It isn’t often that Ryan is impressed with anything or anyone, but each day at 9:45am, like clockwork, he stands in the window watching her walk across the street holding her Starbucks coffee cup. He would ask himself if it’s her style, her walk, or just the fact that she’s just drop dead gorgeous. He isn’t one to be any type of voyeur, but with her, he found himself being totally enamored with this woman.
“Good morning sir,” Chris, Ryan’s assistant said, “I have the information you’ve requested; should I just leave it on your desk?”
“Yes, thank you. Did you find out about her lunch plans?”
“Oh, yes; today, she’ll be at The Warehouse, 1pm: she goes there monthly with her friend,” at the word friend, Ryan turned around to look at Chris.
Chris is not only his assistant, he’s his best friend; they’ve been friends since eighth grade. Chris’s family would help Ryan when his mother would be on one of her drinking binges and once his mom was committed, Chris’s family became Ryan’s family. When Ryan made his first million dollars he told Chris to quit his job as a financial planner and hired him—so calling him is assistant is a very loose term because Chris is definitely more than an assistant, he’s the companies CFO, but again he does more than that.
After Chris laughed at Ryan, he said, “friend as in best friend, it’s a guy, but the guy is very married and is expected his first child; she’s single my friend. Anyway, I’ll leave it all here for you. Now, can I go do my regular job? Oh, Michele wants to know if you’re available for dinner on Thursday, and then we can watch the game.”
“Ok, man, thank you and tell her, I’ll bring the beer,” Ryan said with a wide smile and after Chris left he looked at the file and the first thing he saw was her smile. He didn’t know her name, he didn’t care, he did want to know, but at the moment he only focused on her face and her smile. He ran his finger across her face and finally looked at who she is.
31 | Single | No children | Has a dog, Sophie | Lives in Alexandria, VA
Communications Director for George Washington University
Graduate of the University of Arkansas, BA
MBA, Marketing Specialty, Columbia University
Mother lives in Key West, FL
Father, deceased, retired Chief Master Sergeant the United States Air Force
One brother, Ethan Fernandez, Esq.
Ryan looked at the time, told Sarah, his actual assistant, to clear his afternoon and he headed to The Warehouse, he had no idea what he was going to say to Merrick, but he knew he had to try. He’s been watching her walk around the area for a few weeks and it was time to get to work on knowing her beyond her heavenly walk.
“Good afternoon, welcome to The Warehouse, how many today?
“Oh, just me,” Ryan said looking for Merrick. Merrick, he thought what a name, he only hopes that he gets to know the history of her name. “Can I sit, ah, over there,” he said and pointed to the window over to the right area of the restaurant. The hostess nodded, grabbed a menu, and led the way.
As Ryan got closer to Merrick, he slowed his walk to hopefully catch her attention; Merrick glanced up and saw Ryan, if she could’ve leaped into his arms she would have. What is happening, Ryan thought, she smiled at him. He gladly smiled back and nodded at her. She gave him a smile—that same smile he saw in her dossier.
“Hello,” Ryan said.
“Hello,” Merrick answered.
“Are you alone?”
“For the moment, I’m waiting on someone…”
“May I,” Ryan said referring to joining her at her table.
“Sure…umm, do I know you—you seem familiar?”
“It’s possible that you’ve heard of me.”
“You don’t say, and exactly who are you?”
“Before I tell you who I am, can I tell you something? And can I be honest?” Merrick’s eyebrows rise in shock. “I have been watching you…you get coffee or a drink every morning from Starbucks and from my office window I can see you. It makes my day every time I see you,” Merrick sat back in the chair and wanted to know more, and before she could say anything, Ryan said, “ I’m not a creep, I know it sounds odd, but I wanted to get to you know, so I hired an investigator to find out where you have lunch.”
Merrick giggled. “You had me investigated? And you wanted to know me just based on seeing me walk?”
This time, Ryan giggled, and innocently said, “Yes.”
Merrick had nothing to add to anything Ryan said, her mind wondered who this man was, and why in the world she found him interesting. Without thinking, she said, “So, here’s my card, use the information, I’ll be awaiting your call. Ooh, and you are?”
“Ooh, right: I’m Ryan Matthews…”
“Wait, Ryan Matthews, the kid millionaire, MIT graduate, that Ryan Matthews?”
Ryan smiled and Merrick knew she was right.
“I, ah, would love to continue this conversation, but…” Merrick said as Ryan stood.
“Can we have dinner tonight? I’ll text you a time,” Ryan asked and Merrick giggled. “Excuse me,” Ryan said to Avery, Merrick’s best friend.
“Ooh, Avery,” Merrick said and stood up, “this is Ryan Matthews, this is Dr. Avery Hughes,” both gentlemen nodded and shook hands. “Ryan, I look forward to dinner,” Merrick said and smiled.
“I can’t wait. Dr. Hughes, it’s a pleasure,” Ryan said and walked away with a smile.
“What did I miss,” Avery asked Merrick; her only response was to sit back in her seat and blush.
Moments later Merrick received a text from Ryan saying he’ll pick her up at 7 pm. Merrick responded and said she’ll be ready. After lunch, Merrick called her assistant to clear her afternoon, she needed to find something flirty for dinner; although she has a vast closet of clothes she wanted something new and different.
