Today’s challenge was to recreate a day – or, more challenging yet, an hour – in the life of, well, anyone, I suppose. I took the opportunity to write another short story. Below you’ll find an hour in the life of Abby Dunleavy, bored secretary. I hope it’s entertaining. 🙂
Skiing is great fun, if you know what you’re doing. I, of course, had no idea what I was doing, and was positive that the bunny hill I was careening wildly down was really a black diamond.
“Snowplow! Snowplow!” my best friend Janey yelled.
My head snapped left, then right, then dead ahead. “Where?!”
The bottom of the hill was rapidly approaching, as was the parking lot.
But the phone rang before I could crash into a parked car. I snatched the receiver out of the cradle before the first ring had finished and sighed. “Arnold Rowan and Scates, this is Abby. May I help you?”
I half listened as the client yelled in my ear about how the CIA wanted him dead and how he almost had his house sold and how they really just needed to get out of the state because everyone here was horrible and how it had to be better somewhere else. The CIA wasn’t really after him, of course, but he wouldn’t accept that. He wouldn’t accept much, as a matter of fact, not even the possibility that his attorney was busy with another client, because why would his attorney have other clients? He was the wealthiest man in six counties and he’d chosen our firm to represent him – what need did we have of other clients?
“I’m sorry,” I said, as assertively as I could without being rude, “but Mr. Arnold is unavailable. Would you like his voicemail?”
“No. I would not like his voicemail. But if that’s the only thing I’m going to get, then I guess it’ll have to do. And you can be sure I’m gonna tell Jimmy that you refused to let me speak with him. You’d best pack your things now, missy, cuz you won’t have a job when I’m through with you.”
I rolled my eyes at the phone. Never threaten the secretary – it won’t get you anywhere.
“One moment, please,” I said as I punched in the voicemail command a little harder than was strictly necessary.
I glanced at the clock as I hung up the phone; hardly a minute had passed. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have sworn I’d been on the phone for an hour. If only I had been – then it would be almost time to head home instead of almost time for lunch.
I could almost smell the tang of tomatoes and basil in the air as my mind drifted away again. My mouth began to water as the scent of lasagne and cologne swirled around me. I drank in the fragrance, and the warmth of the kitchen, and felt my shoulders relax. Slowly, slowly, the tension drained from my body, and I sat down at the table before my legs turned to mush.
“A watched lasagne never bakes,” Rashid murmured behind me.
His voice was smooth and deep and rich, like a fine chocolate, and I smiled. “But it smells so good! And besides – your kitchen is very inviting.”
“Only my kitchen?”
There was laughter in his voice, and I could see one eyebrow arching, even though my back was to him. I looked over my shoulder and, sure enough, I was right. I couldn’t help grinning. “Of course not! Your arms are plenty inviting as well. Or at least they should be…”
I gave him my best come-hither stare. He doubled over laughing. I sniffed and turned away, pouting.
“Aw, come on, baby, don’t be like that,” he said, still chuckling. He crossed the room and pulled me out of my seat, wrapping his arms around me. “You know I love you.”
“I bet you say that to all the girls,” I said, trying to suppress a smile as Rashid leaned in closer.
The phone rang again.
Damn thing – too bad I can’t tear it out of the wall.
“Arnold Rowan and Scates, this is Abby. May I help you?”
“Yeah, hi, this is Alex Boggerson, and I need to…”
I tuned out as he drawled on about what he needed to see his attorney for. I scheduled the appointment, hung up the phone, and glanced at the clock. It was only ten minutes later than the last time I’d looked.
I sighed. Why must Fridays always be so slow? Didn’t the universe know I had things to do? Places to go, people to see, love to make? Come on, universe! Give me a break already!
I clicked around my computer programs for a minute, checking my email and the office calendar and the EDMS website for any court filings I might have missed. I gave my desk a quick once-over, but it was spotless. Perfectly ordered. I groaned.
A moment later, Mr. Arnold’s clients walked out of his office. The woman looked over at me and smiled as they passed my desk. “You have a nice day, Abby!”
I smiled back at my former English teacher. “You, too, Mrs. Donagan!”
“So, anything exciting going on out here?” Mr. Arnold asked as the door closed behind the Donagans.
“Not really. I sent you a couple messages in PCLaw, but nothing super urgent. Unless you ask Aaron Garner, and then it’s a matter of life and death,” I said, trying to keep the sarcasm from my voice.
“Everything’s always a matter of life and death with Mr. Garner,” he said, his smile fading as he glanced out the window. “But this weather really might be – why don’t you take off early?”
“Are you sure?” I asked. “It doesn’t look that bad out yet.”
“I can hold down the fort here. Go on – make sure you get home safe. I’ll see you on Monday.”
“Thanks!” I said, shutting my computer down. “Have a nice weekend, Mr. Arnold!”
“You, too, Abby,” he said before disappearing back into his office.
I looked back out the window; the snow had picked up and the wind was blowing. It looked positively frigid out there, but I didn’t mind. Rashid’s dark chocolate voice was whispering in my ear, his strong solid arms held me fast. I was home already, safe and warm in the kitchen, and nothing was going to get in the way of my dream becoming reality.
Not even the worst blizzard in twenty years.
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