Ray

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A fair deal?

Ray was fighting to keep her eyes open as she waited in the elevator for her floor. She was full and exhausted. She realised she should not have stuffed her face with food as much as she had. But it smelled so good that she was at the mercy of her notorious taste buds. However the chocolate cake at the end was just out of gluttony. It felt like she would throw up if she moved too much. With the mixed feelings of regret and content Ray dragged her feet across the hallway to her condo.

After entering Ray went straight to her bedroom and toppled off the edge of her bed falling face first onto the soft clean sheets. Her brain fogged up as she felt like she would drift off to sleep any second now but her consciousness decided to go over the events of the day. Dazed still Ray stared at the wall while her mind flashed brief moments from the day in quick succession.

It all started with borrowing Sam's clothes because she was running late for her meeting with Zeal. She realised she was still wearing his shirt. She pulled the collar over her nose and took a long whiff, smiling blissfully. She almost lost her trail of thought, as her mind filled up with Sam's scent, but came back when its effect waded off. Then her mind went to breakfast she had with Sam and the conversation that followed.

It had taken an unexpected turn. She did not expect the reaction out of him that she got. He was sorry? It had taken her by surprise too. The moment she stopped talking he fell into a fit of apologies. Ray could never have imagined that a boy could be so conscious of his own behaviour. Apparently he was sorry because he had given Ray a hard time the night before when she had already gone through shit for the entire day. Ray told him that he couldn't have known but he kept insisting that he should have at least asked.

So Ray asked him to accompany her to look at the property Zeal had searched up for her office space. She made him a part of that meeting so he would feel like he compensated for his supposed ignorant behaviour and stop feeling guilty about it. But that wasn't the only reason as she wanted him to come along and appreciated his reliable presence. The meeting itself was not momentous except for Zeal's sneaky glances towards Sam. Atlast she gave in as she hooked arms with Ray who was walking in between Sam and her and pulled her close enough so she could whisper without Sam hearing.

"He is like a hot nerd. Where did you get him? Build a bae factory?"

A secret smug smile played on Ray's lips as she whispered back.

"Guess what he does for a living."

Zeal raised her eyebrow in response. Ray continued with even more smugness in her voice.

"He writes. The overly romanticized stories. AND he practices what he preaches."

Zeal excitedly tugged on Ray's arm and said louder than she intended to.

"That's it. You have done it. You have found the perfect man."

Sam now looked over to them and said with a hint of humor to Zeal.

"Stealing my girl?"

"All yours." Said Zeal as she let go of Ray before Whispering one last thing to her.

"I wonder if his little guy is just as impressive."

Ray retorted before moving close to Sam.

"Oh no no, anything below the waist is off limits for you."

Zeal giggled with glee and Ray joined in as Sam entwined his fingers with hers.

The groggy Ray who stared at the wall while laying on her bed, wondered why she shared so much with Zeal and even had fun doing it.

Moving on, Ray recalled the actual seeing of the property. The place was great but the tenant was not. He was stuffy and overbearing. He would not budge from his said price and was not open to even negotiate. Ray had almost called it quits on the place because she was irritated with the tenant and did not like him. But Zeal and Sam persuaded her to think twice about it over dinner. Everything worked out but they hit a dead end when it came to the finances. Ideas then flowed around the table, as Zeal and Sam worked together to genuinely come up with something.

Sam suggested taking a loan. Zeal stayed put on selling the house. Ray told her how she could never get Justin to agree that is when Sam cut her short and said with a sudden revelation.

"Sell it to him then. Your half. Sell it to him."

And with that Ray came back from her reminiscing. Rising from the bed, she felt more awake than before now. Quietly and leisurely she undressed and got ready for bed as she let Sam's words linger in her subconscious.

The morning that followed was busy to say the least. The moment Ray woke up her brain was in full drive and was spouting out an array of things that she needed to get done. Ray scrambled out of her bed and without wasting much time on the routine stuff she got down to work.

"Why are we set back by a day, Timmy?" Enquired Charlie, not happy with the delay of whatever he was concerned about.

"The man, he wouldn't let up." Said Timothy, settling down in one of the chairs in front of Charlie. He continued with a frown. "Why not just buy him off?"

"Isn't it obvious? An entire fucking office listed on the market for days suddenly goes for free. Too suspicious." Said Charlie, as he considered his options again.

"So we can do nothing but sit back and watch?" Asked Timothy leaning forward.

"We cannot take matters in our hands, anything we do has to be through her. Otherwise it will show, we are desperate and that will tick off the time bomb." Said Charlie rubbing his forehead to ease the tension.

Timothy drew a deep breath and heaved with dejection as they both then fell into a brooding silence.

The day passed by in a blur as Ray worked on her new startup. Piecing together any valuable information and creating a game plan. Going over every requirement and writing it down. Allocating what limited money she had to do the said tasks and seeing how far she can stretch without having to look at the other resources. It wasn't nearly enough. She then went to her Facebook community and seeked out some of her frequent designer fellows, who might be interested in working for her at a minimum wage for at least a month or two till she received the fat check from Mayhem. 10 out of the 3 she asked were willing to do it as a side thing. That worked for her. She spent the rest of her day building an identity for her company. Now all that left to do was establish herself and her brand with a place to call its hub.

And that was the impending question which brought her trail of thought to this house and Justin.
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