Chapter 5

I woke up in a sweat. All I could hear was the pounding of my heart. I checked the time on my cell phone. 6:00 a.m. Although it was too early, I decided to get out of bed. I couldn’t sleep again, anyway.

I went to the kitchen to make coffee. Then, I went to the bathroom to wash my face and took a hot shower. After the shower, I put on her make-up as I did every day and went to the bedroom to get dressed. For today I decided to wear pants. I went for a gray pair of pants with its belt, which tied it in a bow. On top, I chose to wear a light blue woolen blouse with long sleeves. I looked at myself in the mirror and smiled. I was ready. I got back to the kitchen and served myself a mug of nice fresh coffee. I lit a cigarette, and my mind ran to him again! I shook my head to make him gone.

“Is it possible to be in love with him? So soon?” I thought doubtfully. “Is that possible for any human being?”

The hours passed quickly, and it was time for me to go to work. I grab my jacket, my bag, and left the house.

When I got to work, I said good morning to Nancy who greeted me with a smile. I had a liking for Nancy. She looks like a very nice person.

“Nice dress! It looks great on you.” I said flattering her, and Nancy’s smile became wider.

“Oh, thank you so much, Marianne.” She replied. “You look great too.”

“Thank you, Nancy.”

I moved along my office. A girl was there messing up my desk.

I coughed to declare my presence. “Who are you, and what are you doing here?” I asked her calmly.

The girl raised her head and looked at me in surprise. “Oh, good morning. You must be Marianne. The new personal assistant.”

“Yes, I am,” I replied gravely.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Emma. I am working in the accounting department of the company.” She offered her hand to a handshake, and I took it.

“Nice to meet you. But what are you looking for in my office?”

“Ah, the accountant sent me to find some invoices and receipts. I informed him that you hadn’t come yet, but he asked me to look for them even without you. He needs them urgently. I am truly sorry about that.”

“That means you are not a psychopath who just messes up other people’s offices?!” I said and looked seriously at her.

Emma stopped off what she was doing and looked at me wide-eyed.

“I’m just teasing you, girl,” I said to her and laughed heartily.

Emma felt relieved and laughed too.

I took my place at the desk and opened the lower drawer. I pulled out a small blue dossier and said to her: ​​“I have some invoices here. Mrs. Roberts gave them to me yesterday. She informed me that someone from the accountant department would come to get them. Take a look. Are the papers you are looking for?”

Emma took the file and opened it. She looked inside and happily said yes, these are the papers she was looking for. “Thank you, Marianne. You are a lifesaver.”

“My pleasure,” I said and smiled at her.

Emma looked at her timidly, and I realized that she wanted to say something more to me, but she didn’t dare.

“Tell me, Emma, ​​is something else going on?” I urged her.

“Um, no. I mean, yes, but it has nothing to do with work.” She hurried to clarify.

“I am all ears,” I said.

“Well, me and Nancy, on break time, we go to the cafeteria a few steps away from here. Do you want to come with us? It would be a great pleasure for us.”

I admitted that I was pleasantly surprised by Emma’s proposal. Maybe I would fit in with the girls and become, why not, a friend with them.

I wanted to make new friends. So, I accepted the invitation.

“Perfect!” Emma said excitedly when I announced my decision. “I will come and pick you up.”

“Very well. I’ll wait!” I smiled at her.

On break time, as she had told me, Emma made her appearance.

“Ready?” She asked me.

“Ready.” I got up, took my bag, and we left.

The cafeteria was not far away, indeed.

When we opened the door and entered, a mixed smell of coffee and caramel welcomed us.

“I will have a caramel coffee,” I told the girls, and they laughed.

“That smell worked on you, didn’t it?”

“It did! Do they have anything to eat too? I am hungry.”

“Yes, of course,” They replied to me as we were sitting down at a round glass table near the window. The road outside was buzzing with life. Some people were walking on the sidewalk, and some others in their cars were waiting for the green light in traffic lights.

A man figure in a car caught my eye. Could it be him?! I was quite sure that he was! My heart began to pound hard. As if he felt that someone was looking at him, Eric turned his head and saw me. The surprise was clear on his face. I took my eyes from him and looked at the menu.

