Chapter 4: Star Lord and Sweater Vests

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No matter how he tried to tell himself that Friday night's Broadway play with his company's CEO was nothing more than a thank you gift for being a decent person, Andrew found himself puttering around all week with nervous energy. On Wednesday, he texted Emma for the first time from his desk at work.

Andrew: Hi, Emma. It's Andrew. Andrew Mooney?

Emma: Who?

Andrew started to sweat until the phone dinged again.

Emma: Kidding! Relax. I can feel you fidgeting from here.

Andrew: Do I fidget?

Emma: I think you do. Ready for our outing on Friday? I'll send a car.

"Outing" was a nice way to think of it. Their upcoming trip to Broadway was nothing more than an "outing." Like a field trip, of sorts.

Andrew: I don't mind meeting you there.

Emma: Do you want to meet me at my office? We can take a cab to the theater.

Andrew: Will people gossip?

Emma: Would you talking to your boss be gossip-worthy?

She obviously didn't know how gossip in the lower rankings of a corporation such as BI worked.

Andrew: It totally would be.

Emma: What if I let Cindy and Rhonda leave early? You can meet me here at six, after everyone's gone.

Andrew could do that. By six on a Friday, the New Jersey office was a ghost town.

Andrew: Sure. I'll text you when I get there, Boss Lady.

Emma: I need to come up with a nickname for you.

Andrew: Something like, "Star Lord," maybe?

As soon as he sent it he regretted it, groaning out loud.

"You okay?" Stu asked, from the office next door.

"I'm good," Andrew called through the thin wall.

Was he flirting now? Had it been so long that he had no idea how to interact with women outside of work. Oh wait. He wasn't outside of work. Now he was confused. He cringed as her message came through, squinting as he opened it.

Emma: I was thinking more along the lines of "Andy" but Star Lord works too. :)

He chuckled. Yikes, this was not good.

For the rest of the week, he'd hardly been productive at work, and by Friday, he was downright distracted. He'd forgotten to pack the girls' lunches and had to call his father to bring them off at school. Then, he failed to complete a review of one of the employees who worked under him, and completely blanked out about an online training he was supposed to virtually attend.

At lunchtime, he darted out of the building and across the street to Tony's Barber Shop, hoping for a last-minute trim and to expend some nervous energy.

"Nice to see you, Andrew," Tony said from his barber chair when Andrew pushed open the door. "Oh, yep. Time for a trim. How long has it been?"

"Since summer, I believe." Andrew ran a hand through his hair. "What do you think?"

Tony stood and pulled Andrew's blond hair from the roots, up to the tips. "I'd be happy to clean you up. As you can see," he motioned to the empty shop, "I'm a little slow."

Andrew scoffed. "Next week you'll get slammed with people getting their holiday haircuts."

"For sure." He waved Andrew behind him. "Come sit. I'll be right with you."

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