I jolt at the sound of the door closing shut despite the gentleness of the act, suddenly trapped inside an expensive cage. I inhale impulsively, sucking in as much air as my lungs will allow, inadvertently breathing in the anomalous smell of old money.
Even though there’s plenty of space, I remain stationary, locked in the same position, my body wrought with strain, the muscles in my increasingly-useless legs almost permanently contracted.
Being engulfed by animal hide sure as fuck doesn’t help.
At consistent prompting of a notification icon, I break my static disposition to fasten my seat belt, the action born merely of something to pacify my reeling psyche with than ensure my physical safety.
Buckle up, girl. You’re in for a hell of a ride.
The driver’s door opens and the elderly gentleman occupies its seat, promptly starting the engine. My heart roars in tandem with the limo’s, thrumming away as the car transitions into motion.
My skin buzzes in company with the hum of the motor, my spine rigid against the heated backrest.
I resist the urge to indulge in the alcohol in front of me, fearing my agitation may very well tempt me to consume the entire bottle in one sitting. And, while it may effectively quell my nerves, I’m pretty sure showing up toasted to a charity date with my boss’ boss would not go over well.
Edgar doesn’t say much, relinquishing me to spiraling, half-formed thoughts. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Casual conversation might help keep my mind off things, however briefly. But, on the other hand, I’m not sure my scrambled brain is currently even capable of such a feat.
My heart accelerates alongside the limo as I’m driven across the city, peering through the window intermittently, resorting to polling automobiles and landmarks to keep my mind off what awaits me in the very near future.
Most people would probably be ecstatic at the idea; a date with a wealthy, handsome, enigmatic man.
But I’m terrified out of my mind. Anxious beyond description.
And it’s not even a real date.
Yes, part of said anxiety hails from my complete lack of experience in that department. Not even against the backdrop of a charitable donation.
I don’t know what to think. What to do. I have absolutely no clue how I’m supposed to conduct myself; what the expectations are. Mine. His. What the rules and etiquette of charity outings entail. Require.
But the complication of my ‘incident’ is the true looming elephant in the room.
He’d been absent from his office, leaving no notice about our “six o’clock interview”. So, I assumed he either forgot about or simply forfeited it. I was perfectly fine with either, and happily skipped all the way home under that hypothesis. Then he showed up there. To take me shopping.
Even then, he never once brought it up. And I sure as hell wasn’t about to.
The ride is over too soon, and my insides lurch forward against phantom inertia when the car slows, eventually coming to a stop as the engine dies down.
Here we go…