One Day Maybe
by Mark C.
by Mark C.
Authors Note: This story is copyrighted by the author, and no part of it may be copied, linked to, or used in any way without the express written permission of the author. This is a work of fiction, and the characters, places, and events are not real. They exist only in the mind of the author. Any resemblance to real persons, places or events is unintentional.
My desk at work on Monday morning looked the same as it had when I left on Friday and obviously no good fairy or a person doing random acts of kindness had come in to complete my reports or fill out the next month's budget forecast for my Operations area. IT at the company was divided into three areas: Programming, Operations and Infrastructure. Operations was responsible for the daily and nightly processing of data and the computer room. Infrastructure maintained all the hardware, networks and wiring. Years ago Operations and Infrastructure were one department and I did not have to worry about the budget. Then the Finance VP got a bright idea to separate us so her expenditure reports "would be more detailed". I suppose she had her reasons but as a non-Finance person, it seemed to me money spent was money spent, regardless of who spent it.
I hated the budget forecast since I did not have a crystal ball to see into the future and know how many boxes of computer paper we would use next month. Sure, I had a good guess but one unexpected company event and my estimate was out the window and Finance would be in my face. Known only to us in Operations, I did have a spare stock of supplies slowly built up over time to handle emergencies though. What Finance didn't know wouldn't hurt them in this case.
Staring at the blank budget spreadsheet just deepened the foul mood I was already in, thanks to my Saturday night. Talk about a crash and burn. After a couple of rum and cokes at Daddy's, the closet gay bar to where I live, I had begun to get over Fay's deserting me and began looking around at the guys in the bar. Alone in the corner, at a table by himself was a young man, looking decidedly uncomfortable. I can still remember that feeling myself when I was new to the gay scene so I went over and introduced myself, asked if I could sit, and then we had a nice chat. His name was Brent and this was his first time at a gay bar. We talked a bit, then I went to the bar to get two more drinks and while returning to the table, saw Brent leaving with a leather clad man, his arm possessively around Brent. Brent saw me, gave me a thumbs up over the guy and mouthed the word "Sorry" at me. Obviously the leather clad man had waited until I left to swoop in on the newbie and carry him off. I hope Brent knew what he was doing but it was out of my hands now. So I sat at the table, watching hot young things do the dance of attraction and foreplay and drank the two drinks all the while being totally ignored. I just didn't have the heart to go elsewhere looking for a sexual romp. Besides, deep down, I wanted someone forever, not just a quick orgasm. This had not been my finest evening, I reflected while driving home.
But this was now a new week and I had James to look forward to seeing all day. And the thought of his smile slowly began to lift my mood, which definitely got better when I was finished with the budget and had e-mailed it to Finance. One onerous job done for the day.
Janice's "Mornin', Ben," interrupted my smugness at not having to see another budget spreadsheet for at least a month.
"Hey, Janice. Another Monday and here you are again, a glutton for punishment."
Before she could respond with a wisecrack of her own, I spotted James coming up to stand beside her. "Talk about a glutton for punishment," I joked and smiled at him. "After all we did on Friday to scare you off, you decided to come back? Janice, we're losing our touch!"
James laughed and his whole face lit up as a result of that megawatt beam of his. I could not believe how it twisted my heart around in knots and made me feel I could take on an army for his sake. "To be honest, I spent most of the weekend looking forward to Monday. I'd rather be at work with you two instead of unpacking boxes and dealing with filling up empty cabinets and a refrigerator with food and cleaning supplies." He looked directly at me while mentioning "work with you two".
Was it an innocent statement or did James mean anything by both it and his look at me? My heart sighed and wanted to swoon in his arms, my head logically told me it meant nothing and to get back to reality and work.
"Well, since we didn't scare you off, let's get you going on the systems check for Monday. We often have a lot of systems maintenance performed on weekends when we can take the servers down so we have to make sure all systems are up and functioning now. The people doing the maintenance work should have checked everything before they left but at times unforeseen things can occur."
Janice laughed and said, "Yeah, right, like the time the network admin unplugged the main server to move it to a new rack and forgot to plug it back in when he left. Talk about a mess in the morning. Lots of pagers went off early that morning! He has never stopped getting teased about that little lapse."
I left James and Janice to start checking everything, Janice showing James what to check and where to document their results. I went back to my desk to my own work. Several times I had an odd feeling and looked up to see James watching me, a slight smile on his face. He would give me a friendly little nod and then go back to listening to Janice. His smiles made me feel as if my entire skin was too tight, and I suddenly wanted to run my fingers through his hair and whisper sexy thoughts in his delectable ear. I had to see Betty in HR and for once was glad to get up and head over there, since James' smile was slowly killing me. Getting back to my desk afterwards, my two co-workers were still in the middle of teacher-pupil status so I left them at it.
