Friday came faster than what Roxy had expected, but she wouldn't complain, of course. She was excited to go out with Dean, yet in her mind, she knew it wasn't supposed to be a date-date... but it sounded like one when she would think about it more clearly. Needless to say, she was a little confused by his intentions, but she didn't want to assume anything wrong and make it into a big deal if it's not supposed to be.
Still... she wanted to look nice for him, even in a workplace, so Roxy wore a snowy 3/4 sleeve dress in which ended just before the knee, as the dress sported a scoop neck and a straight hemline. Even though it was simple and plain, it was made of high quality poly spandex; therefore, it was a bold move, considering it showed off her plentiful breasts, thin torso, and smooth legs.
Her long hair was straight and settled into a high ponytail, as her bangs fell to the right side of her round face. Again, she wore the same make-up as usual, enough to keep her innocent and sweet—she was never the type to experiment with vivid colours, unlike Natalie who was all about drama and being unique with her personal style.
"You look nice today," was the first thing Dr. Blackwell said to her that morning. Even though he was casual about it, as if it was only a second thought, Roxy couldn't help herself from turning pink in the face—and she cursed her ponytail right then and there because she couldn't hide her blush or her giddiness.
"Thanks, Dr. Blackwell... um, so h-how are you today?" Roxy tried to reply polite and firm, but her voice cracked slightly which gave away her few nerves.
She didn't catch the smirk that began to form on his face either. "Fine, and you, Miss Carlson?" he asked.
"Good," she responded quietly, feeling embarrassed by her anxiety. Even though they hung out and ate lunch a few times together, it felt more intimidating to be one-on-one with him as she thought about their plans for after work—like an actual real date, and frankly, it scared her to death... yet it was blissful at the same time.
But since they haven't talked or mentioned their get-together ever since he first asked, she wanted to check once more with him. "Hey... we're still on for tonight?"
He ruffled through a handful of papers, suddenly preoccupied with his patients' reports. "Definitely."
She smiled idiotically. "All right... I'm—I'm looking forward to it." And she honestly was, even though she was very nervous.
"I'm glad to hear so, Roxy. I just feel bad that you won't have a drink or two with me. I wanted you to enjoy yourself and relax, after all..."
"And I'm sure I'll still have a good time while remaining alcohol-free... spending time with you is enough," she told him softly, but then her eyes widened in embarrassment with what she accidently confessed. And she wished that he didn't hear what she stated, but he must have since he slowly looked up from his papers to meet her eyes, seeming surprised and interested.
Before he could say anything, she continued hastily, "Erm, I-I mean, you know, we're friends... so, friends like spending time with each other... thus I like spending time with you—because we're friends." Wow... I sounded as if I had the IQ of a jellyfish, Roxy thought dryly, looking away from his penetrating gaze.
He chuckled lowly, more so to himself. "You're cute."
Um... how comes he's not embarrassed like what I was?! He looks so carefree with what he just said, Roxy pondered quizzically.
"Dean," Roxy started, "I—"
"Good morning, sunshine!"
Roxy groaned loudly and Dean rolled his brown eyes when Alex came sauntering in through the front doors, carrying a handful of carnations and roses, the colours of jewels and rubies.
"What are you doing here?" Roxy couldn't help but snarl at him as she crossed her arms underneath her breasts. The flowers were nice, but seriously, she thought she was done with him. It never occurred to her that he might be the 'persistent' type—the type that still believes he has a chance even when he strikes out.
"Bringing these for you, bébé," he gestured towards the bouquet, "I swear if I had a nickel for every time I saw someone as beautiful as you, I'd have five cents."
"Well I-I can't accept your flowers, Alex," Roxy stammered over her words, her back now against the edge of the high desk.
Alex wore a plaid pattern form-fitting shirt, navy Abercrombie & Fitch skinny jeans, and a pair of converse sneakers. His reddish-brown hair was in a skater-boy style, but then again, he in general reminded her of some skater punk. He was not ugly or unattractive by any means; in fact, most girls would say he was gorgeous, but Roxy liked her men... well, like men—not young, creepy, obnoxious boys.
Alex smiled, on the contrary to how Roxy felt. "You don't have to be so shy, dahlin'... I got these flowers just for you. I know we only met the other day and we don't know much about each other, but don't you feel this—this connection? I never felt this before, and I am not going to let you go without a fight—"
"What's my name?" Roxy asked smartly. No wonder why he keeps on calling me all these pet-names... he has nothing else to call me, she realized.
Alex's smile vanished instantly. "Ugh... that's not the point! The point is, is that I'm feeling this special infatuation with you, and I'm gonna do whatever it takes to win you over!"
