Debut story - feedback is most welcome.
Ch 1/4 Complete (for smut skip to Ch 3 and 4)
Ellie slumped gratefully to the couch and let out a sigh. She reached behind her and pulled her shoulder-length auburn hair out of its loose ponytail. She had a long day and it felt good to finally relax. Her office recently fired the only other person in her department, so she was stuck with the extra work until they found a new replacement. Cindy, her boss, must have conducted 15 interviews in the last month, yet no one seemed to measure up to company standards. They were either “too inexperienced” or “didn’t have the proper training.” Ellie couldn’t have cared less about their qualifications. For her, the only good thing to come out of all this was the overtime. She looked at her watch: eight o’ clock. She raised her eyes to ceiling and let out a groan. I just sat down! she thought, but she headed into the kitchen to scrounge up some semblance of a meal.
She opened the fridge and crinkled her nose at the smell. She cast a cursory glance inside and saw a variation of week-old takeout containers and leftover pizza haphazardly wrapped in aluminum foil. “Ugh, we’ll just shut you and deal with you later,” she joked to the fridge, moving to grab a plate to heat up the pizza. “Dammit.” The cabinet was empty. She eyed the sink-full of dishes and shrugged, opting to eat the pizza cold off the aluminum foil in front of the TV before heading off to bed.
This was how her life had been since the breakup a few months ago. She broke up with Chad because she had fallen out of love with him, if she was even in love with him in the first place. Still, even though she was the one who ended it she’d been stuck in a rut since. Even her sex drive, normally relatively high, was curbed so that she had only masturbated a handful of times since the breakup. It’s not that she missed Chad so much as she felt lonely.
In the beginning, she went on a couple of blind dates her friends set her up on, but none of the guys seemed to spark anything but boredom in her. Her friends said she was too picky, but could she help it if she had standards? She just didn’t want to invest more time into yet another failed relationship. Before she committed, she wanted to be sure he was worth the time. At 27 years-old, she had to be more careful if she hoped to marry and still have time for kids. Truthfully, she was grateful for the extra hours at work to keep her mind off her uncertain future love life, though she would never admit it.
And so, she awoke mechanically to her 7:00 AM alarm, shuffling about her morning routine in a daze. Though she had plenty of time to get ready, her shower was quick. She threw on a slightly wrinkled light pink button-up and a light gray pencil skirt before applying a layer of mascara and blush to her face. After a quick breakfast, she headed out the door to leave for work, tying her hair up on the way out.
She arrived early to work, as had been her habit since the breakup. She pretended that she enjoyed the quiet peace of the office before the workday began, when really, she hated the feeling of waking up alone. Hurrying to the office helped diminish that feeling, if only temporarily. She walked into the building’s lobby and flashed her ID badge to the sign-in desk, turning her attention to the line of elevators. There weren’t many people waiting given that she was there early, but she recognized most of them as friendly faces who worked for the other companies in the building. There was one woman, however, that she had never seen before. As Ellie approached the elevator, she eyed the stranger curiously. The woman was gorgeous. Her long chestnut hair glistened in the sunlight streaming through the large windows surrounding the lobby, and her posture was incredibly at ease. The woman noticed Ellie staring and smiled, her full lips parting to reveal a perfect smile.
Ellie flushed a deep red and gave her a curt nod before looking away. Oh my god, she probably thinks I’m such a creep! She unconsciously pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose, a nervous tick she no longer noticed. With much relief, the elevator doors chimed open. Seven people stepped into the elevator, and Ellie made sure that she wasn’t standing next to the mysterious woman, praying that she got off on one of the lower floors. She could only handle so much awkwardness in one day. She pressed the button labelled 22 and tried to stare inconspicuously at anything but the woman. One-by-one people piled off the elevator. Each time Ellie looked expectantly to see the mysterious woman leave, and each time she felt her chest get a little tighter when she didn’t. Finally, a man stepped off on floor 14, leaving only Ellie and the woman. Ellie looked at the buttons and noticed that only 22 was lit up.
“Oh, it looks like we’re going to the same floor!” said the woman. Ellie looked at her and smiled, relaxing a bit. Her enthusiasm looked genuine enough.
“Yeah, I uh...” Ellie’s eyes flickered to a line of cleavage on the woman’s chest, framed by a low-cut floral-patterned blouse. She felt herself blush and thought, Weird. “Uhm, weird!” she said as she pushed her glasses up her nose again. She glared at the glowing button 22 before looking back at the woman, turning an even darker shade of red. “This elevator is so slow HAHAHA!” She didn’t even know what she was saying at this point. Why am I being so awkward right now? Get it together! The elevator doors opened. Finally! Ellie thought, and rushed out of the doors for her cubicle, but not before she stole one last glance at the woman.
Once inside the safety of her cubicle, she slammed her bag down on her desk and grabbed her head with both hands, pacing back and forth in the little floor space provided. Oh my god, WHAT THE HELL? That was weird. Really weird. Her face began to feel hot the more she thought about it. “Stop it!” she whispered. “Don’t be such a weirdo.” She fell resignedly into her rolling chair and smiled. At least I don’t have to see her again.
“- sure she’ll be happy to know help is on the way. She’s been putting in a lot of overtime to keep up while we looked for someone to replace Daryl.”
Ellie perked up. That was the booming voice of her boss Cindy, but who was she talking to? Did they finally find a replacement? She inched her chair over to the cubicle entrance and poked her head out. Her eyes instantly grew wide and her throat constricted. She pulled herself back in and panicked. WHAT – THE – FUCK? She broke into a cold sweat as she heard Cindy’s voice and their footsteps growing closer. Okay. Okay. Maybe I misheard her. Maybe –
“Good morning Elliana! Bright and early, as usual,” Cindy said, leaning one of her elbows on the wall of the cubicle. Her fashionable navy-blue pantsuit parted as she leaned over, revealing a splash of bright salmon coloring underneath.
“Uh, yup. Early.” – ahem – Ellie cleared her throat. She suddenly felt very thirsty.
“Well, I am so excited to introduce you to our newest team member. Elliana meet Grace. Grace, Elliana.” Cindy beamed with excited and looked expectantly at them.
Ellie was frozen in place and attempted to smile, though it looked more like she was cringing in pain.
“Hi Elliana,” Grace smiled. “Nice to meet you.” She leaned forward into the cubicle and stuck out her hand. As she leaned forward, her blouse fell forward, revealing a white lacy bra.
Ellie got another hot flash and pulled her eyes away. “Um, hi,” Ellie says, grasping her hand. The contact seems to break her from her spell momentarily. “You can just call me Ellie. I’m not sure why Cindy insists on calling me Elliana even though I specifically requested she doesn’t,” she added, throwing a Cindy a mocking smile.
“Ellie it is then,” Grace said, releasing her hand.
“Now Elliana, I expect you to take good care of Grace. She’s going to need your help learning the ropes,” Cindy said. “But I’ll leave you to it. Grace-” she turned to face her. “You reach out if you need anything.”
“Will do, Cindy, thanks very much for your help. But hopefully I won’t be needing it. It sounds like I’m in capable hands here.” Grace’s warm green eyes met Ellie’s.
“I’ll leave you to it then,” Cindy said and disappeared down the hallway.