Mid-morning rolled around and Janice approached my desk.
"Care for a cup of coffee, Ben? I'm buying."
I laughed and replied, "That's nice of you, considering it's free."
"Hey, I try." She smiled at me.
The coffee machine was located in a small break room where a sink, some cabinets and a copier made their home. It was empty when we arrived and we both made our selections. Hers was a black espresso and mine was hot chocolate. I made sure I went first so no left-over coffee flavor made it into my chocolate.
"You are such a chocolate snob." She laughed at me.
"Hey, can't have any contamination of life's perfect liquid." I grinned back at her. "What's up? You didn't drag me here just to make fun of my picky drink requirements."
Janice started literally bouncing from one foot to the other and excitedly told me, "Ben, he's gay! I sorta asked him and he came right out and said he was."
"And just how does one 'sorta' ask?" She looked a bit sheepish at my amused tone.
"Well, when James mentioned where he lived in Boston, I knew it was a big gay area and I remarked something to that effect to him. He smiled that smile of his; damn, have you noticed it, Ben? And then he came right out and told me he'd put me out of my misery and tell me, yes, he was gay and had no issues with people knowing."
"Trust you to find out." I smirked at her.
"Hey, totally innocent here, he just flat out told me." She laughed. "But the best part, Ben... he then started asking me questions about you! Were you single or seeing anyone, did I think you were a good boss, what you did away from work and about your family, etc. He asked the questions between learning about the systems so it was not quite so obvious but he really is interested in you. This is so cool!"
"Janice, down girl! First of all, James is a co-worker; he reports to me and company policy comes into play. I'm NOT going to do anything which would get either of us in trouble or worse, make our jobs a living hell. I know you mean well but can we just forget this conversation?"
She looked at me, a bit dejected and replied, "You're right Ben. It's just..."
Interrupting her, I said, "I know, Janice, and thanks for wanting to help. I just don't want things to get complicated here at work."
At that moment someone came in to use the copier and we left the room to head back to our area.
Arriving at my desk, I allowed my pent up agitated thoughts to run wild for a minute. Was James really interested in me? What if he was? What about the work relationship? If he wasn't interested and I made a move, how would the work atmosphere be for both of us then? I just did not know what to do. Oh, I knew I wanted to kiss his entire naked body and gaze into his blue eyes for the rest of my life but...ugh... My heart and mind warred with each other, paralyzing me, and it took my phone ringing to pull me out of the thoughts holding my body hostage. It was the IT Director and as I sat down to answer it, I knew I had to shelve this issue for right now.
Lunch time rolled around and I approached the dynamic duo of teacher and student wondering if they had had a chance to discuss lunch plans. Normally we try to keep one Operations staff person manning the area unless there is an all-company event and I did not know if Janice and James had already arranged to eat together or not. One of us should show James the cafeteria area though.
"My stomach thinks my throat's been cut. It hasn't seen any food in hours!" I moaned theatrically. "Have either of you made lunch plans?"
Janice looked up from the computer monitor and replied, "Ben, I still have to get one SOX test result to Finance today before the 3 PM conference call with the corporate SOX team. Doing a brain dump with James was top priority this morning but I have to get that test done. Why don't you show James where the cafeteria is and warn him about the gut busting bomb they call a burger while you do it."
"Ok, if you're sure, Janice. I know the Finance VP gets really uptight if SOX tests aren't done on time so make sure you finish it. She chewed the ass off a Programmer once when I had to report he had not done his test and had the balls to tell me, 'he was too busy to complete it.' Just glad it was not me getting reamed out."
Turning to James, I said, "Shall we head upstairs or do you have other plans?"
"Nope, good to go here. Didn't have time to make anything for lunch this morning so I'm at your mercy." He looked at me and smiled. He stood up, casually put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Lead on, MacDuff."
We started to head for the stairs, his hand burning a hole in my shirt and branding my skin, which I'm sure everyone around could see, from the way I felt about his hand on me. I heard a tiny snicker and looked back just in time to see Janice grin slyly at me and I knew I just had been had by that scheming woman. Groaning inwardly and sighing, I figured she already had the damn SOX test finished. I would have to plan a really good practical joke on her for next time, in revenge.
"I hope you are looking forward to the gustatory delights ahead of you today, James." I remarked as we headed up the stairs.
"Hey, it can't be too bad, can it? Even if it is, your company at the table will make up for it."
I'm sure someone walking down the stairs would have noticed the deer-in-the-headlights look I must have had on my face at that remark. A very interesting lunch ahead for sure.