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A Perfect Bloom 33 – Alex Ankarr
Friday, there’s nothing. No gift. And it’s not as if he’s pretending that he’s not looking, not any more. He’s looking from the moment he gets out of his car in the morning. He’s looking all the way through the grounds. (And it’s infuriating that this past week, it seems as if he sees Sam less and less about the grounds and gardens and hothouses, less than in any of the weeks leading up to this. Not that he’s looking extra hard and more often, sauntering through with greater frequency, or anything. Oooh no.) He’s looking all the way up to his office, and in his office.
Nothing on his desk. Nothing delivered in the mail. By 9.10 am he’s standing at his desk with Linnet by his side, and both of them are ridiculously sorrowful, looking down at the scrabbled-through post like pouting, disappointed children.
“Well,” Cory says, pulling himself together and facing reality more quickly than Linnet. (Amazingly, but it had to happen sometime.) “What were we expecting, anyway? Let’s get on, we’ve got plenty of work to do. It was just a silly diversion, and now no doubt it’s ceased to amuse. A good thing, too. We don’t have time to spare for nonsense.”
Maybe he convinces Linnet. He sure doesn’t convince himself. They both have sad faces at their mid-morning break. He’s aware that he has a sad face all through the Friday meeting with a supplier, and lets at least one contractual clause get pushed through that could come back to bite them something fierce on the ass later.
Linnet seems to have pulled herself together by lunchtime, though, and waves him off with a thoughtful little face. There’s a frown playing about her brow but a composed expression and a hard line about her mouth. Down to business, no doubt. Getting serious, getting back to work, forgetting about the silly, delightful interlude that this week of courtly nonsense has been. And a good thing, too.
That’s the pep-talk he gives himself all through lunch, which perhaps distracts his attention a bit from the very serious discussion with the head of the company pension fund, about claims and purchases and investments. He may possibly give the quite wrong impression that he doesn’t give a damn, and wishes that the pension fund would jump off an especially high cliff. It’s only a temporary reaction. He has to remind himself of that. But it’s quite strong, though.
He probably hasn’t achieved a more cheerful expression even when he gets back to the office. Not, in any case, judging by Linnet’s practically martial air, as she waits for him in the centre of the office. She has her arms folded, and her head tilted to one side, and she’s got an expression on her face that suggests he’d better shape up if he doesn’t want her to take some drastic action, sonny. It’s enough to render him a little wary at least.
© 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.
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