| Story 2
(Character names have been changed for privacy reasons)
“Mike, please call 108. Mike, 108.” Mike finishes the last two
tires off the pallet and heads back to receiving. He lowers the pallet
jack, then wipes his hands on a rag while heading towards the phone. He
takes a deep breath, picks up the phone and dials 108. “Hello?” “Yes
ma’am.” “Hey Mike, what’s going on?” “Not much Heather. Just finishing up
these pallets of tires.” “Oh, well how many are left?” “None. I just have
to put this empty pallet away. Why? What’s up?” “Nothing really. Did you
go to dinner yet? “No. I was going to go after I finished the
tires. Did you want me to get you something?” “Could you? If you don’t
mind.” Mike begins to smile. “Sure no problem.” “Thanks. Meet me in the
office before you leave and I’ll give you some money.” “Alright. I’ll be
there in a few minutes. I want to clean up first.” “Alright, bye.” Mike
hangs up the phone and walks out of the receiving office with a big grin on
his face. Over the past few months, he has grown strong feelings for
Heather. By now, he jumps at just about every chance he gets to work with
her, or have lunch with her. However, he has always his feelings
for her. After all, she is and has a daughter. But he still gets
excited whenever he can be with her.
After Mike washes the oil off his hands, he punches out and walks to the
manager’s office. He gently knocks on the door and Heather tells him to
come in. He sees that she’s on the phone and sits down next to the desk.
He doesn’t mind waiting, he enjoys studying her profile and listening to
her soft, yet firm voice. He watches as she writes something on a sheet of
paper and hands it to him. He reaches for it and gently brushes her hand.
He feels a shiver go down his spine and tries not to blush. He looks down
at the paper. “Pizza with mushrooms?” He looks up at Heather and nods.
She smiles and holds up a finger, signaling for him to wait a minute. He
nods again and continues watching her. He starts thinking about what it
would be like to be alone with her. He feels himself starting to blush and
turns his head away from her. ‘If you keep thinking like this, you will
have no choice but to tell her how you feel,’ he thinks to himself. He
hears her hang up the phone and turns back around as she’s getting up from
the desk. “Are you sure that’s alright?” He stares at her blankly. “The
pizza...” “Oh yeah, that’s fine.” She smiles and closes the door to the
office to get to her purse, which is hanging up behind the door. Mike
stands up to move out of her way. He can smell her perfume and struggles
to not get closer for a better whiff. She hands him a five, “Page me when
you get back.” “Ok. Is there anything else you would like?” “Nope. Thank
you.” She opens the door and begins to walk out of the office. “Um,
Heather?” Mike swallows hard while waiting for her to turn around. She
peeks her head back into the office. “Yeah?” “Do you think we could talk
one-to-one before we leave tonight?” She steps back into the room. “Mike,
is everything alright?” She has a look of concern on her face. “Oh yeah,
everything’s fine. I’d just like to talk to you, just you, without anyone
else around, for a little while.” Her expression softens and she smiles.
“Yeah sure. After we close, and I count the deposits.” “Alright.” She
walks out of the office and Mike follows. He watches her walk out on the
floor, then walks over to the phone to place their order. He hangs up and
turns around, hoping to see her again before leaving to pick up their
pizza. He sighs as he walks out, praying that the night will fly by.
The whole way to and from the pizza parlor, he tries to think of how to
tell Heather how he feels. As he walks back into work, he gives up
deciding that it would be better to just say it naturally, without any
planning. He grabs a couple plates and napkins and heads for the break
room. “Hey Mike, thanks for asking what I wanted.” He laughs, “Sorry Matt.
My mind was decided for me.” “Oh no, not Heather again. Man, you’re not
even going with her and she has you whipped.” Matt laughs. “Ha ha Matt.”
‘If he only knew,’ Mike thought as he put the pizza on the table. He walks
over to the phone and pushes the “page” button. “Heather, please call 105
or come to the break room. Heather, please call 105 or come to the break
room.” He hangs up the phone and walks out the door, checking the floor
nearby. He sees Sarah walk by and smiles weakly. He had a fling with her
when he first started with the company. They had a great relationship
until it got around the company. To this day she swears that she didn’t
step down from management because of their relationship. They broke up
shortly after. She waves at him and he waves back just as the phone starts
ringing in the break room. He runs over to get it. “Hello, Heather?”
“Hey. Mike why don’t you go ahead and eat. I’m in the back with a
deliveryman and won’t be up for a while.” “Heather, you know I won’t do
that. Just take your time. I’ll be around.” “Ok. See you soon.” He hangs
up and sits down at the table. He flips through the channels on the until he finds the game and begins waiting.
