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It had been a week since she had been back at work and she had quickly gotten back in the flow of things. She had been so excited to return. She had expected to jump right back into the meetings with Rossi but for the first couple of days, she had been assigned to desk work. It was understandable being that a whole other person had been taking charge for two months. Later that week, she found herself alternating between meeting and desk with Shelley. She was glad that he was giving Shelley the opportunity to soar. Smiling, she glanced at her pictures that sat on her desk before getting back to the task at hand.
A week ago…
She stepped into her workplace. Holding her clutch she pressed the button for the elevator. Smoothing down her skirt, she took a breath and got in. She felt excitement course through her as the elevator stopped and opened its doors. She soon stood outside of the beehive. Here we go. She pushed through the frosted glass doors. As she began to walk in, mouths dropped and eyes followed her as she made her way to her cubicle.
“Marshall?” The office sleeze Peterson slurred, eying her up like a piece of meat.
“Peterson?” His gaze slid down her like a slinky.
“What is it you eatin cause damn baby girl you left and came back thick.”
“You might wanna focus on what you doin fore you cut yourself there Peterson.” He glanced down at the paper cutter he was using and sighed, relieved that he hadn’t cut anything other than paper. She kept walking until she placed her clutch down on her desk. Leave it to him to be her welcoming committee. Pursing her lips, she glossed her fingertips across the surface of the desk. She found it surprisingly clean. A smile came to her face at all the sticky notes that had been placed in one little collective corner. Shelley. She had even been kind enough to keep her small pictures of her sister and Tre clean too. Smiling deeper, she sighed and sat down. After a while she heard,
“Rae’s here? Where?” She peeked up at the voice. Shelley stood in the aisle, many stacks of papers in her hand. Peterson pointed in her direction and at meeting her eyes, they grinned at each other.
“Shells!” She got up and went to grab some of the papers, meeting her half way.
“Oh my God thank you. This was killing me.” Shelley exclaimed with a huff. They sat her papers down.
“Girl look at you. You went away and came back shining like a diamond.” She felt her cheeks grow hot.
“You look different. Everything about you is different somehow.” Shelley said with a grin.
“Specially those shoes.” She laughed and hugged her.
“It’s so good to have you back partner.”
“It’s good to be back.” She pulled back and took her in.
“You look good Shells. Rossi been all right?” She smiled.
“Yeah! He’s been great! I’ve learned so much by being in those meetings. It’s good to finally feel as if I’m moving forward!”
“That’s great! You deserved it the most out of all of us.” Shelley blushed.
“Aw. Thanks Rae.” She let go of her as she began to sort through the papers.
“I want to say sorry.” She paused and looked at her.
“For what?” She licked her lips.
“Last time we were together I snapped at you when you asked about Mr. Iwase. I was really rude and hurtful. I apologize if I hurt your feelings.” Shelley smiled and hugged her again.
“Girl, it’s over with and done! I forgive you!” She felt relieved.
“You’re the one who kept my spot clean aren’t you?” She blushed and giggled.
“Yeah…I missed you so much. Besides, cubby mates have to take care of each other right?”
“Aw. Yes we do! But uh…what’s them sticky notes though?” Shelley grinned.
“You’ll see when you read them.” Hm. She was up to somethin.
“Mm. Okay.” Shelley snickered and grabbed some papers.
“About that time with Iwase…your attitude said everything I needed to know.” She blinked, her cheeks growing warm.
“Could you please give these to Rossi? My hands are cramping and I need a break.” Shelley pressed the papers into her hands with a grin, ignoring her question.
“S-sure…” Shelley looked brighter and happier than the last time she had seen her. It was amazing to see just how much she had started to come out of her cocoon. She was so here for it. Clearing her throat, she went down the corridors and stood outside of his office. It had been so long since she had last been here.
“Can I help you…Rae?” She turned to see his secretary standing up, her expression full of shock.
“W-When did you get back…you look great…wow..” She smiled.
“I got back last night. Couldn’t be late for work could I?”
“You look amazing! Um let me get Rossi on the phone for you. Delivery?”
“One moment.” She dialed his extension.
“Sir, you have a delivery.”
“Have Shelley bring it.”
“Shelley is occupied at the moment sir. There is someone else here to deliver.”
“Send them in.” She took a deep breath and once the door opened, he grew still.
“R-Rae?” She bit her lip to keep the laughter from spilling forth.
“Surprised?” He looked at her from head to toe, his mouth slightly ajar.
“Wow.” She cleared her throat.
“Face is up here.” His cheeks grew red and he cleared his throat.
“Come in.” She came in and quietly closed the door. Sitting down in one of his chairs, she smiled. He was looking at her like she wasn’t real.
“I’m glad you’re back Rae. It’s good to see you again.”
