Vinnie had never been the one to eavesdrop on anyone’s conversation. She understood the need for privacy. She respected it.
The conversation between the two men sitting in the booth behind her was way too intriguing and amusing to turn a deaf ear. She couldn’t help it. The more she tried to look away to distract herself or focus on the cup of coffee in front of her, the more inquisitive she became. Their words tickled her ear and pushed an amused grin to her naturally pink lips.
“I’m so fucking fed up with this!” One of them snapped in a low voice. “If I have to deal with such big-headed, melodramatic and materialistic witches one more time, I might just lose it.”
“Just like you aren’t already?” The other man quipped, probably with an eye-roll, not that Vinnie could see to make sure. But she liked the image in her head. It was funny. She tried not to snicker too loudly.
“You think it’s funny, don’t you?” The snappy one bit out, his voice deep and dark with unbridled irritation. “You’ll know how it fucking feels when your family forces you to date a woman like Cara. You’ll know then.”
“I don’t have to date a woman like, Cara,” the second one said in the same humourless tone. “I’m married to one.”
Vinnie choked on her coffee. She slapped a hand to her mouth to not spill the liquid out of her mouth.
“Did you just compare my sister with Cara?” The irritated one sounded offended. “How fucking dare you?”
“I said no such thing,” the calm one said with a grunt. “Stop putting words in my mouth. I love my wife.”
“Watcha doing?” Just when Vinnie thought the conversation between the man and his brother-in-law had just gotten interesting, her best friend, Maya, dropped her ass in the seat across from her. The tiny strands of her silky hair fell on either side of her beautiful face while her dark eyes watched her with a mix of confusion and delight.
Instantly, Vinnie shook her head and sat straighter. Took another sip of her coffee and groaned when the liquid melted on her tongue. With a broad grin, she gave Maya a cheery thumbs up.
“Oh, shut up!” Maya dismissed the compliment with a wave of a hand, though she couldn’t hide the small grin that had started to work its way up to the corner of her lips. Slumping on the seat, she crossed her arms over her chest. “You don’t have to compliment the coffee I make every time your silly ass drops by. It gets boring.” She rolled her eyes.
Vinnie snickered. Setting the cup back on the table, she signed with her hands. “But the coffee is so damn good. You have magic in your hands. I hope you’ll teach me someday. At least there would be something I could also be proud of.”
Maya shook her head, laughing softly. “You already have so many things to be proud of, Vinnie. You don’t need a tag of best coffee maker to feel good about yourself.” She teased her silly friend.
Vinnie laughed. Although deep down, she felt a twinge of something deep in her stomach. She ignored it. “So, when are you getting off?” She asked with the use of her hands.
“In an hour most probably. Are you sure you’re all right sitting alone? I’m sorry, I couldn’t spend much time with you. The rush took us off guard today.”
Vinnie waved a hand in dismissal and shook her head.
After their little talk, Maya got back to her work and Vinnie went back to enjoy her coffee. Simply out of pure curiosity, when she glanced over her shoulder to see who sat on the booth behind her—really hoping for the two men to not have left, they had been such a delight to her boredom mind—she met with heavy disappointment to find the booth empty.
Ugh. Just her luck.
"So, how many men have you dated before?”
After a long minute of café’s bustling noise, the deep baritone voice of someone touched and grazed into her ear. Vinnie shivered against the richness of the thought-provoking voice. She had never felt like this before. Never heard so much depth in the way someone spoke. Made her want to touch it. Feel it. Hear it. Again and again. It allured her in a way she did not understand. Not until her head turned and her eyes searched in the direction it came from.
If Vinnie had thought the voice of the man was the sexiest thing in the world, she couldn’t even begin to explain how he looked.
God. Pure-fucking-God. Even with his back turned to her and his face out of the way, she could tell by the tall frame of his well-built body and the swell of those truly firm muscles he was no less than God. His shoulders were a thing of beauty, broad and taut. His hair was dark and perfectly combed, gleaming against the soft light of the room. He wore a perfect coal-black suit and a white shirt underneath. An exclusive watch draped around his strong wrist. Not a speck of dust on his perfectly polished black shoes.
Perfection poured from every damn inch of his body.
Vinnie took another long sip of her coffee, only to spit it back into the cup. Her coffee felt icy cold in front of the hot man sitting a few tables away from her booth. It felt tasteless.