He starts thinking back at past relationships. He never had trouble
getting dates. After all, he was the tall, dark and handsome guy that most
women dream of. He stood at 6’2’, with black hair and a muscular body
weighing in around 185. And due to his love of outdoors, he usually had an
impressive tan throughout the warm months. Of course, most people thought,
“Well he has the looks, but how is his attitude?” He had a cheerful,
charming disposition too. He was always a gentleman, and his deep voice
usually made the melt when he spoke. Good news is, he hasn’t changed
a bit. His than his age maturity always gets the women on his
side, but his fun side also gets the younger women. Even through his
school days he had fighting over whom he liked and whom he was taking
to the upcoming dance. But Sarah was probably the first he ever really
fell head-over-heels for. No, correction. The first woman after the one
who broke his heart in college. Ah, Mary was his dream woman come true.
There wasn’t a night that went by that he didn’t dream about her, even when
they were dating. He could only wait two weeks before asking her to marry
him. He wanted to ask her after two days, but he knew it wouldn’t fly that
early in the relationship. She had agreed, but four months later, he found
her in bed with his best friend. The worst part, he wasn’t the only one
she was sleeping with. There were four or five other too. He swore
from that day on he would date socially, but not get involved with
anyone...until he met Sarah. And if it wasn’t for the three co-workers
that saw them together in Seaside, they may still be together.
“Sorry it took me so long.” Heather says as she walks into the break
room. “Huh,” Mike turns around. “Oh. That’s alright. You were just
doing your job.” He can hear a few co-workers start giggling. “I just hope
it’s still hot.” Mike says as he stands up. “Would you like something to
drink?” Heather reaches for the change in her pocket. He waves it away.
She smiles, “Pepsi please.” Mike walks over to the soda machine and hears
Ben and Matt bust up laughing as Stan imitates a whip being cracked.
Heather glances in Mike’s direction and smiles. Ben, Matt and Stan stop
almost immediately thinking she is looking at them. “So Mike, what did you
want to talk to me about?” Mike looks at Heather, then the guys, then back
at Heather. “Nothing. I figured it out.” “Oh, ok.” She opens the pizza
box as Mike places her Pepsi on the table. “So, how is Abigail?” Mike
asks, breaking the silence. Heather finishes her bite of pizza. “She’s
great. You should see her with her new toy.” He listens intently while
Heather goes from one to the next about her daughter. He has always
loved children and only wishes he had one of his own. Especially if it was
Heather’s child too. He has offered to get Abigail things, but Heather
keeps telling him no. “You don’t have to do that.” She would say. “So,
how’s your other job Mike?” “You mean the business?” She nods, and
takes another bite of her pizza. “It’s going great. We’re about to buy
another company. It’s a small company out in Colorado that produces
pharmaceutical supplies.” Matt looks down the table at Mike. “Hey Mike,
why don’t you tell Heather why you still work here even though you own and
run your business.” He starts laughing along with the other guys.
“It’s a change of pace.” “My use to own a business and work here. I
see nothing wrong with what he’s doing.” Matt and the turn a bright
shade of and decide it’s time to go back to work. Mike and Heather
watch them punch out and leave. Mike sighs in relief then finishes his
slice of pizza. “So, why are you still here?” Mike almost chokes on his
pizza, then begins to turn red. Heather smiles and waits for his response.
“Honestly, I don’t know. But for some reason I just don’t want to leave.”
He prays that she buys this, and takes a sip of his soda. “Well, it just
seems kind of odd that if your business is doing so well, why you would
stay and put up with that.” Mike starts turning again. “Ah, um...well,
er...” “Or is that what you wanted to talk to me about one-to-one?” Mike
gulps. “Well?” Mike opens his mouth to respond, and closes it again. “Can
we talk about this later Heather? Behind closed doors. I’m afraid someone
will overhear it and I really don’t want that.” She shrugs her shoulders.
“Sure, okay. Can I ask you something else instead?” Mike swallows hard.
“And if you don’t respond I’ll just assume you will tell me that later
too.” Mike’s brow begins to sweat. “Mike, how come you seem so confident
when you are on your own, but when others are around you seem so insecure?
Especially around me.” Mike’s mouth hits the floor. Heather places her
hand on top of his. She doesn’t say anything at first. Then she slowly
pulls her hand away while saying, “it’s alright. We’ll talk later.” She
smiles as she stands up, takes her trash to the trashcan and begins to walk
out of the room. “Thanks for dinner Mike.” He looks in her direction and
whispers “my pleasure” as she begins to walk away. Mike continues to sit
there in a daze, then realizes the time and punches back in for work.
As the work night comes to an end, people are rushing to finish up what
they are working on and rush out the doors. Mike, finishing up a few
things of his own, heads towards the personnel office with some paperwork.
As he passes by Sarah, she grabs his arm and pulls him aside. “Mike, I
know we had something great going two years ago. But do yourself a favor.
Don’t make the same mistake twice.” He looks back at her dumbfounded. She
leans over and whispers in his ear “and remember, she’s married.” She backs
away and looks at him long enough to see him a rock the size of a
baseball, then walks away. “Is it that obvious,” he mutters to himself.
