Liana telling the story in a nutshell

Love is the twin of a beautiful dream that survives birth to reality; but my love was a reality that survived arduous parturition only to remain a beautiful dream

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March 27, 2005

25. And, We Met/Part Two

About ten minutes later, Jack gestured to Fury, indicating that he wanted to talk to me. ‘Hey, you’re wanted’, she imparted. When I turned, the other two men had already started walking towards Tom’s office, where they eventually settled down to talk. They were much closer to us now, separated by only a glass wall and a distance of barely three meters. Jack assigned me a few more tasks, which were to be completed during his absence from the office in the next two hours. While I talked to Jack, I noticed through a few fleeting glimpses, how diligently Fury was surveying the offices, angling for any ‘weird’ stuff that could satisfy her inquisitiveness. I thwarted her attempt, denying her any such luck, but the totally oblivious party on the other side of the glass wall was patently cementing her suspicions, further stimulating the Sherlock Holmes in her. When I returned to her office, she could barely smother her excitement at obtaining what she deemed to be irrefutable evidence in support of her initial perceptions.
‘I swear, Lu, he hasn’t taken his eyes off you’, she breathlessly recounted, ‘not even for one second, examining you head to toe, and I’d be dead if I’m wrong, but I’m sure he asked Tom about you’.
‘Fury, stop this nonsense please’, I assayed negotiating with her. ‘It’s not abnormal for him to be asking about me; he is just another advisor. He was away on holiday, and no doubt would be dealing with me pretty soon’.
‘OH! And HOW did you know he was on holiday?’ She asked, arching her eyebrows
‘I overheard him talking to Jack’.

I realized my stupid slip of the tongue, only after it was too late to rectify it. I feared that Fury’s incisive perception would see beyond my studied nonchalance. I buried my eyes in my papers, shunning her piercing eyes.
‘Olalla,’ she mocked softly. ‘I told you those eyes were hiding something’.
‘And what’s that supposed to mean, idiot?’ I asked grumpily.
Backed by a sly smile, her eyes betrayed her mouth, as she replied, ‘Oh nothing, nothing darling, let’s get back to work’.

Wordlessly, we picked up our work where we had left off. About half-an-hour later, Fury excused herself to go to the lavatory; I discontinued work to wait for her return. I leaned back in my chair, fiddling for a few moments with the pen I had in hand, and strangely enough, fighting an overpowering urge to look across to the other side. It wasn’t my first experience with the look of fascinated admiration from men, which, by and large, I used to treat with apathy; for some reason, however, it seemed different this time. Beaten by increasing caprice, I mustered the essential courage, and picked up the gauntlet. I pushed my chair slightly backward in a gesture designed to look unpremeditated, and I glanced towards Tom’s office. Much to my surprise, those hazel eyes were not only waiting impatiently, but I was greeted with a broader and warmer smile, and a message that was far from subtle. Swiftly I averted my head nervously to the opposite side, and stopped dead, struggling to keep any sign of my discomfiture away from his besieging eyes; my heart pounded, a flood of heat surged through me and mounted embarrassingly to my face, while a pleasant surreal shiver ran through my whole body. Sure enough, I was panic-stricken, but no less intrigued, and that look seemed pulling me, powerlessly, like a moth to the flame.

Fury’s absence took longer than I expected. Attempting to reduce my discomposure, I stepped to the nearby coffee- maker, wholly discounting the other side from my attention. I grabbed two disposable cups, and strolled to the water cooler, a few meters down the hallway, which seemed entirely deserted. Not a single soul was around; employees were in their offices with most of the doors shut. I half-filled the cup, and stood there, for a few moments, sipping the water slowly while I watched some clangorous road works through the huge window that was adjacent to the water cooler. I replenished my cup, and filled another one for Fury. The moment I turned, I found myself colliding with something, or someone standing right behind me. I glimpsed a brown shirt that I recalled seeing earlier that morning. I looked up, and my eyes encountered the same hazel eyes, they were so close this time. We were just a stretch of a hand away. He smiled joyfully. I gasped softly; my whole body shivered, and my heart throbbed, everything around me gyrated and twirled. I sensed all the blood rushing to my head, and I almost lost my balance and fell into his waiting arms. It was evident how captivated he was by the pair of startled defencless eyes of Arabia, so close to him now. On running into him, I dropped one of the cups to the floor, spilling some of the water on the sleeve of his shirt, upon my hand, and on my skirt. Amidst all this disarray, I caught sight of Fury leaning against the office door, with her arms crossed, watching what was happening as if it were a movie of a few seconds’ duration.
‘Sorry’, I said walking off quickly.
‘Don’t be’, he said turning to me, ‘my fault’.

I trotted like a child towards Fury, breathless and in consternation. I grabbed her arm, and we both went into her office. My whole body was trembling and my face was burning; I felt on the verge of tears. I sat flipping nervously through the papers with shaky hands, and dropping a few on the floor. Fury gathered them and put them back on the desk. Beaten by the unmanageable shiver of my hands, I gave up working, and sat elbows fixed to the desk, and my face buried in both my hands. Fury stood aside, silent, watching me for a while. She drew nearer and whispered that some fresh air would help. But I was too confounded and feeble to fall in with the suggestion. She returned to her desk, and sat soundlessly.

A short while later I recouped some of my sapped strength. Fury had resumed work silently, but with the most impatient eyes, holding her horses with difficulty, only out of respect for my apparently pathetic confusion.
‘Where is he now?’ I murmured, head down, reorganising my papers.
‘He returned to Tom’s office, and stood talking to him for a few moments, after which he left. Can you talk now?’ She asked.
‘There's nothing to talk about.’ I replied peevishly. ‘You saw it all’.

She hushed up for a few moments, examining me. Before long I sensed her getting up. She came towards me, and tenderly hugged my shoulders, patting and comforting. I lifted up my head and managed a grateful smile. She went back to her desk and stayed put, engrossed in thought. A few moments later, she erupted, ‘HE’S SO DARING, incredibly daring. Frankly, I was sure this was coming, but not so soon. The thing that truly enraged me is the look and the smile he had on his face when he left the office; the b*****d seemed to be enjoying your state of confusion’.
To Be Continued.......