Scrape: Chapter one, Part three
That afternoon she had a meeting with her whole department, the perfect opportunity to do some digging.
“So, this is just an informal meeting really,” John was standing at the front of the tiny meeting room, “just so we all get a chance to meet Louise, get to know a bit about her. And she can find out a bit about us too.” He gave a massive grin, nodded as if to himself and quickly sat down in the corner of the room. The whole department were squeezed into this airless room. All sat in a circle; except John, who for some reason had chosen to sit in the corner. Apart from the occasional banging noise resonating from the hallway, it was silent.
“How exactly do you want us to do this?” Mary, the team secretary had to turn 180 degrees to address John. That defeats the object of sitting in a circle, Louise thought to herself.
“Erm, oh right yes,” John fidgeted out of his seat, and stood uncomfortably in the middle of the circle, “well, how about we all go around saying a bit about ourselves and what our job is?”
Pairs of eyes around the room rolled, but everyone nodded – so that was what they were going to do.
“Ok, so I should probably start,” He paused and looked around the circle of faces. With an awkward expression, he took his chair from the corner of the room and slid it into the circle. Sitting down he sighed, “Well I’m John Reynolds, John Edward Reynolds and I manage the Copy Writing department. I’ve worked here now for about 10 years. I am married and have two children, Mason aged five and Ashleigh she’s about to turn 10.” With a look of satisfaction on his face, John slumped back into his chair.
During the next 20 minutes, Louise got to hear about Lorraine’s divorce, Paul’s love of classical music and Jo’s handbag addiction. Then it was her turn. “Hi everyone. I’m sure you all know, I’m Louise and it’s my first day. I’m the new Copy Writing Assistant. I moved to London last week, I’m originally from Stratford-Upon-Avon. Shakespeare Country. Back home I have a lovely family, a younger brother and sister and a wonderful boyfriend called Mark. I’m hoping to make as many great friends here as I have at home, so Hannah I’m definitely looking forward to Friday afternoons in the pub!”
John coughed, “we don’t spend every Friday in the pub. There is work to do!”
Hannah looked at Louise and mouthed “yes we do!”
Giggling Louise said, “Well in that case John, I’m looking forward to the occasional Friday afternoon in the pub. That’s about it.” Louise paused for a moment, “that made me sound like a complete alcoholic. I’m not.” She went red.
Her mind flicked back to 100 personal memories – No, I am definitely not an alcoholic.
“Don’t worry,” Tim said quietly, “we know what you mean.” Tim sat next to Louise in the office and was sat next to her now. He was skinny, pale, ginger and covered in freckles. He would turn red if any of the girls looked him in the face and only raised his voice above a whisper when he was on the phone or talking about music. But he had come to her rescue.
Cute boy. Little boy. She bet herself that he had never been kissed. If you excluded over weight and over familiar great aunts that is. Never been kissed by a girl. Certainly never been kissed by a pretty, blonde, blue eyed girl.
“Where did that come from!” Thought Louise, surprised by the random and innapropriate thought that had just popped itself into her head.
Jeremy had waxed lyrical about his cat, and Jenna was oozing some drivel about her Labrador, as Louise’s wandering mind decided to take the flushing, freckling, blushing, ginger boy under her wing. She would seduce him; no not seduce him, absolutely not! But seduce him into her philosophy, her view of life, her happiness and confidence; she would bring him out of himself.
“Ok, well I think that’s enough for now.” John was on his feet ushering everyone from the room, “Louise, wait here a minute. I want to have a chat with you.”