As the clock struck 9 a.m. I got up and headed to the elevator again. Pressing the button for the eleventh floor, I started to feel a bit nervous.
I had had a job before, and the boss had loved me, but this was a new country, and I was scared. If the boss didn’t like me, then work would be hell.
The elevator came to a halt. Stepping out, I made my way to the office door and knocked.
An older man with graying hair sat behind a big mahogany table, going through stacks of papers.
“Good morning, sir,” I said, entering the office.
Mr. Adams looked up and smiled. “Good morning, Ms. Carlone.” He gestured to the chairs on the other side of the table. “Please sit.”
He waited for me to take a seat before starting to speak.
“Well, I would like to welcome you officially to our company. As you may know, the company only works with high-paying customers. So they pay a lot of money for the perfect place.
“And this is where you come in. We do have other interior designers working here, but they did not come as highly recommended as you.” He smiled.
“Oh, thank you,” I said.
“So I heard you have already settled in at your apartment. Well, I do expect hard work from you. I am counting on only the best designs,” he added.
“Of course, that’s why I’m here after all,” I replied.
“Great. Well, I think that’s all for now.”
I nodded, rising to my feet. I was almost at the door when Mr. Adams called out to me.
“Ms. Carlone, I almost forgot. There is a ball this weekend, and all employees must attend. So do not even think of skipping.
“The event is mostly for our recent clients who are just starting to work with us. And it is also an opportunity to meet new clients. Yes?”
A ball? Really? I did not want to go, but if it was mandatory, then I had better get started on finding a dress to wear.
“Of course, I’ll be there.”
I had been working for about three hours when Arabella stopped by.
“Hey, Katherine. Do you want to get lunch now?” she asked.
As if on cue, my stomach growled. Laughing, I got up. “Sure, let’s go.”
We were sitting in a small Italian restaurant beside the busy streets. I had ordered lasagna, because I was starving, while Arabella had decided on a pizza.
“So, for how long have you worked at the company?” I asked, starting a conversation.
“Um…for about four years. I was twenty-four when I started, just out of university. And what about you? What made you move across the globe?” she asked, wiggling her eyebrows. “A man, perhaps?”
I laughed. “Oh no, no man sadly. Um, my mother died, and when I got this job offer, I thought some change couldn’t be bad.”
“Oh, I am so sorry about your mother. I know what it’s like to lose a parent. I lost my father a few years ago, and I still miss him sometimes. But it does get better. Time heals everything.” She smiled sadly at me.
“So, is there a man in your life?” I asked, just to change the topic of our conversation.
“Well…yes and no. It’s complicated, you know. One day we are together and we are the happiest and the next we are fighting and we hate each other.”
She cupped her chin in her hands, her elbows on the table, before continuing, “You know, when I got this job, I thought now is the time to find a man, fall in love, have a family and all.
“But turns out that all I get is a man who says that he loves me one day and that he hates me the next.” She shook her head and looked up.
“Hey, don’t worry. Everything will be fine. All men are like that. One moment you love him, the next you hate him. I broke up with my last boyfriend because I couldn’t keep up with his shit,” I said.
We finished our meal and headed back to work.
I couldn’t have been happier when the clock struck five. I love my work, but it does get tiring sometimes.
Wanting to stretch my legs a bit, I decided to walk back to my apartment.
The weather was slightly chilly, but I didn’t mind it. All I could think about was my bed.
I was walking past a restaurant when all of a sudden a man stepped out into the street—right in front of me. I didn’t have time to step around him, so I ended up bumping into him.
“Oh, I am so sorry,” I quickly apologized before moving to step around the man.
But before I could, I felt him grab my elbow.
“Wait, who do you think you are? Bumping into me and then just running away.” He had an angry and annoyed expression on his face.
I snatched my arm away from his grip and turned around to face him.
“Excuse me, I was walking here, and you jumped in front of me. It was so sudden that I didn’t have time to stop. And I did apologize for it,” I retorted.
With that, I turned around and left before he could say anything.
