The office is still getting used to my new vibrant red hair colour.
Martin is staring at me, his mouth hanging open. I watch as he grips the desk and reaches for his handkerchief to wipe his brow. “Good grief Roxy what have you done!”
The nice men on the IT helpdesk are giving me a thumbs up from across the office. Two young trendy girls from PR have given me a ‘OMG – cooooooool hair Roxy!’
Bev, who sits on the opposite desk, has a puzzled look on her round podgy face. “Roxy love, can I ask you whether that colour is permanent?”
If I am honest, Wayne did get a little carried away with the colour on my hair. By the time he had finished my hair I was enjoying a gin & tonic. I took one look in the mirror, screamed and made myself a second large gin & tonic to calm down.
Matilda arrived home from her Cheerleading training session. She took one look at my hair and rolled her eyes. I then overheard her later in her room making a YouTube video titled ‘When your mother thinks she’s 21 again’.
Toby looked frightened of me when he came down for breakfast this morning and ate his rice krispies whilst confiding in Bob the Rat.
I dreamt about Marcus and the photocopier incident last night. As I now stand at the photocopier, waiting for 20 copies of a dull report on some statistics to photocopy, I am reminded of my dream.
“Are you going to be long?” says a familiar voice, dragging me back to reality.
I whirl round to see Marcus standing behind me looking awkwardly.
“Oh Marcus!” I say, in a fluster. “Do you need to use the….ummm…” For some unknown reason I can’t seem to say the word. My head is awash with saucy images from my dream mixed in with some real memories from that night when we kissed on this very spot.
“The photocopier?” he mumbles, loosening his tie.
I smile. “Yes thats right, the photocopier.” In my head I order myself back to my desk.
I have just received a text from Matilda.
– It reads, ‘Just fallen in love with Matt from 6th form’ – series of heart emojis.
– I text back a smiley face and a heart emoji.
– Matilda text’s back. ‘You will like him. He wants to be a doctor.’
– I text back a second smiley face.
Matilda texts back. ‘As we are now an item. He asked me out on the school bus. Can I stay over at his house tonight so we can talk about our feelings for each other?’
Martin is multi tasking, he’s stapling documents at speed whilst watching me text my daughter.
“Is there a problem Roxy?” he asks, stopping to reload his stapler.
I chuckle at my phone. “Somedays Martin, my teenage daughter suffers from amnesia. I have been saying no to this request for months. She’s not staying over at a boy’s house!’
Martin carries on stapling at speed.
I text back ‘NO!’
Matilda texts back with ‘relax Mam, we won’t have sex or anything. Just talking.’ Followed by a smiley emoji.
I shake my head at my phone. Martin puts down his stapler. “What’s happening now?’
“She says there will be no sex, just talking. I wasn’t brought down in the last rain shower.”
Martin drops his stapler on the floor in surprise.
I receive Text from Matilda ‘Lou [her best friend] said her Mum would let her stay over with a boy who she had just started dating.’
I text back ‘I am not Lou’s mother!’
Text from Matilda ‘Matt and I both hate you!’
Martin has gone to the rest room complaining of a head ache.
We are all sat in a department meeting. Mr Gorgeous Marcus is presenting some business statistics.
All the department are sat on chairs in rows. Some of us are listening, some are asleep (Mike from Finance), some are bored rigid, some are staring out of the window and some of us are drooling at Marcus.
For some unknown reason I can’t take my eyes off him; his fitted pink shirt, his grey pin stripe trousers and his styled grey flecked hair.
I have noticed the occasional glance in my direction from him.
He’s done it again. Looked at me from across the room.
I am so glad no one else has noticed this.
I am tapped on the shoulder, from behind, by Helen from Accounts. “Roxy why does Mr gorgeous keep staring at you?” she whispers.
I shrug my shoulders and keep my eyes firmly fixed on Marcus.
“Maybe he likes your new hair colour?” Helen whispers, making me nod in agreement.
“Maybe he fancies you!” she whispers, into my ear. The idea of Marcus being attracted to me starts to take shape. I am consumed by the fluttery sensation in my chest again and I can feel my cheeks heating up.
In an instant my brain runs through how our wedding day will look and whether or not I will invite anyone from the office to the evening celebration.
“He’s a senior manager Roxy” Helen whispers. My fantasy starts to crack.
“Unlucky honey – he couldn’t date you anyway, he’s your senior manager,” she hisses.
I turn around to glare at her face which is taut and twisted.
Helen has never really moved on from the blonde surfer who broke her heart. She hates to see anyone else getting some attention from the opposite sex.
I can hear her telling Donna. “Roxy thinks Marcus fancies her but I have just told her it would be a HR issue if he does.”
Donna has never been the brightest tool in the box. “Why?”
Helen exhales loudly. “He’s her senior manager Donna, they’re not allowed to come onto us!”