“Yeah it’s good to be back.”
“When’d you touch down in NY?”
“I didn’t know you were even coming…”
“That was the point. I wanted to surprise a friend.” He blushed.
“Well I am delighted. How was your trip?”
“It was absolutely amazing. There was a lot that I needed to get off of my chest and I’m glad that you permit me to do so.” He smiled.
“That’s great.” She sat in one of his chairs and crossed her legs at the ankle.
“I know many employees that go a break in the middle of peak season don’t come back so I sincerely thank you.” He sat back in his chair.
“There are plenty of people I could get rid of. But you aren’t one of them.” She let the sudden flirtatious tone of his voice pass by her.
“I am glad you were able to let Shelley fill in while I was away. If you don’t mind me asking, how was she?”
“Ms. Johnson was superb. She kept everything together.”
“And here you were tryin not to give her a promotion…” He chuckled.
“I’m glad you convinced me.” Grinning she sighed.
“So Mr. Rossi, what is it we will do today?” He looked down at the watch on his wrist.
“I have a meeting in ten minutes. Are you feeling up to it to attend?”
“All right. Let’s get ready for that.”
“Sure.” He got up and slid his fingers through his hair, pulling it back.
“Rae…” She looked up at him. He fastened his hair with a elastic band while he looked at her.
“I’ve really missed you.” She gave a friendly smile but knew something deeper lied underneath his statement.
“I’m sure you have.”
“It’s been really lonely here without you. Johnson has been a great help. But now that you’re back-”
“Hold your horses. You sound like you gettin ready to demote her.” He sharply inhaled.
“Your decision to promote her was last minute to you. To her, it was life changing. She’s waited so long to receive something other than desk work from you. This once, let her enjoy it. Please.” He was quiet for a while until,
“All right. Fine.”
“I suppose we should go huh?” He gave a stern nod, business face on.
“After you Ms. Marshall.”
She hadn’t realized that in her remembrance she hadn’t completed her assignment. Clearing her throat, she finished up with the papers and scooted back to head to Rossi’s office.
“Mr. Rossi. It’s Rae.”
“Come in.” She came in with the stack of papers.
“I’ve read through them as asked. They look and sound great. It’s ready to be sent.” He didn’t look at her and the sound of his fingers clicked against the keys of his computer.
“Thanks. I’ll forward them.”
“All right.” She turned to leave.
“Wait a moment.” She glanced back at him. He sighed and removed his glasses.
“Could you go grab some lunch for me?”
“Sure. No problem.”
“I’m starving. Haven’t had anything since morning.”
“What would you like?”
“Mm….I’m in the mood for a Philly.”
“Sure that won’t be too heavy?”
“Okay then. Philly it is.”
“Oh! Could you swing by Starbucks as well?”
“You real hungry today.” He grinned and slid his glasses back on.
“A busy man never rests.” She sucked her teeth.
“Let me guess. You want a black coffee with no sugar and a dash of cream from Starbucks right?”
“Don’t you know me well.” His grin deepened and she pursed her lips.
“Yeah yeah. Anything else?”
“That’s all for now. Thanks.”
“Do get something for yourself okay? I’ll treat you for lunch.” She blinked.
“You don’t have to…”
“I want to.” He reached into his pocket and gave her some money.
“O-okay… ‘preciate it.” She made her way out, placing the money in her purse. He certainly hadn’t lost any of his persuasive ways.
“You’re on in five minutes Mr. Iwase. Would you like some more face powder?” He pressed the black lapels to his jacket down.
“No. I’m fine. Thank you.” He looked into the mirror with a soft smile.
After his return, he had immediately taken up his position again. He had begun to plan meetings with companies both within the United States and abroad, in order to assess the status of their relationship, stocks, and other vital information. Today was his first meeting. He was meeting with a company called Elyon located in California. They flew in last night and after his interview with this local television station, he was going straight there. His moment of rest was much needed and every day he felt newer than the last. He found himself here at this point, about to strike back into the swing of things and though he dreaded interviews like this… he was excited.
“Mr. Iwase?” He turned to face the young woman who would host the show.
“Are you ready?” He nodded.
“Let’s begin.” Sometimes you have to do what you don’t want to do.
The clock stroked 1 pm. She huffed as she came out of Starbucks. Holding his cup of joe and food in one, she held what she got for herself in another. A burst of fresh wind rushed by her and she inhaled it slowly. What a beautiful spring day. The clouds were white and the sky blue. The sun was shining and provided the right amount of heat without it being overbearing. Everywhere there was green and florals. Ah… She smiled to herself and started to walk again. Thankfully, the office wasn’t too far.
“….You’ve probably seen him in magazines and in other interviews here in the United States…..by the name of Hiroto Iwase…” She paused suddenly. Hiroto Iwase? Turning, her eyes fell on a nearby television. She watched as he came onto the stage and purse his lips at the almost deafening screams of the ladies in the studio. Her heart skipped a beat.