I practically ran down the street to get away from the man. Once I was far enough away from him, I turned around. He was still standing there, watching me. Shivers ran down my spine, and I felt cold.
I picked up my pace and headed home.
As I made my way up in the elevator, my thoughts kept drifting back to the man who had bumped into me. In that moment, I hadn’t realized that he was gorgeous.
His sky-blue eyes reminded me of the Caribbean Sea. He had a muscular body and a sculpted face with defined cheekbones and a perfect jawline.
Maybe he is a model or something, I thought.
The elevator finally came to a stop, and I stepped into my apartment. Oh, how I had missed it.
I made chicken Alfredo for dinner and opened a bottle of red wine before deciding to take a long and relaxing bath. I was playing with the bubbles in the bath when my phone started to ring. It was Arabella.
“Hey,” I answered.
“Hey, listen. So tomorrow after work, we could go dress shopping,” she offered. “My friends would be joining us, so you could meet some new people. What do you say?”
“I would love to,” I replied. “I was dreading the moment I’d have to go dress shopping because I thought I’d have to go alone.”
“Super! So tomorrow after work,” she reminded me.
“Tomorrow after work, yeah.”
After hanging up, I got out of the bath and into my pajamas. When my head hit the bed, I thought I was in heaven.
The next day at 5 p.m. sharp, Arabella showed up at my door.
“Hey, you ready to go? The girls are meeting us there,” she said with a beaming smile.
“Yeah, just let me get my bag, and off we go.”
There were already two people—a man and a woman—in the elevator when the doors slid open. Arabella greeted them, and they smiled back at us.
“Hey guys, this is Katherine. She just started working here yesterday,” Arabella introduced me. “Katherine, this is John from accounting and Maria from designing.”
“Hello, lovely to meet you.” I smiled and nodded.
“So, how is your week so far, Miss Katherine?” John asked.
“Well, so far I haven’t gotten much work, but I do like it here. And please call me Katherine.”
The elevator finally reached the lobby, and we all said goodbye before stepping out. Arabella pulled me to the side and led me outside.
“Come, the shop isn’t far.”
And she was right. The shop was located in the middle of London. There were people bustling about and running errands, sometimes with children tagging along.
Three women were standing in front of the shop.
“Okay, everyone,” Arabella called as we approached them. “This is Katherine, my boss. Katherine, this is Lana, Isa, and Mara.”
The woman named Lana had short black hair and was dressed in a black pantsuit. Isa had long wavy blond hair and blue eyes and was wearing a long ruby-red dress, while Mara was dressed in a pair of jeans and a shirt.
They all wore high heels and looked like models.
“Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I hope we can be friends. It does get a bit lonely being new in town.” I smiled at them.
They all smiled back at me.
“Don’t worry. We got your back,” said Isa. “We were all the new girl in town once. Well, now that we are done with the introductions, let’s get you a dress.” She grabbed my arm and pulled me inside.
The shop was beautiful. It looked like a place straight out of a fairy tale. There were hundreds of dresses of all kinds, and they were all stunning.
We all tried on dress after dress, even if Arabella and I were the only ones who had to buy one.
Arabella found a long black princess dress that made her look stunning, while I found a long fitted golden dress, which had a high cut up the right leg.
The girls lounged around, throwing compliments at me and saying that I would definitely find a man to go home with.
All I did was roll my eyes.
After getting the dresses, we went out for dinner, deciding on a very expensive restaurant to celebrate my move to London.
The hostess led us to a table near the far end of the restaurant. We ordered drinks first before deciding on the food.
I went with a shrimp salad, Arabella got the chicken salad, and Lara settled on the soup. Isa and Mara ordered steak, declaring that they were starving.
Dinner was a blast. Soon, we were all laughing and telling each other funny stories.
We were halfway through our meal when a waitress approached us, setting a cocktail down in front of me.
I looked up, confused. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t order this.”
The waitress smiled, replying, “The drink was sent from the man at the bar.” She turned to show me who she meant.
I followed her gaze, only to be rendered speechless.
Sitting there was the man from yesterday. The one I had bumped into. He raised his glass with a smile, motioning it at me.
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