the inner office

14 Sep

Yap, yap, yap…growl

Emma looked up from her spreadsheets to find Snookie growling at her office door.  She smiled as she watched the small dog with the big ears snarling at an invisible enemy and wondered what had roused him from his nap to go stand guard.

“Snookie, come here baby.  What is wrong with mommy’s Snookie?”

Without hesitation the small dog turned away from the door and ran behind the desk to leap up on Emma’s lap.  The feeling of his warm body comforted her immediately.  “It’s okay baby.  Mommy doesn’t like it here either, but we’ll be okay,” she cooed in his ear.

Emma cuddled the dog into her chest and began to rub his ears feeling the dog relax against her.  It had been a long day for both of them.  Snookie had peed on a client’s shoe during a briefing first thing this morning, he bit an accountant named Chris when he dropped some quarterly reports and then proceeded to bark all afternoon.  She knew that today had been a disaster but she needed Snookie with her today.

“Ms. Stone?” called a hollow voice from her desk-top intercom.

“Yes, Shirley,” Emma said with a sigh.  She wished her assistant would come into her office to speak with her but the older woman had a fear of small dogs and had flatly refused to enter the room several times today.  Her protests only grew stronger once word that Snookie had bitten Chris spread though the office.

“There is an Iain Sommers here to see you.  He says that he has an appointment but I don’t see anything on your calendar to confirm that.  Emma could picture Shirley sitting behind her large desk giving Iain the evil eye.  She fought a childish urge to leave Ian in the outer office for an hour to let him squirm a little more.

“I’m sorry Shirley.  My grandfath… – uh, Mr. Stone – called yesterday to let me know that Mr. Sommers was in town and asked that I see him this afternoon.  I apologize for not mentioning it.”

She heard Shirley take a deep breath and her voice softened slightly at the apology.  “That’s fine Ms. Stone.  Shall I send him in?”

“Can you give me five minutes?”  Emma knew that Iain could hear her conversation but she needed time to re-group before she faced him.  “I am just finishing off an e-mail to Chris about the quarterly reports then I will be right out.  Perhaps Mr. Sommers would like a coffee.”

Emma took a few deep breaths and rolled her head side-to-side trying to relax her shoulders.  She knew that she was a coward for hiding in her office but she needed to calm down.  Truth be told, this meeting was the reason Snookie came to work with her today.  She had been having panic attacks almost daily since she last saw Ian and the small dog was the only thing that calmed her.  She knew that Snookie was an ugly, annoying little dog but he was also her safety blanket and her only friend in Chicago.

Ian Sommers… she wondered why he was here.  She knew this meeting was not her grandfather’s idea but she also knew he would go along with anything Iain proposed.  In addition to being the company’s top sales vice-president, Iain was like a son to Marcus Stone.  When Emma and Iain first began their relationship he was cautiously optimistic.  He was thrilled at the idea of Iain being part of the family one day but worried that an ugly break-up would be bad for business.

Last month everything was perfect in Emma’s life.  She was sitting in a cafe in Paris with Iain, sipping espresso and watching the locals and the tourists walk by – it was easy to tell which was which.  She was sure Iain was going to propose that day.  He had been nervous and distracted and after a year together she could sense his anxiety though he tried hard to hide it from her.  Instead he told her that he was ending their relationship.

She was stunned.  They were an ocean away from home, with two days of their trip, in a country where she didn’t speak the language.  In the weeks that passed she wished that she had had the nerve to confront him that day; to ask why he had been so cold and thoughtless.  But she could not muster up enough courage.  Instead she had checked into a separate room and secured an early flight back to Wilmington.

Her first stop when she landed in America had been to her grandfather’s home.  He was her closest relative and she needed a friendly face and a shoulder to cry on.  Instead he had handed her a plane ticket and an inter-office memo which had been issued that morning.  Effective immediately she was leaving head office and heading to Chicago where her presence would not be as awkward or potentially bad for business.  It was best for the firm, for Iain and for her, the old man explained.

And now Iain was just outside the door.  She wondered if he looked as tense and uncomfortable as when she had last seen him at that French bistro.  She hoped he did.  She hoped that Shirley was giving him the look of disdain that she usually reserved for Snookie and stationery salesmen who arrived at the office unannounced.

She looked at Snookie sitting at her feet and realized now what had caused his outburst at the office door a few moments.  “I hope you are not too full from biting Chris, Mommy has an even better snack for you.”

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One Response to “the inner office”

  1. phoenix.writing September 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    I hope we’re going to learn the story behind Iain acting like a jerk; I keep wanting to make excuses for him so that Emma will be happy (and it seems to me that if she really had no indication that there was anything wrong with the relationship, something momentous must have occurred), but it would be nice to at least find out the whole story even if it just lets her move on. (I also want to hit her grandfather over the head a couple times just on principle.)

    Love Snookie’s fierce defence of her (even as a yappy little dog, lol). 🙂

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