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Giselle spent half the night awake going over their meeting, how she leaned in and kissed his cheek at the end of it. Beating herself up over it all, she couldn’t have made things any more awkward than she had in that moment. What was wrong with her. Something she wondered almost daily but now more so than ever. So as her alarm woke up she smacked it and groaned rolling from her bed. She made her way to the bathroom, turning on the water standing under it. Her first thoughts were how she would be expecting him to show up today. Should she apologize for what she was sure was an unwanted kiss or just act like it never happened. Then remembering he would be coming with another bug reminded her she was to act cold.
When the water ran cold she got out and got ready, changing her outfit more than a few times before settling on one of them. Why did she feel so nervous, she knew he was coming in. Maybe the fear that he was playing her all over again was taking over. She sighed as she made her way out of her home and locked the door along with two deadbolts which where really pointless if one in Evermore really thought about it. As she made her way down the stairs and climbed into the car she rarely drove but felt needed today in since she was already behind. As she parked in her spot and got out rushing through the doors, her day was started. Though it wasn’t started well, another box had shown up making Giselle more on edge than ever.
Why was Wayland playing games? Was it really that fun to play with prey? She wondered as she got a cup of coffee and sat down at her desk taking the quiet moment to write out a few messages on a pad of paper for if and when Rowan came to her office. She read over the questions she wrote down when she heard the buzz of the machine that was the receptionist voice coming from the other end. “Madam Mayor you have a gentleman here named Rowan, he said you would want to see him.”
Giselle reached over and pressed the button, “He can come back.” With that she felt the nervous light a fire again. With another box arriving and a man she was trying to learn to trust. She really just wanted to toss her none existing breakfast. She reached for the pad and when the door opened and he came in, she flashed a smile and held up the pad. It read ‘I’m sorry.’ before she opened her mouth to speak. “Why on earth are you here in my office?” She asked as she then flipped the paper as quietly as she could and it read. ‘Is the bug on?’ “you have five seconds to convince me not to call security.”
After that meeting with Giselle he had gone home with a new sense of resolve, he wanted to do as much research as he possibly could to ensure that everything would go well and she would be safe. He couldn’t stop thinking about how that moment when she kissed his cheek, it was a simple gesture but it meant so much to him and spoke volumes of the trust she was placing in him and the last thing he wanted to do was let her down again. He knew he fucked up before, badly, but he would do whatever he could to make it right.
He was up half the night trying to think about what he was going to say, he’d never really been an actor before or been particularly good at lying so he wanted to make sure he was content with the things he was saying. He felt a sense of responsibility to get this right, not just for himself but also for Giselle who was clearly afraid that whoever this stalker was that was sending her creepy packages was also the person who asked him to bug her. That really bothered him. After waking from the three hours of sleep he managed to get he jumped into the shower and changed into a shirt and jeans, smart but casual enough that he didn’t feel uncomfortable, grabbed the flowers he had bought for her the night before and got into an uber over towards the city hall.
Once he arrived he got out of the car and headed into the office and requested a meeting with Giselle, he stared down at the flowers he was holding and suddenly felt really nervous everything he had rehearsed the night before disappearing from his mind. He knew nothing about flowers so he’d picked up the ones which looked interesting, purple and sweet-smelling. The receptionist told him that the mayor didn’t typically take last-minute meetings but he insisted they pass the message through to her and gave them a slightly smug smile when they buzzed him through.
He rolled his shoulders back as he headed through the hallway took long breaths to try and put away his nerves, he took the bug he intended to place in the room out and activated it before saying a few things so whoever was listening could catch the fact it was activated and then he pushed open the door to her office. When he met her eyes, his evidently showed that he was pretty nervous and he bit softly on his lip as he studied the words she had written on the pad, he was confused what she was sorry for, he assumed the fact she was going to have to be pretty mean to him in a moment, he shrugged his shoulders like it was nothing.
“I-” he went to speak to answer her question before she cut him off and he read the second message she had written and nodded to confirm it was activated and held it up to her to see before he walked close to her desk and placed it on top, they could change it’s location once this was done. He held his hands up “Okay okay, don’t shoot, I know you have every right to hate me but I wanted to explain, it was heartless of me to stand you up I know that” he was speaking in that same American accent from before but then he let it slip “The truth is I’m not Joseph Smith, in fact, I’m not even American, I know you know that but” he bit on his lips as he met her eyes “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you, I was dumb and hacked myself into the party cause I knew I’d never get an invite” he nodded “I was just gonna drink all the free booze and leave but….then I met you” he swallowed hoping he was convincing.
