Boredom had set in as Adam tried to finish his already-late assignment. Trying to care about this particular piece of public relations junk was nearly impossible. Concentration was a problem. He felt a little like everything was out of focus, like things were just not quite the way they had been the day before.
Then again, they weren't. Kat had called him last night. She'd said she was coming home, and that had the potential to change everything. It all depended on why she was coming home. And who she was when she got there.
He ran a hand over his head, messing his hair, not that he noticed. His tie hung crookedly and his collar button was undone, but he did not notice either of those things either. Instead he found his eyes being pulled to his cell. What if Kat had called again? What if she needed him?
Not very likely. She had made it pretty clear that she didn't need him, not if he was going to take some desk job that she was certain would make him miserable, all in the name of stability. Not if he wasn't willing to follow her and just hope that everything would work.
He grabbed at his cell, his fingers fumbling at the buttons slightly in his anger. He would check his messages, prove that she hadn't called. She had probably been drunk and left a dumb message with no intention of actually coming back. He hadn't heard from her since she'd left. Not a single call, no letters, no cards. He was sure. He hadn't been willing to move, to get rid of his phone, just in case.
The phone rang, then connected to his voicemail. It only took him a moment, and a deep breath or two, to get to his inbox.
"You have one new unheard message."
He pulled the phone away from his ear, staring at it. No, that had to be a joke. An error. Maybe it just meant Kat's message from the night before. He didn't think he had actually deleted it.
Maybe it was the message he had expected to hear the night before, one from his parents.
His heartbeat slowed at that thought, and as his shoulders slumped he realized that he had been hoping she would call, that he had actually thought she might. Why was he letting her do this to him? They had understood eachother so well when they were growing up. Everything had been easy, a simple accord. Until the fight.
A sigh escaped his lips, and he looked around guiltily. He really shouldn't be doing this at work. Hitting the number to listen to the message, he put the phone back to his ear.
"Hi Adam, it's Kat, again. I am at a dingy bus depot, waiting on a way home, a way home to you. Do you remember Adam? When we first met on the school bus, they made us sit together. I thought you were gross and had cooties," She laughed softly, "And you thought I meant you had bugs all over. I felt so bad after that, but we had lunchtime together right. You said I was allright for a girl, and you told me that story of knights, princess' and dragons. Even at a young age, you were a master storyteller, I hope you still use your gifts. I'm hanging up now Adam, please, if you get this message..." He heard the message end, the click of the phone.
She really had called. He sat leaning back in his chair, stunned. A way home to him, she had said. The question was whether she meant it. Was she really coming back to him?
The memory of that first day made him chuckle. A few heads poked out of cubicles, and he cleared his throat, hunching his shoulders slightly. The guy who had previously been looking at the magazine with Kat's picture on the back raised an eyebrow as though he was hoping to be let in on the joke. Adam just shook his head and looked back at his computer.
He had to admit, he wasn't using his gifts as she put it. What he did hardly qualified as that. It had been so long since he had just written something, something for him.
Minimizing the file he had been trying to work on, he opened up a new document. The blank page seemed hopeful for the first time in years. Since Kat left, if he was honest with himself, although he wasn't sure if he was ready for that honesty.
As the cursor blinked, the story Adam had told Kat that day at lunch came back to him.
The Dragon's Lunch, he typed.
It felt thrilling, looking at those words on the screen.
Guilt gnawed at him for a moment. He was already late on his deadline. He should finish that.
No. Forget it, a voice whispered in his head. He set his fingers back on the keys and started to type. It was much faster than his usual speed, and a coworker or two glanced at him, curious what could possibly have inspired him. He hunched a little closer to the screen, turning it slightly.
The story came back to him so easily. Every so often he had to pause, try to figure out how to right it. He was pretty sure it needed serious polishing, but all the same it felt wonderful.
Time passed all too easily. Adam grabbed a sandwich at his desk for lunch, still typing. His boss walked past and he didn't notice. The boss grunted, pleased that Adam seemed to be cracking down and getting back to his usual self. The young man was a good worker, could spin just about anything. He would hate to have to get rid of him, although mostly for the hassle it would cause in finding a replacement.
As the end of the work day approached, Adam glanced at the clock on the computer. It surprised him, realising that the day had passed. He'd written "The Dragon's Lunch," and three other stories. Not that he thought any of them were necessarily any good, but he had actually written them.
He knew he should stay, finish off the work he should have been doing, especially since he had showed up late. Looking at the clock, however, he shrugged. It took only a moment to put the stories on his flash drive, gather his coat from the back of his chair, and shove everything into his briefcase. Not that he intended to do anything that night. He had plans for Chinese food and a movie. This job was not worth interrupting those plans. He was in far too good a mood to ruin it with work.
Adam decided that maybe he would watch Nightmare Before Christmas. It wasn't Christmas, or Halloween, but that didn't matter. He and Kat always used to watch that. She had even gotten him singing along a few times, although his voice was nearly enough to make dogs howl. She hadn't cared though.
He looked happy, happier than he had been in a long time. As he walked past the coffee vendor he actually smiled. The older guy wasn't sure he had ever seen that. It looked like the young guy had had some weight lifted off his shoulders. Good for him.