What’s he doing here
“An e-mail popped up on my screen. ‘Quick smoke?’ my colleague Caroline had written. We were assistants to an executive in a big construction company and there was an area outside the office where we always met for a cigarette and a gossip.
‘How are you holding up, Shirls?’ she asked as soon as we got there. My bottom lip trembled. I’d recently ended things with my boyfriend, Tom. We’d been together for eight years and I had expected us to get married and have kids. But a few weeks ago he had taken me out for dinner and instead of proposing, he had unceremoniously dumped me. I was heartbroken.
‘What you need’, Caroline said to me now, ‘Is a rebound. Someone to take your mind off Tom’.
‘I don’t feel like dating anyone right now’, I muttered, miserably. Just then, Mark, the cute guy from accounts, came outside for a smoke.
‘What about him?’ she whispered.
‘No way, he’d never date me’, I replied.
‘Yes, he would, he’s always flirting with you!’ she said.
Mark flirted shamelessly with everyone, but I found myself giggling at the idea. He was devilishly handsome with dark hair and a square jaw. Back at our desks, Caroline wouldn’t let the issue go.
‘Have you e-mailed him yet?’ she hissed over our computers.
‘No! Go away!’ I said, laughing.
By the end of the day she’d started to wear me down. What’s the worst that could happen? I thought. So I typed, ‘Fancy a drink?’ Then searched for his name on the work Intranet and clicked send. Instantly, I regretted sending it, but to my huge surprise, he replied straightaway.
‘How about after work at The Centurion?’ he wrote.
‘See?’ Caroline said, feeling very proud of herself.
She hauled me off to the ladies and spruced me up with make-up and hairspray. At the bar, I sat in a corner table and waited for Mark to turn up. My heart was pounding. Then, a guy from IT walked in. His name was Mark, too. He was a real sweetie, really shy but always helpful when I had computer problems. What the hell was he doing here? To my horror, he came right up to me and said, ‘So, what can I get you?’ My mouth dried up as the truth suddenly dawned on me – I’d e-mailed the wrong guy!
‘Um, a white wine, please’, I stammered, my mind racing, trying to decide what to do. I couldn’t tell this poor guy it had been a mistake. That would be so mean. Swallowing my pride, I decided I would drink my wine then make a polite excuse and bolt. But as Mark and I chatted I started enjoying myself. He was clever, polite and charming. He’d travelled a lot and had loads of interesting stories. He was also really cute, with dimples and deep blue eyes I’d never noticed before. At the end of the night he called me a taxi.
‘Can we do this again?’ he asked, shyly.
Without thinking, I kissed him and said yes. Mark and I have now been together for three years and recently got married. At the wedding he told everyone in his speech how I had pursued him by e-mail at the office. No-one but Caroline knows that I didn’t actually mean to e-mail him. That will always be our little secret.”