Everyone cheered in happiness. "What's everyone so happy about?" Kristy asked as she walked by.
"I'm treating everyone to happy hour", Simon told her. "That's very generous of you, but you can count me out", Kristy replied.
"Blowing me off again? Come on, I'm asking you to go out with all your colleagues, not go on a date with me!" Simon joked. Kristy walked away.
Simon went up to the roof to get some fresh air and saw Kristy standing there as well talking on the phone with someone. He quietly walk towards her but she didn't seem to notice he was there.
"Mom, I told you not to call me when I'm at work!" she scolded.
"Or else when am I ever going to hear from you? You don't bother to call me when you're off work or visit me even though I live only 20 minutes from you!" her mom complained.
"I have my own life and I am very busy!" Kristy yelled back.
"I know you're very busy with work. That's all you care about! You don't care about your family and don't have any friends or a boyfriend. Does anything else matter to you?" Her mom was yelling loud enough Simon could hear her.
"I'm a grown woman. I don't need my mother to dictate how to live my life. I have to go back to work, goodbye", Kristy said bitterly and hung up. She turned around to see Simon.
"How long have you been standing there?" she asked, suddenly looking ashamed.
"Long enough to know you don't have the best relationship with your mother", he replied.
“Don’t take this personally, but I’m curious. Besides work, what do you do in your free time?” Simon asked.
“Um, yoga. Sometimes I read”, she answered.
“That’s good, but do you ever go out and socialize?”
Kristy came to the sad realization she didn’t.
“I don’t have time”, she claimed.
“You do, you just have to make time”, he said.
“But I don’t have friends”, she said quietly.
“You have me and many other colleagues. Come with us to the bar tonight. You don’t even have to drink or eat, just come to chat with people and make friends”, Simon proposed.
Kristy stood there and thought about it for a moment. “Alright”, she finally agreed.
Simon broke out in a smile. “Great!” he exclaimed and left the roof top.
“I better not regret this”, Kristy thought to herself.
Simon’s Bar had a great atmosphere and could’ve been mistaken as a quaint restaurant with its unique lighting, softly playing music, and colorful and eye catching decor.
Simon led all the Starry Marketing Agency employees to their usual area.
Kristy tapped Simon’s shoulder. “Hey, the place looks great, but couldn’t you have come up with a better name than Simon’s Bar?” she asked.
“I’m not good with names”, Simon laughed.
“He’s really not”, Ella chimed in.
“There’s a surprise”, Kristy laughed back.
“She’s smiling! She’s laughing! We’ve reached a breakthrough!” Simon playfully announced.
Kristy punched him playfully, but had to admit she was already in a better mood.
“I’ll be right back with your drinks and appetizers”, Simon told everyone.
Kristy sat down next to Ella, who she thought she had the most chances of sparking friendship with. Quinn plopped down next to her.
She wasn’t sure what to think of Quinn. She had such a low position at the agency and Kristy had caught her dosing off once. At the same time, she wished she could live as carelessly and freely as Quinn seemed to live.
As for Ella, she was a question mark. At work, she seemed professional and intelligent, but she didn’t know more about her than that.
“Simon seems sweet. Very good looking too”, Quinn said all giggly, breaking the silence.
“He’s not that bad”, Kristy admitted.
Ella looked at her with a surprised look. “Not bad, I thought you hated his guts!” she laughed.
Kristy attempted to be more fun and silly. She shrugged with a sneaky smile. “I’m not a simple person. I could say I like you but really hate you and say I hate you but like you”, she stated.
“Sounds like we’re back on the elementary school playground!” Quinn said. “Hm...I wonder what you think of me then”, she questioned.
“I think that you seem to enjoy sleeping on the job a lot”, Kristy joked.
Quinn feigned a look of worry. “Oh I forgot, I’m talking to the two managers!” she said.
“You still remember that, huh? Remember we still have the power to fire you!” Ella joked.
“Ok, ok!” Quinn put her hands up in surrender. “I don’t think believe you two are as scary as people make you out to be though”, she added.
“Really? I thought people were convinced I’m the devil in disguise”, Kristy said.
“Devil? No. Slightly intimidating? Maybe”, Quinn stated.
“You’re quite straightforward aren’t you? You’re lucky I actually like that about you!” Kristy said to Quinn with a smile.
Ella turned to Kristy. “It’s true, even I felt slightly intimidated when you came in your first day”, she shared.
“Really?” Kristy answered with genuine surprise. She didn’t realize she actually scared people.
“Yes, but still impressive at the same time. It wouldn’t hurt to crack a smile every now and then”, Ella suggested.
“That might scare people even more”, Quinn replied.
“Huh, you really are fearless aren’t you?” Kristy pointed at Quinn, who responded with a smile and shrug.
Kristy was surprisingly enjoying herself. She couldn’t remember the last time she joked around with a bunch of girlfriends like this.
She nudged Ella. “So do you have a boyfriend?” she asked curiously.
“No”, Ella answered, looking slightly shy.
“What?” Quinn looked shocked. “A pretty and smart woman like you doesn’t have a boyfriend?”