“Is what that obvious?” Mike turns around and sees Heather standing there.
“Can you talk now, or do you still have something to do?” Heather looks at
him kind of surprised. “Give me five more minutes. I just have to lock up
the receiving office and make sure the night crew gets in.” “Alright, I’ll
meet you in your office.” She smiles and walks away. Mike takes a deep
breath, and runs to the personnel office. “Aah never mind.” He says as he
shreds the papers for a vacation request.
About fifteen minutes later, Heather locks the front doors and heads to
the manager’s office. She doesn’t have a clue what Mike wants to talk
about, but she has noticed that he seemed a bit preoccupied lately. All
she knows is that the company can’t afford to lose him. Even though he
isn’t a manager, she knows his talent, knowledge and skills are probably
the only thing holding this branch together. And after discussing Mike’s
work ethics with her husband, he wouldn’t even blame her for doing anything
within her power to keep him there. She walks into the office and finds
Mike sitting in front of the desk. “Sorry I’m late.” He smiles, “no
problem. I wasn’t expecting you for awhile anyway. I know how the night
crew is. Especially Karl. Man, I don’t think he let’s any manager leave
when they want to.” They both laugh and Heather sits down at the desk.
“So, what’s up?” Mike motions to close the door and Heather nods. He
closes it gently then turns and looks at Heather again. “You will have to
forgive me. I still haven’t figured out the right way to say this.”
Heather nods and offers him a Starburst. She can tell he’s nervous. Mike
takes the piece of candy. “Thanks.” He pauses long enough to pop the
Starburst in his mouth, then continues. “Eventually I will answer the
questions you asked me during dinner, but give me some time.” He stands up
and begins pacing the small office. “Mike, relax. I’m not going to bite.”
“I wish you would. I may say all this faster.” He let out a soft giggle.
“I’m sure you’re aware that we have been working together for about a year
now. And I’m sure you will agree that we seem to click when it comes to
business matters. And that’s the way most people would like business
relationships to work. You know, just click.” “Is that why you don’t want
to leave? Because we get along well with work.” “No, I mean yes.
I...thank you.” He takes another piece of candy from her. “And I’m sure
you know that people, in general, when being around each other a lot,
sometimes grow feelings for each other. And because of those feelings,
it’s sometimes hard to work with each other.” “Mike, I know about you and
Sarah. What can I do to help? Although you two don’t seem to have any
problems working together.” “Heather, it’s not Sarah.” She gets a puzzled
expression on her face. “Heather, it’s you.” He watches as her face starts
turning red. “Over the past few months, I have fallen for you. I can’t go
a day without thinking about you. And that is why I can’t leave this
company.” He pauses, waiting for her to respond. “And I know now I
probably should leave.” “No.” “I have been pushing myself with deadlines
just so I can work more with you. That company I was telling you about,
it’s supposed to be finalized nine o’clock tomorrow morning. I haven’t
even finished half the paperwork.” She looks up at him in shock. He can
see her eyes beginning to glisten. “The reason I lose all confidence when
I’m around you and the others, is because they are right when they say I’m
whipped by you. And Sarah,” he lets out a laugh, “she told me before I
came in, and I quote ‘I know we had something great going on two years ago.
But do yourself a favor. Don’t make the same mistake twice.’ That’s why I
asked if it was that obvious.” He looks down at the floor, partly because
of shame, and partly because he can’t look her in the eyes anymore. When
he looks up, he can see that she has shed a few tears. “I...I didn’t mean
to upset you.” She shakes her head, as if saying that wasn’t it. He sits
down, not knowing what to say next. He sees another tear drop and walks
over to her. He lifts her chin and gently wipes her eyes with his thumbs.
She stands up, holding his hands against the sides of her face. She gently
rubs her cheek against his hand, then lowers both of them. “Mike, you know
I’m married, and you know I have a daughter.” Mike nods and looks down at
Heather’s hands still holding his. “But what you don’t know is that...”
the phone rings in the office. “Is that...” the phone rings again. They
both look at the phone and it stops ringing. “What you don’t know is that
I fell for you the first day I met you. And the only thing that has
stopped me from acting on those feelings is my husband and my daughter.
But after what you just told me...” she gently touches the side of his
face. “I don’t think that can stop me anymore.” She leans closer to him.
“But you are married,” he whispers, then gently wets his lips. “I know.”
They can feel each other’s breath on their lips; their noses touch ever so
gently. Mike slowly slides his hands around her waist. They touch noses
again and can’t help but smile. They move closer, slowly parting their
lips. “Heather, please call 111. Heather, please call 111.” They break
away, still dazed by the moment. Heather walks over to the phone and dials
the extension. “I’m getting ready to leave now. Why, what do you need?”
She pauses and looks at Mike. “Ok then. Are you sure?” Pause. “Okay.
Goodnight.” Mike looks at Heather. “So now what?”