Roxy stared at him unblinkingly which was easy since he must have only been a few inches taller than her own height. "You're atrocious."
Jeez, why isn't Dean doing anything to help me?—wait! Is he... is he snickering at me? He's finding my discomfort funny? That freaking bastard! Roxy thought angrily, noticing the hint of amusement within Dean's eyes and a twitch of his silent lips.
"I already have a stupid boyfriend!" she snapped, wincing momentarily by her own tone.
Alex shrugged carelessly, much to her dismay. "Doesn't bother me any. Stealing girls away from others is my speciality. I'll have you one way or another, regardless of your boyfriend..." he trailed off his sentence, his bewildered eyes now following Dean.
Dean took a few strides over to Roxy, and threw an arm around her tiny waist, bringing her in closer to his own body so that they could actually touch. Needless to say, her brain was still processing this, so she remained quiet and shocked while loving his warmth and hard chest.
Dean kept his facial expression calm and collective, but firmly stated, as if it was law, "She is mine, Alex. And I want you at a fifty-foot radius away from Roxy at all times."
Alex looked stunned, his gaze falling back onto Roxy, then lastly back onto Dean. "You can't be serious..."
"I am," Dean replied softly, but confidently.
At first, Alex looked as if he didn't believe his friend, but as each second passed by, Alex's face looked less and less sceptical and more and more repulsed.
Alex continued, his words uncouth, "Dude... what the fuck? I liked her, though! You can't just do this to me. I-I called her first!"
Roxy glared at Alex for when he spoke his last sentence. "You 'called' me first? This isn't Capture the Flag, for God's sake!—"
"Cool it, will you? He'll only like you more if you yell at him," Dean murmured against her ear suddenly, his hot breath tickling her senses that caused her to physically ache for more.
Even though it was difficult to follow his orders considering she was getting lost in the scent of his aftershave and his tenderness, Roxy kept her mouth shut. It was hard, but Dean provided enough comfort for her to calm down from Alex's statement.
Alex's lips grew tight by Roxy's sudden quietness, so he turned back to Dean with a scowl. "I'm leaving, but we're so gonna talk later tonight, buddy! Apparently, I need to inform you about the Bro Code that you're breaking." Alex left as soon as he said those words, not giving either of them anymore recognition.
Roxy swallowed the dry lump in her throat after a pregnant silence, surprised to find Dean's arm still around her mid-section coolly, as if he had it there unconsciously.
"Dean," she pursed her lips, "hey, no offence, but I dislike your friend—"
"He's not exactly my friend, Roxy. He never really was, but I'd feel bad to just get rid of the kid since he thinks of me as his friend... but I won't let him be discourteous towards you either," he told her honestly.
"Thanks," she said quietly, as she slowly, unwillingly, shrugged herself out from his loose grip—she believed it was time to do so, even though she wanted to memorize his touch a little longer. "So, I need to get back to... to work. Talk to you later today—"
"You should know by now that I won't scold you for not working right away. I'm not exactly strict, Roxy, so don't be as nervous around me. You know as well as I do that I hate yelling at you... even when you deserve it at times." He gave a cheeky, teasing grin which made her give an embarrass laugh.
Being playfully offended, she swatted his strong bicep. "You're so mean."
He only snickered lazily. "Heh, that so?"
"It is so, actually... and I'm not getting paid to talk to you, and you probably have things to do—"
"I have everything pretty much done. It's just the matter of waiting for my next patient, and they shouldn't be arriving for another fifteen minutes at least..."
Roxy started to fluster a little bit by what he was implying. "Well, I doubt you want to watch me work, and well, it'd be weird and intimidating to have my boss analyze everything I do, so Dean—Dr. Blackwell, find something else to do."
He smirked. "Yes, boss."
She pouted. Oh fudge, am I being bossy? Roxy wondered. "Ah, I mean, d-do whatever you want, 'cause it is your place... well, I'm not ordering you to do whatever you want... it's just..."
He laughed. "I understand—and I'm surprised you thought I was being serious. I was only teasing you before."
Her pout only grew. "Like I said before, you really are mean." So why the hell do I like him if he teases me like this? Roxy thought bemused, but at the same time, knew why.
Simply, he treated her as his equal, almost as if he thought she was just (or more) important than what he was. And also, not only was she the one to hold him up to a high standard... he did the same with her.
"—so make sure your lovely daughter has access to fruit juice, non-died soda, or at least two glucose tablets because it will be the quickest way to help her for when she has low blood sugar."
The middle-aged woman nodded solemnly. "Would any food help as well, Doctor?"
