All for the want of an umbrella

Just for fun, I’m participating in’s “Story a Day for May”, and I’ll post some of the tales I write here. Here’s my response to Day 1’s prompt (click here to see the original prompt):

This is a big day at work for him, I can tell. He’s taking such care with his appearance this morning, primping his hair for far too long, punctuating his work with the comb with discontented huffs. He knows that I need the sink so I can shave my own face and brush my teeth. I have to go to work today too, after all.

I debate teasing him about being such a peacock, but I can tell he’s nervous, so I refrain and keep the snark to myself this time. I do clear my throat and he jumps a little. I look at the clock and he does too. “Sorry, sorry!” he says as he tosses the comb into a drawer and moves into the bedroom to get dressed.

As I lather up my face, I can hear him rooting around in his dresser, probably looking for socks. For a man who prides himself on his appearance, he can honestly be such a slob at home. I mean, I’m not much better, but at least I kept my socks rolled together.

“Which is it today?” I ask as I slide the razor along my jawline. I know he’s got several important meetings and presentations this month, but I don’t keep track of the specifics.

“It’s the meeting with the investors for the new building” I hear a muffled reply. “Everything’s riding on this one.”

“Wow, well good luck, babe,” I say as I shake the excess cream and stubble into the sink. “Oh, by the way, it looks like rain. Don’t forget your umbrella.” No answer. Did he hear me?

* * *

It’s a humid morning, and it’s too early in the spring for the air conditioner to really be on, so I’m dying a little at the coffee bar today. But, this job helps pay for school, so I stick with it and plaster a cheerful smile on my face, even though I’d rather be studying for my biochem exam.

It’s the morning rush, so it’s our busiest time of day. I move like a robot, taking orders, filling them, handing them out. Fi’s working the food side of the house so I don’t have to worry about that, praise Jeebus.

The bell jingles on the door, and I look up from the cappuccino machine. It’s that guy. I don’t know what he does, but he’s always so well dressed and super hot. I have a massive crush on him but Fi says he’s married to another cute guy, she’s seen them together. Ah well.

He’s next in line, so I take his order: a latte, nothing fancy. He’s usually a pretty happy looking guy but not today. I hand him his drink with a smile, and he doesn’t smile back, but whatever. Everyone has bad days. At least he left his usual tip in the jar.

I notice the light outside. It’s gotten really gloomy out there all of a sudden. Great. My shift will be done soon and I’ve gotta walk to campus in that.

“Looking a bit dark out there,” I say. He doesn’t say anything in response, just sorta shrugs, and leaves. But just as the door closes, the sky opens up and it starts pouring. Hard. And just as suddenly, me and everyone else in the store hear him yell “Shiiiiit!” loud enough to be heard over the rain.

* * *

Ugh. Rain. Good for the gardens, but crappy driving. At least I park underground. I get into the elevator, pick my floor, and start scrolling through my phone, reading through the emails that have come in since I left home.

There’s a ding, and the door opens into the lobby. There’s a man waiting there, totally soaked. Like he’s come off a shipwreck or something. His suit used to be a light grey, I can tell, but now it looks like slate and must weight a ton. Water trickles from his hair onto his face.

His expression is a mixed bag of emotions. Think rage, terror, humiliation, and anxiety all jumbled together. Who is this guy?

Then I recognize him. It’s that guy I run into every now and then. I don’t know his name, but he’s a familiar face at the coffee joint several blocks over, near the train stop. He drinks lattes too.

He works somewhere in the building above me, I know that, because he stays on the elevator when I get off, and is sometimes already in there when I get on to go downstairs. And he always has great ties, but the one he’s got on today is probably a write-off. Same thing with those shoes.

He steps into the elevator and raises a dripping arm so he can press the button for his floor. I instinctively reach into my gym bag and pull out my towel, though I don’t know that it’ll do much good against the run-off, and hand it to him. “You might need this,” I say.

“Thanks, man.” He begins to blot himself off. Then, before I can help myself, I blurt out “what the hell happened to you?”

“I forgot my umbrella.” he groans. And then we reach my floor.

Copyright Jessica Allyson 2018

Author: JAllyson

Jessica Allyson is a pen name derived from a fictitious twin (the doctors were mistaken). During the day, I work for a national members association, at night, I unleash my trivia-loving choir-singing fangirl self. I live in Ottawa, with my husband and our cats, who are our most vocal critics.

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Copyright Jessica Allyson 2018