- The Eighth Encounter -
Have you ever had one of those weeks where work turns
into a monster with large teeth and vicious claws that
dig into you to eat you alive? If you have, you
understand just about where I am.
The talk, the look, the smile I had from Heero that
early Sunday morning had given me an airy feeling of
floating for all of Sunday. I had come into work on
Monday with that same feeling, smiling like a loon and
making my secretary worry that I was on some sort of
hallucinogenic drug. I had sat down at my desk at
seven in the morning on a Monday ,for the love of god,
Then the world decided to conspire against me.
First, there was a case that chose that exact time on
a Monday to shed its skin from being moderately easy
to next to impossible. Then there was the meeting on
Tuesday that turned my working day from nine hours of
purgatory to fourteen hours of unadulterated hell.
Hell, it seems, does exist on earth and I am in the
painful process of wading through it.
And it’s Friday already. All week, I had gotten calls
at one in the afternoon from Heero, suggesting that we
go out for lunch and talk. Each and every time, I had
to apologize and turn him down in favor of keeping my
current mode of employment. He understood, of course,
and even sympathized with me since he could see how
work could become the focal point of one’s life even
when one did not wish it.
Suffice to say, I have not seen Heero since Sunday
morning and I was feeling a bit irked by that.
Heero wasn’t the only one calling and asking for my
presence at lunch or dinner or whatever meal people
ate. Quatre called, Trowa called, Wufei and his
adorable wife Meiran called. Like Heero, I had to
decline all their offers for company and they had all
understood. But it did not phase them from trying on
a daily basis to rescue me from my impromptu hell.
So comes today, Friday. It is usually the last day of
the work week when I could kick back and relax. Not
this Friday, though. It seems that my work has piled
up even higher somehow, defying all logic of physics
and sanity. I was looking at an all nighter and
perhaps even an all-weekender.
I wish, not for the first time, that I could just tell
my clients to plead guilty and go to jail like happy
little criminals that they were.
Eight o’clock on Friday. I know for a fact that my
friends are all out on the town, probably having a
great time and drinking my favorite mixes. They had
called earlier to invite me out, but again, I had to
tell them that I was buried in work. They had sighed,
called my clients and bosses unpleasant names that
even I won’t repeat, and then had told me where they
would be if I happened to finish my work by some
However, I was still at work. My secretary had gone
home, all the paralegals had shot out of the building
as soon as the clock hit six and my bosses were either
at their beach house or boinking their respective
mistresses in some expensive hotel. Yet here I am,
still hard at work, not eating, not moving, not doing
anything that was not work related.
Around nine, my cell rang and I had to dig around my
paper cluttered desk to locate it. The caller I.D.
flashed ‘Heero’ back at me happily and I decided that
five minutes of break time to talk to Heero was well
deserved, if not necessary.
“Heero,” I breathed as soon as I picked up, “you have
no idea how good it is to hear from you.”
“Is that so,” Heero replied, an unseen smile lacing
his voice, “then I suppose you are still at work. How
“Terrible! I have so much work that I’m going to end
up spending the night in my office. Some Friday,
We fell into an easy rapport, our conversation relaxed
and friendly. We had not laid eyes on each other
since Sunday last, but I think for me, that made the
talking easier. After all, over the phone, I wasn’t
held in a spell cast by his strangely intense eyes.
Not that I minded his eyes, not at all, but I like to
think clearly somewhat when I’m talking to someone.
Heero told me that he had just finished with his last
patient of the day, a hard case of intractable
repressed memories and some such. I listened with
great interest, nearly forgetting about my enormous
work load, just enjoying the way he told a story that
could have been boring. I chuckled when he pitched
his voice higher than normal to pretend that he was
his anal-retentive secretary telling him to get some
lunch or she’d quit. I laughed outright when he then
related a story of his secretary’s odd obsession with
his nutritional intake.
What I had intended as a pleasant five minute break
turned itself into forty minutes before I knew
anything had happened. All I know is that I looked at
my watch, gasped, cursed and told Heero I had to go
back to work.
He said bye to me in a low tone, conveying that he was
disappointed but that he understood. I was reluctant
as well to hang up, but the harsh mistress of work was
calling me back into her thorny embrace.
My eyes started to blur a tad when eleven o’clock came
around, reminding me of how tired I was. My stomach
grumbled in unison with my throbbing eyes, telling me
on no uncertain terms that if I didn’t eat, it would
start to digest the nearest organ for nutrition.
Since the nearest organ to my stomach happened to be
my liver which I depend on for life and joy, I decided
that I should raid the vending machines for food.
I stood to appease my stomach and sighed a deep one.
I had intended to spend time with Heero this weekend,
I really had. I was also going to tell my friends
about the beautiful and eerie thing happening to me
and Heero. I had labeled this weekend as the
confessions weekend for I was going to admit my
blossoming feelings to Heero as well as my friends.
