Valentine's Day Virgin

By: Penny Wylder




Okay, I can do that. Is there a dress code for this party?



If you can make it today at four-thirty, you can meet my brother at his office. That way you guys can meet face to face first, and he can give you all the details.



Today?



Yeah, today.



It's only one o'clock now, and I don't have anything stopping me from going except nerves.



Okay.



Perfect! I'll let him know. I'll text you the address. His name is Eric Marshall, and don't worry, you'll have a pass at the building and everything.



What kind of office is this exactly? She sends me the address, and a final message.



Good luck! I think you'll have a good time. Eric is a great guy, you'll see!



Thanks.



I toss my phone on the bed and sigh. What do you wear to go meet the blind date you've been set up on before the blind date? I have no freaking clue, but if I'm going to a high-power office, I better make sure I look good. Heaving myself off the bed, I head toward my closet and get ready for a marathon session of trying things on.



I opt for a simple dress and my prettiest coat. It would be nice if I didn't have to wear a coat, it would make a better impression I think, but it's February and I'm not crazy. Simple understated make-up, and I've left my hair down. I've always thought that I had good hair, and I took the time to poof it up and give it some volume and some waves before I leave my house.

The fact that I'm actually doing this...I can't believe it. It's very unlike me. I always talk about how I want to be swept off my feet but if I'm honest, I usually play it pretty safe. The fact that I said yes means that I'm getting desperate or that I'm changing. I'm not sure which one I want it to be. Both are kind of terrifying.

The office building that my Uber pulls up to isn't just some basic office building, it's a freaking skyscraper. Daunting with shining glass covering what must be thirty or more floors, and the marquis on the building tells me exactly where I am. Marshall Greetings. As in the biggest greeting card company on the planet. And my date's name is Eric Marshall. Holy shit, am I going on a date with the guy who owns this company? If I am, he has to be worth millions. This is definitely not going to be your everyday blind date, and this Valentine’s Day party isn't going to be the simple backyard affair that I was imagining. No, this is going to be huge. Oh. My. God.

Walking into this lobby has me dizzy. The entrance is three stories tall, and entirely white marble. There's a dazzling, glittering rectangular chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and I have to stop and stare upward because it's so beautiful. But that's when I notice that the security guards at the desk are staring at me. Right.

I walk up to them and pretend that I'm confident, plastering a huge smile on my face. "Sally Landing," I say. "I was told I would have a pass?"

The guard doesn't even speak, just refers to his list and then opens a drawer and hands me a visitors badge on a cord that I place around my neck. He points to the left. "Elevators are that way. Top floor. Scan the badge."

The click of my heels on the marble is loud as I walk away from them, scan my badge to get past some turnstiles, and then again to get into an elevator. The pass seems to know where I'm going, because I don't even have to press any buttons. It starts moving as soon as the doors close, giving me that particular sensation of vertigo that fast-moving elevators do.

There's a small chime as I reach the thirty-fifth floor, and the doors open to an office space that seems like it should be in a movie. It's large and open with huge windows overlooking the city. There are several seating areas artfully arranged with plants and glossy magazines, and the art is tastefully beautiful while not being obtrusive. A large desk stands in front of me and a gorgeous woman with blonde hair twisted up in an intricate knot looks me up and down. "Can I help you?"

I swallow. "Yes," I say. “I'm here to see Eric Marshall.”

She raises an eyebrow and looks me up and down again. With a few clicks, she checks something on the computer, and stands. "Follow me."

My shoulders tense. She doesn't seem too friendly, and the further I walk into the office, I notice it's stiffness. We pass a few offices with people working, and no one is smiling. They look angry or focused, and the atmosphere is almost painfully quiet. Who am I about to meet? What kind of boss makes an office environment like this?

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