"You know, I can't help but notice that you're a lot more lifelike around Eliza."
Eliza Dooley continued wandering aimlessly around the clearing, cell phone held high. No, she wasn't trying to find better lighting for a selfie; she was desperately trying to find a signal that avoided her all weekend long.
"God, even Hell has two bars! How the eff can you have an estate like this with no Wi-Fi at all?!" she muttered angrily while swiveling her body every direction trying to help her cause. #thestruggle
Five minutes passed before she finally gave up and chucked her phone into the nearby bushes; probably a mistake but right now the phone was as useful right now as she was this weekend. Man, this 'plus one' status was really affecting her.
Not wanting to search for her iPhone just yet and unwilling to go back to the house to face Henry, who had just lashed out at her for trying to help him gain Saperstein's approval, she sat down where she stood (thankfully she had changed into a dark blue skirt from her white sundress she had worn earlier during their excursion to Mrs. Saperstein's lake she saved. #alwaysthinkingahead)
She was brought here because of Henry and now even he was mad at her. It seems that was becoming a habit as of late.
"Well, you, my dear, are a lost cause!"
Henry's words from a few weeks ago echoed in her head and actually made her wonder if he had been right all along. She wasn't sure why she cared so much, but the tears welling up in her eyes did nothing to remedy the current situation.
She took a deep breath and was close to breaking down when she heard a voice disrupt the stillness the night had created.
The voice had belonged to Henry and was coupled with the sound of trotting.
"Is that a… Oh em gee, it totally is!" Her expression had done a complete 180 and she was wiping at her imminent tears and began giggling to mask her sadness as happy crying.
He dismounted from the horse before quickly making a line to his titian-haired friend. He wasn't sure how he felt about that nickname but Julia had used it the other day when giving him her first impression of Eliza.
"Please tell me I'm not the cause of this," He extended a hand out to help her to her feet, which she accepted.
She returned to her feet and toward her male coworker. She hadn't expected to be met with a pair of puppy dog eyes staring back at her. Had he always had those eyes?
"Oh don't be silly, Henry; Y'know… just getting in touch with nature. #intothewords" She chuckled upon adding the hashtag because Henry hated her incorporating twitter into her conversations.
"I just… well, I had to make sure we were okay." He said, carefully phrasing his intentions.
"Pshhh, totes! Why wouldn't we be? You only shouted at me and told me I was a leech." She replied bluntly.
"The manner I treated you with earlier was completely unacceptable and I'm sincerely sorry. I see you were merely attempting to help me get in Saperstein's good books for the promotion and I regretted yelling at you immensely. I don't want you to think that I value my job more than I value our friendship. Because, I swear, it's a tie." He gripped her hand hoping she felt the sincerity in his apology.
"A tie?! Please, you know you worship me! Just admit it!" She teased him while poking him in the chest.
He rolled his eyes before replying, "I have grown accustomed to your face."
She had never heard anyone say that to her before; sure, she's been told she's got a bangin' bod or a nice rack. But Henry's statement meant more than any of those compliments could; it meant he liked seeing her and was glad to have her around. She meant something to him.
"Thank you." She whispered, nearly inaudible.
A couple seconds go by before the silence finally becomes too much and she has to redirect the conversation.
"So I take it you got the promotion?" She was smirking while swaying their arms back and forth playfully.
Normally he would have put an end to this, but she had lectured him last week about his lack of touching people for no reason. He thought this was a good stepping stone.
"#slamdunk, as you would say." He eased up and started grinning.
Eliza stifled a laugh before replying with, "I think I would actually go with #cannonball, personally." She noticed how they were still holding hands and wondered how long this would go on. How long did she want this to go on? She had Freddy and Henry had started 'courting' Julia; neither of them wanted anything more from this, right?
"Hey now, that's a cheap shot! I went out of my comfort zone to do that and it was only because you suggested it." The moon reemerged from the clouds and was now illuminating them both. She noticed the glow from his face, indicating that he was in fact blushing from her mention of the cannonball he took in front his coworkers earlier… sans clothes.
"Whoa there, I wasn't trying to embarrass you! I was actually impressed you followed through on that commitment." She explained while maintaining eye contact.
He picked up her lingering eyes on his face and the fact that their hands were still intertwined. What could it all could mean? Was he reading too far into it? Could it be… no, no way, Higgs, you made a move last time and look where it got you.
"Well good, because I wasn't humiliated at all; it was actually a liberating experience. You should try it sometime!" His eyes went wide at what exactly he just implied and Eliza took off and ran with it.
"Oh yeah… when exactly should I try that?" she asked in a flirtatious way.
"I was talking about following through on commitments!" He nearly shouted, while trying not to appear rattled.
She realized how much she loved seeing him flustered; whether it was from him not being in control of the situation or from him being unaware of what to say next. She wondered how he would react to her next act.
"So like, relationship commitments?" She inquired, as she began to move closer towards him.
He hadn't noticed her perfume until this very moment; a hint of cotton candy, perhaps? Damn it, Higgs, it wasn't important right now. Concentrate on the question she posed.
"A relationship is a form of commitment, so technically, yes." He answered hesitantly.
"And I should follow through, right?" She inched ever closer while glancing from his eyes to his lips.
"Eliza…" It was barely a murmur, but it was all he could muster with her being as near as she was.
"Henry…" She released his hand and threw both her arms around his neck before leaning forward and kissing him on the spot.
At first it was tender and sweet, but the longer it went on the more passionate it became.
His hands were at his side to begin but a few seconds later they were on her lower back and in her ginger curls. Hers were gently caressing the back of his head.
She initiated the kiss so it was only fitting she end it. Not because she wanted to, but a girl had to breathe!
They both inhaled deeply while resting their foreheads together.
"Wow, I'm glad you got that promotion." She said between fits of laughter.
He laughed at her nonchalant manner given what just unfolded and went along with it.
"Me too, Eliza, me too. And I'm glad I can be your plus one now." He said while holding out an arm for her. She looped hers in his and set off toward the house.
His phone began sounding with an alert from Charlie.
"Oh shit, I got a signal! Now you don't have to be bored anymore!" He informed her while texting back a quick reply to his assistant.
"I don't think that'll be an issue anymore, Henry." She flashed him a smile before leaning her head on his shoulder.
"Funny thing about me is while I'm looking at me, I'm hoping to find you."