Toronto in the fall was beautiful, the leaves changes colours and many of the shops downtown decorated their storefronts in preparation for Halloween. Attending classes for her masters degree in Toronto seemed like a good idea when she got to see this amazing combination of nature and steel. Leah’s masters class in physics had let out for the day, and she was walking down the streets of Toronto, killing time before she had to be at her internship. Her life had changed in a matter of months, it was almost unbelievable if not for all the photos on her phone and laptop for proof.
At this point, only a week away from Halloween, Leah thought about visiting her family for Thanksgiving. American Thanksgiving, she had to remind her self, Canadians had their own thanksgiving a whole month ahead of Americans. Her mom had been asking about her visiting for awhile, since the summer actually. Her brother would probably antagonize her, and Jake would try to persuade to come back and be his Beta because Embry was shit and Sam would look at her like he wanted her but also didn’t. Leah sighed, maybe she wouldn’t visit this Thanksgiving, she could push it off until Christmas.
Checking the time on her phone, Leah altered her path and turned down another street that would lead her to the very tall building that housed Fleur Consultants, the tech company where Leah was doing her internship at. It was an amazing company that allowed her the ability to build, code and create whatever she wanted, while keeping the rights to her creations. It was why applied for a program at UofT, this internship would give her everything she ever wanted.
Her boss and fast-friend, Vera, made her time in Toronto exciting and bright. She also didn’t push Leah when it became apparent that Leah was nursing a broken heart, she just took Leah out to clubs and restaurants until the ache in her heart just a bit less. It was Leah’s fault anyways, she broke Tristan’s heart by leaving and she broke her own heart in the process. It was a necessary evil, she had rationalized to herself at the time. She wasn’t sure how necessary it was anymore.
Leah went over in head all the things she needed to get done before the weekend while going up the elevator to the 31st floor, where her workshop was. She needed to finish writing the reports on the computers she fixed, then she needed to work out how to write a patch for a software her predecessor wrote for the company but was becoming obsolete and malfunctioning and then she needed to finish the robot she was building.
While chewing her bottom lip and musing whether rewriting the program would be less painful than coding a patch, the doors slide open on the 15th floor, half way to her destination, to reveal two people she was not expecting. One was the VP of marketing, chattering away to her companion about their new promo schemes for next summer and whatever else she had to say. The other one was the same man she had left in a hotel bed nearly two months ago, barely hiding the surprise at seeing her here. Leah shuffled over to the right side, allowing the other two more space in the elevator, praying that they’d get off quickly before her floor.
“...so I was thinking maybe changing the colour schemes to a brighter or more vibrant colour, we’re going to the 31st floor, oh! Leah must be going there too, anyways as I was saying...” The VP rambled on without noticing the tension that had settled in the elevator as Tristan stood next to Leah, trying to catch her eye and Leah staunchly avoiding it. Leah resorted to holding her breathe to slow her heartbeat because she was adamant it could be heard by all in the elevator.
When the doors opened on the 31st floor, Leah flew like a bat out of hell from the confined space that smelled too much like the man whose heart she broke and hightailed it to Vera’s office to hide. Tristan’s hand just brushed her upper arm, failing to hold on where he had obviously reached out for her. It reminded her how after that first night they slept together, he needed to be in close proximity to her whether standing in her personal space or by holding some part of her.
Vera’s door burst open, startling her and causing her to drop a binder of contacts on the floor, thudding dully against the carpet.
“He’s here.” Leah declared. “The guy from the summer who I don’t want to see, he’s here. If he asks to see me, I need you to tell him he can’t or that I’m busy, or I’m sick and infectious, or whatever. But he can’t see me. I just, I, I need, Vera, stop laughing!”
“You are a grown women, Leah,” Vera picked up the binder and deposited it on her desk gently. “If you don’t want to see him, then you assert that. If not, call security.”
“I want to see him. I just can’t. It would be a really bad idea.” Leah looked around her boss-slash-best-friend’s office before squaring her shoulders. “I can do this, right? Actually, can you make sure that no one disturbs me? I have a lot of reports to finish for you.”
“I got you, Leah, I’ll run interference the best I can. Just, if you want to see him and you are as in love with him as you seem, it might not be a bad idea to try to make it work.” Vera replied, concern written in her eyes as she tried not to be judgemental. Obviously Leah had her reasons for not wanting to talk to this guy but Vera wished that Leah was so opposed to the idea of love. Despite only knowing her for a short period of time, Vera was protective of Leah, she seemed like a survivor and Vera liked survivors.
“Thanks, V, I’ll buy you dinner next time as a thank you.” Leah closed the door as Vera yelled back, “I’ll hold you to that.”
Making her way quickly to her workshop, she laid down her coat and bag in the corner and started gathering all the computers she fixed the week before.
Before she knew it, four hours had passed and many people were leaving for the day. She had gotten through her reports and was now working on two grant applications that would give her the funds to hire someone chemistry inclined to collaborate on her newest idea.
She was in the middle of typing out how this invention would better the world, when a knock on the door interrupted her train of thought. Without sparing a glance, she called out, “Come in!” assuming that it was Vera coming to check on her. When Vera didn’t start talking, Leah looked up and saw that she wasn’t completely wrong. Vera was there, but so was Tristan.
Vera approached the work table as Leah’s mind flashed through the options of how this could go down. She could run out of the room, she could ignore the two of them, she could move to Siberia or even Timbuktu...
“I know you don’t really want to see him, but I think you should,” Vera’s quiet plea interrupted her thoughts. Leah’s face quickly changed from panic to betrayal as she took in what ever new best friend had suggested.
Seeing how Leah was misinterpreting her words, she spoke quickly, “I didn’t know that the guy you left over the summer was Tristan. If I did, I would have tried to get you to reconcile with him. Tristan has been utterly miserable since you left him, and trust me, I would know since he has been moaning about his broken heart since it happened. Just give him a chance, please. Everything you were afraid of happening won’t happen, Tristan would never. He’s a good man, and Leah, he’s in love with you just as much as you’re in love with him.”
“How do you guys know each other?” Leah asked, looking back and forth between Vera and Tristan.
Vera looked back at Tristan, who was still standing in the doorway, looking both nervous and determined. “Tristan is my older brother, and he also owns Fleur. Today is his first day back after his sabbatical year.”
Leah was aware that Vera had two brothers, an older and a younger. She had met the younger one before, as he had stopped by to say hello to his sister but she had never said where her older brother was. Vera said very little about her older brother actually, other than that he was ‘away’ for awhile to deal with things and that she thought he and Leah would get. Obviously Vera was right about how well they got along.
Leah looked at Tristan briefly before considering whether she should talk to him. She owed him this much, right?
Leah sighed. “Okay, I’ll talk to you Tristan.”