"You're nervous," Weston comments as we gather in a lift on the way to the top of the restaurant.
My eyes turn to him slowly. "Thank you for pointing it out," I say as I swallow harshly.
"Relax," he says as he fixes the cuff links on his shirt. "I wouldn't bring you with me if I didn't think you could do this professionally."
"Well let's hope you're right,"
Weston cracks a smile at me, his brown eyes wide. I forget to take a breath resulting in an extremely dry mouth, so I quickly cough and take a deep breath into my lungs.
The restaurant we were dining in was up on the thirtieth floor, looking over the whole of London. I've never been somewhere like this in my life and it made me feel so humbled. These were the kind of things I could only dream of, especially with my previous money issues.
As we get seated, Weston checks his phone. "They'll be here shortly," he says as he taps away.
Taking a few deep breaths to stop myself from bursting with fear. I hated waiting, it was the worst feeling. Fuelling me with anxiety.
"Do you want to run some of it by me?" He questions as he locks his phone and tucks it away.
I try my hardest not to contain eye contact with him because I thought I might fall off my chair unexpectedly. "Okay," I nod as I clear my throat and begin to present what I had created.
Weston leans on one of his elbows and watches me carefully. Even though my nerves were making me feel sick, I forced myself to articulate myself in the best way. I didn't want him to regret this now.
I could feel my neck begin to heat up, my collar feeling extremely close to my skin. This was more nerve wracking than I thought and the clients aren't even here yet.
Finishing the most complicated part of the presentation, I take a big breath as I watch Weston nod back at me. "You weren't lying when you said you like numbers,"
"You remember me saying that?" I say in disbelief.
"Yeah," Weston stares back at me. "How could I forget?"
Westons eyes instantly light up as he looks behind me. "They're here," he says standing up instantly.
I follow his lead and meet his clients, smiling away and shaking each other's hands. And I can totally confirm that they are strong handshakes, making me feel as strong as a breadstick.
Introducing myself made me feel somewhat calm because they seemed like normal people, not one of them turning their nose up at me or giving me a cold shoulder. I felt comfortable in an instant, Weston urges us to sit back down and they all begin talking. Weston starts the presentation and soon passes it over to me.
Time moves fast and before I know it the presentation is over and Weston and I are the last at the table. Barely being able to remember how the pitch went, I knew I was in the zone. I powered through without letting my nerves get the better of me.
I felt like Weston's clients were interested as they asked me questions, in which I explained in depth. They all sat and listened to me patiently and wanted me to carry on with the future for the company and how it would better their institutions.
"Do you want a ride home?" Weston catches me by surprise as he looks at the bill placed on the table.
"Oh erm," I pause for a moment. "I can get the train, it's okay."
Weston quirks an eyebrow at me as he swipes out his card from his blazer pocket. "My chauffeur is waiting outside, it would be a waste of a journey for you."
"Okay then," I nod once.
The waitress comes over and hands Weston the card machine for the bill. I watch as he thanks her and she walks off quickly, a light smile on my face. "Did you give her a tip?" I joke but my lips almost quiver at what I say. We are not close enough to be making jokes like this.
My heart stammers, Jesus why would I say that?
"What I do with my money is my business," he says, his voice low.
"I know," I shake my head instantly. "That didn't come out right."
"But if you really want to know, I do tip those who I think give excellent service because I know how poorly paid some of them are. Especially working in Michelin Star restaurants, it can be a tough audience." He says as he tucks his card and phone back into his pocket.
"Yeah, tell me about it," I reply.
Weston smiles before pushing his chair out from underneath him. "Let's go, I don't want to keep Darryl waiting,"
I follow his lead as he dashes past the tables, thanking all of the waiters and waitresses as we pass. The lift down was quiet, he hadn't said anything about the presentation yet or how he thought it went. I struggle to swallow as I think about what he's thinking, he probably hated it. He probably thinks I've embarrassed him in front of his clients.
My mouth opens and I take a breath, fuck. I need to stop forgetting to breathe. No, I need to stop overthinking. His clients seemed intrigued and overwhelmed by the information I presented, I know it was something to be proud of. Even if Weston thought otherwise.
There was a black Mercedes sat outside on the curb, a man stood by the door. He nods once at Weston as we edge closer. "Thanks Darryl," he says as Darryl opens the door for him.
Weston stops and turns to me. "After you," he says and I stand there slightly startled.
"Thank you," I rush as I climb into the back of the car, the smell of fresh leather seats swarming me.
Weston slides in beside me and the door is shut instantly. "Where we heading to?" He questions as he pulls his seatbelt down with one hand and clicks it in place effortlessly.
"I live in West Kensington,"
"Can we head towards West Kensington please Darryl?" Weston asks, the drivers head and raising his two fingers to his head.
"Right away sir," he says back, starting the car and slowly pulling off.
The car settles in silence, only the sound of the radio playing classical music could be heard. I fidget with my hands as I stare out of the window.
"So," I pause as I turn my head to Weston. "So, was it okay or are you firing me?" I say light heartedly.
He looks up from his phone, the light reflecting against his face. "Well we usually have a debrief in work on Monday rather than on the journey home," he tells me.
"Oh," I say as I sink further into my seat.
"But I'm not firing you Micah," the corner of his mouth twitches up as he looks at me. "You did good."
