I had no idea what to tell her in response. I was always the kind to avoid any conflict. Even when it was necessary to strike back I tended to prefer the way of surrender, something that other boys at my high school took advantage of, often to my utter embarrassment. So when I was pressed for an answer in such a direct and unconditional manner I was completely and utterly lost. She was looking at me with a mixture of curiosity and contempt, obviously expecting me to say something in my defence, even an apparent lie.
“I am sorry, I…” I’ve finally forced myself to speak, when I was unexpectedly saved by a colleague of mine, who entered the office, ending our uneasy tête-à-tête with Nicole.
“Hey, David, how are you doing this fine morning?” Raymond, my desk neighbour to the right came in earlier than normal. I have to admit I’ve never been this happy to see that idiot. Raymond was about my age, but already balding and about 40 kilograms overweight. He would always annoy me with his unfunny anecdotes and boring stories about his family vacations and other life events I could not care less about.
“Hello, Raymond,’’ I responded and pretended that I had just finished talking with Nicole. “And thank you, Nicole, for cleaning under the desk for me, sorry for interrupting you earlier.”
She looked at me, that predator smile on her pretty face again, and leaned very close to my ear, whispering: “Consider yourself lucky for now, boy. But we are not over yet. Meet me in the lobby after my shift is over at noon. And don’t you dare not show up. Unless you want everyone to know, that is. ”