“This is going to be a long week,” Heather told her weary reflection in the mirror the next morning. Then, she remembered Lars! She gave a practice smile into the mirror. She groaned and gathered up her make-up. It was going to take some work to make herself presentable.
At breakfast, she was seated with her co-workers. Terence was reading a sci-fi book, Martina was swooping her phone around, trying to get a signal and Gary was staring straight ahead, at nothing in particular. He didn’t look like he’d slept very well either. Pete hadn’t emerged from his room yet.
There was a bang as the door behind them opened. They all turned to see John and Lars enter the room. “Good morning,” John said. Lars smiled. Heather smiled back, then she noticed the ridiculous smile on Martina’s face. She hoped she wasn’t that obvious.
“When you’ve finished eating, join us in the conference room for some team building activities,” Lars said.
“Isn’t there one more of you?” John said.
“I will go find Pete,” Heather said, standing up and dropping a fork in her eagerness. Lars smiled at her again. Heather felt herself blushing as she left the dining room.
She had to knock for a full minute at Pete’s door. He finally answered the door, hair disheveled and eyes dull. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “Overslept.”
Heather rolled her eyes. “This is like work,” she said, “Remember? You are getting paid to participate.”
“OK, OK,” Pete said, “I’ll be right down.”
In the conference room, Heather sidled up to Lars. “Pete will be right down,” she said with what she hoped was her most charming smile.
“Great, thanks!” Lars said.
“Gather ‘round,” John said, “We are going to start the morning with some team building exercises. These are pretty common and you may have done some of them before but there’s a reason why they’re so common. They’re effective.”
“The first thing we’re going to do is a trust fall,” Lars said, “John and I will demonstrate.”
Lars stood a few feet behind John then John fell backward. Lars caught him.
“OK,” John said, ”Any volunteers to go first?”
Heather’s hand shot up. She could think of nothing better than falling back into Lars’s arms.
“Great,” Lars said, “Anyone else?”
Terence raised his hand in a weird stunted reach. Heather rolled her eyes. Terence thought it was hilarious to have T-rex arms. What was he? Eleven?
“OK, Heather, is it?” Lars asked.
“Yes,” Heather said breathlessly. He knew her name?
“You stand here, Heather,” Lars said, pointing to an area on the floor. “You stand in front of her,” he told Terence.
“Really?” Heather asked. This wasn’t what she was hoping for.
“Trust me,” Lars said, turning his gorgeous eyes toward her, “You can catch him.”
Heather was still reeling from those eyes when Terence was suddenly falling into her arms. She quickly reached her arms out and awkwardly caught him. Terence looked up at her with a hard to read expression.
“Thanks, Heather,” he said with a nervous smile. “Did you see the way she caught me?” he asked Pete who had finally shown up.
“Yeah,” Pete said, yawning.
Was Terence looking at her with adoration? “It was no big deal,” Heather said. Was it her imagination or was Terence standing really close to her?
Check back tomorrow to see if Terrence's adoration stands a chance of blossoming into more!