Alejandro, 5’11,’naturally curly, brown hair cut in the classic short back and sides, blue eyes, fair complexion is a bookkeeper at Slings and Arrows accounting agency (their motto: does your company suffer from outrageous misfortune of bad books?) and on this cloudless, warm afternoon is heading back from a meeting with a project manager on the first floor to his cubicle on the third floor. Nikki, five foot ten inches, shapely figure, brown eyes, and long red auburn hair with a hint of copper tied in a ponytail, works for the same agency as an accountant on the first floor on her way to the third floor for a new assignment.
Waiting for the elevator light reflecting from the doors grabs Alejandro attention; off on an ocean breeze seagulls sing, crashing waves, sea air, and the setting sun into the Pacific highlight a stroll along the Ventura pier with friends, body surfing buddies ride challenging waves, biking the Ojai-Ventura bike path on Sunday afternoons. Ding, doors whoooosh open; so spellbound is Alejandro Nikki’s presences goes undetected, her motion into the elevator pulls him into present time and into the elevator.
Flashing a dazzling smile Nikki asks, “Off somewhere special?”
“Hello, yes I was,” Alejandro continues hands emphasizing, “ with friends on the Ventura Pier not a cloud in the sky, flags fluttering as a warm, evening breeze blows across the pier at sunset the sky all orangey with splashes of purple.” Peace. “Oh I’m sorry, what floor?”
“Wow quite the vision, ah third please.”
“We’re both going to the same floor.” Without a prompt Alejandro continues, “Mr. Bunt is pushing hard to complete Jaffe’s Camera and Video’s books by the weekend. The bookkeeper kept horrible records.”
The doors whisper shut not a word, not a glance. Ding, third floor!
Nikki smiles, “Good luck,” then walks off down the hall.
Nikki’s long, shapely legs disappearing into a skirt and that ponytail of strawberry blonde hair capture Alejandro’s interest. Something stirred something he hasn’t felt since…
Two years prior Alejandro declared independence from drinking and the party scene, “I am tired of being tired.” Thus the journey to sobriety and freedom from drinking’s pitfalls and, unexpectedly, from a relationship with one Karen F who had not a drop of temperance in her. Outside the sun shone one winter day, through breath’s condensation, a hug and best wishes for the future stamped the end.
Alejandro poured new found energy into work, Karen F and drunken revelry behind him even affection towards another until a propitious encounter with a ponytail and attractive legs. For you see love can blindside, when you least expect it your elected; an endless video of the elevator scene replays in Alejandro’s mind, love has a foothold. The affection grows Alejandro, a romantic, shies from tradition instead of stepping up and asking Nikki out he is covert placing long stem roses, red, and a card on the windshield of Nikki’s car; one at a time over several evenings.
Cupid takes aim.
Inhaling the sweet fragrance of the rose Nikki studies the card, “Hhhmmm it just says Hello” an eyebrow raises, her mind’s hard-drive warms up, ”The two L’s form a giant U I know this handwriting.” Shuffling through various spreadsheets on her desk, comparing “A-ha,” Nikki’s hand comes down hard startling Debra in the adjacent cubicle, “Alejandro,” she whispers flashing a perfect row of enamels, hazel-green eyes twinkle.
Cupid’s arrow hits home.
“Ahem,” Nikki clears her throat. Nothing she tries again, “Ahem.” Alejandro looks up from sheets spread across the desk right into a pair of scintillating hazel-green eyes, a long stem rose and natural, full, red lips, “Did you leave something on my car?”
Eyes lock, moments pass, processing.
Ground is broken love seeds are planted. The first date Alejandro suggests a Humphrey Bogart triple feature To Have and Have Not, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Casablanca, Nikki a fan of the classics, “Yes I’d love to watch Bogie woo and then wane.”
Other nights they binge 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and a Nikki favorite, Animaniacs, fertile ground, love blooms.
Late April with the aroma of spring floating on air Nikki arrives at her desk and there atop the keyboard a card on the front in big red letters THE END IS NEAR framed with two red roses. “What?” Nikki looks closer and sees that after ‘THE END’ the words OF THE YEAR are printed in small type easily missed at first. Relieved that all is not lost, yet, a flirtatious smile spreads whilst inhaling the sweet fragrance, inside “What are you doing for New Years?”
Nosy Debra noticed the smirk from one cubicle over, “Who’s the card from?”
previously: Lofty Passion