Gretchen – Part 3

“Could she possibly get any closer?” I ask Jack who is standing in my cube. He always gets up around this time to take what he calls a “mental break”. To me it sounds more like a chat session with anyone who won’t ignore him. He goes to random cubes and strikes up conversation. If you don’t shut him down within the first minute, he’ll be there for twenty.

At the moment we are watching Jodi go over some document with Bob a couple cubes down. She’s wearing a form fitting fuchsia button-down shirt, the buttons of which are undone a little too far for me to consider professional. She points at the paper and then leans in, almost brushing Bob’s shoulder with her chest, to point at something on his screen.

“Well if she did, we’d certainly need to call HR.” Jack says as he takes an almond from the tin on my desk. I give him a sharp look and he smiles innocently at me. “Why do you hate her so much?” It’s been about three weeks since she started and I still haven’t warmed up to her.She reminds me of a girl in highschool. 

I wouldn’t say I had been popular, but I definitely was someone the geeks and nerds wanted to be. I had the long legs and skinny frame that all the girls were after. Even though internally it pained me to be social, I felt like that was the only way to keep insensitive prying of highschoolers at bay. I was friends with the cheerleaders which boosted my popularity rating and my best friend was the running back. I, myself, was not that into football and the only sport my mom let me participate in was track and field. The only reason she let me compete there was that, in 8th grade, I told her to time me while I ran a mile and she was sincerely shocked at how fast I had returned. She didn’t come to my meets, but I didn’t care. I liked it better without her there.

One day in my senior year, I was leaving school when I walked past the computer lab. I stopped when I saw a girl leaning over Michael’s shoulder. They were both laughing and he was looking at her with stars in his eyes. He had never really had a serious girlfriend. They had all been really short relationships and nothing more than a date here or there. I could tell from the way he was looking at her that she was going to be different. She was going to take my one good, true friend away.

“Hey Michael!” I said, not completely sure why I was interrupting.

“Yeah?” He said, both of them turning to me expectantly. My mind drew a blank.

“Um…” I grasped for words. “You coming to the meet this week?” He looked at me in confusion and she looked at me in annoyance. He came to almost every meet I had.

“Yeah. Of course.” I leaned against the door jam, making myself at home.

“OK, cool. What are you guys working on?” Vivian looked at me like she could throttle me right there. Get out. Her eyes screamed at me. Michael turned toward the computer and I gave Vivian a snarky smile.

“We got paired for a science project and we’re researching our options.” Michael was completely oblivious to the daggers being shot behind his head.

“I don’t hate her.” I told Jack bringing myself back to the present. “I’m just suspicious of someone who is always that perky and willing to help. She has to want something.” Jack shook his head at me, a disbelieving smile playing on his lips.

“You know, when I first met you I thought you were a bitch.” My mouth instantly twisted in one corner and I rolled my eyes. “But now that I really know you, I know you are.” I push his arm hard enough to shove him out of my cube.

“Go back to work Jack and leave the bitch to do her own.” He laughs and winks at me as he backs out of my cube and then turns to go back to his.

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4 thoughts on “Gretchen – Part 3

  1. if i had to guess, i would guess you liked michael (aware of it or not) and so did viv, and she was afraid you would steal him.

    maybe neither one of you had claimed him yet, but both wanted him to like you– and perhaps she considered you a greater threat than you considered yourself. none of that is your fault– but maybe you only hated her for shooting you down because she thought she had to. youve been popular enough to know that popular girls are insecure, too– sometimes more so. cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

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