“Hello. Thank you for having me. I’m quite honored.”
“By all means, you are quite an amazing guy Mr. Iwase!” He gave a small smile.
“I appreciate it very much.”
“What have you been up to? We’ve missed seeing you.” She couldn’t move, the breath coming from her shallow. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him.
“I have recently returned from a short hiatus.” Hiatus? He had been gone?
“Ah, where and why?” He balled his lips, making his dimples deepen.
“I went to this little hiking town called Hocking Hills. It’s in the state of Ohio. It’s so beautiful.” The woman nodded, she too intent for his next word.
“I went because I honestly needed a break. Being CEO of a business is by no means a walk in the park…nor is it lax. I am glad I took some time out for myself.” The host nodded and smiled as he looked at her.
“That’s great! Sounds amazing!” He smiled and the small flash of teeth made her knees grow weak.
“It was.” Even the host appeared a bit flushed. All from a simple half smile. Only an effect he could have.
“So what is it you’re doing now that you’re back in New York? If I’m not mistaken isn’t your business originally located in Japan?”
“My, you’re well versed on me.” The host grew even more flustered and some members of the audience chuckled.
“I-It is my job…”
“I’m only teasing you my dear.” He said, his tone joking. Poor dear. The girl didn’t know what to do. He cleared his throat.
“To answer your question, yes. It is located in Japan. My intentions are to go back to my country and work from the main base there. However, with America being my priority as of now, I am pleased to see that all has gone well.”
“I see! Well, many best wishes to you Mr. Iwase! Before we head to break, I want to thank you again for talking with me!” He nodded.
“Thank you.” The show cut to commercial. She felt her heart beat faster. She didn’t know he had gone on a break. He certainly looked refreshed. She felt her hand grow tired, reminding her that she had coffee. She tightened her grip on everything and made her way back before Rossi’s coffee grew cold.
A few days later, on a Saturday, she had decided to go workout. She put her hair up into a puff and swept back any baby hairs away from her face. She leaned down to tie her shoes and grabbed her car keys.
After a few hours, she felt good and sore and ready to go home. Going to the water fountain, she lifted her bottle to fill it up and exhaled loudly. She couldn’t help but wonder… what was Hiroto doing right now? She bit her lip. Even though she had his number, she was being a punk. Since finding out that he had gotten back in New York…and seeing him on the tv, she couldn’t stop thinking about him. It was starting to get on her nerves. But you’re going to give him a chance… you decided on that.
Right. She did. She couldn’t sike herself out. Maybe before she was happy doing that but now she just wanted to continue to be real and honest with herself. When she had let everything go in that water, she had also started to let the strife between them go too. She wanted to just be friends again… friends she think she could do. But at the moment, she was being too much of a wimp to initiate anything. She still hadn’t seen him at Affinity as of yet. Thank God. She might start acting like a bumbling fool. In her thoughts, she didn’t notice that the water from the fountain was starting to overflow from the bottle and drip on the ground.
“Miss? Your bottle is full…” She heard a voice speak. She turned to find a man walking by her, a towel around his neck.
“Excuse me!” He stopped. The way he grew tense made her eyebrows furl.
“Thanks for lettin me know. I had no clue.” He still hadn’t turned around and she noticed him tightly grip the towel. What was this dude’s problem? She pursed her lips and before turning to pour out some water. As she turned around again, she froze. Familiar almond shaped eyes looked at her, their gaze intense. She squeezed the bottle tightly, making the water gush out. She screeched, the crisp cold soaking her semi wet clothes and skin.
“Damn…” She heard a chuckle and faced a white towel as she looked up.
“Here.” Her throat suddenly grew dry as her eyes soaked up the man in front of her. Like little roots, his veins traveled up his arms and disappeared underneath his grey workout shirt. his arms were tight and toned and his skin flushed pink glistened with a light mist of sweat. Lord Jesus…She averted her eyes and looked down. There was no way… nooooo way….
“Um…no thanks. I’m good. I’m gonna get straight into my car.” Slowly, the towel was retracted and once again placed around his neck.
“It’s good to see you Rae.” She glanced up, his gaze captivating her. She opened her mouth and somehow words came out.
“Nice to see you too Hiroto.”
A/N:Woo y'all this week has been transition for real lol. Break was last week lol. And I am at the end of the week like LORD. lol. But glad that I've made it in my right mind and in health! Praise God! Sooooo, Our Mr. and Ms. meet again hehehe. *sigh* They so in love man I cannot lol. Next chapter is in the works! :D Have a blessed weekend! <3
Shine into the sky, bright and yellow!
Be set free by the renewing of your mind!