Six. The rest of the weekend went by much quicker than I wanted it to. Luckily Harry was too pissed drunk to prompt me about walking Kaine back to her building and I didn't have to explain what happened between us. I got brunch with Kira on Sunday morning to make sure things between us were alright and that my sudden urge to kiss Kaine on Friday was just a fluke caused by alcohol. Even after brunch I still was not sure. Instead of snoozing my alarm I shut it off in my sleep. I fell back asleep for a while until I naturally woke up. "Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit." I said when I finally opened my eyes. I was supposed to be at work in twenty minutes. I grabbed the nearest pair of pants and a navy short sleeve button down and rushed to put them on. I brushed my teeth as fast as I could and glanced outside in the meantime. It was pouring rain and I searched desperately through my closet for my raincoat. I locked the door and ran down the steps of my building instead of waiting for the elevator. If Rhodes found out I was late on Friday and then again today he would throw a fit. I drove recklessly through the traffic being the asshole driver people always hated on the road. I had to park in basically the last spot in the giant lot and I only had a couple minutes to get upstairs. Harry and Nate had texted me multiple times but I did not have the time to look at the messages. I ran through the rain into the building and nodded at Jason and called for someone to hold the elevator as I saw the doors starting to close. I nearly slid across the floor in my shoes and barely slipped through the doors. I stumbled over my feet and leaned against the back wall only to come face to face with Kaine. "God Niall, couldn't wait for the next one?" she joked. "I did yell and ask for someone to hold it. Thanks for nothing." I said back. "Overslept today?" she asked. "Yeah it was terrible, I didn't even have time to fix my hair or anything." I said reaching up and taking the hood of my jacket down to ruffle my hair. "Or have coffee so I'm done for today. I'll never stay awake today." "Your hair doesn't look bad like that." she said. "I'd look a thousand times worse if I woke up late, I just missed the first subway." "So you're admitting I look bad." I said with a smile. "Oh! No! I didn't mean it like that." Kay said getting all flustered. "I'm teasing." The doors opened to our floor and I motioned my hand for her to get off ahead of me. "Have a nice day Kaine." I smiled and walked off to my desk. I put my bag down and went into the break room to make myself a cup of coffee. I checked the fridge while the Keurig was working it's magic to see if I left any food in it last week. If course I didn't and now I had to go back out into the rain to pick up lunch later. I grabbed my mug and sighed while walking back to my desk and realized Harry was sitting on top of it. "I forgot to ask you, what the hell happened when you walked Kay home last night?" he asked. Shit. I thought we were gonna be able to avoid this. "Nothing, we just walked and talked." I shrugged. "That's it?" he prodded. "Yeah that's it. We're both dating people, I'd never cheat on Kira." I said biting my lip. "Sure." Harry scoffed and got off my desk to go sit behind his. "Can we just drop it for now?" I pleaded not wanting to talk about it in public, or at all really. "Come out for lunch with me and I'll talk to you." "I can't today, I have a meeting with the copywriters. Maybe come to mine after work and I'll interrogate you there?" "Yeah, gotta be quick though, I have to bring Kira dinner on her set." I said nodding. I downed more of my coffee and got to work at my computer. I was coding in this new website for an ice cream parlor upstate and they wanted to have it up and running as soon as possible. It took me a little less than fifteen minutes to type the rest in and I called Louis and Liam over. "How long do you think it will be until any of your original work is used anywhere being a new hire and all?" I asked biting my lip trying not to smile. I knew that there were two teams working on the design for this site and that we were one of them and some designers who have been working here for years and years. When Harry was called to be the proofreader on both the projects he sent both the designs to the clients and they picked our team. "Considering I am mostly updating coupons right now, not for a long time." Liam said. "Yeah and seeing as I'm just creating a new script font so that Wolfe can make disgusting amounts of money on while taking all the credit, I'm leaning more towards never." Louis groaned. "Well, remember that ice cream shop a bunch of people in the office were doing designs for? Guess which team got chosen?" I grinned at them. Harry was laughing lowly at my enthusiasm for Liam and Lou. I moved aside and showed them my screen with the red and white website that I had just finished. "They chose my logo? And Liam's design? You're kidding, this is a joke isn't it." Louis said staring at the screen and scrolling down. "Not a joke, this is your first big project. Two weeks in and you guys already have a leg up on some of the designers here." Harry interjected. Liam and Louis gave each other a hug and patted each other hard on their backs. "I've gotta go in for a meeting with Rhodes now, I'll be sure to show him this." I said and took out my external hard drive. I left Louis and Liam celebrating and strolled over to Rhodes' office. I stood just outside and knocked on the door frame. "Yeah come in Niall." he said putting his hand over the receiver of the phone. I walked inside and sat down in the chair in front of his desk. I looked down at my thumbs and ran my hands through my hair trying to keep it off of my forehead. Rhodes ended his phone conversation