Eve’s heart pounded as she walked through the main office, leaving Betty behind to struggle with her self-imposed mess.
Several clerks looked up and smiled or nodded. Without making eye contact with them she quickly made her way to the factory. What will I do? Just look busy—like I’m supposed to be there.
Two large metal doors automatically swung open at her approach. The plant layout of large columns, rows of work stations and one hundred and twelve employees sporting required safety glasses as they rushed between stations and ante-rooms was like another planet to Eve. The din of manufacturing bounced from metal walls. The air reeked of cutting oil and she rubbed her forearm to ward off the stale air. She scurried to the visitor station to grab a pair of glasses.
With a deep, long sigh, she slowly walked the main aisle and several of the workers looked up with surprise and expectation. Each time she quickly grinned and looked to the next station. She pulled out a sheet of paper and pen to ward off any curious or friendly chatter.
What in hell am I doing here? Okay—okay, think! Ask questions? What questions? Damn. Here comes Phil with someone. “Hi Phil. Can I speak with you a minute?” Eve squeaked.
Phil’s eyes widen as his bushy eyebrows moved up. “Sure, Eve. What’s up? Just finishing with Joanie, here. Be with you in a sec.”
“That’s okay, just a few minutes with you. Sorry, Joanie.”
“No problem, Eve, Phil and I just finished anyway. Got to get back to my station. Bye.”
Phil gestured toward his office and Eve obliged by leading the way. What am I doing? Her heart beat faster, her hands trembled and she tripped over the threshold. Phil grabbed her waist to prevent the fall, but the folders she carried dropped to the floor and papers spilled in a scattered pattern in front and under his desk. “Damn it!” Eve blurted out loud.
“You okay? Your face is red. You want to sit down?”
The flush quickly crept from her cheeks to her neck. “No, it’s all right. Like a fool, I—I just tripped. I am a jogger—joggers don’t fall—you know.”
“You’re no fool. A runner are ya? Well there ain’t too many women joggers I know of. I used to jog. Been thinking of taking it up again. Work around here has been pretty strenuous lately—need to do something ‘fore I get myself a heart attack.”
“Oh. Well running helps me solve problems. Kinda,” Eve mumbled as she eyed the remnants of the paper storm. She quickly squatted to reach for the folders. Phil knelt to rescue the papers from under his desk.
“Where do these go? Don’t want to shuffle your papers. Then you’d have to start sorting over again.”
Phil’s a nice guy. Pick up your papers and—take your time. “Thanks Phil. Sorry about this. You, ah, probably have lots of things to do?”
“Well, I can help for a bit. Got to get ready for 11:30. Supervisor meeting with the front office. You can sit at my desk if you need to sort things out.”
“Thanks. I’ll do that.”
“So. What can I do for you?” he asked.
“What do you mean? Oh—yes. You know, maybe this is not a good time. Let’s do this later,” Eve’s brow furrowed.
Phil stood up, paused a few seconds, checked his watch. “Well, if you want to. Ain’t too important I suppose. Let me know next time. Make an appointment, and I’ll be all yours,” he smiled broadly and winked as he walked to the door. “Better yet! How about lunch? We can talk then.”
“Uh, sorry, I’m booked up then.”
“Tell you what. Let me take you out to dinner. My treat. Been wanting to get all gussied up and go somewhere nice to eat. Say yes or I’ll be hurt.”
“For what? Not accepting a date? Bet you don’t go out much. You’ll be sorry you didn’t accept, won’t know what you’re missing. You’ll have a good time. I’ll see to it.”
“What do you mean?”
“A good meal, dance, a movie, a jog… . Whatever you like. We can talk. Get to know each other. Be friends. What do you say? Change your mind?”
Eve’s brow furrowed deeper as heat crept from her cheeks to her neck. “I’ll think about it, Phil.”
“Be back at 12:45. You know how to reach me,” he smiled, lingered a few seconds then walked away.
Eve quietly shut the door, picked up the papers then re-sorted them at Phil’s desk. Supervisors meeting. Betty will be there with her report. What report? Why is Phil stressed about work?
He’s kinda good looking—bet he’s been with Betty… . No. Don’t think like that! He is handsome.
Eve smiled. Thanks Betty.