Against better judgement

Kara-Lynne lives in New York City as a writer for People Magazine. Fresh out of college, writing for People has never been the job of her dreams. She's hardly given thought-provoking assignments and when Kara's given the task to publish a story on popular, pretty-boy and charming 'love expert' Ryan Barre, she expects it to be a simple assignment. However, she realises very quickly that things are far from simple with Ryan.


6. Accentuate the accent

After the pair returned to the office, they were informed that Ryan was scheduled for a photoshoot the following day. He didn't have to shave or bring any wardrobe choices but he did have to be there early. Ryan had suggested that Kara show him more of the city after an unnecessarily lengthy meeting. However, Kara had decided that she'd have enough of the Brit for one day. Besides, she had to do some of her own research. Basically, she had to scroll through hundreds of search results to find out what readers usually wanted to know about dating.

With a short goodbye, Kara got to work but not before catching Vinnie and Ingrid seizing the moment to initiate a conversation with the Englishman. She was slightly curious but she swiftly pushed away those childish thoughts to concentrate on her task at hand. She'd stretch in her chair, look elsewhere if she wanted to rest her eyes, crack her knuckles and get herself a drink. Trips to the bathroom only when necessary.  In fact, she was so into her research that she only realised it was time to go home when her boss walked to her desk. 

Janine's dark curls bounced with each step, her slightly faded perfume announcing her presence. "Aren't you going home, Kara?" Janine was always the last one to step out of the office. An unspoken rule, as if it was meant to show that she was the hardest working one. 

Kara looked up with her dry eyes and checked her wristwatch. "Oh yeah," she breathed. She shut off her computer and picked up her belongings, staring at the stretched out fabric of her sneakers as employer and employee stood at opposite corners of the elevator.

"Have a good night," she said to Janine. Kara was more friendly to Mike, the security guard who she would sometimes buy a coffee for. "Have a good one, Mike," she waved. 

"You too," he chirped. 

After Kara trudged home and got comfy with a messy bun, she laid down on her bed, a bowl of microwaved popcorn beside her while her laptop rested on her tummy. She'd forgotten what she'd put on to watch when she woke up with her hand still in the bowl. Feeling a tinge of sadness at having to discard the leftover popcorn, she quickly got ready and made her way to the photoshoot.

Vinnie and Ingrid were giggling and flirting with Ryan when Kara arrived on set. They waved at her and she returned the gesture, adding on a small smile. His eyes met hers almost instantly and the conversation he was having with the other two girls died off. 

"Good morning." His lips were in a smooth curve. 

"Good morning," Kara replied, meeting Vinnie, Ingrid and lastly Ryan's eyes. 

That was all Ryan managed to say before he was pulled away from the others to get his make up done.

"That man needs no make up," Vinnie remarked with a thick Boston accent, her eyes fixed on him as he walked away. "Look at fine piece of man...he looks good even walking away from us."

Kara suppressed an amused laugh, instead clearing her throat to scroll through her emails. 

"So, what's he like?" Ingrid chipped in, her fingers closed around a cup of green tea that was identifiable by its strong aroma.

She combed her fingers through her auburn hair and shrugged. "You met him. He's British."

"That accent is very charming," Vinnie purred. "Shame." Her head rotated to face Kara. "I would have had him in bed by the first night. But I don't have your...values." 

Ingrid giggled, her silver loops swaying. Kara wondered how heavy those things would feel hanging from her ears. She'd had her ears pierced when she was a toddler but she was never one for jewellery. 

Luckily, the photoshoot gave Kara a reason to excuse herself. As sat in a chair and pulled out her tablet to begin on the article, she was thankful that she'd been able to isolate herself from everyone else in a dimly lit corner while the lights and camera were focused on a white screen a few metres away.

Even one paragraph was better than nothing. Her creative process demanded a draft and then multiple read-throughs and rounds of edits. Her fingers glided across the keyboard. Occasionally, she'd stop to read through what she had, made a face and then deleted it. Beginning was always a challenge for her. She needed a sentence to convince readers to read on while they flipped through the magazine. Granted, seeing a good-looking man could probably sell it but she wanted her writing to be enjoyed regardless. 

"Need some help?" He placed his hand on the armrest and bent down to look at her computer screen. 

"Unless you can tell me what would make readers want to read more about you, I don't think you can help me out much."

He scratched his chin and sighed. "Tea, crumpets, fish and chips," he suggested. She grimaced, imagining them all together. "You're right, too much." He cleared his throat. "British, charming and dashingly handsome. This hunk," he attempted with a straight face.

Kara's eyes found his with one eyebrow raised. "I think you mean British, egoistic and decent." 

He shrugged. "Well the last two are contradictory but you got the British part," he grinned, which was almost impossible for Kara to resist from smiling back. 

"Oh hang on," she said, feeling the vibrations in her pocket. It was a FaceTime call from her mom. She glanced at Ryan. "Do you mind?"

He shook his head. "Go ahead."

"Hey mom. How are you?" 

Her mother's kind eyes smiled back. "I'm alright, just having some tea with some friends. How are you?"

"I'm good. I'm just at work. You're lucky Janine isn't breathing down my neck." Kara's eyes shifted around the room. "Anyway, what's up? Is Dad good?"

"Oh your father's fine. He's gone to golf with some of his friends." Her brown eyes squinted at the screen. "Why's it so dark there?"

"There's a photoshoot so they need every other part of the room to be as dim as possible. Light exposure and all that."

"Who's so important that they're getting their photos shot?"

Kara laughed. She glanced over at Ryan who was still standing near her but not paying attention to the call. "A man from England. I'm supposed to write an article on him. He's some kind of dating expert."

"Is he handsome?"

"Mom!" Kara rolled her eyes. "Hey Ryan," she waved him over. "My mom wants to meet you."

Confusion crossed his face. 

"Mom, this is Ryan."

Ryan waved at the screen. "It's lovely to meet you." He sure knew how to use that British charm.

Her mother's eyes widened slightly. "Hello. You know, Kara's single."

"Oh my God, Mom!" she shout-whispered, turning the front camera back to her. "I need to go. I'll talk to you later."

Kara fixed her eyes on her tablet screen, purposefully avoiding the inquisitive eyes that she felt were burning into the back of her head. After seven seconds, she couldn't handle it anymore.

"I know, I know, my mother's weird," she blurted out.

"She's lovely. She has a Southern accent, it's very charming."

Kara laughed lightly. "I grew up in Macon, Georgia. I figured it was easier if I didn't have the local accent. It comes out every now and again when I'm tired." 

"I'd like to hear that," he murmured, before his name was called. 

She watched intently as he strode away and listened to the directions the photographer was giving him. Blazer on, blazer off. Kara cleared her throat, her self-awareness kicking in. Her screen had gone black. 

"Back to work," she whispered in an authentic Georgian accent, smiling to herself.



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