I woke with a start. My neck was extremely stiff and Riley's muscled arm was lightly wrapped around my waist. I moved my hands to rub my eyes. The room came into a better focus. The television was on the menu for Twenty-Seven Dresses and was softly playing background music. Riley and I were entwined on our dark blue couch and the curtains to the bay window were slightly open. I looked over at the clock.
"Nine o'clock." I read aloud, quietly. I sighed and gently moved Riley's arm so that I could stand. In an hour's time I would be at work with Aaron as my assistant. A sense of foreboding filled the pit of my stomach. "Ignore it. Just get ready for work, go about things normally." I thought to myself as I walked towards the bathroom.
I got ready as I always did, and kept repeating the same thoughts to myself. "Everything's going to be fine. Just stay professional. Be normal." But I still had a feeling of nausea as I sat down to eat my breakfast, I knew that something would go wrong today.
I was lifting a spoonful of cereal to my mouth mechanically when Riley stirred. I smiled automatically as he opened his eyes. A look of confusion passed over his face and I said, "Morning sleepy head." He jumped and whipped his head to look at me.
"God, don't scare me like that!" He cried and reached to rub his eyes. I grinned.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't resist." I said, devilishly. He glared at me and then slowly got up to walk to my perch.
"You all set for work?" He gave me a look and I knew he meant more than just being dressed and fed.
"Of course." I said, avoiding his eyes by stirring my cereal. I could feel his eyes burning into my head, knowing I was lying. I looked up at him. "Alright, maybe I'm not really ready. But I have to go to work. I'll make it through."
He lifted the corners of his mouth and leaned down to me and kissed my cheek. "That's my girl." I gave a small smile and then stood, making my way to the door.
"I'll see you later." And with those parting words I left for work.
"Good morning." Aaron's smooth voice washed over me as I stepped out of the elevator, shaken as usual. He seemed to notice my slightly panicked face. "Are you alright Miss Britel?" He grasped my arm. I shook it off promptly.
"I'm fine." I muttered. The day was already off to a rough start. I had gotten stuck in traffic on the way over and ended up being ten minutes late. Things were bad when your assistant arrived before you.
"Oh. Good." He seemed awkward. "Uh, there were a lot of calls for you. I took messages and they're sitting on your desk along with a package that the secretary brought in about five minutes ago. Apparently it contains something important for the new branch in Mexico."
I hated to admit that I was impressed by his speech. But I didn't let it show. "Alright, I'll go get started. Could you get me a cup of coffee?" I asked, barely looking at him.
"Of course." He replied, happily.
"I take it - "
"Three sugars and two creams. I remember." Aaron said, cutting me off.
I turned to give him an astonished look, but he was already hurrying off towards the machine. I felt a nervous swoop pass through my stomach. It wasn't a good sign that he still remembered my coffee order after all these years. But I shoved that to the back of my mind as I stepped into my office to see everything in place exactly as he had said it would be.
"Maybe this wasn't a mistake after all." I murmured quietly. He was a great assistant, there was no doubt about that.
I settled into my usual work mode, barely noticing as Aaron did things for me. He was polite and addressed me as Miss Britel and never as Iris. I got many things accomplished and felt that the day had gone quite well. Nothing strange happened and Aaron didn't try anything. I even got a sweet text from Riley around lunchtime wishing me a happy afternoon.
As five o'clock rolled around, I began packing up my things and organizing some papers I would need to go through the next day. Just as I was grabbing my briefcase, Aaron spoke.
"So how'd I do?" He had dropped the professional air and had transformed into the guy I used to know so well. I felt myself stiffen at the attitude change.
"Quite well." I said, keeping the tone clipped.
"Then why wouldn't you look at me all day?" He asked bluntly.