I told myself time and time again that he'll never love me in the way I want him to, and if he wanted to love me at all, he would. I didn't want to be that lovestruck puppy dog. I'm not clueless to think that he even wants me around, and so I didn't show.
Natalie Higgins buried herself in her work to forget. Forget about him, forget she even had an inkling of emotion for him. Paxton Giles fell in love with a girl that would never fall for him, no matter how much he's chasing after her. Friendship broken, heavy hearts shattered.
© R. Biscuit
I don't wanna be somebody falling into relapse
Every time I see that smile again.
I just think of when…
Relapse by Divided By Friday
I stopped walking, trying to balance on high heels and finding my keys were something that I can't do—not when I wanted the least attention on me. Digging through my bag, I groaned, unable to find the stupid keys. This day is bad enough, I just want to go home. Why did I need such a large purse anyway?
I let out a loud groan and I couldn't care less if it echoed throughout the lobby. Digging further into my too full purse, a string of curses was uttered. This day couldn't get any worse.
"Natalie!" Nope, I was wrong. This day is just getting worse by the second as I looked up to a brunette beauty beside him. His arm around her waist with barely any space between them.
As soon as I saw his emerald eyes, I gave them a quick nod in acknowledgment before he can react to who the girl was smiling at. Now, I really had to get out of here. Was it the grand lobby of Hanson's Creative getting smaller, or was it my throat clenching tighter? Was it seconds or minutes until I broke eye contact and started teetering towards the exit to the parking lot.
I didn't look back. I didn't want to look back because if I did, then he'd hypnotize me again—like every time in the past. Because I told myself that he'll never love me back anyway, what's the point in staying behind? I don't want to be that lovestruck puppy dog, waiting for my chance at experiencing his attention. As I neared my car, I dared to look back. But who was I fooling? He was not going to chase after me.
I groaned one more time, not caring if anyone near me could hear. The blinking of the cursor, waiting for words to be written, made me want to throw my mug filled with hot tea at the screen. I switched windows on my computer screen, from the notepad to a video editing platform. Calming myself down by cutting scenes and dragging it to smoothly run from scene to scene.
But the frustration is stopping me from concentrating on the new task at hand. I needed to finish my sample script for tomorrow's weekly projects meeting.
"Talie, please, just eat lunch with us!" My shoulders suddenly shook like an earthquake of the highest magnitude just hit my small cubicle.
I didn't look away from my screen as I tried to cut a scene just at the right time. "Can't. Working."
"It has been months, I don't even see you eat." Now that's an exaggeration coming from my drama queen of an editor.
"I eat." I say curtly still too focused on my screen—half occupied by the video editor program, and half with the shared document for the script that I should be working on.
"It's not like he'll be there." Brandy's voice didn't sound condescending but more of an encouragement. I spun in my chair and faced the red haired girl. Her brown eyes were hopeful, her hands poised outwards. Although she was posed for surrender, I knew in her eyes, just this once she wanted to see me outside of my cubicle.
I felt bad. It has been months since I've even made any effort on socializing with my friends outside of anything work-related. It was because of the fear inside me. I don't want to see him. Him with her. Him smiling at her, touching her, falling more deeply in love with her.
I gave her a scowl, "How would you know that?" How does she know that if I step in there, I wouldn't see the image of him, waiting for me like he used to?
"Because they're in New York. Plus, when he was still here, I have never seen him once in the cafeteria." She paused and rested her weight on her other leg. "Talie, I hate seeing you like this. Sure, he's the nephew of the big boss but what else is special about him? There's tons of fish in the pond—heck, try to ocean… wilder and hotter fish live there!"
Everything, I wanted to yell at Brandy. But I just shook my head in defeat, after all, I am trying to move on. To be honest, I don't think I missed anything the past couple of months—nor do I think anyone missed me. He surely did not.
"Paxton Giles is an asshole." That wasn't what she thought of him a little over a year ago. Because he wasn't an asshole at all. He was a man so blindly in love, what can I do about that?
Brandy Mitchell's chair rolled towards my cubicle and her fiery red hair swirled around with it. "Have you seen him yet?"
I raised an eyebrow at her, "Seen who?"
Ever the dramatic, Brandy gasped with wide brown eyes. "Don't tell me you don't know the juicy gossip. Remember that Mr. Hanson has announced that he's bringing his nephew to learn the ropes around the company. Apparently, he's going to someday run the Get Creative sector."
