Season for Love
Late in the day, Dash sat in his office at the drawing table. He had attached his phone to mini speakers and the soft sounds of Michael Franks flooded his office. Dash was working on a leisure suit for the new line. He was in a zone, wielding a pencil and sketching feverishly. His shirt’s sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, exposing dark hair on his forearms.
“Excuse me,” Jessica said, standing in the doorway.
Dash swiveled around on the padded stool. “Hey, Jessica, what’s up?”
“Some of us are going out for drinks after work to celebrate Aisha’s birthday. You wanna come?”
“No, thanks. I’m on a roll designing a piece for the new collection and will be working late tonight.”
“Oh, okay. Well...if you want, I can skip the party and stick around in case you need any help.”
Dash gave Jessica an appraising look. She had on a sexy black dress that hugged her ample breasts and full hips. Dash noticed she had been coming to work lately wearing provocative clothing, no doubt trying to seduce him. It wasn’t working. Jessica was attractive, but Dash had no interest in pursuing her on a personal basis. To him, she was just another employee, no matter how sexily she dressed.
Dash watched as Jessica’s gaze traveled down to his crotch area. He closed his legs, ending her peep show. “No, that won’t be necessary. Go out and have fun. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Thanks. I’ll try. Are you sure you don’t need me?”
“Good night, Dash.”
Once Jessica was gone, Dash turned his attention back to the sketch pad in front of him. He rendered three different versions of the suit within two hours. He wanted to give Lark a variety to choose from. One suit had slim pencil-leg pants with a long blazer, the second suit had cropped pants with a waist jacket and the third had full palazzo pants with a bolero jacket. By the time he’d finished working, it was well after hours and most of the employees had gone for the day.
Dash stood and stretched. He had been sitting so long that his limbs had grown stiff. He hadn’t eaten since lunch and his stomach was beginning to growl with hunger pains. He tucked the pencil behind his ear, left his office and headed down the hall to the company canteen. The automatic lights flickered on as he stepped inside. The small kitchen was well-appointed, with black marble countertops, stainless-steel appliances, a gourmet coffee machine, a high-powered juicer and small café-type tables and chairs.
One of the things Dash loved about working at Randolph on the Runway—aside from seeing Lark daily—was the fully stocked kitchen. He took a knife-and-fork packet out of one of the drawers, opened the fridge, reached for a prepackaged Cobb salad and a bottle of water and sat at one of the small tables. He opened the lid on the container, ripped the cellophane from the plastic utensils and began chowing down.
“I see I’m not the only one burning the midnight oil,” Lark commented, coming into the room.
Dash stopped chewing midbite and eyed Lark. She had been in meetings the entire day and he hadn’t seen her since yesterday. Dash admired her outfit. She wore a tailored navy-and-white-striped shirtdress with a beige belt clenching her waist and a pair of pointy beige sling-back pumps. Her hair was tucked behind her ears and her lips were stained with reddish-orange lipstick.
I wonder if her lips taste as good as they look was the first thing that popped into his mind. Dash exhaled and said, “I just finished sketching three variations of a suit for the new line. I was on a roll and didn’t want to break the momentum by stopping to eat.”
“I know what you mean. It’s hard to stop when the ideas are flowing.”
Lark went over to the coffeemaker, popped a tiny pod of hazelnut-flavored coffee in the machine, put her mug underneath the spout and waited for the liquid to brew. Once the steaming hot coffee filled her cup, she went over to where Dash was sitting and took a seat beside him.
“I’d love to see what you’re working on. I’ve also sketched a couple of dresses that I want to include in the collection.”
“I’ll show you my sketches if you show me yours,” Dash said with a flirtatious smile.
“Deal... So how’s your first week going? I’ve been meaning to stop by your office all week, but I’ve been putting out fires left and right.”
Dash studied her face as she spoke. He noticed a frown line creasing her brow. “Is there anything I can help with?”
She took a sip of coffee and then said, “Not really.”
“You seem stressed. What’s the matter?” he asked with concern in his voice.
“One of my suppliers is going out of business. I just got the word this morning. I’ve worked with this company for years and love their craftsmanship. I’ve spent all day on the phone trying to find a replacement, but none of the companies I’ve talked with so far can deliver the goods in time for production of the new line.”
“What type of supplier are you looking for?”
“A textile mill, but not just any factory. I need one capable of producing a custom line of silk fabrics. I’ve designed new patterns that will help us stand out from the rest.”