Second Impressions

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Calm down tiger

“Did my sister give my number to you?” I asked, almost finishing my burger.

“Alexander,” he replied quickly.

Oh, that makes sense.

“So, what exactly do you do?” I changed the topic, mesmerized by how his golden locks fell in his head. Archibald was quite beautiful. His delicate features, green emerald eyes, and light charming personality were the complete opposite of Darius’ manly and dark dominant persona.

He chewed, then swallowed before speaking. “What do you mean? I am curious, what do you picture me doing?”

“Law?” I took my first guess.

“Why? Because I am so righteous?” he paused, showing his dashing smile “ I do venture capital, Ollie”

Ding, ding, ding! He is becoming hotter by the minute.

He reached out, placing his card on the table and I mimicked his movements looking for my wallet but Grace managed to grab his card quickly and walk away.

Damn! That elderly woman is fast.

“Oh, Like the shark tank show. Archibald, the angel investor.” I said, opening my hands in the air. I wasn’t mocking him; I just found what he did very exciting.

My mind was already establishing a final image of Archibald as an investor who hit the road with his motorcycle during the night, and instead of fighting crime, he was fighting boredom. I sighed putting those thoughts away.

Security and fun all in one package.

“All that, but with privacy,” he added.

“Oh, so tell me. Which was the last company you invested in?”

“It wasn’t a company yet; it’s a startup. I like to focus on tech mostly.”

“Do you have a rule of thumb?” His eyes wrinkled in a closed-mouth smile at my question.

“Rule of thumb? I would say that out of ten to twenty companies we invest in a year, only a small percentage skyrockets, and the profit margin is…ridiculous. It just takes time, years.”

“How ridiculous? Like ten times more?” My eyes widened.

“Close to twenty times more than what is invested. Tech companies and private equity look for rapid growth, and it’s faster than investing in established companies. It’s very lucrative.”

“Holy shit,” My mouth dropped.

We continued talking and enjoying our date, and my stomach was full; I tried finishing my vanilla milkshake, but it was impossible, so I passed it on to Archie so he could finish the job.

“Archer, Why do you hate each other so much?” I asked softly.

“Are you talking about my cousin?” he finished my milkshake and put it on the side of the table.

“Yes”

“Why do you want to know so much about Darius, Ollie?” he asked with no emotion in his voice.

He looked mad; it was strange seeing Archibald like this.

Houston, we have a problem.

“I don’t; let’s change topics.”

“Well, what exactly do you want to know about him?” he pressed.

Abort mission, now.

“Uhm…nothing,” I answered awkwardly.

“You can always google him… if you are so curious,” he said, almost annoyed.

“What are you talking about? I don’t google people,” I scoffed.

Who googles people? That is so impersonal.

He placed two fingers on his forehead and stared at me with an unusual look that made me feel nervous.

What is he thinking?

“I googled you,” He said casually.

“You what?”

Do I appear on Google? What the fuck did he find?

“You are smarter than what you show yourself to be. I read your essays about American literature, Being an educated animal, and the process of finding purpose.”

“You read my essays?” I asked red-faced.

“Olivia, You are quite brilliant.”

I decided to stay silent, maybe because I was such a critic that saying thank you would make me feel like the biggest hypocrite in the world. Those essays were far from perfect.

“How is it that you haven’t become an author yet?”

“I got caught up with another project.” I lied. I did have books I’ve kept hidden.

“Care to tell me?” He asked, receiving the bill with his card from Grace’s hands.

“I was creating an AI that could think and write just like me,” I muttered while I watched how he signed his full name with a cursive letter.

“Just like you?”

“Yes, imagine something similar to a replica of my brain but with a learning curve of its own. We used deep learning,” I said like it was not a big deal.

“And what does this AI do?” he asked amused.

Is he truly curious?

“infinite possibilities. You give them a data structure and then they start learning by themselves. This one specifically was created to speed up the publishing process of any editorial, write stories, even review books and authors.”

“Olivia, how fascinating.”

“Uhm..thank you,” I said, feeling a little embarrassed from his reaction.

