Read the first part HERE
Later on that morning Lucy sits at her desk at work. Phones ringing around her. People bustling by, busy with their daily duties. But although she sees and hears, she’s transfixed in a blank stare.
A female colleague approaches her door, she knocks.
Lucy doesn’t budge.
Her colleague, slightly confused, waves her hand it front of Lucy’s face.
Again Lucy seems distant, distracted.
“Knock, knock, anyone home?” she says, with a slight laugh.
Lucy jolts back to reality with realization.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry Cami, what can I do for you?”
“Are you okay boss, you look kind of spaced out?”
“Cami how many times do I have to tell you, just call me Lucy. We’re not that formal here,” she laughs.
“Yea, yea whatever, boss,” Cami winks “So what’s with the spaced out look on your face?”
“Oh I’m fine. I guess I just have a lot on my mind. And with the holidays coming up, I’m just a little more stressed than usual.” She forces a smile.
“Oh I completely understand, I’ve been trying to hustle my way through these last few days of work, so that I can have a peaceful few days with my family.”
“Well regardless of what you get done, the magazine can survive. Take whatever time you need, you deserve it.”
“Hmmm, I was just about to say the same thing about you.” Cami smiles.
“Seriously boss, you are the hardest working editor in this world, you need a break. Besides don’t you have a big fancy Christmas waiting for you back in your home town… where is that again?”
“Oakland Valley, Minnesota.” Lucy says with a slight fondness in her voice.
“I bet it’s one of those small magical towns that does Christmas justice, huh?”
“Oh yea, decorations go up December 1st, and festivities last all month. There’s a Christmas carnival and a big parade…” Lucy says with a sparkle in her eye her voice drowning off as she remembers.
“Sounds pretty special,” Cami says nodding along.
“It definitely is, I think that’s the part that I miss the most about living in a small town. You come to the big city and the holidays just become so…”
Lucy pauses and looks up at Cami, in awe.
“Yea, yes, that’s exactly the right word.”
“Boss, I’ve lived in New York City all my life, people come here for the glitz and the glamour and it’s nice and all believe me, but sometimes you need more. You need substance. And YOU need to go home and pack, and get the hell out of this office for the next couple of days. Like you said the magazine will survive. The people of New York can live without its daily dose of All Things Girl Gossip.”
Lucy looks at her knowingly and laughs.
“You are right. But let’s just say there are a few thinks back home that, I’m not exactly ready to face just yet.”
“Ooo…gossip?” Cami’s eyes light up as she makes her way further into Lucy’s office, taking a seat.
“It’s a guy isn’t it?”
“Why… why would you say that?” Lucy says looking away as she fidgets with papers on her desk to avoid answering.
“Well considering the fact that I’ve worked for you for the past year, I’ve picked up on the minor detail that you don’t really have a social life boss,” Cami says matter of factly.
“What- I do too…” Lucy says feeling insulted.
“Oh really? When was the last time you went out on a date?” Cami asks challenging her.
Lucy ponders for a moment, “Oh… just last Thursday, I went out to dinner with-”
“That was a business dinner, not a date.” Cami folds her arms.
“Ugh, what do you know?” Lucy says resorting to childish antics and pouting.
“Considering the fact that when I asked you if you not returning home- in what is it- over a year now right? Has anything to do with guy, you totally wigged out …yea I’d say it’s all about a guy.”
“Ok, fine, you caught me, it’s about a guy… that I used to know.”
“And by know, you mean dated?” Cami states.
Lucy glares, “-But he doesn’t live there anymore and he hasn’t been back there either.”
“Ok so then what’s the problem?” Cami notes the obvious question.
“It’s the memories that we had there. Oakland is my home yes, but it’s also where I met Dean and where I fell in love with him. And it’s also where he broke my heart.”
“Is this Dean, college boyfriend Dean?” Cami asks leaning into the conversation.
“How do you know about that?” Lucy asks narrowing her eyes.
“It’s an office, people talk.” Cami says trying to make light of it.
“Talk about what?” Lucy says surprised, baffled even.
“About office romances, how hot mailroom Bob is, and… how- to- get- the boss out of her dating rut.”
“Besides your Facebook is an open book, it’s not like you’ve bothered to delete any photos of him or anything, there’s your evidence.”
“Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this, so everyone just knows.”
“Well I wouldn’t say they know anything, I’d say they speculate things. I mean we don’t know how Dean hurt you, we just know that you were together in college and then you weren’t. And it seems to me like you may still be carrying a torch for him. Maybe that’s worth looking into?”
Lucy glares at her.
“Ok I am not still carrying a torch for him. I hate him. I hate him for what he did to me, for how he hurt me. And I don’t care to relive that, thank you. And I think it’s insensitive for people to talk about things that involve my personal life, behind my back. It’s unprofessional.”
“Ok boss, all due respect but we aren’t professional here. We’re all friends. We all care about each other, we care about you. This is home. You instilled that in us. “We’re not that formal here” remember?”
“We love you and we just want you to be happy.” Cami says reaching out for her friend’s hand.
Lucy takes it and smiles.
“Thank you. And I’m sorry. It’s just-”
“I hit a nerve.”
“Yea, you hit a nerve.” Lucy says.
“Well at the risk of overstepping my boundaries, I am going to say one more thing, and I ask you to please not hate me.”
“Okay…” Lucy says reluctantly.
“Maybe the reason you haven’t dated since Dean, is because there is still a lot of unresolved things between you too, that are preventing you from moving on.”
“I-” Lucy stops pondering.
“Or maybe you just don’t want to move on.” Cami says as Lucy’s eyes widen.
She sits back in her chair, in shock, and possible realization.
“Should I book you on the next flight out, boss?”
Lucy looks at her not knowing what to say.
To be continued…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*