"Okay," I breathe out. "Thanks."
"I liked what you said in response to their questions about the future of Huddle, I didn't know you had collated that information,"
"Honestly that's nothing," I say and Weston flashes me a confused look. "I've been working on some other things, taking research from online sales and competitors. I found some really interesting things in the newspaper the other day."
"Well you should show me on Monday," Weston says as he locks his phone.
"It's something I've been working on at home actually," I admit.
He looks at me for a moment, his eyes glancing at my lips and back up to my eyes. "You've been doing it in your spare time?" He asks sounding impressed.
I force myself to not let my cheeks turn bright red. "Yeah, I feel I work better in a quiet environment. And besides Abi talks so much, can barely hear myself think."
Weston's laugh filters through the car and he nods at me. "Yeah the floor is a bit hectic sometimes,"
The drive back to my flat doesn't take too long, Darryl pulls up on the side of the road, cringing as Weston looks up at my beaten block of flats. "Thanks for the ride and for tonight," I say as I unbuckle my seatbelt.
"Can I come up and see those ideas you said you had?" He catches me by pure surprise.
My heart drops into my stomach. "I-I," my voice stammers and I want to commit. "My flat is so messy, I mean everything is messy."
Weston shrugs once. "I don't care,"
"Are you sure? I—"
"Did you do any of this research or what?" He narrows his eyes at me like I was lying.
"Of course I did," I say instantly.
"Then show me,"
"Darryl, can you give us a minute?" He calls out as he pops open the car door.
"Of course Mr Locke,"
Opening the other side and looping around the car, fumbling for my keys in my pocket and walking up the patio stairs. "Just so you know," I start as I tap in a key code to the ground floor door. "My flat is really small and will probably be so messy you can't see the floor. If I knew you'd want to see, I would have tidied up."
Weston flashes me a subtle smile, he was amused. "What?" I ask as we begin to walk up the stairs.
"Nothing," he shakes his head.
As we reach my floor, pressing my keys into the hole and opening up. I wondered what Valentina would be doing, if she was half asleep on the sofa or dancing and getting drunk. It really could anywhere between the two.
Welcoming Weston into my flat, Vee nowhere to be seen. I don't miss how Weston instantly starts to look around, I cringed internally because nothing about our flat was aesthetically pleasing, apart from a couple plants. Maybe the mandala mat handing on one of the walls from Vee's gap year in Thailand.
"Okay, just through here," I say as I crack open my bedroom door. Mentally praising myself for my semi tidy room. I would have died if there was a pair of boxers or mouldy toast on the floor, but there wasn't. Even I was impressed.
"So I printed a couple things out," I say as I grab an unorganised stack of paper from my side. "I found so much stuff online and managed to find out other companies statistics, then compared them to Neptune and the probabilities of people choosing the Huddle over other software programmes. And what the factors would be for why they choose the product."
Weston sits on my desk chair as he takes the papers from my hands. His eyes scan over, reading each line. "I threw in some other information as well but not sure if they would be useful for the company,"
For a few minutes Weston doesn't speak and I wait beside him anxiously, my teeth clenching around my thumb. My stomach churns and I felt more nervous now than I did earlier. My heart will not be able to take this.
Eventually Weston pulls back and leans into the chair. His eyes seem distant but he looks at the wall and slowly looks towards me. A look in his eye that I've never seen before, they soften and he smiles. A hand coming up to graze his light stubble on his cheeks. "You are so intelligent, you know that?"
I'm not sure if I blinked or started having a fit, trying to contain myself. "I'm not that intelligent," I brush off.
"You are," he shakes his head towards me. "This stuff is honestly amazing, you have to work on the pitch I asked you about before with me. I want to use this, this is a game changer."
"Really?" My voice almost cracks.
Weston hums. "Yes, really,"
"Okay," I smile, my body slightly shaking.
"Thanks for showing me this Micah," he says as he stands up and tucks my desk chair back under my table. "Bring these with you on Monday."
He makes his way back through my flat and stops at the door, noticing Valentina who is now standing at the fridge. "Hey," she smiles as she notices us.
"Hello," Weston says politely.
"Weston was just leaving," I tell her.
"Oh, well goodbye," she smiles and he nods towards her.
Weston pops open the front door and turns to look at me. "I'll see you on Monday Micah,"
I shut the door behind him and make the mistake of glancing over at Valentina. "Who on Earth was that?!" She yells out.
A deep sigh rumbles from my chest as I sit on one of the table chairs. "That is my boss,"
Valentina gasps suddenly. "Holy shit, is that who I think it is?"
"He is divine Micah, oh my God. He's the one who gave you all that money!" She shouts.
"Yes Vee, thank you for clarifying,"
Her eyes light up at me. "And he was here why?" She questions before dropping her eye into a light wink.
"Get your head out of the gutter," I roll my eyes. "He came here to see some work I have been working on."
"Oh yeah, sure," she wiggles her eyebrows once.
"Come on Vee, look at him. Why would someone like him even look at me?"
"Because you're cute and smart,"
"Cute," I snort. "That is the worst compliment."
"Can't knock it until you try it," she says before taking a sip of her water.
"If only I could get anywhere near to knocking it," I laugh to myself.
"Never say never.”