Giselle was nervous that was an understatement. She was willingly letting a bug into her office. Into the office of the sitting Mayor. As he confirmed it was active she nodded back and then so the dance started to convince the world and the person listening to the bug that they were making up and become a couple. She sat the pad down on her desk as he moved closer and she listened to him put on the horrible American accent from before and then moved into his normal scot. She let a slight gasp from her lips as if it was the first time she was hearing it.
“Heartless is the understatement. Do you know how embarrassing it was for me to be stood up and have the paper cover it. Saying I paid for someone to pay for a date with me?” She moved around the desk and closer towards him as her eyes moved to the flowers then back up to Rowan gaze as he said he wasn’t able to stop thinking about her. It made her heart started thumping in her chest in a different way. It felt like it was a different kind of truth coming from his lips though maybe that was her wishful thinking.
She stood there making her voice sound harder than the expression on her face, staying quiet for a long moment as she looked to the flowers again. “Yes I know your name isn’t Joseph, and well the horrible american accent gives away you are not from here.” She flicked her gaze back up to his. “I prefer your real accent, fits better.” She said as she then touched one of the flowers. “You meet me?” She let the surprise took over her voice easily as she then stepped away from him turning her back to him.
Really at this point she felt she should have an award for her acting. “You met me and couldn’t stop thinking about me?” she asked as she turned around and looked him over. “How can I trust you not to stand me up again? How can I be sure you are being real with me? How can I know you have any feelings for me whatsoever? I don’t even know your name!” she raised her voice slightly to express her anger but not enough to alert anyone in the building.
He had to admit he didn’t think he was the best actor in the whole world but working alongside her made things easier but the expressions she was pulling didn’t match the words she was saying which was throwing him off just enough to remind him she didn’t mean the things she was saying and this was all a game to fool whoever it was that was after her. He rolled his shoulders back a few times to prepare himself because he knew things had to go downhill from here in the narrative and he got the feeling not all of the anger aimed at him was fake.
“I wanna say I do, but I don’t and I don’t want to negate your feelings, you deserve better than that” he played the apologetic card as best she could “I got your voicemail and I wanted to come so bad but I panicked okay, I thought you wouldn’t understand why I did what I did and you’d think it was all fake and leave anyway” his fingers nervously tapped against the stems of the flowers as they talked, a nervous habit he supposed but it was keeping him occupied enough while he focused on keeping his tone.
Why was it making him nervous every time she took a step closer to him, to the point he was holding his breath without even thinking of it “Yeah I never took any diction classes, like I said, I was just faking for the sake of getting into the party, I saw the guy canceled and I figured it was a waste of free food” and he had given money to charity so it wasn’t like he was stealing or anything, you just didn’t get invited to these kids of things unless you knew someone on the approved list. His Scottish accent was thick as he continued talking with her, dropping his eyes to the flowers she was touching and smiling “Do you like them? I know it’s not much but they were so unique they reminded me of you” which wasn’t a lie, they were the flowers which reminded him most of Giselle when he was in the store.
He held back the urge to wince a little when she yelled at him again and he swallowed and gave a slightly sheepish grin towards her to commend the level of commitment she was putting into the act “No I couldn’t stop thinking about you and even though I thought I was going to get my ass hauled out of here by security I had to see you” he looked her in the eyes “I had to tell you that I’m really damn sorry” he held his breath for a moment, hearing the anger in her voice did make him waver a little but he nodded slightly then offered his hand out to her “Hi, my name is Rowan McKenzie and I think you’re pretty amazing” he spoke it softly and nodded slightly.
She was thankful that she took some drama interest in college while doing her degree in political science. It would lend to her being able to keep up this lie of them dating far easier. Though her anger from the day before had yet to completely fade so it made what she was saying sound far more genine thing if she wasn’t still upset over things. She did hope she wasn’t coming off as to harsh in her words though, she didn’t want to hurt him.
As he began to apologize for the fact that he stood her up, her gaze held his before falling to his chest as he spoke of the very tearful voicemail she had left him. It caused her to wince slightly at the fact that the person on the other end of the bug heard all of it. As he tapped nervously to the stems of the flower she could tell he was nervous, she was nervous herself and not even sure how to not be nervous. “Maybe you should have placed more faith in me and told me that night.” she said softly to him letting the hurt invade her voice.
