“Yeah Charlie, I’ll catch up with you guys at the bar later. I left one of my PS3 games in the break room. I’m gonna go get it real quick,” Evan said to a group of his coworkers before he ran back up the stairs. It was late on a Friday night and everyone else had already left for the day. He ran into the huge third floor break room and was about to go search for his game disc when he suddenly had to go take a leak instead. Evan rushed towards the men’s restroom located in the corner of the break room first, content that if his game was still in the machine now, it would still be there in another minute or two.
As Evan exited the wash closet, he came nearly face to face with another one of his coworkers. Rena, a Tuluva Indian woman with gray eyes that he thought was one of the loveliest creatures he’d ever seen in his life. Evan was surprised to see her here still, but was even more taken aback by how Rena was looking so frustrated and irritated right now.
Even still, Evan was so mesmerized by her smooth creamy skin, her long, dark, rich, coffee colored wavy hair, and luscious, ripe, full jewel-toned lips that all he could do was stand there and gawk. Yet even with all her dazzling sensuality, she still managed to look uptight as always. Her hair was fixed in a bun and she was wearing smart, sensible work shoes and clothes, despite their casual work environment. Though she was still simply stunning to Evan, as usual. When she finally noticed him in the room too and staring at her, however, she scowled at him and the spell that had held him transfixed was now broken.
“Do you think you could come over here and help me get this door open please? I think it’s stuck.” Rena’s words had sounded much more like an order than a request. Evan wondered again why she was always so mean to him. When she dealt with almost everyone else in the company, she was at least civil towards them. With Evan though, she always had a serious attitude.
However, being the gentleman he was, Evan simply nodded and graciously acquiesced. As he went over to tug on the door, however, what he discovered was that it wouldn’t budge. At all. It appeared the door wasn’t just stuck. In the couple of minutes that Evan had been in here, the cleaning crew had managed to lock the door from the outside. The cleaners had utilized the double enforced steel bar locks the company mandated in order to keep people from helping themselves to the extra snack stashes and break room equipment after hours. So basically, they were both trapped in their company’s break room.
When Evan relayed this information to her, Rena’s frown broadened. “You have got to be kidding me,” she mumbled. Evan was none too pleased about this situation either. He had just wanted to spend his Friday night forgetting about this über long, stressful work week by relaxing with his boys. He should already be drinking some beer at one of the local downtown dive bars, and then eventually playing video games on his big screen TV at home until he passed out later tonight. Instead, he was trapped at work with a woman who seemed to hate his guts, though he truthfully had no idea why. Maybe some people just didn’t click?
Evan didn’t really think that oversimplified answer was it though. He was thirty years old and had had his fair share of lovers in the past, so he recognized chemistry developing between a man and woman when he saw it. Yet when he was around Rena, he usually felt confused, unbalanced, and unsure of himself with the way she affected him like no other woman ever had before in his life. She did something to his biochemistry, right down to his cellular level their attraction was so strong, and he knew she had to feel it too.
Just then, as if on cue, her body unconsciously seemed to be swaying her to move closer to him, almost like some unseen force likened to a gravitational pull was causing her to do so. When she became cognizant of the mini movement, her scowling only increased and she purposefully moved herself away from him to go sit down at one of the nearby table and chair sets. Interesting.
So it wasn’t just Evan’s imagination. That super strong, gut wrenching, soul-searing attraction was mutual. Yet it was like Rena didn’t want to want him, so she was going out of her way to dislike him, despite the fact that she didn’t even know him. He understood not wanting to get involved with a coworker because that could make things unnecessarily complicated and uncomfortable in the workplace.
Though the way in which Rena was treating him seemed to have a lot more to do with something deeply personal than anything professional anyway. No, this pseudo drama between them wasn’t about some random, petty personality conflict. Plus, the way Rena’s arm had ever so slightly brushed against his as she rushed for the safety of the chair she was now seated in, made him once again rethink his own policy of never dating any colleagues. If they could each give into their mutual desire and act on the lust brewing between the two of them, Evan had an inkling that it would be worth it for him to simply find a new job.
