Truth Can Stare

Truth Can Stare
By Sarah
Short Story

        He watched her from across the room.  It had been two weeks since she’d arrived and she hadn’t spoken to one person.  He felt bad for her, she didn’t seem to take to new people easily, and in a large group like they were all in, he knew she’d have a hard time adjusting.
        ‘I forget why she’s here,’ he thought.  ‘Duh, me, management,’ he reminded himself.  He sighed as he leaned back against the pole behind him and crossed his arms.  Even though he loved what he did and all the attention he received, he wished that he got it from someone like her, in a more personal way.  She was beautiful, in his opinion.  Long, chocolate brown hair, bright hazel eyes, smooth peaches and cream complexion, and she was just under his height, barely even an inch.  Her baggy jeans hung on her hips when she walked, providing him with what he considered ‘the perfect scenery’, and he’d discovered over the last two weeks that her shirts were all plain, dark colors, either long sleeved or short sleeved T-shirts.  Her hair was always either left down or pulled back into a braid and reached halfway down her back.  He felt that she was beautiful, a rare find.
        ‘If only I could talk to her.’
        She sighed, double clicking on the icon on the computer screen in front of her.  Office work, paper work, computer work, it was all the same, day in and day out.  No matter what she wanted to do, what she felt like doing, her work came first and foremost.  And it didn’t help that, as part of her job, she had to go on tour with a bunch of people she’d never even seen before in her entire life.
        ‘Well, I have, but that’s not the point, I don’t know them personally, and from what I’ve gathered, I'm not allowed to,’ she corrected herself mentally, leaning back against her seat and stretching her arms out in front of her.  She flexed her wrists before starting to type up a report that had been handed to her.
        ‘Damn Carpel-Tunnel’s,’ she thought, flexing her wrists again.  She looked at the paper on the table and typed it up quickly, stopping a few times to decipher the handwriting, as it looked horrible.
        ‘Chicken scratch,’ she thought to herself, going back to typing.  She finished the two-page report in fifteen minutes and made a copy, sending it via e-mail to the appropriate person.
        ‘Can I get away from this computer yet?’  She thought as she looked around her for her boss.  She was looking for Denise, she couldn’t quite recall her last name, she was the person she was told to report to at the end of the day with all her work and such.  She sighed again as she couldn’t spot the woman and looked back at her computer.
        ‘I never thought I’d get sick of computers, but I believe I am,’ she said to herself as she minimized the window and called up another, going to check her own e-mail.
        "Junk, junk, good letter, junk, advertisement, junk, and even more junk," she murmured as she scrolled down.  She erased the junk and advertisements, then went to open the letter from a colleague of hers when another paper was slapped down next to her.
        "Type that up, Evie, I need it sent by five," Denise called as she hurried away, answering her cell phone.
        Evie sighed and picked up the paper, glancing over the notes.  "Yes, ma’am," she said to no one.  She exited out of her mail and called back up the other window, typing up the paper of notes as she glanced at the time.
        ‘Great, this time, I got five minutes to type up a page!’  She thought to herself sarcastically as she typed as fast as possible.  She sent the finished product to the address indicated at the top of the page, just as the clock struck five.
        "That’s it, I'm taking a break," she thought aloud as she pushed her folding chair back and closed her laptop.  She stretched up, insecurely pulling down the tail of her shirt as she let her arms down, and walked away from the table.  She’d been working on that damn site and its information for the last two weeks, she was sick of looking at it.  As a professional web designer and computer technician, you’d think she liked her job, correct?
        ‘Not anymore,’ she thought as she grabbed a bottle of water from the cooler.  She opened it and sipped it slowly.  ‘I liked my job in the beginning because it took me about ten minutes to do each job, and I could do them at my own pace, with the window of about two weeks.  But not this one, oh no, this one I had to come on location instead of getting everything faxed, and I had to turn down all those other jobs.  Plus, no one talks to me but Denise.  Yeah, she’s nice, but the only thing I know about her is that she has nice handwriting that’s sometimes a little hard to read.  Yeah, something crucial about someone you must know.’  Evie walked slowly down the hall of the office, what most called ‘the headquarters’, because, basically, that was what it was.  She didn’t even know what the object was anymore, she couldn’t remember.
        "Sorry!"  Someone called as they bumped into her, then ran down the hall.  Evie looked after the man and swallowed hard.
        "Its ok," she whispered.  She continued her slow walk and ended up at the main entrance, leaning against the doors.
