“Anytime is good for me. Just let me know.”
Andrea nodded her head writing something down on her notepad. Then she backed out of her boss’s office and closed the door behind her. She sighed shaking her head when she knew he couldn’t hear or see her anymore. She sat back down at her desk and took some Asprin out of the top drawer.
“Is he being annoying again today?” Andrea’s friend appeared and sat down on top of her desk.
“No, just vague,” Andrea sighed.
“What does he want this time?” her friend wondered.
“He wants me to set up a meeting with some big guy at another big company, Lily. Then he told me to set up the meeting for whatever time works for me.” Andrea rolled her eyes.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Lily raised a suspicious eyebrow.
“I assume that was his way of telling me that I need to be here for the meeting.” Andrea groaned and buried her face on her desk.
“Why? What’s the meeting about?” Lily wondered.
“I have no idea. He didn’t tell me. He just told me who to set it up with and everything else was up to me. So I have to call that guy right now.” Andrea lifted his head up and picked up the phone.
“Good luck,” Lily muttered and walked away.
“Yes, I’d like to make an appointment on behalf of Mr. Charles Fink.” Andrea spoke with the secretary. She nodded her head jotting down some dates and times on her notepad. The woman on the other line kept talking so Andrea soon began to doodle. Then she paused with wide eyes.
“Oh… okay, that works out perfectly. Thank you.” Andrea hung up the phone and froze.
“I can tell by the look on your face that it’s nothing good.” Lily walked over from her desk and back up to Andrea again.
“That meeting is with a lawyer.” Andrea stared at Lily. “He’s trying to divorce his wife.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “If anything, she should be divorcing him on account he’s always bringing his work home with him. Now he’s bringing his home life to work with him? Sheesh…”
“And I have to be there for that meeting. Why? I’m just his secretary.” Andrea shrugged her shoulders.
“Because you’re my best supporter right now; I really appreciate it.” Mr. Fink came out of his office and winked at Andrea before walking away.
Lily snorted. “What a…”
“Don’t even go there.” Andrea muttered.
“Let’s go for a walk.” She said taking her son by the hand. The four-year-old looked up at his mother with a frown. He glanced down at his action figures as she dragged him over to the front door.
“It’s a beautiful spring day, Nathan. Your toys will still be here when we get back.” His mother explained in a smooth tone.
“Okay,” Nathan sighed.
They stepped out the front door and headed down the driveway to walk around the block. Most of their neighbors were out and about; mowing the lawn, grilling, or simply sitting on their porch soaking up the sun.
Nathan brought his hands up to his ears.
“What’s wrong?” his mother asked.
“Too loud!” he shouted.
His mother smirked. “Mr. Davis is just mowing his lawn. The sound is getting softer now.” She observed as they walked further away. “What can you hear now?”
Nathan hesitated at first, but finally brought his hands away from his ears. He stopped walking so he could focus on listening.
“Birds!” he shouted with a smile. He pointed to a tree in the neighbor’s yard where two robins worked together building a nest. “And… a car?”
His mother looked behind them and pushed Nathan closer to the side of the road as a car drove by them. She smiled at him and nodded. Nathan beamed.
They walked further down the road before Nathan stopped again.
“Look at the flowers!” he pointed to another neighbor’s garden.
His mother nodded impressed. “Yes, the garden is growing nicely, isn’t it?”
“There’s blue and purple and red and yellow!” Nathan exclaimed.
“There sure are a lot of beautiful flowers.” She smiled at him.
Before they knew it, their house was coming into view. Nathan frowned and began to drag his feet along the side of the road. His mother stopped and looked at him.
“We’re almost home.”
“That we are.” She agreed.
“But what if we missed something on our walk?” Nathan stared at his mother with big, sad eyes.
She chuckled. “Well, Nathan we can always go around again.”
Nathan’s face lit up with joy. Then he began to drag his mother around the block.
My alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning. Instinctively, I turned it off and rolled over in my bed. I closed my eyes for what seemed like a minute, but when I opened them again a half hour had gone by.
Upon realizing I should get up and start the day, I staggered out of bed with a blanket tangled around my leg. I hopped on one foot across the floor trying to get the blanket off. Finally when I unwrapped it, I tossed it back onto my bed. Should I bother making it? Nah.
I stood in front of my dresser and got changed into the outfit I picked out for myself the night before. I brushed my hair, unplugged my phone from the charger, and exited my bedroom. I went downstairs into the kitchen.
Everyone else was still asleep, as they usually were—even the cat was passed out on the couch. I snickered knowing that wasn’t going to last long.
I turned on the coffee maker and turned around. The cat was suddenly sitting on the floor behind me. I smiled happy to get back into my routine this morning, even though I was about a half hour later than usual.
The cat meowed as he walked closer to me. I picked him up and placed him on my hip stroking the back of his head. We swayed from side to side as I waited for the coffee maker to heat up.
I pushed the button to brew causing the cat to jump at the sudden spitting sound. It scared him every morning. Yet, he stayed in my arms and watched me as I one-handedly poured cream into my coffee, put it back in the refrigerator, and brought him and the coffee mug back upstairs.
I entered my den putting the coffee down on my desk. Then I placed the cat down on the couch on the other side of the room where he curled right back up and fell asleep.
