“Double espresso, please. To go.” Elizabeth said to the young girl behind the counter of the coffee shop in a coarse voice.
After placing the order, she moved out of the line to wait for her much-needed coffee. She didn’t even bother to remove sunglasses from her face knowing she looked like hell. Her eyes were bloodshot, and there were purple bags under them caused by a night filled with alcohol and loud music that celebrated her best friend’s last days as a single lady. Her hair was also a mess, although she did a pretty good job in ostensibly taming it.
Even though she woke up later than she should have, she decided to walk a few blocks to her office rather than taking a taxi or the bus because she felt that coffee at her apartment wouldn’t be enough to wake her up and that she needed something more to shake her up.
While waiting for her order, Elizabeth thought about possible ways to avoid her boss, who was pretty strict. He hated laziness and delays of any kind.
“Double espresso to go!” she heard another girl at the counter say.
After paying the bill, she headed to the door and went out, turning left towards her office. Not even ten steps later she hit a wall, a wall that was not supposed to be there in the middle of the sidewalk. The next thing she knew was the feeling of burnt skin that spread all over her chest, going all the way from her breasts to her navel and lower abdomen.
Elizabeth’s jaw dropped down, and her eyes were wide open. Without even realizing she moved her hand to remove sunglasses off her face. Wth? Ready to start to unleash all of her anger on the “wall” in front of her, she looked up only to meet the most mesmerizing eyes she had seen in her life. The eyes staring back at her had hazel as their dominant color with traces of gold. They were mesmerizing, captivating. They held her in prison that she couldn’t run away from. A whirlwind of emotions seemed to wake up inside of her that she couldn’t put a name on nor understand.
“Hm Hm” ‘wall’ of a man coughed, and that pulled Elizabeth out of the trance that she was in. “Sorry, ma’am, I didn’t see you.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes and looked towards her white silk blouse that was ruined with a coffee stain.
“May I buy you a new coffee? As an apology? And dry cleaning of your clothes should be on me too.”
“You know what, sir... it’s OK. It’s totally fine. Don’t worry about it.” she squeezed through her teeth.
“But I insist... Ple...” but she cut him off. “No, really it’s fine and anyway I have to go, I am already late. Bye.”
Elizabeth walked around this guy who was still standing in one place like a statue, like he was in a trance too, not moving an inch, and hurried down the street towards her office building.
“You are late!” Jenny, Elizabeth’s colleague and friend, all but shouted, “And what’s with your clothes? What happened?” she asked when she noticed a coffee-stained blouse.
“Shhh, I’ll tell you later... Is he here?” He being their boss.
“No, not yet. Hurry up to the toilet, let’s try to fix that.”
They went to the toilet, where they tried to rinse the blouse in the sink but with not much success. The stain was still very noticeable. Luckily, silk fabric was thin so drying it under the hand dryer was relatively easy.
“Oh well, that’ll do,” Elizabeth sighed after putting it on, “Thank you, Jenny. I don’t know what I would do without you. You always have my back.”
“Silly, that’s what friends are for. Now, let’s go to get some work done. Come on.” Jenny said with a smile.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
Best friends since college, they managed to get jobs at the same company ‘Brooks publishing,’ and their jobs mainly consisted of reading a bunch of scripts, marking important parts, parts that should be changed, and checking facts listed in scripts. After their work is done, those scripts would go to their manager, who decided what will be published and what will not. Although, after a couple of months working in the company, their opinions started to matter and were taken into consideration more seriously.
Elizabeth didn’t even go on lunch break. She wanted to get done as much work as possible, knowing that next weekend will be chaotic and the next work week will be harder.
“Hey Lizzy, drinks after work?” asked Jenny in one moment.
Elizabeth just rolled her eyes, groaning loudly. She heard her friend chuckle.
“OK. But my place.” and then added, “And no alcohol!”
That made Jenny laugh, but the next second door of their shared office opened, and their manager walked in.
“Do share what’s so funny so I can laugh too,” he asked with one eyebrow raised.
“Nothing, sir,” came their unified answer, after which he just gave them one more glare and left.
“Yeah, right... and how come you don’t look like hell spit you out? You drank even more than me!”
“Oh girl, it’s not my fault you can’t handle your booze.”
Loud steps in front of their small office space cut out any other discussion. They both worked without any interruptions until the end of the workday.