If love were by design, p.9

If Love Were By Design, page 9


If Love Were By Design

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  “Oh, good I didn’t miss you.” William said. “I had to drive two hours to get here, and thought I would be late.”

  “Hi!” She greeted him and quickly added, “My boss is here. I want to leave.” She grabbed her purse, turned, and started to leave.

  He followed her, “Are you upset he saw you?”

  “No. He didn’t see me with her. But I didn’t want him to see me with you, either.” Veronica said.

  “You’re shaken up.” He said and touched her arm when they reached the sidewalk. “Slow down. Where are you going?”

  “Sorry.” She apologized, stopped, and then smiled at him. “I drank too much. I was going to catch a cab back to my place.”

  “Don’t be silly. My car is less than a block away. I’ll drive you.” He suggested. “Besides I came to hear about how it went. Andrea said she was meeting you today.”

  She blinked. Of course he had come to talk about it. “It went great, but she told me I have to quit my job.” She said. He didn’t seem at all surprised to hear her say it. His reaction was so complacent with the news, she lost her steam of why she was frazzled.

  “So quit.” He replied with a shrug.

  “You make it sound easy. I have to think about it.” She said. William walked her to his car and helped her in. Veronica watched him walk around the car, get in, and then drive in the opposite direction of her place. “I’m in Queens, remember?”

  “I’m taking you to my place. I thought we were talking about this.” He said. “You’re going to be great, you know. And Andrea will have your store on the map before it even opens. Trust me; she’s a genius at what she does. It’s why I think you and her will make a great team. Frankly, I don’t think I could do better.”

  “William, I have a slow cooker going. I can’t go to your place.” She said turning around in her seat looking back in the direction of Queens. She snapped back around when she felt his hand brush her bare leg when he shifted gears.

  “Sorry, I’m not trying to touch your leg. I seriously need to get rid of this thing.” He said. He then added, “Won’t your slow cooker kick off to warm?” She tried to get him to turn around one last time before teasing him by telling him to stop groping her leg. “I know. It’s every time I shift to second.”

  He drove into a parking garage, they got out, and took an elevator to the top floor. It was a spacious condo with floor–to–ceiling windows. The kitchen was to the immediate right and was facing the living room. A long hallway went down the length of his condo. Everything was white, from the wall, to the marble floor, to even the furniture. There were a few black statues, pillows, and rugs and very little red. “Want more wine?” He asked her the second he walked through the door. He dropped his keys in a black bowl on the small white table by the door.

  “You have a nice place. It’s spacious.” She commented as she walked in and looked around.

  “I’ll give you a tour.” He pointed. “Kitchen and living room . . .” As they strode down the hallway he identified the various rooms of his office, gym, guestrooms, and bathroom. “And that is my room at the end of the hallway. You can go in and look if you want. But did you say you want wine, or not?”

  “Sure I’ll take one glass. But I can’t stay long. I have . . .”

  “Slow cooker. I know.” He said. He left her in the hallway to get her wine. She popped her head into his room. It was the same white walls and big windows. His king sized bed had a white comforter on it, and black throw pillows.

  “So I take it you don’t like color.” She said with a smile when she came into the kitchen.

  “I’m a guy. I bought it this way. If it’s not broke, I won’t fix it.” He said. He poured the wine into a glass and handed it to her. “It doesn’t bother me. Besides, I’m hardly ever home.” He paused. “So let’s talk about the meeting.” He added, “You don’t have to quit your job and start right now. It’s not like this is your last opportunity.” He poured himself some wine but he didn’t drink it. He put the bottle into the fridge. “You don’t have to bulldoze though this. I know you like to take everything slow.”

  “Yeah, it’s all happening a bit fast.” She said.

  “That’s how it happens, sometimes. But if now isn’t the best time for you, it’s not the best time. You don’t have to do it because I suggested it, or introduced you. I can buy your shoes at Saxton Hip any time I want.” He said.

