Chapter Six, Part Two
The arrival of morning was a relief. For the first night in his life, Billy had been unable to sleep and instead had been running through conversations and scenarios in his head, trying to cover every eventuality and ensure his date that night went perfectly. It was 7am when he got a text:
‘Don’t forget the folder,’ it was from John.
He didn’t bother replying. Instead he went into his bathroom and had a shower and a shave. If Billy ever found himself awake before 9am, he wouldn’t get out of bed. If, for some reason, he did have to be out of bed before 9 he would never have a shower and would definitely never shave, but today was different. After an uncharacteristic amount of time in the bathroom (a whole 15 minutes), Billy went to his wardrobe and picked out his best and cleanest jeans. He thought better of wearing a shirt, and instead put on one of his more expensive t-shirts. Looking at himself in the mirror, he was surprised at how attractive he looked when he made some effort. Smiling at the memory of his own reflection, he picked up the folder and headed out into the cool London morning.
Billy parked his cab opposite the familiar office block and checked the time, 8.30. It was early, especially for a Friday, and he guessed that nobody would be at work at the time. Well nobody except the dedicated and hard-working John Edward Reynolds. He walked into reception and was directed to the fifth floor, apparently Mr Reynolds was expecting him. The lift doors opened effortlessly and as he stepped out he was greeted with a handshake and a suspicious look,
“You look different,” John Reynolds looked confused.
“Oh yeah, thanks,” Billy mumbled uncomfortably.
John led him into his office and stood with his back to his desk,
“The folder?” He demanded.
“Here it is,” Billy handed him the folder hoping he couldn’t tell that Billy had seen what was inside, “it’s a good job you noticed it was missing. It had fallen under the seat, I wouldn’t have seen it.”
“And you didn’t look inside?”
“Of course not,” Billy hated lying, and hoped he didn’t give himself away. John was too busy checking the contents of the folder to notice. He stood watching John leaf through every page in the folder, when he got to the CD Billy was surprised to see John finger it with a look of excitement on his face. “Is there anything else?” Billy asked checking his watch.
“No that’s it,” John looked up, “oh, but what are the flowers for?”
Billy looked around the small office anxiously, “well, I’m dating a girl who works here. And I thought if she saw me she might get suspicious.”
“Ok,” John shrugged. He heard enough about the sex lives of his colleagues from them, he didn’t need to hear about it from taxi drivers as well.
“I don’t suppose you could tell me which desk is hers?” Billy knew he was pushing his luck, he could see he was wasting Mr Reynolds’ precious time, “her name’s Mina. I don’t know her surname.”
“Oh her,” John gave Billy a look that he didn’t understand, “her desk is at the back of this floor, in the art department. You’ll know it’s hers. She has loads of black and white prints of old film stars.”
As he stepped out into the open plan office floor, Billy was surprised to see that there people sat at some of the desks. He wanted to be inconspicuous, but none of the female members of staff could avoid staring at the handsome man carrying a bunch of flowers, who had he come to see? As he walked past desk after desk, getting slowly closer to the one which must be hers, Billy was relieved to see that the Art Department was more deserted than the one he had just walked through. In fact, only one of the desks seemed to be occupied. He walked closer and couldn’t fail to recognise the perfectly glossy ebony of Mina’s hair. His heart jumped into his throat as she turned and saw him,
“Oh my god!” she practically jumped out of her seat, “what are you doing here? I look like a tramp.” She blushed and covered her face with her hands.
“You look stunning,” Billy tried to regain himself, “I just wanted to bring you some flowers,” he said, awkwardly handing them to her.
“Thanks,” Mina flashed him her perfect smile as she took them and set them down on her desk. John had been right about the photos, her noticeboard was covered in them. “But I am seeing you tonight?”
“Yeah, but what are you meant to do with a bunch of flowers when we’re having dinner?” Billy had always been good at thinking of his feet.
“True,” Mina smiled and stood up, “well they’re beautiful. Thank you. And you look really good!”
Now it was Billy’s turn to blush, he looked down at the floor. When he looked up again Mina was standing directly in front of him.
“Well, I better go and let you do some work,” he said not really wanting to leave. As he turned to go, Mina caught him by the arm. He turned to face her. She was smiling as she kissed him in the middle of the Art Department. Billy was smiling all the way back to his cab.