“What’s wrong?” she asked. “Cayden Lewis just asked you on a date. I have worked here for over two years and he’s never asked one of our co-workers on a date. I’ve seen lots of women throw themselves at him, but he was never interested. To be honest, I was beginning to think that he was gay!”
This revelation worried me even more. If Cayden could have any woman that he wanted, why was he going after me? I’d seen some of the girls in the Finance Department and they were gorgeous. It was rumored that one of them had done a runway show with Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner. Cayden should be going for someone like her, not me.
“You would tell me if this was some kind of joke or bet, right?” I asked Nikki. While we weren’t super close, I’d hoped that “Girl Code” included telling your co-worker when she was about to be played.
“It’s not!” she exclaimed. “I swear to you, he is really interested in you. And why wouldn’t he be? You’re absolutely gorgeous and such a sweetheart. I really do think you two would be a great couple. Cayden is just like you. He’s funny, sweet, and level-headed. You need to just give it a chance, Tiffany.”
I sat down at my desk and flipped through a stack of papers.
“It’s time to let go of your past,” Nikki said. She was right. Since we spent nearly forty hours together at work each week, we had learned a lot about each other during my short time here. When she asked me about my love life during my second week, I’d told her the awful tale of mine and Brad’s relationship. Like Mandy, she thought Brad was an egotistical cheating asshole and that I was better off without him. I still wasn’t sure about that.
“So, what are you going to wear?” Nikki asked. She was growing more excited about the date than I was.
“Something like this isn’t acceptable?” I asked. Today I’d chosen a black jumpsuit with large, gold hoop earrings. I felt similar to J Lo., just not as in shape.
“It’s a cute outfit, don’t get me wrong, but Cayden seems a little classier to me.”
I’d to agree with her. Cayden always had on a suit and looked his best. While my outfit wasn’t trashy, it definitely wasn’t on par with him. I thought about a black dress that I’d hanging in my closet. I’d bought it last year in hopes of wearing it to my engagement party, but that never happened. It still had the tags on it. It really was the perfect first date dress to wear when going out with someone like Cayden Lewis.
“I think I have something perfect,” I told her. She smiled.
“We should stay on top of our work today, so we can slack on Thursday morning when you give me a play-by-play of your date!” Nikki said.
I hoped that I would be able to give her a positive and worthy first date update. I just could not shake the concern that this was some sort of bet.
Time seemed to stand still ever since I’d asked Tiffany on a date yesterday. I still did not understand why it took so much work to get her to say yes. Was I not her type? Was she just playing hard to get? I would have to ask some questions tonight in a roundabout way to get to know her better.
I really wanted to know why she was so damn insecure. It completely baffled me that she had such low self-esteem but was completely gorgeous. I wanted to help her see her beauty, inside and out.
To be honest, the fact that she played a little hard to get made me want her even more. I hadn’t tried so hard for a date before in my entire life. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward, right?
It was nearly noon and I hadn’t seen her all morning. I usually would run into her by the coffee machine, but not today. I hoped she hadn’t called in sick that day. I decided to try to casually stop by her office.
On the way there, I ran into Nikki.
“Hot date tonight, huh?” She winked at me. I nodded. Nikki was the last person I wanted to talk to about tonight’s date. I didn’t respond to her, but she didn’t care. She continued to talk.
“Just be careful with her, Cayden,” she said. “I’m not sure of your intentions, but she’s a good soul with a shattered past.”
Shattered past? I wanted to ask questions, but as we reached the office, Tiffany popped out.
“Hey, Tiffany,” Nikki said. “We were just talking about you!”
“Nothing bad,” I reassured her with a smile. “Are we still good with 7:30 tonight?”
She wrinkled her nose and looked away.
“You guys are still good,” Nikki answered for her, slipping inside of the office.
“Yes, we are still on,” Tiffany finally responded. I sensed a bit of hesitancy in her voice, but I let it slide. I did not want to give her an opportunity to back out of this date.
* * *
I pulled up in front of her house at 7:30 on the dot. She must have been waiting by the door, because she opened it almost immediately. She was beautiful. As she approached my car, I checked her out from head to toe. Her dark hair was wavy, and she had styled it half up and half down. Her makeup was done perfectly with a bold, sexy red lipstick. While her hair and makeup were great, neither of them matched her outfit.
She wore a short black dress with tie-up heels. The dress wrapped around her curves and put her large breasts on display. The dress was short and for a minute, I wondered what kind of underwear she had on underneath.
I jumped out of my car and opened the door for her.
“Good evening,” I said with a smirk. “My name is Cayden, and I will be your chauffer for the evening.”
She laughed as she entered my convertible Mustang.
“Thank you,” she said.
I closed her door and walked back to my side.
“You look absolutely stunning,” I told her as I got in the car.
“Thank you,” she said again.
I drove us toward a popular restaurant in Little Havana, the warm, Miami breeze in our faces. It was hard to have a conversation with the top down, so I would have to wait until dinner to start asking questions.
As we entered the restaurant, I noticed an older man check Tiffany out and lick his lips. I was instantly protective and wanted to punch the pervert, but Tiffany did not notice him. We sat down at a table.
“I am so glad that you agreed to go out with me tonight,” I said. “I have to admit, I was attracted to you the minute I met you.”
She smiled. The worry that I’d come on too strong went away. I figured there was one of two ways I could act. I could either be more aggressive, or more timid. Since she was shy, I didn’t think two timid people would work. I would need to be the one to push things along, in a completely consensual way, of course.
After we ordered, I began to ask her questions to help open her up. While I wanted to bombard her with questions and learn everything I could about her, I refrained and took it slow.
“Have you lived in Miami your entire life?” I asked.
She nodded, putting down her wine glass.
“I have,” she responded. “I was born here, raised here, and can’t imagine living anywhere else but here.”
“I don’t blame you. I moved here from New York when I was in high school, and there hasn’t been a single day that I have regretted it. I went up last year to see some friends, and there was so much snow. If I never had to see snow again, I would be the happiest man in the world.”
She laughed, and my heart flittered around.
“I’m twenty-five and have never seen snow in real life. It’s only snowed one time in Miami. It was January 1977. My dad told me about it and said that some people thought it was the end of the world.”
“I would imagine!” I said. “Did you go to school around here, too?”
“I graduated in 2015 from the University of Miami with my journalism degree. It’s actually funny that you mention you’re from New York. My dream is to be a reporter for the New York Times.”
Her green eyes sparkled with excitement. It was the first time that I’d seen her face without the sadness it usually held. She looked like a different woman. For once, she didn’t seem burdened by trying to fit into a mold or being an outcast. I liked this side of her.