Chapter 14: N is for Noted
“Who knew cake boxes were this heavy,” I called out as I placed the whole garbage bag filled with cake boxes down on the staff tables at the back room.
Jenny looked up surprised to see me, raising an eyebrow, “I thought you were taking Wednesday off,”
I nodded kicking off my shoes and shrugging of my jacket, “I was till Vanessa called me two night ago panicking about the cake and then called me this morning and told us that we have to assemble them again, ourselves,”
I frowned, there was no way I was paying her extra for this, assembling these cake boxes were annoying, fiddly and hard. Well at least I get to play with PVC glue. I sat down rolling the sleeves of my thick woolen top higher, “Did you see what Reed put on the wedding profile?” I asked still trying to get my head around it.
“Which part?” Jenny helped pull out all the cake boxes out of the bags and stack them up. The boxes were red made out of soft velvet. When they were assembled they made a cute cube shape with a nice gold laced attachments we had to stick on, it was like chains but with two small white hearts hanging. And after that the names of the couple were going to be written in gold laced ink on top to finish the look off.
Suddenly I felt sad for all the money Reed had to spend for his sister’s wedding, he should have won that bet.
“More than three thousand guests, who are these guys?” I asked shaking my head. This was only one bag, the rest were abandoned in the front room. Our boutique store was closed today so I had just thrown them in as I came in.
“I know, and did you see the requirements? There are a lot of who should not sit next to who more than there are tables right now. It’s going to be hard drawing that up,” and thank god I did that for the last wedding which was easy which meant Jenny was stuck with that. I smiled evilly as I reached for the glue.
Okay how hard can assembling five hundred boxes before tonight be? If I worked five hundred per day, I would be done in a week. And hopefully they won’t be more than three thousand people coming, I was no assembling a cake box more than three thousand.
“Are you all ready for your date tonight?”
I concentrated on fixing the last flap of the box rather than answering Jenny’s question. In fact I’ve been doing everything to try and not remember I had a date tonight. Was it Wednesday already? The only reminder of the date was my wet hair that was scrunched into a bun, which is a horrible thing to do for wet hair since it’ll never dry naturally now.
“I guess,” I said as I finished my tenth box, these were taking longer than I expected and a glance to the clock said that I spent forty-five minutes already. My 500 per day was looking a bit over ambitious now.
“What are you wearing?”
I grabbed the next box wiping my fingers on the baby clothes in my lap, I didn’t want to have glue or othe stains on my finger which could ruined he pretty material, “Clothes I guess,” I replied and cracked a grin when I saw Jenny’s “Oh really” expression.
“I’ll find a dress or something, I have plenty of time,” I replied just as the phone at the reception started ringing.
Jenny got up to get it finally leaving me in peace to finish the box I was holding. I better get over-time for this. I could hear her talking on the phone for a while, the sound of her fake nails clacking against the keyboard and the occasional table draw slamming shut as she took something out of it.
I sighed leaning back in my chair fed up with the amount of boxed I had finished, which was only really two more than what I had when she started the call and started picking at my skin. The feeling of PVC glue coming of the skin was indescribable. It was fun, felt amazing and was a tiny bit disgusting.
“Who was it?” I asked when she walked back with a piece of paper, “Samantha Reed, you know Alexander’s sister,”
Well duh, “What did she wan’t? Does she approve of everything on the wedding profile,”
Jenny sat down kicking some of the boxes out of her way and leaning back into her chair, “Well she finally told us what venue it is. We have to go check it out, it’s far,”
I grabbed the piece of paper looking at the venue and nearly laughed, “Oh yeah, they’ll totally get this in time for the booking. I’m pretty sure you need to book years in advance for the ranch,” I said throwing the paper on the table.
Did they really think they can get a wedding up and running in around a month, that was hard.
The ranch was pretty famous for its weddings and birthday parties, and it was also pricey.
