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True Love
About the Author: Steve Shrott's mystery short stories have appeared in numerous publications such as Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. His work can be found in fourteen anthologies including Flame Tree Press’s Crime and Mystery compilation, where Steve appears alongside classical writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe. Steve has had two humorous mystery novels published, Audition For Death, and Dead Men Don't Get Married.

Jessica sat in her cubicle staring at the numbers on the screen when she heard footsteps behind her. She swiveled around on her chair, and looked up into the milk-chocolate eyes of Tim Leeson, the new employee.

“Here’s the information on the Sleepy Time Pills.” Tim handed her the file.

She didn’t look at it, instead she took in Tim’s strong shoulders, his sturdy jawline, the shaggy blond hair that filled her dreams every night since he’d been hired.

She dropped the file onto her desk and stood up.

There was an awkward pause while she waited. Nothing happened. She didn’t understand. Why wasn’t Tim doing anything? Why didn’t he touch her hair or kiss her? Then it dawned on her—he must have thought the boss was spying. There was a strict no office romance rule.

She gave him a wink to loosen him up, but a strange expression explored Tim’s face, and he left quickly. Jessica figured he didn’t notice the wink.

As he rushed out of her cubicle, Jessica’s eyes followed Tim all the way down the hallway.

She enjoyed watching him.

She sat back down at her desk and tried to work. She had promised her boss, Mr. Edwards, that she would give him a sales report on the company’s products by day’s end. But thoughts of Tim kept forming in her mind.

At ten, she took a jaunt over to the water cooler. She gulped down a drink, but secretly kept her gaze on Tim as he headed toward the photocopy room. She was about to return to her desk when she saw Tim speaking to Patricia, a tall blonde with a ruddy complexion. Jessica’s heart sped up, and her hands clenched into fists.

She had to have a talk with her.

At noon, Jessica joined Patricia for lunch in the cafeteria. Patricia chomped on a three-cheese sandwich while Jessica had her usual roast beef, turkey combination. Halfway through lunch, Jessica gave Patricia an icy stare.

“I saw you with Tim.”

“Yeah, we were sharing a laugh.”

Jessica pursed her lips, trying to control her unruly emotions. “You shouldn’t be talking to him.”

“What’s the big deal?”

“The big deal is he’s mine.”

Patricia’s brow crinkled. “You’re seeing him?”

“Uh huh.”

“He just started.”

Jessica inhaled an unusually long breath of air. “Sometimes things just develop.”

“Sorry, Jes, I didn’t know.” She took a bite of her sandwich and chewed it a little. “What’s he like?”

Jessica couldn’t tell her that she got all gooey inside when she thought about his soft lips, his six pack abs. Instead she said, “He’s a bit of a bad boy.”

“A bad boy? But he seems so polite, shy.”

“It’s all pretense. He’s got a motorcycle, and there’s a skull and cross bones on his T-shirt. You wouldn’t believe the things he makes me do.” She started to quiver inside, thinking about those things.

Patricia leaned forward wanting to hear more.

Jessica wanted to tell her more, but lunch was over, and she had to get back to work. The company was strict about punctuality.

Patricia stood, and said again how sorry she was about flirting with Tim. “It won’t happen again, Jes.”

The next day, Tim entered Jessica’s cubicle and handed her the spreadsheet on the Easy-Slim Diet Pills she had requested. Jessica didn’t really need it, she just missed seeing him.

When Tim gave her the file, his hand grazed her chest. “S … S … Sorry, I didn’t mean to ...” He blushed, hurried out.

Jessica figured that he must have been trying to turn her on. A wide grin formed on her face. He had been successful. As she thought about Tim, however, anxiety crept up her body.

The last two times Tim had entered her office, he had left abruptly. She wondered if she had done something wrong. Was she not paying enough attention to him? Should she have been bold and kissed those beautiful soft lips?

She went over every action she’d taken, from when he came into her office until he left, many times. In the end, she decided that she had done everything right.

Just like he had asked, she had kept their relationship hush hush. She figured that he left quickly because he didn’t want the gossips jabbering about them. She thought it was a good idea.

This story appears in our DEC 2017 Issue
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