Author's Note: Ok, so I guess this means I'm back doing rom-coms. I like doing them, they're funny and sometimes I write stuff I can't believe I wrote. Like Making Mr Right, I read that a while ago and found myself laughing out loud and wondering how I came up with that stuff.
This is rated T for language, not lots but enough, and reference to homosexuality. If you're homosexual, please do not take offence.
Oh! And someone who I was talking to about Ayn Rand. I accidentally deleted your msg, so if you can msg me again we can talk.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans.
This is degrading. Definitely the most embarrassing thing I've ever done in my entire life. This wasn't what I was meant to do with my life! Look at me! Raven Roth, would-be billionairess daughter of property mogul Trigon Roth is writing for the Herald. O and if that wasn't bad enough, I was their advice columnist. Whatever was left of my dignity when I left home is now gone, sold to masses for 50 cents a paper. Maybe daddy dearest was right, I should have gone into the family business.
Then again that would have been equally as disastrous. I didn't quite have my father's blood lust for business. Although I did inherit his quick temper and wicked tongue. If anything I could still bring a grown man to his knees with my words. That might come in handy when I decide to settle down with a man that would be the day I look up at rock bottom.
My feet are numbing in these shoes, I bend over and under my desk and pop them off. Ah, better. Why I continue to wear these blasted things I'll never know. Probably along with the same reason I wear a suit to work, I didn't want to be seen walking into that building. I don't want people to know I work at the Herald.
The Herald is on the 16th floor of the tallest building in the city, a mere 4 blocks from my apartment. The building had prestige, certainly, and the Herald was no sleazy tabloid. It was a valid paper in a building full of valid architects and small businesses. And of course, the Times also had their offices there on the 20th floor; which definitely made things worse.
I slip the shoes back with a sigh, I really need a coffee. The trudge to the coffee room is painful with my swollen ankles. And this is when the coffee machine decides to run out of coffee. Desperate for caffeine, I grumble to myself, teeth grinding together and walk to the elevator. Actually it's almost a limp. God my feet kill! I watch impatiently as the red numbers count downward, 19, 18, 17. Finally!
The steel doors open to reveal... The smuggest son of a bitch in the world.
"Hello Raven!" Garfield Logan. He grins as he sees me at the archway. He was alone in the elevator. I hesitate, not wanting to be in an elevator along with him. He sees it and reaches out to grab my arm.
"Come on Rae, I won't bite," he smiles a smile wide enough to show off his sharp canines. I roll my eyes and limp into the elevator beside him. He watches as I awkwardly try to reach the buttons without moving my feet.
"What's wrong?" I glare at him as I support myself against the walls. He reaches over and presses the lobby button, "You know you can just ask me."
I grumble as he presses the button for the lobby. I return to normal and face forward but I feel his eyes on me, watching my face and glancing at my shifting feet.
"Your feet hurting you Rae?" he asks, "I could carry you if wanted..."
Ha! As if I'll ever let you touch me... Again.
"Garfield, leave me alone. I just need to get coffee and be done with today." 13, 12.
"Long day?" I nod, long to say the least
"Don't feel like chatting huh?"
"When do I ever feel like chatting, Garfield." He sighs and takes a step towards me, I stiffen but he continues.
"How many times do I have to tell you to call me Gar, Rae?"
"And how many times do I have to tell you not to call me Rae, Garfield."
6, 5. A moment of silence passes between us.
"So how's the 16th floor treatin' ya?" He asks me smugly, stupid prick.
"Well, great actually. Really good, they love me," I lie. He raises his eyebrows and nods, impressed. He takes another step towards me.
"That's good. And what is it exactly that you write for them?" O shit, he's onto me, "because you know I've been looking for your name all over the Herald and can't seem to find it. You know, the basic columns, the editorials. Not a single Raven Roth anywhere."
"I work in marketing now. You know advertising? No acknowledgement in the paper." I dismiss it quickly and he backs down, a glimmer of disappointment in his eye.
