In retrospect, Kendall realized that if she hadn't gotten drunk the night before she began her new job, her life would have been a hell of a lot more easy.
It all started out with a trip to the bar of a hotel she had fled to on one sultry summer night.
Well… no. Not quite. That wasn't really where it had all started. If she was being honest—and damn did she hate being honest—she'd have to admit that it actually started out decades back, when she was but a wee slip of a girl with a lot of dreams and something akin to an intact heart. Or just a few years ago, when she first entered Quantico and been dazzled by her new lab partner's smile. Or over the last few months, when she'd gotten a ring and an idea of how her future would proceed—and a promise that would never end up being fulfilled after all.
Or maybe just a day ago, when she'd gotten a very short, very perfunctory, very (somehow this was what hurt the most) grammatically challenging email that had—that had—
Well. If her Ex-Fiance Who Must Not Be Named
(He had taken on rather Voldemortian dimensions in her mind, given the events of the last 24-hours)
Had simply taken a sledge-hammer to her chest just a few hours back, it probably would have hurt her far less emotionally.
(And maybe even not that much physically. She had loved that sunnabitch but he had arms like a 10th grade girl and for her size, she was surprisingly hardy.)
Long story short, it had led to Kendall Martin—the top of her class at Quantico, about to head into her new life as an independent woman and a brand new job that would help crack open the toughest of computer cases for the LAPD—found herself sitting at a second-rate bar at the hotel she had fled to for the night, thinking about drowning her sorrows just enough to crawl back into an anonymous room and fall into a sodden sleep away from any concerned parents that would surely want to come over and tut over her when all she wanted to do was spontaneously combust in order to get away from anything and everything.
That was when she saw The Blond… and everything changed for both that night and all the following evenings.
She never would have approached anyone that came within spitting distance of someone that looked like him normally.
It wasn't that she was ugly. She had missed all the genetic markers for ravishing beauty and seeing as how she lacked long blond hair and bounteous bosoms that could enter a room before the rest of her, she wasn't even guy hot either. But contrary to what her just-abandoned ex might secretly think, she wasn't precisely a troll either. She was small—practically palm-sized in relation to some men—and while her wee little kewpie-doll face often made her look like a bloody teenager, she knew she wasn't actually repellent… whatever certain ex-fiancés might make her feel.
But The Blond who had just taken a seat two stools over from her? The Blond was playing in another league entirely. They were so far apart in terms of sheer appeal that Kendall rather felt like she might be committing some sort of sex-crime for gawking at him so openly.
For one, he completely and utterly deserved his Capitalization, being the sort of man you could easily refer to as The Blond and pin-point based on that description alone. Somehow, despite LA being the kind of place where every third waiter looked like Justin Timberlake's vat-grown genetically superior love-child, he stood out like a bolt of lightning, presenting one hell of a profile as he sat on his stool, drinking glass after glass of what had to be some damn potent liquor with no end in sight. But even as he gave his kidneys one hell of a job to do come morning, Kendall had to admire the picture he cast tonight. Even in the dim light surrounding them, his long, lean body cut an elegant figure, while his short, spiky hair looked almost alight, glowing around his handsome face like a kind of make-shift halo.
All he needed to complete the picture he was creating was a Regency-era back-drop and a woman in a bonnet calling his name out in desperation in the rain. As a woman who made a habit of main-lining Jane Austen like a junkie after every single break-up, Kendall could deeply appreciate the sight.
Also, he looked about as miserable as she felt inside. Which was to say, he looked rather like he had been told his wife was dumping him, his kids weren't his, he was losing his job, his house had lost half its value in the recent crash, and his gold-fish had just died.
All on the very same night.
And maybe that was precisely why Kendall—she of the sterling GPA, top of her class, the pride of her conservative family, the nice girl who played by the rules and didn't do the kinds of crazy, risky things that might trap her in a room alone with what might be the best looking maniac in her city, the girl who calculated her every move before she made it to maximize her chances of achieving success perfectly—slid two chairs over to where The Blond sat and said, down-right demurely:
"Hi. You need any help with those drinks?"