(continued from yesterday)
After my visit from the deity, or whatever the hell he was, I found myself actually able to fall asleep pretty easily. When my alarm went off, I felt as though I had just gotten the best sleep of my entire life.
I woke up with a spring in my step. I almost felt like doing a barrel roll into the kitchen even though I knew I wasn’t physically able. I made myself a light breakfast of two pieces of buttered toast and a glass of orange juice, and then I hopped into the shower. For some reason I felt like the cleaning needed to be more thorough than ever, even though Candice would be guaranteed to be falling in love with me as soon as I saw her at work.
Preparations finished, I put on my usual dress shirt/tie/slacks combo and hopped into my car to drive to work. I kept the music and radio off to sort of think about everything in silence (while also keeping my eyes on the road and whatnot).
I arrived at the office a full thirty minutes earlier than usual, and so I headed to the coffee shop that was on the ground floor of the building (the offices of the paper were on the fifth). I stood in line and took a glance around the shop to see who was there. The alert sign went off in my head as I noticed that Candice was sitting at a table, currently by herself. I started to fidget a little it as various people’s orders were filled. I watched each person as they chose whether to sit or take their coffee/pastry combinations up to their offices. When it finally came time for me to give me order, I was so focused on the ebb and flow of people that the cashier had to say “Excuse me, sir?” a few times to fully grasp my attention.
I gave my order (medium coffee and a croissant) and then, once received, speed-walked over to Candice’s table. She was still alone. “Is this seat taken?” I asked, pretending that there wasn’t anywhere else I could have possibly sat.
“Oh, sure,” Candice replied, not looking up from the newspaper she was reading.
I sat down quietly, wondering how to carry on the conversation. “How’s that sports feature coming along?” I finally asked. She looked up at me.
“Oh, hi!” she said. “Sorry, I didn’t realize it was you who sat down, otherwise I would have started talking to you.” Was the spell or whatever actually working right now? I couldn’t tell. I expected some kind of magic moment where she’d spasm or her eyes would glow or something. I bet the deity who talked to me the night previous would have facepalmed at the thought. Clearly I know nothing about magic.
“So, the feature?” I asked.
“Oh, right. Well, it’s going alright. Just a few sources to pin down for an interview…” she trailed off, looking at anything but my face. “Sorry, I have to go. Talk to you… Later?” Without waiting for my reply she speed-walked, practically ran, over to the elevator. I thought of calling after her but didn’t want to look like a total douchebag in public.
After a minute or two of realizing she wasn’t coming back, I sighed and decided to head up to the offices. Maybe the deity was just a hallucination? As soon as I stepped out of the elevator, the first thing I saw was Candice pacing back and forth in front of the elevators. She stopped when she saw me.
“Oh, you’re here! Good. I was looking for someone to help me unjam the copier,” she said. I looked at her, trying to look as puzzled as possible, which I was. “You know I don’t know how the damn thing works,” she finally added, which was true. Give her a computer and she could do anything; throw her a jammed printer or copier and she basically became a neanderthal.
“Alright, alright,” I said. “Which copier?”
“The one in the archives.” I resigned myself and followed her. The archives are a kind of small space right on the office fringes. Most people don’t usually go in there unless they’re working on an in-depth story. Candice was working on one, so it was logical that she’d be there and that the copier broke down. It got especially finicky with pages that didn’t fit the tray.
Candice and I walked into the archive room. As soon as we got in, Candice turned around and locked the door. “Uh, why did you do that?” I asked. I’m awkward; I ask things in just such a manner.
“Do you really have to ask?” Candice grabbed hold of me like a wild animal and gave me the most passionate kiss on the lips I think I ever got from anyone. I returned the kiss, fretting about how awful I probably was at it. She began to slowly, with increasing speed, push me toward the table that was just a few steps away. I couldn’t help but notice that it was empty. Yes, during the most passionate, romantic moment I was ever involved with, I noticed that she had lied about the copier being jammed.
“Candice–” I tried to say, but at this point she was already removing my tie and unbuttoning my shirt. I stopped resisting and gave in to Candice’s animal intensity. I won’t go into further detail, because I don’t want this to turn into a Rated-R story, but yes, it was the most glorious sex I had ever had (not a big statement; see the “I am alone” statement at the beginning of my tale).
At the end of it we were both breathing heavily, and I closed my eyes for a minute. Candice, when I opened them again, was hastily putting her undergarments back on. I admired the view from behind for a moment before I remembered that we had just had sex in a public place and that people could have been pounding on the door. They weren’t, but still.
Candice had chosen a great place for our tryst; besides the lockable door, the archives were also blessed with being completely and utterly soundproof walls. No sounds come in, none come out.
“God, what did I just do?” Candice said. “How am I going to explain this to my boyfriend?”
“WHAT?” I yelled, a lot louder than I had expected to. She had a boyfriend? Why didn’t I know about that? Oh yeah, because I never asked. I’m terrible.
“I don’t even know how I feel about him anymore,” she said. “Can I be honest with you?”
“Of course,” I said.
“I don’t know what happened, but when I saw you in the coffee shop… It was like something inside me changed. I’ve never been more attracted to anyone in my entire life than I am to you, right now.”
I feigned surprise. “Well that’s great because I–” I took a hard swallow. “I’ve had a crush on you for a long time.”
Candice looked more troubled than relieved. “We can’t let anybody know about this. We need to get out before people wonder where we were.” I nodded, and we unlocked the door and walked out.
“So that’s how to fix the copier the next time it gets jammed like that,” I said, creating a fake end to our conversation.
Candice nodded furiously, perhaps overselling her involvement in our fake conversation.
“By the way,” I said sort of softly to her. “You didn’t button your blouse up correctly.”
“Oh, dammit,” Candice said. “I’ll go fix it in the bathroom.”
She walked off then, and I was about to head back to my desk when I heard the shuffling of footsteps behind me. All I saw was a swish of a green skirt and then a closing of a door. I was mortified. I had forgotten that Ashley Jennings had an office right beside the archives!
And worst of all, she overheard my conversation with Candice. She knew what went down, and that was a very dangerous bit of information for her to have. Maybe the deity hadn’t cursed me with magic, but he had with a little thing called coincidence.
(to be concluded tomorrow)