I reached the restaurant with a couple seconds to spare. I put my umbrella in the holder, hanging my bag on it, as Cat forbade me from bringing them to the table. It was the only umbrella in the holder, so I knew I would not forget it.
I walked into the restaurant and saw Cat waving to me. A male stood up from next to Vernon, standing just as tall as Draco is. He was built better than Draco, his clear blue eyes smiling at me as he introduced himself. “Hello, my name is Erick. You must be Sori.” His voice was warm honey, with a slight British accent.
My mouth dropped and before I could answer, Cat did for me. “She is.” She pulled me down into my chair. She whispered in my ear, “Close your mouth.” I closed it with a snap as I felt heat rush to my face. She asked me, “Umbrella?”
I tore my eyes off of Erick and looked at her, “In the holder at the front door, along with my bag.”
I picked up the menu, trying to not look at Erick. I could feel him staring at me and it was taking away from my concentration. I looked to Cat from behind the menu. I mouthed to her, ‘How in the Nine Circles did you find him?’
She smiled before mouthing back, ‘He’s a co-worker of Vern’s. I met him a couple days ago when I went to bring Vern his lunch because he forgot it at home.’
The waiter came over and Cat and Vern ordered their food. I opened my mouth to order, but Erick ordered for me, “She’ll have the grilled chicken salad with citrus vinaigrette on the side and a bottle of your best moscato wine. I’ll have the steak, rare with steamed greens and a glass of merlot.”
Usually I hate when people order for me, but just looking at him made my mind go blank. Instead I asked him, “So, Cat said you work with Vern. What do you do?”
He smiled, “I am the Chief Financial Manager for the company. Vernon and I went to college together and when I needed a job, he helped me get hired at the company.”
“Amazing. Vernon, I didn’t know you two went to college.” Cat smiled sweetly at her boyfriend.
Vernon is usually a quiet soul, so there is a lot about him I did not know. He looked straight at Cat, “Yeah, he and I were roommates. I just got him the job this past week and completely forgot to tell you when you were asking about him.”
Erick looked directly at me and I was pinned by his stare, “So, what about you?”
I smiled innocently, “I reap the-”
Cat cut me off, “Profits. She reaps the profits for our company. She is a whiz with numbers and she even got me hired after the government laid my department off. She can spot a target and figure out how to turn a department that is sinking the company into a more profitable venture.” Cat kicked me under the table.
Erick smiled, “Sounds interesting. Where do you two work?”
I looked to Cat, but she did not have an answer to for him. “Our company is split into Nine Circles, kind of like departments. She works in the Fifth Circle, while our Boss is in the Ninth and myself in the Sixth.” I gave him the best answer I could.
“Circles? That’s an odd way of saying departments.” He looked between the two of us.
“Our Boss is a little weird but he said it was to make it unique. Even our office is circular in order to make it sound better.”
“Sounds like your boss is a little more than weird.”
I shrugged, “He’s still a good Boss and takes care of his people.”
The food arrived and I did not remember ordering a salad. ‘I must have ordered it.’ I dipped my fork into the dressing before spearing the lettuce. The wine was poured and I felt myself relax a bit. I tried to eat slowly, Cat having kicked me from eating too fast. I stole a look at Erick and saw him staring at me intently. I set my fork down and took a sip of the wine. The apple and sweet grape flavors combined with the citrus dressing was heavenly. Before I knew it, my glass was empty and Erick was pouring another.
The dinner was ending and my bottle was completely empty. I looked at Erick, not feeling like myself, “So, how did my sister convince a hot guy like you to go out with an ugly mess like me?” I linked my fingers under my chin.
He lifted up chin off the back of my fingers, “Simple, you’re not an ugly mess. She showed me your picture and I knew that I wanted to meet you. After this dinner, I want to continue a relationship with you.”
I blushed bright red, not sure what to say. Cat kicked me, “She would be delighted.”
“I would be delighted.” I repeated her, before hiccupping. “Guess I drank too much.” I smiled at Erick, not caring if my face is flushed.
The check came and Erick paid for the whole meal. We all stood up. Okay, so it was more of everyone else stood up, I tried to figure out why the floor kept moving. Erick was right next to me within a blink, holding me up. “I have you.”
I smiled at him, “You’re really strong.”
He smiled back at me, “Yes, I am.” He walked me to the door but I was forgetting something.
“Wait…” I looked around and saw the umbrella holder and the destroyed umbrella sitting all by its lonesome with a Frozen bag. I touched the umbrella and it shot to my hand. “Almost forgot my umbrella.”
“That tattered mess is yours?” He leaned in close and asked me.
“Yup.” I smiled as I put the bag on and the umbrella over my shoulder, holding onto the hook handle.
“Throw it away. I’ll buy you a new one.” He spoke quietly, but still commanding.
“Can’t. It’s for initiation. Boss says I have to carry it for a whole year or else I pay for the alcohol at the Holiday Party and my co-workers can drink!”
“Your Boss isn’t here.” He grabbed the umbrella out of my hand and tossed it to Cat. I heard him mumble something to her and she nodded.
I yelled back to her. “Boss said to leave it in the Eighth if I lost it!”
She smiled, “I got it.”
I watched as she and Vernon got into her car. I looked back up to Erick, “So…”
He looked down at me, his blue eyes shining brightly. “What do you want to do next?”
I shrugged, “Dunno. I’m game for whatever you are.”
He pulled my in closer to him, “I have an idea.” He leaned in and kissed me.
I was not sure what to do, have not been with a male in centuries. Thankfully, he took control of me and helped it along. I felt his tongue dance with mine as heat filled me up. I tried to pull away, but could not, the heat enveloping me completely. It was burning me from the inside out until finally darkness claimed me. Before I fell unconscious, I saw an image of Draco in my mind.