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A Day With Wallace

“I could really use a coffee right now…” Sharon nearly yelled. “Ahem… coffee?” She craned her neck out the door in exasperation. Turning to the man next to her, without even bothering to lower her voice, she spat “Where is that lady? The secretary… What was her name again… Wanda?”

“No,” Frankie gazed off “I think it was Wendy… oh wait no, definitely Winona.” The door snapped as their boss, Will stepped in.
“It’s Wallace.” He said simply.

“Oh yeah,” Frankie’s eyebrows raised; his lips parted. “I can never remember her name, not to mention I rarely see her—she blends. She’s like some kinda chameleon or something.” He snickered at the comparison. Sharon coughed slightly.

“Yeah? Well where the hell is she? I’m in desperate need of some caffeine. Like, now!” She stuck her head out the door again, “Wallace! Coffee!” then closed it with a snap. “My god! I mean, she’s great at editing my pages and stuff but she needs some serious help with the coffee situation.” Will looked at her in surprise.

“Wallace does your editing? You are aware that I pay you under the title ‘editor’, right?” Sharon dropped her pen with a cough that quickly morphed into a laugh; she bent over to grab it which effectively hid her bright cheeks.

“Oh no, I uh, I’m working on a piece, and oh, you know how impossible it is to edit your own stuff…” She trailed off, averting her gaze.

“Oh, I see.” Will still looked a little suspicious but he blew it off. “You know what? I left that file with the new novel in my office. I’ll be right back.” He left the room with scurrying steps. As soon as he was gone, Sharon and Frankie burst into laughter.

“I’m so lucky he fell for that! If he only knew how much I made that girl do for me… I’d be fired for sure.” She smirked. “Wallace, or whatever her name is, gets my dry cleaning, does my work, gets coffee; I’ve even had her walk my dog!”

“Well at least we repay her by inviting her to lunch sometimes, right?” Frankie chuckled. “Sometimes she does my editing too, it’s great. The weird thing is; I don’t think anyone in the office even knows where she lives.” He traced lines in the desk. “I’ve barely heard the girl speak for crying out loud!”

“Well she may be quiet, but she’s efficient” Sharon began, but then Will opened the door and stepped in.

“Alright, let’s get started.” He said. “Where’s Wallace now? This meeting is important, we definitely need notes…” A small cough came out of the corner where a figure drenched in shades of brown was seated in front of a type writer.

“I’m ready, sir” Wallace barely whispered. She glanced at both Sharon and Frankie who both wore masks of horror, and she gave them a small smile.
The meeting concluded without incident and Wallace remained at her desk most of the afternoon. Eventually, she looked up and was caught off guard by her boss, Will’s presence.
“Wallace, would you mind staying late tonight?” Will looked up at her, his reading glasses perched halfway down his straight nose. “I have some files I’d like you to do and besides, I have to stay and finish this report for the upper management.” She scribbled a note on her clip board.

“Why yes, that’s really not a… a… a problem, Mr. Livingston.” She was caught off guard when she glanced up and his eyes were on her.

“Great, thanks.” He smiled. “And I know I’ve told you at least a hundred times to call me Will.”

“Sorry, um, Will.” She swayed slightly and quickly scurried from the room. Only ten minutes had passed before Wallace heard the door close from Will’s office. He came over to her desk. Most of the lights on the floor were off, everyone else had gone home.

“I just cannot focus on this report, there’s really no point in even trying right now.” He smiled at her. “Do you wanna grab a bite to eat?” She inhaled sharply.

“Well, I, you see, I have… there’s this… my cat and… usually… I think… home… I. I…” she widened her eyes in disbelief that her brain and mouth weren’t connecting. “Ok.” She managed to get out.

“Where do you want to go?” He asked politely then with a failed attempt to hide a smile, he answered his own question “You know, I’ll pick. How about that new place above the hotel downtown?” She nodded, taking deep breaths in attempt to control herself.

Down on the sidewalk, Will stuck his arm out for a cab. Wallace grabbed his arm and pulled it down.

“Will,” she looked across the street at the bright cinema lights. “As much as I’d love to get something to eat, I really have to get home. I need to feed my cats, and clean out my fridge, and organize my bookshelf, and rearrange, rearrange my… um…” She trailed off, avoiding eye contact, and was surprised by his laughter.

“Alright Wallace, maybe some other time.” His eyes were smiling. “Let’s at least share a cab?” He questioned.

“Oh I suppose I have time for that.” She tried to be polite. He hailed a cab and they climbed in. She could smell his cologne and was feeling woozy. The ride was in silence but she could feel the intensity of his presence beside her. He reached his hand over and gently turned her face to his. Suddenly, the cab slowed to a stop. Startled, she snatched up her bag and opened the door, stepping out quickly, “See you tomorrow, um, Will.” She rushed out and closed the door with a snap.

What was that? No really, what was I even thinking? Mumbling around like some sort of… I don’t even know. And then, of course, I tell him I want to clean out my fridge? Ridiculous. I get asked to dinner by Will; I eventually manage to say yes; we’re almost in the cab, and then I go and tell him I want to clean out my fridge. What was I thinking? Never have I made such a stupid decision. You know what, this is done. I’m never going to act so embarrassingly nervous, ever again. I will be unruffled and flirty. I will be witty and sweet. Because as much as I love my cats, I can’t marry them… so I better get to work on Will. Be risky Wallace. Do something daring because you’re getting too old for this.

Fishing for her keys in the brown leather bag around her shoulder, Wallace eventually managed to get the door open. Her three sleek cats met her at the door and she bent over, giving each one a kiss on the head, but picking up the white one and cradling it in her arms as she walked to the kitchen.

“Lulu, are you hungry?” She asked the cat in a baby voice. Setting down the ball of fur, she opened the pantry and pulled out three small cans, opened them, and plopped them onto plates. The cat’s swarmed around their dinner as she headed for the bedroom. She sat down on the edge of the bed with a sigh, unbuckling her shoes and unbuttoning her blouse. She stepped into a fluffy mauve robe and cinched it tightly.
Back in the kitchen, she stood scrubbing the cat’s plates in the sink as a TV dinner zoomed around in the microwave.

Setting the last plate on the drying rack she stood, gazing out the window above the sink at a swing hanging from an old maple; it’d been there since she moved in. Cautiously, she cracked the screen door and slipped out into the cool night air. The crisp, moist grass glided between her toes, sprinkled with dew. Folding her robe down around her legs, she sat on the swing and pushed up with her small legs. As she soared back and forth, she closed her eyes and let herself become dizzy from the crisp air and summery sounds. Children laughing in the neighboring street, dogs barking, the chirping of assorted birds; it all swirled around her head.





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