Her eyes held a soft sadness as she looked to him from the hurt that still echoed there even though she was trying to let it go fully. “Party crashing isn’t an overly new thing you know?” she said as she reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear. “And you donated money, more money than most would have.” she said softly as she looked to the flowers as his accent invaded her ears. The Scottish accent that he just rolled off his tongue in perfection. She smiled towards the flowers. “I do they are really pretty, I have never had anyone get me flowers before.” she said as she felt slightly pathetic admitting it outloud but it was the truth.
Giselle looked to him holding up the paper that said I’m sorry again for the fact she had been yelling as she was trying to make it as real as she could for who was listening. She felt her heart pounding away as he spoke though and the blush that came to her pale cheeks was bound to be noticed by him. She returned back to him, closer to him even as she took his hand in hers but just held it not really shaking it as she looked deep into his striking blue eyes with hers. “It's a pleasure to meet the real you Rowan McKenzie.” she gave a soft half smile as she spoke. “I would really like to think I am always the one to give a second chance when it's earned. I think you coming here knowing you could have got into trouble shows you wanted to right things. So I am willing to give you a second chance because I think you are pretty amazing also.” she felt herself getting lost in the moment as she held his hand standing there with little space between them.
The words that she spoke about faith make him take a long deep breath, he had been so tempted to call it off and just fess up that night, especially after they had that amazing time talking on the rooftop and then dance in the stairwell, there was honestly nothing that could compare to that night when it came to connecting with a complete stranger. “You’re right, I should have” he spoke it softly as he looked back at her “I guess I got so caught up in the moment and I didn’t know how to break it to you that you knew nothing about me” it felt like it completely derailed that whole night and she would have ended up running out on him either way.
He could see the hurt behind her gaze and it made his heart pang a little in his chest knowing that he was the one who had caused it, he nodded slightly to encourage her to keep going and that he could take it, he knew this wasn’t going to be easy and he also knew that the hurt he caused her wasn’t just going to disappear either, all he could do was his best to make up for it “I know that, but identity theft is” he spoke softly in a hushed tone just so it would get slightly muffled on the bug so they wouldn’t be able to use that a confession against him “Well it was a good cause” he spoke softly, though the real reason he had donated was because he wanted to prove all those people wrong and show that he thought Giselle was worth far more than their laughs. He watched her as she gazed at the flowers and grinned slightly sheepishly when she said she liked them and had never been given them before “Well I’ve never gotten any for someone before so, here’s to firsts right?” he hesitantly reached out to pass them to her.
He nodded again when she held up the ‘I’m sorry’ paper, he’d known she would need to do this but it definitely hurt going through it, it felt like rehashing yesterday except with a few extra theatrics thrown on the top to make sure the people he was sure were listening in bought it. He noticed the way she seemed to be blushing but he simply chalked it up to nerves, not every day that you put on a show for a bunch of cybercriminals right? He really hoped his acting skills were up to par because he knew how much was riding on this place. It scared him a little how much was riding on this plan actually. When she placed her hand in his and didn’t shake it, he held it with a gentle grip before placing his other hand over both of theirs together as a way of providing comfort to her because he could feel her shaking a little from the nerves of what they were doing. “Thank you” he spoke softly in response to her words “I know I probably don’t deserve one after everything I did but I hope I can prove to you that what we shared that night wasn’t fake” his breath hitched a little when he said that because while he was saying it for show, there was truth behind it and he found himself searching her eyes for her reaction.
He cleared his throat a little to interrupt the tension he felt building up but he still didn’t let go of her hand, it felt nice, holding onto her and feeling some kind of stupid hope in his chest that maybe he didn’t imagine the spark between the two of them. He pursed his lips slightly, but of course, this was acting which means it didn’t even matter what she answers, he didn’t know why he felt so nervous. Perhaps because he had never actually done this before, fake or not fake “So uh...I’m not really sure what to say exactly because I’ve never done this before but would you like to go to dinner...with me?” he swallowed hard as he looked back at her “Maybe tonight, I mean if you’re not busy already of course” he assumed since they planned to do this today that she would have kept her evening free for it but they didn’t talk about the specifics exactly so he was kinda winging it.