It was a long day at the office Ana recalled on her way to the door for her evening run. The temp agency had her working as a receptionist at MBC Global, an international company based out of the tiny little town of Warrensburg. They were currently moving everything to a larger office space, and there was bustling energy everywhere.
She loved this job, meeting and greeting people all day long. Answering the phone, answering the questions, making the customers comfortable as they waited for their appointments, learning from their stories. Every single person who walked into the office knew something she didn’t, and she always tried to figure out what that was before they moved on. A burly man who happened to be interviewing for a managerial position that day had once been a real lumberjack. One of the secretaries had once played in the Olympics. And one of the younger guys helping with the move could easily program a computer to do everything from play Frogger to analyze immense amounts of information in milliseconds. Not all of this was particularly useful information for her at the moment, but it always impressed her.
She read somewhere that once the mind was stretched, it could never go back to its original form. She liked that. It may not be useful to know how to fell a 100 foot tall tree at the moment, but it opened her eyes to new processes and inspired her sense of adventure that could potentially be beneficial if she could ever return to interior decorating.
Interior decorating was her passion. She loved taking things in a room and rearranging them to be much more pleasing to the eye. Bringing in colors, textures, and patterns that gave life to an otherwise dull room. She found herself mentally rearranging the furniture in the waiting room to make the traffic flow easier, adding a splash of color to the walls, and bringing in some artwork to be visually appealing throughout the days to pass the time.
She got to the door of her apartment, grabbed her tennis and hit the pavement. As was becoming her new normal, butterflies tickled her stomach as she neared Mr. Goodlooking’s place on the corner of the block. It seemed she caught his attention as quickly as he had caught hers. It started with a surprised wave as he was working on his motorcycle in the driveway one day last week. Then it turned to finding an excuse to be out there each night. Or maybe she had a big head and he just liked being outdoors, but he definitely didn’t grill out every night the first few times she passed his house.
To her surprise, one evening the grill was actually pulled all the way down to the short fence that surrounded his front yard. She did her best to ignore him, but as she approached she noticed that he was shirtless. The sight of his body was such a glorious spectacle. His muscles were chiseled up and down his arms, back, chest and abs. This caught her off guard and the pleasant shock of it made her forget about the curb and she caught it with the front of her foot. Luckily she caught herself before she barreled into the cement, but when she reached his fence, the look on his face said he clearly had witnessed her little show. Knowing she had been caught, she called out, “You should really put a shirt on before someone gets hurt!” as she sped on by. He just shook his head and grinned.
The night after that was the same, grill parked all the way at the front of the fence. “Hungry? I’ve got extra!” he called out. Oh this made her laugh. He was clearly trying to get her attention, but she didn’t have time for that. It would be fun. And he definitely was fun to look at. But she never knew how long she was going to stay anywhere, and getting too attached did not seem like a good idea for either of them.
She smiled and waved him off.
“Water! Ice cold water!” was the next evening. She never gave him time to say much more as she sped past. She was starting to feel like a doofus yet found herself looking forward to his clever ways of getting her attention. And quite honestly the steaks and potatoes and burgers and brats he had on the grill night after night made going home to boxed mac n cheese or cheap hot dogs so much less appealing.
Despite herself, she was curious to see what tonight would bring as she passed his place. Would he give up on her? She hoped not.