"Hey," he brings back quickly, "I could use a coffee myself, I could join you-"
"No," the doors open, "don't do this Garfield, its done. We're done." And I walk out of the elevator leaving him headed to the basement. I listen as he gives a faint, "alright" and the elevator doors close behind me. My heart pounds nervously as I make my way to the coffee stand in the lobby.
"Triple-triple, please. Large."
Garfield Logan is the entertainment columnist for the Times, and oddly enough, an ex flame. Ok well you can't really call him an 'ex flame' because that would suggest that there were sparks to begin with and little kindlings of affection to fuel it. The sparks were little explosions and that kindling was a very drunken building Christmas party.
It had been a mistake, a drunken post-mortem from recently ending a bad relationship. He was a rebound of sorts. But I never liked him then and I despise him now. He was always this ridiculously unfunny, annoying, jokester type who liked to be the centre of attention.
Our two papers always visited events together and attend press conferences. He would always be there as the good-looking poster boy of journalism. Well, good-looking to most people, not to me. With his blue eyes, messy just out of bed hair, and swimmer's body he would get sent to the most public of events to have readers swoon over his movie star good looks. Shamelessly.
The playboy of the journalistic world, he would often be caught schmoozing with models, singers and actresses. Photographed on runways and publicity events. In other words, the Times' version of a man whore.
But it worked, Times readers adored him and last Valentine's Day a contest was held on who would get a date with Gar Logan. Needless to say hundreds of entries were submitted. In the end a 35 year old woman was chosen from somewhere just outside the city. I could never do that, how unprofessional! He has absolutely no professional integrity.
"You know Raven, you can be considered our little bachelorette here at the Herald, you know," suggests my co-worker Garth. He is the fashion columnist here and is so gay it hurt. The basic stereotype of gay, Garth is my best friend in the paper and has the best gay-dar in the city. Albeit he harbours his own little crush on Gar Logan, I try to dismiss that as his only flaw. He insists that, despite my and his own disappointment, that there was no way Gar was gay.
"Well you are! Do you know how many letters we get inquiring about your true identity? You are this amazingly smart, down to earth, sassy, funny, single woman, who wouldn't want to date you." I almost tell him everyone, but decide against it.
He takes out a paper, a paper copy of an email sent to me.
"Dear That Girl," that was my alias, "You sound totally hot. When is the Herald going to hold a contest to date you?"
I roll my eyes and continue reading my emails. Garth and I have to filter the letters that come in, read all of them and chose the most legitimate, desperate sounding people.
"Garth, I am not going to allow the Herald to pimp me," I throw another useless letter in the garbage, "besides, these guys are judging me by how I reply to people's problems? Lame!"
"You never know, they could be legit," he laughs and I punch him sideways, throwing away another paper. This was tedious, boring and, unfortunately, my job. There were tons of emails and letter mail to sort through a day. Plus there were the occasional lunatics asking for my real name and number, or threatening me for some reason or another.
"O!" Garth's eyebrows perk up at the email in his hands, "This sounds promising."
I eye him funny and he clears his throat to begin reading, "Dear That Girl, Hello, how are you? Good? Well, now that's over with, I must honestly say I doubt very highly that you will even lay eyes on this email let alone read it. But I'll try anyway."
He smirks as he continues, "I'm probably going to be horribly presumptuous right now and assume that you're single. Now heaven forbid you're reading this and is about to throw it away thinking I'm just another creep about to hit on you, I assure you I am not. I simply want to share some advice. By reading your article, which is a guilty pleasure for me I admit, I notice your cynicism and obvious bias against men. Are you tainted? Hurt by some past love? If so, my apologies, if not then why?"
I listen, slightly offended by the stranger's words, "I don't expect this to be published, nor do I even ask for a reply. I simply ask that you lay off us guys. It's not our fault 100 percent of the time as you would like to think. Some men out there are looking for just what the women are looking for. Love? Maybe. Security? Definitely. I dare you to find a man who is not in the wrong, a man who is not out to 'screw' all woman kind and then leave. I'm sure you'll find more than enough to suit your curiosity. Sincerely, That Guy."
Obviously there is some sort of angry facial expression that Garth is reading because he's laughing.
"Shut up," I growl at him. He covers his mouth and tries to stop.
