Jason sat in his office, thinking about Karine. Last evening he had stopped by her place to see her but when he rang the doorbell, there was no answer. Perhaps she was working late. Disappointed, he returned to his flat. All night, he thought about what had transpired between them yesterday morning. He had been waiting in the lobby for the company car when she showed up. She had grilled him about Michelle and when Michelle showed up instead of the company car, she had walked away before he had a chance to say anything.
Yesterday, it had been hard for him to concentrate on his work but somehow he managed to get through the day and was anxious to get home. Before he went to his place, he stopped by hers but she wasn’t there. He hadn’t slept well and it didn’t help when his mother called him soon after he came out of the shower and was getting dressed. “Ma, I can’t talk now. I’m getting ready for work.”
“How come you haven’t called your father and me these last few days?”
“I’ve been busy–“
“Too busy to call your parents?
“Ma, I really can’t talk now–“
“Well, I hope you will remember to call us on Sunday.”
“Yes. It’s our wedding anniversary.”
“You forgot, didn’t you?”
“Well, let’s hope your father doesn’t forget too. And I hope he finally buys me the Silvery centerpieces and rosebud rims I’ve been asking for all these years.”
“What are those, Ma?”
“Floating candle centerpieces and a lovely tea set. The cups and saucers have rosebud rims. When you call on Sunday I will show you them. It’s too bad that you can’t be here to drink tea from the new tea cup set.”
“Yes, Ma, it’s too bad. Now, I really have to go. I’ll call you on Sunday. Say hello to Dad for me.”
“All right. Don’t let me keep you from your fancy job.”
He sighed. “Goodbye, Ma.”
He quickly ended the call and finished tucking his shirt in his pants, grabbed his jacket and pulled it on. He barely got downstairs before the car showed up. On the drive over, he thought about Karine and debated whether or not to call her. Then, he decided that he would wait until he got to the office. Unfortunately, when he got there, Mr. Chang called them into the board room for an impromptu meeting which lasted for half-hour.
When he got to his office, he had a lot of work to do. By the time he was finished it was half-past twelve. He ate his lunch at his desk. It was a very busy day and the hours seemed to go very quickly. It was after six when Mr. Chang popped by to say goodnight. “Tomorrow, we’ll stop by the car dealership,” he promised.
“Yes, Mr. Chang.” His boss’s car was still at the dealership but he was driving a rental for the time being so Jason had the company car at his disposal once again.
Jason turned off his computer now but remained seated at his desk. He reached into his breast pocket for his wallet so that he could call Karine but, Michelle walked into his office at that moment. “You’re still here,” she said.
“Um, I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me on Saturday. I know this great restaurant that’s about twenty minutes from where you live and–“
Jason stood up and shoving his hands deep in his pockets, he said to her, “I’m sorry, Michelle, but I’m going to have to say no.”
She looked a bit taken aback. “Why? Is it because we work together? This company doesn’t have any policy which prohibits co-workers from dating.”
“I know there isn’t a company policy against co-workers dating but this has nothing to do with that. Michelle, I like you and I think you’re terrific but, I’m not interested in being more than your friend and co-worker.” He watched as the emotions played on her face. She seemed at a loss for words and just stood there, staring at him.
“It’s because of Karine, isn’t it?” she finally concluded.
“Even if she weren’t in the picture, I would still feel the same way. I’m sorry.”
She put her hands to her head. “Oh, I feel like such a fool right now,” she muttered. “I thought, hoped that you would be interested in pursuing a relationship with me, but I should have known better, especially after meeting Karine. I sensed that there was something between you and her but I didn’t want to acknowledge it.”
“She knows that you’re interested in me and she believes that the attraction is mutual.”
“I was hoping that it was too but as it turns out, I’m not the one you want to be with.”
“Don’t be,” she said. “It isn’t your fault that I fell for you and hoped that you would fall for me too. Karine is a very lucky woman. I–hope things work out between you two. Goodnight, Jason.”
“Good night, Michelle.”
She turned and quickly walked out of his office. He stood there for several minutes and then, he grabbed his jacket and pulled it on. He closed and locked the door behind him. A quick glance at Michelle’s office told him that she was still there.
He left the building and got into the waiting car. As it pulled out of the premises, he thought of Karine. What was he going to do about her? How was he going to get her to understand that she was the one he wanted to be with and that Michelle meant nothing to him?