LJ started the day with a minor headache; the previous day has been an overcrowded one with all kind of meetings and an endless pile of paperwork towering on his desk. Though he liked his work and the occurring responsibilities, he longed for more free time. As a bachelor he has allowed work to invade his personal time. Now it was hard to get it back.
But having a pool all for him in the basement of his house, he could enjoy his favorite sport: swimming. The place was comfortable, air conditioned and pleasantly lit. It was a quiet and undisturbed space that belonged only to him. So he started the day descending in this peaceful spot; he immersed in the cool liquid and swam up and down the length of the pool until the pressure in his skull subsided.
Now that his mind has cleared, he came out and leaned on a couch trying to gather his thoughts for the challenges of the new day. Something was bothering him. At the age of 30 LJ was a handsome guy, clever and well placed, an eligible bachelor, courted by many ladies.
He was tall (1.9m), athletic with a pleasant, manly face, slightly exotic due to his native ancestors. The high cheekbones gave an interesting shape to the dark-brown eyes. He had a straight nose and nice, full lips. His skin was light-amber and his thick black hair was cropped short above his neck. By the whole he gave the impression of a powerful, big cat something like a mountain lion.
His co-workers liked him because he was reliable and dedicated. He had a well developed sense of humor but he wasn’t joking about his tasks. The one who seemed to give him headaches in the future was the new guy employed at the Art department.
It looked that he was quite blasé, totally unimpressed by those working beside him. He seemed to live in a world of his own; he was polite but out of reach except for a limited amount of sentences. They haven’t met yet face to face. All that LJ knew about him came from his colleagues working with him.
“ Artists…”mumbled LJ and stood up. It was time to go to work. He dressed up and eat something; he then took his car and left for work.
He left his car in the parking lot and quickly headed to the elevator, his mind wandering. As the automatic door opened he almost bumped into a person has just arrived from the opposite side. He let him in, mumbling some apologies; the other guy nodded curtly but said nothing and turned his back on LJ. It looked that he wasn’t in a mood to socialize.
He was almost as tall as LJ /around 1.8m/ slender with long limbs. The medium long rebellious black hair was tied in a short ponytail. As they stopped at their floor the silent guy took left and headed to the Art department. LJ watched him departing; so this was the odd new guy; he made a mental note and turned to his own headquarters.
After a brief look over the daily duties he called for Eric Rocha, his friend from the Art Department. They both took a cup of coffee and stood to talk about some new developments.
-By the way-said LJ casually. I think I just bumped into the new member of your crew. He wasn’t very talkative; all I could see from him was his back.
-Well, usually it’s the best you can get from him if it’s not about work-chuckled Eric. He’s not a bad guy; he’s just very private. He has already helped a lot with the art-work and the younger ones like him. But he hates small talk.
By the way, have you ever seen his works? No? Let me show you; he’s quite impressive.
Eric’s fingers flew over the keyboard and there were lots of artworks signed simply “FB”. LJ watched intently and he had to agree that the guy was talented. His works were powerful but filled with a sensitive mystery that was quite elusive. Oddly enough LJ had a familiar feeling looking at the works…
-You’re right-he said to Eric. But what made him to come and work for us? He was already famous as a freelancer.
-He said something about personal issues and that he needed a permanent job. On the other hand we needed a fresh view and a personality like him came at hand.
LJ turned his head thoughtfully.
-I hope that in time we’ll find a way to communicate. Until then we have to work.
They both laughed and returned to their offices. The days went on uneventful until LJ got himself buried under a load of urgent matters so he decided to stay at the office late. It was quiet around as the evening was setting on the city. The building looked deserted except for the caretakers and those cleaning the offices.
LJ stretched and turned off the computer, locked up his things and took his coat. He locked the office and headed to the elevator when he spotted a dim light coming from the Art Department. Surprised he turned back and headed there to see who else was still working at that hour. The new guy was working on the computer, his back turned at the door. LJ hesitated for a moment but curiosity got the best of him. He knocked and stepped inside. The young man didn’t seem to notice; he was changing and twisting some images with the ease of a magician.
-Good evening-said LJ as he came closer. I thought I was alone on this floor…
-Creative work requires some intimacy-came the reply in a soft voice. I’m still adjusting to the work in a crowded office.
The young man kept working while he was talking; LJ couldn’t see much of his face. Some of the rebellious black strands were falling forward, hiding him from the viewer.
-I’m LJ White-said him hoping to capture the young man’s attention.
The latter gave a small nod and kept focusing on his work.
-I know. And you know me to. I’m FB, the new guy from the Art Dept.
Suddenly he raised his face and took LJ by surprise. The young man was stunningly beautiful. He was in his mid-twenties; there was a sweet softness lingering in the oval of his face, in the fine line of the jaw, in the fresh, nicely curved lips… But the straight nose had fine, nervous nostrils and above all, he had mesmerizing lavender eyes, underlined by thick, black eyelashes. Those eyes were clear but deep like the water of a glacier lake high in the mountains.
LJ saw a quick flicker in those eyes as they connected with his eyes but it died out almost instantly. LJ stared at the young man, unable to utter a sound until the latter turned pink under his gaze.
-I’d rather you don’t stare at me. I’m not some freak of Nature-he whispered and turned back to work.
Surprised and embarrassed LJ said a short “Sorry” and left in a hurry. He felt stupid…yet he captured a faint comment that lately kept nagging him:
“ Cocky as usual…watching but not seeing.”
At home he took a shower and then sat on the top of the bed, recounting all that happened. The beauty of that face took him by surprise but he found those eyes the most disturbing feature. He felt that there was some kind of expectation in their look that it faded into…disappointment. LJ felt angry, confused and discomforted.
What was that youth thinking? Was he testing him? How dared he?