Sing Me Sweet
Summary: "The emptiness inside my chest, preventing me from being happy, isn't because I chose to forget. It's because I can't remember." AU Future-fic. Brittana.
Author's Note: The story will mainly be from Brittany's point of view, with a few chapters set aside later on from other character's perspectives. Just trust me for this first chapter. Title from the song of the same name by Matt Nathanson.
Chapter 1: Undressed
"… and she said to me, 'No, Drew, I wasn't responsible for those files. And besides, I don't do things half-assed.'"
"She said that to you?"
The man sitting across the lunch table from me nods, his dark eyes alight with a mixture of irritation and excitement as he recounts his story. "She did. And Davis and I checked the records; you know when those files went missing? Early April. You know when she switched departments and I took over her job? Late May. She lost those damn files. Stupid cow." His hand pounds down on the table, making me jump a little.
"Drew-" I try to reason.
"No, seriously B," he isn't giving in with this, "She's a complete psychopath. The woman is like a dragon or something, walking around acting like she owns the place."
"But," I say, lifting the coffee cup to my lips and taking a sip, "Dragons can be fun."
"She's a dragon with teeth and claws," Drew says flatly, eyes narrowed at me. "Evil."
"Oh, well." A beat, and then, "Do some dragons not have teeth or claws? That'd be kind of weird. Wouldn't that make them… snakes?" I'm trying to lighten the mood, to distract him from the aggravation stewing inside him. But my question is still an honest one; wouldn't a dragon without claws be a snake?
"You aren't helping," Drew accuses, letting out a puff of air with a small smile. My attempt worked. "You're supposed to be sitting here being the supportive friend while I gripe about work."
I frown, "I thought you liked it here."
Drew Adams had been hired only a year ago, and the two of us hit it off pretty fantastically from the get-go. He's a collage graduate that had been scooped up and offered a position at this massive place even before his diploma was in his hand. Brilliantly smart, and almost as good at his job as I am at mine.
Dark, shaggy hair covers his head. He has a boyish face, with round cheekbones, and expressive blue eyes. Slim, he wasn't the work-out type, but not lanky and uncoordinated. Drew was anything but uncoordinated. Neurotic sometimes, his workspace was always spotless, but he was charming and charismatic. He was easy enough to get along with, and though brilliant, acted like a child pretty often.
Essentially? He was the kind of guy who, when a girl walked past him on the street, their gaze lingered just a little too long to be casual observation.
The down side to that, however, was that he was not at all interested in female attention.
"I do," he insists, "I just hate Daniels. She's a monster. The old bat needs to just retire and go visit those grandchildren in Greece she brags about non-stop." He's getting riled up again, I can see it. When he's like this, sometimes it's best to just let him run his course. Trying to stop Drew when he wants to rant is like trying to stop a freight train at full force with one hand. Difficult.
"I don't even work in her department," he continues, "And she talks my damn ears off. I've come home with blood stains on my shirt; she makes my ears bleed whenever she talks to me." He ends his words in a huff, glaring ahead of him as if the woman was right there and could see his dislike for her.
Drew gets along well with most people. He was just that guy. He didn't even have to know your name to strike up a conversation with you; he felt more like an old friend than a stranger. But his only real downfall was that he was very organized and neat with his workspace. Accusing him of misfiling something down in the records room? A big no-no.
Me on the other hand, though I do my work with care and precision, my work place is a bit of a disaster sometimes. It's not so bad that there are plates of food or garbage everywhere, I don't have mountains of junk all over the place and I can clearly see the floor. It's more just that I am very good at getting distracted and moving on to something else before I've finished a task. Organized chaos.
Drew picks at the edge of his sandwich for a moment before lifting it up and taking a bite. He's agitated; Drew really hates Daniels. And they don't even work together. He had taken over her job when she switched departments.
I spear a piece of my own lunch, a pasta salad that could be a little more flavourful, but not all that bad. That's generally how I'd describe most of the food options here; could be better, but not that bad. "So…" I try to change the subject, but spoke before I thought of something to talk about besides work.
Drew switches gear easily enough however, perking right up. "So," he says, dragging the word out. "It's early February."
I flash a smile, fingers picking with the rim of my coffee cup, "I know what day it is, thanks."
"Valentine's Day is coming up." Drew bats his dark eyelashes ridiculously at me, "Come on B, spill. You got any special plans?"
I think for a moment before answering, "I want to have the tests run for that new idea Davis was-"
"Not what I meant by plans, B," Drew's grin is bright and evil; I know I'm not getting out of this conversation easily. "Come on, are you seeing anyone for Valentines? Maybe going to dinner? A movie? A romantic evening in the park under the stars?"
I begin squirm in my seat, growing uncomfortable, "No, Drew, no plans."
"Come on," he presses. Drew is used to getting his way. Usually he just flashes that pretty boy smile and things happen. I try my hardest to resist.
Drew shakes his head. Then he casts a quick glance around the cafeteria, making sure no one is listening before continuing. But it's safe; we had a late lunch today. Almost no one is left in the cafeteria with us, and no one is close enough to be listening to our conversation. "You know who is looking fine these days?" he asks, dragging out the word and smirking. "Grant Duncan."
I cringe, because please no, not this again. I have been through this with him so many times now. "We've been through this, Drew. No."
"What? What's so wrong with him? The man is a good-looking piece of merchandise, B. And you know he's got a thing for you."
"I know. I don't enjoy it. He's had a thing for me for ages," I grimace.
"I've heard the story. The man has been trying to woo you the whole time you've been working here. He finds you, takes you under his wing, and gets you a position here. But you turn a blind eye to his advances. But B; the man is enthralled."
"I'm aware of that, thank you. Romanticizing the story doesn't help, I'm still not interested."