        "You look a little on the sad side."
        Evie turned to the voice and smiled at him, looking down to the floor and blushing lightly.  "Its nothing, I’m just tired."
        "Not home sick?"  He asked as he advanced towards her, standing next to her at the large window.
        Evie shook her head and looked outside at the setting sun.  "Not really, I may live a few hundred miles away, but it doesn’t make me homesick being here."
        "How come?"
        "I don’t have much to miss there, just my computer and stereo, that’s all I really have."
        "No family?  No pets?"
        "Nope and nope.  My parents died a few years ago, I’m an only child, and I never had any pets, I would forget to take care of them, I’m so busy."
        "I’m sorry.  About your parents, I mean," he said, correcting himself quickly.
        Evie shook her head.  "Don’t worry about it, they were both very sick with cancer and heart problems.  I guess you could say that they’re happier now because they aren’t in anymore pain."
        "Oh," he said softly.  He looked back at her.  "I’m sorry, I just realized I never introduced myself, name’s Kevin."
        Evie smiled and shook his outstretched hand.  "I’m Evie."
        "That’s a beautiful name, Evie; nice to meet you.  Might I ask, though, seeming as that I don’t recall ever seeing you here before, what area do you work in?"  He asked.
        "I’m the one doing the web page design for the…" the project name escaped her.  "Umm, damn, you know, sitting at a computer so long really wears on your brain, the project completely slipped my mind," she said apologetically.
        "It’s all right, I think I know.  Since you’re doing web page design, that means that Denise must’ve called you in for the Fun Club Page," he suggested.
        Evie snapped her fingers.  "That’s it!  The FFCP," she said, telling him the nickname she’d given it.
        Kevin laughed.  "Yes, the FFCP.  Tell me, Evie, when did you start here?"
        "About two weeks ago.  They called me in from my New York office and said that if I wanted this job, I’d have to turn down the others and get down here as fast as I could.  So, I packed my bags and got down here within the next twenty-four hours, which is pretty amazing considering I did not want to do this.  It frustrated me that I had to come all this way for a page when usually I’m faxed and e-mailed all the information and then take my leisurely time with it.  But no, Madam Denise said I had to get down here in Florida and work on it here.  Needless to say, I wasn’t all that happy about it, and right now, I’m just tired of staring at a computer screen."  Evie took a deep breath and laughed when she noticed Kevin’s slightly dazed expression.  "I’m sorry, I talk too much once someone starts me on something," she said quietly.
        "No, don’t apologize, it’s not your fault.  I just find it amazing that Denise had you come all the way here from New York to work on that page.  She was going to have someone else work on it, but I guess he’s just going to be fine-tuning the final product."
        "More or less.  All I know is that I’ll be done by next week and then I can go back home and be able to work in my pajamas again," Evie said frankly, another smile sneaking on her face.  Kevin laughed and the two got involved in another conversation when someone came up behind them, tackling Kevin.
        "Got you!"  A short, blonde haired man said, beaming a bright smile.
        "Sheesh, Bri, give me a heart attack, why don’t you?"  Kevin said exasperated.
        "Ok, gimme a sec," the man replied, backing up and getting ready to run again.
        "Oh, no, I was just kidding," Kevin said, darting forward and holding the man back.
        "So was I, sheesh, you need to lighten up," the man said, relaxing his position.  "Hi, my name’s Brian," he said, holding his hand out to a slightly shocked Evie.
        "That’s Evie, Bri, she’d working on the fan page," Kevin said, gesturing to her silent form.
        "I-I’m sorry, you just scared me a little," Evie said, catching herself and shaking Brian’s out-stretched hand.  The three started talking and were interrupted a few minutes later by the arrival of two more people.
        "FOOD’S HERE!"  The two of them yelled as they opened the doors.  Evie covered her ears as a roar of excitement rang through the hallways and the two guys ran around, each carrying two large bags of steaming food and two pizza boxes.
        "Come on, Evie, dinner’s here," Kevin said, holding his hand out to her.  Evie took it carefully and struggled to keep up with him as he hurried down the hall, following the Puerto Rican guy and the tall blonde who’d just arrived with the food.
        "Great, food, thanks so much, Frack, I was dying," Brian said as he grabbed one of the pizza boxes and flipped it open, revealing extra cheesy pizza.  "Oh, yes," he said as he picked up a slice and bit into it.
