As You Please


I didn’t text Auston that night, or the next day, or the day after that. Instead of pushing my worries to the side and letting the brunette engulf my mind, I kept my distance. I knew I couldn’t let myself fall into anything. I knew falling for someone else now was a disaster waiting to happen. I needed time to heal. I needed time to adjust to my new life, find myself again, make friends and live a little. I needed time to be me for a while.

I wasn’t ready to hand my heart over to someone.

I wasn’t ready to trust anyone yet.

During the last three days at work, I kept to myself. A few of my close friends and coworkers poked their heads into my office and asked if I was okay. Most of them took my small smile and excuse that I wasn’t feeling well. Most of them left me alone.

Brett, on the other hand, refused to let my strange demeanor go.

Friday afternoon, the blonde boy with the ice blue eyes barged into my office and shut the door behind him. He handed me a large coffee from Tim Hortons and placed a small box of Timbits in the middle of my desk. The blonde took a seat across from me and placed his elbows on the wooden surface. When I brought my eyes to his, he frowned and reached toward me and grabbed my hand.

Without a word, I spilled my guts to him.

I didn’t hold back anything, I didn’t skip any detail of the story. I told him how I screamed into the middle of the Toronto sky. I told him how I met the brunette at the bar and ran after him when he left. I told him all of the feelings I had in my brain when I saw him. I told him how much I hurt when I walked into my vacant apartment. I told him how I would wake up in the mornings and cry over my morning coffee.

I told him how broken I was, how terrible I felt.

I told him how much I missed talking to the brunette, but how terrified I was to bring him into my life.

When I was finally done talking, I took a long sip of my coffee and looked down at my hands. I was embarrassed to feel this way. I felt pathetic, vulnerable, and weak. I had always prided myself on being strong, put together, and independent. Now, I was the opposite. I was letting myself down. I was letting someone that wasn’t worth my time ruin my life for the last four days.

Brett gave me words of advice. He told me how important I was to him and the rest of the office. The blonde reminded me of who I was, where I was in the company and how fast I got there. He said he was proud of me, proud to call me his best friend. The words sunk into my head but didn’t cure the dull ache that pulsed through my muscles. The ice that had settled in my organs didn’t melt. I was still cold. I was still upset.

“Now, tell me about this bar guy,” Brett cut his speech short and placed his elbows on the desk, his eyebrows raised as a small blush crept onto my cheeks as I thought about the brunette hanging his long arm over my shoulders and walking me down the early morning sidewalks of the city. A shiver ran through my spine and exploded when it reached my brain stem. Vivid memories of him smiling and laughing while we sat at the bar rushed through my head.

My heart was humming in my chest. My stomach was doing somersaults. I felt warm for a moment, like someone had pulled the ice cold blood from my veins and replaced it with new, lively cells.

“Auston?” I suppressed a smile as I said his name. “I haven’t talked to him.”

“You have his number and you’re not using it?” Brett roared as he grabbed a small donut and shoved it in his mouth. Chewing, he wagged his finger at me and shook his head. “You’re disappointing me. You have a rebound and you’re-”

“No, absolutely not, B.” I snapped. My fingers wrapped around the warm coffee cup as I looked down at the wood surface. My heart was slamming against my rib cage as I thought about the brunette like that. I could still feel his fingertips pressing into my knee. I could still feel his hand on my shoulder.

Another shiver rushed over me. When the feeling had dissipated, I ran a hand through my hair and absent mindedly grabbed a donut and took a bite. As the sugar tickled my tastebuds, I glanced up and noticed the blonde eyeing my iPhone laying face down on my side of the desk. Shaking my head, I slapped my hand over the phone and listened as the man groaned.

Brett huffed and pressed his crossed arms into his chest. “You deserve it.”

“It’s been four days. I’m not up to-”

“The sooner the better, in my opinion.” Brett gave me a smile and then wiggled his eyebrows. “I’m available, if you’re in need.” The blonde blew me a kiss and then took a swig of his coffee, his icy blue eyes dancing with amusement as my whole face grew warm.

