I am a big fan of first meetings as they often set the tone for the relationship, and tell us a lot about how the couple will interact with one another later in the story. In the case of Malcolm Brodie and Cassandra Tillerman, the first meeting does not go well. Fortunately, they are able to overcome their differences, but based on their first meeting, it doesn't seem very likely.
Brodie isn't having a very good day. He's almost late for work, waiting for the elevator, which is being slow. He gets on the crowded elevator and a pretty redhead parks herself right in front of the panel. Unfortunately, she's on the phone and isn't paying attention to the floors other people need. Since she's blocking it, someone has to do something. Brodie takes her phone, hanging it up, earning himself a tongue lashing. Eventually, he manages to escape, has a brief and happy meeting with clients, only to have a very nasty surprise when waiting by the elevator once again.
Bell dinged, door opened and out walked the Phone Princess, glowering the moment she saw me. Surprise replaced the anger as she saw Janine Tillerman apparently delighted with my surly, brutish company.
"Mother? What are you doing?" She turned abruptly in my direction, snarling. "You bastard! Take your hands off my mother this instant!"
I jumped back like I'd been shot. A yelp escaped me that reverberated in the marble lined hallway and echoed around the entire tenth floor. People peeped out of offices and cubicles all around us, leaning forward to get a better view. We gave them a hell of a show. Phone Princess, or as she was more commonly known, Cassandra Tillerman stood three feet five inches away from me, arms akimbo.
If you don't know what akimbo means, imagine your fourth grade teacher chewing you out for throwing spit wads when her back was turned. Remember how her hands were planted on her hips and she leaned forward in a threatening manner? That's akimbo.
"What," she repeated loudly, "are you doing?" This was directed at me.
I let go of Janine Tillerman so fast, my hands blurred. Horrified, her mother stood with her mouth open, eying her daughter balefully.
"Cassandra, what on earth?"
Cassandra advanced like a she-wolf coming in for the kill. Her dark brown eyes flashed with cold flames. Short, curly auburn hair burned with hell's fire and steam rose from her nose, billowing around her head. Okay, that one was my imagination, but you get the idea. She'd reached a level of pissed off I've never seen before.
In short, I was terrified. There was no way I could show fear, or she'd have me. Instead, I adopted the same bored expression I did when Mrs. Flaherty chewed me out for the spit ball fiasco. Pretending indifference, I listened politely, waiting for her to stop for air. She went an incredibly long time before drawing a breath.
I admired her stamina and the way her chest rose and fell as she bellowed at me for a good five minutes. I've seen some attractive women in my time, but Cassandra Tillerman was as exquisite a specimen as I'd seen in awhile. It didn't matter that she hated my guts, nor did it especially matter that she was yelling less than a foot from my face. She smelled amazing and had a dimple in her left cheek that showed deeply when she pursed her lips. Her eyes were a shade of brown that was so dark it was like looking in a well.
I fell in that well, weighted down with the fact that she absolutely, positively, unequivocally detested and abhorred me. I'm certain of this fact, because she told me in no small detail just how loathsome an individual I am.
Her parents could do nothing to control her. Ches couldn't get a word in edgewise, try as he might to deflect her diatribe. Cassandra was in full voice, locked and loaded, ready to take aim and fire, when security showed up. Three large men, even bigger than I am, tumbled out of the same elevator she'd exited less than ten minutes before.
"Er, got a problem up here, Mr. Winchester?" Pete, the guard captain asked my boss.
"I'm not really sure." Ches replied hesitantly, looking aghast at Cassandra Tillerman with mixed alarm and dread. He glanced at me. Seeing my stony silence and tight lipped demeanor, he blinked rapidly. Ches always blinks a lot when he's nervous. "Brodie? Do we have a problem?"
"No, sir." I replied, lips snapping together. "I don't have a problem. Perhaps Miss Tillerman does?"
Cassandra Tillerman had finally decided she'd gone too far. The fact that she'd drawn a crowd hadn't fazed her, but when the security team surrounded her looking tough, she got very quiet. Quelled, I think is the right word. Decidedly quelled.
"Cassie, for goodness sake, tell me what's wrong? Why are you behaving so abominably?" Her mother was appalled and not unaware of the lingering crowd.
Her father was silent, looking furtively between us. I couldn't tell if he was angry, or felt sorry for me. I was too furious to tell and too pissed off to give a shit.
"He is abhorrent!" She pointed at me, her well manicured finger shaking slightly.
"What did you do?" Mrs. Tillerman turned appealing to me.
"Shall I tell them about the little fiasco in the elevator, Mr. Whatever, or do you want to?"
I shrugged. "I'll tell them. One of us has to be an adult here. I pick me." I quickly filled them in on the salient points of our first encounter.
Miss Tillerman's face grew red, her hands clutching white knuckled at her sides. She looked ready to grab my throat and rip it out with her teeth and sink her nails into my spine.
"You wicked, nasty man! That isn't what happened at all!"
© 2017 Dellani Oakes