Jenny shrugged, “She said she called them up and worked something out, now it’s just planning the events which we can go discuss,”
“Why can’t they go?” I asked annoyed. They’re the couple to be, they should know what events they wanted to be hosted for the wedding and the reception which was a day after. Besides, the ranch may have space for all 3000 guests to view the wedding and the ranch, but I doubt it had 3000 bedrooms, or even 1000 to host.
It was a very private ranch. And there would be only enough stay ins for the families.
“So what type of activities do they want to book?”
“I don’t know. That’s why yo-we will be going to check it out,” she cleared her throat shifting in her seat, “Samantha and her fiancée with be there too. They’ll just meet you gu-us at the night. And we will stay over just because by the time we get there we’ll be too tired to look around and then the next day they’ve arranged some stuff for us to check out,”
I gave her an odd look before shrugging. This was common we’ve done it for heaps of couples gone and stayed the night at the resort make sure everything was perfect.
But for this one, I didn’t want to be traveling half across the state just to check it out.
“My car or yours?” I asked giving up and started packing everything up. I might as well go home and start getting ready for tonight.
Just the thought made my stomach flip. Was I really going out with a guy I’ve never met, okay. It wasn’t a date.
“I’ve arranged other transport.”
I nodded standing up and grabbing my things, “Well I’m going to head off, did you need a ride home?”
“Nope meeting someone. Enjoy your date,”
I nodded remember her talking to Reed the other day. They were planning something together, obviously.
Giving her one last wave I rushed out just as the clouds started to clear. Hopefully tonight was going to be good.
It was a disaster.
I did a double take looking at the restaurant and then at my phone.
This guy needed to warn me.
I was now over dressed. After an hour of trying to get my wet hair blow dried and applying what they called make up and giving up.
I was standing in front of the local pub. Well fúck me sideways.
I tugged at the hem of my dress. I shouldn’t have worn heels. Oh god kill me.
I saw a drunk woman come out giggling and tilted my head, maybe I wasn’t that over dressed.
I shrugged my thick black coat back on, there better. Now he can’t see my fancy as fûck dress. Which could be exaggerating.
How did I not recognize the name? I should have known the minute he said “Palms at the corner to Spring and leaks road”.
There was only one Palms. I looked at the clock, three minutes from eight.
Do it Violet. Turn around and go home and don’t come back. Hide. Change the number and go live in Ukraine or somewhere else.
Okay slight panicking mode. Breathe. Breathe. No. You sound like you’re in God damn labour here.
I groaned running a hand through my hair. Okay I wasn’t that over dressed. I wasn’t in that floor length green dress I picked out first. Right? Right.
No a simple mid thigh length black dress that has small embezzlements near the neck line. Simple and pretty. Well it was pretty on the hanger.
It was just the sparkly ten centimeter heels that were an over kill.
Oh grow up Violet, you’re short.
Taking a deep breathe, too deep which sent me into a coughing fit, I walked across the road to the pub. It was getting cold and I needed a drink or ten before I finally met him.
And as the clock struck eight I walked inside. How the hell was I meant to recognize him.
Sure it was like a bar come restaurant and there were reservations but would he be at the table.
Did I look too keen being here this early?
I approached the woman smiling at me from behind the counter.
“Hi there, I think I have a reservation? I’m meant to be meeting someone?”
“Sure I can look it up. What’s your name,”
“I’m Vi-oh actually look under Liam,”
“Can’t remember sorry,”
Nice one, I should have told him to meet at the bar counter or something.
“Yes found you. Table for two,” and suddenly the crocodiles in my stomach were clawing away.
“Did you want me to take you to the table or would you like to wait. Our registration says he hasn’t arrived yet,”
“I’ll wait thanks” I said. Just in case I had the urge to leave.
I eyed the bar counter and walked towards it. Perhaps having a drink wouldn’t be the best idea in the world. Yeah probably not the greatest first impression.
At least there were stools.
“What can I get the stunning lady?” I tried not to roll my eyes as I ordered a lemonade. Something for my too dry throat.
I looked at the clock. Five last eight. My phone buzzed and I suddenly hoped he decided to bail on me.
Oh I would love to be stood up right now. Then I can buy some take away, go home and kick back and relax and have a date with Charlie, oh yeah Satan too.