  “I know I don’t have to do it. I want do it, but quitting my job and respond to her in two weeks? That’s a lot of pressure.” She said. “But I guess it’s nice to hear you say I don’t have to. It does take a little pressure off.” She added, “I wish you never planted the idea in my head. I liked working for Marcus. But it’s a slap in the face that he won’t give me my own line. And suddenly it’s all I want. These last two weeks were rough, because I’ve lost any kind of inspiration. But quitting my job? I don’t know. That is a big step, and I’ve invested a lot into that company.”

  “And that’s all it is. It’s just a company. Someday you’ll have to leave it in order to pursue your dreams. It would only be six months, tops. I could float you until then if that is what you’re worried about.” He said.

  “No, I have money. I could do it. But I wanted to use my savings to get out of Queens.” She said. “Yuck. I don’t want to think about it. I’ll figure it out, but not now. Change the subject.”

  “What are you doing next weekend?” He asked.

  “That depends on what I decide.” It wasn’t exactly changing the subject so Veronica said the first thing that came to her mind. “Travis came into Saxton Hip on Wednesday. Did you hear that?”

  “I did.” He said with a nod. “He asked out your friend.”

  “And what do you think of him. Honestly?” She asked.

  “He’s alright. I was going to ask you the same thing about Kimmy.” He admitted.

  “She’s a flirt, but not wild. She’ll probably break his heart if he gives her the chance.” She said.

  “Well, they’ll be perfect for each other then, because I could say the same about him.” He waited for her to sip her wine before he continued, “And Brice was asking me if I had your phone number. I told him I don’t have it, which is true.”

  “Okay. I have no idea how to respond to that, so I won’t.” She said. She held up the wine. “What is this, anyway? It’s seriously good. It tastes like juice.”

  “Ice wine.” He said.

  “I like it.” She paused, and as she put her glass down she noticed the skyline out the window again. It was a nice view and she told him that. “I was going to say that earlier until you gave me your “grand” tour. You wouldn’t shut up about it, and went on so long I forgot.” She grinned.

  He laughed. “It’s better at night with all the lights. If you want to stay awhile I’ll make dinner. I have a barbeque on my balcony; it’s the only way I enjoy to cook. But if you want steak and I think corn . . . anyway, you don’t have to go home right away, do you?”

  “I have dinner going, remember?” She added, “I can stay a little while though, until I’m done with my wine.”

  “Then I’ll keep filling it.” He paused, “Do you play pool? I have a pool table if you’re interested. But I’ll warn you—I’m a pool shark.”

  “A pool shark! I’d like to see that then. Lead the way, Champ.” She said.

  He walked into his office and the pool table sat in the corner of the room. He set up the table, and told her to pick out a cue. She took one that was hanging on the wall. “I’ll brake if that’s okay. Otherwise you won’t be able to get any in.” He said.

  “Wow, you’re pretty confident.” She said with a smile.

  “About pool, sports, business, clothes, yes. Anything else, no.” He said. He broke the formation and three random balls went into pockets. “I’m stripes.” Veronica circled the table and lined up her ball. She shot it, and missed. “Are you competitive?”

  “Not at all.” She said.

  “Good, be
cause I am to a fault. I don’t get along with other competitive people either when playing sports.” He lined up a ball, hit it into a pocket and then moved onto another. “In fact, that’s why I have a pool table. I lost a game back in high school, a bet really, and ever since I’ve practiced.” He hit another ball in, and then another, until all his balls were gone and only the eight ball remained. “Left corner pocket.” He said pointing to where she was standing. He knocked it in with ease.

  “I’m not competitive, but I do want to play, William.” She said with a smile.

  “Okay.” He said and racked the balls again.

  “So new rule: you get one ball in, I get one ball in.” She said.

