Saturday, May 02, 2015

More fiction. A work non-event.

He folded his arms and leaned into me, a bottle of beer dangling in his right hand. "What if I told you that I was in love with you?"

I stared back at him. "I would tell you that you are insane."

He leaned back a little. "That would be your response?"

"Yes." I paused. "We are speaking hypothetically, aren't we?"

He smirked. "Yes."

"Great," I said, "because that would have been a very uncomfortable conversation." I took a sip from my glass and looked at him over the rim.

He sighed and turned to face the rest of the room. "Too bad," he said as he unfolded his arms and took a swig of his beer.

I scoffed. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Just saying," he said.

" 'Just saying'?"

"It would've been good," he said, looking at me with a sideways glance.

I laughed, feeling embarrassed and flushed. "That's absurd."

"Just saying," he said, shrugging. "Hey." He put his beer down. "Let me show you something."


He took my hand and guided me to the back of the restaurant. "Um," I said trailing behind him tentatively, "all of our coworkers are out there." He didn't respond and walked me through a couple hallways, down a flight of dimly lit stairs, and toward the end of a long, dark corridor. He pushed open a door and we were suddenly outside, in the chill night air, on an empty patio.

"The patio doesn't open until June," he said. "But they always leave this door open."

I saw the mid-size buildings loom like dark pillars. The sound of traffic, foot traffic, music from car radios, strangers cavorting and laughing in the street, they all seemed to hum together in a dissonant symphony in the evening air.

"Wow," I said, looking at the sky. Then I turned to him and saw that he was looking at me. He was still holding my hand.

"So what was it you wanted to show me?" I said, slowly pulling my hand away.

"This." Then he kissed me.

For a few shocked seconds, I didn't know what to do. Then I pushed him away. "What are you doing? You're being insane."

"I suppose I am," he said, still leaning into me. "But tell me something."

"What, what are you talking about?"

"Tell me this is all in my head. That there's nothing here."

So dramatic, I thought to myself. This was straight out of a soap opera. "There's nothing here," I heard myself say.

He eyed me for a moment and said, "Okay." He walked up to the patio door and held it open."Let's go back up."


"We don't want to stay out too long," he said. "People might talk."

"Right," I said. I walked through the door he held for me. We walked through the corridor, the dim stairs, and hallways in stilted silence. When we rejoined our group, a coworker saw us and said smiling, "Where've you guys been?"

"Just making out," he said wryly. The group burst into laughter.

"Haha-okay-I'm-going-to-get-a-drink," I said in one breath as I walked away. As I waited at the bar, I watched him chat and mingle as if nothing happened. I saw a girl laugh at a joke and touch his arm. He was, after all, a funny guy.

A tiny part of me felt a twinge of something. Something I didn't want to feel. It was then I realized I had to go.

"Okay guys, I'm heading out," I said in the vague direction of everyone, smiling wanly. Protests here and there of "Already?" or "You're leaving? Another drink!" When I told him I was heading out, he nodded, said "See ya," and turned back to his rapt (mostly female) audience.

And then I left.

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