She'd never divulged to Ben about his surprise party last year, she never told anyone her sister watched 'Sesame Street' when she was bored, and despite a few temptations, never mentioned her best friend drooled when she slept. No, Gabby had a talent for keeping secrets, and she was determined to not let this one slip either. She dared not tell a hole or write it in her diary; the words were not to fall off the tip of her tongue, or leave the boundaries of her mind, or travel out the wires of her brain.
Ben, although slightly disheartened at her secrecy, expected he would soon know about it, whether a rumor should spread or should Gabby finally confide in him. Instead he waved away the subject as casually, but as insignificantly irritatedly, as one would do to a fly. An article he'd read in The Times, which had long been bothering him became the alternative. He rattled on passionately about ethical clothing, and Gabby nodded doubtfully of his promises to buy only fair trade certified brands.
Having overstayed their lunch break, Gabby and Ben crept silently back into the office. Their miserable coworkers did not stare at them punishingly – they did not even turn their heads as the twosome entered. It had become normal for the employees to return late, however, this regularity was not yet accepted by their pesky boss, Phil.
They had made it to their desks successfully, the two separated by a screen. Phil came in just then, with a lunchbox in hand, probably containing a bland sandwich packed by his wife. He never left the office between the hours of eight (an hour earlier than his employees) and six (an hour later). His office smelled of a mixture of cheese, milk and ham usually; this, Gabby could not stand and tried her very best to keep her breath held whenever she entered the room.
Phil passed her desk, glancing at her, as he usually did with his staff, when he walked through the office. However, the glance wasn’t brief as it normally was. His eyes lingered like a predator spying on their prey. She wondered if her tardiness was written all over her face, although she was quite positive that was not possible. She looked back at him, scared and unaware of why.
His face soon turned into a frown, and Gabby knew she was not in any danger of getting fired; he would have called her to the office already. Phil looked as though he was trying to solve an impossible math equation, and at that point, Ben noticed his boss’s abnormal behavior. He sat at his desk, thinking for only a moment, until a grin marked his face. He came to the conclusion that Phil was leaving, and was currently wondering whether Gabby had revealed his secret. Ben had a proud grin on his face, and turned on his computer, furiously typing at an unfinished document. His energy was restored.
Gabby gave Phil a curious look, trying not to give any indication of change worth questioning. He returned the look, and Gabby smiled innocently at him, her eyes glistening with child-like energy; a method that often got her out of tight situations. Soon, he left and Gabby's mouth twitched habitually in relief.