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A Perfect Bloom 17 – Alex Ankarr
Well, under those circumstances, he could quite easily bottle out. Who could think the worse of him for that? He wouldn’t even think any the worse of himself, for turning tail and just running. But he doesn’t, just the same. The word itself only hesitates a moment on his lips, before he’s got it out and irrecoverable in the dusty air of the little office. “Cory,” he says, eyes on Sam who’s looking at him full and direct, gazing in a way that he hasn’t done since that first interview, when Cory stumbled into the room and was caught up in his eyes, sufficiently that he hasn’t been able to escape again since that day.
Sam had been gazing back on that day too, it’s perfectly true. And it’s the same today, as he repeats back Cory’s own words from his own lips. “Cory,” he says, and if he wasn’t smiling when he began saying it, there’s a smile on his lips in the moment that it leaves them. “I passed your car in the executive parking zone when I was heading over to the hothouses earlier… Cory. It’s a beautiful motor. But I think it needs valeting, tidying up… a close eye on it. You should go have a look. Cory.”
Oh, the flush burns, scalds his cheeks, as they stare into each other’s eyes and Cory remembers that Mr Siles is right there watching them. It’s not as if they’re alone. “Sam…” he says, hand still on the door-knob, as he digests that little hint, as he searches for some method of farewell that’s less formal and pompous than ‘good-bye’, less juvenile than ‘see ya later’, less idiotic than ‘cheerio’… He can’t find anything. So he just grins helplessly and pauses wordlessly for a moment, mouth open like a village yokel. And then his eyes flicker between the two of them – the new ex-con intern, and his supervisor, who’s looking at Cory with a very thoughtful expression right now. And he abruptly shuts the door on the both of them.
And shivers a bit, standing in front of it. Oh, what the hell, what kind of a fool has he just made of himself? But it’s done, whatever it is. And now, with what is probably the greatest wisdom that he’s shown regarding anything he’s dealt with today, he turns tail, and heads off back to his own office, three buildings and two floors and a million miles in status away.
Linnet will look after him, once he gets back there, he thinks. She’ll sort out his frazzled brain. Someone will have to.
© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014
No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.
Photo credit: Bonita Suraputra (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/in/photolist-6dZ9wX-6e1HhW) via a Creative Commons licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode), book cover modifications made.