As I got to work, I was surprised to find a place in the parking lot easily. Thinking of it as Lady Luck’s birthday gift to me, I walked into the office. And then I was shocked out of my wits. My luck was indeed changed today, for better or for worse...
Standing near my cubicle was my boss, Mike Stone. And he was not alone. With him was Jake. The Jake Perry. As I stood rooted near the door, my boss turned and saw me. He promptly waved, asking me to hurry. Though my brain had registered his order, my feet had not regained their functionality. I just stood there, with my mouth hanging open, even as Mike shot me irritated glances. And then Jake turned. He looked at me, smiled and made his way across to me, with Mike hurrying in his wake.
I felt my mind blanking out as he said “Hi Nic”.
Angered, and probably flustered by my lack of response to a prospective client, Mr. Stone tried to explain my inefficiency. I stuttered a quick, and what I hoped was pleasant “Hello Jake” as it seemed that the oxygen supply to my brain was being restored. Mike was far from happy with what he probably regarded as my callous attitude, and he made it evident as he ordered me into his room in a very clipped tone. But Jake was beaming at me, and led me into my boss’s office. Once there, he started talking rapidly,and still in a haze, I had trouble following.
“Nic, I am so glad to see you. Its been years…you just disappeared…and I did not know how to contact you….gawd, u haven’t changed at all…..you still look the same.”
As I registered the last comment, I HAD to respond.
“Surely not, Jake, I hope I do not still look like I used to when I last saw you…I was a really awkward nineteen year old then.”
“You? awkward?? You made everyone who knew you awkward..what with your brashness, and outrageous pranks…”
“Well that is a thing of the past…I have really outgrown all of that”
“Talking of growing, its your birthday today, isn’t it?”
“Okay now that IS a miracle…you remember my birthday! Memory pills work then?”
As Jake guffawed, Mr. Stone looked very troubled. His prospective client showed no inclination to talk shop, and instead was making small talk with his junior associate. His umms and errs caught Jake’s attention.
“Oh so sorry Mr. Stone. Its just that I’m seeing Nicole here after a very long time…we go back a long way.”
“I quite understand your excitement”, though he couldn’t have made it clearer that he understood none of it.
Jake continued in a more professional tone, “So Mr. Stone, I would very much like Nicole to work with us in this project.”
“Certainly Mr. Perry, as she has been handling this account all along, even before I knew that you both were acquainted. Infact, she has already prepared the final agreements for us to sign before we officially begin work.”
As they discussed the deal, my mind wandered…struggling to come to terms with the fact that I was actually sitting with, and would be shortly working with Jake, again,after all these years.
Jake Perry. The only guy I had ever loved.