Nina woke, disoriented, in a large, soft bed in a beautifully-appointed hotel room. She sat up and looked around, struggling to remember the night before. She was naked; her clothes from the day before were hung neatly over the back of a nearby chair, but she did not remember doing that. She was alone in the room; no sign of any companion. She stepped to the window and parted the heavy curtains a bit, looking out onto the city as morning light shone in. As she gazed upon the buildings below, she began to remember the prior evening…
Her meeting at the ad agency had run very late. Usually she liked brainstorming meetings at the beginning of an ad campaign, but this was a more stressful kind than usual, because her team had pitched their best ideas to the client that afternoon and every one had been soundly rejected, sending them back to the drawing board, literally. To make matters worse, the client had no clear vision of what he wanted, just apparently a strong sense of what he did not want, so they didn’t have any guidelines within which to operate, other than trying to come up with different, creative ways to promote electric heating pads. Things had devolved down to having a talking mascot pad with an electrical cord tail when they finally decided to pack it in at ten o’clock at night.
After 7pm, there was only one train every hour from the city back to the suburbs, and she had just missed the 10; she would have to kill almost an hour before she could get the 11. Three of her coworkers were going to share a cab rather than wait; they offered to let her squeeze in, but that seemed uncomfortable. Her friend Melanie actually lived downtown and offered to let her crash, but Nina just wanted to go home, feed her fish and chill out in front of some late-night TV. Nothing personal, but she wanted to leave work and all things work-related, including her coworkers, alone for the night.
Nina walked toward the train station, gazing at various store displays, figuring that she would duck in somewhere for a quick bite to eat while she was waiting-there were a few restaurants farther down. She passed a building with a reflective surface and slowed down to take stock of herself. She thought she looked very tired, but overall not bad: her thick dark hair hung in shiny waves over her shoulders, setting off her pale skin and bright green eyes fringed with dark lashes.
And those bright red lips! She had tried a new lipstick that day that was supposed to last all day without smudging or fading, and she was pleased to see it was holding up well, still looking shiny and delicious, like a fresh juicy strawberry. She’d actually forgotten she was wearing it, so seeing how it looked out here in the lamplight, how it set off her dark hair and pale skin in a sexy and romantic way, was a pleasant surprise. She had wondered why the male passers-by seemed to be staring appreciatively. Otherwise she was not provocative in appearance; she was wearing a beige trench coat to ward off the evening mist, buttoned and belted over a simple black dress and stockings. A pair of black leather boots completed the ensemble. They were somewhat sexy, with a three-inch heel, but not outrageous. She could walk in them comfortably enough.
She heard someone clear his throat just behind her, and she turned, startled, to see a man approaching on the sidewalk. As he passed, they exchanged a glance that shot through her like a bolt of electricity; it was that sudden and powerful. He was unreasonably handsome, with thick dark hair, bright blue eyes ringed with dark lashes, a firm, chiseled jaw setting off full, sensual lips. He smiled at her, and his intense gaze made her weak. She was embarrassed at the strength of her reaction to this man, gorgeous as he was, and she was also embarrassed because she hadn’t even noticed him in the reflection of the mirrored window-she must have really been staring at herself, she thought, blushing a little, self-consciously. She hadn’t even heard his footsteps until after he’d cleared his throat and she’d snapped out of her reverie.