I sat down at my desk turning on my computer. As I waited for it to boot up, I took a sip of my coffee watching the cat breath steadily as he drifted into a quick deep sleep.
Every morning was the same. He would wait for me to come make my coffee and then get a free ride upstairs only to sleep on a different couch. We were in a rut, but it was calm and relaxing for both of us.
I looked away from the cat when my computer screen came on. Then I began to work.
Diane turned the page of her latest novel with wide eyes and her lips moving quickly, but with no sound. Her eyes darted across the page from left to the right eagerly wanting to turn the page again. She slouched down in her lounge chair, propping her feet up on the chair next to her.
Her husband, Josh, sat on the opposite side of the table with his laptop in front of him. He eyed Diane trying not to laugh.
“You’re making funny faces again.” He observed.
“Shush!” Diane said sharply. Her eyes did not leave the page and only paused for a split second to the turn the page once more.
A breeze blew by and Diane slapped her hand on the table to keep her bookmark from flying away as she continued to read.
Josh closed his laptop and leaned his elbows on it. He smirked at his wife. “I take it I picked out a good book to give you for your birthday?”
“Shush!” she said more harshly.
Josh rubbed his lips together trying to hold in his laughter.
A robin swooped down from their roof and landed on top of the umbrella that shielded them and most of the deck. Josh stood up from the table and looked up at the bird. He smiled. Spring was officially here.
“Diane, look! It’s a robin and she’s looking pretty plump.”
Josh lifted an eyebrow at his wife. He hadn’t seen her get this excited over a book in a long time.
Finally, he walked off the back deck and reached the hose.
“Diane, I’m not afraid to use this. I’ve done it before.” Josh smirked. Whenever Diane was in the middle of the good book, it was difficult for Josh to get her attention. He sprayed a mist over her one time and it freaked her out so whenever he got the hose, Diane would immediately look up at him.
This time, she blatantly ignored him.
“One, two…” Josh counted in whispers as he slowly turned on the water. “Three…”
He put the nozzle on mist on the hose and sprayed Daine laughing. The robin flew away in frenzy, but Diane didn’t bat an eyelash. She only turned to the next page in her book.
Josh chuckled to himself thinking that he would be funny. He set the nozzle on an actual spray to get Diane wet enough, but not soaked—he kept in mind his laptop was right there.
“One, two…” Josh counted once more.
Diane slammed her book closed and grinned widely at her husband. “I finished!”
The hose turned on and Diane squealed.
Daniel put his car in park and leaned back in the driver’s seat. He gazed out the window across the quiet street and bit his bottom lip. Should he leave? He thought about it. It wasn’t right for him to be there, but he was being pulled there by a greater force.
He reached forward and took the keys out of the ignition. He would sit there and pretend that he belonged there just like everyone else.
Daniel twisted his neck to the left and right. There was no one else around yet. He glanced at his wrist watch and groaned. He was fifteen minutes too early. Why couldn’t he have been that early before? Why couldn’t he be that early all the time? Then there was a chance he wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.
He made drumming sounds by patting his hands on his thighs and bopped his head from one side to the other side. He started whistling a fancy tune he came up with right on the spot before stopping abruptly with his lips still pursed together. His shoulders slumped and he cleared his throat almost as if he was embarrassed someone was watching.
What time was it again? He looked at his watch. Oh… ten more minutes.
Daniel looked around his car and scrunched up his face in disgust. He hadn’t realized what a mess his car was until now. He wasn’t about to get out and start cleaning, though. He would have to wait until he got home because he didn’t have anything left to do now.
He was going to finally have time to clean his car because work was one less thing he needed to worry about. Sure, he wouldn’t be getting a paycheck each week, but at least he could spend those work hours working on home projects that he’s always wanted to get done. Everyone was always telling him to look on the bright side of things… the counted, didn’t it?
Using his right hand, Daniel brushed off a few papers and food crumbs from the passenger seat. No one was getting in his car, but if people walked by he wanted them to see a clean car at first glance. So, on the floor it went.
He then noticed a brown paper bag sitting beside him. He picked it up and grunted at its weight. Without opening it, Daniel knew what was inside. He shook the bag and listened as liquid swished around on the inside.
He shook his head putting the bag back down on the seat. He wasn’t supposed to have that in his car. He must have missed that one when he was cleaning out his stash. He looked out the window trying to get his mind off of it. He was going to have to remember to pour it down the drain when he got home.
Other cars were beginning to park around him now. The rush was coming and time was running out. Daniel sat up straight in his seat and turned the car back on. He wanted to be able to make a quick getaway just in case. He hoped no one saw him; that no one would recognize him.
A bell rang and Daniel stiffened. Children began to pour out of the school building and his eyes frantically searched for his two daughters. As he scanned his surroundings, he came across a tall woman standing outside her car. She smiled and waved to two young girls, who were quite happy to see her. One ran and jumped into her arms as the older one lagged behind carrying both backpacks.
Daniel smiled at the sight.
The two girls and their mother got into the car. With the crossing guard’s thumbs-up, the minivan pulled off from the curb and drove away.
Daniel frowned once the van was out of sight. He hadn’t seen his daughters or his ex-wife since the court date. He didn’t know when he was going to get the chance to see them again.
Without thinking, Daniel took a swig of the paper bag next to him and then drove out of the school zone.