Beneath All Of This #9

It was Tuesday afternoon, again, but Tess didn’t mind. She was in the uncomfortably cold filing cabinet room of yet another recruitment company, she was alone, and had perfect excuses to wear casual clothes – they let her wear jeans here – and play her iPod. She was playing a lot of musicals today, it was surreal listening to the Frozen soundtrack in such an empty, clinical space, but she liked to amuse herself by miming dramatically. All in all it wasn’t bad for a Tuesday afternoon. Frozen on the iPod, and the work wasn’t at all vexing. Just re-organising old records, hard copies that the company needed to keep. Tess wondered at how old some of these companies were that they still had such elaborate arrangements of hard copies, probably quite old, they probably still added ‘words per minute’ to people’s cv’s here. But Tess was a bit of a ludite so that was okay.

Tess was mid-thought and mid file grabbing when a familiar face walked in; Kate, the crying red-haired girl. Someone who Tess hadn’t seen much of as of late, but the one time she had seen her she’d been crying again. ‘Hi’ Tess said, a little surprised, and maybe a bit put out. ‘Someone said you’d be down here’ Kate looked around, her mind clearly elsewhere. She fell silent, Tess watched her. Eventually Kate made eye contact. ‘Was there something you wanted?’ Tess said slowly. ‘Oh no, not much. Just canvassing to see if anyone wants this other job, upstairs?’. Tess put down the file she’d been holding, ‘are you supposed to be doing that? Shouldn’t the temp company find someone?’. ‘Well, yeah, but no one wants to go. And if I don’t find someone I’ll end up going, so I…’ Kate trailed off and stared at the floor.

Tess considered how in the past she might have made up for Kate’s lack of leading conversation, but she wasn’t about to offer to go somewhere where nowhere else wanted to go. Kate was looking around the room again, and Tess began to get annoyed. ‘So… you wondered if I wanted to go?’ she said slowly. Kate snapped back ‘yeah, I mean, if you want to’. ‘But no one else wants to go?’ Tess responded quickly. ‘No’ shot back Kate, clearly uncomfortable about this somehow. ‘Sorry, so why would you end up going?’. Kate had become distracted again, ‘huh’. ‘I said’ Tess responded clearly ‘and why would you end up going? I mean they can’t make you go anywhere, and if you don’t want to go…?’. ‘No, no’ Kate said quickly ‘I don’t’. Tess thought about this for a moment, she was definitely annoyed.

Tess gave in ‘okay, so why does no one want this job?’. ‘Ah, well’ Kate finally relaxed ‘the guy, you’d be working for, right knob, everyone’s sick of him’. ‘Oh okay’ said Tess ‘then I guess I don’t want to go. I’m down here until tomorrow anyway, so maybe I can’t?’. ‘Oh yeah, probably’ Kate’s eyes were dancing around the room. Tess suppressed a sigh. ‘Okay, so get someone else to do it. If you don’t want’. ‘Oh no, no, I don’t mind’ Kate said. ‘Fine’ Tess responded, far too loudly ‘then go do it’. ‘You think I shouldn’t?’ Kate started back. ‘Seriously? Kate really I have no idea. If the guy’s a dick than I don’t know why you would want to go up there in the first place?’. Tess’ voice fell as she remembered something. ‘Wait, is this the guy, from upstairs, that you… maybe fancy? And he’s a dick’. Kate looked at the floor and clicked her jaw. Tess continued ‘do you want me to save you from yourself or something?’. Kate looked up, ‘sort of, not really’.

‘Not really?’. Exasperated, Tess got up and stood, her hands on her waist. ‘I just’ Kate continued ‘I thought it might be nice to have someone on side up there, find out what he’s thinking’. ‘What he’s thinking?’ Tess balked. ‘Kate, seriously. I have to stay here, and I’m going somewhere else for the next week or so, so…’. ‘Oh okay’ Kate said brightly ‘that’s okay, we’ll find someone else’. ‘Great’ Tess said, relieved. ‘Okay, I’ll see you later then’ and with that Kate was out of the door. Tess frowned and took a breath. She wanted to be nice to Kate but she was very annoying. Tess might have issues with the whole fancying men thing, but at least she wasn’t… doing whatever it was Kate was up to. Tess was properly pissed off now. Also, she didn’t have any work lined up for a while, but it seemed a great lie at the time. At the time. She groaned, put her earbuds back in, sat back on her stool, and thought of all the reasons why she hated Tuesday afternoons.

To read from the beginning go here.

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