        Evie backed away as a bunch of people stormed the table.  "Come on, Evie, grab some before its gone," Kevin said, pulling her towards the table.
        Evie shook her head.  "No, that’s ok, I’m not hungry," she said, walking away quickly before he could protest.  She hurried back to her cubicle and sat down, leaning forward and putting her head in her hands.  She took a deep breath and opened her laptop, starting up the web page to work on it.
        "Is this seat taken?"
        Evie looked up as she still typed a mile a minute, then froze.  His rugged appearance on the outside gave him the look of a bad guy, but she knew he wasn’t.  Arms covered with tattoos, pierced ears, and baggy clothes completed the look with a goatee and perfectly sculpted moustache.  Evie had to admit that he was incredibly attractive, but she never would aloud.  She knew who he was.
        He was Denise’s son, AJ.
        "Uh, not since yesterday," Evie finally said, realizing that she’d left him without an answer.  She saw him smile at her through his red tinted sunglasses as he pulled out the chair next to her and sat down, setting his plate of pizza in front of him.
        "Mind if I eat?  I’m kinda hungry, and I grabbed these pieces before Rodney could," he said, gesturing to his plate and referring to one of the other workers there.
        "No, go right ahead," Evie said, looking back at her computer screen, embarrassed as she realized she’d made a bunch of mistakes on the report she was typing.
        "What’cha writin’?"  AJ asked, leaning over her shoulder.
        "Stuff for the web page."
        "So you’re the person my mom called in?"
        "The one and only," Evie said as she fixed everything, and then went to the bottom of the page and started writing more html.
        "How come you’re so quiet?"  He asked a few moments later as he finished the first slice of pizza.
        "Because not very many people want to talk to the computer nerd," she said frankly.  She clicked on the save button and inhaled deeply, smelling the wonderful pizza.  ‘Can’t eat it, Evie, you lived on pizza for a month, you don’t need anymore,’ she reminded herself, typing again.
        "Sure you don’t want some?  Its not like I can’t spare the other piece," AJ offered, pushing the plate towards her.
        Evie shook her head and pushed the plate away.  "No, that’s all right, really, I'm not hungry," she said quickly.  ‘Yes I am, incredibly hungry, and if you don’t get that pizza away from me, I'm gonna scream.’
        "I don’t believe you."
        "Why not?"
        "Because why?"
        "Because I can tell that, inside, you are craving this pizza," AJ said quietly, leaning forward and smiling.
        Evie shook her head, not looking at him.  "No, I'm not."
        "Yes you are."
        "No I'm not."
        "Yes you are."
        "No I'm not!  How would you know anyway?"  Evie demanded.  She blushed as her stomach let out a low growl.
        AJ laughed and tickled her stomach lightly.  "That’s how I know."
        Evie shied away from his hand and wrapped her arms around her stomach.  "Well, I am a little hungry."
        "I’d think so, you haven’t moved from this computer all day!"
        It was Evie’s turn to get information out of him.  "How would you know?"
        AJ blushed crimson.  "I saw you."
        "From where?"
        "From over there.  I was watching you all day"
        Evie looked away and felt her face get very warm, knowing it was turning bright red.  She never expected to hear those     words from AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys fame.
        "Why would you be watching me?  Are you saying that you were so bored as to watch me?"  She asked.
        "No, I-I had p-plenty I could’ve d-done, b-but I chose to w-watch you," he stuttered out.  Evie knew without looking that his face was still quite red, just like hers.
        "Why?"  She finally whispered.
        AJ mumbled something under his breath, something Evie couldn’t catch.
        "Say that one more time, in English?"  She implored, receiving a small chuckle from him.
        "I said that I think you’re beautiful," he said, his voice level slightly higher.  He leaned forward and Evie felt his breath on her neck.  "Say you’ll go to dinner with me tomorrow," he whispered in her ear.
        "What?"  Evie replied, unbelievingly.  ‘This day keeps getting more and more unusual and weird,’ she thought, shocked.
        "Please?  Just something small, a very quiet dinner, just you and me," he whispered, gently taking her chin in his hands and turning it to face him.  She found herself looking into his deep brown eyes, his sunglasses tossed on her desk, the bare truth staring her in the face.
        "Yes, ok, tomorrow night," Evie agreed, her eyes never leaving his.
        AJ smiled and softly kissed her lips, barely brushing his with hers.  He stood up and carried his empty plate with him back to the main area with everyone else.
         Evie simply smiled and turned back to the page.

Back Home