By my tenth day working for Mary Ashford, I feel like I’m actually starting to really get into the groove of things. I wake up in my luxuriously lovely apartment around 9 AM, shower, do my makeup, stop at the coffee shop for my daily dose of caffeine accompanied by a scone, and then arrive at work along with everyone else.
Despite me falling asleep on FaceTime with Tony each night, my mind seems to keep continually floating back to Lucas whenever I find myself idle between tasks.
I keep picturing how good it would feel to be with Lucas. His height... the size of his hands... his beard... the way his eyes pierce into me whenever he passes by.
I do my best to distract myself from the lust-filled thoughts but it’s difficult. I decide to FaceTime Riley and Ruthie for the first time in a long time during my lunch hour.
They answer together, sitting side by side with smiles on their faces.
“We missed you!” they shout at me in unison.
“I’ve missed you both too,” I tell them smiling. It’s actually so good to see their familiar faces. They annoy me and piss me off so much at times but at the end of the day, I still love them. It’s hard not to love friends you’ve had since childhood.
“How are things?” Riley asks me.
I texted them to tell them I was in LA but I never gave them the full scope of the details.
I show them around the office space with the FaceTime camera and then take a seat in a quiet area to talk to them.
“I’m really happy here,” I explain. “What’s been going on over there?”
“Same old boring stuff,” Ruthie tells me.
“Like what?” I ask.
“Well… you know.”
They turn to each other and make a face as if they are debating whether or not they should tell me something.
“You can just tell me,” I say flatly. “Doug and Trixie made it official?”
The twins nod their heads at the same time.
“That’s alright,” I reply. “Like I said before, I’m happy for them.”
I reflect on the fact that Doug was texting me telling me he missed me not that long ago. I bite my tongue and decide to fully keep that detail completely to myself. He might have sent that to me during a moment that he was feeling bored with Trixie. If they are an official couple now, then that means that there is no reason for me to say anything that could possibly split them up. I know that Riley and Ruthie gossip a lot, so for me to give them a detail like that would be possibly dooming Doug’s new relationship.
“Are you still trying to pursue things with Tony even though he’s here and you’re there?” Riley asks.
“Yeah. I am actually.”
“We’re sorry for being bitchy towards you about him by the way,” Ruthie tells me. “Hoping you can forgive us.”
“Of course I forgive you guys,” I respond.
It’s nice catching up with them and nice to see that they’re maturing and evolving. Work comes to an end and Lucas trails behind me on the way out.
“What are you up to tonight, New-Girl-Nora?”
“Finishing up some assignments from Mary,” I respond, holding up a folder.
“Such a hardworking fashion designer,” he says tauntingly.
“Yeah, I know I am,” I reply, crossing my arms with a smile on my face.
“Alright well don’t work too hard,” he says back, “See you tomorrow.”
Kate looks at me groans in exasperation. I ignore her as Lucas leaves through the main entrance. I set my purse down on her receptionist desk to dig for my phone so I can order an Uber back to my apartment.
I’m pretty sure she’s trying to start a conversation with me but I personally don’t care to engage.
“He’s a piece of shit,” Kate finally mumbles from behind the desk.
I look up at her with an invisible yet obvious question mark on my forehead.
“Lucas,” she says. “He’s a jerk.”
“Okay, I’ll bite. Why?”
“He’s tried to sleep with every girl in the office. And the ones who have slept with him ended up getting ghosted by him.”
“He really doesn’t seem like that type.”
“He really is. You haven't known him long enough to see it. Keep your guard up because he’s clearly interested in you.”
“I create opinions about people based on my own personal experiences with them. Not based on gossip.”
“Whoa. Girl. I was just trying to give you the heads up.”
“Weren’t you also the girl who tried to make me feel as stupid as possible for showing up here in the first place?”
She stares at me with her mouth hanging open. She’s probably dumbfounded at the fact that I have the balls to stand up for myself instead of silently taking a beating from her like I did the entire week I sat in this lobby hoping for a chance at a meeting with Mary.
“Nothing to say?” I ask. “That’s what I thought. You can keep your cheap advice, I honestly wouldn’t trust a single word out of your mouth.”
I walk outside to wait for my Uber so I don’t have to wait for it another minute next to her.
Lucas is waiting outside, leaned against the building wall.
“Waiting for me?” I ask with a smirk.
“How’d you know?”
