Troubled Paradise

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Chapter 3

As my alarm clock goes off at 5:30 in the morning I begin to realize that Sunday went by too quickly. I begin to rise from the bed throwing the comforter to the side so I am able to get ready for a quick run. Strangely enough the devilish smile of that random stranger flashes across my mind and a chill runs throughout my whole body. I shake my head a bit to try to shake the feeling that he stirred up in me but all I can do is relive that moment yesterday in my mind. After his meal was called by the
barista and the heat of his breath hitting the nape of my neck as I felt his lips slightly touch my ear and whisper that annoying pet name “Fennel”. I have never once been referred to as Fennel, and I grew up with Dixie and Trace, which thought it was funny for a while to call me anything under the sun. Stuffing my feet into my running shoes and pulling my hair back into a tight pigtail I quickly look over my appearance in the mirror. I am wearing something similar to what I was yesterday the same tight body con leggings just in a dark green with a see-through black tank. As my eyes trail over my body I can’t help but rethink about how my heart began to beat faster and how my skin reacted to the devilish brown eyes that trailed my body as if I were a meal he couldn’t wait to devour. I shiver in response and quickly grab my phone and headphones knowing I can’t think like this about anyone, especially someone I am never going to see again, after what happened with Chris the last thing I need is a devilish man with bad intentions surrounding me or taking up my thoughts.

I took the same path as I did yesterday however this time I didn’t stop too long at the Golden Gate Bridge knowing I had to be quick if I wanted to make it on time for my first day. Passing by the same little Italy inspired cafe where only yesterday my strange encounter with the mystery man took place something makes me stop and end up floating into the mystical place. Today the atmosphere is lighter than yesterday as people are just waking up and don’t seem to have the energy to speak until having their first sips of coffee. I wait in the short line as an urge to look around the cafe takes over me as if my mind needs to know if I would find a familiar pair of brown eyes or the silhouette of him. A quick look around and the movement of the customer in front of me moving aside as he finishes his order breaks my trance and I walk up to see a familar pair of eyes, encased in the same round rimmed glasses and the nice bright smile even in the early wake of the morning. I recite a similar order as to yesterday but this time I make sure to order a large coffee knowing I will need the energy for my first day and she proceeds to write my name just as yesterday and I move to the side.

Shortly after my order is called, and a strange feeling inside of me forms when I realize I wont be running into the mysterious stranger today. Shaking my head as I go to retrieve my order in hopes of reminding myself the reasons why its important to not get involved. I slightly lose my balance and end up turned away from the opening door and just as I try to reclaim my balance I feel my feet giving out beneath me and my coffee flying from my hands. It isn’t until I see my once prepped and prepared coffee now on a bright white T-shirt did I know this might be one of the worst ways to start my day. Frantically I start dabbing the now ruined T-shirt in front of me rambling off apologies “I am so sorry, I am not usually like this typically I am way more put together its just been-“ I stop rambling once I realize the chest I have been frantically dapping is now slightly rumbling with a deep low chuckle of my coffee spilled victim. Before I am able to look up I hear him say “So now you think you need to attack me with your coffee for you to receive my attention, huh Fennel” In that moment I begin to feel the strong muscles beneath my fingertips of where my coffee spilled revealing tight lines of the sculpted chest beneath and I quickly step back pulling my hands away and turn my head to look back into those panty dropping eyes and devilish smirk to pair.

Trying to recollect myself I drift my eyes away from him so I don’t focus on the fact that today he is wearing the same backwards ballcap revealing the dark curls it covers another tight fitted white t-shirt but this time resting on top of basketball shorts that show how toned and tanned his legs are underneath. A quick curt laugh escapes from him as he winks at me and murmurs “Listen princess if you really want to feel me there are better ways then throwing your breakfast on me” he eyes my body again tracing every curve and steps slightly forward. I feel the heat of his breath and the slight impact of his lips on my ear as he whispers “and if your lucky I will make you feel better than you have ever felt as you cling to me not being able to control yourself as you unravel -“. I shove him away slightly so I am able to keep my composure even though the feeling spreading throughtout my body is taking over and all of it is spreading to places I’ve been desiring to be touched. “Look I don’t know what games you think I am interested in playing but I just want to make it clear, it is never going to happen and all of these incidents have been just unlucky accidents” I reply curtly as I cross my arms across my chest. He squints slightly at my standoffish stance only to quickly smirk at me “unlucky accidents huh” he responds before letting a quick laugh escape his lips “if thats what your calling this fine Fennel”. He begins to push past me and I can’t help but feel like he won this time but before I am able to protest I feel my phone buzz reminding me I need to be leaving for work soon. I quickly gaze back towards the stranger and say “It’s Finley not Fennel” only for him to smirk devilishly lifting the once filled coffee cup revealing the clearly stated name “Fennel” with a scoff from me and a wink from him I am rushing out the door and booking it back to my apartment to get ready.

As the elevator closes and begins to take me up to my long awaited oasis Top Realty, I gaze at my reflection in the mirror and let out small breaths trying to calm my beating heart. I picked a white blouse that tucks into my favorite pencil skirt that stops right above the knee allowing for my toned calves to be on display especially with the help of my matching black pumps. Before I left I was able to straighten my caramel brown hair, put some light makeup on and send a few affirming texts to D , T and Ibby promising they would be the first people to know how my first day goes. I feel my body slightly tremble as I clutch to my binder, as the floors pass by 1 by 1. I am not typically a nervous person and I can’t tell if its because I wasn’t able to have my morning coffee or the fact that a handsome mystery stranger is beginning to worm himself under my skin but I feel myself trembling. Looking straight into my own reflecting eyes I remind myself that I am meant to be here and I need to impress these people and remind them why they hired me.

Just as I am able to pull myself together the doors open into a beautifully lit lobby area that has white marble floors contrasting with different color of tans and silver details found throughout the different decor and glass walls within the space. Pulling myself back to reality I walk towards the round glass and dusty grey wood desk which sits a curly strawberry blonde head supermodel. I smile as I say “Hi I am Finley, I am the new hire for Top Realty” the fear escapes my body when a pleasant loving smile is returned and a Southern tang fills the secretarys reply “It is a pleasure to finally meet you I’m Amber” she reaches her hand out to shake my hand as I take her hand and shake glad that she is a welcoming. “There is a meeting taking place in the conference area down the hall. It’s the typically Monday meeting where they discuss the on going projects and divvy up the work for the week” with a warm smile she gets up from her place and motions for me to follow her down the long hallway towards one of the doors adjacent. As we approach the door she turns towards me and sweetly says “Remember you belong here don’t let any of them bully you into thinking you don’t” a smile escapes my lips as I realize she really is on my side but quickly replace it with my professional look knowing I need to be taken serious. Amber opens the doors allowing me to walk through and swiftly shut the door behind me as she returns to her desk. The sound of my entrance stops the ongoing discussion and in that moment I look up into those same devilish brown eyes I have seen for the past two days now in the place of a proper looking businessman seated at the head of the table and all I can do is murmur “Shit” as I begin to realize the coffee hunk is my boss.
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