She rolled over and draped her arm over her eyes as she tried to figure out how to unify the team without making Terence feeling overly comfortable. “I should have dropped him.” She huffed. A soft knock on her door shook her from her thoughts.
“Sorry to bother you,” Lars said as she pulled open the door, “you have a call downstairs. Someone named Taz?” He shook his head slightly and raised an eyebrow as though he were wondering why anyone would name their child Taz.
Heather laughed at his facial expression. “That’s my boss; and ya, that’s his real name. Thanks, I’ll be right down.”
“I’m headed that way if you want me to walk you down.”
He was so easy on the eyes. How could she refuse? They made small talk as Heather intentionally passed the elevator and detoured for the stairs. Lars didn’t seem to notice that she took him the longest route possible as he asked “Are you enjoying your stay?”
“It’s nice. It’s not at all what I was expecting though.”
“Oh?” Lars paused with a concerned look on his face.
“No, no. It’s better than I expected. When Terence suggested a company retreat I guess I just pictured leaky tents, a mess hall for meals and canoe rides. I guess I watched ‘Parent Trap’ too many times as a kid.” Lars laughed at her reference, but Heather was sure it was just a courtesy laugh. “The exercises have been fun though and everyone is at least talking more to each other, so that’s progress. It’s just awkward being the company cheerleader. I prefer my laptop and office.”
“What do you do? “
“I’m a glorified office manager. Our company builds and maintains web-sites. It’s a small company so we all wear several hats. I handle advertising on social media sites and oversee the day to day stuff. ” Lars was quiet as he listened to her explain how a website was born. He nodded and smiled and occasionally seemed to have a hint of admiration on his face. She couldn’t tell if he was legitimately interested or just being polite. Either way, she liked that she had the chance to talk to him without Martina vying for his attention.
“Sounds interesting. I’m sure our owner would benefit from your expertise. You’ll have to leave your card...” Heather raised her eyebrows a little and smiled coyly. Lars cleared his throat “…so he can call you.”
“I can do that.” Her heart was beating fast and she hoped that her attempt to look alluring wasn’t mistaken for gassiness. Flirting did not come easy to her and she didn’t have the “assets” Martina had.
“Well, here we are,” Lars acknowledged as they reached the lobby. He spoke to the woman guarding the one and only working phone in the retreat, “Marge, Heather has a call holding on line 2. Please enter it into the log.” He was obviously joking, but the woman stood there with pen in hand ready to enter it somewhere. Lars patted her shoulder and laughed, “At ease Marge. I was kidding.”
“Of course Mr. Goldstein,” she said. Marge put the pen down and handed Heather the phone connecting her to an impatient Taz on the other end.
“Good heavens what took you so long?! I was on hold for a good 10 minutes!”
Heather rolled her eyes and was thankful her boss couldn’t see her mocking him. Lars waved and walked away laughing to himself. She was disappointed that their conversation was over and answered Taz a little more curtly than intended. “This is the only phone in the whole place Taz. I got here as fast as I could.” Then realizing she was talking to the man that signed her paychecks she added, “Sorry, sir. What can do for you?”
“I’m not going to make it to the retreat. Something has come up. I need you to finish up without me.” Heather wasn’t surprised, but irritated none the less. Taz was well known for adding things to her job description. “How are things? Are we one big happy family?”
“Almost. It’s only day three though. Don’t worry we are in good hands.” Heather swept the lobby for any sign of Lars. Nothing. “Well, my allotted time on the phone is up Taz. I’ll keep you updated.”
“Watch out for poison ivy…and snakes…and bears.”
“Bye Taz.” She handed Marge the receiver and started to walk away. Then turned back to the keeper of the phone and asked, “Can I make an outgoing call please?”
Marge whipped out the sign-up sheet for the phone and put her reading glasses on. Heather tried not to laugh. The lobby was empty except for the moose on the wall, and Heather doubted he was waiting to make a call.
“I suppose.” Marge leaned in and whispered, her face dead serious,“Just don’t tell anyone.”
“Cross my heart,” Heather whispered back and refrained from smiling. Marge handed her the phone and went back to her crossword puzzle. Heather dialed her best friend Laura and strummed her fingers on the desk as she waited for her to answer. Marge looked up and gave her the stink eye. Heather stopped the strumming and turned her back to Marge. When Laura finally answered Heather excitedly said, “Hey stranger!”
Marge gave her an irritated, “Shhhhhh!”
Heather couldn’t wait to tell Laura all about Lars, but there was no private place to talk. Heather silently cursed the ancient phone for not being cordless. She sunk to the floor, stretching out the phone cord as far as it would go and began recounting her stay, leaving no details about Lars and her Terence dilemma out.
“He follows me everywhere now Laura. I don’t know what to do,” she whispered as she relayed the events regarding Terence. “…He’s a really nice guy, but he is starting to creep me out. I would have just let him fall if I would have known I’d get this reaction.” Heather’s foot was falling asleep and she stood to shake it. She shifted the phone to her other ear and turned around. There, under the moose head, was Terence.
Check back tomorrow to see how Heather gets herself out of this one!