Picture Perfect 12
Working with Ronald had turned into a trial. Victoria carried a box full of name tags into her office. She’d spent two hours arguing with Ronald. She carried one thousand pieces in the box for a conference happening in the morning. Ronald wanted them replaced because he didn’t want the guests wearing the tags around their necks, he wanted the name tags clipped. Why it mattered she had no idea. The business conference organizers didn’t have a preference. So, Ronald was just being a douche bag.
Letting a sigh escape, Victoria dumped the box of name tags on her desk.
“Vicky,” Grace came in behind her. “Two things, first, I wish you’d just curse out Ronald. You shouldn’t have to take his crap. Two, he’s just gone out with that Anita again. They’re heading to lunch.”
Victoria walked around her desk and slid into her chair.
“I don’t want to think about that man,” Victoria said.
Victoria rubbed her eyes and removed her shoes under her desk.
“Grace, just say it, I’m an idiot. I should never have dated my boss.”
Grace chuckled. “I’m not playing that game with you, gal. Ronald is not a good guy. You shouldn’t have to carry the backlash of your relationship when he was at fault. You concentrate on work.”
“I am,” Victoria said pointing at the box of name tags. “I’ll get those replaced for sure. I’ll fix all the problems Ronald makes crop up before that business conference tomorrow. But, it’s annoying me, Grace.”
“You’re doing great, honey,” Grace said. “You know what, forget work then. Let’s talk about the cute Eric. He looks so good walking around the Savon taking photographs.”
Victoria blushed. “He’s still here?”
“You know he is,” Grace said. “Do you want to head to the PR wing and see if he’s there?”
Grace winked and they both laughed.
“He’s working,” Victoria said.
“I’m not actually,” Eric said startling her and Grace.
Victoria stared at Eric. He stood leaning on the doorjamb. Her heart beat skipped when he smiled.
“Hi,” Eric said.
“Hi,” Victoria said with a shy smile.
“And that’s my cue…,” Grace said winking at Victoria as she left the office. “Eric, nice to see you.”
“You too, Grace,” Eric said his gaze never leaving Victoria.
Victoria put on her shoes and stood.
“Want to go out for lunch?” Eric asked.
“Are you done with-“
“Forget work,” Eric waved his hand. “I left my camera with Linda.”
Victoria chuckled. “That’s huge, Eric. You left your camera.”
She got her handbag from the cupboard in the corner. Time away sounded like a good thing. She needed a break from work too. Ronald tired her.
“Lunch sounds wonderful,” Victoria said with a wide smile.
Eric lifted his hand and snapped a photo with a small handheld camera.
“It’s a tiny camera,” Eric said closing the door after they left the office.
“Left your camera,” Victoria scoffed.
Eric laughed as they walked down the corridor to the front lobby. He took her hand when they got out in the sunshine.
“Let’s walk,” Eric said when she started toward the parking lot.
Victoria was glad she’d chosen to wear flats today. “Where do you want to go for lunch?”
“I don’t know. Where do you go?” Eric asked looking up and down the street.
“I eat in the staff lounge,” Victoria said. “Do you want to go back–?”
“Nope,” Eric tightened his hold on her hand. “I’m getting you out of work. Let’s go find fish.”
“Fish?” Victoria wrinkled her nose.
“You don’t like fish?”
“The smell of it,” Victoria shook her head.
“We’re going to restaurant with cooked fish,” Eric pointed out. “You’ll love it, after you taste it of course.”
“Are you forcing me to eat fish?”
“No,” Eric said. “I’m challenging you to push your boundaries.”
“Whoa, that sounds deep,” Victoria said as they crossed the street.
Eric held her hand tight as they navigated oncoming traffic. The last time anyone had held her hand crossing the street…she couldn’t remember.
“What?” Eric asked when they were safely on the sidewalk.
“Nothing,” Victoria said amused.
Eric lifted their clasped hands. “I”m holding on so you don’t run away.”
Victoria laughed and Eric snapped a picture. She was starting to get used to that about him.
“I saw you earlier,” Eric said.
“Where?” Victoria hoped it wasn’t during her argument with her supervisor.
“In the hallway, angry woman, hands at her hips,” Eric said slowing their pace. They turned left onto a less busy street.
Victoria dropped her gaze to the pavement.
“Guess you’ve seen my lows more than my highs,” she said.
“Why was she angry?”
“She’s my supervisor,” Victoria said. “Thanks to office gossip, she found out I was dating Ronald and that we broke up. Her opinion of me has lowered since then.”
“Didn’t she get the memo?”
“What memo?” Victoria asked meeting Eric’s gaze.
“The ‘your-ex-is-a-douche-bag’ memo,” Eric said. “I sent them out to every office. Should I paper the lobby?”
Victoria stared at him, hoping to God he was joking. He looked so serious. Her heart skipped and she caught the slight twitch of a smile. Relief flooded her.
“Thanks for the enthusiasm but don’t paper the lobby.”
“I can drop off incriminating pictures then. People love looking at pictures.”
“Eric,” Victoria chided.
“I don’t like that guy,” Eric said abruptly. “He’s taking advantage of his position.”
Victoria squeezed his fingers. “There have been many like him. I can handle it.”
“You shouldn’t have to,” Eric said. “I really hate that kind of guy. Aish, it’s really bothering me.”
“Eric,” Victoria said, her tone cheerful. “Forget Ronald. You said you’d buy fish for me.”
“Changing the subject?” he asked.
“How am I changing the subject? My stomach is rumbling. I’m hungry. You promised lunch.”
Eric pointed to a sign ahead of them. It read ‘Chakula Tamu.’
“My favorite restaurant,” Eric said. “Best food in town.”
“So you say,” Victoria said as he led the way into the busy restaurant.
There wasn’t a free table in sight. Lunch hour in Nairobi city…she sighed. She really hated sharing a table with strangers.
Victoria frowned when a lady behind the counter came around, her face glowing with excitement.
“It’s really you!” the lady said. “What a day. I can’t believe you came. Where have you been?”
“Away,” Eric said with a smile, his hold on Victoria’s hand tight. He held on even when she tried to tug it out.
“Oh,” the lady’s gaze dropped to their clasped hands. Her gaze already judging Victoria.
“Who is this?” she asked.
Victoria glanced at Eric wondering how he’d introduce her. This was the first time she was meeting any of Eric’s friends.
to be continued…thanks for reading.