It was a quick drive to the offices of Polder and Swale. She marched to the reception desk and demanded to speak with Mr. Swale. The fake smile fled from the receptionist’s face. Lu’s tone of voice commanded action and the lawyer appeared much more quickly than on her previous visit. She transferred the papers to his hands and asked for a receipt acknowledging he had taken possession. He looked at Lu. He was puzzled because this woman was not the meek and withdrawn person that he remembered. Lu was done being a door mat. With a curt nod she turned and headed for the door. On impulse she tossed a comment over her shoulder, “You will keep me informed. Feel free to call and leave a message.” Once in her car a little of the bravado slipped. Looking at her hands she could detect a slight tremor born of repressed panic. She was going to fake it until she made it. Everything had gone smoothly. People had snapped to attention. She was catered to. She had to admit that it felt good to be in charge. Although she was feeling a wave of bravado it started ebbing as she considered her next move.
Checking the time, she estimated that she had at least an hour before her boss would leave for the day. A turn of the key and her car nearly drove itself to her place of employment. The lot was almost full. She had never failed to get a spot in the first row but now found herself parked in the far corner with the prospect of a long cold walk to the building. Looking for her gloves brought the realization that she’d left them in the phone store. On any other day, she would have taken that as a sign that she needed to abort her mission. Today it pushed her forward. Her pass key in her hand and hands jammed into coat pockets, she headed inside. The security guard was at his post and she nodded and swiped her card but the door didn’t click open. She tried again. Lu felt the familiar tingle of panic and a tightening of her throat as the guard approached. “Good morning Ms. Dupin. Is there a problem?” Normally she would have turned and run, instead she managed a hoarse affirmative and an explanation that her card wasn’t working. She noticed for the first time that his badge had his name on it, Angelo. She looked at his face. He was smiling and had happy wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. She blushed. He reached past her and with his card let her in. He even held the door for her. She was flustered and she felt her face getting warmer. She dropped her gaze as she muttered a soft “Thank-you.” The elevator was already at the lobby just waiting for a passenger. With relief she entered. She hated to ride with other people. So much so that she would take the stairs all the way to the 6th floor. Today was her lucky day she told herself. The soft chime indicated her floor and the doors opened to a familiar sight of file cabinets and cubicles. She turned left and headed to the frosted glass that was the location of her boss’ office. As she rounded the partition the normal murmur and hum of the office went silent. It was as if the sound tract had been placed on mute. Lu paused briefly and considered if her stress had finally caught up to her. Looking into the cubicle city she saw what looked like a hundred eyes staring at her. She shifted her attention to the office door. The frosted glass couldn’t hide the fact that he boss was at her desk. She knocked and entered without waiting for the invitation.
Lu is turning the corner. I think she has discovered her spine and maybe a little seldom used courage…It is amazing how a smidgen of self confidence can make a person that much more attractive!