Hello, beautiful people,
The days sometimes blend into each other in this lockdown life. I missed that it was Wednesday yesterday. 😉
Hope you enjoy this teaser excerpt!
UPDATE 21/04: Added some extra excerpt!
Raven traced the numbers with her finger until she ended up at the total in bold print. She frowned. The monthly staff cost was surprisingly high, with only eleven people on the payroll.
She sat back, tapping the paper with the tip of her pen. Raven knew Belgium had a high tax burden for employers and employees alike. It made it harder for her to evaluate the wisdom of Bart’s business decisions.
“Not that it matters,” she thought and huffed.
Raven was no longer planning to invest in Bart’s company. The only reason she was sitting in this office building was that she couldn’t change her flight to an earlier return date easily.
If it had been possible, Raven would have left Belgium this very morning. All flights out of Brussels in the coming days had been fully booked though, and the airline wasn’t accommodating in coming up with a solution so far.
It had left Raven in an awkward position. There was no point in being here, really. The deal was off. She would keep her money and go home as soon as possible. And yet, Raven hadn’t texted Nathalie to cancel their meeting this morning.
What if she really was stuck here for several more days? She didn’t want to spend all that time in her hotel room. Exploring the city by herself was an option, of course, but just the thought had made Raven feel stuck and lonely.
It had seemed like a better idea to keep busy and go along with the program for now. She would tell Bart to go fuck himself on her way home, at the airport. If she did so now, he might show up at her hotel, and she didn’t want that.
Raven sighed, tapping her phone to check her messages. There was still no news from the airline. She shook her head and attempted to focus on the paper in front of her. She drew a circle around the total payroll cost but then looked up again.
The meeting room had three glass walls. The young staffers just outside it all had bulky headphones on. Their eyes were fixed on the screens in front of them. They seemed super focused on their work.
Raven’s eyes flicked to the far end of the open office space, where Bart’s personal office was. Nathalie’s desk was right next to his door. Raven could see glimpses of her now and then if she leaned forward in her chair.
After the call from Nathalie about Bart canceling their meetings, Raven had not given any more thought to the time spent with Nathalie. She had been chastising herself for coming all this way to Belgium.
Seeing Nathalie again this morning had startled her a little, though. When Raven had first spotted her sitting on a bench, sleeves rolled up and her blonde hair in such a mess, the ache to get close to her had returned.
This feeling had not been welcome at all. Raven had shut it down by focusing on the anger she felt toward Bart, and by extension, Nathalie. But when Nathalie had brought up the email, Raven’s resolve had cracked immediately.
On the walk over to the office, she had vowed she would stay silent as much as possible. Within minutes, though, she couldn’t help but laugh out loud when Nathalie had made a silly joke.
At the office, Nathalie had given Raven a quick tour. The company rented the ground and first floors of an old house by the water. Most of the spaces were a little cramped, but the white walls and modern decor made it look nice nevertheless.
After the tour, Nathalie had gotten Raven settled in the meeting room. The place was Raven’s for the entire week, she had said. She could even lock the door and leave her laptop overnight if she wanted to. Raven wouldn’t, of course.
Coffee and water had been waiting on the large conference table, along with some cookies. Nathalie had then brought Raven a copy of the company’s financial results of the previous five years.
“I can go through these with you,” she had offered.
Raven had shaken her head. “No, I’d rather take a look at them by myself. I can let you know when I have questions.”
“Alright, we can do the same thing this afternoon with the designs,” Nathalie had replied. She handed Raven a colorful menu. “Just email me what you want for lunch and I’ll take care of it for you.”
“Thanks. Can I eat here?” Raven asked, gesturing at the table. “I’d like to keep working over lunch.”
“Of course,” Nathalie said dryly on her way out of the door. “I’ll leave you to it until you are ready for company again.”
Raven had huffed at the remark, but Nathalie had already closed the glass door behind her. It had pissed off Raven a little. What did Nathalie expect? That things could be like they were over the weekend? How was that even possible?
Two hours later, though, Raven wished she hadn’t been so adamant. She was already tired of sitting in this meeting room by herself, pretending to be interested in the files, while Nathalie sat at her desk only a few feet away.
Raven hadn’t caught Nathalie glancing in her direction once. This bothered her. The more time passed, the more Raven found herself wondering what Nathalie was doing and when she would stop by.
She was too proud to ask Nathalie to join her for lunch. But maybe … maybe she could ask Nathalie to walk her through the designs this afternoon. Raven might not be interested in them any longer; she *was* still curious about Nathalie.
💜 Dear fellow romantic,
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