I worked in a building called Snyder Modern Law, which some considered to be one of the tallest in downtown Toronto. Windows were the walls on the eleventh floor and I often lost myself in the busy city when there were no calls for me to pick up. I was the assistant/secretary for one of Toronto's best lawyers and I was proud of my position.I had my obvious strifes with working for Michael so I had resigned a couple of years ago so as to not cause anymore uncomfortable moments in the office when he invited me in for a chat.
Though Michael had worked with the economic portion of the world, Gabrielle Snyder, aged thirty-two, worked with the ruthless world of law. Several times I had to hang up on delusional clients who had lost a case against Gabrielle's client and more times than I could keep count, a girl would visit him. Every time the girl would be different.
I never questioned his actions, after all he was my boss. I simply answered phones and picked up any messages for him. Give or take a latte in the morning. He would usually wink at me in the morning at eight-thirty and continue into his office where, if he didn't have a meeting, he wouldn't reappear from until noon for lunch.
Perhaps it had been my lack of enthusiasm as I had let the phone ring for a minute a week after I had left Michael that caught Gabrielle's attention. After that fateful morning back at work he had brought me a coffee. I had thanked him and ignored the need to tell him that I liked tea better. My not speaking up earned me a coffee every morning for the last three months. This morning appeared to be no different as I spotted a cup in his hand as he exited the elevator several marbled feet away.
"Hey Mel," Gabrielle said as soon as he stepped through the elevator into his suite of an office. "How's your morning?"
I smiled. "Good, nothing new and exciting." I never told Gabrielle anything about my personal life. I had crossed that line with Michael and look at where it had taken me. As soon as the words were out of my mouth though I had a sudden urge to tell him about the wife of the man that I was once sleeping with. My professional side hushed me and I smiled up. "How was your night?"
"You know," he smiled and I could have sworn that his teeth had sparkled in the office lights. "The usual Russian model here and the Japanese girl there. A slow night."
"Aha, must have been slow all right." I cleared my throat and pulled out the sheet with the messages from late last night after he had left and from an hour ago before he had come in.
"Wait," he said quietly while placing a large double cupped drink on my desk. "I never paid attention before, but now I do. I promise." He crossed his heart with his long fingers and I stared back down at the steaming cup of tea.
"How did you know?" I asked, amazed.
"I'm a lawyer," he winked. "I know these things."
I nodded slowly before tearing my eyes away from the hot drink and began reading his busy day's schedule out loud to him.
I zipped up my leather coat and grabbed my purse. It was lunch time and I definitely needed a break. Calls had been coming in all morning and my ear felt like it was asleep.
I quickly made my way to the elevator, my sleek heels sent the smooth rhythm of business ricocheting off of the walls and I pressed the downward button, causing the arrow pointing down to glow a dull red.
"Going out?" Gabrielle's voice came from behind me and I swiftly turned around.
"Yeah, I'm just going to buy something to eat quickly and come back."
"I don't blame you," he responded while keeping me company. "It's been a busy morning."
I nodded and with the sound of bing the elevator door opened. I waited.
"Oh no," he said, "after you, please."
I went in and he followed. The doors closed and we began our descent.
"So Mel, you've worked for me for how long now?"
"A year and a half." I stared ahead at my reflection while wondering what Gabrielle had up his sleeve.
"Right, so then, if it's been that long why don't I know you a little better?" His question caught me off-guard and it took me a second or two longer than needed to realize that the elevator door had opened.
"Well?" He was really different today.
"There's nothing much to know." I answered while pushing through the front entrance's revolving door.
"I'm sure there is, an attractive twenty-eight year old woman--there has to be something."
I suddenly stopped and looked back at him. He was a lot more attractive outside than in his office. His dark black hair swallowed the sunlight, making it gleam and his grey eyes were curious. His deep freckles echoed his childish side, while a deep scar on his left eyebrow heightened his business side. He wore a black suit tailored to fit his tall and medium sized form and the slight shadow of a goatee was beginning to grow.
"Gabrielle, I have to get some lunch, I'll see you in the office." I answered his question and stalked off.
