The Lonely Girl – Chapter 5 – Just Another Day

January 3, 2015

Elise settles in behind her desk flicking open her notebook, she hits the start button. While waiting for her computer to start up she looks up around the office noticing the chairs and tables already filling up with their inhabitants.

Taking a sip of her coffee Elise scans the newspapers on her table looking for any good news of the day.

“Theft, homicide, snatch theft-homicide, fatal accident, scandalous politician, homicide, homicide, another accident, gahh why do I even bother reading the news?” Elise mumbles in exasperation and she flipped the page less than gracefully. A loud rip tears through the office and a few heads hunched over desks pop up like groundhogs surveying for predators.

“Angry much?”, said Carol as she walks pass Elise’s desk.

“Heheh, sorry. It’s just a frustrating day for the news, and…” Elise let her words trail off as she realised everyone
had gone back to whatever occupied their busy minds and she was once again ‘talking to herself’.

As the day crawled on at a snail-like pace, Elise fidgeted in her seat. Work has begun to feel mundane and her bones ached like they needed to be stretched and her joints had that uncomfortable yet weirdly compelling need to be popped.

“Elise? Elise? Yoohoo!”

Startling her out of her silent reverie, she looked up to see Eddy with a stack of files looking at her in puzzlement.

“What were you so deep in thought about?”

“Bonsai kittens.”

“Oooh kayy. I don’t think I should ask for an explanation. But I should probably warn you that it’s illegal. And downright cruel and..”

“Oh gee relax! I’m not gonna create a Bonsai Kitten! I don’t even like cats. Much less a disfigured one!”

“Umm okayy. But You’ll probably change your mind about kittens when you see the Kitten Therapy video. I’ll send it to you. It’s the cutest thing ever!”

“Well what brings you over? Has Mr Chan made you the office dispatch now too? Eddy, you should really learn to say no to fetching and carrying other people’s files and stuff.”

“It’s really no biggie. I could use the exercise anyway. I’m working on my guns,” Eddy says while flexing his biceps and almost drops the weight he’s carrying.

“Geez Eddy! Okok! Careful with that!”

“Hehe. I’m still working on the whole balance thing. Anywhoo… I gotta jet. But hey, a bunch of us are heading over to
Malone’s after work. You wanna join us?”

“Umm, well….”

“Oh come on! It’ll be fun! And it is a Friday night anyway. What other sad plans have you got anyway? I’ll meet you at the foyer after work. Layters!”

“But, but…”, Elise sighed as Eddy walked away, maneuvering skillfully pass the cubicles.

As 6pm drew closer, Elise felt that familiar knot in her stomach return. Somewhere between impatience and anticipation, she silently kicked herself for actually looking forward to the night out with a bunch of people she hardly knew.

— —

Malone’s was a little bar along a quieter street two blocks from the office. The bar was already piled with people as
Elise walked through the doors with Eddy and his colleague, Jeanne. There was a loud cheer from the table by the bar and a few voices could be heard over the din of chatter and music beckoning the trio over.

“Hey guys! You remember Jeanne right? Well this is Elise. Elise, meet, James, Quentin, Lee, you know Carol, Raj from purchasing, and Tom from Design,” said Eddy making introductions.

Elise had her hand extended and shook everyone’s till Tom was being introduced and her breath caught as as Tom gripped her hand in a firm handshake. He looked intently into her eyes and smiled. “Hi Elise. It’s so nice to finally, officially meet you.

Elise smiled in return gazing into the eyes that had been making itself comfortable in her daydreams. The wide brown eyes of Tom.

The evening wasn’t quite as bad as she imaged and Elise felt herself letting down her walls bit by bit as she drank her
pint of Stella and got to know her colleagues. She noticed how at ease everyone felt with each other. Even Tom, being new and all already had inside jokes with Raj and Eddy. She noticed how Carol the momma of the group kept tabs on how much everyone was drinking and insisted it was not a night for shots. So everyone was just nestling their pints as they unwound for the evening.

Elise said little but she was intent on listening and this little group of mismatched individuals intrigued her. She found out that James and Quentin went to grad school together and wound up at the same company. Lee worked in legal on the 12th floor and found everyone there incredibly boring. Raj had been at company orientation together with Eddy and their matching shirts kickstarted their friendship. Jeanne worked with Eddy and was the preetiest girl on the floor but all except her realised it.

“What about you Elise?”

Startled at hearing her name, Elise blinked as she realised all eyes were fixed on her.

“Huh? I’m sorry, I spaced out for a minute there.”

“We were just talking about our weekend plans. What are you doing tomorrow?” Tom asked.

“Umm… It’ll be just another day I spose. I haven’t really thought about it.”

“It’s settled then. You’ll be coming with me,” said Tom grinning.

“What? Where?” said Elise, startled.

“Just be ready by 6am, dress comfy and make sure you have your hiking shoes on.”

Elise found herself unable to protest as those wide brown eyes looked intently at her and all she could do was nod in resigned agreement.

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