Plans shot to hell, I should really be getting used to
I was nearly at the door to my office when there was a
knock on the other side. It was firm, the staccato of
it spaced evenly and perfectly. I almost knew who it
was, but even so, when I opened the door and it
revealed Heero, I was still surprised and my heart
Yeah, I must be getting it bad. Whatever the ‘it’ was
or whether or not it was truly bad, I had yet to
Heero’s greeting was simple yet it lifted my spirits a
ton. He was really there, standing right in front of
me in his slightly wrinkled suit and his hands
holding.. a bag from a deli.
He brought me dinner.
I usher him into my office, taking the bag from him
and rummaging around to see what he had brought me to
eat. I don’t think I’d have cared if the bag had been
filled with monkey brains on toasted rye because it
had been so damned thoughtful of him. He sat on the
couch usually reserved for clients and other
associates of mine, looking at me bemusedly as I
slowly took the seat across from him.
“Wow, Heero, this is so great, I mean, here you are,
here I am, there is food..”
I continue to babble over how great it all is and
realize that I should give up the small hope I had of
my voice and my brain working in tandem in Heero’s
presence. It didn’t matter though because Heero
didn’t seem to mind that I was going off on a babbling
“You sounded so tired on the phone and I wanted to see
you.. so, here I am and I brought gifts.”
There is that saying that a way to man’s heart is
through his stomach. I will believe that one
whole-heartedly at this moment in lieu of my other
clichéd motto that a way to man’s heart is between the
third and fourth ribs. The deli sandwiches were not
gourmet nor expensive, but I think as gifts go, it was
probably one of the best.
Right behind Heero’s wanted presence, of course.
I took out a sandwich and a soda from the bag and
started unwrapping before I saw that Heero was still
staring at me. I’m one of those people who can’t eat
very well when someone’s staring, so instead of taking
a wanted bite, I focus on Heero.
“Nothing,” Heero replied, a slight blush staining his
cheeks, “it’s just that.. I know it has been only a
week.. I know I haven’t known you that long..
I raise an eyebrow. I guess the condition of babbling
uncontrollably was not a disease relegated solely to
me. Who knew that Heero could do it as well?
“Yes?” I prompt him helpfully.
“I missed you.”
It was a sentence comprised of three much used words.
First came the subject ‘I’ which signified Heero.
Then came the verb ‘missed’ which had meanings that
ranged far and wide, anything from a sense of deep
loss to a need to see someone. Finally, the sentence
ended with the object ‘you.’ As in Duo Maxwell who
was holding the sandwich with enough force to dent the
delicately toasted bread.
On the heels of my pleasant surprise is warmth. A
soft, glowing kind of warmth that seem to make the
edges of reality blur.
Heero smiles at me once again and takes a sandwich for
himself as well. We eat without saying anything, the
silence broken only by eating noises. It wasn’t a
comfortable silence, but it was.. nice. Lovely.
It is a Friday night. I have a mountain of work
begging for my attention on my desk, deadlines
breathing down my neck and I’m still in my office.
But now, it doesn’t seem so bleak because there is an
intruder of the most unexpected kind in my office
sharing a sandwich and a soda with me.
After we were done eating, Heero picked up the
garbage, tossed them into the bag and left my office
with a gently whispered promise to see me soon and I
went back to work. Unfortunately, paying attention to
it was rather hard because I couldn’t shake loose the
thought that had lodged itself in my head as soon as
Heero had left.
I think, just maybe, that my project of being special
is merging itself with another interest that entered
my life just as swiftly and unexpectedly.
I believe that Heero might be the one who could
fulfill my goals. He could be the answer to my
search. He already thought I was special, so what did
I have to lose in believing that he is the one I’ve
been looking for?
The answer comes to me in a moment of terrible clarity
and I shrink back from the enormity of it. If Heero
was my answer.. if he was the one I’ve been seeking..
if he was the person who would make me feel special..
then I’d be risking the one thing that I thought I
never had to put in the line of fire.
That pesky thing I have called my heart.
Why hadn’t I considered what I could lose when I
started the damn project? Why didn’t I realize that
when I found someone that I deemed special that I’d be
at the risk of being.. hurt? Why couldn’t I see that
Heero had the potential to break me before I realized
what he could become to me?
I don’t know those answers, but I do know one thing
for certain now. I know, without a doubt, that being
special isn’t all about gentleness, love and cuddly
moments. It is also about being hurt, feeling pain
and loss of one’s heart.
I am truly scared.
Knowing that, knowing myself as I do.. there is only
one option left to me.
I must abandon my project to be special.
And to do that, I must abandon Heero as well.
All of my internal organs lurch when I come to that
conclusion, but I ignore it and dive back into my work
with renewed fervor.