The autumn cold of the wooden floor on her feet sent an upward shock all the way to her scalp. This began Meghan’s morning, every morning, before the coffee was poured, the toast slightly burned, and her resignation that the dishes in the sink would have to survive until her return home that night. A prospect she was not at all welcoming. Roger Belfast was expected, and it was all she could do to not feel that same cold floor shock repeat itself while a bite of toast was starting to make route down her throat. It was easy to want to hate him. Her anger with him still stung, though she didn’t wish to admit it, nor the thought whether his six-foot frame and GQ chin scruff still held their appeal. She touched her cheek remembering the way he used to kiss her. With the fire set in his eyes with such strong intent, it often froze her. What truly froze her was how they parted. Six years hadn’t been long enough to undo the damage. With an annoyed head shake, she hurried breakfast, and focused on the welcome thought of her new job as executive assistant, but that lost ground to being without a budget to fix the constant drip in the tub, and back to Roger again. She had few resources available because, of course, she had returned to her home town of Chatterton after a decade of big city life that left her bank account barren, and only knowing a few friends from her 20’s, with whom she had managed to keep touch with on a slightly more than semi-annual basis, Meghan felt uncomfortably needy to use her ex-boyfriend to fix the tap leak. Couldn’t there have been anyone else available? It was a topic for ripe discussion, and surely her best friend, Marina, would take hold of that when they’d meet shortly. Luckily, or unluckily, Marina was also her new boss, and thank God, because it made moving back so much easier, but her paycheque wasn’t due for two weeks, “and that’s why I need him to help. It’s an old house, and I used the rest of my money for groceries. You know, I know this nice gal who employs good people. Maybe she could allot an advance?” Meghan had a way of sneaking requests in.
“Not on your life! Then you wouldn’t have the chance to get reacquainted with Roger!”, and that was Marina’s way of creating the drama she loved to witness.
In Marina’s office, Meghan played absent-mindedly with the only non-business item on the desk, an Einstein bobble head. “I have nine hours before seeing him for the first time in 6 years. And even though I am curious about what he looks like, I am grateful he’s taking the project on, for free.”
“Oh, I’m not so sure it’s that easy”, Marina pointed out.
“I seem to recall he was always up for a good deal. He’s had a few years of negotiation practice with his maintenance business.”
“And what are you referring to exactly.” Marina just smiled. It was all that was needed, and Meghan knew what she meant. She didn’t even have to say that much.