“Yeah,” is all she says, still not looking up at me.
“I went over Eric’s forms twice so they should be fine.” I try again but all she does is nod.
I decide to go all in and be direct. Maybe something else is bothering her, but I think it’s directed at me.
“Is everything okay, Skyler?”
She turns around in her chair and gives me a cold look. “Everything is perfectly fine, Mallory. I’m doing my job. You know, the one I fought to get. The job that I turned down the White House for. Meanwhile, I’m shacked up with the two of you.” She looks past me, and I turn a little to see Eric standing behind me with a stack of papers. “Looks like I’m the only one here that did it on merit.”
With that, she turns back to her desk and ignores the both of us. I’m stunned and don’t know what to say. So instead of causing an argument at work, I go over to Eric and take his paperwork from him and bring it to my desk.
Maybe she thinks I’m not pulling my weight around here. But I’ve been busting my ass as much as she has. I’ve even found ways to make things faster and more efficient. I worked hard to get to where I am today.
I keep my head down and work for the next three hours, nonstop.
When I hear a ping on my computer, I look up to see an email from Oz, and also see that it’s time for lunch. I decide to read my email before I go downstairs and grab some lunch and bring it back to my desk. There’s plenty to do still, and I don’t want to be seen as the one bringing the team down.
Subject: Missing you
I’m missing you already. How am I supposed to go almost four days without you?
Of course I’ll bring you something back. What would you like? Name it and it’s yours. I’d love to take you all over the world. You tell me when you want to go, and I’ll make it happen.
Thank you for eating at work today. Knowing you’re safe makes me rest easy. Hope you’re having a good day, baby.
Oh, and you inspired the email address. Thought maybe I should have one for you.
The goofy grin on my face grows as I read his email a couple of times. I’m wondering if he wants me to sign “love,” too, based on the all-caps. I’m still bummed about the incident with Skyler, but I try to brush it off while I email him back.
Subject: RE: Missing you
I miss you, too, Oz. I could use one of your hugs right now.
Heading to lunch, so I’ll be quick. I’d love some chocolate. I hear they have some good stuff over there.
Heading down to the cafeteria, I walk through the doors and see that it’s been rearranged. There’s now a fresh salad bar in the middle, and two guys over to the side making deli sandwiches. There’s a menu up offering soups to go with, and I’m instantly in a better mood. Food does that to me. Maybe I was hungry this morning and taking things too seriously.
I get a half sandwich, salad and soup to go, and head up to my desk. When I get there, Skyler and Eric are gone, but I get back to work. I use the quiet time to finish all my reports, then go over to Skyler’s desk, grabbing the ones she’s completed, thinking I’ll get a jump start on those, too.
I’m zoned out when my email pings and I look up at my computer and see an hour has gone by. Before I can read it, I hear Skyler come back to her desk, and then walk over to mine.
“Hey, did you grab those files off my desk?” she asks, looking anywhere but at me.
“Yes. They’re finished.” I point to a stack right beside her and wait to see if she offers anything else.
She looks at them, and then looks at me with a bit of surprise on her face. “Thanks. I thought I might have to stay late to complete them.”
“No problem. Just trying to get ahead on things so we don’t have to put in any extra late nights this week. The workload should be distributed equally,” I say, shrugging my shoulder.
She looks down at her shoes and then up at me. “Sorry about snapping this morning.”
A weight I didn’t know was there is lifted at her words. I can’t stand when someone is mad at me. “It’s okay. We all have our moments.”
“Yeah. Thanks again,” she says before walking back to her desk.
Turning around, I click on Oz’s email and open it up.
Subject: Don’t make me turn this plane around
Is everything okay, baby? What’s wrong? I’ll bring you a plane full of chocolate if it makes you happy. How was your lunch? Anything good today?