Ambryan stepped inside an empty elevator.
He had just pushed another button when the second lift opened. Three figures passed by as the doors closed for him. His violet eyes gazed up and missed the group, He pinched the knot of his tie. Avery had insisted on it.
'A sign of support,' she said.
The red color stood out against the stainless steel enclosure. The sight of it irked him. It went against his personal dress code made of blue, white and black. He faltered the slightest when his mother planted the logic that it matched Evangeline's hair.
Then, she told him that it was natural for couples to do such a thing. If he truly wanted the public to know of his affection, this was a simple way of showcasing it.
That was when Ambryan agreed.
He exhaled sharply at the memory.
If he had refused, he had no doubt Avery would have found another way to convince him. When it came to these things, he had to play by her rules unless he wanted to lose her side of the bargain. He only hoped the party would end soon.
The elevator doors revealed the 10th floor.
Ambryan paused after he exited the lift. He scowled at the surroundings. In his haste, he had forgotten to ask the receptionist for the room number. He proceeded with cautious steps. Most of the doors had the same blank look. Only a few decided to add decorations like a wind chime.
He stopped again when he reached the middle.
His neck twisted from left and right, glancing at both ends.
Nothing would happen if he stayed like this.
Ambryan took out his phone and opened the DTC app. The home page showed him the five available options. They came in purple buttons that swivelled across the screen.
His thumb clicked on the second option, using it for the first time. Only one contact showed up in the list. He pressed the phone against his ear and waited. The dial tone rang three times before the other line picked it up.
A soft and sweet voice flowed out of the receiver.
"Ms. Evangeline," Ambryan greeted in his curt tone. He shuffled his feet to the side and eyed the hallway again. His mind wondered which room she answered from—and what kind of expression she wore.
"I believe I'll be your chauffeur for today."
He heard her gasp. "Oh, you're here already? I'm on my way."
Then, the call ended.
Ambryan put his phone away and made a calculated guess. The staff did an excellent job at managing the building's sanitation and maintenance. None of the doors seemed worn out either. No sign of how long the resident had lived behind it.
Instead, he kept his hearing alert.
He faced the elevators with his hands tucked inside his pant pocket. He kept a close eye on it. In case anyone unexpected would come out. The sound of footsteps would mislead him. This way, he could eliminate that possibility.
A door creaked behind him.
Turning around, Ambryan spotted her easily.
The young woman had her head bowed as she locked the door's deadbolt. Loose fringes draped on the sides of her face. A band of golden wreath shined above her crimson hair. The puff on the sleeves and wide neckline accentuated her shoulders. As the satin fabric streamed down, it clung to her upper body and emphasized all her curves.
Then, it widened into a straight skirt from the waist to an inch above the floor.
A vision in red that could drown a person into its depths. Scarlet threads that could hook and reel in interest. A fair nape that could entice curiosity about its softness. Crimson hair that could tempt someone to undo its knots.
A charm that could spark flames of passion.
Or… leave a CEO speechless.
The young woman stepped away from the door and walked down the corridor. She hid her keys inside a clutch. The neckline of her dress ended in between the top of her breasts. It offered a tease compared to her previous dress. Only a person who had seen the latter would be provoked by its allure.
At the sight of him, her flirty hazel eyes widened. Her cherry lips parted open, sultry and inviting.
She spoke two words.
Ambryan scowled. His momentary daze broke because of her greeting. It irked him as much as his tie had. That same distaste from the rink coated his tongue. Two simple words and yet, they created a barrier—a wall that he hadn't known.
A roadblock he wanted gone.
"Still not calling me by my first name?" Ambryan asked, closing the distance between them. His head leaned down as the gap shortened. Even with heels, he still towered over her. "I would have thought we'd gone past that, Ms. Girlfriend."
Something was wrong. The atmosphere had changed. The pulse in her ear thumped loudly. She could hear it as loud as a heartbeat. The palm of her hands began to sweat.
