Begin Again

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Eleven: All In

As I stand in the planning room looking over blueprints my only focus is on Violet’s foundation for Jade. I want to throw myself into the project and get it started as soon as possible but I have so much work on my plate that I need to focus on first. Violet and I have already made plans to meet after work but the time couldn’t come fast enough. I find myself constantly distracted.

I hear a knock on the opened door and looked to see Ella standing there with a folder in her hands, “I have some papers that need your signature.”

“Yeah, come on in,” I tell her, looking back at the blue prints and writing down dimensions in my notebook, “Any calls for me?”

“No,” She answers simply before putting the papers in front of me, “These are legal documents so you may need to schedule a meeting with your lawyer. It’s the contracts for the 5th Avenue building and the building in Queens.”

I nod my head, opening the folder and skipping through the documents, “Can you call Jeff Elsworth and schedule a meeting as soon as possible? My business number is located in the filing cabinet in the front desk. I assume Mason gave you the key?”

“Yeah, he did.” Ella nods her head and turns towards the door.

“Wait,” I stop her unknowingly, it wasn’t planned but my conscience spoke for me. When she turns to look at me I say the only thing I can think of, “I’m sorry about high school... I know I was an asshole back then, but I’m not the same guy now.”

“Okay,” is all she says and I know that she isn’t caring about a word that I’m saying. I don’t blame her, I made her life hell and now I deeply regret that.

“No, it’s not okay,” I say before standing from the desk and facing her, “I was a jerk and I regret the person I was before I met someone. She changed me and made me realize that being a dick gets you nowhere in life. But it doesn’t change what I did to you... The bullying and taunting.”

“Thoma-- Mr. Reid, I would really rather not talk about this,” She stares at me and I can see in her eyes that the pain of how I treated her remains, “It’s the past and I would rather we not relive it.”

“Can you jus--”

“Hey guys,” Mason comes around the corner with a stupid grin on his face. He is more thrilled than anyone should ever be at work, “I brought doughnuts, they’re in the staff room. Take as many as you want.”

I roll my eyes and begin to shoo Mason away, “Ella and I were in the middle of something.”

“That is finished,” Ella adds before walking past Mason and disappearing down the hallway.

Mason furrows his eyebrows at me after Ella leaves, “What’s going on with you two?”

“Nothing,” I groan, sitting down again, “I’m trying to be a gentleman and apologize for my past.”

“That bad, huh?”

I close my eyes, leaning my head back and recalling my high school years. Ella was a shy chubby girl and my friends and I enjoyed seeing the chubby girl squirm. Maks and I had broke into her locker and replaced her mirror with a fun house mirror that made her face look chubbier than normal. Jenna tripped her in front of the school multiple times, and while I courted the girls whom I thought was beautiful at the time, I would judge her appearance openly. I was more than an asshole, I was the biggest piece of shit in the world.

Ella wasn’t my only target, but she was my more common one. The shallow person I had been back then loved to make people feel bad about themselves and I told myself that it was a way of dealing with my pathetic life at home.

“Mason, you know who I was before Jade... I wouldn’t be able to look at that person today, I hated my life so I tried to make everyone else hate theirs,” I tell him, running my fingers through my hair and gripping tightly.

Mason rest a hand on my back and offers me a brotherly smile, “It’s not who you are anymore and that’s what counts. I mean, hey, you used to hate me. Now I’m your best friend.”

“I wouldn’t say best friend, you’re more like an obligation,” I respond, joking but not cracking a smile until a few seconds later, “Who I am now doesn’t change who I used to be. It doesn’t make her high school experience better because her bully turned into a decent guy.”

Mason shrugs, “I wouldn’t say decent.”

“Fuck off,” I mutter. As I hear a text come through my phone. I pick it up to see a pending message from Violet.

″How about we try something different tonight? Lets go to a club and dance our butts off to get over the gloom of starting a new week,” Violet’s text read.

I honestly don’t feel up for dancing or partying, but I can’t say no to her. Truly, I had been waiting all day to meet with Violet so we can get started on Jade’s foundation but I can’t tell her that. The last thing I want or need is for her to feel like I’m only spending time with her is because of Jade.

I text her back, “Anything sounds good as long as you’re there to keep my company ;)”

As I review the text I begin to lecture myself for adding the wink at the end. I’m straight up flirting with this girl and she have shown little to no interest in me. It’s pathetic at best, but I can’t deny my wanting her.

I get another text and see nothing but an eggplant emoji. A fucking eggplant emoji. I’m not stupid, I know what that means. She’s clearly flirting back and is interested in fuc-- having sex tonight.

I suddenly realize that I’m unintentionally smirking, suddenly dancing doesn’t sound that bad because at the end of the night I’ll be getting laid.

“What are you smirking about?” I hear Mason ask.

I had completely forgotten that he was still here, nosy fucker. I roll my eyes and mutter under my breath, “Just planning a date with Jade.”

“With who?” He questions again.

“With Jad-- Violet,” I correct myself, “I said Violet.”

“No you didn’t.”

“I did,” I state in a more aggressive tone, but I know that Mason is right. It’s a simple slip up, I know that Violet isn’t Jade. I know who’s dead and who isn’t.

Mason said nothing more, he left the conversation at that which is exactly what needed to be done. He knows better than anyone what pushes my buttons and top on the list would be him continuing an argument that I’m not in a mood for.

I reach towards the table, grabbing my tablet, “I’m heading out for the day. If you need anything, don’t call.”

Mason rolls his eyes and I smirk as I walk past him. Certainly he wouldn’t expect me to tell him to interrupt me. He’s a big boy and can handle things on his own. He doesn’t need me to fix his problems.

When I step out of the office, I feel a sense of eagerness to get to Violet and to start this date. My mind has been made up, I’ve only known her for a little while but I’m going for it. One hundred percent. All in.

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