Friday, February 8, 2013

On Fire

Damian stalked with false purpose through the cubicle corridor. It was always best to convey a sense of business-like importance. Fewer questions that way. If you looked like you had things to do, then people were less likely to assail you with inane questions.

Did you watch the game last night? No. See the latest episode of… nope. What about that awards program? Nada.

You need a hobby, Inigo observed.

Shut up.

Damian ducked into the break room, phone halfway to his ear. Fortunately, the room was empty now, the coffee having been adequately dispersed amongst the peasantry. Damian’s thumb grazed the “send” button, and he pressed the speaker to his ear. For no reason in particular, Damian fought to appear casual. It was not like she would be able to see.

The phone rang. Once.

“Hello?” Her voice was like a host of heavenly bells ringing down the line and into his ear. In the break room, Damian shuffled from foot to foot and groped for something to say. He pulled at his collar. He hadn't expected Genny to answer. Not on the first try.

Isn't that what is supposed to happen when you employ a telephone? Inigo asked.

Of course, of course, Damian replied. Shut up and let me think.

The silence stretched.

I believe you should state your name.

Shut up!

“Hey, it's Damian,” he said in a rush.

“Hi, Damian,” she replied. He could hear the smile in her voice. His stomach danced.

“I, uh, just called to...” Shoot, what did I call for? “Ah. Do you want to do something sometime?”

“Sure,” she said brightly. “What did you have in mind?”

Crud, he though. He was hoping she'd have an idea.

“A movie?” he tried.

Terrible idea, Inigo said. You cannot converse at a theater. At least not freely. I would offer her cheese and wine under the moonlight on a beach.

We don't live near a beach, Damian fired back.

“Dinner?” He realized he hadn't waited for a response from his first question and blushed. Thankfully, no one was around to see it.

“Dinner and a movie, then,” she said. “When?”

“Ah.” More decisions!

Dinner generally happens in the evening, Inigo pointed out helpfully.

“The evening?” Damian parroted.

Genny giggled. “How about tomorrow? Say eight-ish? I'll text you my address so you can pick me up. Sound good?”

Sounds heavenly.

Text? Inigo asked.

Don’t worry about it, Inigo.

“Sounds wonderful,” Damian replied. Fortunately, his brain wasn't entirely broken. It churned out his next question. “Um, do you have a preference where we go?”

“Surprise me,” she purred.

Damian swallowed. Hard.

“Okay, then.” He cringed when his voice cracked, but, like a champ, he powered through it. “I'll pick you up at eight, then,” he said in a lower-than-normal voice.

She laughed, reminiscent of tinkling bells. Damian found himself smiling, as well.

“Good bye, Damian.”




That last voice had not been hers, his, or Inigo's. He turned and found his boss lurking in the entryway. His stomach stopped, dropped, and rolled.

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” the larger man said. “My office, now.”

The smile slid off Damian’s stupid face.


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