"Yes, and for a guy who's supposed to be running our sector, I have not seen a glimpse of even a sliver of his hair." I shrugged, and looked back at my computer's screen. "Plus, unlike you, I'm not boy hungry."
She bumped her chair against mine, "Wow, thanks for making me sound like a whore, Talie."
"I'm not! I'm just saying, I don't care if there's a new hot guy that walks in the building. Plus, like what you said, he's the boss's nephew—none of us would have a chance with the guy."
Brandy sighed again into the cushions of her chair. "Whatever, I heard he's set his eyes on this girl from the graphics department. Damn it, even Peyton Kingsley from PR didn't stand a chance."
My mind wandered to the infamous Peyton Kingsley. She's one of the Blondies from PR—no one, and I mean no one can even try to reject one of the Blondies. There's a whole line of Hanson guys just to get to date any one of them. But whoever this girl from graphics is surely lucky if she beat a Blondie.
"I know, right? Guh. Peyton Kingsley pretty much have every Hanson's guy in her hands, and come Paxton Giles—the guy who had the nerve to reject her."
Looking at the post-it on my desk, I sighed and pushed up from my desk. "Look, I got to make a quick run to the archives. This Hanson's history video needs more juicy deats."
"Remember, the doors lock from the outside. Don't close the door all the way!" She shouted at my already retreating form.
No way am I stupid enough to lock myself in the archives. It's dark and dusty in there. As I entered the floor's archives, the smell of old papers hit my nostrils, along with the dust—making me sneeze. I shoved a small plastic trash bin between the door and the wall. Inspecting my handwork, I left the door slightly ajar and started to head to the columns of file cabinets just to see if I could find what I was looking for.
Magazine articles, newspaper clippings, anything. Sure, a history of Hanson's could be done easily but who would watch it? It wasn't interesting enough, that's for sure. I could do a video about a haunted archives room, because that's exactly how I feel about this large room.
A loud and colorful swear suddenly echoed in the room along with a tumbling sound, followed with the soft click of the door. I then hear the sound of the knob being played around with more curses to accompany it. I looked toward the sound and a guy wearing a white dress shirt and auburn hair was banging on the door.
My hands immediately flew to my pant pockets. Empty. My phone's at my desk. "Goddammit."
The guy's body turned to my direction and his wild green eyes looked at me. "The door's locked."
"You're not supposed to close the door. It can only be opened from the outside." I explained as I rolled my eyes at him. "Do you have a phone? Maybe we can call someone."
He then shoved his hand on his back pocket and grabbed a phone, a phone that did not light up the moment he tried to press any of the two buttons it had. "Fuck, my battery's dead." He turned back and started to bang and shout for help.
"No one's going to hear you. Barely anyone passes by here, and everyone's stations are too far away from here." I explained as I turned back to the file cabinets that contained old magazines that featured the company. I didn't want to waste my time worrying about the door right now, nor do I have the time to swallow on my anger towards the idiot that locked us in. I had a deadline and this is not my current concern right now.
"Do you have a phone with you?" He asks all the way from the door.
"If I did, would we still be in this mess?" I snapped at him.
"I take that as a no." He uttered, I wasn't sure if it was meant for only himself.
"It is very much a no." I retorted, frustrated that I was stuck with this imbecile, frustrated that I couldn't find anything of interest. But I persevered.
Soon I heard rustling of cabinets and footsteps. Good he didn't even think of small talk. I was mad enough at him for locking us in here and I didn't even know who he was. Maybe it was better that way. The less I know of him, the less I could probably bump into him in the office.
I heard footsteps again, this time nearing where I stand. "Look, I'm sorry I got us in this mess. I'm a little new in this place and it's my first time in the archives." He then stood beside me, his hand outstretched. "I'm Paxton Giles by the way."
My eyes widened, and my heartbeat started to escalate. Fuck. I slowly turned to him and quickly shook his hand. "Natalie Higgins." I looked directly at his face. Who can even possibly have a face like that? He had high cheekbones, and a crooked nose. His smile that easily reached his bright green eyes, can make anyone agreeable. "Mr. Giles, I'm so sorry how I acted."
His hand then scratched the back of his neck, "Ah… I know I shouldn't be surprised that you are acting this way but please, just call me Paxton."
