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She was everything he never knew he needed.
He was everything she avoided.
It's not the first time I've been called a stalker.
I can’t blame Andrew Christiansen for thinking that since we keep crossing paths, especially when I pop up in the most unexpected of places—his office.
We’re opposites in every way. Not the kind that attract.
I’ve been called a ray of sunshine. He’s been called a grumpy workaholic that needs an attitude adjustment. By me.
Somehow, we become friends, the teasing, flirting, and kissing kind. But this thing blooming between us threatens to turn this relationship from friends-to-lovers into a full-blown office romance.
That's the least of my worries because one or two, little, okay big, secrets I've been keeping may turn him from the one I want into the one I can't have.
I hear a familiar bark and turn back. The woman from the park rushes toward the nearest shop as if I didn’t just bust her for following me. “What are you doing?” I ask. “Are you stalking me?” I might be jumping ahead of myself, but better to settle it now. A lot of weird stuff was happening at the park. Is she to blame?
Despite Rascal’s joy to see me, obstinance stiffens her shoulders, and she scoffs. “You wish.” Her hand flies out. “It just so happens that I’m walking in the same direction. So what?”
“Defensive,” I reply, analyzing her body language. Crossed arms. Straight line across her lips. Half-mast eyelids as she glares at me.
“I’m not defensive. I’m offended. You just called me a stalker.”
“You’re bad, all right.” She angles her chin up, and adds, “You can go about your day now.”
I’m tempted to chuckle, but I’m thinking it’s wise to restrain myself. “I will. Good day.”
“Good day, sir,” she says to my back as I walk away.
I stop again, but this time, I don’t look back. Forcing myself to walk forward, I continue through the upscale neighborhood to the next block. I busy my attention on the architecture until I hear Rascal bark again.
I knew I shouldn’t have talked to a stranger. She may be hot, but she could also be deranged, using her dog as a ploy to trick her next victim to her lair. What am I even talking about?
When I turn back this time, she sidles quickly up to a coffee shop window, pretending to know the people sitting on the other side.
By how they turn their backs to her, they don’t reciprocate. “Nice try,” I tease.
Glancing at me, she huffs. “I’m walking in the same direction. It’s no big deal, for God’s sake.” She punctuates the words with an epic eye roll as if I’m putting her out. Huffing, she grabs Rascal, clutching him to her side.
“His feet have—”
Anger fills her chest, and she shakes her head, exhaling it loudly with a foot stomp. “Ugh! I’ll go this way.”
As. If. I’m the nuisance.
Why am I even sticking around to have this conversation? Why am I bothering? Going in different directions—that’s us. She crosses the street, and I turn the corner, both of us heading back to our own lives and hopefully never seeing each other again.
I continue toward the building up ahead alone. I’m good. I’m fine. Alone is how I thrive. I’ll be here a year or two. That’s nothing. I have plenty of work to keep me busy.
I’m here for work. That’s it. I have a plan in place, and nothing and no one will keep me from achieving my goals.