Elegant Deception

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Thirteen

It was a quick trip down the lobby. As I walked ahead towards the exit, Dean grabbed my arm and tugged me lightly. He was able to hold me up before I tripped backwards.

“Hey! What?” I turned and glared at him with slight annoyance.

“I’m sorry.” He quickly apologized and waited until I got my composure to continue. “You weren’t listening to me.”

“Were you saying something?”

He scoffed and asked again. “I said if you have anything against motorcycles.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s the one I used to get from work. And I’m taking you home.” He said.

I don’t know why it didn’t process in my head that it was what he was insinuating when he reconfirmed where I lived. “Oh! Ah…” I paused and recollected my thoughts. “No. I mean, no, I don’t have anything against it. I’ve ridden it once before.” I replied.

He smirked. “Really? When was that?”

I chuckled at I recalled the incident. “It was a long time ago.” I could see he was about to pry for more until I cut him off. “So, where’s your ride?”

He smiled and pointed at the elevator. “It’s down at the basement. I’ll go down and get it. Just wait for me by the entrance.” He slowly headed back.

“Wait, I can just go down there with you. It’ll take less time,” I offered.

But then Dean held up his hand and stop me. “No. This is the first time I’m taking you home after our first date. I want to make an impression.”

I chuckled. “And you think having a date at the office during afterhours is a good impression as well?”

“As long as you were there with me, anywhere would have worked. But I’d like to do it in my own terms how I’ll end the night. If I may?” He said.

I smiled and nodded.

“Thank you.” He then bows like an old Englishmen. He took a couple more steps back towards the elevator. “And meet me by the main entrance, okay?”

“Yes. I will.”

Before he disappeared from my view, he gave me one last flirtatious wink. I smirked and rolled my eyes. To hide my embarrassment, I turned around and slowly made my way towards the main entrance. I could hear my own heart beating fast. I had little recollection on the last time I became flustered when a man flirted with me. Not even during those blind dates over the past five years made an impression on me.

I welcomed the cool night air of Chicago as I walked out of the building. A minute later, as Dean promised, he arrived in style. His slick black motorcycle roared amongst the sound of vehicles passing by. Seeing him on that, in a matching black suit and matte colored helmet, fueled my raging fantasy. In the thirty years of my life, I’ve never seen a man looked so beddable just riding a motorcycle. I prayed the fluorescent street light was dim enough for him not to notice my blush.

When I hardly moved an inch, Dean took off his helmet, messing up his hair. Even then, it didn’t dent his good looks. How is that possible?

“Hey! I’ve got a spare helmet for you.” He turned and hastily unfasten the extra headgear behind him.

It was then I gathered my composure and strode to where he was. “Do you always bring a spare with you?”

“Most days.”

I arched my eyebrow at his vague response. But he didn’t elaborate.

Without his prompt, I got the helmet. He smiled while he watched me put it on. I tried not to look him in the eye as I assessed the backseat. It was then I got a good look of his motorcycle. It wasn’t the economical type. His ride had flare and class. If I asked what brand it was, I wouldn’t even know what would be the right response to give when he answered. So I kept my comment neutral.

“Nice ride.”

He laughed aloud.

I looked at him, a bit startled. “What’s so funny?”

“I could see you trying to figure out what to say.” He kept on grinning.

“Well, I did want to ask what model it is. But I don’t know the first thing about motorcycle, so what was the point.” I sighed.

“You don’t have to force yourself to give me any compliments, Amy. Unless otherwise you feel oblige to comment.” He replied.

“Thank you for that offer. I won’t make that much effort on pretentious remarks again.” I playfully said.

Feeling the cool night, I placed my hand under my blazer pocket. Dean noticed and took off his leather jacket. “Here, wear this. It’ll be much colder once we drive through the city.”

I pushed his hand away in protest. “No, thank you. I’ll be fine. My blazer is enough.”

He hesitated and this time took off his leather gloves. “Then, at least, wear this to warm your hands.”

“I’ll be fine.” I argued again.

“Please. Just humor me.” He insisted.

Seeing his determined eyes, I found no courage to say no. So I wore them while he put back his jacket on. Once we were ready to go, Dean held out his hand to me as I settled behind him. I never thought sitting this close to him made my heart flutter. I silently pray he wouldn’t feel or hear it. Before we drove off, Dean peered back one last time.

“Are you good?”

At lost for words at the moment, I could only nod in reply.