“Well, you can go on home now. My Uber is almost here.”
“Cancel that. I’ll give you a ride.”
“Are you sure?” I ask him.
He nods and points in the direction of his Mercedes-Benz parked across the way. We both climb in and drive for a few minutes in silence. I admire the interior detail of his car and for some reason, now that he's offered me a rid home I’m finding myself even more attracted to him than I was before.
“How are you liking the job?” he asks.
“So far so good.”
“I’m glad to hear that. Mary’s a tough boss to work for but it’s still so rewarding to work for her at the end of the day.”
“Yeah. I know what you mean.”
“Just show up and do what she asks and you’ll be fine. And never for the life of you ask for a day off. She will fire you so quickly if you do… I’ve seen it happen.”
“Yikes… that sounds scary. So no one is allowed to take a vacation.”
“No one except her.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“What kind of music does a girl like you listen to?” he asks.
“A little bit of everything,” I reply.
“No vague, political answers,” he says, gently pushing my knee. “What is your genre?”
“Rock music. Pop music. Rap Music. I’m kind of all over the place with my music taste. You?”
“I’ve got an eclectic music taste also.”
“Cool. So… question.”
“Why did Kate tell me you sleep with every girl in the office just to ghost them after?”
He laughs and rolls his eyes.
“She’s such a bitter bitch,” he sighs.
“Why would she say something like that though?”
“First of all I don’t sleep with all the girls in the office. I slept with her. One time. And I instantly regretted it because she started acting like a clingy, obsessed alien freak afterwards. I was planning to casually hook up with her every now and then and maybe even later I thought I might want to pursue a relationship with her if things went well. I mean, come on. She’s hot. I thought, why not? But immediately after the first time we hooked up, she turned absolutely insane. She started texting me a thousand times in a row, leaving notes on my desk at work, and just acting plain desperate. She didn’t even give me a chance to breathe and make plans to hang with her again after the first time we hooked up. She was instantly acting crazy. So I just stopped acknowledging her… I figured if I stopped feeding the monster, it would eventually starve.”
“Were you right about that?”
“I was. She finally stopped harassing me. Obviously she’s still pissed because now she’s planting toxic seeds in your head about me.”
“I didn’t take her seriously when she said it.”
“I hope not. There’s more to me than meets the eye, New-Girl-Nora.”
“I can tell.”
My phone starts vibrating with a call from Tony. I press the ignore button and tuck my phone away.
We pull up to my apartment but before I can get out of the car, Lucas grabs my hand.
“Can I take you out to dinner?” he asks me.
I pause there, his fingers interlaced with mine. I’m really not supposed to say yes to this dinner date offer because I'm supposed to be going inside and calling Tony... but I can’t help myself. The last thing I want to do is go inside my apartment alone for the night, looking over the assignment I have from Mary. I want to spend more time with Lucas. I can’t help it. It’s like I’ve been sucked into his magnetic force.
“Yeah, okay,” I say, re-buckling my seatbelt.
He drives us over to a restaurant called Palomino and lets the valet guy park the car for us as we walk inside.
We sit next to each other at our table and look over the menu together.
“I don’t know what to get,” I tell him.
“Want me to order for you?” he asks.
“Okay, sure,” I say, smiling at him. For some reason I feel like he already knows me and understands my tastes and what I’m into.
My phone starts vibrating again with another call from Tony. I reject the call and then drop my phone in my purse
“Who keeps blowing you up?”
“Just my dad. I think he misses me.”
“I hope you’re not planning to go back to Indiana anytime soon.”
“I’m not. I mean, I have a job here now. I don’t know when I’d have the time to do that anyway.”
“I’m really happy you’re here,” he says to me, gently brushing a strand of hair behind my ear.
“Why is that?” I ask.
“Life was starting to feel really mundane until you showed up,” he says to me.
Something comes over me in that moment and I lean towards him to kiss him.
He kisses me back. Hard. He grabs me sort of aggressively and we find ourselves making out at our table in the restaurant.
I’m totally lost in the moment with him until we hear the throat clearing “Ahem” of our waitress.
We pull away from each other and apologize to her at the same exact time. We then look at each other and laugh.
“Are you ready to order?” she asks.
“No, actually,” Lucas says standing up and taking my hand. “We’ve gotta get out of here.”
He retrieves his car from valet and the two of us hop inside of it feeling absolutely giddy as we drive away.