"No, Mr. Giles, you're going to be my boss… I can't possibly—"
"What? Because my uncle is also your boss?" He looked down to the floor and quickly looked back up with a smirk. "Are you really sorry because of what you did, or are you sorry because I'm the boss's nephew?"
"What…? No. No!"
"That's very believable." He chuckled darkly.
"Well, my acting abilities can certainly use some polishing up."
His smirk widened to a big grin. "I'll forgive you, but you have to do something for me."
I stayed silent with a fearfully questioning look.
"Have lunch with me. My lunch buddy is on leave so I'm pretty much alone now that she's gone."
I looked at the full cafeteria room. Tables in different levels, with walls of plants to give some sort of privacy to rows of tables. My eyes scanned towards the only table that I've been attracted to. He wasn't there. Actually no one was sitting there. My attention was caught by Brandy's hand pulling my arm towards one of the larger tables where many of the Get Creative creators were eating their food. Their eyes widened and silence filled the table.
"Hey, Talie." Michael Monroe was the first one to speak up. "You finally came out of your cave." He smiled up and scooted over to make space for me.
"Thanks." I set my salad and drink on the table and sat down beside him. "And my cave is very comfortable, thank you."
A tapping from the other side of the table distracted the group. It was loud and obnoxious but it only meant one thing—Gracie Nichols was itching to write. We all looked up at her expectantly until she snapped out of her thoughts. Her eyes grew large as they shifted from every person around the table. "What? We're eating lunch, not in a meeting!" Her small voice tickled my ears. "Let me get my ideas straightened up! I'll throw it in the weekly meeting tomorrow, okay?" She then proceeded to furiously type on her laptop.
"It better be good, Gracie." I said.
"Yes, ma'am!" She cheered on from behind her screen. "This will be a hit for sure!"
I smiled, the moment that Hanson's Creative put up a department for video makers, it consumed my life. I started out like Gracie, a writer for short skits and videos to feature in Hanson's Get Creative video channels. As viewership started to grow, slowly, I got promoted to one of the executive producers, in-charge of a group of people in the channel to create videos with. That group included Michael, Gracie, and Brandy, and several others—The Do-Its.
One of our hit skits would be DIY Dating, a show we've been running since the channel had just started, which also helped shovel viewers in. Since I was still a writer then, and barely anyone was part of the channel, I was also a talent in the show making sweet do-it-yourself dates and gifts with my partner Theodore Larson. I rolled my eyes at the thought of his name. Compared to our friendship on camera, Theo Larson and I have so much silent animosity against each other.
Michael's hand snatched a piece of kale from my bowl and popped it in his mouth before asking, "So…" My eyebrow raised at him, "Is it true that Paxton is coming to the projects meeting tomorrow?"
I felt my face contort involuntarily, as I looked around the table for answers. Brandy was giving Michael the evil eyes before averting them when she saw my glare. "Who says?"
"We just heard from other producers, the Foodist, and the Urbans were talking about it this morning." Gracie said from behind her screen, not daring to look up.
"Isn't he supposed to be in New York?" Not that I was following his every movement, but I know that he'd probably want to stay in New York than in the new Hanson's Creative in LA.
Brandy shrugged with an unsure expression. "Talie, he's bound to come back here. He's the president of HCV."
"Well, our presentation better be spot on." I decided that the video editing and the script can wait until the presentation was perfect. "The president's coming home."
I hoped my voice sounded confident enough, like it didn't bother me of his return. Because I shouldn't be bothered by his return, right? He's no one, he's nothing. I repeated that phrase in my head, that same phrase that has been on loop in my brain for months.
Back from the dead! Hopefully this story is a success. I plan on updating once a week, either on Fridays or Saturdays. I'm already on Chapter 8 for this story so hopefully I can get some insights about this story so I can get inspiration on future chapters too. For those who read Eyes Unaware, this story is quite related to it and while the story is on hiatus for now, there will be some spoilers in this storyline. I'm not too afraid of the interlocking plots since Relapse will focus on Natalie.
Format will be like my past story The Wish. In medias res, I believe is the most effective for this story. So, italics are from the past.
Also, please give Relapse by Divided by Friday a listen because it'll give so much understanding on the premise of this story too. **Acoustic version is bomb
Hopefully I get some reviews, let me know how you're liking the story so far. I know it's nothing much, but more details will be revealed in the next few chapters.
Until the next update,