Whatever he saw made him smile before putting on his helmet and the visor down.Then we drove through the Chicago night.

The cool air brushed my bear cheeks and nose, making it flush even more. This would be a good excuse why my face was red, rather than because my hand was tightly gripped around his toned stomach. The three layers of clothing couldn’t hide that fact.

Once we arrived at my apartment building, I thought he was going to drop me off. But then he turned off the motorcycle’s ignition. I got off first and shyly turned around as I took off the helmet. I quickly brushed my hair. I knew it was tangled and messy from the breeze. A bit confident I looked decent, I turned to face him again. By then, Dean had taken off his helmet and put his motorcycle on park.

“What are you doing?” I finally asked.

He turned and quizzically look at me. “I’m walking you to your door, why?”

“Oh… Thank you.” I muttered shyly then handed him back his spare headgear. He got it out of my hands.

He then gestured towards my apartment building. “Ladies first.”

I turned and slowly walked up the stairs leading to the main door of my apartment complex. It was such a short distance that it surprised me he even bothered.

Unless…

I was about to make a quick goodbye when Dean reached out and brushed a stray hair away from my face. The feeling of his fingertips caressing my cheeks suddenly made me hot. His fierce gaze heightened the tension between us.

I cleared my throat while waited in anticipation.

Dean leaned in closer. My heart beat was pounding in my chest. When we were an inch apart, I closed my eyes. It felt like I felt like a teenager again, receiving her first kiss.

Has it always been like this? When was the last time a man kissed me?

I waited for soft lips to meet mine. Instead his hot breath caressing my cheeks, it was his deep voice whispering to my ears. “Thank you for the lovely night, Amy. Until tomorrow, sweet dreams.”

I still had my eyes close as I felt him pull away and placed a light kiss on my forehead.

When I finally opened my eyes, I watched him walked the short steps back to his motorcycle. I stood there in stun silence. He looked at me one last time as he got back on his ride. His smile was soft and sincere. Then, he put on his helmet and started the motorcycle, which roared in the quiet neighborhood.

Standing by the entrance, I watched him speed through the dark streets until it disappeared from my sight. I placed a hand on my still racing heart. It was then I noticed I still wore his leather gloves.

I noted to return it back to him first thing tomorrow.

For once, I was looking forward to work that didn’t involve my job.


At the office next morning, I wasn’t mentally prepared how to act around Dean. I was overly conscious of him when his group arrived. He caught my eye but he hastily peered away as Julian asked to join him in his office. I tried to keep my composure as they passed by.

But then he broke the silence.

“Good morning, Ms. Nolan. How was your night?” Dean greeted.

Everyone glanced towards me, waiting for my reply.

I peered at Dean and kept a composed expression. “Good morning as well. I had a lovely evening. Thank you for asking. How about you?”

Dean smirked. “My night was lovely, Amy. But I could have done better. Don’t you think?”

I nearly lost my composure by his implication. The heavy gazed of our co-worker and boss wasn’t helping my case either. I cleared my throat, and peered at Mr. Hawksley and Zoey in the corner of my eyes. Dean noticed my gaze and took that as cue to stop his flirty connotation.

“Mr. Hawksley, if you may, we have some more business to discuss?” Dean gestured towards Julian’s office.

I caught Julian’s eyes glim in amusement before nodding in response. “Of course. Let’s go, Mr. Garcia.” He said and made a quick exit towards his office.

However, Zoey wasn’t in a hurry to join Julian and Dean at all.

“What was that? Did something interesting happened last night?” She asked teasingly.

Greg walked around and took the seat beside me, wanting to hear my response more clearly.

I rolled my eyes at him before replying Zoey. “Last night was good. We had fun.”

“Fun? That’s it. From the look he was giving you, it wasn’t merely a fun experience.” Zoey said.

I knew at some point today I’ll be telling this story. With three people already in the room, I had three less times to tell it again.

“Fine.” I sighed in defeat. “He bought me dinner and we ate here at the office, since I had some stuff to finish. We talked and then he took me home on his motorcycle. And then he walked me to the main door of my apartment, and said good night…” I paused, feeling slightly flushed at the memory. “That’s it.”

There was silence. And all eyes were on me. However, it was Zoey’s growing grin that concerned me the most.

“Ms. Amy Nolan, should I be under the impression that you like this man?”

I was startled by her words. “What?” I cleared my throat. “That’s insane. I don’t…”

“Amy, you’re blushing. And you’ve barely told the story.” Greg interjected.

