“Yeah, well, you’re welcome. I think,” I said. “Are you saying I’m mean?”
“No,” she said in that way that meant she was desperately looking for a word to replace “mean” with but failing. “Just… assertive.”
“Ah,” I said. “Well, after I eat this sandwich, I am going to get very… assertive, with the men upstairs.”
“Do it,” Meghan said. “And take away their damn jackhammers too.”
“What good are men without their jackhammers?”
A second later, Meghan and I laughed, and she shook her head.
After lunch, I put my lab coat back on, checked my makeup in the mirror above the sink in the bathroom, and headed to the elevator. There was a sticky note next to the button, and I tried to read the chicken scratch writing where it was before peeling it off to look at it closer and see if I could decipher what it said.
Pls don’t use elevator to go up. Use stairs.
Slamming the sticky note back onto the wall above the buttons, I decided that today was not the day I was going to listen to poorly worded notes from construction workers. I hit the Up button and waited. I hopped on and hit the button for the fourth floor and stood with my arms crossed as I waited for it to take me there.
The elevator door opened, and I stared out at the vast expanse of nothingness that was the fourth floor. There was nothing but a few beams and crews working on either side. On one side was a crew still demolishing an area of walls. The other seemed to be building some.
I shrugged and headed out of the elevator and to the right, running almost headlong into a wall that didn’t use to be there. The office I was looking for was behind a wall that was brand-new, and there were wet paint signs strung up everywhere.
The rest of the floor was cordoned off with plastic. As I tried to make my way around the wall and to the office beyond it, I heard a shout. Then another. It was the third one that made me realize those shouts were being directed at me.
“Hey, lady!” the voice said. “You shouldn’t be here!”
Loud footsteps echoed as the owner of the voice ran up to me. My snappy reply stuck in my throat. He was disarmingly gorgeous.
Tall, stupidly good-looking, and wearing a tool belt full of hammers. It was like I conjured him with my dirty jokes. He was looking down at me through wisps of sandy-blonde hair and blue eyes that arrested my feet and made me double-think everything I was going to blurt out.
I pushed all those thoughts away in aggravation. So, what if he’s hot? Really, stupidly hot? I had a job to do. I couldn’t let the girls downstairs down.
“I need diapers,” I blurted out.
His eyebrow raised as he looked at me for a moment, and slowly, it dawned on me what I just said.
“That seems like a you problem,” he said, grinning.
“Very funny.” I tried to read the name embroidered on his extremely tight, flattering shirt. “But I need them for the floor downstairs. Where all the babies are? The babies you guys are waking up and making cry constantly with all this banging around?”
“Oh, those diapers.” He smacked his forehead with his hand dramatically. “Yeah, all of those already got emptied.”
“The diapers.” He pointed behind the wall to where the room I had been heading to used to be. “The ones that were in that room. I personally took them down to the first floor this morning. Miss?”
Rather than give him my name, I sighed heavily and rolled my eyes, walking to push past him. Unfortunately for me, he was a bit more solid than I anticipated, so I skimmed the wall as I bounced off him. It wasn’t until I was getting on the elevator that I looked down at the sleeve that made contact with the wall and realized what had just happened. There was now a long streak of grey paint along the sleeve of my white coat.
Ian was at the door and looking in the elevator at me. I was standing with my arms crossed, but delicately, so I didn’t think he would see me trying my best not to touch the wet paint spots.
Before the doors shut, he winked, and I felt my stomach tighten and words of various incendiary origins died in my throat. It was a good thing. None of those words would have done any good and would likely only label me as the one with the foul mouth from downstairs.
It was that grin that was getting to me. That grin and the little bit of laughter I could hear as the doors shut and the elevator brought me all the way down to the first floor.