“ I would like to take a look at your project,” he said eagerly.

“I don’t have access to it anymore,” I said crossing my hands against my chest. Inside I was pushing down any feelings regarding this topic. It was quite sensitive, and I already cried in Darius’ arms today. I wasn’t planning on repeating that story with Archer too.

“And who does?” He arched an eyebrow.

“Well, my ex. It is a long story.” I muttered, feeling unsteady. Just thinking about Roger made me sick.

Fucking roger!

“I can help you get it back with my legal team.” Archer urged.

“You have a legal team?”

“Of course,” he said, placing a small smile on his mouth. “I am pretty sure we can reach for a settlement before the end of this year.”

Too good to be true.

I shook my head back and forth not believing what he just said. “in less than five days?”

Archibald grinned. “Yes, I would just need a phone call.”

The way he said that it wasn’t a big problem made me wonder how powerful he was?

Is he as powerful as Darius?

“Uhm…I don’t know what to say” I said, turning my eyes away. He was now watching my ears and I instinctively touched my naked earlobe. He had noticed I was not wearing earrings.

Would he find that strange?

“Thank you,” I added.

“I got your back, Ollie.” A warmth fill my chest, and I relaxed my arms.

“How was your doctor’s appointment?”

“It was fine,” I said, placing my mouth in a flat line.

“Just fine?”

“I have a heart condition,” I said dropping the bomb.

“How bad?”

I played anxiously with my fingers before answering. “I’ll be okay if I take medication,”

He touched my hands, and I let him for a minute, but then I felt uncomfortable and hid them under the booth.

“I am sorry,” he said.

“Please, don’t be. I’m okay,”

My defense mechanism was already running the show and there was nothing I could do. Hearing about my diagnosis hours ago made me sensitive and emotional; and what I said next, is what I regretted the most.

“I totally understand if you don’t feel attracted to me. I mean, who would like to date a sick girl? Maybe… it will be better if you date someone with a healthy heart.”

Talking about self-sabotage…

“Whoa, it’s only our first date, Olivia”

Jesus, Ollie, relax.

He grinned. “Already planning on breaking my heart, do you? That is so touchy”

“You are right. Just a burger, with a buddy”

“A buddy, huh? Olivia, you don’t have a lot of experience dating, I assume”

He looked so relaxed in the booth while I was crunching and crossing my legs.

“I guess not. Maybe because everybody I date ends up being my boyfriend. Not that I’ve been in the market for a long, I guess I have always been in a relationship with someone. Two long-long relationships”

Olivia, stop vomiting information about your Exes!

He choked with the last piece of the burger as if he just received a death sentence and started coughing while he covered his mouth with a napkin.

“Calm down tiger, I just got out of a relationship, not looking for anything”

In a minute, he looked better, but his eyes were a little bit watery. “You are probably right; that would be the smart thing to do.”

“Yes,” I said, raising my chin.

Archibald smirked. “Date an ordinary girl with an ordinary heart,”

He was doing it again, playing his charm on me. Behind that beautiful face, and sweet smile was a player. Of course! Who wouldn’t line up for his attention and here I was making stupid comments.

“Stop joking,” I said, breathing in and keeping my face straight.

“I am not,” he replied, and I swallowed hard.

Did he just reject me on the spot?

Maybe this was all for the best.

“We should get back,” he added, quickly looking at the window. “I think it’s going to start to rain.”

“Uhm...okay. Thank you for the food,” I muttered shyly.

“Sure, Ollie,” he said looking at my eyes. Something was off. He was off.

We rode back to the house, but I couldn’t shake the awkward feeling, and when Archibald stopped the bike, I already had a knot in my stomach.

“Ollie, I…” He took my helmet off, and he stared at my face and then at my lips.

Is he going to kiss me?

“I’ll have someone from my team reach out later.”

“Okay, Archer,” I said, disappointed.

This is because of your stupid mouth!

Maybe my heart condition, what I said about my exes, or even his suspicion about me and Darius being a thing, messed with his mind.

“Bye, Ollie,” Archie said before leaving, and I stood in front of the house feeling rejected.

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