Hello, beautiful people!
I’m in a great mood today and it’s only going to get better because it’s Wednesday Excerpt Day! I’ve been looking forward to sharing a sneak peek of the next episode with you.
Hope you enjoy the read!
13/01 UPDATE: Added extra excerpt!
Raven took off her mask and closed her eyes, sucking in fresh air. Her skin was damp from wearing the mask. It appeared Nathalie didn’t believe in strolling. Her walking pace was impressive.
Raven wiped off her forehead with the sleeve of her coat before taking it off. Hesitantly, Raven took a step toward the small wooden table and two chairs in Nathalie’s backyard.
Nathalie hadn’t been kidding when she had said her garden was super tiny. It couldn’t be more than 100 square feet, Raven estimated. Walls enclosed the small space, making it feel more like an outdoor room than a garden.
Raven put her jacket over one of the chairs before looking up at the house. It was narrow but had several floors. On the first floor, the window was wide open, with a curtain pulled in front of it.
Raven wondered what room it was, but soon got her answer when the sound of running water suddenly filled the air. She quickly averted her gaze, not wanting to get caught staring at the bathroom window.
Walking around the table and chairs, Raven went to inspect the tiny greenhouse at the back of the garden. She bent down to take a peek inside, but her ears were still focused on the sounds coming from the bathroom.
“She can’t be more than, what, twenty feet away from me?” Raven thought as she stared at the small plants. The condensation on the glass made her think of Nathalie in the shower, water running over her bare shoulders.
Raven straightened. She hurried past the table and chairs again, without looking up at the window even once. Her cheeks were no longer damp, but they *were* glowing. She was getting a little too swept up by Nathalie’s charm.
They had been flirting all morning. There was no mistake about that. Raven didn’t know why, but there was unmistakable energy between her and Nathalie, and it had been there from the moment they had met.
Raven didn’t know what to think of it. She rarely met someone who immediately made her feel at ease. She definitely hadn’t expected to meet someone like that here, across the ocean, where everything and everyone was so different.
And Nathalie was different too. In fact, she wasn’t like anyone Raven had ever met. She found Nathalie so interesting and captivating, Raven sometimes forgot why she had come to this city in Belgium.
Raven was pissed off at Bart now, sure. But she wasn’t as worried about his radio silence as she should be. She was having too much of a good time for that. And today was always meant to be a day without meetings.
Plus, Nathalie didn’t seem all that worried either. If there was anything she should be concerned about, Raven trusted Nathalie would be upfront about it. Maybe that was naive of her. Nathalie did work for Bart, after all. But Raven trusted her.
She stepped through the back door and into the kitchenette. This too was tiny. A couple of dirty mugs stood next to the basin. A white, unimpressive fridge hummed softly in the corner.
Raven walked to the counter, if you could call it that, and inspected the pile of mail that lay on top of it. Curious, she picked up a large envelope. Most of the words on it didn’t make any sense to her, but Raven recognized Nathalie’s name.
The sudden sound of footsteps above startled her. She quickly put the envelope back where she had found it. Nathalie was clearly walking around the first floor and could come down at any moment.
Raven pictured Nathalie grabbing some clothes from a closet, a towel wrapped around her chest, drops of water running down her shoulders. Her blonde hair, now darker, was sticking to her back.
An upbeat sounding ringtone rang through the room. Raven blinked, slowly turning her head toward the source of the noise. Nathalie’s smartphone was lying on the counter, she now noticed, its screen lit up.
Raven took a peek at it. It said, “Bossy Bart.”
“Nathalie?” Raven yelled out without thinking. “I think Bart is calling!”
There were more footsteps but no response from Nathalie. Raven grabbed the phone, her thumb already hovering over the accept button. Then she remembered where she was and who she was with.
How would she explain to Bart that she was in his assistant’s house early on a Sunday morning? And that she was taking the liberty to answer Nathalie’s calls while Nathalie was upstairs, getting dressed after a shower?
“Nathalie?” Raven yelled again. “Your phone! It’s Bart!”
A loud stumbling followed. Before Raven fully realized what was happening, Nathalie was standing in front of her, barefoot and with a blue towel wrapped around her chest.
Eyes wide, Raven held out the phone, but it had stopped ringing by now. Nathalie took the device from Raven. Her blonde hair was wet and indeed darker, just as Raven had imagined it.
The scent of Nathalie’s fruity shampoo filled Raven’s nostrils. Her eyes flicked down and then back up. Nathalie was wearing jeans, but nothing above them yet. Part of her stomach was exposed despite the towel.
“Sorry,” Raven said, her mouth dry. “But Bart was finally calling, and…”
“It’s okay,” Nathalie smiled. She tapped the screen of her phone. “I’ll call him back.”
Raven’s eyes dropped again, this time to Nathalie’s mouth. The heat of the shower made her lips look pinker than before. A drop of water ran down Nathalie’s cheek, just to the side of her mouth.
“Shit, no masks,” Nathalie gasped and stepped back.
“Crap,” Raven said, increasing the distance between them even more. “Oh, shit.”
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