One Saturday morning, I was seated at my desk in the front lobby of my office. I was completely engrossed in the latest romance novel on my reading list and didn’t bother to pay attention to the fact that the other weekend receptionist was talking to someone. I continued to read, a steamy scene was playing out so everything around me was secondary.
“And this is our new weekend secretary, Lena.” Joanne, the other receptionist, said right behind me. The minute I heard my name, I put the book down embarrassed and looked straight up to see a man in thick framed glasses and suspenders grinning at me. I was floored…
“Well, hi there, Lena. I’m Brandon.” He had a deep baritone voice. I was always a sucker for a man with a deep voice and this man, notably older, had the one I imagined every storybook hero to have. It was no exaggeration. This man, this Brandon, had that kind of voice that made me want to drop my pants at the snap of his fingers. Trying to get over the wave of embarrassment and shyness that came over me, I straightened up smiling politely.
“Hi.” My voice squeaked. I wasn’t normally outspoken to new people and my voice tended to be affected accordingly. To my disappointment, I sounded meek and timid, not at all like the sexy vixen I was trying to conjure up at that moment.
Brandon immediately screamed the appearance of a rebel with his slicked back hair, strong jaw, and cocky grin. He exuded confidence mingled with a sense of manners and when he looked at me, it was as if he was used to making young women blush. He didn’t look any older than 35. And you could tell just by looking at Brandon that he entertained himself with lifting weights. With broad shoulders and his white collared shirt tightening around his biceps, there was no doubt that he had a physique worth unclothing. “God, he is sexy. But older—so let’s just throw that idea out the door, Lena,” I thought to myself.
My thoughts and awkward exchange between Brandon were soon interrupted by a raven-haired woman who came up to the counter to stand by Brandon. Forgetting that Joanne was behind me, I was startled again and looked at her as she introduced the woman.
“Oh Lena, this is Becky. Becky, this is Lena, our new secretary. She’s—uh, oh what’s her name? Um, Me… Melis… no, Melinda! She’s Melinda’s relative.” Joanne had a habit of messing up and not remembering names. But she was sweet and reminded me of my grandmother, so I let it slide that she misunderstood the fact that Melinda and I weren’t exactly related.
Becky looked at me, seeming to size me up as she looked me over from head to toe. I had stood up after realizing Joanne was behind me and slid my book—with a shirtless man on the cover—under some paperwork on my desk. Brandon had walked away from the counter and headed to the coffee pot in our lobby.
“Oh you’re so young,” emphasizing that last word. “How old are you? Do you go to school?” I was used to people asking me my age.
“I’m 19, almost 20.” I’m not sure why I had included that last part. I usually had a habit of rounding up my age, but I really think the reason was the man behind Becky, seeming preoccupied with pouring himself coffee. As it turns out, he had heard the conversation, and he had his own opinions about my age.