and looked up at me. "How's the team after one week together?" he asked me. "Well I'm glad you asked." I smiled. "May I?" I held up my drive and motioned toward his computer. "Yeah go right ahead." he said. Rhodes scooted his chair over and I came behind his desk to pull up the new website off my drive. "There was that ice cream shop project that you put a bunch of groups working on and everyone sent out their designs but they okayed ours to be their branding." I said pulling up the design. "Louis rebranded their logo and updated it and all the tabs on the cite are hand lettered by him too. And when you click onto the pages there's different ice cream illustrations in the background to add some texture. And Liam he did the web layout and placed all the pictures and tried to make it look as functional as possible. He also did their takeaway menus and the posters they'll put in their windows. And Harry obviously did the proofing and I coded all this lovely stuff in." Rhodes scrolled through the website and nodded while looking at all the things I mentioned. "How long does it normally take you to code a website of this size?" he asked. "Two to three hours, I'm a pretty quick at typing." I answered. "Well, I knew putting you four together to work would be a good idea. Get ready for more total branding projects like this. That Louis has loads of talent and Liam's lines are so precise and font choices are great. Harry probably didn't have many corrections on this one." he praised our team. "Yeah he just cleaned it up and got rid of some of the bulk and that didn't take much time at all." I explained. "Well you boys do great work, keep it coming." Rhodes offered me a smile. "You're my new main team." "Thank you." I nodded enthusiastically. "Also I was wondering if I could take a day off next week on Monday?" "September fourteenth?" he confirmed. "Yeah that's the day." I nodded. "If it's alright I can take our weekly meeting on Tuesday instead." "Sounds good Horan, thanks for the heads up. Also go tell your team you all have earned an early lunch and you can take your time, but also pick something up for me. Great work today." "Thank you so much Rhodes, Liam and Louis will really appreciate your compliments." I smiled. "We'll see you all at the agency meeting this afternoon?" he asked. I nodded as he gave me money for his lunch and walked out of his office. As I approached my cube again Harry was looking up at me and I did a small little jig the rest of the way to my desk. "Things went well huh?" he asked laughing at me. "Yeah, very well." I said smiling. "Guess who is Rhodes' new main team is?" "Fuck! Really?" Harry said shocked but happily. "He's so impressed with Liam and Louis and was so pleased with the clean editing you did and I'm pretty damn quick at coding. We're his number ones." I said. "And we get to take an early and extended lunch. So far this day is alright." "I'll tell the other boys the good news if you want to take off for lunch." Harry suggested. "Thanks mate, I'll see you after." I smiled at him one last time and gave him a quick hug. I grabbed my wallet and raincoat out of my cube and walked toward the front desk bending down to retrieve something. "Hey Helen, how are you?" I asked approaching the desk. "I'm well Niall, are you looking for Miss Kaine?" she asked. She knew me too well. "Maybe if she's not lost underneath the desk." I teased. "I am not lost!" Kaine exclaimed and popped back up in her chair holding a binder clip between her thumb and index finger. "This was lost." I laughed at her and Helen excused herself. "Did you manage to pack a lunch today or were you running too late to?" I asked. "I didn't have time, I think I left something in the fridge though." she replied. "Well, I'm about to head out since I have to go pick up food for Rhodes so do you want to come with me?" I asked. "That'd be great, I really don't feel like have yogurt and fruit again." she said and grabbed her coat and umbrella. "Really I'm just using you for your umbrella." I teased. "Wow, maybe I don't want to come with you anymore." she shrugged at me and grabbed her purse. We were packed like sardines into the elevator with a bunch of other employees and when the doors closed she grabbed onto my arm pretty tightly and closed her eyes. When we got onto the ground floor and everyone filed out she hadn't let go yet. "Are you alright?" I asked concerned. "Oh." she said and quickly released my arm. "I'm sorry." "Don't worry about it, but are you okay?" I asked looking into her eyes. "Yeah, I am now. I'm just incredibly claustrophobic." she said blushing. "I'll drive." I said trying to change the conversation so I wouldn't embarrass her more. We put on our coats and walked out into the dreary parking lot while Kaine opened her umbrella. We walked side by side to the back corner of the lot where I had to park today but she kept hitting my head with the umbrella. "Give me this." I said grabbing the handle from her grip. "You keep bumping my head, shorty." "Really I'm only a few inches shorter than you quit teasing." she said. When we got to my car I went around to her side and opened it up, just like I always did for Kira. "Thank you." she said taking the umbrella back from me and closing it. I ran around to the other side and climbed into the driver's seat. "Where do you want to go?" I asked. "Wherever we can get food Rhodes won't hate. And I'm not bringing it to him, he's still creeping me out." she laughed. I drove us to a little café I really like about 20 blocks down. I've gotten Rhodes soup and a sandwich there before so I knew we could count on that. It was a sit down place but it was still informal enough for lunch. When I finally found a parking spot about a block away and she hopped out and opened her umbrella back up. "Wanna