No more questions had come out of Gabrielle after lunch and I quickly made my way through the entrance of the building. I waved a goodbye to the security guard and exited out onto Bay Street, where Gabrielle's Law Firm was situated. Just as Wall Street was famous around the world for it's impeccable, sometimes destructive businesses, Bay Street was, in a smaller way, Toronto's Wall Street. Women and men flew past me, some stretching hands out for taxis, others were just simply in a rush. I walked steadily towards the subway station and nearly jumped onto the road in surprise when Gabrielle appeared beside me.
"Hey, got a minute?" He asked simply. His hair sat perfectly still, gelled to perfection and the two dimples that always made an appearance when something was urgent were flashing beacons to me on his face.
"What's wrong?" I stopped suddenly, causing several complaints behind me.
Gabrielle looked around at the angry business walkers and gently tugged on my arm to pull me towards the subway station several feet ahead. "We can talk on the subway."
"You take the subway?" I asked, my eyes opening with surprise. Michael had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had nearly begged me to not take the subway because of its dangers, but oddly enough, I felt safer there than in a car.
"Yeah, every once in a while."
"Wow." I said before I could control myself.
"I'm sorry?" He asked me, baffled.
"Nothing." I turned the topic around. "So, what did you need to tell me?"
We were quickly descending the city stained stairs and the smell of stale cigarettes passed by us in the form of a younger man. The heads of city workers bobbed in unison as they fell in pace with the person ahead of them and the fare station soon came up.
"I just want to know something about your personal life."
Not this again. I waited patiently behind an older woman trying to understand the token feeder in front of her. "I told you, there isn't much to tell."
"I know," he admitted while looking over my shoulder at the old woman's struggles. "Ma'am, just slip the token in and walk through."
The woman looked back and smiled at Gabrielle and followed his instructions. I passed through quickly by sliding my Metropass in the identifier and turned back sharply towards my boss, who rapidly followed my actions. "If you know that there isn't much, then why do you persist?"
We walked down a few more set of stairs on the westbound side of the subway. "Because I am just curious about one thing."
I stopped in the center of the platform, crowded by the day's workers and snippets of random conversations flew past us. "Okay, what did you need to know?"
The moment the words left my mouth I regretted them. I should never let my boss into my life again.
"I need you to tell me who you are dating." He asked, a glint of suspense in his eyes.
A yellow light flickered somewhere further down the platform and someone swore behind me as they stepped in a puddle of warm soda. I felt the air of the subway come before I saw it. "Why?" I responded with a question.
The doors opened with a monotone melody and we waited for several passengers to exit. "Because I am just curious." He answered while moving over to let several people pass.
We entered and stood beside the doors on the opposite side. The doors closed with the same melody and a robotic voice echoed throughout the car announcing the next stop. The seats were all taken and the grey floor shook under our feet. "Well, I'm not seeing anyone now if that's what you're asking."
I could see a smile forming. "Oh, then, well, the person who were last seeing, who was he?"
"Why?" I asked suspiciously, fearing that there was somehow a hidden camera.
"Please Mel, just answer."
"You might not know him."
"I know a lot of people." He retorted.
"It's kind of... complicated." I reasoned.
He stared down at me from his height of six feet or more.
"I'm not exactly proud of myself." I admitted.
"Did you love him?"
My heart throbbed. "Yes."
"Then why aren't you together anymore?" He looked up at nothing in particular. "Love's hard to find these days."
I looked over at him and ignored how ridiculous his expensive suit was in the subway scene. "Because it was just complicated."
"You're not going to tell me, huh?" He finally asked.
"This is why they pay you the big bucks."
He laughed loudly enough to cause some looks from the passengers around us. "I try. I hope you can confide in me soon." I nodded. "Is this why you were so upset back in December?"
I nodded again. "It didn't end pretty."
"Hm, does it ever?"
I half smiled, remembering the day that Michael walked out of my bedroom, leaving me alone under the covers was a feeling that I would rather not wish to recall.
The automatic announcer rang out. "Arriving at St. George, St. George station."
"Well," Gabrielle said while rubbing his hands together. I had to force back a laugh as he slightly tumbled to the side when the subway came to an abrupt stop. "This is my stop, I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Of course." I answered.
"Night Melanie." He yelled and I found myself smiling downwards, almost too shy to show it.