“This is amazing—thank you so much!” I say, with probably more enthusiasm than most people would consider to be professional.
“Everything you need is within walking distance—coffee, any cuisine you could possibly crave, it’s all here.” Christian proudly stares down at the city and wraps his arm around his fiancée’s waist.
“Stop bragging, would you?” Kimberly teases, and he plants a soft kiss to her forehead.
“Well, we’ll leave you be. Now, get to work,” Christian playfully scolds me. Kimberly grabs him by his tie and practically drags him out of the office.
I arrange the things in my desk the way I like them and read a little, but by lunchtime I’ve sent at least ten pictures of my office to Landon . . . and to Hardin. I knew that Hardin wouldn’t respond, but I couldn’t help myself. I wanted him to see the view—maybe it would make him change his mind about moving here? I’m only making excuses for my momentary lapse in judgment in sending him the pictures. But I miss him—there, I said it. I miss him terribly, and I was hoping for a response from him, even a simple text. Something. But nothing came.
Landon sent an excited response to each of the pictures, even when I sent a cheesy one of me holding a coffee mug with VANCE PUBLISHING printed on the side.
The more I dwell on my impulsive decision to send those pictures to Hardin, the more I regret it. What if he takes them the wrong way? He does have a tendency to do that. He may see them as a reminder of the fact that I’m moving on; he may even think that I’m trying to rub this whole thing in his face. That truly wasn’t my intention, and I can only hope that he doesn’t take it that way.
Maybe I should send another message to explain myself, I think. Or tell him that I sent the pictures accidentally. I don’t know which would be more believable.
Neither, I’m sure. I’m overthinking this; after all, they’re only pictures. And I can’t be fully responsible for how he chooses to interpret them. I can’t be fully responsible for his emotions like that.
When I walk into the break room on my floor, I find Trevor sitting at one of the square tables with a tablet in front of him.
“Welcome to Seattle,” he says, his blue eyes beaming bright.
“Hey.” I return his enthusiasm with a smile and swipe my debit card through the slot on the massive vending machine. I press a few small numbered buttons and am rewarded with a sleeve of peanut butter crackers. I’m too nervous to be hungry, and I’ll go out for lunch tomorrow after I’ve had a chance to explore the area.
“How do you like Seattle so far?” Trevor asks.
I look to him for permission, and when he nods, I slide into the chair across from him. “I haven’t seen much yet. I only arrived yesterday, but I love this new building.”
Two women enter the room and smile at Trevor; one of them turns to smile at me, and I give her a small wave. They begin to talk with each other, and then the shorter woman, who has black hair, pulls open the refrigerator and takes out a microwavable meal while her friend picks at her fingernails.
“You should explore, then; there are so many things to do here. It’s a beautiful city,” Trevor declares as I munch absentmindedly on a cracker. “The Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, art museums, you name it.”
“I do want to see the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market,” I say. But I’m beginning to feel uneasy, because every time I glance over at the women, I can tell that they’re both looking at me and talking quietly.
I’m quite paranoid today.
“You should. Have you decided where you’re staying yet?” he asks, swiping his index finger across the screen to close the window on his tablet, giving me his full attention.
“I’m actually at Kimberly and Christian’s house for right now . . . only for a week or two until I can find my own place.” The urgency in my voice is embarrassing. I hate that I have to stay with them, because Hardin ruined my chance to rent the only apartment I could find. I want to live on my own and not worry about being a burden to anyone.
“I could ask around and see if there are any vacancies in my building,” Trevor offers. He adjusts his tie and smoothes the silver fabric down before running his hands over the lapels of his suit.
“Thanks, but I’m not sure your building would be in my price range,” I softly remind him. He’s the head of finance, and I’m an intern—a decently paid intern, but I’m sure that I can’t even afford to rent the Dumpster behind his building.
He flushes. “Okay,” he says, realizing the massive difference between our incomes. “I can still ask around and see if anyone knows of any places.”
“Thank you.” I smile a convincing smile. “I’m sure Seattle will feel more like home once I actually have a home.”
“I agree; it’s going to take some time, but I know you’ll love it here.” His crooked grin is warm and welcoming.
“Do you have any plans after work?” I ask before I can stop myself.
“I do,” he says, his soft voice fumbling. “But I can cancel them.”
“No, no. It’s fine, I was just thinking that since you know the city, you could show me around, but if you already have plans, don’t worry about it.” I hope that I can make some friends here in Seattle.
“I’d love to show you around. I was just going jogging, that’s all.”
“Jogging?” My nose crinkles. “What for?”