Charlie would love it that my dress matched his fur.
I looked down at my phone whispering the message to my self as the bartender returned with my drink, “Parking the car be there in a second,”
Oh crap. He didn’t bail on me. I grabbed the black straw placing it in my drink and taking a sip, chewing the life out of my straw.
Should I finish this drink before he came? I mean was it awkward that I already started without him. Well. He was late.
Oh god I thought as I felt something slipping and looked down to see one of my heels fall off.
Was I ever going to be tall enough so my feet actually touched the ground?
How was I going to do this? Do I bend and pick it up. Stand and try to find my for back into the sole.
I looked over my shoulder, not realizing my teeth were still clenched around my straw and ended up spraying lemonade all over my lap.
And to top it with a cherry I accidentally snorted the lemonade in shock, “What are you doing here?” I wheezed out
“Waiting for a mate,”
I raised an eyebrow, not sure if he meant the reference to the popular police video but nodded as Reed got up onto the seat next to me, turning his chair to face me, “What are you doing here?”
“Meeting someone?” I said slowly as I wiped the liquid on my dress, oh man, thank god this was black or else my first impression would have been “She wet herself” and not in the dirty context, in the context where I pissed my pants, or dress in this state, or really a coat since I was wearing that on top.
“Oh yeah? Who?”
I pretended I didn’t hear his question as I checked my phone again, what the hell was he doing here. I would be lying if I didn’t say the thought, was Reed a pizza boy?, didn’t go through my mind. It did. But I brushed it as soon as it came in for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it was Reed and as lovely as it was to imagine him serving Pizza’s I doubt he would be doing a job like that. I was sure if he was paying for his sister’s wedding, he didn’t need to work at a pizza joint, but hey whatever floats one’s job boat.
Secondly the numbers were difference, is Pizza boy was Reed, then the number would have rocked up on my phone and the messages under the same person.
“Want a drink?”
Huh? I looked up to see the bartender and Reed looking at me, “Nah, I’ll keep off alcohol tonight,”
The bartender walked off with his order while Reed raised a way too amused eyebrow at me with a tilt in the corner of his lips, “What?” I asked narrowing my eyes at him. What was that look?
“Nothing,” He said smiling as he tapped his long fingers on the counter, some what hypnotizing the way they moved. His drink didn’t take too long and he looked up at me, “Are you sure you don’t want any?”
“Don’t tempt me,” I said waving a hand and looking back at the door, how long did it take to park your damn car? And with my stomach in a bundle or crashing cars I needed it to calm my nerves down.
I saw Reed take a sip out of the corner of my eye and place his drink down leaning over, “Oh baby, tempting is what I do best,”
And I was sure at that moment my heart plunged, not skipping a beat, but a plunge, the feeling you get when your stomach drops but higher up somewhere near your heart.
And I did everything not to turn and look at him, only because he felt too close before he pulled away reaching for his drink and I diverted my eyes to the door that was opening.
I was expecting a couple or someone else to walk in and not the man dressed in a suit that should be made illegal in all states and territories, tight, half shiny and way too good to be worn in a bar walked in.
Defs not Liam
But when he turned and looked straight at me, I was sure if I was drinking my lemonade I would have snorted and choked on it again. He raised a hand and I looked over my shoulder, was it to the group of girls behind me on the other side?
But instead of turning to walk around, he walked right up to me, well shit.
I hope I was’t drooling.
His grey eyes met mine and he smiled raising his hand and I realised he was holding something up, “A violet rose for the beautiful Violet,”
And then I also realised I should reply instead of sitting there looking star struck, well he was attractive, that smile though.
“T-thanks,” I said reaching out and taking the flower, nice one Violet, real smooth. I looked at the rose, can you even get violet ones?
“Lame,” Reed muttered quietly from beside me as he raised his glass to drink and I hopped off my chair because as quiet as that was, I think Liam heard.
“Let’s go to our table,” I said quickly grabbing the mans arm and pulling him, but he remained confused, “You don’t want a drink?” he asked lifting a hand to point at the bar.
