Janet W. Richards, twenty one and counting, brunette going redhead with constant coloring, fair. Head of her department at Vericixon Power Corporation, at Sales. Much to everyone’s surprise (but Mr. Vericixon’s) the company made video games and not commercial energy. And Janet was the bulldog who ensured that it had a market to produce for in the coming years.
Alex Harris, with nothing to him but a celebrity name, twenty seven and madly obsessed about Janet. Foolish to even think about it. Smart to never mention it.
And lastly, Colin A, with a single-letter surname, boyfriend to Janet for all he’s worth. Unemployed. Refrigerates her dinner and leaves the door open before going to bed at 9 positively, half an hour before she returns. Apparently, she’s happy.
This was the scenario till October 2, Tuesday. And then, everything changed.
“Alex, where are your reports?” Janet demanded over the office line, not bothering with pleasantries. Alex slipped the photograph back in the drawer and answered. “On their way to your desk.”
Replacing the receiver, Alex searched for the folder he’d prepared yesterday, wondering why it was still with him. A mistake, it seemed, a dangerous mistake. Worried should he disappoint, Alex grabbed the folder from under a pile of graphs and stat-sheets and ran out of his tiny office. Returning a minute later, he opened the drawer, took out the photograph, slipped it in his pocket and ran out again.
Colin waited a minute outside the building, checking his reflection and zipping up the jacket as a last minute decision. With an air of excitement, he slipped in, nodded to the man at Reservation and walked to his usual place.
“I’m really very sorry, I can’t say it enough times. But I promise-”
“That’s all right Alex. You can leave.”
Janet didn’t give him a second look. For a moment, Alex thought he’d tell her directly. But one look at the machine in front of him and the thought fled.
As planned then, stealthily, as he made his way out, he slipped the photo out of his pocket and let it fall. When it didn’t make a sound, Alex breathed easier.
“Alex, you dropped something.”
He froze. This couldn’t happen.
“It’s not mi-”
“Alex,” she interrupted, “if you want to give me something, just give it to me.”
That was it. All was lost. He couldn’t possibly hide it now. Quietly he picked the photograph up and put it in her outstretched palm, his head low.
He couldn’t be more embarrassed. She looked at the photo silently. He saw her eyes run over it multiple times. The photograph of Colin with the girl he met regularly at the restaurant a few blocks away. She didn’t speak, she didn’t look up. So she knew about it, or she had had her doubts. Alex wanted to die.
“Thank you”, she said.
Alex literally fled to his tiny office and collapsed into his chair. Shit! Stupid! Now he had ruined everything! Like hell he was going to get her now!
A few blocks away, holding hands with a blonde wearing pink lipstick, Colin smiled. The he reached for his vibrating cell phone and saw he had a message from Janet. The smile fell.
“I hope she has space for your unemployed bum, Mr. A”
And that is today.