"Sandwiches that contain peanut butter, meat, or cheese will help your child as well, but make sure it's only half of one—a whole one would be a little too much. Nevertheless, this should definitely help her continue on with her normal activities, but if Katie does not improve within 10 to 15 minutes, then you'll have to treat the reaction again."
The woman smiled. "Thank-you, Doctor. I'll make sure she follows those orders as well as her insulin shots."
Dean only returned the smile as he escorted her out from his office, whereas Katie was sent into the waiting room earlier to go play, which allowed Dean and the child's mom to talk alone about her condition. And since the little girl was the last one of the day, Roxy easily could pay her more attention to her since it wasn't as busy.
"I made dis for you, Woxy." Katie handed her a picture filled with lots of colour; it was surprisingly good for a six year old.
Roxy grinned as she kneeled down to the girl's level, in order to be eye-level as she looked at the picture. "Wow, thank-you, honey. I love my portrait... you didn't even colour outside the lines."
The kid blushed. "Do you willy like it?"
"Of course I do," Roxy said with enthusiasm, not aware of Dean and the girl's mom standing behind her. "You're quite the little drawler and colourer, aren't you?"
Katie giggled. "Thanks... I like dawing very much, more than colouing."
Roxy smiled. "Well, you have a lot of talent for being so young," she paused and whispered, as if she was telling a secret. "I'm practically twenty, Katie, and I can't draw to save my life."
The child laughed loudly. "But pactice makes pefect, so that means you need to pactice exta."
Roxy looked down at the drawling, and thought it was about the cutest thing ever. "Hm, perhaps you're right, sweetie. I just need to practice more."
Katie smiled, giving her a shy hug as Roxy laughed softly, but returned it all the same.
Dean couldn't help but smile; his chocolate eyes warm and amused at the scene in front of him. "Roxy, I believe Miss Watson would like her daughter back."
Roxy rolled her eyes and finally broke the hug, but the smile didn't leave her face.
After the two left the office, which left Dean and Roxy in private, she thought out-loud to herself, "She's so cute."
"Yeah, she is," Dean agreed easily, but then frowned slightly. "It's just a sin that she has juvenile diabetes... she has to take a whack of shots a day just to stay alive."
Roxy's eyes filled with sorrow—she was aware that Katie had it, but she never really thought about it too much. "How long did she have it for? Or did she have it since birth?"
"She was diagnosed at age three. When I used to work at the hospital, I saw the kid fairly often... I've been her regular doctor ever since day one, I suppose. Anyway, long story short, she went through a lot for someone her age. She was in the hospital more times than what the average adult will ever experience."
Roxy sighed sadly. "Ugh... I feel awful and guilty now."
Dean chuckled. "I never meant for you to feel distressed, and you shouldn't be, Roxy. She'll be okay, and Katie doesn't see it as a disadvantage; in fact, she's handling it very well," he paused for a moment and then continued on a switch of topic. "Now, are you ready to go?"
She raised a brow. "Go? Wher—Oh. Right."
"N-no, I mean, not really... sorry, I don't want you to think I'm not happy to hang out..."
He chuckled lowly. "No, it's okay. If you're not in the mood, we can do it some other time—"
Her eyes widened slightly. "No, no! I really do want to go out with you tonight!" Could I have sounded anymore desperate? Roxy thought sourly.
The corners of his lips twitched upwards, as if he had to try his best not to laugh or tease her. "Good then. You had me worried for a moment."
"Question: are you drinking a lot tonight?" she asked bluntly.
He couldn't stop from laughing this time. "Answer: only a little bit," he mocked her previous words.
She ignored his light jeer, and asked, "So will you be driving?"
He could see where she was going with her question, so he lowered his dark brows inquisitively as he shortly explained, "I don't drink and drive, if that's what you're concerned about."
"Then how can you sober up in like an hour?" she questioned cynically.
"I'm not drinking to get drunk, Roxy. Alcohol doesn't have too much of an affect on me. I'm not irresponsible like that."
"I never said you were irresponsible," she told him softly. "But... I just wanted to make sure."
He gave a small, reassuring smile and said, "Well, like I promised you earlier, you'll be in good hands and I will not let anything bad happen to you. You can count on my word."
She slowly returned the smile. "O-okay." He is not another version of your father, so calm down. You can trust Dean, Roxy told herself firmly, wanting herself to believe it.
