Home > Egomaniac(9)

Egomaniac(9)
Author: Vi Keeland


“You’re good on the phone.”

“I worked as a customer service rep for a printer company through college. I remember what made me really listen and bend the rules for a customer after a long day of complaint calls.”

Drew’s cell phone began to ring again. He looked down at it, then decided not to answer.

“Take it. I’ll get out of your way. God knows I’ve taken up enough of your time. And you seem really busy.”

“It’s okay. I don’t need to answer it.”

“Is it just you in this big space all alone?”

“I normally have a paralegal and a secretary. But my secretary went out on a few months of medical leave two weeks ago, and my paralegal decided to go to law school out of state.”

“Sounds like you’re going to be pretty busy.”

His cell phone rang again, and this time he said he needed to take the call. He told me to make myself at home, but…there wasn’t really anything to do. Drew went into the file room and sat down at the table I’d been using as my desk, and I went back to the lobby. After removing the rest of the plastic from the reception desk, I found some cleaning supplies in the bathroom and wiped it down before setting up my laptop.

In between catching up on emails, I answered the office phone and took messages.

When Drew came back out an hour later, he looked annoyed. “My cell phone died. Could I borrow yours for a few minutes? My cordless is in storage with the rest of my crap, and I was almost done hammering out a settlement. I don’t want to give the attorney time to reconsider all the stupid things he just agreed to.”

I lifted my phone. “By all means.”

Drew took a few steps away and stopped. “What’s the password?”

“Ummm. Fuck.”

“You don’t want me to know your password?”

“No. My password is fuck.”

Drew chuckled. “Girl after my own heart.” Then he typed it in and was gone again.

By the time noon rolled around, my stomach was growling since I woke up late and hadn’t eaten any breakfast. But I couldn’t leave the office and chance missing the furniture delivery company again. When I heard Drew take a break from talking on the phone, I ventured to the file room.

“Do you usually order lunch? I’m afraid to go out and miss the delivery.”

“Sometimes. What are you in the mood for?”

I shrugged. “I don’t care. I’m not picky.”

“How about Indian food? Curry House is a few blocks away and delivers quick.”

I scrunched up my nose.

“You don’t like Indian food?”

“Not really.”

“Okay. How about Chinese?”

“Too much MSG.”

“Sushi?”

“I’m allergic to fish.”

“Mexican?”

“Too heavy for lunch.”

“You do understand what the phrase I’m not picky means, right?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Of course. You’re just picking weird stuff.”

“What would you like to eat, Emerie?”

“Pizza?”

He nodded. “Pizza it is. See? I’m not picky.”

 

***

 

After we finished lunch, Drew took his phone from the charger. Then he reached for mine. “Can I look at your pictures?”

“My phone pictures? Why?”

“Best way to get to know someone is to look at their cell phone pictures when they least expect it.”

“I’m not even sure what I have on there.”

“That’s the point. If you have a chance to clean up your pictures, I won’t be seeing the real you. I’ll be seeing what you want me to see.”

I tried to remember if there was anything embarrassing or incriminating on the phone as Drew slid it from my side of the table to his with a smirk on his face. At the last second, I covered his hand with mine, stopping him.

“Wait. I want to look at yours if you’re going to look at mine. And you better have some embarrassing things on there, because I’m pretty sure I do.”

“By all means. I don’t embarrass easily.” Drew slid his phone across the folding table.

I watched as he keyed in the password and began to swipe through my photos. After a moment he paused, and his eyebrows rose. “This one tells me a lot about you.”

I reached for the phone, but he pulled it back too fast. “What? What photo is it?”

Drew turned the phone so the screen faced me. Oh, God. How embarrassing. It was a close-up of me last week while I was working. I’d had a full day of telephone therapy sessions, and my speakerphone had decided to stop working bright and early on that Monday morning. I didn’t have time to run out and get a new office phone, and by early afternoon I was frustrated with not being able to multitask because one hand had to hold the phone to my ear. So I’d gotten creative. I’d taken two large, orange rubber bands and put them around the phone and my head—effectively banding the phone in place so I didn’t have to hold it anymore. One of the rubber bands ran across my forehead, slightly above my eyebrows and pushed my brow down, giving me an odd, scrunched face. The other rubber band wrapped around my chin, causing the skin to pucker into a very crooked chin dimple that I didn’t normally have.

“My speaker phone died, and I had a lot of telephone calls that day. I needed to be able to use my hands.”

He chuckled. “Inventive. There hasn’t been a good iPhone update since Steve Jobs died. You might want to look into selling them your new technology.”

I crumpled up my napkin and threw it at his face. “Shut up.”

He swiped a few more times and then stopped. This time, I couldn’t make out what he was thinking.

“What? What did you stall on?”

He stared at the photo for a long moment and swallowed before again turning it to face me. It was a full-length photo taken the night I went to a wedding with Baldwin. It was, without a doubt, the best I’d ever looked in a photo. I’d had my hair and makeup professionally done, and the dress I wore fit me like a glove. It was simple—black and sleeveless with a daring, low-cut V that showed off my cleavage and curves. The dress was more risqué than I would normally wear, and I’d been feeling confident and pretty. Although that lasted only about fifteen minutes after Baldwin took that photo, right up until I answered the door to his apartment and realized he was bringing a date to the wedding we’d both been invited to. And that date wasn’t me.

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