LoveLines
Author:S. Walden

“It’s hilarious. It’s hilarious and clever as hell,” she said, chuckling.

 

Several at the table repeated the slogan, trying it out in their mouths, deciding if they liked the way it felt. The more they said it, the longer and louder they laughed.

 

“It’s good, man,” Christopher said. “It’s fablous.”

 

Everyone at the table murmured their approval.

 

Reece waited for Dan. His blessing was what really mattered.

 

“You know what makes it?” Dan said after a moment. “Two syllables. It’s a wash if you pronounce ‘fabulous’ the right way. Three syllables doesn’t deliver. Doesn’t have the same punch. Well done, Reece. I like it. I like it a lot.”

 

Reece discreetly let out his breath.

 

“Let’s move forward with this idea,” Dan continued. “I want it presented to Haute Digital in three days. They gave us ‘til Friday. They’re getting it Wednesday. Darrell, set up the meeting.”

 

Most shuffled out of the conference room with the exception of Patricia, Darrell, and Christopher. They stayed behind to begin working on the campaign.

 

“Dude!” Christopher yelled. He slapped Reece’s back and laughed. “Dude, that was amazing!”

 

“Not too weird?” Reece asked.

 

Patricia shook her head. “Not weird at all. Funny.” She paused. “Funny and fab.”

 

Reece let out a huge sigh. “I won’t lie. That tie threw me for a second. I stood up and wasn’t even sure what to say. But then it came automatically.”

 

“Thank God for that,” Christopher said. “You made me look good today, bro.”

 

Reece smirked. “Only concern I had.”

 

The team worked all day—even through lunch—on the campaign materials. Christopher and Patricia focused on storyboarding the commercial idea, while Reece and Darrell fine-tuned the PowerPoint presentation.

 

Darrell and Patricia left around 5:30. Reece and Christopher stayed until six. They caught sight of Bailey walking down the hall with purse and car keys in hand, and Reece had the instant, overwhelming urge to pop out of the conference room and wish her a good night.

 

“I wonder if that girl . . .” Christopher pulled out his phone and checked his email. His marked-up document was there from Bailey with a note attached: “Because I’d never let you down.” He smiled and looked at Reece. “Forget it,” he said as they filed out of the room. “I know what you’re thinkin’.”

 

“You do?”

 

“Mmhmm. You don’t need to hand deliver those campaign materials to our resident proofreader,” Christopher said.

 

Reece grinned wickedly.

 

“And don’t even try to tell me you don’t know how to send an email with an attachment,” Christopher went on.

 

The men walked out of the building and were immediately wrapped in a stifling blanket—that summertime humidity that hung low and thick after an afternoon thundershower.

 

“She don’t need you bothering her at her desk while she’s tryin’ to work.”

 

Reece chuckled. He had to hand it to his friend. Christopher was determined to keep him away from Bailey. Perhaps he knew some unsavory things about her and didn’t want Reece getting hurt. But how could that bouncing, ponytail-wearing girl hurt anyone? She was way too cute to hurt a fly. And anyway, he just wanted a chat. Where’s the harm in that?

 

He wished Christopher a nice weekend and climbed in his Audi. He turned on the radio and, on a silly whim, searched for the oldies station. He found it and sat shocked as Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” slapped and chimed about the interior, filling his car with the cotton candy sound of innocent, new love.

 

Reece was all about reading the signs. He lived the “everything has a reason” kind of life. And for him, it was no coincidence that a Buddy Holly song played on the radio at the exact moment he turned the station. Nope. There was meaning behind the song. There was purpose behind the song. There was Bailey behind the song. And in that moment, he tossed the idea of sending her an email right out his car window. He was going to talk to her instead.

 

***

 

I’d no idea who he was. That was the first I’d seen him. I could strangle Christopher for not bothering to introduce us. That would have been the mannerly thing to do. And Christopher had manners. I knew this to be true because he always held the door for me, and one time he actually held out my chair in a meeting. The guy was all class. So why didn’t he bother to acquaint two strangers?

 

And why did I care so much? Oh, right. Because the dude was cute as hell and looked to be my age. I caught sight of him at the end of the day, on my way out the door. He was still with Christopher in that conference room. They must have been in there all day. I hoped maybe this time I’d get an introduction.

 

I slowed my step near the open door. I even paused and searched my purse for my car keys—the ones I knew were in my hand. No luck. No introduction. No name. And it wasn’t my style to initiate a meeting. Oh well. I sighed and walked out the door.

 

Probably wiser to look at him from afar anyway.