When they arrived at the Imperial Pub, the first thing Roxy noticed was the décor, and she really liked it. There was a huge aquarium bar filled with tropical fish, as many people were seated around, conversing with another. At the far end of the place was a room called the Library Lounge, and it had a large fireplace, television, and a comfy atmosphere. Opposite from the bar was a performance area as a band was already up on stage playing, and Dean mentioned something earlier that there was a rooftop garden patio—this was during the short car ride.
Again, she liked it a lot, and she could see why Dean would enjoy the place too. It seemed comfortable, relaxing, and simply fun.
Not saying anything, Dean led her into the bar district, as they then grabbed an empty table. Even though the place was packed and insanely busy, it didn't make her feel as nervous because her attention could not be altered off of Dean. He was still dressed in his usual work clothes (trousers and button-down shirt), as his tie was the only thing that was gone, but she believed he was just about the hottest guy alive. Well, of course, she always thought he was hot, but his... attractiveness was different tonight. Perhaps it was because Dean was sitting in front of her this time instead of Dr. Blackwell. He was not a doctor, not a boss anymore... he was just an animalistic delicious man.
Since the place carried servers and waiters, one of the waiters soon came over, and smiled, first at Dean. "Hey buddy, good to see you again." Roxy picked up on a British accent.
"Joshua, hey. Meet my...uh, friend, Roxy Carlson. Roxy, sweetheart, this is an old friend of mine, Joshua," Dean introduced the two.
Joshua gave her a friendly smile. "Great to meet you, Roxy. You're not just my buddy's friend, are you?"
Roxy's blue eyes widened slightly. "Erm... what do you mean?"
Joshua laughed whole-heartedly and explained innocently, "You see, Dean doesn't just befriend girls, and he never ever goes out in public with his short-term flings, so I know you're not just one of his usual one-night-stands. But you're his type, so it doesn't make sense—"
"—Joshua, go get us food and drinks," Dean growled... he wasn't blushing, per say, but his face was tinted just a soft shade of rose.
Joshua snorted a laugh. "Oh, oops. I wasn't supposed to say that, was I?"
Dean didn't say anything, but kept his glare directly onto the sandy-haired man. He knew Joshua didn't mean anything by what he said, but it still kind of annoyed him.
Joshua continued bashfully towards Roxy when he learned his mistake, "Eh... did I say 'one-night-stand'? I-I meant, you don't seem like one of his usual... erm—bezzy mates! You know, one of his 'since childhood' friends. And well, eh, Dean is good, so he doesn't have sex all the time—only once a week or so—wait! I didn't mean to say that. He... never has sex because he's a good guy, and he wants to wait for that one, special lady—"
Dean groaned loudly, cutting off his friend. "J-just get me a scotch on the rocks, and Roxy will have...?" He paused so she could give him her order.
"I'll h-have lemonade. Thanks." Roxy fidgeted with her hands underneath the table, still shocked by the previous piece of knowledge.
Joshua tried his best to brighten up the table once more. "A-All right, one alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink. Sounds good—wait," his bewildered voice lowered as he spoke privately to Dean, even though Roxy still could hear, "you're dating a girl who doesn't drink?—"
"Joshua. Go." Dean folded his hands underneath his chin as his elbows rested on the table, his eyes suddenly looking tired, but again, annoyed.
As soon as Joshua zipped his mouth shut and scurried away, Roxy tensed due to Dean's silence. Yes, she was a little... surprised, that he probably wasn't as respectable to his past girlfriends or flings as she first thought he was, but then why was he so kind and sweet towards her? Did that mean anything, or was she looking too far into it?
Roxy nervously laughed, trying to lighten the mood. "Wow... your friend is... quite some character, but he is nice. It's funny that he's British, but lives in Canada, and works in a pub... kind of ironic," he remained indifferent so her own smile died, "well, I guess it's not that ironic..."
Dean looked up from the table as his eyes now focused onto Roxy, meeting her own eyes throughout the room's dim lighting. Softly, he said, "I like you, Roxy, and I don't want you to think less of me because of my..." he was trying to search for the right word to use to describe his actions.
Roxy raised both brows naively. "Whoring?"
He made a face, but then sighed, almost in agreement. "Honestly? I have no time for a girlfriend. I'm pretty busy during the weekdays, and even on the weekends, I'm still busy. Whenever I tried to pursue a relationship in the past, all the girls I've been with wanted more attention than what I was willing to give them. It was either to forget about my career and have a steady girlfriend, or keep my career and not bother with a serious relationship for a long time. So obviously I picked the latter."
Roxy tried her hardest to not look too sad, but knew she failed miserably. "You'll... never want a real relationship?" Even though it was a question, it sounded more like a conclusion.