I can hear Donna noisily chew her gum before saying, “I don’t get it!”
For the record if I did get married to Marcus, Helen from Accounts will not be invited to the evening celebration.
10. 34 A.M.
I totter back to my desk and see email from Marcus. He wants to me come to his office as he has an important update on one of my projects.
As I am making my way towards his office my phone bleeps. I casually peek at it and gasp. It’s from Shaz, my heavily pregnant best friend.
‘I have pains – think its labour’ Shaz texts.
Quickly I text back. ‘You are four weeks early. It’s probably Braxton-Hicks’
‘It hurts’ texts Shaz. She also includes eight crying emojis.
‘How many Snickers bars have you had?’ I text back.
’12- why?’ texts Shaz.
‘Stop eating Snickers bars!’ I text back.
‘Are you still going to be my birthing partner?’ texts Shaz.
‘Yes – always – get some rest!’ I text back.
10. 37 A.M.
I sit opposite Marcus and I can’t stop the fluttering sensation in my chest. It must be my breakfast repeating on me.
As he is on the phone I check my bag for some indigestion tablets. I don’t have any so I pop a mint.
10. 50 A.M.
He finally puts down his phone and holds my gaze.
“Roxy,” he says in his sexy smooth voice. I notice that his sea blue eyes are not sparkling today. “I am leaving the company,” he announces.
My heart sinks.
For a moment we both sit and stare at each other.
My phone starts ringing.
I let my phone ring. A lump has risen in my throat and tears are pricking my eyes. I am actually sad to hear Marcus’s news.
‘There will be a formal briefing later. I wanted to tell you myself,” he says, shuffling some folders around his desk.
My phone starts ringing again from inside my handbag.
“I am so sorry Marcus,” I say, trying not to cry. It is not good for your career to cry when a senior manager says they are leaving. All emotion must be kept to a minimum. I just hope I am not asked to sign his leaving card. I struggle with writing comments on leaving cards as my emotions run wild. I have been known to give people the wrong impression. Kevin from Accounts, who left the company, still thinks there is something between us six years on.
“Do you have another job to go to?” I croak.
He turns to look out of the window. “I haven’t got anything lined up yet.”
My phone will not stop ringing.
“Oh I am sorry Marcus, I think it is my daughter calling to tell me she hates me for not letting her stay over at her boyfriend’s house.” I always ramble when I am nervous.
Marcus gives me a blank look.
“She knows I will physically remove her from his parent’s house if she disobeys me. These teenage years are really hard and Matilda seems to be a magnet for boys.”
Marcus is still staring at me.
“I just wanted to say….” he pauses. He takes a breath and looks away.
“I will miss you,” the words fly out of my mouth and take me by surprise. I do struggle when my brain and mouth decide to disconnect.
His eyes widen and I watch his mouth fall open.
My phone keeps ringing. This has to be an emergency. I check the screen. Its Shaz. Quickly I answer it.
“I need to go to the hospital Roxy, the pain is really bad,” groans Shaz. “I have no one to get me to the hospital.”
I look up at Marcus, “I have to go, my best friend thinks she’s in labour and I am her birthing partner.”
Marcus looks shocked and runs his hand through his grey flecked hair. “’Isn’t the father about?” he enquires.
I shake my head. “Sadly not, he doesn’t want anything to do with her. It is a long story. He’s a postman,” I explain.
“Do you have a car?” he asks, loosening his tie.
“I will get a taxi’ I say, reaching for my purse.
“Let me help you’ he says, rising from his chair and grabbing his jacket.
Now it is my turn to be shocked. “But you are the senior manager,” I say, grabbing my bag.
“I am leaving Roxy,” he says, whilst giving me a huge smile.
Marcus is driving at pace through town and towards the hospital.
Shaz and I are in the back of his Jaguar. I am holding Shaz’s hand whilst she groans and mumbles “Snickers bar….someone get me a Snickers Bar…help me!”
He keeps catching my eye in the mirror.
I am nervous for Shaz but I am consumed once again by this fluttery feeling.
Marcus and I are trying to help Shaz out of the car. She’s groaning and moaning, whilst rubbing her bump.
I can’t take my eyes off Marcus. We both let go of Shaz’s hand and step closer to each other.
Shaz sticks her head out of the car. “Errr can someone help me?’
After struggling with Shaz up some steps we grab a wheelchair and push Shaz up to the Maternity section of the hospital.
“You didn’t have to do this!” I shout to Marcus, as we race along.
“I like rescuing you Roxy,” he says and turns to look at me. We both stop pushing the wheel chair and stare at each other.
The world around us seems to stop. All I can hear is the thudding of my heart. We both step closer to each other.
“I love your hair!” mumbles Marcus.
“Thank you!” I say, in a little squeaky voice, trying not to blush. In my head I praise Wayne.
“OMG Roxy I am in labour and you are on the bloody pull!” shrieks Shaz.