"Why? B, you're a sweet, sweet girl. You've got an awesome body, the most stunning blue eyes I've ever seen, pretty gold locks, and the brains to make it in this place. You're the package deal. But if you keep turning guys down – I heard through the grapevine that Roger in engineering asked you out and you turned him down on the spot."
"I did not turn him down on the spot," I argue. "We went out to dinner and I declined a second date."
I ignore him.
"Anyway," he continues his original though, "If you keep turning guys down, especially guys like Grant, well…"
"Well?" I prompt him, even though I really don't want to hear it.
"Well… time's a ticking. And Grant is interested in you. Grant. Not just some Joe Random you work with or who recognizes you from the deli across from your apartment. Grant Duncan. That's not a guy you turn down when he's got his eyes on you."
"Grant is bordering on stalking me, actually," I say casually, drumming my fingers against the coffee cup.
Drew makes a disapproving noise before taking another bite of his sandwich. A blob of mayonnaise dribbles out and lands on his shirt. I cringe, but Drew doesn't notice, he keeps chewing and shaking his head sadly at me.
It will stain, the mayo. If it were me, I'd want to know there was a stain on my shirt.
Taking another bite of my lunch I decided not to tell him. As punishment for bringing up the whole Grant thing, I'll just let it sit there and see how long it takes for him to notice. He might go the whole day and people will point and laugh and I can take pride in knowing I could have told him but didn't.
He did it to me two weeks ago when there was a leaf in my hair. He let me get through half the day without telling me. And whenever anyone asked him why I had a leaf in my hair he told them I was actually a super hero and had just finished saving a baby from a burning car.
That's the kind of relationship we have. It's why we get along so well. We both act like kids most of the time.
Except right now, when he is still looking at me disapprovingly.
"He is not stalking you," he tisks.
"He's always there. I'm at my office, minding my own business, and I look up and he's there. I'm running a test, he's there. There's a single flower left on my desk every few months; no note, but I know it's from him. He'll just randomly show up with coffee for me. Did I ask for coffee? Nope. Kinda creepy, Drew. And he doesn't talk. He just watches. Like I'm a horse that he wants to buy."
Drew barks out a laugh, "The man is gorgeous though, what's a few personality flaws here or there?"
I roll my eyes, because that wasn't the argument. Yes, Grant is good-looking. He's tall, well-built and with high cheek bones. Dirty-blonde slicked back hair. And piercing grey eyes. Piercing grey eyes that just focus on me and don't leave me alone. His face has a professional-ness to it; he looks like the kind of man who would fit in working in a cutthroat, corporate high-rise.
And he has this way about him, this confident, arrogant, smug way he goes about his day. He acts like everyone should drop at his feet, like he could literally own anything he desired, like people should bow down before him simply because he existed. He acts like he owns the place. Which…
"He's the boss's son."
"Hey, all the more reason to get on that. Have you seen this place? You'd be rolling in money if you married him."
"Married! Oh my God, Drew, just stop it already."
"I'm just placing the possibility on the table," Drew insists, holding his hands up in defense. "But think about it. Yeah, daddy owns the company. But he's working here because he's good at what he does, not because daddy hired him when no one else would. Man's pretty brilliant. Not as much as you, mind you. Or even as much as me, and I may as well be a child prodigy. But he's still pretty clever. If you two had children they'd be adorable and smart."
I cringe. And then gag, trying very hard to keep my lunch down. I only just ate it, I don't need to see it again. This whole topic is making me uncomfortable. I squirm around in my seat, as if trying to avoid the words Drew says, but it doesn't work.
"If you like him so much, why don't you ask him out for Valentine's?" That would solve so, so many problems.
"I would love to, but that man is straighter than a cement pole. Plus, Grant? Hooked on you and you alone. He all but hand-picked you to work here, did he not?" He doesn't wait for me to answer, simply ploughs on ahead. "And when you didn't swoon and drop to his feet, it became like a game, a mission of perusal. All to win you over." He looks kind of dreamy near the end. It makes me even more uncomfortable.
I finger the edge of my napkin, trying not to stare at the splotch of mayo on his shirt. I need to convince Drew that I have absolutely no interest in Grant, I never had and never will; his perusal just makes me pull away more. "Not only does he make me uncomfortable with how focused his is on my attention, but when you put it like that Drew? It sounds pretty creepy. He was sweet at first, when they had just hired me, but…" I shake my head, "I'm not interested in him like that."
Drew rolls his eyes, "Grant is a goal-oriented man, is he not?"
The man nods as he takes the last bite of his sandwich, "Well you, B, you are the prize." With that he stands, lifting his tray and beginning to make his way back over to the counter to return it.
I down the last gulp of my coffee and stand up too, lifting my own tray; an empty plate the only remnants of the lunch I had.
"He creeps me out," I call as Drew begins walking away, starting to weave between the other tables in the cafeteria. "Oh, and Drew?"
"Yeah?" He asks, turning around to look at me. His look is hopeful. I'm about to crush that.
I tap at my own shirt, as if showing him what I'm talking about, "You got mayo on yourself."
He blinks at me for a moment, trying to shift gears in time with the jump in conversation. Then he slowly looks down at his chest to determine the damage. He frowns, glaring at me. Then he sets his tray down on the nearest table – ignoring its sole occupant completely – and grabs a napkin to wipe the mayonnaise off his shirt.
"That's why you should just not take off your lab coat when you eat," I chime in happily.
He rolls his eyes, "How long has it been there?"
I shrug, "A few minutes."
"And you didn't tell me, why?"
I make a show of considering this before simply stating, "No reason." Getting a better grip on my tray I walk past him and moved to return my dishes.
"Bethany, get back here!"