take it again?" she asked offering me the handle. I took it from her and we walked along the sidewalk until we got to the small café. I opened the door up for her and closed the umbrella. We were seated within a matter of minutes and ordered a couple of waters to drink. "So, uh about earlier in the elevator." I began and bit my lip. "when did you find out you were claustrophobic?" I didn't want to seem like I was prying but I was truly just curious. I've only known her for about a week but I wanted to know everything about her. Her light green eyes just seemed so intriguing and she seemed so comfortable around me. Maybe it was because she wasn't in a dress and heels today but pants and a blouse. She looked at peace with me. "Oh. Well I found out from a freak incident my junior year of high school." she shrugged. "Do you mind me asking what happened?" I pushed a little further. "Well I was on a trip with like twenty kids from my school to Italy and we went to this huge block party for a soccer team and we got stuck for like a half hour, and I've never really like crowds. So we were all packed in tight, like body to body with strangers, and I started panicking." she explained. "Oh wow, did you know what was happening?" I asked. "Well I tend to be pretty fucking anxious but I didn't know what to do. I felt like I couldn't breathe and I was all shaky so I grabbed one of my friend's hands and didn't let go until we made if out of the crowd. And that's also when I had my first full blown panic attack. Pretty neat right?" she said and grabbed her water to sip on. "I'm sorry if I was pushing too much, but I'm sorry to hear about that." "It's alright, I've accepted it now. I just freak out in crowds and tight places, no big deal." she said with a little smile. The waiter came over to our table to take our orders and I put in a takeaway order for Rhodes. "Anything exciting about you I don't know yet?" she asked me. "Not much really, you already know about Kira, and my job, I live on 52nd, that's about all about me." I explained. "And I wear a lot of these short sleeve button downs." "Yeah I've noticed that already." she joked. Our food came after we talked a little longer and I was snapped out of my trance when my plate was placed in front of me. I was took busy looking at her talking with her hands and the way her small dimples showed every time she laughed or smiled. I knew I would have to bring up the dreaded subject sometime soon, her boyfriend. "How are things with you and Kira going?" she asked between bites of her sandwich. "They have definitely been better." I sighed. "What's going on with her?" she prodded a little. "She's just been having crazy mood swings for the past few months and doesn't seem to want to go out with me often. I keep inviting her to different things but she's just brushing them off. Says she has to work." I explained, not to mention she hasn't slept with me in over three weeks now. "And Sunday it's my birthday and she's refusing to come out on Saturday with me and the boys to celebrate." "What kind of girl does that?" Kaine said and took a sip of her water. "I don't know what's going through her head. She would throw a fit if I backed out on her." I said rolling my eyes. "Do you want to come out on Saturday night with us? We're just going to a bar or two." "Yeah, I'd love to." she smiled. "Does your boyfriend ever pull any weird shit like this on you?" I asked trying to be as casual as possible. She set down her water and smiled when I mentioned him. "Not for a while, in the beginning he was a little apprehensive to do things with me but now he's better. But I'm afraid things will change now that we're long distance. Oh, his name's Everett." she explained. "Where does he live?" I kept asking, I wanted to know everything about them. "He's out in Texas now, he goes wherever he can get work. But we met junior year in college but didn't start dating until senior year." she kept saying. I was chewing my lunch and thinking about her words. Everett, what was this guy like? He was probably some lawyer or doctor, nothing like me. Probably taller, and stronger. "It's tricky being in education I guess, jobs are few and far away." she shrugged. Score one for me. "One of my friends from college was the same way. She had to move to some small town in Oklahoma. I haven't heard a lot from her since." I added. She nodded slowly and brought her napkin up to her mouth and a lot of her lipstick came off as she wiped the corners of her lips. "I'm just gonna head to the bathroom quick before we leave." she said standing up. "Alright no problem, I'll make sure they have Rhodes' food." I said. She walked off to the small washroom and smiled at me when she went in through the door. The waiter came over to our table and handed me the bill. "Pretty girl you've got there." he commented. "Oh, we're just-" I began. "You're lucky." he continued. "I guess you're right." I took out my wallet and paid for our lunch and went to the counter to pick up the takeaway. When I turned back around Kaine was at the table with a fresh coat of lipstick on. "We're all set, are you ready?" I asked grabbing our coats off the rack. "Uh yeah, I've just got to pay yet." she said reaching for her purse. "I already got it, don't worry." I said opening up her coat. She turned her back to me to put her arms through the sleeves and I helped it up onto her shoulders. "Thank you, you didn't have to." Kay smiled. "It's no problem." I said and put my coat on. I called thank you to the employees in the café and walked outside to open the umbrella. I held it over our heads and we walked to the car in a comfortable silence. I wanted so badly to offer my arm to her to walk with and to be stuck in this little fantasy of mine, without Kira or Everett to worry about.