[size=8]TWO YEARS AGO[/size]
"Can you make that square a little rounder?"
Risa Jones' smile froze in place. Josh had a cup of coffee with the company's logo in one hand and that was pretty much the only way one could identify the company's manager. Behind them, various keyboards were studiously or furiously typed away on; a few people murmured on the phone, a thousand mouse clicks went by as Risa attempted to figure out how--
"They want rounded corners? Or...a circle?" Head tilted at him.
"Yeah, yeah! A little rounder, but still square. Otherwise the client loves the design Riza--"
Josh, frankly, looked like some sort of hobo Jesus. It was a running gag around the office which tie-dye shirt he'd wear to compliment a scraggly unkempt beard that went half way down his chest and the falling-apart sandals he loved wearing with his khaki shorts. At least he'd gotten the memo sometime earlier that year and started taking showers at work. He jogged, you see. He jogged to work in the morning. And used to get to work covered in sweat. The office was in a bright, re purposed old factory, one wall the original brick, the other floor to wall windows and painted cheery office..uh..white. There were no cubicles. So when Josh used to do that, or any co-worker decided tuna was for lunch...Anyyhooo--at least he'd started showering.
"Sure can do Boss! I'll have it adjusted and sent out with you and Lizbeth copied on it in, say, an hour?"
Josh gave her a thumbs up. "Aweeesome!" And then meandered off through the open tables of computers and workers. Risa didn't need to watch him go to know where he went. His flip-flops slappadappa'd cheerily on his feet.
Across from her, their monitors close enough to touch, Lizbeth's face peered around Risa's work provided acer and grinned. "Can you make that square rounder?" Lizbeth parroted in quiet mockery. Risa snickered like she was four.
"Hey, listen. There's a new coffee shop across the block that opened. Real mom n' pop shop, they roast the beans and package them right in the store, it's smellls like ****ing heaven," Lizbeth began, "You wanna grab a cup there with me today at lunch?"
Risa drug her eyes away from her monitors and the fifty million windows, emails yet to answer, SEO tools, Google--"**** yeah" Enthusiastically replied before thinking. They high fived over their monitors and went back to work. Risa tried not to worry too much about breaking her New Years Resolution about Learning To Say No, a Risa Jones Special, and tried not to watch the clock.
Lizbeth wrapped up her stream for youtube. Risa, wrapped in a blanket with a glass of ...she didn't know. Lizbeth liked wine, Risa couldn't stand it, but it's what Liz' had in the fridge and after the night dancing, with her head pounding from too many shots--a little bit of what ailed her should cure her of that distant headache that beat to the rhythm of: you're old. you're old. you never got hangovers. you're old. She knew the stream had wrapped up because Liz' hadn't yet got the sound dampening thingie-ma-bobs for her guest room in the apartment where she filmed and Risa had no idea about streaming but was pretty sure the silence meant she was done.
Lizbeth came out of the guest room in a cloud of raven dark hair, make-up flawless. As usual. Risa could do her eyeshadow if pressed, remember blush and lip gloss, but Lizbeth? Bow. Down. My god she was good. She had this entire dewy, fresh faced look, full on glow, that looked so much like she woke up like this it turned her head. Of course, no one had beautiful hot pink eyelids with eyeliner sharp enough to cut a bitch either, but it looked soooo good--
"You left something on the floor," Lizbeth grinned at her.
Risa blinked owlishly and looked down.
When she looked up, Lizbeth's perfume tickled Risa's nose, and she had leaned along the back of the couch so that when Risa turned their noses nearly collided.
"--I, sorry you--huh?"
Lizbeth chuckled. Somewhere, a romance novelist was losing their s*** because it was the perfect, smokey sound.
"Your jaw." Lizbeth said.
And then she kissed Risa.
"I don't understand. Why can't I--"
Lizbeth's fury was so out of place. Risa had never seen her so upset. "I told you not to ****ing answer the phone. I told you not to use that voice message of us together. And I told you about ****ing uploading those pics. But do you ever listen? Of course ****ing not. Not Risa ****ing Perfect Life Jones, clueless ****ing happy go lucky puppy. Do you--"
Risa's first instinct was to be hurt. Tears pin-pricked behind lash immediately. Her second instinct was to lash out blindly and say some nasty s***. Risa knew better than that, and that she was better than that. So she didn't. But swallowing it felt like eating glass. "Hey, hey, calm-Lizzie what is going on?"
"I'm not into you, this was fun while it lasted, but we're done," Lizbeth said. It was so calm and slipped so easily from her mouth that Risa thought she was imagining things. "Sorry. " Lizbeth rolled her shoulder. Risa was mentally unable to think of anything to say. "Get your s*** and get out," Lizbeth told her, composed and cold.
Risa did the only thing she could think of.
She got her s*** and got out.