"I-I had thought about it," she finally replied. Her feet side-stepped around him and headed for the elevators. If they didn't leave now, they'd be late. She used this chance to form a proper response.
"Really?" Ambryan trailed behind her. His violet eyes watched as her skirt swayed from the movements of her hips.
Eve entered the lift first.
"Yes." She nodded and pressed the button for the first floor. Both of her hands held the clutch over her abdomen. She waited for him to join her before revealing her suggestion. "I think I'd prefer it if you call me, Evan."
Ambryan raised an eyebrow. "Evan?"
He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his shoulder against the right wall.
Eve giggled, mimicking his position at the wall across his. The idea came at the last minute. Now that she said it out loud, it sounded even funnier to her ears. "Unexpected, isn't it? Which makes it perfect."
"Won't people perceive it as a masculine name?" Ambryan questioned. Nothing about it sounded affectionate. In fact, he had a business partner with the same name. To him, it would be inappropriate to call her as such.
"Don't worry," Eve said. She brushed off his words with a wave of her hand. Her shoulders shrugged at the simple concern. "We can balance that out."
Her lips beamed. She had been waiting for this moment. Fully meeting his gaze, she wiggled her eyebrows and smirked. "You will call me as Evan and I will call you as Ambee."
Ambryan shut his eyes. He had flipped and turned the suggestions but nothing clued him in on how her mind worked. Setting aside the ridiculous nickname for him,
"How does that balance things out?" He exhaled sharply.
The elevator doors opened. Eve had a bounce to her steps which was harder in heels. She dropped the spring, prioritizing her physical condition. One bad landing and she could sprain or fracture her ankle.
If that happened, she wouldn't be the only one burdened by it.
Ambyran followed after her. He still wore the same confused expression on his face.
The receptionist looked up and observed the pair. If the woman had rainbows around her head, the man had stormy clouds. She couldn't tell what happened. But judging by the former's face, it didn't seem to be alarming.
She had expected them to be sweet though. The apartment owner gushed over them like they could rival famous celebrity couples and be the new 'couple goals' standard.
"Yours sounds more feminine. See?" Eve laughed, hitting Ambryan on the stomach with her clutch. "They're opposites and balance each other out."
They exited the complex. A breeze greeted them as soon as they stepped out. Eve stopped walking and pressed a hand on her wig. Cale had taken all precautions so it wouldn't fall off. Still, it made her anxious.
Ambryan positioned himself beside her. His figure blocked out most of the wind, protecting her from it. Not once had he taken his eyes off her. "Is this your idea of humor, Evangeline?"
A teasing smile blossomed on Eve's closed lips.
"Yes. Yes, it is, Ambryan." She winked.
Then, she left him in the dust.
Her feet climbed down the front steps, aiming for the passenger side of the convertible. A lighthearted laugh joined the wind. It flowed like a musical symphony. The tone sounded genuine and pleasant, captivating listeners.
It had frozen Ambryan in place.
Glancing over her shoulder, Eve found him at the top of the stairs. She laughed. The use of his name must have shocked him. She had used it before but never around him or around officemates.
It really was a mouthful. Andie had even made a few mockups from the intonations. It was where she got the idea of 'Ambee' as a nickname. It had stuck with her ever since.
When he still didn't move, she held out a hand towards him.
"Are you going to stand there all day? Because if you are, at least, give me the car keys."
(*≧∀≦*) How was this for the second glance/meeting? Hehe. I hope the torture had been worth it :p
Now that the damage control is done, I will go and strangle cliff-san. Anyone want to help? (¬‿¬)
Status check: Wow, we're currently at Top 141 Σ(꒪ȏ꒪)
I'm not entirely free at the moment but anyone want a mini theater at the next author's note? XD
Leave a theme/scene idea/suggestion in the comments.
This will be my show of thanks |-^)v
Have a good day!
Other ongoing work: Trust and Believe in Love
P.S. Shoutout to the WN user named ambee XD