Status: co-write!

In the Company

Lunch Break Talks & Unwanted Emails

I sighed and checked the time on my computer. It was nearly a quarter to 11, meaning I could clock out for lunch in just a few minutes. Sitting up in my chair, I reached for my phone where it should have been in its usually spot on my desk, coming up empty. I looked around the crowded office at Ry and the other hockey players. Patrick had ambled in about half an hour ago, only to be weeded out by Deena straight away after she had finished consulting with the other boys and ignored by me entirely.

I saw my familiar BlackBerry in the hands of Claude across the room. He would have it. Swiping it out of his hands, I saw that he had made it past my passcode.

“How the hell did you do that?” I asked, immediately going to change it.

“Birth year,” he rolled his eyes. “Not that hard. And I bet you now it’s another date.”

I huffed, but left it as it now was with the anniversary of my first date with David.

“I’m out of here for lunch,” I gathered a few of my things into my purse. “I’ll be back by 1 and then we’re going to get into the nitty gritty with you boys.”

“Nitty gritty?” Brayden piped, surprising me with the powerfulness of his voice. Or maybe it was just because he so rarely spoke. “What do you mean?”

“You think you just came here to hang around in our office?” Ry asked, stretching back in her chair, no doubt anticipating her own lunch break. “Naw, you’ve all got a thing or two to learn.”

“Like what Deena could be saying to Kaner,” Tyler snickered. On my way out, I swatted him on the back of the head with a magazine.

“That’s none of your business,” I called over my shoulder.

“Text me after!” Ryleigh called out before I was out of earshot.

I stepped into the bathroom just down the hall from our office to check my makeup and hair before I needed to be out. I still looked half decent, despite nearly falling asleep at my desk while writing up an email to corporate. I adjusted my short sleeved blouse, making sure it covered my sunburn-scar riddled shoulders.

Once I was sure I looked alright, I started on my way out of the building. Nearing Deena’s office, I sped my pace up, hoping to get past it without Patrick exiting. Maybe it was a little childish of me to want to ignore him altogether, but I just didn’t want to deal with him. Of course, though, the opposite of what I wanted happened. Karma’s a bitch.

I nodded to him as I passed, hoping that would be the end of it. It wasn’t, as I found him calling my name as I continued down the hall. Rather than have to have Deena on my back about ignoring a client, I stopped and turned around.

“Yes?” I tried to fake politeness but my patience was wearing thin, especially with him.

“Can we talk?” he asked, jogging to catch up with me. “I-I think we should.”

“Now’s not a good time,” I said. “I’ve got to get going.”

“Lunch date with your boyfriend?” I couldn’t tell if a smile or a frown tweaked at his lips.

“Yeah, actually, I do. I have to explain what the hell happened last night,” I elaborated, itching to get away.

“That’s kind of what I wanted to talk about too,” Patrick said. “I think I put two and two together.”

“Oh really?” I mused, surprised. He was so drunk off his ass last night; I had barely expected him to remember my name.

“Yeah, Rosie. Maybe it took a few cups of coffee and an ice cold shower, but I got there eventually,” now a smirk most certainly pulled at his mouth. “But seriously, can we talk? Soon?”

“Later,” I bargained. “I really need to go, Patrick. Go on over to our office. I think the rest of the guys were ordering take out.”

I didn’t give him a chance to respond; instead I took off at a quick gait. I had enough explaining to do as it was, I didn’t need to have to worry about explaining tardiness either.

On my way, I scrolled through some texts and emails I’d gotten over the last few hours. Walking and reading was an acquired talent, a vital one when you had my job.

I had a text from my brother, saying ‘hi’ from his army base in Hawaii, and I sent back a quick reply. An email from my mom sat, ready to be replied to. And I probably would have done it while I was walking if it weren’t for another email in my inbox that had me stopping dead in my tracks.

My dad.

My parents had divorced when I was only 10 and while my father remained in the military; my mom took Oliver, my older brother, and me to live in Dallas with her sister and brother-in-law. I’d grown up not really knowing the man that I had called ‘Papa’, only understanding that he loved his country too much to leave the service.

