Plus One(5)

By: Aleatha Romig


I giggle, trying not to imagine what that would be like. “That’s not really my thing, and besides, he doesn’t even know I’m here.”

“He knew your name.”

“The only time he talks to me is when he wants me to do some menial task: book a hotel or check on an invoice. His requests never involve anything in my actual job description.” I shrug. “Of course, that doesn’t mean I tell him no.”

Shana tilts her head to the side, her blonde hair falling over her shoulder. “If I recall the rumors you’ve told me, there aren’t many people who tell him no. I wouldn’t.”

“Okay,” I confess as I nibble my lower lip. “I admit. There’s been more than a few times that I’ve imagined him asking me to do other things—things that go against company policy.”

“They only go against the policy when you’re in the office,” Shana clarifies.

My cheeks warm as erotic images infiltrate my thoughts.

“Look at how pink your cheeks are,” she says. “Who knew there was a sex kitten under all your prim and proper business attire?”

After the waitress fills our wine glasses and takes our orders, I speak. “Enough about Duncan Willis. Tell me what we’re celebrating and how you can afford this restaurant…” I turn toward the window. “…and a table with a view.”

Shana practically bounces in her chair. “I got a promotion.”

“You did?” I raise my wine glass. “Congratulations. To you.”

As the two glasses clink and just before she takes a sip, Shana’s smile dims.

After our congratulatory swallow, I ask, “What, what’s wrong?”

“Kimbra, I’ve been practicing this all afternoon. I don’t know how to say it.”

“Say what? Is it about your promotion? You know I’m thrilled for you. On to bigger and better things. Make your dreams come true.”

“That’s the thing. It is a dream, one I didn’t even know I could accomplish.”

“Isn’t that what dreams are all about?” I ask.

“It’s not that simple. The promotion is in London.”

It’s my smile’s turn to fade. “London… as in England?” I knew she didn’t mean Kentucky, but still, I’m shocked beyond making sense of geographical locations.

“Yes. It’s a great opportunity. The position opened unexpectedly and they need me to fill it right away.” She reaches out and covers my hand. “Saks is going to help me with my move, get me a place in London, and even give me money to fulfill my rent obligation with our apartment. I promise, I’m not leaving you high and dry.”

I feign a smile. “I never thought you would. They must really want you over there.”

Her grin returns full force, bringing light back to her blue eyes. “They do. They want me to oversee the Junior line. Oversee the whole line. It’s going to be amazing.”

I respond, saying all the right things, all the things a friend would say. “I understand. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me. Of course, I’m glad you took the job.” I say all of that, but inside I’m imagining my life without my best friend. I’m imagining coming home to an empty apartment. “I’m just going to miss you,” I confess as we finish our meal.

“Honey, we’ll talk. We’ll Skype and text. It’s London, not the middle of nowhere. And you can visit. I’ve been dying to show you some of the places I love to go when I’m over there buying. Now we’ll have time.”

“I can’t wait,” I say enthusiastically.

“Hey, when you first got to the table you looked a little frazzled.”

For the first time since seeing Duncan Willis and learning that my best friend is moving, I remember my mom’s call. “When do you need to leave?”

“In two weeks. What does this have to do with the frazzle?”

I shake my head. “Don’t worry about it. Just before coming in, my mom called. The entire way up in the elevator I was planning some massive injury for Timothy.”

Shana’s eyes opened wide. “What did he do? You haven’t given a shit about him since New Year’s. I mean, I’m not against him having some horrific accident, you know, falling off the observation deck of the Empire State Building or something, but what does that have to do with your mom.”

“My cousin’s wedding.”

Shana’s nose scrunched. “Scarlett?”

I nodded. “Before the invitations came, I told my mom to RSVP for me and—”

“Plus-one?”

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