"Ok, ok, I'm sorry. But you have to admit, you are really pissed off about that letter." I glare at him and snatch the paper from his hands. My eyes quickly scan for a return address.
"I am not 'pissed' just… intrigued. And a little offended." He watches as I whirl around on my chair and open up my email account.
"Oh no, you are not going to reply," he asks standing from the chair he pulled up into my cubicle. He peers over my shoulder watching as I open a new email, "Raven, I do declare this is the boldest thing you've done with a reader. He must have really struck a chord."
I shrug him off and glare at the letter.
"Ok," he says leaving the cubicle, "just don't have too much fun."
I realize I'm staring at the computer screen when my eyes begin to dry.
"Dear That Guy,
Yes, it is horribly presumptuous of you to assume that. Do you realize that very little about me goes into those articles? I believe that you are out of line for accusing me of being biased against men. I can now accuse you of being biased against women. Besides, have you opened your eyes to your gender? Most of them are out to 'screw woman kind' as you so eloquently put it. Many of them have hurt women for game, and a very, very diminutive amount are the kind who want the whole nine yards of a family and security that you suggest.
I don't even know why I am bothering to reply to your ridiculous email as you are probably some asshole prick who's trying to justify his philandering ways by getting it out on paper.
I sit back from my computer, slightly panting. I hadn't realized I was holding my breath as I typed. I read it over again before typing in the address, I laugh at the immaturity of his email address before catching myself and looking at my own, I click send and give out a satisfied sigh, closing my eyes and massaging them.
I glance over at the clock, 4:24. I get out at 5, why? I don't know. I it's not like I'm paid by the hour or am I clocked, but for some reason they demand I stay here for a 9-5 at least 3 times a week. The rest of the time I can do my letters and whatever I'm writing on the side at home. Right now I'm passing time; I selected two other letters this morning and responded to them for tomorrow's paper. I have two more picked out for the day after but will get to writing later, it's not like it's the hardest thing to do in the world.
My phone rings. Argh, I don't want to talk to anyone right now. I just want to go home and sleep.
"Ravey," I roll my eyes; she's never going to get over that nickname is she?
"Hey Melvin," she giggles on the other end of the phone. How I ever got stuck with this kid I'll never know, "How did you get my number here?"
"Unca Richie gave it to me," she laughs.
I roll my eyes, "Oh, of course, well tell 'unca' Rich that I'm going to kill him, kay?"
I hear her yell it back to Dick who is clearly in the room; I can almost hear him sweat. Melvin was the neighbour of my best friends Dick and Kori, who were incidentally married. Kori loved little tykes and was accustomed to babysitting Melvin and her two brothers, Timmy and Teether. Unfortunately for me, the kids had some weird attachment to me. I'm not sure where it came from but I dread the day I become one of those 'kids' people who stop to wave at little children on the street and whom children are naturally drawn to. I never gave Melvin and her brothers the impression that I liked kids in anyway, but they seemed to be immune to my glares and impervious to my sarcasm. Kids.
She giggles into the phone, "You know Ravey, Teether gotted a new tooth and Melvin says that they come from eating corn. Timmy says that when you eat corn you get the little thingys stucked in your gums and they become teeth. And today we went to the park and a boy made fun of my pigtails and Bobby knocked them over but nobody believed me that it was Bobby and I gotted and in trouble and-"
I tune out a bit, its forgivable right? They're just kids. But I turn my attention back to my computer when I notice something. New mail?
"Uh, okay, listen Melvin I'm working right now, kay? And I can't talk so tell Uncle Richie that I have to go okay sweetie? Bye!" I let out a breath of relief and hang up the phone. Clicking open my inbox I hold back a gasp to see a response from 'That Guy'. Wow, he responds quickly. Must have an office job.
"Dear That Girl,
And here I thought you weren't going to even look at my email. Should I be flattered to even receive a response from you?
Agreed, it was unfair of me to assume things from a column on a paper. I mean how much of what you say to your readers can truly be coming from you? You must be an incredible writer in order to separate yourself from such personal issues like that. I would say that was unfair to your readers if they ever found out that you were in fact so distant from them. I would think you were a sort of machine if your letter to me hadn't been so passionate.
