"How are you doing this morning?" I asked.
"Good, I slept good. What about you?"
I was just turning as I answered him, "not to bad, think I slept okay." I had turned on my side, facing away from him. James moved toward me, his chest pressed up against my back, his arm around me, pulling me close. "Wish we didn't have to go to work today," I said, followed by a deep breathe.
"Why do you say that?"
"So we could stay glued together, like we are now."
"You're so silly sometimes." He squeezed me real tight, I pressed back into him, it lasted only a few seconds, then he was gone. Getting up going to work was a drag to me. It wasn't so much going to work as it was getting up out of bed. I drug myself out, nearly ran into James as he was coming out of the bathroom, as I was headed in. That boy could move to be so early in the morning. James had fixed himself some breakfast, but I could never eat first thing in the morning. Just wasn't hungry. James on the other hand was always hungry. He was finishing a bowl of cereal, and a cup of coffee.
"So what's up with coffee, you drink it, just about everyone at work drinks it. It doesn't look, or smell very good."
"You don't know what you're missing Shawn. Coffee wakes you up, gets you going."
"You, you wake up wide open, you don't need any coffee." He smiled at me, it was good to see his smile. I let my hand rub his back a few times as I walked by him to get my lunch ready. James finished his coffee while I made my lunch.
"Time for me to go."
"Bye James, have a good day."
"Thanks, hope you have a great day too. Bye." I finished getting ready, more alert now, and decided to leave a little early. I parked my Jeep where the shade would be in the afternoon, it was a long way from anyone else and I took a minute to think about James.
"Lord watch after James today, keep him safe, help him to grow and to be strong. What ever is on his mind that he won't talk to me about, help him with that burden, I don't want it to be too much for him. Bring him back safe to me this evening. Thank you Lord, thank you for giving James to me as a true and special friend. Thank you for this day and help me to make the best of it. Amen." I got out of the car a little stunned. I had never prayed before work like that, and I probably didn't do it often enough, but I was concerned, worried about him. I walked toward the building, thinking about what I had to do today. I could have dove into it, but sorted things out first, got all the reports organized in stacks, then looked them over, and came up with a plan. I finished the setup around nine and got through the rest of the reports by eleven. Kelly had just walked out of the office and I heard her say good morning to someone in the hall. It must have been Lisa, because she came in right after that.
"Hi Lisa." She had a slim little body, short blond hair but not too short. I was looking straight at her when I spoke
"Hello Shawn. I see you're still in a good mood. How are you doing Jenny?"
"Just fine," she said. I shared the office with Jenny and Kelly, but Jenny was my favorite. She always talked to me, and had stories about her kids.
"Now how is that work coming along?" Lisa asked while looking out the window, but I knew she was talking to me. She didn't seem to be to interested in my answer.
"Impossible, you had a stack of work, should have kept you busy till who knows when. Let me see what you've done." I got up out of my chair so Lisa could sit down at the computer. Suddenly she was much more interested in what I was doing, and checked my work. She went through all the screens, looking at the information, and it was all there. Her jaw dropped, her eyes got wide, she looked up at me in disbelief.
"How on earth did you get this all done?" She asked, so I explained.
"Looking at the reports I found patterns. One report had total number of hours worked compared to output. It subtracted out overhead, supplies and equipment, and that sort of stuff, then at the end were the results. It was just an equation so I created a spreadsheet that duplicated those equations, and then with input of the variables all I had to do was transfer the results to the software the company is using to track everything. The other report had so much of the same entry that I made a template with all those fields filled in. Then I put in only the numbers that were different. Took a little while to set it all up, but soon I was cranking them out."
"This will save a lot of time in the long run you know," she said, tucking her hair behind her ear.
"Seemed like a good idea to me."
Lisa stood up looked at the papers, looked at the computer, then looked at me. "You're so cute." Then she smiled. Her statement took me by surprise. She walked away leaving me there.
"I think somebody likes you," Jenny said.
"Well you are pretty cute." I blushed, but I was smiling inside. I picked up all the files Lisa had given me day earlier, got them all back in order, and waited for her to return. Lisa came back, with someone following her. He had a box of files, I guess for me to do.
"Here you go Shawn, this might keep you busy for a while. I'm going to bring this up at our next meeting ya know."
"Why, what did I do?"
"Shawn I pushed to get this position available. My boss and everybody else fought me the whole way, and I had to prove it to them, that to save time and become more efficient, we had to look at what has happened over the years and compare that to what we are doing now. They all said it would take too long, cost too much, and that it just wasn't worth it. New equipment costs money, but if you can see how much it saves, then that justifies buying more. You see, when one worker becomes efficient it helps. When a whole factory of workers becomes more efficient then we see big savings. What you did here today will give me the ammunition I need to justify your position. This is all going much faster than I thought it would, and they all thought it would take forever. You just surpassed my expectations, and I'm going tell Mr. Sheppard everything you did."
"No thank you Shawn." She smiled at me and walked away. The guy who brought the box out for me was still there. He set it down next to my desk.
"Don't believe I know your name young man."
"Well Shawn, my name's Joe and you just impressed miss Lisa. She came and got me, started telling me how she was gona' show them guys something. She said you made her day"
"I don't know what you did, but you made Miss Lisa very happy."
"Thank you Shawn, when you make miss Lisa happy, then I'm happy." He gave me a pat on the back and walked away.
"Way to go there," Jenny said.
"Thanks, but I really didn't think I did anything that unusual."
I sat down and opened up the box. Good grief, there is a years worth of stuff to go through here. I started in January and got things sorted to start my next assignment. Wait till James hears about this. I could hardly wait to tell him. The rest of the day went quickly, and the next thing I knew it was time to go. I drove home hoping James would be there when I arrived. I was overflowing with joy, and I wanted to share this with him. He would be proud of me. So will mom and especially dad, he got this job for me. I pulled in the drive but James's truck wasn't there. Oh well, I'll find something for us to eat and wait on him. When I got inside and saw a note on the counter, I thought it odd unless James came home during the day. I picked up the note
I'm sorry to tell you this but something came up and I have to work out of town I wasn't told until I came into work. We are leaving right away and won't be back till late Friday. Sorry for springing this on you at the last minute but I had no idea. Hope you're not mad at me.
Will miss you.
I had such good news and now I'll have to wait. Not at all what I anticipated. Suddenly I lost my enthusiasm, and went to change clothes and hunt something to eat. It just wasn't the same without him there, and I started missing him terribly. After dinner I went to the living room to listen to music, as I watched the sun set. I hope James is okay. He was so down on himself, but he was such a strong person, so maybe he's gotten over what ever was bothering him. I continued to think about him, about Shelly, about what I was going through. I know I didn't have similar thoughts for any other guys just James. Maybe that was good. Maybe it didn't really matter when Shelly gets home. After all my life was going to be with her, or maybe it wasn't. I felt uncertain, and a growing confusion inside my head. I took my shower and then watched TV a while before retiring to bed. It seemed strange, no one there to comfort me, to hold me, to give me that feeling of security. I really missed James not being there and eventually went to sleep, but it seemed to take much longer than normal. During the night I woke and reached out for him, but he wasn't there.
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