It had been another long day at the office of Durham Real Estate where I had worked for the last ten years.
I had started there at the young age of sixteen, working reception on the weekends to make a bit of extra pocket money and then supporting myself through college.
Now I sat as the newest Business Development Manager for the company, having successfully completed my masters in Property Development and ready to take on the new adventure I had worked so hard for.
A shadow passing my door, drew my attention from my laptop, as I realised everyone was making their way out for the night. Quickly glancing at my watch, I wondered where the day had gone and being Seven, I decided to start packing up my laptop and call it an evening.
Pulling on my coat I made my way out in the fresh Chicago air to my vehicle when my phone started ringing.
Searching my bag, I pulled out my mobile quickly checking my caller ID to see it was my best friend Luke who let’s be honest, was probably also dragging himself away from a very long day at work.
As I slid my phone open I didn’t get a word in before he spoke. “Please tell me we are still going for drinks tonight? You won’t believe the appointment I just had.”
“If it involved an owner demanding a tenant be evicted because they had an unapproved pet occupying the property then I am guessing it was pretty much on par with my day. Shall I meet you at Gilhooley’s in twenty minutes? I am getting in my car now.”
“No, but it does involve an owner pulling management because they wanted Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars a week over market value. And as if that wasn’t the best part, they then tell me I am the shit agent for not getting it for them. See you in twenty minutes.”
I rolled my eyes with a soft laugh, knowing all too well the trials of the Chicago real estate agent. I slowly pulled out into traffic, making my way to Gilhooley’s to meet Luke.
After finding a car park not too far from our favourite pub, I made my way in and quickly scanned the bar, to find I had arrived before Luke.
Removing my coat, I secured our usual booth and text Luke to find out what he is drinking tonight.
Of course, being a creature of comfort, I was not surprised when he replied Jack Daniels on the rocks.
Luke and I have lived together for the last two years since Luke joined Durham Real Estate in the Property Management Department.
Our connection was instant, and our friendship blossomed into one that has been unbreakable from the onset. I helped nurse Luke through the loss of his greatest love and the isolation of not being accepted.
And in return Luke assisted me to rebuild my confidence and life after finding my fiancée in our bed with his assistant.
As I waited for Luke to arrive, I made my way up to the bar to get our orders in. “What will it be tonight Trinity? The usual?”
“Good Evening Gary, yes please. I will have the usual margarita and a Jack Daniels on the rocks for Luke please. Gary told me to take a seat and he would have them brought over to me shortly.
I thanked Gary and chucked him a tip for good measure. I turned to make my way back to our booth, not looking before I turned. I suddenly find myself face to face with the broadest chest I have ever set my eyes on.
As I put my hands out to steady myself, I couldn’t help but notice the flex of the strong muscles underneath my fingertips and the subtle hint of his intoxicating cologne.
All too quickly I became aware of the grip his strong fingers had on my hips, an attempt to stop us both from falling off balance. I carefully gazed up at the stranger whose space I had invaded.”I am so sorry . . . “
As my eyes met his, I couldn’t help but be mesmerised by the stunning green oceans that met my gaze in return. “That’s not a problem doll, are you alright? I didn’t knock you too hard, did I?”
“Not at all, I apologise for not looking first. My name is Trinity, thanks for the save . . .” I looked at him waiting for his name.
“Stephen. Stephen Gotti. It is lovely to meet you Trinity.”
Suddenly I became aware I was still invading this powerful man’s space and took a step back. I removed my hands from his masculine chest, albeit a little disappointed.
Stephen gently grazed his fingers across my hips as he removed his hands, and I felt goosebumps break out all over my arms, and a tingle ran down my spine. Stephen’s husky voice snapped me back to reality.
“Well it was a pleasure to meet you Trinity, unfortunately I have some business associates waiting for me.”
And with that Stephen moved forward, his breath a whisper against my neck, his lips barely brushing the sensitive skin under my ear as he spoke . . .
“But don’t worry doll, I will be seeing you again very soon.” His teeth grazed the shell of my earlobe as he pulled away, sending goosebumps erupting over my skin.
I stood fixated to the spot as I watched him disappear through the growing crowd. I felt the flush on my skin creeping up to my face.
Who is that man?
I still felt flustered from my encounter with Stephen when Luke slid into the booth opposite me, grabbing his JD and drinking it in one shot.
When he asked if I wanted another drink I nearly missed what he said. “Huh? Oh, yes please.” Luke lifted his eyebrow asking if I was ok. “Of course babe, long day, but all the better for seeing you.”
I flashed Luke my best smile, and gave him a cheeky wink. Luke slid out the booth and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and headed off to the bar.
I was focused on the television above the bar when I felt as if someone was watching me. I slowly gazed down to my left and found Stephen, sitting at a table in the back left of the bar, with two equally charming men, deep in conversation.
While the other men were talking, I noticed Stephen’s gaze squarely fixed on me, his eyes travelling up the length of my body until he looked me squarely in the eyes.
I felt self-conscious and played with the hem of my dress, pulling it down a bit before turning back in my seat, as I waited for Luke’s return. “What has you so flushed? Your cheeks are bright red.”
“Nothing. I was just thinking sorry babe, so much going on lately.”
“Tell me about it. I have had 6 new managements this week and we haven’t even hit hump day.”
Luke continued to talk about the week he was having and somewhere between entry condition report and exit report I switched off, finding my attention had wandered back to the scent of Stephen, as his strong hands gripped my hips.
“I don’t know how you have done this job for so long and kept your sanity. Trinity?”
“Shit! Sorry Luke, I am so distracted tonight.”
“Anything you want to talk about?”
“Nothing important, let’s finish these, get a few more bottles to take home and order some take away. I am ready to get out of these clothes and relax.”
“Girl if I didn’t know better, I would swear you were trying to hit on me.” We both laughed and finished the last of our drinks, before getting ready to leave. As I stood to put my coat on, I casually turned to the left and noticed Stephen’s attention peaked on me again. I grabbed my bag and tried my best to look undisturbed, as Luke and I made our way to the exit.
Thankfully it is only a ten minute drive from Gilhooley’s to our three bedroom townhouse. Arriving home, I opened the door and kicked off my heels, the ache in my feet feeling instant relief.”Let me have a shower and get out of these clothes then I will order dinner.”
“Sounds good babe, want me to pour you a drink ready?”
“You know women too well. I swear it is a crime to look that good, be as perfect as you are, and then not be even remotely attracted to women.”
Luke released a hearty laugh as he threw his head back. “Please woman! You know I check that peach of an ass out every chance I get.”
I threw the pillow at Luke as I swayed my hips giving him a cheeky wink over the shoulder. I exited the lounge room, making my way straight to the bathroom for a hot, relaxing shower.
The rest of the night was spent peacefully with our usual drinks on the sofa and enjoying each other’s company, before retiring to bed for an early night.