Mama was an immigrant straight from the heart of Mexico and Papa’s parents had come from there as well years before having their son.


I still had his words ringing in my ears as I stepped into my Meyer’s. It had rattled me to say the least and I didn’t quite know how to respond. Maybe a good lunch and a long talk with Ryleigh later would clear my head.

I peered around the corner, ignoring the hostess, to find David seated in our usual booth.

“Hey,” I smiled as he slid out to greet me. “How are you?”

He kissed me quickly and wrapped me into a hug. “Fine, thanks. Yourself?”

“Great,” I nodded as I took my seat. “I hope you weren’t waiting long. I got a little caught up at the office.”

“No, I wasn’t,” David assured me.

It was easy to say that David was... uptight. No, that wasn’t the right word. He was just very focused about what he wanted. And what he wanted was a like-minded, typical, pretty girlfriend. I was those things. Well, usually.

After we’d placed our orders, I could tell that the dreaded conversation was approaching. David would want to get it over with before our food came, so as not to ruin our meal or cause himself indigestion.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, him looking out the window at passerby and me looking at him.

“So care to explain about last night?” he asked, settling his gaze on me now.

And there it was. “There’s not much to explain, David. I told you, I was there for work.”

“Having another guy with his arms around you, saying you were his girlfriend doesn’t sound like work to me, Rosaline,” David insisted on using my full name.

“You don’t understand, then,” I sighed. “What I do is make sure that the celebrities that come to the firm to fix their image don’t do anything stupid. Last night was me and Ryleigh fixing the situation at hand. Ry came up with the plan to-,” he cut me off.

“Oh, so it was Ryleigh that thought it would be a great idea to parade you around as some ignorant hockey player’s girlfriend?” David laughed. “Why does that not surprise me?”

I groaned. It wasn’t easy having a best friend that thought your boyfriend didn’t deserve you and a boyfriend that thought your best friend was a bad influence.

“Yes, it was,” I stated firmly. “And it worked.” I leaned my arms against the table. “But what about you? You all of a sudden popped up out of nowhere? You were supposed to be in the Hamptons.”

“And like I told you,” he countered. “There was a change of plans and a few of us decided to go out. You said you were having a night in, so I didn’t want to bother you.”

“It seems like you’ve had a lot of ‘change of plans’ lately,” I used air quotes, staring him down. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gotten this heated with David. “Haven’t you?”

“My job is extremely time consuming, you know that. My schedule has to be flexible,” he huffed.

“Like mine isn’t?” I shook my head. “You don’t know half of what I have to do, David. I’ve got a hell of a lot on my plate right now and-,”

“Oh do you?” he asked, folding his arms. “Like what?”

“It doesn’t matter to you,” I waved my hand. “My life outside of you has never mattered. How many times have you met my mom in the three years that we’ve dated? Three, four times? And don’t say it’s because she’s sick and in Dallas. You’ve had plenty of opportunities. What about going running with me? Or to Serendipity for frozen hot chocolate? It’s rare we do something I want to do.”

“You’ve never said anything,” David frowned.

“Yeah, I haven’t,” I nodded. “Because I assumed I needed to be the good girlfriend.”

David sat back in his seat, thinking. I could see the cogs in his brain twirling, no doubt thinking of every possible angle at which to attack the situation. Would he be victorious?

“Maybe we need a break,” he decided.

“Excuse me?” that wasn’t what I expected.

“Just a week where we spend time on our own, thinking about what we want out of this relationship. No contact, just thinking,” he explained.

“So you can spend time with that blonde from the other night?” I frowned. Yes, I was being childish yet again.

“She’s a coworker, for God’s sake,” he was growing frustrated. “And no, so long as you stay away from that hockey player…”

That hockey player has a name,” I snapped. “Patrick.”

“So long as you stay away from Patrick, I don’t think we’ll have a problem,” he decided.

“You know what?” I was slowly getting to being furious and exhausted, a combination you don’t want with a Mexican woman. “You let me know when you’re done taking a break, David. I’ll love to hear about all you think about.” I slapped some money down on the table, just for effect, knowing he wouldn’t use it, and got up from the table. “Don’t expect to hear from me.”