Evan debated for a moment. Should he use this opportunity to try and find out what Rena’s problem with him was? Or should he simply ignore her? After all, she was behaving rather childishly… Ah to hell with it. Evan didn’t have anything better to do right now anyway, and who knew how long it would be before Security made their rounds again. It could be close to another two hours before the guard returned to check out this floor so Evan and Rena could be released. Or even longer if the on duty guard fell asleep, as he was rumored to be prone to do.
Evan sat across from Rena and rested his arms on his legs, his hands clasped together in front of him as he leaned forward towards her. Though she was clearly uncomfortable at how his current position put him in close proximity to her, about a foot away from her, Rena didn’t even flinch. She didn’t look away either; she simply held her ground and now seemed to be staring him down. Even more interesting. Apparently, they were going to have a staring contest. This was definitely going to be a more exciting night than Evan had originally anticipated…
Rena couldn’t believe it. A little while ago, she had ducked into the break room for just a few minutes to grab her makeup bag she’d inadvertently left in the women’s restroom in here earlier in the day. She’d decided to freshen up her makeup while she was at it, and then she was supposed to be on her way to her favorite restaurant to grab a drink and some food before going home to enjoy a nice, quiet evening. It had been a long, exhausting week. She hadn’t been at work until 9:00 pm on a Friday in a while and she hoped like hell she wouldn’t need to do it again for a long while to come.
Her job as a Senior Finance Manager meant that month end was often a busy time. However, Rena was normally able to manage it so that she didn’t have to stay too late. Unfortunately, one of her team’s Accountants had been out sick this week, so she’d pulled double duty taking care of both her and Stacey’s responsibilities. Rena hadn’t expected to be here past 7:00, maybe 7:30 tonight, but some unexpected delays had kept her here later that she’d wanted to be. She also certainly hadn’t expected to run into the infuriatingly annoying man who was now sitting across from her like he owned the whole damn place, and was even now trying to intimidate her. Rena had worked in the male-dominated world of the video game industry for nearly a decade now, so at twenty-eight, she definitely knew not to make any more concessions in this situation.
Evan’s cockiness might irritate her to no end, but Rena Patel could handle herself in any situation. Even in such close proximity to the one man in the world that could have her losing all of her cool, poise, self-possession, and highly valued self-control… Oh alright. So it wasn’t really Evan Cheong’s self-confidence that riled Rena. It wasn’t the way he seemed to always be so smooth and know exactly what to do and say no matter what came his way as the Director of the Game Design department. He was cool under fire in a high stress position in a way that could be envied by many C level and even senior level executives.
No, the problem was that Rena had never, ever in her life even considered dating a coworker. Yet, she always had to do her best to avoid Evan, or at least put up an abrasive front to get rid of him, because his very presence disturbed her neat, tidy little world. The one in which she was always in control, an alpha female who made no apologies, took no prisoners, and was always in the driver’s seat. Utilizing whatever tactics necessary, her intelligence and her feminine beauty included, as weapons at her disposal to fight for every promotion, and other corporate advantage that she could manage.
Rena couldn’t stray from that hard fought and won, blood, sweat and tears-forged path just because Evan clearly worked out and his handsome face as well as his magnificent body could easily drive her to distraction. His tall, lean, muscular frame apparent underneath his black colored “Black and Yellow” Wiz Khalifa t-shirt, and slightly baggie dark blue jeans. He towered over her 5’4” height, so he was likely at least 6’2”. His tan skin always reminded her of smooth, creamy peanut butter. His boyish grin with perfectly straight, white teeth could nearly make her heart stop when he flashed it at anyone, but especially when it was coupled with his focus exclusively on her. Rena knew Evan was the kind of man who could easily make her a goner.