“We can order at the table,”
He simply shrugged grabbing my half full lemonade glass that I forgot and followed to the table, which I had no idea where I was leading but thankfully a waiter seated us before I could embarrass myself more.
Stupid Reed, why the hell was he here.
I cleared my throat before placing the rose on the table, “Hi?” I said not sure how to start a conversation.
Man they should have a “How to Date” book.
Liam chuckled, “Hello,”
Great, one word reply, how the hell was I meant to continue this conversation, “Thanks for the um, Rose, didn’t think you could get purple ones,”
“Neither did I, took a bit of hunting down but I know it was well invested now that I’ve seen you in person,”
“How did you know it was me,” I asked somewhat confused by what he said. What did he mean, now that he saw me the rose was well invested?
He leaned back throwing an arm around the chair beside him carelessly, effortlessly and some how attractively. I was sure my hand didn’t even reach the chair next to me.
And why the hell did they give us a four chair table, there were two of us.
“I looked you up on Facebook,” he replied a small grin on his face and I nearly slammed my head into the table.
Why didn’t I think of that?
“Dammit, I haven’t been on in ages, or I would have done the same, but then again there’s probably a lot more Liam’s than Violets in this state,”
He nodded, “I sent you a request too,” and this is why I should be social.
“I should block you, stalker,” I joked, well hopefully it came off as a joke since I had no emotion in my voice, but that was because I was expecting a scrawny university kid.
Man was he sure he worked as a pizza boy part time and not a damn model or something? And that laugh, I was pretty sure the waiter would have hit on him he was female, but thankfully it was a male leaving the hunk in front of me, all too myself.
And I had to say I was surprised that this wasn’t that awkward, the conversation flowed way too easily and he seemed exactly like the person through my texts and not a shy awkward person in life.
I want his confidence, but then when you look like that, I guess you get that confidence.
And then came the crucial time to order. As much as I wanted a burger with fries, how the hell was I meant to eat a burger without looking like an idiot
And I wasn’t going to order salads, didn’t want to seem like a health freak that people just assume and jump to conclusions, like some days you just feel like a damn salad mate. But today was not that day.
Pasta? Sometimes easy to eat, sometimes hard.
Oh hell no, I would be slurping all that and making a mess.
I think so too.
I nearly died inside when he ordered the garden burger, I wanted that, but I would probably make a mess. The burger was way to big to fit in my mouth. The temperature in the place seemed to rise, who ever turned the heating on should go to hell and I was forced to slip out of my coat.
But then seeing as he wore a suit, I silently felt thankful that I wasn’t the only one over dressed.
“Shit,” I swore when my right hand got caught, my elegant attempt of trying to get out of a coat ended up being everything but that, I flapped my right hand, the end of the coat hand waving around reminding me of a penguin before it slipped out.
A sly look at Liam and his cracked grin meant he definitely saw that, but at least he didn’t say anything.
“So,” I began clearing my throat, “Wassup,”
Smooth Violet, smooth
But thankfully he was better at conversing than I was and it wasn’t too long before our food arrived, with a complementary plate of the new fries they were trying and a bottle of wine.
“Are you sure you don’t want some?” he asked as he was pouring wine into his glass.
“I really shoudn’t” I said, no matter how parched I was feeling and this cold lemonade just wasn’t doing it. Besides, didn’t I hate wine?
“One glass won’t kill,”
Oh but it would, “I have work tomorrow,” I lied as my eyes followed up to see Reed sitting on the other side of the room with what looked like his sister and possible their father, a grim expression on his face as he played with the salt and pepper shaker twirling them around. Clearly his family events weren’t that fun either.
I could relate.
“It’s okay if your boss fires you for coming with a hangover, I’ll be your lawyer,” he winked pushing the glass towards me.
I really shouldn’t.
But I did.
“No no, higher,” I laughed as he leaned back and opened his mouth and I aimed my fry and threw it, and he caught it.
“I believe that is ten to one, I think I win,” Liam raised his glass at me and I shook my head.
