When I got my invitation for the holiday party, I immediately thought about Brandon and what he might think of it. Did he like going to these parties or were they a waste of time to him? It was going to be my first time ever attending one, and my sole purpose was to see Brandon there. So I listened in on his conversation with Joanne, the other receptionist, to try and get more details.
“We deserve the time to unwind and have some fun. We all work hard during the year and this is the one time to celebrate it,” Joanne said. Like Brandon, Joanne had been in the company for a while. We often teased that she came with the building.
“No, you’re right. We do deserve it, but then you’ve got people like Peter and Anthony last year, remember?” said Brandon. Clearly something happened that I hadn’t been aware of.
“Well, there was that, but they did have too much to drink. People just need to watch how much they’re drinking.”
“Or they shouldn’t drink at all. There’s nothing special about getting drunk.” If there was a tone of resentment in Brandon’s voice, it was probably because he didn’t drink. From what I had heard, he had been sober for 20-something years. As mentioned, Brandon had a wild past. Quick to change the subject, he looked at Joanne as I turned around to watch them conversing. “Are you going with your husband?”
“Yeah, I was thinking of bringing him or my daughter-in-law. Most likely Ben will come with me. How about you, I’m pretty sure you have a date,” asked Joanne. As she looked expectantly at Brandon, time seemed to go by slow and with that, I saw the quick glance that Brandon gave in my direction. I held my breath. Even though there was obviously something between us, it was something that we really didn’t talk about. Our personalities just complimented each other and that was all. But whether or not he did have a date would be the turning point for us. Sure, I just wanted a fling, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t want some exclusiveness in whatever understanding we came to have.
“Oh no, I don’t have time for that. Between work and my son, it’s hard to meet anyone really. How about you, Lena? Are you going with anyone?” Brandon smiled over at me, catching me completely off guard. The conversation was between him and Joanne; I was just a spectator. So, I was taken aback to the question and didn’t realize until later why he was so interested in my answer.
“Uh no, I don’t even think I’ll go. But if I do, my date would probably just be Melinda.” Melinda was my best friend and when in need of a date, your best friend was always a go-to. I watched as Brandon smiled back at me, putting his arms behind his head and leaning back in his chair. I looked over at Joanne as she went back to reading her newspaper. As I was about to turn back to face my computer, I heard Brandon rock in his chair.
“Well, Lena, you do know that I am single?” Brandon’s last word was followed by Joanne looking up and gasping. I was left speechless. That was definitely the last thing I ever expected to hear from Brandon.