“Hey man, guess who has a date tonight?”
“Say it ain’t so…don’t answer that, I know you all too well,” Chris said to Ryan. “I only hope for the best for you!”
“Yeah, me too! I’ll let you know what happens!”
That afternoon Ryan did his best to stay focused on his tasks, but for moments on end, he’d find himself staring out the window and losing time in Merrick’s smile. He hadn’t thought about a woman this way in many years, wanting to be with her beyond the physical; it wasn’t the same as just sleeping with someone and going home, he wanted to share who is, his personal and emotional space with Merrick – why he didn’t know, but he really didn’t care.
The time ticked away slowly for both Ryan and Merrick. Ryan wanted to send Merrick messages. And Merrick wanted to send Ryan messages, but neither of them knew if that would be appropriate after all they don’t know each other beyond what they’ve read.
As the rain started to fall, Ryan sent Merrick a quick note letting her know that he’s on the way, his entire body went into happiness just thinking about this woman who only lived in his dreams. When Ryan got to Merrick’s building he went in to get her, she was waiting in the lobby area off to the left with her back turned, ala Pretty Woman when Richard Gere came into the hotel looking for Julia Roberts and when she turned he like to die a happy death, but this time Ryan just looked at Merrick and was thrilled that she looked just as good from behind as she does from the front.
The moment Ryan got closer to Merrick, she turned and smiled at him, “You’re stunning,” Ryan said staring into her eyes.
“Thank you and so are you,” Merrick said and stepped to Ryan and he let her walk into his arms for a welcoming hug. They both took a deep breath and were quite reluctant in letting each other go.
“Ooh, I needed that hug…”
“Hugs like that are always welcomed…” Merrick said and gave Ryan the most innocent little smile.
Ryan returned smiled back at Merrick, happy to know that she knows how to appreciate little things like a hug. “Ah, so, before I get into trouble, I think we should go. I, ah, thought we’d go to The Majestic, is that ok?”
“So did your little investigations tell you that I love it there?”
“No, it didn’t; I love it there too, and I thought it would be nice to have a delicious meal with great companionship,” Ryan said and took Merrick’s hand and led her to the car.
“Wait, do you ride around like this all the time?”
“No,” Ryan said laughing, “I wanted to be able to focus on you instead of driving.”
“Ooh, that’s really sweet.”
“Good evening, Ms. Fernandez,” Alton, Ryan’s driver, said and held the umbrella over both Merrick’s and Ryan’s heads. “Here we are,” he said and opened the door for Merrick.
On the way to the restaurant, Ryan was pretty quiet, he wanted to say so many things to Merrick; like he remembered the first time he saw her and how he immediately needed to know who she is.
“Ok, so can I be honest?” Merrick asked. Ryan just looked at her, he was sitting in the car facing her, but he hoped that he could hold it together long enough to be a gentleman. “So, today when you came in the restaurant I didn’t really see you and when you walked by me, on purpose I’m sure, I was really happy, until you said you had someone find out who I was. Although I was intrigued, I was really freaking out inside.” Ryan was going to say something, but then Merrick said, “Can I finish,” Ryan nodded giving her the time she needed to speak. “I wasn’t sure if you were joking or not, I didn’t think you were and I really gave you my card because I need to say all this to you in a space that I could control, but after I told Avery what you said, he told me that what he knew of you and how important you are, he didn’t think you’d risk your career, and livelihood on a pretty girl—he actually said you’re too smart for that.”
Ryan sat back in the seat and thought about how honest he was with Merrick and regretted it the moment he said he had her followed, but he wanted to be honest with her and didn’t want their relationship regardless of what happened between them to be a lie.
“Thank you for telling me that,” he said and sat forward again and reached for her hands, she placed her hands in his and Ryan said, “I’m sorry I scared you. I’m not a creep. I’m not that at all,” he said staring into her eyes, “but I’m not a liar and I didn’t know what else to do but to tell you the truth. The very first day I saw you, I had no idea what it was about you. I hadn’t seen your face, at the time, and I didn’t know if you were single, married, or what; so, yes, I had my people look into you because I needed to know who you were. I had no idea that we’d be here right now, but if you want I can have Alton take you home.”
“Ah, no, I want dinner, at least, and then we’ll see. Is that ok?”
“Whatever you like, I just want to spend time with you,” Ryan said and let Merrick’s hands go.
Riding in silence was never easy for Ryan, but all the things he wanted to say, he didn’t dare; he knew he was already on thin ice, and he definitely didn’t want to scare Merrick any more than he already did. And just before they got to the restaurant, Merrick moved and sat next to Ryan.
“I want to do something, but I fear it’ll make me look like a hypocrite.”
“What do you want, Merrick?”
She took a deep breath and leaned in and kissed Ryan.
Ryan returned Merrick’s kiss and listened to the sweetest moan from her.
Ryan stopped the kiss because he knew what would happen next, and not only wasn’t he ready for that, he knew that that wasn’t the smart thing to do at this point.
“I’m sorry,” Merrick said looking at her hands.
“Don’t be,” Ryan said and held Merrick’s face in his hands.
Merrick put her hands on top of Ryan’s, and kissed him again, once she stopped kissing Ryan, she said, “You’re going to be hard not to be around.”
“I only want you to want what you want.”
“I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I think I want you…”