Hello fellow romantics,
I hope you are doing and feeling well. It’s been a sad week here in Belgium with the flooding killing many. It was a stark reminder of nature’s power and the need to act urgently to slow down climate change.
I am grateful I was able to work on this episode in the past week. Sharing these stories with you is as much an escape for me as listening to them is for many of you!
Today’s ‘hump day’ and you know that means excerpt time…
UPDATE 28/07: Added some extra excerpt
Nathalie couldn’t resist the urge to lean to the side so she’d have a better view of Raven. It had been at least twenty five minutes since Raven had closed the door of the meeting room to call the airline. She was still sitting at the table, phone pressed against her ear.
“Maybe *I* should contact the travel agent just to make sure?” Nathalie thought, even though Raven had explicitly told her she wanted to take care of things herself.
Nathalie looked around the open office space. She smiled at one of her co-workers on autopilot. After another glance at Raven, who was still on the phone, she hid behind her screen again.
She wished they hadn’t come into the office. Bart wasn’t here and the rest of the team would be fine without her for one day. She didn’t know why she had wanted to go to work. Perhaps because she was too shy to suggest to Raven they stay home?
“Maybe I can take a day or two off,” Nathalie thought.
She could check if the team was still on track, give everyone their new assignments and tell them they could call her if there were any issues. Nathalie logged into the company’s HR software to check how many paid leave days she had left.
“What if Raven can’t change her ticket, though?” Nathalie thought, a finger hovering above her computer’s mouse.
She leaned to the side again to check on Raven. Raven had placed her elbow on the table and was rubbing her forehead. The phone was pressed between her cheek and shoulder.
“Doesn’t look like she’s making much progress,” Nathalie thought, struggling to swallow as her throat felt increasingly dry.
She felt so helpless right now. Why didn’t Raven just let her take care of it? The company had a great relationship with the travel agency. Nathalie could probably get the ticket changed back in no time. She grabbed her bottle of water and took a big gulp.
When she heard the glass door open with a swift ‘whoosh’, Nathalie got to her feet. Raven was standing in the doorway of the meeting room. Their gazes locked and Raven nodded. Nathalie smiled, relieved.
Nathalie quickly made her way across the room. “Do you know what you want for lunch?” she asked before entering.
She didn’t know why she felt the need for the theatrics. It’s not like her co-workers had any idea what was going on between her and Raven. She closed the door behind her and saw that Raven had arched her eyebrows in amusement.
Nathalie pointed at the phone on the table. “Were you able to finally get through to someone?” she asked.
“Yes,” Raven nodded. “I’m no longer on tonight’s flight.”
Nathalie let out a loud sigh of relief. “Thank God!”
Raven chuckled. “No, thank the person working at the airline.”
“Smartass,” Nathalie grinned. She ran a hand through her long hair. “You’re flying back on Saturday?”
Raven rubbed her phone on her leg. “Sunday more likely. My original flight was fully booked.”
Nathalie’s lips parted under her mask. “You’re staying an extra night?” she squeaked, unable to hide her excitement.
“Sure looks like it,” Raven said, the lines around her eyes crinkling.
“That’s fantastic,” Nathalie beamed.
“Yeah,” Raven replied. “Extra time for sightseeing!”
Nodding enthusiastically, Nathalie said, “I’ll show you every corner of this city.”
She didn’t say what she thought next. “And my bed. If you let me.”
“It’s a deal,” Raven laughed. She shut her laptop and grabbed her bag. “But I need to go to the hotel first.”
“Of course,” Nathalie said, blushing a little. She had assumed Raven would just stay here for the day.
“I want to change out of these clothes,” Raven explained.
“Sure, yes,” Nathalie replied, placing her hands on the table. “Is there anything I can do? Do you need me to set something up for lunch?”
Raven smiled as she got up from her chair. “That’s very kind, but I think I’ll order room service. I need some time.” She rubbed the back of her neck. “I think I also might need another shower.”
Nathalie nodded, unsure what to say. She wanted to ask when they would see each other again. Would Raven come back to the office? Or would they meet up for dinner? Raven was already standing in the doorway, holding her laptop bag.
“Do you need help finding the hotel?” Nathalie tried, still hopeful she could stay with Raven for just a bit longer.
Raven shook her head. “No, I found it in the Maps app. It’s not that far.”
“Okay,” Nathalie said, increasingly puzzled.
“I’ll text you later, okay?” Raven said. “Then we can make plans for sightseeing.”
Nathalie forced herself to smile. “Great! Looking forward to it.”
“Me too,” Raven replied, winked and pushed the door with her shoulder.
“Bye,” Nathalie squeaked and then remembered her co-workers. “Have a good day,” she added cheerily.
💜 Dear fellow romantic,
I'm on a mission to make people smile. That's why I share my stories freely: so everyone has access to them.
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