Lucas – Chapter 2

From next door came the rapid tapping of a keyboard, the flipping of papers, here and there some of her words or short sentences. He had never noticed this her talking to herself, and it brought an involuntary smile to his face. He leaned back in his chair and listened to her whispered „Well, you can say that to you know who“, „Sure, only if in Africa“ and the occasional amused laugh. After a disapproving „What?!“ he heard a chair being pushed back and she was standing in his doorway:
„Who made the assignment?“

He looked up at her and studied her face for a second.
„The client.“
„That’s utter nonsense, after all.“ She assessed.
She figured he wasn’t going to answer, so she went back to the monitor.
„It’s like going to Košice via Prague, it just can’t work like this,“ she finished the conversation with herself.

„Your blue tie has already been brought from the dry cleaners, it’s on your seat!“ she shouted. He scribbled a few more sentences and closed the file. Slowly, he gathered the things he needed from his desk, putting them in the right order and finally in one pile.
He threw his tie around his neck and walked over to her.
„How much time do I have?“ She asked monitor.
She flipped through each sheet of the document, correcting two or three places on each. He didn’t respond quickly enough, so she added:
„I need five minutes. Five more minutes and I’m in.“
Abruptly, she took out a blank sheet of paper and quickly wrote something with her hand.
„You have seven,“ He tried to sound reassuring.
Still writing the end of the sentence, she looked up at him as he tried to tie his tie:
„Untie that knot and go get your jacket. I’m just finishing up and I’ll tie it for you.“
And to the sound of the printer, she wrote furiously on.

He wondered if her last sentences could be understood at all, or if he had rather guessed their meaning. The confusion he’d managed to create from the silk tie was only defeated by his jacket. He thrust his hand up his sleeve and with that he immediately took his prepared handouts. The other he had already managed to put on returning to Lucia. While he was fixing the collar of his jacket, she snatched the papers from the printer, stapled them together, and tossed the clipboard on the table. She took the handwritten paper in her free hand and turned to him:
„This is the assignment you gave me. It seems to be at the end in your presentation. Most of it is there as you would have done it. But. A few points would have been better done differently as the client outlined. You don’t have time to read it.“
She placed the papers in his hand, which was already holding the rest of hers.
„You’ll be able to answer most of the potential questions as soon as you give it some thought. Except for a few. Those are answered somewhere around here.“
She handed him a separate paper with her handwriting on it in her empty hand:
„This is NOT part of the presentation. It’s just a handout in case you can’t figure it out on your own.“
She was already standing close to him, lifting the collar of his shirt and grabbing both loose ends of his tie.

„That means, for example, why do we think their production estimates are slightly off, why the type they chose is very unsuitable for them, why we’re designing a different one, and how we’ve managed to reduce the costliness by almost a quarter… OK?“ She forced a response when he didn’t answer himself.
„What do you do when a question catches you off guard?“ She controlled his attention and began tying the knot of his tie. He was silent, and seemed to be just coming to his senses.
„Handwritten paper,“ she repeated louder. „This one’s not for the public. It’s just your small help. Yes?“
„Okay,“ he finally spoke. „This is the presentation, here are the answers… Lucia, what do you know about photovoltic cells?“ She smiled and tightened his tie.

At that moment, a laughing manager opened the door from the hallway:
„Shall we go, Lucas? Ah, Lucy, as always, one last perfect tie adjustment. I don’t understand why your boss won’t let me have you. I’m drinking coffee too and I have a lot of papers to sort through,“ he winked at her.
„Come on, Lucas, don’t let us miss it. We have the business of the yeaaaaaar…“
He sang the last word of the sentence to himself on his way down the hall. Her boss followed him as well. The tone and content of her last sentences still resonated in his ears. After two steps, he turned on his heel and returned to her.

He stopped much closer than work etiquette would dictate. He waited for her to look up at him and whispered:
„I’ll take you later.“
He turned back and walked a few steps in his colleague’s direction. He jogged a little, his free hand still fastening the button of his jacket. They disappeared behind the conference room door, and Lucia huffed to herself:
„The opposite would surprise me.“
She walked back to her seat, stood upright, dialed the familiar flap, let it ring, and hung up. She found her cigarettes on the table, draped her jacket over her shoulders, and stepped out into the hallway. The pretty brunette from the morning was already standing in front of the elevators, also with cigarettes in hand:
„Still rabid? Otherwise, what’s the matter with him, he’s a always so calm. Stress from today’s presentation?“
The elevator door opened and they entered.
„Yes, he’s got a lot on his plate today.“
„Shit, we’re all jealous of that guy. Handsome, good, quiet and single! Why don’t you have sex with him? If I were you…“
Lucia leaned her back against the wall of the elevator and it closed.

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