Chapter Seventy-Five

After We Fell

chapter seventy-five




After I spend half an afternoon on the phone with Hardin and getting close to no actual work done, my first day at the new office is over, and I wait patiently for Trevor just outside my door.

    Hardin was so calm earlier, and he sounded so clear, as if he was focused on something. Standing here in the corridor, I can’t contain my happiness that we’re still communicating; it’s so much better now that we’re no longer avoiding each other. Deep down, I know that it won’t continue to be this easy, talking this way, teasing myself with small doses of Hardin when in reality I want him, all of him, all the time. I want him here with me, holding me, kissing me, making me laugh.

    This must be what denial feels like.

    I’m fine with that for now. It feels pretty good, compared to my other option: sadness.

    I sigh and rest my head against the wall as I continue to wait. I’m beginning to wish that I hadn’t asked Trevor if he was free after work. I’d rather be at Kimberly’s house, talking on the phone to Hardin. I wish he had just come here; he could be the one meeting me instead. He could have an office close to mine; he could come by my office multiple times a day, and in between those times, I could make excuses to go to his. I’m sure Christian would give Hardin a job if he wanted one. He’s made it clear that he wanted Hardin to work for him again a couple of times.

    We could spend our lunch hour together, maybe even re-create some of the memories we shared at the old office. I begin picturing Hardin behind me, me bent down over the top of my desk, my hair wrapped tightly around his fist—

    “Sorry I’m a little late, my meeting ran over.” Trevor interrupts my reverie, and I jump in both surprise and embarrassment.

    “Oh, um, it’s okay. I was just”—I tuck my hair behind my ear and swallow—“waiting.”

    If only he knew what I was thinking; thank goodness he doesn’t have a clue. I’m not sure where those thoughts even came from.

    He inclines his head the other way, peering down the empty hallway. “Are you ready to go?”


    We make small talk as we walk through the building. Nearly everyone has left for the day, leaving the office quiet. Trevor tells me about his brother’s new job in Ohio and how he went shopping for a new suit to wear to our coworker Krystal’s wedding next month. Idly, I wonder just how many suits Trevor owns.

    Once we get to our cars, I follow Trevor’s BMW as he drives through the crowded city, and we finally arrive in the small neighborhood of Ballard. According to the blogs I was reading before my move, it’s one of the hippest neighborhoods in Seattle. Coffee shops, vegan restaurants, and hipster bars line the narrow streets. I pull my car into the parking garage beneath Trevor’s building and laugh to myself while remembering that he offered to help me find an apartment in this pricey place.

    Trevor smiles, gesturing to his suit. “I just need to change, obviously.”

    Once we get to his apartment and he wanders off, I nosily glance around his expansive living room. Pictures of family and articles clipped from newspapers and magazines fill the frames on his mantel; an intricate display piece made from melted and molded wine bottles takes up the entire coffee table. Not a trace of dust has been allowed to collect in any of the corners. I’m impressed.

    “Ready!” Trevor announces, stepping out of his bedroom and zipping up a red sweatshirt. It always catches me off guard to see him dressed so casually—it’s such a vast difference from how he looks normally.

    After walking two blocks from his building, both of us are shivering and shaking.

    “Are you hungry, Tessa? We can grab something to eat.” White puffs of cold air follow his words.

    I nod eagerly. My stomach growls in hunger, reminding me of just how insufficient a package of peanut butter crackers is for lunch.

    I tell Trevor to choose a restaurant he likes, and we end up at a small Italian grill only feet away from where we were just walking. The sweet smell of garlic fills my senses, and my mouth waters as we’re escorted to a small booth in the back.