I got back to the office almost 20 minutes before my lunch break was over. I found all the guys and Ryleigh sitting in our office, eating Chinese food and talking. The minute I opened the door, the room silenced.

“Rose?” Ryleigh stood up. “You okay?”

“Later,” my voice cracked. “Can I have some of that?” I nodded to her container of cold sesame noodles, my favorite.

She nodded wordlessly and extended the white container to me with a fresh pair of chop sticks.

“You sure you’re alright, Rose?” Max asked, eyeing me from his spot to me right where I had squeezed in between him and Ry.

“Fine,” I lied. “Just fine.”


That afternoon, we explained to the boys just what the rest of their summers would entail. Up until they left at the end of August, they would be given a detailed- but crash- course on everything they needed to know to improve their image. We would go over everything from fashion, to behavior at team events, to how to act when they were out on their own time. Ryleigh’s eyes lingered on Kane as she spoke, as I spent most of the time sitting, trying not to freak out.

I was a little shell shocked, not only by David’s proposal at lunch, but also by the email I’d gotten before. In fact, I found myself reading it under the table. I was so engrossed in my fourth reading of it that I didn’t notice Ryleigh at my shoulder after the boys had all vacated the room.

“He what?” she practically shrieked. “Give me that!”

Ryleigh snatched the phone out of my hand and began to read the message from the beginning, out loud to herself, but I certainly didn’t need to hear it again, I’d all but memorized it.

He was getting married. To a younger woman next summer and he wanted me and Oliver there. How he thought that an email would be okay to break news like that was lost on me, but that was my father for you. I was almost a little happy that he wanted my brother and me there to share in an important day in his life, but really, he shouldn’t have to get remarried. He should still have been married to our mother.

“That little-,” she began, slamming my phone onto the table.

“Don’t!” I warned. “I may not like him, but he’s still my father.”

She grumbled and crossed her arms. “Fine. Can we talk about what happened with you and David today?”

I sighed. Get it over with now and have ice cream the minute we got back to the apartment or wait for the ice cream and tell her later?

“He wants to take a break, says he thinks we need time to think about what we want next in our relationship,” I muttered, not meeting her gaze.

“Oh,” Ryleigh, for a change, was at a loss for words. “Oh, Rose.”

I didn’t know why I was crying then, I’d been okay after storming out, but slowly, a few tears trickled down my cheeks. Ryleigh wiped them away and pulled me into a tight hug, one that only a sister could give.

“Home. Now,” she said getting up. “We need ice cream with lots of whipped cream and baggy t-shirts.”

I couldn’t agree more. Quickly, we gathered up our things and with linked arms, we walked out.

“Hey, Rose!” and there was his voice again.

“Shit,” I groaned. Was whipped cream and chick flicks too much to ask for?

“I’ll deal with it,” Ry offered, but I stopped her.


“Can we talk now?” Pat asked. But the moment he saw my slightly puffy eyes and tight frown, I’m sure he got his answer. “Oh, uh, later?”

“Yeah, later,” I nodded. “Tomorrow, I promise. First thing.”


Sitting at home, Ry let me pick a movie after we had changed as she got out ice cream. I knew that I would need a nice long run tomorrow morning, but that was okay.

Settling into the couch, we ate our favorite cold treats and watched Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling fall in love on our tv.

“So next week,” Ry slowly broached the subject. “Is your birthday.”

“I don’t want anything big,” I insisted. “You know I never do.”

“I know, I know,” she sighed. “But I was thinking. Your birthday is the day before Tyler is supposed to head home for his day with the Cup,” Ryleigh was quickly picking up on the lingo of the hockey world. “Maybe we could have a joint birthday/going away party with the guys? No one else, if you don’t want. We’ll go to a club, have a good time…”

“Not Lights,” I put a finger up. “But okay, that sounds…fun.”

Ryleigh beamed and turned her attention back to the movie. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
♠ ♠ ♠
Oh, snap. I went there. But you all probably hated David, am I right?

Time to study for midterms! Or not... wish me luck!

XOXO- Becca