A quick call and she was headed back to work. She had to correct herself, it was her former workplace. She had taken the time to hand write the list of things she needed from HR prior to exiting her car. At least her gate key still worked even if her door key wouldn’t. She parked and instead of walking to the employee entrance, headed into the main lobby. It was impressive with all the marble flooring and massive marble reception desk. After a brief call, Lu was directed to wait for an escort to the HR department. Secretly she hoped it would be Angelo. It wasn’t. Once at HR, she had to sign in and then wait. It was a long wait, much longer than the first time at the lawyers’ office. The consultant was cold and moved in slow motion. Lu surmised that it was a strategy to make her leave and come back later, possibly again and again. Lu was used to waiting for what she wanted. She had waited patiently her whole life. Today she was clear on what she wanted and there was no turning back. She waited. The time passed and she approached the girl at the desk every 15 minutes to remind her that she was still waiting. Lunchtime arrived and the office emptied. Lu pulled out her cell phone and called the number again. The phone on the desk began to ring. Eventually someone answered it. Lu was polite and asked a couple easy questions about time frames for documents to be copied. She thanked the woman and asked her name, Deanna was the reply.
As soon as the receptionist returned from her lunch, Lu asked her to go check on the status of the files she was waiting for. After another 30 minutes Lu lost patience. She was a little hangry. She called Deanna again. This time she asked for the supervisor. Deanna was the supervisor. Lu demanded the copies be made. It was amazing how quickly the papers appeared, perfectly collated, stapled and in a file folder. In fact Deanna made an appearance with the paper work for the insurance. It was a quick process. Disgusted, Lu turned to leave but the supervisor stopped her and insisted she wait for a security escort. Lu didn’t respond except to glare at the woman with her best angry cat stare. As she stood facing the elevator her agitation turned to impatience. When the doors opened Angelo was standing a mere foot in front of her.
Startled, she stepped backwards and unaware that Deanna had been standing guard behind her, crushed the supervisor’s foot under her heel. The result was a sharp wail and Lu was shoved from behind. She barely had time to put her hands up before she bounced against Angelo’s chest. Instinctively he closed his arms around her preventing her from falling. Lu was so disoriented that she could only sputter a soft apology to Angelo and Deanna one after the other until she had regained her balance and some semblance of composure. In the awkward silence of the elevator, she ran her fingers through her hair and closed her eyes. Angelo was the first to break the silence, “How you doing, Ms. Dupin?” Lu was amazed at how pleasant his voice sounded. Her reply was slow, “I’m O.K., I guess.” She turned her head to look at him and realized he was staring intensely at her. “You look really dressed up today.” he muttered. “You going somewhere special?” She shook her head no.
She tensed. This interlude was heading toward being asked for a date, she was fairly certain. She began to feel the familiar panic. But Angelo didn’t follow up and seemed to accept that she was just dressed fancy for no reason. The ride to the lobby felt rushed as more people entered the elevator. Lu impulsively scribbled her phone number on the back of a gum wrapper. Then thought better of it and crumpled it in her fist. Angelo escorted her out of the elevator and she handed him the wadded up gum wrapper. She was having an out of body experience. She had never done anything like that before. Looking over her shoulder as she walked to the exit, she could see Angelo staring at the paper grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Lu is trying to play it cool. Of course things don’t always go as planned especially when you don’t follow the game plan.