I didn’t know what I had expected. New jobs are always the best when you first get there. The people are nice, the boss isn’t a prick, and it’s exciting to learn new things. Before you know it, the newness is swallowed whole by familiarity. For whatever reason, I thought this time was going to be different. I sighed as I spun in my chair, turning from the mahogany desk to gaze out the window. I watched a couple of sea gulls flap their wings a few times and then glide upon the air. I could see the ocean from here. It was a beautiful view, with the turquoise water, white sand, blue sky, and coconut palms.
When the opportunity had come up, I had jumped at the chance to be the CEO of a company based in Hawaii. Who wouldn’t want to live in paradise? The scuba diving gear company was in trouble, and it was my job to fix it. After all, I had fixed a few problem companies in the past. How could I be bored here? Maybe it was because the climate and foliage was such a great distraction. How did anyone get anything done around here? So far, I had spent much of my time daydreaming of getting outside. I had only been here a few weeks, and I was already having troubles concentrating.
I heard a knock at my door and swung my chair back around to see Patricia, my secretary, stick her head in the door. “Ms. Lewis?”
I gently smiled. “You can call me Ivy, Patricia. What is it?”
She smiled a small, timid smile and told me that my lunch appointment was here. I sighed and thanked her, standing up and straitening my black pencil skirt and white blouse. I quickly ran my fingers through my long, black curls and ran my tongue against my teeth, hoping I had no lipstick stains. I pasted a welcoming smile on my face as I walked out of my office, greeting Thomas. I nodded to Patricia as she handed me my purse.
The financial adviser of Rad Scuba Inc was a middle aged man with black hair peppered with grey. The look suited him, I decided, as I looked into his brown eyes. “Mr. Radcliff, thank you for seeing me,” I said as we walked. I had made a reservation at what was quickly becoming my favorite restaurant, El Loco, just a couple of blocks from the office. It was a delicious Mexican place, and I loved the refried beans.
“Thomas, please,” he said smoothly. We launched into pleasant small talk about my move and settling in, as with any meeting. We got a private booth in the corner so we could talk about the business and what it was ailing from. I took notes on my phone and already had found some holes in their strategy the company had had already. Before I knew it, the lunch was over and I paid the bill, Thomas and I going our separate ways. I sighed, making a mental checklist. I knew the bulk of it would get done when I got back to the apartment I was renting. I worked best at night. One of the first things that had to go was the second warehouse. Having two warehouses when one would suffice for the current workload wasn’t doing anyone any favors. Once production picks up, there could be consideration for a second warehouse or expanding the second one. Advertising needed to be expanded. I wrote a couple of quick emails to the department heads responsible for these two areas, and snapped my laptop shut.
I swiveled around again to look outside. I told myself that I should get some blinds or curtains so I would stop thinking about it. I imagined myself laying on the beach, getting some sun and taking a dip in the water. I shook my head and turned back around. It wasn’t quite 4:30 yet, but I grabbed my laptop and purse, leaving the office, murmuring a good evening to Patricia. She might be shy and timid, but she did a good job at keeping the office together.
It was Friday night, and I wanted to go to the classy bar I had seen a couple miles from the apartment. Would I ever stop referring to it as the apartment, and think of home instead? I didn’t really belong anywhere. I had been moving around the country for the last ten years, the first three getting a master’s degree in business management, and moved for different jobs since then. I climbed into the shower, the warm water rushing down on my skin. The tears melded with the water and I stood in there a little longer than needed. I wasn’t sure what I was doing with my life. Didn’t everyone want to settle down and have a family? I didn’t know if that was something I really wanted or not. I toweled off and told myself that tomorrow I would get a cat.
I let my hair air dry as I applied purple shades to my eyes to compliment my green, almond shaped eyes. Black cat eye eyeliner and mascara, and some deep red lipstick and I fluffed my hair. I stepped into a little black dress that accented my curves with a little ruching at the waist and a deep V neckline. The dress was short, but I forwent panties anyway.
When I got to the bar, I was hard pressed to find a parking spot. I circled a few times when finally an attractive man with a stumbling and laughing blond took off in a little Miata MX-5. I let out a little sigh and told myself that I needed to buy a nicer car. My Mustang just wasn’t cutting it. I pulled into the parking spot and double checked my lipstick and teeth before getting out and straightening my dress. I was hopeful that I could find a spot to sit so my poor feet wouldn’t suffer in these strappy black heels, but from the looks of the parking lot it was doubtful.
After I was carded and walked in, I was immediately impressed. The ground floor was actually the top level, and there was also a basement, so there was plenty of space. The lighting was dim, and soft music played from the speakers that seemed to be all around. The chatter was loud but not overly so. The walls were black, with deep red carpet, and blue lighting in the ceiling that was meant for decoration and not to actually light the room. The background of the bar, which was on the far end of the room, was lit with the same blue lights, with tables in the middle of the room. I walked to the bar and sat at one of the few open spots.
The bartender was an attractive female with shiny red hair in a high, messy ponytail and shocking blue eyes done up in smoky tones. She wore silver earrings that brushed her shoulders as she moved. I smiled at her when she asked what I wanted and laughed to myself when I told her I wanted sex on the beach with extra cherries. I watched her walk away as she gathered the ingredients for the drink.
“She’s taken,” a sultry voice said next to my ear. I turned to face the speaker and my breath was taken away for a moment. Her hair was a deep chocolate brown, her skin a lovely shade of brown, and her eyes were brown with a tiny ring of hazel around the outside of the iris.
I smiled, “Is she yours?”
She smiled back. “No, I just know she’s taken.”
“I was just looking,” I said, as the bartender brought me my drink.
“What are you gonna have, Misty?” The bartender addressed the woman next to me.
“I’ll have what she’s having,” Misty turned her head to look at me and I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. I licked my lips and took a sip of the fruity drink through the hot pink straw and smiled. Taking a cherry in my mouth, I slowly pulled the stem with my fingers. It was an old and overused trick, but it worked.
Misty sat next to me and I turned to her, asking, “Are you taken?”
She licked her lips and answered, “Not exactly. But I’m free enough to do what I want.”
I wasn’t sure what exactly that meant, but I decided that she was fair game. By the end of the first drink, her hand had already found its way to my knee, and it looked like it was going to be a cheap evening.
By the end of the second drink, I whispered in her ear, “You wanna go somewhere a little more private?”
She grinned and nodded her ascent. I paid for both our drinks, and we walked to the parking lot, where she followed me to my apartment.