A few incoherent words left my mouth as I looked over at my cell phone and thought about the last thing that Auston had said to me. He was there if I needed him, there if I needed a friend. A friend? Is that what I needed right now? Did I just need people like Brett and Auston to keep me in line, or was Brett right?

Should I just…


That’s not who I am.

We both kept quiet for nearly a half hour. Brett had brought his laptop in with him and started working on the free side of my desk while occasionally picking a donut or two up. While he wrote up emails and priced out some things, I clicked through a few proposals and pitch decks I had open. After I went through one for the fifth time, not having any of the info retain in my brain, I turned to Brett and sighed.

“You’re infuriating, you know that?” I hissed as I grabbed my cell phone. There was a half hour left in the work day before the weekend began. Was I really going to spend the next two and a half days alone, crying in my apartment. I was going to eat and watch Netflix or work. I was just going to be miserable. I was going to let myself be miserable.

I needed to grieve, but I was already tired of it.

“You going to text him?” Brett asked.

I nodded, taking my bottom lip between my teeth. My nerves started to come alive as I tapped my heel against the wooden floor beneath me. Was I really going to do this? Was I really going to see him again? So soon? Was this a good idea?

Shaking my head, I went to the conversation with Auston and clicked in the open spot. Pressing my thumb to the glass screen, I felt my heart start to beat erratically in my chest. “He’s probably busy, it’s Friday night afterall, ya know?”

“Not everyone goes out,” Brett rolled his eyes as he shut his laptop and leaned forward. “I bet he’ll drop whatever plans he made to see you.”

“Bullshit,” I chuckled as I looked down and sighed.

Are you free tonight?

Shrugging a shoulder, I hit send and set the phone down on the desk, screen up. Brett took the opportunity to run his eyes over the screen. After a small frown of disapproval, he went to speak when he dropped his eyes down and paused. The ice blue was being eaten up by his pupil nearly doubling in size. Seconds later, the phone buzzed.

Slamming my hand down on the screen, I felt Brett’s hand slam down right on top of mine. “Absolutely not, pretty boy.” I roared as I grabbed the phone and turned away from him. Looking at the screen, I felt my heart burst in my chest. “He answered so fast…” I whispered to myself as I read the message.

Absolutely! Have anything in mind?

“Oh god, I don’t have anything in mind!” I cried as I turned to Brett and held the phone out. “What do I say! I don’t have any ideas. I can’t invite him over to watch me sob on the couch. I can’t invite him over at all! He’ll think I want to sleep with him, won’t he!”

“Yeah, probably,” Brett inspected the phone and then smirked at me. “I think you should invite him over.”

“Brett!” I screamed slamming my hand onto the desk in frustration. “What if-”

“Would it be the worst thing in the world, Tessa?” Brett asked, his tone stern. When I shook my head, he gave me a small smile and then pushed the phone back toward me. “Keep it casual, just invite him over for take out and a drink. You’re apartment is beautiful. You’re right around some night life. If it gets weird just go out. Haven’t you dated before?”

“No, I haven’t.” I snapped and looked back at my phone.

Take out and a movie at my place?

I hit send and watched as the little word ‘Delivered’ under the message quickly changed to ‘Read: 4:43 PM’. Raising my eyebrows, I stood up and walked over to the other side of the desk. Leaning on the wooden piece next to Brett, we watched as the bubble appeared, then left.

Sounds good to me :) I’m at Scotiabank, leaving in about 20, want a ride?

“They grow up so fast,” Brett fake cried as he put his hand on my head and leaned me over to press a kiss to my temple. Pushing him away, I looked back at my phone and sucked in a deep breath. Shutting the screen off, I set my phone face down on the desk and looked up at the blonde.

