Day 222 – The Third Party – Part 3

Word count: 836

Elaine’s smile stretched the width of her face. It was a fantastic grin of pure happiness, of looking forward to the future and of hope and utter joy. Things were looking up. Things were more than simply looking up: they were going up too. Elaine was skipping along the street to work. She had never been so excited in the morning. The sun rose with blossoming contentment. A new day: a fresh start.

It did not matter that she was signed up for a horrible day of stress and irritating work colleagues. It did not matter that the rent was due tomorrow and she still had not been paid from the previous Friday. It did not matter that she was going to be slightly late or that she might leave early; it did not matter if she took the bus or not. It did not matter if it rained and she got completely soaked. It did not matter what people might think, what people might say. Nothing that mattered yesterday mattered today.

They had been up for hours the night before; planning, devising and scheming. They felt like criminals, concocting evil plans to get rich quick but it was too easy an opportunity not to miss. They had mapped it all out on pen and paper and figured out each and every step in the process. It needed to be slow, it needed to be grown like a tender plant: fed, watered and looked after. This was not the sort of job to rush – there was no room for haste in their ideas. This was calculated. This was not going to go wrong.

They were to split the money equally. Split the money and never speak of it to anyone. It would be their silent secret that only they would ever know about. They would not quite their jobs as if they had won the lottery, they would not splash out on fancy things and fast cars. They would appear normal as if nothing that would change their lives forever was ever happening.

Elaine pushed through the doors into the office. It did not rain on her in the end, but she looked blustered by the wind. She felt her cheeks reddening as if she were embarrassed. Barry was beaming from his desk, pleased as ever to see her.

“Hey Elaine, how are you?”

Elaine smiled back, politely implying she wanted to be left alone. Each morning she would repeat this, each morning he would fail to receive the point. She slumped down in her desk and absorbed the memos and post-it notes that she had left for herself from the day before. Everywhere she looked was an array of tasks she had not quite had the time to finish. She felt exhausted before she had even booted her computer.

“Tea anyone?” Elaine got up to fetch some water for the kettle. The rest of the office grunted an affirmative.

It was a nice little office she worked it, really. Though her colleagues were often a bit standoffish and reserved, with the soul exception of Barry, it was not a bad place to work. For a small accountancy firm, it was probably the best atmosphere she could have wished for. Elaine had worked in high performance, high speed offices before. The big firms with the targets and the jargon words in every presentation might have paid out well in salaries, but had taken away every inch of Elaine’s life. This little company provided the comfort of a good salary and allow her the freedom of a social life at the same time. There were a few cockroaches in the company though. Jackie always had her back up unless she wanted something from someone else. Tony’s sights were set firmly on an ever-expanding career and Jenny was simply obsessed with wielding what little power the boss had given her as Team Leader.

Elaine made them all tea and settled back in her desk. Checking her mails first, she set out her agenda for the day. It would be another dull one by the looks of it, but there may be a window of opportunity to get some lunch with a friend of hers that she used to work with. It was these little things that excited her usually: the chance to eat somewhere new, meet someone different. Within a minute she was on some expensive shoe website. Elaine could not help herself: she had just remembered the plan and her brain needed to pre-plan what she was going to spend it all on.

Browsing the high heel section, she felt her phone buzz a text message through in her pocket. It was from Jo.

Kirk opened another letter. Turns out she’s a charity aid worker in Africa. What should we do?!

Elaine felt a small globule of sick rise to her throat. Could she really steal from a charity worker? The shoes stared back at her blankly, as if begging her for an answer.

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~ by S.G. Mark on May 16, 2012.

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