“Hey, that’s cheating. Best of twenty-one,”
“We came from best of three to eleven darling, I win,” I shook my head shoving the plate of fries at him, “Best of twenty-one,” I said. I could still win this.
Somehow we ended up going from eating our dinner to throwing fries at each other and trying to catch it with our mouths. I totally blame him, if he didn’t try to feed me that piece of chip and shove it up my nose instead of my mouth, we wouldn’t be here.
But we were.
I nodded leaning back in my chair, sadly too far back and nearly fell backwards, at my hasty attempt to grab the table, it shook and the glass toppled sending red wine on the beautiful satin cloth.
Both of us looked at each other before doubling over in giggles and laughter.
“I think we should leave before he get kicked out,”
“Agreed,” I said grabbing my coat and my purp-no violet rose as he motioned for the waiter.
“We would like the bill please,” he said and I raised an eyebrow at his terrible British accent and tried not to laugh as the waiter narrowed his eyes at us, no doubt judging the mess we made.
Even the family of five, with three kids had a neater table than us.
I cleared my throat deciding maybe trying to put my coat on wasn’t the best idea right now.
“You pay at the reception,”
“Oh,” Liam and I swapped looks before he stood up, “A hand for the lady perhaps?”
“Nah, I’m cool,” I said using the table to get up, which wasn’t the best idea in heels and ended up grabbing his arm.
“Whoa, no need to be rough little lady,”
We both stumbled to the reception and he cleared his throat, “I think we’re going to be banned,” he whispered in my ear, his breath warm making me stifle a giggle.
“But I liked their fries, there was something in that thousand islands sauce,” I nodded, “They drugged us,”
Liam gasped standing straight and placing a hand on his mouth, “No! Really? We must sue them! Let’s hire a lawyer,”
“You’re a lawyer,” I said poking his shoulder.
“I’m just a pizza boy,” he winked and thankfully one of the staff members came to the reception, too oblivious to our drunken state as she told us how much.
“Let me pay pizza boy,” I said reaching for my bag.
“No I shall,”
“No I, the king of fry catching, will pay,”
The receptionist looked between us and before I could grab my card he placed a hand on top of my bag, closing it, and gave her a note, “Worry change don’t about, we’re fine,”
I raised an eyebrow, “Your English isn’t,”
“Shhhh,” he slurred one finger on his lips and the other around my shoulders pulling me towards the door, as we stumbled out into the quiet night and cold air we both stopped, went silent before looking at each other and breaking into laughter.
“I told you I shouldn’t drink!”
“But you’re so funny,” He said as he walked beside me out of the street lights that were way to bright for us.
I sighed deciding that was enough walking and leaned against the side of the building, “How are you getting back?” he asked leaning against the wall, but face first his forehead resting on the dirty wall.
I would have told him that was gross, but I was trying not to fall asleep.
“Train,” I said raising my finger which I hoped was the direction of the railway station. Liam “tsk-ed” shaking his head, didn’t that scratch his forehead?
“Let me drop you,”
“You’re too drunk to drive, light-weight,” I said nudging him, but in the end nudged the air and didn’t even reach him and stood up straighter before I fell to the ground and nudged that.
“Okay yeah, I’ll call a taxi,” he said pulling out his phone, “I’ll call you one too,” he looked up wriggling his eyebrows, “Unless you want to sleep over,”
This time I successfully managed to nudge him, with my palms, “Nah, you snore,”
He tilted his head for a moment, his grey eyes widening “True! Next time,”
I listened as he ordered three cabs, surely we didn’t need three, but I was too tired to correct him. We both remained silent leaning against the wall trying to stay awake with the occasional laugh as we remembered the night.
A good night.
The taxi finally arrived, “Go on, ladies first,” he said nodding at it. I shook my head, “Mate you’re wasted, you should go,”
“I am not wasted, I am the king of non-wasting-I feel sick,” he said suddenly grabbing his stomach and I laughed bending over.
“Just go,” I shook my head as he nodded, “I think I might, before I pass out. I’ll text you tomorrow?”
