ROMANTIC FLASH FICTION 8:
Outside my office window, lights from the city skyline glimmered like stars and glowed in the iridescent fog by the harbor. The incandescence of each building along the still, placid water shimmered in its reflection. I cracked the window and heard seagulls by the water and the low blast of a horn sounding in the distance as a cargo ship slowly left the port, its destination far from here, far enough away that I was already wishing I were on board in my mind.
It was getting late. I sighed heavily, slathering my face with both hands and feeling the sweat seep through every pore. The humidity was a like thick blanket of pine varnish hanging heavily in the air. After rolling up my sleeves and mopping my brow with a clean handkerchief, I went back to work, pouring over the final edition of this month’s Heroine Cowgirl, the hottest comic on the market. Editing had to be finished tonight to send off to the printers by morning. By Monday, every newsstand in the city would be displaying it front and center.
Feverishly, I pounded away at the keys of the typewriter, the familiar tapping soothing my restless mind. The bell of the carriage return rang so often that I would tune it out as my mind focused on the words on the page. This was the good part of the story. The heroine was about to approach the hero.
That was when Suzy strutted in, clacking her high heels over the tile floor. We were colleagues and office neighbors that worked so closely together that we could walk through each other’s doors without knocking. I was so immersed in my typing that I hardly noticed her tight red and white striped blouse, accentuating pretty much everything that made Suzy the object of every man’s affection in the building.
She hopped up onto the edge of my desk in her black mini skirt, and I immediately caught the aroma of light perfume. “How’s our girl?” she asked.
“H.C.?” I asked. The short form we used for Heroine Cowgirl. “About to tell Jacks that she loves him.”
“My favorite part,” breathed Suzy.
“What’s the story on the air-conditioner? Damn thing’s on the fritz again,” I muttered, sweat dripping onto the keys as I typed, my eyes on the page. “Might as well be working in a sauna.”
“It’s after 11 on Friday night,” she said. “Workers won’t be in until Monday.”
The clicking of the keys finally stopped. I sighed and rubbed my tired eyes. After eleven already. I thought it was eight. We must have been the only workers left in the building. When I opened my eyes, I feasted them on Suzy as if for the first time. She looked delectable in her outfit, especially with her thigh on my desk.
“I thought you said you were heading out early,” I remarked, and for a moment, my bloodshot eyes met her beautiful browns.
“Cancelled,” she said, avoiding eye contact, aimlessly fiddling with a paper clip on my desk.
“Him or you?”
“Him,” she replied, a waver in her voice.
I leaned back in my chair and shook my head. “Idiot,” I said. “You’re the best thing that ever happened to him.”
She looked at me. “I wish someone would tell him that.”
“Why bother?” I shrugged. “He’s not worth the effort.”
“Yeah?” she asked, her eyebrow lifting curiously. “Who is?”
I stood up and came over to the other side of the desk. If the fog cleared and the stars yielded to Northern Lights streaking across the night sky, they would pale in comparison to the beauty of the woman before me.
“It’s Friday night,” I said, moving into her personal space. She did nothing to back away. “It’d be a shame to let it go to waste.”
She stared into my eyes, drawing me in with her smile. Before I knew it, my left hand was loosening my tie and hers was snaking around my neck, pulling me in.
In that moment, I made the decision. This was a night I was going to make Suzy remember forever. The editing was going to have to wait.