I was working on a character named Leah who I wrote a three part fictional story about a while ago. I have in mind the story of a young woman who is bamboozled by relationships and learns by her mistakes. I don’t really have time to plan a story at the moment. But I remembered that when I wrote Annabelle’s story, I had no plan…I just started writing and added more and more to her story as I went along. Then I went back and edited the story. So I am going to do the same with Leah. You may see a few fictional posts staring Leah. I will see where she takes us.
He found us a table in the corner of the empty restaurant and placed me so that I was facing the wall, whilst he could keep an eye on on whether anyone neared our table. I was nervous and intimidated by the air of control he seemed to display. I felt relief as our waiter approached with our drinks. I felt safe not being completely alone with him. The thought of being alone with him gave me chills.
I didn’t want to be there with him, and yet, I did. Greg had long held a fascination I had not been able to quell. It all began with his note warning me about the office cad. He warned me that Monroe Russell would eat me up and throw me away like a packet of crisps. I appreciated his interference. Monroe turned out to be more than I bargained for. He was so persistent in his repeated attempts to flirt with me that I began to feel I should go to HR about him. It never came to that. Instead, Monroe Russell was escorted from our office block by a security guard after multiple complaints from other females staff had been filed against him and a report had been made to the local police of a sexual assault. It was so good to come to work knowing that he was gone.
But Greg North kept in touch with me. At first it was very casual. He would send perfectly polite messages enquiring how I was and how work was going. As the weeks and months passed by, his communications became more friendly. There was nothing to be wary of. He would ask what my plans for the weekend were, or how I had enjoyed the previous weekend. Over time he asked all sorts of innocent questions, he seemed curious about my hobbies, interests and preferences.
Our emails were always at work. He didn’t try to keep in contact with me outside of work. He never asked me out. It just seemed to be a friendly rapport with a colleague. Nothing made me feel it was out of hand. Greg’s emails were only one or twice a week. What I did notice was that they were growing longer and longer. They were sent at eight or nine o’clock of an evening, which made me think he had stayed at work later in order to write them. Greg was respected as someone devoted to work. He would not be spending all that time pursing personal interests at the cost of his work.
Greg had started to tell me more and more about himself. He had been married. His wife of twenty years had died of ovarian cancer. He had a son, who was now a father himself, and a two year old grandson who was the apple of his eye. I asked Greg about his wife. They had met at high school. They had married at the age of nineteen when Elaine had become pregnant. Elaine was petite and had short raven hair. After their son Callum had started school, Elaine had studied for a degree with the Open University, after which she had started work at an estate agents.
I ventured to state that it must have been very hard to have lost his beloved wife. Greg simply replied that he would never want to replace his wife. That made me assume that the correspondance with Greg was to be nothing more than a platonic one. We were just two colleagues who happened to get on and were enjoying our blossoming communication. Everyone needs to talk, don’t they?
Greg asked me if I ever had a serious relationship. I exaggerated to him. I claimed to have had two serious boyfriends, and said that both relationships had become strained over time. The truth was that twice I had exchanged phone numbers with guys I had met at clubs when out with friends. But neither of them had ever called. I felt bad being dishonest with Greg, but how could I tell him what a baby I was. When you reach twenty eight and you have never had a boyfriend, you start to wonder what is wrong with you. I had given up hoping. Friends had told me to try out internet dating, but I was very reluctant to do so, my imagination running wild with all of the possible creeps who might be out there waiting.
Greg asked me what I looked for in a relationship. The question flawed me. The whole concept of being in a relationship was an unknown to me. I thought about it for a whole day before I replied to Greg that I wanted to be safe and warm and completely secure in a relationship. I sent the message at 5.45pm and started to pack my things away to leave the office. I looked back at the screen to find that there was a message in my inbox from Greg. When I opened it, there was a question that made me blink:
“BUT PRESUMABLY VERY EROTIC AS WELL?”
I was shocked by Greg’s question at first. A hundred thoughts ran through my mind. I also realized that he must still be in his office further down the corridor. I would have to pass his office to leave work. I thought about how to reply.
A MIX OF NAUGHTY AND NICE”
WHY DO YOU ASK GREG?”
“EROTIC WOULD BE LOVELY”
I held my breath and pressed send. Within seconds my phone rang. I answered it immediately, “I am so sorry Leah, that was completely inappropriate. I apologise for embarrassing you.”
The moment of clarity in my thoughts prompted a fluent response, “You have absolutely nothing to apologise for Greg. I am glad you asked. You didn’t embarrass me at all, it was exciting to see your question.”
There was a pause from Greg, “Leah, it’s not professional behaviour. We are colleagues and it’s wrong of me to have become so familiar with you. I have enjoyed our chats, but I have gone too far. This is probably the right time to end our email conversations.“
I felt slightly hurt by Greg’s words. With a sense of determination I voiced my own feelings, “Maybe we shouldn’t be emailing while we are at work Greg, but I don’t want this to end. Could we talk outside of work?“
“I don’t think that’s wise Leah.”
“I don’t think that’s fair. It’s been a whole year that we have been emailing. Your emails are special to me. I have feelings for you Greg.”
“I’m nearly twenty years older than you. Whatever you you think you feel Leah, it will pass.“
“Seventeen years Greg. Please don’t talk to me as if I am a child. I am twenty-eight years old and I am perfectly capable of knowing my feelings. If you are not interested in me, then I will accept that and move on, but I am very interested in you.”
“Leah, I don’t think office romances are a good idea.”
“I don’t want an office romance. I want an out of office friendship. I don’t want to stop our conversations Greg, but I think it would be a good idea if we used our personal contact details instead of emailing at work.”