I nodded, “When I wake up, man I’m going to get fired,” but wait, I own the place. Can I fire myself?
Liam took a step towards the taxi, and I was surprised the guy was still there watching us bicker before he turned around, “Waitttttt,” he dragged out stumbling towards me.
He bumped into the space next to me and sighed, “Let me get sober, wait,” he patted his cheeks with his hands but I doubt that was working for him and instead gave a frustrated pull at his dirty blonde hair.
“Probably not going to happen,” I replied as I turned around to face him. My shoulder resting on the wall and he mirrored my movements.
“Your taxi is waiting, beep, beep, look how yellow it is,” I never really noticed how yellow it was till now. Liam chuckled grabbing my hand pulling me closer.
“Let me get my goodnight kiss first,”
“Yeah fine, but I’ll have to charge,” my horrible singing attempt didn’t put him off either as he wrapped a way too strong forearm around my waist pulling me closer. I didn’t even care about the taxi driver enjoying this too much as his lips met mine.
A taste mixed between the wine, fries and the sauce, a taste I liked.
And I wasn’t sure what would have happened if Liam didn’t end up tripping over his own feet and knocking into me, clipping my tongue.
“Ah shit, sorry,” he raised his finger wiping at my lip “Nope, no blood, you’re fine. Ambulance you can leave,” he said laughing as he waved a hand, his british accent failing half way. I couldn’t help but ran a finger down the side of his jaw, feeling stubble, “You need to shave, use Veet, it’s smooth,” I replied before looking up.
“That’s a taxi, I think you need to leave, driver we need some help here,” I called out. The driver looked too amused and somewhat reminded me of my gran-dad as he got out, but wait, my gran-dad died.
Aww grand dad, why did you leave me. Wait, he died before I was born. Never mind grand dad.
“I like this dress,” his finger poked the stone near the neck giving a tug on it.
“It doesn’t come in your size,” I said poking his stomach and he frowned as he brushed my hair away from my face.
“Aw damn, can I try it on next time?”
I giggled pushing him off, “Dude, go, kids are present,”
He stumbled back, “Shit where, their parents are going to sue me,” but there was no one present and thankfully the driver helped him in, “I hope you know your address sir,” He said as he buckled him up and I doubled over laughing at the sight of a grown man being buckled.
“Take me for a ride driver,”
I waved as the taxi drove off and looked at my coat and rose that slipped to the ground in the process before.
“Shit, this is hard,” I thought as I hung like that, my fingers didn’t touch the ground and I couldn’t grab the coat, “Wall you shouldn’t stare at my arse,” I muttered. I blame my heels, without them I would touch the ground swiftly because I was number one in aerobics.
Wait, or was it gymnastics.
Whatever it was it felt like the ground was getting way too closer as I stumbled towards it.
“Whoa, slow down there,” two arms gathered me up, one around my waist, gentler than Liam’s hold which made me think, Liam possible couldn’t have come back that fast, and the other grabbed my coat.
I turned around, “Alexander!” I squealed throwing my arms around Reed knocking him into the wall.
He swore getting a better grip on me, “How much have you had to drink?” I didn’t realise how close he was till I could smell strawberries, man, I wanted dessert.
I leaned closed, “It’s a secret,” I whispered before he rolled his eyes his hands putting distance between us, “Here put your coat on,” he waved it out and I nodded shoving my purse and crumpled rose at him as I grabbed the coat.
“I, Violet, can do it myself,” I said, “I’m a big girl now,”
“Yeah sure you are,” He said as he helped me put my arm in which protested at the weird angles, but hey, sometimes you just have to wriggle till it gets in.
“Here,” He said as he placed the purse around my neck, and I raised an eyebrow, did he even purse?
“Where’s your boyfriend?”
“Went for a drive,” I sighed leaning into Reed, why did he smell like strawberries? Can I eat some too? I yawned against his jacket turning my face to the side and, rest my cheek on his shoulder, “Wake me up when the taxi comes yeah?”
“Noted,” he replied dryly.