Fiction is not my forte, but I dug up a short story that I wrote a few years ago.
Just Another Day (Pt.3)
Sally takes a deep breath, heart still hammering. The cafeteria is pinned to its place when she looks up at Maggie, dumbfounded. A Huh slips through her parted lips on its own accord.
“Your promotion” Maggie arches two red eyebrows. “Jim was just telling how you might get a promotion by the end of the month”
“Oh” and you thought they were talking about Pete-the center of your stupid universe but obviously not everyone else’s- Stupid! Sally concludes.
“Yeah, guess I’m on the list”
“Wow, congratulations Sally, well deserved.” Sally doesn’t risk a mini-heart attack by looking at him and only says a nonchalant ”thank you”.
“Enough of work bullshit, let’s fuel up” Scott interjects.
Thank God. Sally thinks after an imaginary eye roll. Oh, shoot follows as she remembers her fantasy cheese burger. Ripping a cheeseburger apart wasn’t exactly the best first impression to make on Pete. So she reluctantly orders a clean-to-eat chicken soup and Pasta. Then her head lightens and gets woozy with delight as a warm feeling tickles her bosom at the realization of Pete’s company. No matter how desperately she clings on every minute and wants the moments to stretch on, lunch passes in a blur. How tenuous and insignificant the food seems now. She would survive merely on these ignited seconds ticking by, on the beats her heart skips, on the sparks flying in the back of her mind. It is only a feeling, not even something concrete, something you can touch, yet you can feel it more than any other real thing.
With hunched shoulders, exuding hesitation, Sally trudges back to her semi-office. It doesn’t take too long for her to be reabsorbed in the shiny screen, scrolling up and down in the electronic ocean.
“Take five, punctual” the next annoying Mag-labber interval fires at her.
“Jesus Maggie, could you sneak up on me more please? “She says sarcastically.
“Don’t play so hard to get with me like you do with Pete-“ Sally has a mini stroke and stops listening after Pete.
When did I ever play hard to get? I basically am all over him, well in my mind. Maybe she means how I was picking at my nails the whole time at lunch. Wait, wait, wait. Play hard to get?! Was he hitting on me? No way in heaven or hell. But Maggie cannot be wrong, hell, she is never wrong! She keeps this part to herself and voices the rest cutting Maggie’s whining out.
“Are you telling me that he actually, literally, in the real world of blood and flesh, hit on me?”
“Uh, yeah. Anybody not paralyzed could see that.”
“Don’t mess with me Maggie, it’s not funny”
“Wait a minute, you twisted thing!” Maggie un-perches “you like him!”
It’s not a question but Sally nods with two burning cheeks.
“You are such a phoney. I tell you everything about everything! But I’m perfect, so I forgive you. FYI I’m not messing with ya”
“Oh my God, Really?” Sally utters, after washing off the teenage excitement.
“The expert told you He.Likes.You. “Maggie enunciates every word, breaking down the sentence for her to digest.
Waves of chills float on her skin, her stomach churns, twists, and then explodes into a million shards of buzzing cells. Every inch of her stings as the coursing ecstasy pinches her from head to toe. The little inner Sally flips and runs in circles, fisting her hands to celebrate the win.
“Down to earth, Sally! Hello! It’s coffee time” Maggie yanks her right hand. “Let’s keep the fantasizing to when you are alone? ’kay? It’s gross”
“Oh, yes. I totally want some coffee.” She manages to say.
She jerks her hand away from Maggie’s and strolls like a lady besides her. She is calling her inner council for an urgent meeting to discuss her love life, but the long faces surrounding the broken coffee machine scatter her reverie into tiny specks.
“Oh, no! Not this again.” Maggie grumbles.
“I know right? We are all going to die coffee-less.” Jim says grinning as flirtatious as he can.
Oh, ugh. Barf. Playing hard to get is definitely the best unconscious strategy I employed. Sally giggles and virtually high-fives herself.
“Relax. The calendar , remember? “Scott snaps.
The calendar! I have to hang my luck. It’s definitely my turn to grab coffee for everyone in case of a dysfunctional coffee-machine. Sally thinks biting the inside of her cheek. She fetches a pad and a pen to write down everyone’s order.
She is jotting down two lattes to three decafs and four dark caffeine-filled coffees on the list when a husky soft voice says “I’ll have an iced-coffee, if you may”.
Sally, heart pacing, looks up at Pete. She smiles tentatively at him, and he twinkles at her again.
“Ok, Sally we have to get those coffees in us ASAP. Got to work late. Off you go. Hurry.” Maggie elbows her.
“Uh, alright, be right back.” Sally says breaking her locked gaze in Pete’s twinkle.
She swivels and heads for the elevator.
“Hey Sally, wait up” Pete calls from behind.
“Um, do you want me to go and get the coffees? I mean, I would totally understand and wouldn’t mind”
Sally should have given in to her numbing high heels and said, yes, or simply nodded in agreement. The strange plead in Pete’s eyes should have thawed her pride. But she fashions a plain and brief farewell istead.
“Sweet, but no thanks.”
When she exits the building, the sky has stopped leaking and has left the pavement in a glossy cover, shining with reflections of everything that stands on it. Sally takes light steps letting the cool breeze gently kiss her skin, and bit by bit, blow her frustration away.
The coffee line at Starbucks isn’t too long- after all, there is enough sense left in people not to drink coffee in the afternoon. So she stands behind the exhausted people and takes out her list.
The chirpy girl behind the counter hands Sally nine ‘just’ coffees and one especial iced-coffee. She takes out her pen and writes in her best handwriting: Pete, heart. This is as naughty and flirty as she can get.
She limps into the suddenly-hectic street that is swarming with baffled cars. She has an urge to clamp her ears to block out the shouts and horns. She gives a sigh the liberty to ooze out, and then drags her legs forward.
Halfway to the office an exotic scent hits her. There is something about it. Like if she could taste it, it would be sweet as honey. A lovely melody echoes in her ears. A sapphire butterfly with intricate ancient patterns on its wings sits on her right shoulder, just for a nanosecond, and then flutters away. She spins around to catch it, to trap the beauty.
Then it hits her, not the scent this time. Something smacks into her back like a baseball bat, but a million times harder, hard but not painful. Her face is buried in something cool, something soothing.
Every movement on the street halts and dives into a deadly silence. The asphalt is hugging Sally’s body, warm blood and cool rain merge into a scarlet mix.
Spilled coffee cups stay afloat on the crimson pool. A Rain-filled puddle embraces her face. Her right hand is spread on her side, red streaks flow on her fingers.
A coffee cup with Pete written on it faces her. Scattered Little red dots taint the heart-shaped doodle.
Obnoxious screams intensify and all the focus is concentrated on Sally’s still body.
Nothingness is what Sally listens to, absolute silence. And then she sees it; birds are chirping, sun shoots golden rays through puffy clouds, a mild blow tickles the green grass, a halo of home-saturated aroma spreads its steamy grip around her waist.