Ollie kept texting me, emailing me, and calling me at the office. All week. He wanted his answer about dinner, and I wasn’t ready to give him one.
On one hand we could get closure, on the other hand, I felt like it would rush my grieving process. I had unresolved feelings about what happened, and even about Oliver himself.
It was the end of the day, tomorrow was Saturday. My day off. I needed to let loose or something, I just felt so wound up.
Per Carter’s request, I’ve been keeping an eye on our transplant, Weston. He’s been out of the office a lot, getting the shots that I need. He definitely put Russo to work, I kept running into Russo in the dark room.
I walk to Riley’s office, she’s on the phone when I walk in. I can tell by her face that she’s talking to her fiancé Grant, he’s a firefighter for CF in San Diego. He’s a great guy, and I’ve never met anyone more perfect for Riley.
“I’ll talk to you tonight, Grant, Hanna just walked into my office.” I sit across from her and cross my legs. I’m wearing leggings, my Uggs, and an oversized sweater from USC. Friday’s are casual days in the office, and it was cold in LA today, it was mid November, almost Thanksgiving.
Riley ends her call with a smile on her face. I was happy to see my best friend so happy, especially with all she’s gone through the past year.
“Grant wanted me to invite you to Thanksgiving dinner.”
“In San Diego?” I ask.
“Yes, you know how the firehouses do potluck, family is always invited. You’re my family, we want you to come.” It was sweet. I’ve spent many Thanksgivings with Riley and her dad, they were always fun. But holidays were hard for me, she knew that, so some events I would say yes to and others I would say no.
“I kind of feel like being alone this year.” I could have lied to Riley and made up a bullshit excuse, but I knew she would see right through it. We don’t lie to each other. We can always be honest with each other.
“Are you sure?” I nod.
“If I change my mind I’ll be sure to let you know.” Riley looks concerned, she always does.
Her eyes flicker behind me, and then looks back at me. I turn my head to see who she is looking at.
I look back at Riley. “I’ll see you on Monday.” She nods and watches me leave with Weston.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt your meeting, Hanna.” He says as we are walking towards my office.
“It’s fine. It wasn’t a meeting, just a catch up.” I open the door to my office and walk in. He closes the door behind him.
“Have you guys been friends for long?” He asks.
“Since elementary school.” I say as I sit down. He hands me a folder, and I start looking through it.
Weston doesn’t say anything else, I can just feel his eyes as he is staring at me looking at his work. He’s literally standing, not even sitting down.
I was impressed.
I really liked his photos. Had to admit that he has talent and I can see why Carter hired him.
“I’ll pass these along to Riley, they’re really good and exactly what I needed. Thank you.” I half expect him to leave my office, the work day was done. But he just stood there. “Is there anything else?”
He smiles. “I would like to apologize again, and would like to take you out to a professional dinner.” Oh.
“When?” I ask. Why was I even entertaining the idea?
“Right now, if that would be alright with you?” I look at the time. It was close to six, and the more I thought about it, I actually was hungry.
“A professional dinner.” I say. He nods.
“Only if I can pick out the place.” I say. His eyes light up. His gorgeous light blue eyes.
I sat down on a bench, Weston sitting down next to me with our food, and I looked at him.
“This isn’t exactly what I had in mind.” He says. He was in a suit. I was still in my leggings and oversized sweater.
“I know.” We picked up food from one of the shops on the boardwalk. We were at Venice Beach. The sun was beginning to set, we had a beautiful view, and we had delicious Mexican food to go with it.
I grab my to go box and start putting salsa on my tacos. Weston also puts some, I watch him take a bite. He looks impressed.
“This is good.” He says with his mouth full.
I laugh. “You might want to swallow first before deciding that.” He does. Then I watch him start slightly choking. “You alright?” I ask him.
“It’s really spicy, but good.” He sips on his horchata water. I take a bite of my food, it was really good. “Is this your favorite Mexican restaurant?” He asks me.
I shake my head. “Nothing beats Mexican food like actually having it in Mexico. This is probably second best.” He smiles at me.
“You’ve been to Mexico?” Weston asks me.
“My grandparents took me once before they passed away, I met some of my family there. Though I didn’t know what they were saying half the time. I did know the word for more, so anytime it was dinner and I finished my plate they would ask me if I wanted more, and I always said yes.” I haven’t seen my family since, it was one of the few positive memories I had with family. I email my cousins all the time, but I haven’t gone back.
“Are you full Mexican?” He asks me. I looked mostly white. My mom was Mexican, my dad was German. I didn’t know any Spanish because she didn’t teach me, she was too busy being drunk or high all the time.
“Half.” I don’t elaborate more. I decide to ask him a question. I was done talking about myself. “What made you want to move to Los Angeles?” I take a bite of my food, and give him my full attention.
“As cliché as it sounds, I wanted a new start. I looked at my life, I was successful, but I wasn’t happy. I looked at the job opportunities and saw the posting for a photographer at the company, and on a whim I applied.” I took a sip of my drink.
“What do you think you’ll find here that you couldn’t find in New York City?” He leans back, I could see some of the outlining of his muscles underneath his dress shirt. I felt a little hot now.
“I’ll know once I find it.” He’s staring at me again. His blue eyes are too intense for me, I look at the sunset.
“Your fresh start sounds kind of nice.” I say.
“In theory. Making friends has been difficult. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I made an ass out of myself in front of my boss.” I laugh, which makes him laugh. Then it dies down, and I look at him.
“I’ll be your first friend here, I mean I’ll still have to be your boss at work, but outside of work we can be friends.” He sticks out his hand for a handshake.
“You’re in LA, we don’t do formal here.” He laughs.
“Alright what do you guys do here?” Weston asks and I face my body towards him.
I fist bump him. This makes him laugh even harder. I laugh with him, and for the first time in a while, I feel some joy.