Friday crept by at a snail’s pace for Lynne. Her mid-month report was due to the Board of Directors before she left for the day and a snafu with some information from the school’s accountant had set her back an hour. The Headmaster had also assigned her to the “Accreditation Reevaluation Preparedness Committee” at that morning’s administration meeting, much to her chagrin. Now on top of all her usual pile of work she has to weasel in time for a committee where she would rather not interact with any of the assembled administrators. Chewing shards of glass had more of an appeal to her.
Her mind was fuzzy as she read through the month’s balance sheet on her computer screen. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths as she attempted to quell the squirming sensation in her stomach. The feeling was gradually getting too intense, so she pushed herself back from her desk and high-tailed it out of her office and down the hallway to the women’s restroom. Once inside she rushed into a stall and locked it behind her. Crouching on her taupe-colored three-inch heels, she bent over the toilet and released the contents of her stomach. After the last few clenching waves of nausea had subsided she wiped her mouth with a piece of toilet paper and flushed the remnants of her lunch away. Standing up, she smoothed the wrinkles out of her cream-colored designer, sheath dress and walked out of the stall. She washed her hands, rinsed her mouth, and splashed a little cold water onto her face to bring her tone back to normal. When she was once again presentable, she walked out of the bathroom and headed back to her office.
As Lynne walked by Francine’s desk, the Administrative Assistant concernedly asked her if she was alright.
“Yeah. I don’t think the pad thai I had for lunch agreed with me, but I’ll be fine.”
“Just making sure. You look a little pale. Do you think you might be coming down with something? We can’t have you out of commission boss.” The younger woman stated from her seat.
“Don’t worry Fran. It’s nothing time won’t settle. I’ll be ok.” She offered her a kind smile to ease her worry.
At long last, fifteen phone calls to different departments, a trip to the Middle School Building to retrieve a report from the Vice Principal’s secretary, two meetings with directors to go over event budgets, a preliminary meeting with the accreditation committee, and submitting her monthly report to the board with half an hour to spare, it was time to clock out.
Shutting down her computer she grabbed her keys and put her jacket on. As she moved to exit her office she mumbled to herself, “time to face the music.”
“Lyndy!! You come bearing manna from heaven!” Huan remarked as she entered his apartment. Greedily, he took the bags of take-out containers out of her hands. Breathing deep into the bag from Mamma Annie’s, his eyes rolled into the back of his head momentarily as he let the luscious aromas emanating from the containers enter his nose. “Oh I hope this means you got coco bread and gizzada in here.”
“Of course I did. Plus some zeppoles and caramel dipping sauce. Caveat; you have to actually share it with me this time. Do not inhale them when I do something as simple as go to the bathroom like yah did last time.” She told him with a stern look.
“We shall see about that. I just might put them up on a high enough shelf that your little arms can’t reach.” Turning, he all but skipped into the kitchen with the bags.
“Asshole.” Lynne shouted at his retreating back. She stopped to put her jacket and shoes in the closet next to the door before following him. After work she had changed clothes before coming over and was now wearing a “Green Lantern” t-shirt and black linen wide-leg pants. She went over to the sink to wash her hands while he started removing all of the containers from the bags and placing them on the island. Two plates with forks and knives were out next to a 1.5 litre bottle of Chateau du Monde’s 2011 Cabernet and two wine glasses. “I took the liberty of breaking out the big bottle and adult-sized glasses for tonight.” He told her, arching an eyebrow in the direction of the wine. “You only invite yourself over when you’ve had a beyond rough week at that place.”
How she wished she could indulge in the oaky flavor of her favorite wine. “How’d you know?”
“You are a little bit predictable.” He told her, grabbing a piece of manicotti out of a container and biting half of it. “MMmmmm! YUM! This right here is amazing. You gotta try it.” Leaning over the island, he force-fed her the remainder of the piece. “Tell me this isn’t some of the best manicotti you’ve ever tried.” She received the manicotti and had to eagerly concur, it had a wonderfully delicate flavor. It agreed with her stomach so well that she reached over him to snatch the container out of his hand. “Watch it woman! I was just sharing that piece with you, the rest are mine.”
“Boo-frickin-hoo. I’m hungry and this is good.” She said, sticking her tongue out and putting two pieces of manicotti on her plate before returning the half-empty container to him. “There, you can finish it.”
Narrowing his eyes in mock displeasure, he let her know, “you are lucky you brought so much food.”
“Well, I had to make it up to you for interrupting your all-day date with your mattress, Mistress Sealy. Plus, I’m pretty sure you haven’t had a decent meal in the past ten days. You only eat well when me or your mother are involved. And you haven’t had time to see her lately.” She started opening the other containers and placing food on her plate to pacify her own hunger. She hadn’t eaten anything after the episode she had at work because she did not trust her stomach and now felt that she was on the brink of starvation.
“So glad you care.” He muttered as he dug into the hodge-podge of Caribbean and Italian food on his plate.
“Of course I do.” She told him, opening the wine and pouring him a glass and sliding it to him while she grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge for herself.
“You’re not drinking?” He asked her between bites of callaloo, a confused look on his face.
“No. I don’t think it would be wise. I haven’t eaten yet today and I have to drive home later. It’s not a sleepover kind of night.” She quickly conjured the half-lie and let it fall from her lips with ease.
“What is one glass going to do to you? I got your fa-vor-ite!” He teasingly sing-songed to her, waving the bottle in her face.
“It doesn’t count as much if it is your fa-vor-ite as well. I thank you, but no thank you.” She countered.
“Bor-ing!” He told her as he stuck his tongue out at her.
Needing to steer the conversation in a new direction, she asked him how work was for the past week. He had been working about 90 hours this week at the hospital and they hadn’t had a chance to talk. He took the bait and launched into talking about the subject he was the most passionate about, emergency medicine. Listening to him recount the different accidents, broken bones, and medical maladies he encountered this week allowed Lynne to lose herself in her own thoughts while she made appropriate nods of interests in his direction.
“Hey, Lyndy. Your foot hasn’t stopped tapping the floor since you sat down to eat. I haven’t seen it move so much since you had to tell Trevor that you caught his girlfriend fucking Benny in her car our senior year of high school. You are playing with your favorite food on your plate, not eating it anymore. I know listening to the horrors of the emergency room doesn’t gross you out. Care to tell me what’s actually on your mind?”
Lynne let her fork drop to her plate; she hadn’t realized that she was pushing the piece of oxtail around. Her mind was trying to figure out how to form the words she had come here to share with him. Seeing as how it was now or never, she got up from her seat and retrieved her purse from the table in the living room and came back to the kitchen. Taking a deep breath, she pulled out the sonogram photos and her blood test results and thrust them in his direction. “This.”
A/N: How will Huan take it? Stay tuned?