Meanwhile, the other two girls were talking happily to each other and, at some point, addressed me. “Well? Have you decided what you want to eat?”

I raised my head and looked at them.

“Eh.., yes. A toast with chicken.”

“Good choice!” Emma said.

Emma and Nancy started saying something to each other, and I took the opportunity to look outside again. But he was gone!

The waiter came with his blog in hand to our table to get our order. When the girls finished with their order, I said to him, “I would like a caramel coffee with whipped cream, please.”

“Um, sorry, Miss, but we don’t put whipped cream in caramel coffee.”

“Well, you can’t make an exception for me? I will pay you for the extra whipped cream.” I said the waiter, and the girls laughed.

“Okay, okay, I’ll mention it.” He told me and left.

When the girls stopped laughing, they started asking me various questions about my life. From the behavior between them, I understood that the two girls already knew each other.

I answered all of their questions. I understood that they just wanted to get to know me better. I wanted the same, so I asked them questions about their own lives too.

Our order arrived, and my coffee had whipped cream after all.

The conversation which followed had helped us get to know each other better.

“I want to go to the toilet?” Nancy suddenly said. “Does anyone want to come with me?”

“Yes, me.” Emma agreed. “Marianne, will you come?”

“No, you can go. I will stay and smoke a cigarette.”

“Well, why haven’t you smoked before?”

“I noticed that you don’t smoke. I didn’t want to bother you with the smoke.”

“Don’t be silly. You can smoke. You don’t bother us.” They smiled warmly at me and left.

I took one, lit it, and took one sip from my coffee.

After work, I had decided that I would go to the supermarket to get caramel coffee for home.

“But maybe Eric will be there.” A little voice said in my ear.

“Maybe I want him to be,” I replied aggressively, taking another puff from my cigarette

“Are you crazy? Don’t forget he has another woman.” I heard the voice again speaking in my ear like a little devil.

“Shut up,” I said to it angrily.

For my relief, Nancy and Emma returned to the table.

They talked for a while, and then the conversation went to friendship.

“Marianne, do you have any friends?”

What could I say? I thought for a while. I hesitated for a few moments but finally answered.

“I used to have a girlfriend, but not anymore.”

A memory came to me from the past. A memory that had been registered in the labyrinths of my mind many years ago and now had found its way out. It was about a difficult test we had to write on that day.

Portia and I were sitting on a bench outside.

“I’m very anxious,” I told Portia.

“Don’t worry. I can help you.” Portia told me.

“What do you mean? How?”

Portia took something out of her pocket and showed it to me.

I looked at her hand and saw that she was holding small pieces of paper with notes on them. “Take them.” She told me, “You may need them.”

I rolled my eyes. “What do you mean, Portia? For me to cheat? No way!” I told her furiously.

“Slow down your voice! Nobody will see you.” Portia finally convinced me and got them.

The bell rang, and we got into the classroom. Portia went out for a while, and I took the opportunity to open the window and throw out the papers Portia had given to me.

I was perfectly prepared for the test, and I wouldn’t need them.

When we sat down at the desks for the test, Mrs. Ellen came and stood next to me and told me: “Get up. I want to check up on you.”

I looked at her in terror. God had enlightened me and thrown the papers away.

A few minutes later, Mrs. Ellen announced: “You are clear. You may sit.” She said and walked away from my desk.

I started writing with my heart beating fast. For a second, I had raised my head from my writing and looked at Portia. She had turned red.

“She will probably feel responsible for those papers.” I had thought.

When we had finished the test and went out, Portia had asked me what had happened with the papers.

“I threw them out the window when we entered the room,” I replied.

Portia looked surprised. And somehow, frustrated-angry? Nah! It would be my idea. After all, we were best friends!

“Marianne? What happened?” Nancy asked me, “Your eyes are brim with tears. Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“I’m sorry we didn’t want to upset you.”

“It doesn’t matter. Don’t worry. I’m fine.” I forced a smile.

In the meantime, the time had passed, and we decided that we should return to work.

When the bill arrived, we read something on it that was written with a pen.

‘The whipped cream is on the house.’

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