“You are blushing, Amy.” Albert affirmed.

I scoffed and tried to compose my nerves. “I’m not. I’m just wearing some blush today.”

“That’s new.” Zoey smirked and winked at me. “Well, I’m not going to ask you what happened last night in detail yet. But I’m happy you’ve finally gave someone a chance, Amy.”

“And it’s about damn time.” Greg chuckled.

I let out a sigh of relief as they dropped the subject. Zoey followed Julian and Dean inside. Thankfully, Albert realized I needed the time alone. So he dragged Greg with him for his meeting with building security. I was at peace for a good few more minutes until another soul exited the elevator.

My new companion wasn’t someone I expected to see again this week.

“From your expression, should I be worried that I made a mistake coming in today? I did receive an email appointment from your boss.” Steve said rather than greeted.

“Steve, hi. You’re back.” I said. “And no, you’re not in the wrong. I think I must have overlook the shared office calendar and notice. It’s been a hellish week here.”

“Am I hearing you right?” He asked. “Amy, who’s always up-to-date with everything and everyone’s business has forgotten to check her to-do list?”

I rolled my eyes and peered down at my desktop to make sure Steve was intended for a meeting today. And he was. Plus, he was right. This was unlike me.

“I’m not always perfect, Steve. Any day I wouldn’t have missed it.”

“So why did you miss it today?” He asked.

“I already told you. We had a hellish week at the office. It should be in the news by now.”

“It was. I’ve read it too. But I’m still interested why you’re not on-top of your game. This is a once in a blue moon thing.” He gauged teasingly.

“I was…” I stopped short when I heard someone exited to the reception.

Steve and I looked who interrupted our conversation.

It was Dean.

His expression was stoic. I couldn’t read whether he heard our conversation or not. Nonetheless, his interruption was enough to get Steve out of my business.

“Well, I have an early meeting with Mr. Hawksley. Should I go in or wait out here again?” Steve asked.

I peered away from Dean, who silently made his way towards the small security booth by the elevator.

“I’ll call it in and ask Mr. Hawksley’s secretary.” I replied and picked up my desk phone. I pressed the line connected to Zoey’s. She picked up on the second ring.

“Hello?” Zoey asked.

“Zoey, I got a Mr. Crawford here for his appointment with Mr. Hawksley. Do I send him to you now?” I inquired.

There was a brief paused before she replied. “Oh, yes. Please send him in, thank you, Amy.”

“No worries. I’ll send him in.”

Upon hearing my reply, Steve gave me a wink and headed towards Julian’s office. “Wish me luck, Ams!” He said enthusiastically before disappearing around the corner.

“You don’t need it, Steve.” I said a bit too late.

I turned in surprise as Dean spoke. “Who was that?”

“What?” His question caught me off guard.

“Who was that guy? You two seem close.” He asked again.

“Oh, that was Steve. He’s an old friend of mine who’s applying for a job here. I think he’s having his second interview with Mr. Hawksley.” I chatted away to fill the sudden tension in the room.

Dean stood up and slowly approached my desk. “So about last night…”

I cut him off. “Thank you. You were a lovely company.” The words spurt out of my mouth, which surprised me.

He smirked at my interrupted. “I’m glad you enjoyed my company, Amy.”

I bit my lips in embarrassment. What’s was wrong with me? Steve was right. I might have lost my touch.

“Amy,” he started. “I don’t want to assume. So I’ll ask you right now.”

He waited for my response to continue. So I nodded.

“Is it safe to assume that I can take you out on a date again?” He asked.

The deafening silence in the room only fueled the tension between us.

Unable to speak, I nodded yet again.

“Then, how about I take you out properly for lunch today?”

I looked at him. Surprised how quick he got that out. “What?”

He chuckled at my dumbfounded expression. “Let’s have lunch. I know a good place to eat close to the office. And I’ll make sure we get back in time.”

“I’m…”

He saw that I was about to refuse. And like last time, he was quick to compromise.

“We’ll take my bike. It’s much faster,, if you prefer. Plus, I’ll phone in a reservation and our meal order ahead. It’ll cut down our wait time.” He offered.

I laughed. “You don’t have to make that extra effort, Dean. I have a reasonable amount of time for my lunch break. We can make it. I’m sure. And if we don’t, I can ask Greg or Albert to mind the reception for me.”

“Am I hearing you right?” He asked. A smiled tugged on the edge of his lips. “Is that a yes?”

I rolled my eyes and grinned. “Yes.”

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