For a moment, Vinnie was shocked by how horny her brain had turned in merely five seconds. She wasn’t exactly the gushing type. Or the stalking type. Or any type that had anything to do with a man or a woman in romantic ways. Vinnie had never even dated anyone in her whole life. Not even after completing her graduation and moving out of her home.
“Uh,” the woman sitting across from the sexy man uttered. A nervous smile played across her lips. “A few.”
“Give me a number, Ms Miller. Any number.”
“Uh. Okay. Uh, five?”
“Are you asking me or telling me?” Vinnie heard the frown in his calm voice.
“Five. Not more than five.”
The man hummed and took a sip of his coffee. “When was the last time you had sex with someone?”
“What?” the woman blurted out. Shocked and a little flustered. “What kind of question is that?”
In response to the woman’s rattled reaction, the man only patted a napkin to his mouth and cocked his head to the side. “Please do not appear this surprised, Ms Miller. It makes me look bad. Specifically, when my assistant already made things transparent with you beforehand. Did he not?” he asked with a certain edge to his voice. “I’m very particular about what I want from you or anyone whom I choose. If merely the mention of sex makes you uncomfortable, I’m forced to believe you aren’t sincere about this arrangement.” Setting the cup back on the table, he leaned back in his seat. “You may leave. We’re done here. Alex will get back to you by Monday morning to let you know my decision.”
Seeing that the man was almost eager to dismiss her, the woman blanched and placed a hand on his hand. “No no no. That’s not what I mean,” she said a little suggestively, batting her long and artificial lashes up at him. “I just...I’m just a little shy, that’s it.”
Vinnie rolled her eyes at the woman’s dramatics. With the kind of revealing dress, she wore in a broad daylight, not to forget all that layer of makeup pasted on her face, it was safe to say the first thing this woman did since the second she woke up was to plaster all the cracks on her face.
However, the way he brushed her hand off him as if disgusted by it and now he would have to bathe at least five times to get rid of the annoying feeling, spoke volumes about his impression of her. Vinnie couldn’t blame him. The woman was no match for him. He could do much better.
After a few more minutes of hopeless exchange, the woman pushed the chair almost angrily and stormed out of the café.
Seemingly unaffected by the reaction of the woman, he grabbed his phone from the table and dialled for someone. “I don’t want this woman in a hundred miles of my radius. Do you get that?”
Vinnie couldn’t hear what the person on the line said, but she almost felt her heart leap out of her chest when the man stood up and started collecting his things. “I don’t care, Alex. Can’t you find me a normal woman for once? With all the make-up she was wearing, it wouldn’t be surprising if she turned out to be a completely different person after one long shower.”
Vinnie grinned at the fact they shared the same thought about that annoying woman. And for some reason, she was also pleased he wouldn’t be squandering his precious time on someone like her. Although she barely had a clue where that thought even came from. She shrugged it off.
The man shook his head as he dropped some bills on the table and headed for the exit. “This was your stupid idea, Alex. Now take responsibility for it.” He pushed the door to walk out but stepped back when an elderly woman tried to walk through. He held the door for her, earning a grateful smile from the woman.
It was the exact moment Vinnie felt herself growing desperate. Her eyes zeroed in on the young man as he returned to pushing the door and walking outside, the warm wind of the day greeting him with a gentle brush to his hair. He stood outside for a while, still talking over the phone. Shifting it from one ear to another before taking a glance at his wristwatch.
Vinnie’s eyes widened and her heart raced even faster when a sleek black car rolled up in front of him. Her legs dribbled impatiently against the floor. Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Vinnie swallowed. Bit her lip. And before a second, and a more reasonable voice could rise from the back of her head, like an arrow from a bow, she scooted off through the doors, narrowly escaping from bumping into a boulder-sized man. She heard the man shout. But she didn’t have time to care. The sexy man was leaving. The chauffeur had already held the door open for him.
Unfortunately, her legs lost control over her brain. Before she could stop herself in time, she simply banged her head against his back.
This man probably had a back made of mountains because while her head thrummed like a gong, he didn’t even budge. Although he paused and grew stiff for sure.
Vinnie realized she already fucked up.