Rena also knew she couldn’t afford to be seen as weak, like some silly, simpering, swooning little high school girl with her first crush on a boy. There was too much at stake with her career. She’d always opted for practical and professional so one major way for her to be taken seriously had always been to stay as far away from office affairs, gossip and politics as much as she possibly could. Rena didn’t care about coming off as a frigid bitch. That was how she’d built such a solid reputation in the last nearly seven years. She wasn’t an office flirt or a tease. She was quite simply a consummate professional.
However, every time Evan was around, he unnerved her, made her feel wanton and sexy with the way his eyes appraised her from head to toe so admiringly. Other men looked at her with desire, so they were easy to dismiss. Rena knew without a doubt that there was no substance behind any of those leers. There was something much more authentic about Evan though. It was like he didn’t just want sex from her, but he also wanted to get to know the real her. As if he could be the half African-American and half Asian version of Adonis, a sultry man and her personal knight in shining armor that she could allow to seduce her then proceed to actually lose her heart to…
No! Rena definitely couldn’t have that. She couldn’t even let her mind begin to wonder down that road. She didn’t want to entertain that possibility because no one would get in the way of what she’d worked so hard to build. So she kept right on staring at Evan now, defiantly, but completely in silence. Firmly in control of this situation.
When the silence seemed to grow into a dense, tense, drama-filled, nearly unbearable force serving only to divide them further, Evan finally spoke. He did not, however, look away. He stared at her, unblinkingly and decided to go for the most direct approach. “So why is it that you hate me again? I like to think of myself as a pretty stand up kind of guy. I try to go out of my way not to offend anyone, yet you still seem to have a problem with me. Why?”
Rena stared right back at him, her glare so fierce, especially now that he’d asked his question that Evan was glad looks really couldn’t kill. “Not that I owe you any explanations, but I’m sure you’ve been on this planet long enough to realize that not all people get along well. Even when they have to work together.”
“Aww,” he said and paused briefly as though contemplating her words, before adding, “So you admit you don’t have a good reason to be biased against me? So then you’re simply being immature? Or have I actually done something unknowingly that’s causing a problem between us?” He paused again briefly, his heart pounding so loudly in his chest he worried that she could hear it as he outwardly kept his composure, but still slid just a few inches closer to her. “Because if I have done something that’s made you angry, I would really like the opportunity to fix it.”
It was then that Evan flashed Rena another of his killer smiles that made her think that he should be a model for tooth paste ads. Or any type of model. His stunning looks reminded her suddenly of the NFL player Will Demps, though she wasn’t sure why she hadn’t seen that previously. No matter, she could still handle this. Just because her hormones were screaming at her to do something she would undoubtedly regret later, didn’t mean she couldn’t keep her cool under pressure. No way was she going to go sit on Evan’s lap and rub her body all over his or throw him down to the floor so they could spread out and have more room to…
“Look, not everyone is as easily amused or charmed by play boy pretty boys like you. I’m only here to do my job, not make friends.”
Evan had stopped smiling upon hearing her words and even looked at her now with some concern on his face. “Everyone needs friends Rena. But I’m not asking you to become my best friend right now, since I know you’d likely refuse outright anyway. It’s just that I’ve noticed how you’ve repeatedly gone out of your way to ignore me or if not, to be downright rude to me and constantly have an attitude with me specifically. If you were so unpleasant to everyone else, I would just assume that you’re grumpiness was part of your general antisocial personality. But since I already know that’s not the case, then I have to assume that you think I’m special for some reason. I’m simply interested in knowing why.”
Their staring game continued as Rena merely shrugged. Evan didn’t appear to be particularly off put by her ensuing silence before he tried again, approaching her verbally from a different angle this time. “So what kind of food do you like?”