“I need to get my head on straight, I’ll swing by before I leave.” I watched as he smiled and then gave me a single nod ad he grabbed his things and opened the office door. He walked out, quietly shutting the door behind him. Once the silence engulfed the room, I sunk down into my office chair, grabbed the phone, and spun around so I was facing the window instead of my desk.

I’m 111 Queen Street, a ride would be perfect. I hit send and sucked in a deep breath.

The bubbles showing he was typing appeared almost instantly.

Meeting’s over in 10, be there around 5:15? Sound good?

I found myself smiling again.

I’ll meet you outside. Can’t wait

He responded instantly.

Me either, Tess :)

“He calls me Tess.” I whispered to myself as I replied with a smiley face and then shut off the screen. Holding the phone to my chest, I let my mind wander through what was going on in my life over the last four days.

Blinking hard, I looked around and slowly pulled myself from the leather chair and started to gather all of my things. My mind went over what was going on over and over again until I started to feel anxiety wash over me. What if he saw me again and didn’t like me anymore? What if it was all the alcohol that brought us together? What if he tries something? What do I do?

What should I do?

Shaking my head, I checked the clock and noticed I had about ten minutes to get downstairs. The nerves were eating away at the lining of my stomach. I felt sick. I felt like I was about to fall to the floor and turn to dust. If someone gave me the option to live or die, I would choose death without a second thought.

I slipped into my coat and grabbed my bag. Walking to my office door, I pulled it open and shut the light off. Peering out at the rows of cubicles, I noticed most of them were empty. Smiling a litte, I walked down the hall to Brett’s office and knocked on the door.

When he looked up, he smiled at me. “You’ll be fine, Tess. Lunch tomorrow?”

“Absolutely, I’ll text you.” I hummed and blew the blonde a kiss before turning on my heel and heading toward the front door. The walk form the door down a few stairs into the lobby of the building seemed like an eternity. My hands were trembling, my knees were shaking, and my stomach was in knots.

I felt like a teenager going on her first date.

“Grow up, Tessa, get a hold of yourself,” I hissed as I pushed the front door open and took a few steps onto the sidewalk.

The sun was hanging low over the city as I looked up at the buildings in front of me. The air was chilly as I peered around, trying to see if the familiar brunette was parked along the sidewalk. When I didn’t notice him, I took a few steps toward the building and grabbed my phone from my pocket.


The knots in my stomach tightened as I looked out into the street. Cars whizzed by and pulled over. People walked passed me and around me. Bikes whizzed through traffic and parked cars. It was all starting to make me anxious. I would normally find comfort in the hustle of the city, but while I stood there looking for Auston, I felt overwhelmed.

I felt like crying. I wanted to run back inside and hide behind my desk. Lose myself in whatever work I had left off on. I wanted to see Brett and talk about anything but my personal life.

Just as I was about to hit sensory overload, I heard a familiar voice call my name. Every muscle started to relax as I looked out toward the sidewalk and watched as the brunette appeared on the curb. As my eyes met his and ran over his appearance, I felt the whole world slow down around me.

His hair was slicked back perfectly. His body was wrapped in a form fitting dark blue plaid suit. His shirt was a pretty lavender and clung perfectly to his torso and tucked neatly into his pants. A dark blue tie that matched the fabric of his suit hung around his neck. The same black peacoat from the other night rested over his shoulders. As he moved his arms, I noticed a sparkling watch and a few designs dance across his skin.

This wasn’t the man from the bar.

It couldn’t be.

“Auston?” My voice echoed through my head as the man walked right up to me and flashed a dazzling smile. It sounded like I was screaming, but in reality it was barely above a whisper.

“Ready to go?”

Nodding, he tucked me under his arm and walked me over to the slick black luxury car parked on the street. As he opened the door, I turned to look at him. When he flashed me a smile, I felt every drop of blood rush to my cheeks.

If this is a dream, please don’t wake up just yet.
♠ ♠ ♠
Thanks for reading :)