Now if I were to use that argument against you, I'd say you were out of line to assume that I am some philandering asshole prick. But I won't go there.
PS: Your avoidance of the questions prompts me to assume you are single."
I sit here, fuming at the letter I just read. What an arrogant bastard! Who is he to talk to me like that? Ok I do admit assuming he was a prick was a bit hypocritical of me, but insulting my skills as a writer by some stupid column was going too far! It's no longer just my pride on the line, now it was my integrity.
I quickly compose a new email.
"Okay. I try to keep my composure and be the better person in this petty little whatever you want it to be. But when you talk about my integrity as a writer you have gone too far buddy! If you want to just push my buttons, then so be it, if you just want to piss me the hell of then go ahead. You've succeeded to do both.
I do admit that I shouldn't have called you names in response, but for the record I get hundreds of emails a day and how am I supposed to separate the idiots from the sincere people. Of which clearly you are. But now I'd rather not waste my time defending myself to someone who is barely worth my time.
You should be flattered as hell that I even responded to your email since I usually don't waste my time with trivialities and stupid people.
I send it right away and push off from my computer. I can't stand to be insulted by someone I barely even know let alone-
My thoughts are cut off by a blinking on my screen. A reply.
"Now, now. Retract your claws, I didn't mean to stir you quite so much. I just wanted to talk to you. You seemed interesting enough on the paper and I wasn't disappointed. I'm sorry I wasted your time.
Shock and a slight of pang guilt hit me. Darn, why did he have to apologize?
At the risk of making this into a correspondence, I apologize also. I guess you just really pushed my buttons. I hope you continue to read my column and aren't deterred by my… temper. I'll try to be less biased from now on and I wish you good luck with you and your future endeavours.
There, a nice professional email. That wasn't too hard was it? It's a sort of relief as well, I honestly didn't want to get carried away with some stupid email by some stupid-
New mail…That was fast.
Thank you, that's all I ask.
No that's a lie, I ask something more. Keep writing to me. Nothing more than this, than these emails. You're like a breath of fresh air in the smog polluted city of ours and I'd like to keep talking. You are an interesting conversationalist and definitely more intelligent than most people I know.
So if you'll indulge me, I'd like to turn this into a correspondence. That is, if you don't mind writing to a bored desk-jockey somewhere in the city.
PS: I am flattered."
This is how it begins. My correspondence with some strange man somewhere in the city. I don't know who he is, what he does or if he is really a he. But I do indulge him and get myself a pen pal. I hide it of course from people; it seems ludicrous that I start a long chain of emails with someone who wrote into my column. But it is interesting, he keeps me on my toes and we never seem to stop arguing. It always ends with him laughing about it and starting a new topic. This is all it is, I tell myself, a letter-to-letter thing with a man I barely even know.
I'm bored again. This stupid cubicle with its stupid padded walls is starting to really bug me. I check my emails to find one from him waiting.
"Did you notice that the city is drowning in the colour yellow? I hate that colour. They seem to plant only yellow tulips, post yellow signs, paint yellow graffiti and advertise on yellow paper. It's blinding that's what it is. They don't use the colour yellow in baby rooms because it makes them anxious, is that what the city is supposed to be doing? Making us more anxious? Because I'm anxious enough without all the yellow thank you very much.
I almost laugh at his email, it's a ridiculous thought. But now that I think about it, the city is covered in yellow. This is what our emails have been reduced to, after 4 months of correspondence this is all that we seem to talk about, trivialities.
"I despise the colour yellow myself. I'm partial to blue. But yes I did notice the influx of yellow. Maybe it's a productivity thing, the colour yellow makes you anxious, anxiety makes you work harder.
What are you anxious about?
I feel like I know him. I know his favourite colour is green, he mentioned it once. I know that he's a vegetarian, we had a long argument about that, and I know that he's hugely environmentalist. I know his little quirks and sayings and I know when he's really passionate about something. At the same time, I don't really know him at all. I don't know what colour his eyes are, what he does for a living, is he married, or anything. I don't even know his name. Sometimes I get the sudden urge to ask, but know its better that I don't.