“There must at least be someone trying to court you”, Kristy added.
Simon came back with everyone’s drinks and appetizers. “Wow, you three seem to be hitting it off. What are you chatting so happily about?” he asked as he slipped into the seat besides Kristy.
“We’re probing into Ella’s love life. How does she not have a boyfriend?” Quinn asked Simon.
“Oh, I think that will change soon”, Simon answered mischievously.
“What are you talking about?” Ella asked, looking confused.
Simon shrugged. “I don’t know what I’m talking about, you ladies enjoy yourselves” he said and left.
“Don’t listen to him, I have no idea what he’s talking about”, Ella said to Kristy and Quinn.
The three continued to chat happily and get to know each other. After a while, it started to get late, so everybody started to leave the bar.
Ella, Kristy, and Quinn exited together, continuing their silly conversation, with Simon joining in as well. They walked outside to see Ethan waiting by his car.
“Who’s that handsome guy?” Kristy asked. “He looks like he’s waiting for someone.”
Ella couldn’t be more surprised to see Ethan. They hadn’t met again since the function last week and she didn’t think she’d ever see him again. What was he doing here?
Ethan caught sight of Ella and waved to her as he started to walk towards her. “He’s here for you! And you said no one was trying to court you!” Quinn said.
Ella pulled Simon over. “What is he doing here?” she asked him. “He told me he wanted to see you again! He had only nice words to say about you, so I told him you’d be here tonight”, Simon answered. “You’re welcome”, he said with a smile.
“So that’s why he looked so darn sneaky”, Ella thought to herself.
Simon turned to Kristy and Quinn. “How about we leave Ella to her Prince Charming?” he suggested to them. The two started to walk off with him.
“Hi, Simon told you you’d be here tonight”, Ethan said to Ella with the same charismatic smile he gave her the first time they met.
“Hi”, Ella said back, nervously. She didn’t know if she should be happy or nerve wracked. “What are you doing here?” she tried to ask politely. After all, she did want to know.
“I was wondering if you wanted to grab a cup of coffee together”, he asked.
“Um...” Ella started.
“I came all the way here to ask you that. It’s just a cup of coffee, I won’t take more than an hour of your time”, he said.
“Alright then”, Ella replied. Sounded fair enough. What could it hurt?
Ethan took her to a nice little cafe nearby.
“Tell me more about yourself”, he said to Ella as the waitress came with their coffee.
“What’s there to know?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Anything you’re comfortable telling me”, he answered. “I don’t know why, but I find something intriguing about you. After we met the other night, I couldn’t help but think about you and what you were like”, he added.
Ella felt nervous yet excited at the same time. “Honestly, I did too. I also thought about what you said”, she replied.
“The part where you said life would be more easy and enjoyable if you learned to be flexible and relaxed”, she answered.
“I see. You said you have a problem with being too organized and structured, right?” he asked.
Ella laughed. “Yeah, kind of”, she said.
“We’ll just have to help you change that then”, Ethan said with a smile.
“That’s probably easier said than done”, Ella said.
“I like a challenge”, he replied.
Ella smiled and laughed. Something about him made her heart flutter.
The two continued to chat until the cafe had to close. They talked about work, family, and life in general. Ella was surprised at how comfortable she felt talking to Ethan.
Ethan escorted her out the door. “We should do this again sometime”, he said to her.
“Definitely”, Ella replied sweetly.
“Shall I give you a ride home?” he asked.
“That’d be great” Ella said happily. After a night of spending time with her co-workers and Ethan, this was the most happy and satisfied she felt in a long time.
Back at the bar, Quinn had quickly caught a taxi and went home.
“You want a ride home?” Simon offered to Kristy.
Kristy was feeling a bit hyper even though all she drank was some iced tea. This was the most enjoyable night she had in forever. Due to her good mood, she said yes to Simon without any remarks or refusal.
“You look extremely happy. I’m not sure what to think of this”, Simon said to Kristy as he drove her home, pretending to sound scared of this side of her.
“Very funny”, she replied in her usual sarcastic tone, then softened up again. “Thanks for convincing me to come tonight. I had a good time”, she sincerely thanked him.
Simon smiled. “You’re welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed yourself”, he replied. “Do you think you’re going to be joining us again anytime soon?” he asked her.
“Sooner than you’d think”, she smiled back.
They approached an apartment complex and Kristy asked him to stop. “This is where I live”, she said and got out of the car. “Thanks for the ride!”
After getting out of the car, Kristy turned back and talked to Simon through the open window.
“Don’t get the wrong idea. I may not hate you anymore, but I still certainly do not like you”, Kristy said playfully to him.
“We’ll see about that”, he answered back.
Kristy smirked. “Goodnight Simon”, she said and walked away.
“Goodnight!” he called out to her and started to drive home.
“She’s really not your ordinary girl”, he said to himself, smiling.
Comments: A longer than usual chapter this time since I'll be busy again after I go back to school. This chapter focused on mostly Kristy, but also Ella.
Isn't it nice to see the three girls starting to become friends? For some reason, I love writing for Simon and find writing dialogue for him the easiest.
Hope you enjoyed this long chapter!