  “Okay.” He laughed. He hit the balls and once again a few went into side pockets. “I’ll be stripes again.” She walked around the table to the cue ball, and then lined up. “Wait, don’t hit it yet.” He blurted out. He approached her. “Take your stick and first point on the ball where you would need to hit it to get it in the pocket. Then aim your stick straight toward the cue ball so it hits where you lined it up. Am I making sense?” He asked. She nodded. “Perfect,” he said when she lined it up. But she still hit the ball wrong and it jumped off the table. He picked it up. She apologized while laughing. “No it’s fine.” He put the ball back where it had been. “Do that again, but don’t hit it.”

  She leaned over, put her hand on the table ready to hit the ball, but then stopped and looked at him. “I’m guessing you’re about to tell me something else I’m doing wrong.” She said with a laugh.

  “Drop your elbow. And you might need to lean into it more until you’re confident about seeing your angles.” He walked to the other side of her and pushed her elbow closer to her side. “Like that.”

  “That isn’t comfortable.” She said.

  “Me touching you?” He asked.

  “No, my arm.” She said and laughed.

  “You’ll get used to it.” He added, “Loosen your grip, but keep it still.” She shot the ball and this time it went into the pocket. “You’re a natural.” He said with a smile.

  “Beginner’s luck.” She replied.

  “No. I bet if you do exactly what I say each time you’ll win the game.” He proclaimed confidently.

  “You’re betting me?” She laughed.

  “Yeah, I bet you’ll win if you do exactly what I tell you.” He chimed. “If you don’t win,” he paused to think about it, “I hire a maid to clean your apartment for a month.”

  “Yeah?” She laughed. “And what if I win?”

  “If you win, you’ll have to cook me dinner, and you can’t cook it over at your house and send me home with a cold plate of food either.” He clarified, “You’ll have to cook it here, but obviously not tonight; next weekend sometime.”

  “Can I make something easy, like taco salad?” He nodded. “I’m not a great cook.” She admitted. “I’m average.”

  “I’m sure I’ll like it.” He said.

  “Okay, but I don’t want a maid for a month. I want you to personally get my car detailed, if I have to take time to cook. And you can’t send your assistant; you have to do it. We are betting time for time.” She said.

  “Deal. I’ll get your car detailed (myself).” He promised.

  “So now what do I do, Hot Shot?” She asked.

  “Okay.” He walked around the table and showed her which ball to hit. He then had her line it up. He corrected her posture, by pushing her arm in, and even moving her hips. Then he told her to shoot. Again the second ball went in. “Keep this elbow straight, and locked. It will keep you steady.” He instructed her. She locked her elbow and pulled in the other. “Loosen your hand.” He said as he touched it. Then he told her to shoot again, and she did. The third ball went in. They lined up the fourth, and then the fifth. Each one went into the pocket. Veronica was amazed. “This last one is tricky. Then you have the eight ball. But this one is against the wall and you’re going to have to hit it and make it go straight back; line it up and I’ll make sure it’s perfectly straight.” She got ready, and then he leaned in front of her to see where she was pointing. He moved her hip one last time. Veronica bit a smile, and was glad he wasn’t able to see her blushing face. She hated to admit it, but she liked his touching.

  “So hit it kind of soft, and that will set you up for the eight ball.” He said. He quickly reminded her to loosen her hand and then he double–checked to see if she was perfectly straight. She hit the ball when he told her. They both watched the ball roll perfectly straight back, and then dropped into the pocket. “That was perfect. It was a hard shot too!”

  “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” She acknowledged in amazement.

  Veronica looked at the eight ball. It was a perfect line up with the cue ball. She got ready to hit it, and he coached her until she was exactly where he wanted her. “Don’t get overly confident. You haven’t won yet. Call the eight ball into the side pocket, and then shoot it.”

  “Eight ball, side pocket.” She repeated him, and then hit the ball. She laughed under her breath in disbelief when she won. “How did you do that?”

  “It’s simple when you figure out your angles.” He said. He rolled the cue ball along the table and made it land in a pocket before sitting on the edge. “Looks like someone owes me dinner.” He boasted with a smile.

