I'm rudely awakened by the sound of my alarm blaring through my apartment. I suddenly jolt off the sofa, eyes wide as I frantically search for it. In the process, I trip over my rug and land in a heap of tangled arms and legs on the floor. For a brief second, I close my eyes, inhaling a deep breath.
"Pull it together Mia." I murmur before standing back to my feet. I head towards the noise of the alarm clock and find it in the kitchen. Once I turn it off and I'm greeted by silence, I exhale deeply in relief. My eyes land on the time and I suddenly remember last night's events.
I have a second job. . .
A job that starts today. . .
A job that I'm going to be late for if I don't leave in exactly two minutes.
"Shoot!" I curse, scrambling around my apartment. It takes me a minute and fifty seconds to brush my teeth, change into a clean set of clothes, balance a banana in my mouth, find my car keys and head out the door. As I'm leaving, I almost trip over the stairs leading down out of my apartment block and for the second time this morning, I have to pause to take a deep breath and compose myself.
Why in God's name did I have to be the clumsiest person alive?
"You have arrived at your destination."
I turn off my sat nav and park along the curb before turning to inspect the house. A low whistle leaves my mouth as I admire a house that clearly is worth more than my entire existence. I glance down at my watch and note that I'm three minute late. I hope Mr Whatever His Face doesn't mind too much.
A tap on the drivers window has me jump out of my skin completely and I whip around, wide eyed to find quite possibly the most handsome man I've ever laid eyes on.
He's tall, easily tall enough to loom over me. The thick dark strands of his hair shine perfectly in the morning sun, complete with a thin set of facial hair running along a very sharp jawline. He's dressed in a charcoal grey suit, complete with a black tie. I realise I'm staring a little too long and he raises his right eyebrow, taking a step back. I snap out of the little daze I'm in and fumble with the seatbelt before stepping out of my car.
"Hello," I smile, trying to maintain eye contact with him. He pauses and glances down at his watch with a slight frown on his face.
"Mia, is it?"
The sound of my name coming from his lips has me freeze on the spot and I quickly nod my head, wiping my hands on my jeans before offering it to him.
"Yes, hi. We spoke on the phone last night. I'm Mia, Mia Jackson. . . But I've already told you that." I say awkwardly.
His eyes linger on my outstretched hand a little too long. I wonder whether he doesn't want to shake my hand at all. I give him a few seconds but when he doesn't reach for my hand, I grit my teeth and drop it back down to my side. Disappointment washes over me as I realise I'll have to spend every morning with this man in my passenger seat.
"I don't bite." I mumble under my breath, feeling a little hurt. If he heard me, he doesn't show it at all. His face remains expressionless and I nod slowly, fiddling with my hands.
"I'm Caleb. Caleb Stonehouse."
"It's nice to meet you." I smile tightly, reminding myself this is strictly a business arrangement. Caleb may be rude but I need to think of my rent.
"Likewise." Caleb says before clearing his throat. He glances at me from under his dark lashes and I shift uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
"You're three minutes late."
I blink in surprise, wondering whether this man is for real right now. I laugh quietly, expecting him to join in but he never does. An awkward silence falls upon us and I decide to change the subject before I say something that gets me fired before I've even started.
"We should probably go then." I say bluntly, stepping back inside my car. I take hold of the steering wheel and stare straight ahead, reminding myself to remain professional. I don't want to admit it but I need this job, especially if I want to pay my bills. It suddenly dawns on me why Caleb Stonehouse needs a driver . . . He looks completely capable of driving himself and he definitely looks like he has enough money to buy a car. Not just any old one like my beaten up vauxhall but one of those shiny cars with a hundred and one million gadgets on the inside. As Caleb steps inside the car, a waft of his cologne hits me and I blink, wondering how a man so rude can smell so divine.
"Ready?" I say quietly. He gives me a simple nod and I turn the key in the car, feeling it come to life underneath me. I begin driving but Caleb's presence beside me doesn't help calm my nerves, it screams nothing but authority and confidence.
"If you head downtown, I can give you directions from there." Caleb says firmly.
"Sure thing." I say cheerily, driving towards the direction he instructed me. I roll down my window, allowing a cool breeze to float through the car. The sun is shining brightly and I already know today is going to be another beautiful day. Silence falls upon us and I shift awkwardly in my seat before reaching over and turning on the radio. Music fills the silence and I feel my shoulders relax slightly.
"So what made you move to Virginia out of all places?" I ask him, wanting to make conversation. It's a long drive downtown and I'd rather pass the time instead of sitting here in complete silence.
"Business." Caleb responds. I wait for him to elaborate but he never does. I nod my head slowly and decide to end the conversation there. Caleb clearly doesn't want to interact with me in any shape or form.
Wow, this guy must really not like me.
Even though I don't like silence, I deal with it for the remaining part of the journey. It doesn't seem to bother Caleb as he remains quiet the entire time, staring straight ahead.
When we arrive downtown, Caleb instructs me to stop off at a coffee shop. I pull up and turn off the engine, expecting him to leave with a simple goodbye. Instead he turns towards me, blue eyes staring straight into mine. For a moment, we hold eye contact and I forget entirely where we are.
"Do you want anything?" He suddenly speaks and I shake my head furiously, feeling my cheeks heat up from the brief eye contact.
"N-no, no thank you." I smile at him. He doesn't smile back but nods at me before unclipping his seatbelt.
"Okay, I can walk from here. See you tomorrow morning." Caleb says quietly, words barely audible. I wonder why he's being so mysterious and secretive about his life but remember that it's literally the first time we met each other. Caleb Stonehouse simply may be a quiet and withdrawn individual.
"See you tomorrow." I respond, giving him a small wave. He clears his throat again before grabbing his briefcase and leaving the car. I watch him enter the coffee shop and queue up, his shoulders defined and taut against the fabric of his suit. When it's his turn to order, he leans across the counter, mumbling something to the barista behind the bar. She nods her head, a smirk playing on her lips before she begins his order. I don't realise how long I'm watching him for until his body stills and he turns around, locking eyes with me for the second time today.
My breathing hitches in my throat and I quickly turn away, starting my car before driving off.