Martin takes the phone from her and tries to turn it on. It also defies him and the blank black screen stares at the ceiling in oblivious bliss. She can feel herself inhale slowly but unable to exhale. Her chest and throat feel taut with tension. Her eyelids clap repeatedly in fluttered blinking. She almost knows what he’s going to say but hopes he says something else.
“I think it’s dead”
“Yeah. Was the light on when it was charging?”
“I don’t know. I wasn’t checking”
Martin puts the phone down gingerly, a grave expression of hopelessness on his face. “Why did you throw your phone?”
“I don’t know. I was just… Oh my God.”
“I need to call him back!”
“Who? That guy?”
“It can’t wait?”
“Would you wait?” she asks, half expecting an answer and half hoping he won’t answer. It’s been nearly an hour since the episode at the restaurant and she can only imagine his mind racing in anxiety. She owes him a call back at the very least, right?
“Do you have a spare?”
Martin’s eyebrows quickly meet above his widened eyes as he cocks his head back sharply. “Eh?”
She lays a hand on his knee and looks up at him, trying to be as convincing as possible. He just stares back, his eyebrows knitted and his facial expression betraying nothing. He’s going to be a hard sell.
Martin stands and begins his escape back to his desk. She stands and follows him, pleading his mercy.
“It’s just for today, please”
“Ok, until we leave the office. It’s just three hours”
“You’re not even listening”
Martin sits heavily in his chair, transmitting his resolve into the office furniture. He doesn’t even look at her. She in turn, perches herself on the edge of his desk and leans perilously on the computer monitor. She wears a playful smile on her face and stares at him, convinced he will eventually look at her and melt at her charm offensive. But he doesn’t. He stubbornly begins to work on the computer, occasionally looking at her from the corner of his eye.
“It’s just for a few hours. I’ll return it when we leave in the evening?”
“Are you even listening to me?”
She puts more weight on the monitor and it tilts forward. He stands and looks at her.
“What are you doing?”
“If I give you my spare will you go away?”
“Will you give it to me?”
He sighs to signal his reluctant defeat. “What time am I getting it back?” he asks, his face a mask of suspicion as he opens his desk drawer and delves in for the phone.
“O.k, 4 pm. Don’t go home with it”
“And don’t go snooping around it. I know how you ladies get around a guys phone”
“Martin, you don’t trust me?”
“No. I’ve seen how you type”
He hands her the phone and she pauses for a moment. He looks at her, expecting her to begin her trip back to her desk but she doesn’t. She holds the phone delicately in her hands. “Isn’t this your phone?”
“No. It’s the spare”
“It looks exactly like your phone”
He removes his phone from his pocket and holds it up where she can see. “This is my phone and that’s my spare”
“I’m not getting it. Why do they look alike?”
“Look, you want the phone or not?”
She beats a hasty retreat to her desk. Before she sits she glances over to her victor as he shakes his head and adjusts his monitor. She sits, excitement overtaking her. She removes the SIM card from her damaged device and slots it into Martin’s spare. A brief moment later, relief.
She scrolls down the phonebook, desperately searching for his contact information but cannot find it. ‘It must be here,’ she whispers to herself as she scrolls down the names a third time, mouthing some along the way to make sure they are not the one she is looking for. But it is not there. A fifth pass confirms the name is missing entirely.
“I must have saved it on the phone…damn it”
She casts a glance over to Martin who has thrown himself into some work. It would probably be better to hold onto the phone until later rather than return it immediately. He might scold her for wasting his time, or worse, laugh at her in his unforgiving loud rumble of joy. No, she would hold onto it. Even if it was for an hour, he could wait. He’d been waiting all day.
She shifts her focus onto the computer in front of her and opens the document from earlier in the day. Almost immediately she remembers why she was looking at it for four hours with no sense of haste. The introduction feels as bland as a brown loaf of bread. She steels herself and prepares for a long, boring read. If the tone of the article does not improve she shall have to discard it and order the poor intern to write a new one. The prospect of this only reminds her of the vicious cycle she has been entrenched in.
She scrolls down and is astounded at the length of the paragraph. No single idea could be this complex. She runs a hand through her hair, mentally engaged in a fierce battle against facts and figures loosely connected by the least literal flair possible. She saves the document, preserving the few changes she’s made to it so far and opens her e-mail. ‘Just a quick check,’ she thinks as she types in her password and logs in.
‘I wonder what’s on our home page?’
She shifts to the company home page for a brief tour and sees something amiss. The staff photo is half cropped and all you can see is half of her hand jutting out from the edge of the picture.
‘That’s not right. Is this the same picture on our profile wall?’
She logs into her personal social media account and stops. She’s got 5 messages.
She opens them, forgetting her initial mission to the social site. Her heart melts when she notes the concern in his messages. She immediately responds.
‘I’m fine, my phone just died.’
She almost jumps out of her chair when she gets an immediate response.
‘I hate it when that happens’
He’s even attached an emoji. She has no real answer for him so she responds with;
‘True, very true.’
There is a brief pause, only momentary as the site indicates he is typing. Then it comes through, the dreaded message.
‘About last night…’
He leaves it hanging.