"Well, there are many things I'm anxious about. Like now, for instance, I'm anxious to go home. To get out of this blasted building and watch TV. I'm anxious to watch sequel to that horror movie that just came out, I heard its better than the first. I'm anxious to hear in the news that the mayor has finally passed that bill outlawing plastic bags in the city.
But most often, I find myself anxious to read my emails.
Hey, you're an advice columnist. Could give me some for a sec?
"Sure, That Guy, whatever so long as you don't make a habit of it."
"Okay, well. There's this girl, I know cliché right? But there is this girl, she's smart, funny, easy to talk to and is absolutely adorable when she gets mad. But I can't approach her, you know? Like physically, I can't see her. I want to though. I bet she's beautiful.
I think about her all the time and I always smile when I hear from her, but I'm not sure if she even thinks of me that way. After all, she barely knows me. And really, I barely know her. But I'd like to. I want to ask to meet her, what do you think?
I'm not breathing. I'm almost positive I'm having a stroke, but I can't be sure. I read the email over again just to see if I read it properly. Was he talking about me? Some voice in the back of my head scolds me for even asking that, of course he's talking about me. I know him well enough to know that he's not joking. He has feelings for me. I should have seen this coming, I really should have. I suppose some part of me feels the same way. I think.
I get up and pace a little, I don't know how to respond. That's when Garth, God bless him, decides to pass by.
"Raven, sweetie, what's wrong?" I look at him and he reads my eyes, "Okay, come we'll talk elsewhere."
He drags me downstairs to the bench at the front of the building, sitting me down like a child, "Okay, shoot."
"Where to begin, well, first off would you ever meet up with a guy you barely know, but have talked to many times?" He eyes me suspiciously.
"You mean like from an online dating service?" He gives me a look that says 'please tell me no'.
"No, no! I mean… like… okay, do you remember four months ago when I got that email from some guy and I got really angry and responded?" he nodded, seeing where this is going, "Well, yea. We kept talking afterwards."
Garth's eyes bug out from shock and I avoid his stare, "Raven! You didn't! Well, is he a nice guy at least?"
"Yea, he's intelligent and pretty funny. And he gets me, but now he wants to meet and… I don't know. I like him, I guess but… it's not wise to meet up with strangers you meet on the internet."
"Yeah, especially if he knows about you from some article you write on a paper," I glare at him. Not helping, Garth. Suddenly his eyes turn past my head and he smiles, waving cutely. I turn to see Garfield behind me, and Garth just waved him over.
"O God, why did you do that for?" I punch Garth in the arm as Gar reaches our bench.
"Hey Garth, hi Rae," he smiles, "You guys getting lunch?" I shake my head but Garth answers.
"No, but if you're willing to buy…"
Gar laughs, "Sure, but only if you come." I hope he's not looking at me, but he is. I look up at him and give a weak smile then glance over at Garth who's trying to hold back a giddy grin. His eyes tell me to say yes, but this was really not the time.
"Sorry Garfield, but I'm just not hungry," I avoid the jealous, bitter glare that Garth gives me. Either he was really hoping for a free meal or hoping for a bit more time to stare at Gar.
Gar smiles and nods at me, "I understand, well… I'll take you out for lunch then Garth." He doesn't even hesitate to ask Garth which catches us both off guard. I never would have though that Garfield Logan would allow himself to be caught dead at a 'lunch date' with someone openly gay because of his reputation as a ladies man.
Garth looks at me and shakes his head, "No thank you Garfield, I'll just sit here with Raven." With that Gar gives us a smile, a wave and walks away.
"Now back to you," begins Garth, "What are you going to do about this mystery friend?"
I shake my head, honestly not knowing, "I want to meet him, I guess I'll take that chance."
"Alright girl," Garth playfully shoves me, "Now you know if you need back up I'll be there in a heart beat, kay? Actually if you need me to I can hide behind pretty much anything. Or, you know what? Invite to meet him at the marina and if he's a creep push him into the water, I'll be hiding and I'll get my fishy friends to devour him, how's that?"