Out of breath, she staggered backwards and doubled over. So much adrenaline was pumping through her veins, it got into her head and spun.
Shit! she thought. Tried to catch her breath.
Vinnie watched his shiny shoes turn around.
She exhaled through her mouth. Her eyes trailed up to his perfectly fitted pants and that suit that looked unreasonably heavenly on him and she found herself straightening up to her actual height.
His midnight blue eyes were the first to hold her captive. Vinnie had never seen an eye colour so dark, intense, and daunting before. For a second, she couldn’t even breathe, let alone remember the purpose behind the entire onslaught she caused. His lips were pushed into a thin line. The lips that looked inviting yet offended at the same time. Vinnie swallowed once again against the frown lines pinched between his thick, dark eyebrows. Her heart banging against the walls of her ribs like a stubborn child.
The man said nothing. Only lifted a brow, as if waiting for something.
Vinnie thought his reaction was understandable. After all, she was the one to smack herself against his very strong back. Probably waiting on an apology of sorts he was.
Geez! What’s with that sullen look, though? It wasn’t like she did that deliberately. Sure, perhaps she could have handled herself better, but it wasn’t like she had much time on her hand. She was in a rush because he was leaving. Speaking of leaving...
Pressing her lips, Vinnie motioned with her hands.
The man did not understand. Why else would he raise the eyebrow even higher before moving the phone away from his ear?
“Can I help you with something?” he asked, in the same heavy voice that had started to feel like his very exclusive brand of sorts. Only he could make it sound like it was meant just for him, and no man of any kind or physique could justify it.
Vinnie blinked up at him. On second thought, she motioned him to wait for a minute. Before the man could speak another word, she scurried back in and returned with a tiny notepad.
Wait, she forgot the pen. Damn!
Just then, her eyes caught sight of the silvery pen clipped to the breast pocket of his spotless suit.
Vinnie found her plain brown eyes stapled on it with a kind of longing only a puppy could rival.
The man must have noticed, as she felt his intense gaze locked on her forehead. The back of her neck prickled. With a brief hesitation (which was perfectly understandable) he plucked the pen out of the pocket and extended it to her.
Vinnie couldn’t have looked more grateful. A beautiful smile spread across her lips. Happily, she drew the pen out of his grasp and started scribbling on the paper.
Once done, she turned around the notepad for him to read.
The man dropped his gaze to the paper before appearing even more confused. His left eye almost twitched.
“You want to apply?” he repeated with a heavy frown. “For what?” He sounded beyond confused and maybe a little irritated if his tone suggested anything.
Vinnie knew she couldn’t squander more of his time. He must be a busy man.
Drawing the notepad back to herself, she scribbled again before she flipped it so he could read without having to hold the pad.
This time, the man nearly choked, his large hands moving deep into the pocket of his pants. “For the position I interviewed a few minutes ago?” Something flashed in his midnight blue eyes, some clarity of sorts. “Wait. I think you misunderstood...”
Before he could complete the sentence, Vinnie snatched the notepad back and scribbled again. When she turned the notepad around the next time, the man rubbed his clean-shaven jaw and shook her head.
“I’m sorry. I don’t think you understand. Besides, you cannot even...” he gave her a quick once-over and stopped himself before he said too much. Pursed his lips and shook his head again. “Anyway. If that’s all, I would like to leave. I have urgent matters to attend to.”
Then, without sparing a second glance, he turned around on his heels and slipped into the shiny black car. The chauffeur closed the door and rounded the front of the car before settling behind the wheel.
Vinnie’s heart dropped deep in her stomach as she watched the car disappear in the traffic ahead. He didn’t even give her a chance. She couldn’t blame him, though. That was the whole point, wasn’t it? No one risked a chance with her. No one. Just because she couldn’t speak, everyone thought of her as someone who didn’t have any potential. As if her muteness made her incompetent before she even had the chance to prove herself.
With a shake of her head, Vinnie stared down at the last thing she had scribbled on the notepad. I’m mute. A virgin. Never dated. A suitable candidate. What a waste! She thought to herself.
It was only then she noted something else, too.
The pen. He forgot about it.
Out of pure spite, she wished for him to find himself in a terrible situation where he would need to sign something important, but he couldn’t find a freaking pen.
With that, she kicked at the ground, spun on her heels, and shoved her way back into the cafe.