He really wanted to disagree and tell her that it was not the case, but... "Roxy, I love my career too much to give it up. Most women I've been with expected me to put them first on my list, ahead of everything else in my life, but it doesn't work like that. Sure, girls are important, but I'll never put a girl ahead of my dreams and future, unless she wants to be apart of my future while knowing that I won't devote as much time to her as I probably should. Do you... kind of understand where I'm coming from?" His eyes softened as he spoke his last sentence.
All that she knew was that he openly told her that he wasn't a committed person, and that was a huge disappointment. She could overlook his flings and whatever he did in the past, but if he had no desire to truly love and care for a woman, then why would she want him romantically? He was more insecure throughout relationships than what she was.
But still... she couldn't suddenly stop herself from liking him. At least he was honest and up front with her; in fact, he had the right to not tell her a damn thing because she wasn't anything to him, but he chose to be fully honest before anything could ever possibly start. Even though she hated to admit it, it was good of him to do so.
She nodded weakly. "I think I understand. I just... feel bad that you don't want to find love."
He smiled a little. "I never said I don't ever want to fall in love with someone... I just don't want to look so soon. Opening my own office, running the place, paying the bills, keeping my apartment half decent... it all takes so much energy and time. Relationships should definitely be the last thing I need right now."
It was a pang against her heart, but she tried with all her might to shrug it off and seem supportive. "And that is wise; I suppose... it's mature of you to think so."
His smile never weakened or faltered. "But you think I'm wrong?"
She pondered for only a moment or two. "Well, it's not that I believe you're 'wrong'... I just think that you can't plan out everything in life. You are the type that wants—needs control, aren't you? And it bothers you when things don't work out the way you want them to, so you will always be the type to try and prevent things from happening—even the good things that will only benefit you. All in all, if you're not asking for it, you don't want it."
He seemed thoughtful by her reflection. "You kind of are... are completely right, actually. I am that type. I just... never thought about it like that before. I just always thought of myself as 'determined'... not a control-freak."
She smirked slightly. "I am not saying you are a control-freak, Dean; in fact, perhaps it's a good trait to take control over your dreams and ambitions. You make life what it is, don't you?"
"I like your insight," he admitted, giving her a sheepish smile. "But now I sort of feel like a moron... here I am trying to harness life, but I don't enjoy it when I do."
Now she was confused. "What do you mean?" she asked, and unconsciously leaned in closer.
His smile was genuine this time. "For example, I never meant to... become attached to my employee and friend, but I am. The more I talk to you, the more I like being with you, and I'm happy that I have someone to lean on and talk to."
"I know we never really... got to know each other," she paused and continued, hesitantly. "But I... I am honestly happy when you seem to care about me. I enjoy being with you and learning more about you, Dean, even though we're not all that close."
His smile grew bigger by what she said, even though she felt embarrassed. "Roxy, tell me, educational wise, being someone's secretary isn't all you want to be, is it?"
She answered, "I've always been the type to produce good grades during high school and try my best, but I don't think I want to spend years in university for something that I don't know if I'll ever want. I mean, I don't want to go into thousands of dollars worth of debt, nor do I want to rely on my parents, so I thought it would make more sense for me to work for a couple of years, gain experience, share my place with my best friend so the rent is not as expensive, and then decide if I want to further my education when I'm more aware of myself. And no offence or anything, even though you pay me good and whatnot, my job is pretty boring. I think in another year or two I'll want more pizzazz."
He chuckled lowly. "Sounds reasonable enough. And worse comes to worst, I'll always have a job open for you—or I'll recommend you to a few other doctors who would want someone to handle things."
She weakly smiled. "Like I said, I don't plan to quit for a while yet anyways, and who knows? You might fire me next week for all I know."
He rolled his coffee orbs—not believing what she said. "Yeah, right," he mumbled. "How am I suppose to fire you when I can't even hold a proper argument with you?"
Roxy slowly smirked, almost coquettishly. "It's because I'm a woman, of course. I'll always win."
A/N: So yes, I ended it here (next chapter will pretty much pick up from here) because it surpassed the typical word count I wanted, and I'm so tired (beginning of the week), and I really, really wanted to post a chapter before the week truly began. It was either to not post this for like another week, or post this little bit sooner. I know it's mostly talking, but they kind of needed that, didn't they? Well, anyway, I hope ya all liked this chapter - I happened to enjoy writing this one a lot; hence why I had to cut it off here, lol.
So review, review, review! :)
Many thank-yous to: sappyromancelvr; blondiexoxo; PrincessCherokee01; featuredsince93; Keira; PadlockLOL
P.S. - I'll being doing my "thanks-for-the-review" note differently so it won't be as long.