“Spicy,” she replied, as if on autopilot, before she’d even had time to think about her response. Interestingly, something about any kind of heat and Evan in the same context, sent her pulse fluttering in an even more staccato fashion. Especially because she could see a spark in his eyes now that ran deep. So deep, it threatened to erupt into pure flame, igniting a desire so ardent that it seemed to reach out and touch her, sending liquid arousal straight to her crotch. Damn! This whole staying detached and seemingly unaffected façade wasn’t going nearly as well as she would’ve liked.
Fine. If he wanted to play a game of linguistic sparring, she was up for that. She hoped…
Spicy. Wild. Exotic. Erotic. Rena’s one word had created a series of word associations in Evan’s brain and subsequently, he was conjuring up all kinds of delicious scenarios involving the Indian beauty in front of him. All of them involved both of them being completely naked with sumptuous, decadent food he wanted to lick and eat off of her body. Combining the foodie in him with his intense attraction to this mysterious woman was doing things to him that was making him all kinds of crazy at the moment. Not to mention that whatever pheromones she had that impacted his ability to create a coherent, rational thought had thoroughly high-jacked his brain.
“And what kind of music do you like?” he asked trying for more neutral conversational territory.
“The sensual kind, anything that’s rhythmic and seductive. Something that can really get me moving,” she replied in a way that was almost daring him to get ensnared in the challenging game of verbal innuendo they’d begun to play with one another.
Instead of allowing her to get off the hook, they maintained the intense eye contact as Evan slid even closer to Rena.
“And your favorite color?”
“Anything that looks good wrapped around and clinging to my body.”
Still keeping eye contact, Evan smoothly glided even closer to her. By now, their knees were nearly touching. The awareness between the two of them was growing exponentially, blazing like a wild, out of control fire. Before he could think better of it, Evan reached over and lightly touched her knee where it was barely revealed from the hem of her bland, conservative, beige dress. He continued to move his hand ever so slightly, creeping his fingertips up her leg until he was stroking a small part of her inner thigh.
Rena’s eyes widened dramatically now, though whether from being appalled at his forward actions or from anticipation, she couldn’t really tell. Okay, so maybe it was the latter… Evan’s touch felt so good, so magical, so sinfully indulgent to her that it was like his fingers had been predestined to gently caress her bare skin precisely at this moment. The warmth from his hand was magnetic, electric, just right and oh so amazing. She wondered if it would be that incredible when he touched her everywhere else too…
“You know, if I had to hazard a guess, I might begin to think that you don’t really dislike me at all. That maybe all of your frontin’ in the last two years since we’ve both worked here together has been an effort to maintain some professional distance. And I get that. But Rena, aren’t you ready to take a chance? To risk doing something crazy and exciting, even if it is a bit daring, maybe even reckless, because you know, I mean really, really know deep down that it’ll all be worth it in the end?”
Rena could feel it, her resistance collapsing and melting away in this moment under the persuasion of Evan’s words and coaxing, silky voice, not to mention the gentle caresses of his hand still on her leg. If she let him in though, she knew she would never be the same. She could already sense that the power of the passion he was promising her would forever hereafter alter her neat, boxed-in little life. Rena hadn’t ever believed in coloring outside the lines before. She’d always followed all the rules to the letter, hiding all her fears and insecurities behind her competent composure.
Yet right here and right now where there was no need to continue the masquerade any longer, least of all with herself, Rena began to believe that it might be possible. That she might be able to walk on the wild side with this ultra-hot video game designer with the BlacKorean swag. Evan could help her let her imagination run free, let her mind take a break while for once in her life, somebody else was in the driver’s seat. She had to let go and give herself over to the sensations that were overwhelming her and threatening her with both emptiness and disappointment if she failed to seize this unanticipated opportunity. If nothing else, she had to satisfy her own curiosity and see where this night would take the two of them.
So as they both stopped talking and began instead to simply feel, both Rena and Evan’s eyes drifted shut before their lips embraced and sealed upon each other’s. Then just like that, as quick as a blink, the night was now headed in a completely different direction than either of them had previously imagined possible.