Greg was hard to convince, “I am very fond of you Leah, but let’s not rush into anything. I need time to think. I’m not sure I’m even ready for a relationship.”
I suddenly remember that Greg had been through the pain of losing his wife six years earlier. I restained my persuasiveness, “Let’s just be friends and see what develops naturally. I would like to be your friend outside of work. If that is not something you would feel comfortable with, then I will accept your decision. But it will be hard because you mean a lot to me.”
Greg repeated that he needed to think about things. I told him I needed to get going because I was late for plans I had (another lie to Greg). But after I put the phone down, I wrote down my personal email address email@example.com and my phone number. As I was passing Greg’s office, I bent down and slid my note under the door.
I walked home feeling heartbroken. I was convinced Greg was going to put an end to our contact. Feeling miserable, I turned into the fish and chip shop round the corner from my tiny apartment and ordered a bag of chips and a tub of curry sauce. I let myself into my flat and sunk onto the sofa, munching my way through the chips until I felt so full up I felt quite ill. I turned on the television and watched Gardener’s World in silence. Once it had finished, I had a shower and put on my fleecy pyjamas.
Annoyed that I could not stop thinking about Greg, I searched through the back of the kitchen cupboards convinced there was a bottle of wine somewhere. I found a bottle of Jack Daniels that a friend had given me for my birthday. I have never liked whisky, but decided to pour a generous amount into a tall glass tumbler and top it up with diet Cola.
An hour later with a fuzzy head, I made my way into my bedroom and climbed into my bed. I must have been asleep for over an hour when my the ringing tone of my phone woke me. I opened one if my eyes to see who was calling. It was a number I did not recognise. More out of curiosity than obligation, I answered the phone, with a croaky “Hello“.
“Leah, did I wake you up? You sound as if you were asleep?”
On recognising Greg’s voice, I sat up in bed in alarm, “No, no, I wasn’t asleep. I’m just doing some housework. Ironing, I’m ironing while I am waiting for something in the oven to bake.”
“Hmm. I love home baking. What are you making Leah?“
“It’s like a cake, only not a cake, but it has to bake for a while, so I thought I would get on with my ironing.”
I detected laughter in Greg’s voice, “It sounds great, you’ll have to bring some to work tomorrow. How was your evening Leah? You said you had plans with friends. I was worried I had made you late.”
I was annoyed with myself that i had forgotten about telling Greg I was going out that evening, “Yeah, it was great. We had a blast. I went out for a drink with friends and then came home and decided to start baking. How about you Greg? Have you had a good evening?“
Greg’s tone changed, “Not really. The thought that I may have offended you or hurt you has been making me anxious. I have been going over and over things in my mind. I knew I would not be able to sleep tonight if I didn’t talk to you about it.”
I waited anxiously for Greg to explain himself, but he seemed to want to hear my reply first. Eventually I said, “I’m so glad you called.”
My remark seemed enough to spur Greg on, “If you are happy Leah, I would like to carry on with our chats. But I think it would be better only to do so outside of work. I won’t email you any longer in the office on subjects that are not connected with the work. But if I may, I would very much like to call you or use your personal email address Little Miss Lovely Locks to keep in touch. The relationship we have developed is something that has brought me a lot of comfort this past year. It’s been lovely to get to know you, and I would like to continue that, if you feel the same way.”
“I do Greg, I really do.”
“So why Little Miss Lovely Locks? Is that a name you gave yourself, or did someone else choose it for you?“
Feeling slightly embarrassed, I told Greg that my mother used to wrap my hair in rags to create curly locks when I was a child. My parents had called me Little Miss Lovely Locks. I asked Greg, “Does it sound stupid?“
“No, no, not at all. It’s very sweet. At first I thought it was supposed to be a bit kinky. I thought you were giving me an email address you only use for dating.”
The thought had never crossed my mind of creating an email account just for dating. But my mind picked up on a word Greg had used, “Do you like things to be a bit kinky Greg?“
Greg laughed, “The kinkier the better Leah. Wow! That’s not something I would want to say to you at work.”
They whisky I had drunk was still in my system and on feeling a sense of arousal in the pit of my stomach, I mumbled, “I can do kinky. What do you have in mind?“
Greg hesitated to reply, “Did we agree to take things slowly Leah? I think it’s too early for me to confess all the things I want to do to you in my mind, but I have had very erotic fantasies about you for some time. Let’s put them aside at the moment. Let’s just carry on as we have been doing and see if anything develops naturally.”
A wave of excitement rushed up through me. Greg had been having erotic fantasies about me, “Whatever you think, just don’t forget about them. I am sure I would like to hear more about these fantasies at some point.”
“Maybe I should say goodnight for now Leah before I say too much. I assure you I will not let our relationship outside of work affect our professional rapport. I won’t bring up any of our conversations at work and I won’t let anyone else know that you and I have a special friendship.”
“Ok Greg, I won’t say anything to anyone either. I really want this with you. I don’t want anything to spoil it.”
“Goodnight Leah. Sweet dreams.”
“Goodnight Greg. I wish…I wish you were here.”
“You have no idea how much I’d like that, but for now, I am going to let you sleep. See you tomorrow at work.”
Leah sighed contentedly one their call was over. She stared up at the ceiling. She was in a relationship. For the first time in her life, she was in a relationship. An odd relationship, but a relationship. The anticipation and excitement were overwhelming. Greg kept on saying they should take it slowly. All Leah could think about was kissing him. She closed her eyes and for the first time allowed herself to fantasize about all the possibilities of Greg being there in her bed.