  She rolled her eyes, “Smart ass!” She paused. “Can I ask you something?”

  “Yeah, shoot.” He said.

  “I keep smelling . . . are you wearing that cologne I got you?” She asked.

  “Oh, that. Yeah. I like it.” He smiled. “So when did you know I was wearing it?” He asked.

  “In the car.” She said. “At least I wondered if it was what you had on.”

  “Can I ask you something?” He asked.

  “It’s only fair. What?” She asked.

  “When I told you Brice was asking for your phone number and you said you didn’t know how to respond, was it because you like him and don’t want to tell me?” He asked.

  She carefully responded, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings about your friend. I’m sure he’s nice, but I don’t know him. I don’t give my number out to anyone I don’t know. I know you better than him, and it’s like you said, you don’t have my number, either.”

  “Well, I’m going to need it if you’re coming over to my apartment to cook for me. What if I have to call you and tell you I’ll be late, or vice versa? And I’ll have to call you when I figure out when I can do it.” He affirmed.

  She eyed him, “Are trying to get my number for him?”

  “No.” He added, “I actually don’t want you to date him. He’s a good friend, but he’s not a good boyfriend—even he admits that. He’s not a good match for you, nor is he your type.”


  Kimmy came barging into Veronica’s apartment. She looked windswept like she had been rushing around for hours. Veronica closed the door and smiled. She loved how Kimmy came over all the time unannounced. Usually it was rude to do so, but Veronica never minded Kimmy doing it. It was almost a weekend occurrence that never got old. “Can I borrow that white dress that has that big black belt? You know the one you say you can’t wear it because it’s too short.” Kimmy said. She didn’t wait for an answer, nor had she ever when it came to borrowing clothes. “I need those four inch black heels too, the pair with the white tips, and white under soles you made.”

  “What is in the bag?” Veronica asked.

  “Lingerie, of course! I’m going to put it on under the dress in case he might see it. It’s a short midriff, strapless corset and thong. Want to see?” Kimmy asked and retrieved it out of her bag. She then went into Veronica’s closet and started to pull out the dress and shoes. She then selected a tight, purple, backless designer dress. “Here put this on. I like you in this.” She then, without taking a breath or pausing, added, “I’ll wear the lingerie in case anything happens. He’ll see me in this, and then I’ll leave. In a month he’l
l be begging me to sleep with him. It’s going to be great. I love the beginning of relationships. It’s fun to torture men—they’re so easily tormented.”

  “I’m not going on your date.” Veronica exclaimed. “Especially one you plan to get naked on!”

  “It’s not a date. I’m meeting him there, but it won’t be only the two of us. There’s going to be a lot of people there. I told you this!” She added, “So, you can either wear this dress or that black one that shows the girls. Now that is a sexy dress for dancing and drinks. Maybe you should wear that one instead.”

  “You didn’t tell me this!” Veronica vowed.

  “Well, I had a big test this week, I must have forgotten. But I already told Travis you were coming. He asked me yesterday, and I said you were. I don’t want to show up alone—I’ll look like a total idiot. He’s bringing nine people. You’re my best friend which kind of obligates you, Veronica.” Kimmy smiled. “Come for two hours, and then you can leave. Plus, I will buy all your drinks!” Kimmy promised and as she spoke she quickly started ripping off her clothes.

  “Fine, two hours!” She grinned, “And only because you’re right, you would look like an idiot showing up alone. But I’m not dressing in something so provocative. I told you, that you can have these dresses.” Veronica reminded her. She snatched a comfortable red dress from her closet, and then left Kimmy to finish changing. In record time they were out the door and in a taxi.

  Veronica had never been to the bar that they went to. It looked like a rich place from the outside. The line outside was long, but Kimmy carted her to the bouncer passing everyone, and gave him her name. They were immediately let in. Inside the music was blaring. It was so loud her body vibrated to the beat. The room was well lit with hanging blue and white lights. All the furniture was white.

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