to follow me here? This is insane, and tell my parents I said so. I don’t care what you all have planned, but I’m in char--”
My stomach emptied in the bushes again.
“I see. Get in the car; I’ll take you home.”
“I’m good. Have a good night.”
“So you’re really going to make me follow behind you all the way to your apartment? In the car, now.”
Everything begins to spin. I lose my fight.
The ride home was quiet, but I didn’t mind. He pulled into my parking space and opened my door. As I unlock my front door, he tried to enter too.
“Hold it. Thank you for the ride, but this is as far as you go.”
“I drove for four hours, and I’m not driving back tonight. I’ll crash on the couch, just for tonight. Next time I’m sleeping in the bed where I belong.”
“Oh my god, give me your ID,”
He handed it over, and it read Amir Asher Torres, six feet, and forty-three years old.
“Yasmin, come on. I’m tired and have work tomorrow, too,” he said with slight annoyance.
“Just in case you turn out to be a psycho. My gun stays loaded, so don’t try anything,” I said.
He removed his jacket, shoes and laid down. Within moments he’s fast asleep. I went to my room and pulled out the letter my parents mailed to me. I popped open my family seal that featured a letter D with a snake wrapped around it. A handwritten card and photo. A photo of the same tan skin man with brown eyes sleeping on my couch. The card read:
We regret to inform you that you have been engaged. We wish you the best of luck with your new spouse.
Iasmina & Richard Davis