A deep voice cleared its throat behind Jocelyne, making her jump.
“Facebook? During work hours?” Mark’s voice boomed from over her shoulder. “Again?”
Jocelyne rolled her eyes, stifling a giggle. I should really offer him some acting lessons…
“That’s it.” He continued, drawing closer to her. “I think I’m gonna have to dock your pay for this one.” Mark winked at her, letting his stern mask finally fade.
“So slave labor, essentially?” She laughed. Her pay was already so pitiful that some days, her job felt almost like indentured servitude. “Do I look like a House Elf to you?”
Mark chuckled heartily. “I take it you’ve been enjoying your latest reading material.”
Jocelyne nodded. She’d been flying through the books, and was already in the heart of Goblet of Fire. It was so fun to re-visit the series again after so many years — especially in the original English. “I’ll probably be bugging you for the next one by this weekend.”
Her boss opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted by the soft creaking of a door opening across the room.
“Knock knock?” Elliot crossed the threshold, lingering uncertainly near the doorway.
Jocelyne felt her heart flutter at the sight of his handsome face. “Elliot!” She called happily. “You’re early!”
He smiled softly at her. “Yeah, sorry about that… I figured you’d be working the front desk, so I’d just hang out there, but…” Elliot hesitated, his eyes flicking toward Mark. “It’s cool if I’m back here, right?”
“Of course!” The older man smiled. “And actually…” Mark glanced down at his watch. “Why don’t you leave a few minutes early?” He offered Jocelyne.
“Sure. You got all your filing done already – Thanks, by the way.” He added quickly. “So I don’t see why not.” Mark’s smile widened. “I just wish I had a sock I could offer you…”
Her eyes lit up. “Jocelyne is a free elf!” The young girl doubled over in laughter. Beside her, Mark did the same.
Elliot shook his head, the amusement apparent on his face. “You guys are so damn weird.”
“And proud of it!” Jocelyne teased, her laughter finally dying away. “Thanks, Mark. You’re the best, seriously.”
“Have fun, you two.” He gave them each a small nod before retreating back to his office and closing the door behind him.
Jocelyne turned her attention back to Elliot. “Ready to go?” She leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on his cheek.
He nodded. “Y’know… Your boss is actually pretty cool, for an old dude.” Elliot admitted as they headed out into the main library area.
“Oh come on, he’s not that old!” She laughed. Okay, maybe a little old… Jocelyne added mentally. But who cares? “So where are you taking me tonight?”
“It’s this awesome new restaurant Greg won’t shut up about.” Elliot beamed at her. “I thought it might be kinda fun to check it out.”
“With you there? More than kinda.” Jocelyne winked at him and took him by the arm as they headed out into the soft evening light together.
“This was such a great idea… This place is amazing!” Jocelyne gushed as she stood with Elliot under the moonlight. Her stomach and heart were both so full as she looked into his sparkling eyes.
Elliot smiled crookedly at her. “Just like you.” He leaned forward then, and pressed his lips to hers.
Jocelyne closed her eyes, smiling against his kiss. Today would mark one month since Elliot had asked her out on their first date. Where had the time gone? He’s so perfect… How the heck did I get so lucky?
“You’re beautiful.” He whispered as he finally broke the kiss. His eyes locked with hers for several long moments before he finally spoke again. “Hey, wanna come back to my place? Watch a movie or something? Greg went home for the weekend, so we can have a little peace and quiet.”
Jocelyne’s heart fluttered in her chest. Back to his apartment? Alone? His roommate Greg had always been in the other room whenever she went over. A strange rush of excitement and fear coursed through her. Could this mean what I think it means?
She took a deep breath. “Okay.” Jocelyne replied at last. “Sounds great.”
“Alright, you’re sure the book is better?” Elliot teased as the movie continued to play on the TV in front of them.
Jocelyne nodded enthusiastically. “It’s so much funnier and such a quick read. Mark got me totally hooked on the whole series, but you’ve gotta start on the first one. I really think you’ll like it.” She grinned.
He nodded. “Sure. Maybe next time I visit you down at the library I can check it out.”
“Sounds great…” She replied almost dreamily as her eyes traced every inch of his face.
Maybe she’d had one too many drinks at dinner, or maybe she was just struck by the fact that they were finally alone together… But there was something about the way he looked bathed in the soft blue glow of the television. It almost made her weak in the knees.
He must have noticed the way she was staring, because Elliot reached for the remote and paused the movie, never taking his eyes from Jocelyne’s face. “Jocelyne.” He said at last. “I’ve been thinking… And I really like you. A lot.”
“I like you too.” The girl whispered softly.
“So I just wanted to ask… Like, make it official…” Elliot paused for a moment. “Y-you’re my girlfriend, right?”
Jocelyne’s heart skipped a beat at his words. Oh my God. OH MY GOD. She fought to keep her composure as she gave a tiny nod of her head. “Of course.” With a tiny hand she reached forward, pulling him toward her and planting a gentle kiss against his lips.
Elliot melted eagerly into her embrace and opened his mouth against hers, deepening the kiss. Jocelyne did not hesitate, and returned the gesture with great enthusiasm. This is amazing. She thought, savoring the sweet taste as his mouth moved with hers.
And when his large, warm hands began to wander, she did not pull away…
Jocelyne’s smile had still not left her face as she fumbled with the lock on the apartment door. Shit. She thought, wincing at how loud her entrance was. Clara was a very light sleeper, and she’d been so damn moody lately that Jocelyne feared what kind of wrath she’d have to endure if she woke her up.
To her surprise, she found her aunt sitting on the couch, wide awake.
The purple-haired girl hastily wiped a few tears from her eyes… A gesture that Jocelyne did not miss. For a moment, her joy was replaced with concern. Clara’s behavior had been growing more and more worrying lately. What could be going on? In the back of her mind, Jocelyne had a vague idea… But she quickly chased it away, just as she always did.
“Damn, you were out late.” Clara’s smile seemed forced, but at least it was a smile… Her moods were so unpredictable lately that Jocelyne hadn’t been quite sure what to expect.
“Yeah, guess I lost track of the time.” Jocelyne replied, hoping to hide any trace of worry from her face. “I was over at Elliot’s place.”
She watched as her aunt looked her up and down for several moments. Then finally, her lips curled into a smile – a real, genuine smile. Maybe the first Jocelyne had seen in weeks. “Oh my FUCKING God. NO WAY.”
“AHHHH! You did it! HAH!” She jumped up from the couch. “You had sex with him, didn’t you?”
Jocelyne laughed brightly, shaking her head. “Sorry to disappoint, but… No. Not tonight.”
Clara’s face fell instantly. “Oh. Well damn. Guess I shouldn’t break out the baking supplies, then…”
“Well…” Jocelyne’s lips curled into a tiny smile as she thought back to how she and Elliot had spent their evening. “Maybe I don’t deserve a full-blown cake yet, but… I may have earned a cookie or two?”
“YES!” Clara raised a fist above her head in triumph. “Okay stop being such a fucking tease… Tell me what happened! How far did you get?”
“You grab the eggs, I’ll grab the flour… And then maybe I’ll tell you.” Jocelyne teased.
“Alright, you’re on… But you’ve gotta give me ALL the nasty details, okay?”
Jocelyne simply laughed in reply.