Beneath All Of This #4

After a few days of monotonous record shifting and envelope stuffing Tess had had a short spell doing admin for one of the recruitment firms on the upper levels. The company Tess actually worked for was a kind of temping agency for the companies in the building. It was quite old school, she imagined their basement offices were where the typing pool once sat. And as bad as it was down there she felt kind of safe. Luckily her for her she didn’t get much of a say in where she was sent because Tess did not like the idea of working for the kind of head-hunting, white collar recruitment firm she had been sent to. As it was she didn’t mind it. The other staff were nice enough and she finally had some daylight; they were on the sixth floor. The place felt light and airy, boring and useless, but comfortable as places go. She was there three days before she was unceremoniously sent back downstairs.

Tess had been at the temp agency for just over two weeks, and she felt worse than useless. Even if she was getting paid well for not much work at all, she was bored to tears. She continued to have lunch in the atrium, but even that felt like small solace from the vast and unutterable boredom. She would go home tired every night. But then, she pondered, every time she was a little less tired. Last night she’d even gone for a coffee before catching the tube, then going home, and falling asleep. Today was going to be different though, next week was going to be different. No less than a few hours after being plonked back at her desk in the basement office, and only a few minutes after the sneering glances and insider giggling from her co-workers had begun, she was moved back upstairs to another company.

A design and print company, Tess was basically hovering over the world’s largest printers, but she loved it. The men who worked there, because nearly all her new co-workers were men, were nice and easy going. The work was easy and she got to mess around on their computers, getting a feel for the new technology, playing with the stylus’, even doing some drawing while large orders printed. She’d only been there a few hours before leaving for the weekend, but she felt pretty good about the week ahead, she’d be at the company for a few days at least. It felt like coming up for air.

One of the guys she worked with, Sam, was particularly sweet. They got on straight away and it was nice to finally be around someone she liked. He was cute and funny and had Tess’ trademark crush written all over him. But even when he walked down with her at the end of the day, even when he dropped her off at the tube, she had strong words with herself. Tess had a long and painful history of falling for guys who didn’t want her. Not mean guys, or bad guys, just guys who weren’t interested. Or at least she was pretty sure they weren’t. A couple had actually been quite interested, of course Tess didn’t know that, and they’d been a little put back when she seemed to lose interest in them. But unlike Tess they’d been able to move on, she continued to moon over them even if it wasn’t obvious. She tended to turn her crushes inwards so that in the end she couldn’t tell if she was aching because she was crazy about them or aching because she was lonely. None of this, she told herself, was going to happen again.

She wasn’t going to think about work, she wasn’t going to think about Sam. Tess walked the road back from the tube to the house she shared with a couple of friends, and a couple of strangers. As she left the bustle of the shops and entered the residential area she stopped, she thought for a second. She didn’t have to go home right now, it was getting brighter, it could even be sunny. She considered turning back, but would she go? She was tired, she wasn’t tired, she was angsty, she wanted to do something. Just anything. She turned around before she could think any longer, she marched up the high street and into a Starbucks. She sat and drew on their napkins for a while, but eventually she got bored and wandered home. But still, it had been something.

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