Tess had made her mind up about Sam, or so she’d thought. She always took the sensible decision that immediately backtracked. She’d once read this thing that said the reason we lapsed into eating unhealthy food after a diet was because we’d denied ourselves those tasty junk foods for so long. And so we inevitably came to think of them in greater reverence, and their ability to reward just gained weight, so to speak. So when Tess took the absolute, final decision to not think about a guy, not consider him, so he grew in her mind’s eye. It was like the minute she decided her life would be free of these distracting men she realised how little she met men that she liked, then decided to give the guy in front of her another shot. She was essentially reigniting the crush every time she saw the guy. If only they would up and leave the country.
Tess knew that telling someone not think about a black cat ultimately made them think of a black cat, she’d seen Derren Brown say that and it made a lot of sense, but still she lapsed back into old habits. This is why, come Thursday afternoon, she was swinging back around to the idea of her and Sam. Things had been strangely quiet between them on Wednesday, noticeably so. But when Thursday morning arrived he walked in and began talking to her, then didn’t leave her side for the next four hours. This all made Tess think she’d been a bit too quick, maybe this was something new, a guy she liked who also liked her. It was an idea, and an idea she probably shouldn’t have had. Because Tess was right, these things ended badly for her.
She was on her way out of the door, heading for her usual spot in the atrium, when Sam walked back into the office. There had been a meeting and the other team members were hanging back in the corridor, uneasy at the idea of returning to their desks. ‘Hey, you guys have fun?’ Tess greeted him with a smile. ‘Ugh, just boring stuff’ he smiled sheepishly. ‘But there were biscuits’ said Gavin, one of the graphics company’s younger employees, as he swung past them and into the office. ‘But there were biscuits, indeed there were’, Sam smiled again. As people began to make their way into the office Tess and Sam pushed their way out into the corridor. Sam looked around himself; ‘you off to lunch?’. ‘Yeah’ Tess said, checking her bag. ‘Sneaking off to lunch?’ Sam said, smirking. Tess was a little taken aback, ‘well, I didn’t know when you were… did you wanna come?’. ‘Well, yeah, where you going’ Sam asked loudly as some more colleagues arrived and the noise in the corridor grew.
Tess paused for a second, taking advantage of the bustle around them to distract Sam from the fact that she hesitating. She looked down at the floor, and then looked up, unsure of what to say. She looked up into Sam’s face, but his eyes were elsewhere. And for too long. Tess looked over her shoulder and spotted one of the women from the temping agency. Women, she was being nice. Cow or asshole she’d like to say, but even though she wasn’t saying it aloud she didn’t want Sam to hear her sounding like a drama queen. Sam? And Sam was? She turned back to look at him. His eyes were locked on, Corrine? Corrine who had laughed when Tess had filled out one of the forms incorrectly on the first day. Who even does that?
Tess watched as Corrine walked past and smiled at Sam, he raised his eyebrows in greeting then looked down sheepishly. She’d seen that look before. ‘Well’ thought Tess to herself ‘I guess at least that makes things easier’. Sam snuck a look back at Corrine as she walked off down the corridor, then as the people and noise dispersed around them he turned back to Tess. Tess thought fast. ‘Actually, I forgot, I have to go out and pick something up. I’ll see you later okay?’. Tess backed off up the corridor, then deflated as she watched Sam. Sam who didn’t protest her leaving. Sam who said nothing but smiled back at her. Sam who turned and sauntered up the corridor, in Corrine’s direction.
When Tess went up to the atrium her usual table had been taken, which made her grumpy. But she bought a lunch; a collection of junk food to replace her packed lunch, and that made her happy. She found a more comfortable area in the corner, with more light and softer seats. She didn’t know why she hadn’t sat here before. Then she pulled off her shoes, crossed her legs and took out the pad she’s been carrying around with her. She looked across at what up until minutes ago had been her usual table, and drew the man with the newspaper. As he moved the pages around he caught her eye but immediately looked down again. This was probably the fourth time she had drawn him, she knew she should feel guilty about. But she didn’t really care, especially not today, and to be honest he didn’t seem to mind either.
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