This post is a work of fiction inspired by the Everyday Inspirations writing course from WordPress. The one-word prompt was “choice.”
Rita looked into Matt’s clear blue eyes and wanted to ask a million questions, but didn’t know where to start.
“How are you feeling, Rita?” His words were soft, mellow, and yet very clear.
How long had he saved up to buy that suit? Was he really going to propose to her, right then and there? She picked up her cup and discovered that it was empty.
“D-do you m-mind if I g-go get another c-c-cup of coffee?”
“Not at all.” She tried to get up, but found it difficult. She had to brace herself using the table, but finally, she was upright. She walked toward the line, which was now six people long, glancing back every few seconds to make sure he was still there. Each time, he smiled and gave her the thumbs up. She got in line behind a woman who smelled like she worked in a perfume factory and waited. She spent the next ten minutes glancing at Matt, who took occasional sips from his large cup and smiled reassuringly at her each time she looked.
Finally, she made it to the front of the line.
“What would you like?”
“I don’t know!”
“Well make up your mind, some of us have to work,” a woman behind her said.
“Sorry,” Rita said. “I’ll have what I just had.”
“Which was?” the barista asked.
“Um, that drink with the funny name.”
“Come on, hurry up,” the same woman said. “I have a meeting.”
“I’m trying to remember,” Rita said.
“Oh, was it a caramel macchiato?” the barista said.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“The biggest one, please.”
She managed to pay without dropping her wallet, and then waited for them to make her drink. Finally, she got it and took it back to the table. Matt smiled.
“So, how are you feeling about work these days?”
“I can’t stand it,” she said. “I hate how we’re being asked to advertize all these bad products, and I just feel so drained, I mean, when I go home, you know what I mean?” He nodded.
“Go on, please.”
“I want to quit, but I need to pay my bills.”
Matt’s smile went out. It was like a light being turned off, and it plunged his face into utter darkness. His eyes became cold, indifferent, blue stones.
“I thought so,” he said, his voice still the same as it had been. “You’ve never met me, so let me introduce myself. My name is Matthew Taylor Hargrave Reid.” He got up from the table, and for a terrible instant, she thought he was going to extend his hand for shaking, but he picked up his bag instead. “I watched your job interview from behind a one-way mirror and I have cameras and microphones in the work areas, so I had no trouble hearing your conversation with your mother during morning break. I’ve been watching you, Rita. Do you know who I am now?” She nodded. “Say it.”
“You’re the CEO.”
He nodded, turned and took three steps toward the door, looked back over his shoulder, and said, “You’re fired.”
The next part of “The Choice” is coming tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Need a link to parts 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6? Here you go!