Sidequest for Love - Page 57

“I don’t deserve their forgiveness.”

She shook her head at me. “It goes to show just how good you are that you think this is the worst thing a person could possibly do on the internet. I’ve basically lived online since I was a teenager, and I’ve seen some seriously foul shit. Your little catfishing episode is barely the tip of the iceberg.”

What she said made me feel a tiny bit better, but not by much. We rode the Tube together, and Afric was kind enough to distract me by talking endlessly about the mission she and her gaming friends, Yellowshoes and TheBigSix, were currently undertaking in her favourite game, Greenforest. Most of the details went right over my head since I’d never been into computer games, but the way her eyes lit up with passion as she spoke was what held my attention.

There was magic to this woman. The more I got to know her, the more evident it became. She lived in her own world, made up her own rules, and I was almost envious of her. I’d always lived in other people’s worlds. I facilitated their lives, made sure everything was planned for and running smoothly. Perhaps the possibility of Annabelle outing me to Callum was a good thing. Maybe it meant I’d finally quit being someone’s assistant and start chasing my own dreams for a change.

But what were my dreams?

The idea of branching off and starting my own event planning business was certainly appealing. I’d even done research and sketched out a business plan, but that didn’t mean I’d ever go through with it. It was just so much easier to stay put, keep working as an assistant and let my life go on as normal. Sometimes, I felt like I was drowning in the status quo and I’d never find the courage to try and build something of my own. I was paying my bills. I was putting money away in savings, but was I actually living? Was I fulfilling my potential? Did I want to? Did I have it in me to be my own boss and possibly other people’s boss?

I had to admit, the thought of being the one in charge was invigorating.

When we reached the café, Afric grabbed a table in the corner while I went to sit by the window. I ordered some green tea because my stomach was too queasy for actual food. Several minutes went by, and I glanced over at Afric’s table. She’d just been served a plate of waffles, and I envied her appetite. She shot me a wink and a thumbs-up, and I noticed she’d seated herself in a position so that she could discreetly keep an eye on my table.

Then, the café door opened, and in walked the prettiest redhead I’d ever seen. Seriously, her pictures didn’t do her justice. Annabelle was beautiful, though strangely, that didn’t affect me like it used to. Something had changed. She’d once occupied a pedestal inside my head, but no longer. I didn’t see her as this perfect, angelic being anymore, and I was glad for it. She was just a normal human woman to me now. It made facing her far more bearable.

She glanced around the café, clearly searching for Callum. Nerves thrummed through me as I stood from my seat, glancing at Afric one last time. She had a bite of waffle halfway to her mouth as she gave me an encouraging nod.

Deep breath in, deep breath out.

I approached Annabelle and opened my mouth to speak. Nothing came out. She glanced at me for a second, then instantly dismissed me, instead looking over my shoulder. When I didn’t move, she glanced at me again.

“I’m sorry, can I help you?” she clipped, and something stabbed in my gut.

“Yes, um, are you Annabelle?”

At this, her dismissiveness waned. “I am. Did Callum send you? Is he not able to make it?”

I motioned to the table I’d been occupying. “Can we sit for a moment?”

Warily, she nodded and walked to the table before taking a seat. I could practically feel Afric’s avid attention as she watched us, but it didn’t make me feel self-conscious. There was something reassuring about her presence.

When I met Annabelle’s eyes, there was a light of recognition in her. “Hey, I think I know you. Aren’t you one of the assistants from Running on Air? I’ve seen you on the show a few times.”

I sometimes appeared in the background of scenes, but I didn’t realise anyone paid much attention to me. “Yes. My name is Neil. I work for Callum. I actually run most of his social media accounts.”

Now she smiled. “Oh, you must know all about me then. Callum and I message each other a lot. Where is he, by the way? Is he running late?”

I didn’t answer her question. Instead, I sent her a meaningful look. “Callum doesn’t go on his social media accounts. That’s why I run them for him.”

Tags: L.H. Cosway Romance
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