I laugh at the thought, he sure has some imagination. I look down at my clock and realize a whole 20 minutes has passed, That Guy is sure to be worried that I haven't replied yet since it's the middle of the day and I usually reply in minutes. He must be tearing his hair out by now. I bid Garth a quick farewell and rushed back to my computer, finding an email from him waiting in my inbox.
I'm sorry I asked that, I shouldn't have said anything. I hope I didn't freak you out, I hope we can still talk; I just really wanted to get to know you better. But if you don't want to talk to me I'll understand. It's been great talking to you.
I compose a new email quickly, "I'm sorry I didn't respond right away, but I was take aback by your email. Do you really want my advice? I would say go for it, ask her. I'm sure she wants to meet you too. As a matter of fact, she wants to know if you can meet her today at her work."
I send it off right away and await a reply. I look at the clock, its 3:47 he should still be at his desk. The minutes go by slowly as I stare at my computer screen. Finally, a light blinks on my inbox.
"I'll be there at 5:30."
That's it. Tonight, I was going to meet That Guy, its sounds dumb but I'm terribly nervous and fairly excited. I sit back and remove my shoes, finding myself waiting for the day to end again.
5:30 rolls by and I'm waiting at the bench outside the building. I feel so pathetic, I'm outside waiting on a bench for a man I barely even know. I have reached that whole new low, I imagine myself looking up at rock bottom, and it looks ugly.
I glance down at my watch, 5:54. O Lord, am I getting stood up? By a blind date? My pride hurts but not as much as my hopes. I had hoped he was different, that his argument when we first began to talk was valid.
"Raven, what are you still doing here?" Oh no, not now. I don't even need to turn to know who it is.
"Nothing Garfield, just leave me alone," I get up to get ready when I feel him sit beside me and make himself comfortable.
"Well now that I sit you decide to leave, thanks Rae," I roll my eyes and walk away when he grabs at my arm, "Sit for a second, please?"
I sigh and comply, my evening was ruined anyway what is a few minutes with the most annoying man on Earth.
"There you go," he's watching me I can feel his eyes trying to read me, "What's wrong?"
"How do you know anything's wrong? I never talk to you."
He laughs, "Well, you usually have more contempt. Now you just seem upset."
"Nothing Garfield," I try to brush him off but he persists.
"Why do you always do this Raven? Why do you have to ignore me? Do you really even know me enough to brush me off the way you do? All you really know is what you read or hear." I'm slightly shocked by his sudden revelation.
"No," he interrupts, "let me finish. That one night was just that, one night. You never gave me the opportunity to apologize nor did you stay long enough to let me explain myself. I like you Raven, I liked you then too. And I'm trying, I really am. I don't know what it is you hate about me so much, but getting 3 words into a conversation with you is like trying to get a meeting with the pope. Not impossible but you're put up with a lot of challenges."
I'm staring at him, unsure of what to say. Of course, he's right. I never did give him the time of day, or the opportunity to get to know him before I outright blow him off like I always do.
"Garfield, I'm sorry." I can't look him in the eye; I'm just not in the mood.
I hear him sigh, "Just give me a chance. Just one, to show you I'm not just 'that guy'."
His choice of words strikes me and I look up at him, his eyes pleading for me to give him a chance. He has the remnants of a smile on his face.
"Okay, Gar, one chance. You can take me out to dinner, I'm starving." He gets up, beaming at the opportunity. He offers his hand and hesitantly I take it. I guess it won't be so bad talking to him; I've already swallowed my pride once tonight. There's nothing left of it now. We start walking towards the crosswalk in silence. Its dusk, the time of day when the sun turns to rest and the evening raises, the street lights turn on and he smiles at me. I notice a display of yellow rainwear in the display of the store across the street.
He notices my gaze and breaks the stillness between us, "Did you notice the city is drowning in the colour yellow?"
A/N: I should update One Bird Two Stones, I'll do that I'm just falling back in my groove. I don't actually like this one much, it feels premature to me. I like the idea, I just don't like my execution. Of my recent stuff I like That Something the best and Battles the least. Bump too, I didn't like it so understand the lack of reviews there and I will understand if I get few for this as well.