This is Part Two of a three part series. You can read the first part, The Inquisition, here.
“The water is coming,” I called out nonchalantly, refusing to divert my gaze from my computer screen. My deliberate apathy covertly masked my nervous excitement.
“How can you tell?”
“Can’t you hear the bottles rattling down the hall?” I replied sardonically, as if to accuse Tonia of being a total fool for not picking up such an obvious hint. It was another deflection. In actuality, I was acutely aware that we were due for our water delivery and I had been keenly listening out for the last twenty minutes.
For the past four months, the five of us had been boxed up in a tiny office, on the top floor of the client’s office building, conducting an internal investigation. During the project, the client ran out of room to hide our ever expanding unwanted presence, so they decided to move us to the eighteenth floor – the top floor of their building. Squirreled away at dizzying heights, our room has poor ventilation, limited mobile phone reception, and zero kitchen facilities. Save for our beautiful views of London City, you would be excused for mistaking our office as a dank, discrete room housing a wire tapping operation. Although it’s likely that even McNulty had kitchen facilities.
It is a room perfectly suited to our client’s desire to keep us hidden from their employees, and perfectly unsuited to complying with their occupational safety and health requirements to provide us with basic conditions to ensure we can perform our jobs safely. Hence, the decision to provide us with bottled water daily.
The rattling ceased as a silhouette settled outside the frosted glass wall that separates our little sweat box from the cool, quiet hallway. The moment was here. My heart skipped a beat.
“Javi!” Joe, Tonia, Stefan and Mackie cried in cheerful unison, as he opened the door.
“Hello!” he replied, with shy joviality and in an adorable Spanish accent. He smiled and blushed, still unaccustomed to such energetic reception. Javi pushed his trolley into the room. The upper tray was filled with one-little glass bottles of still and sparkling water. As Javi pushed his way into the room, I turned and nodded with a short, yet warm smile. He replied with a coy nod-and-smile, before I turned back to my desk, suppressing my eagerness to stare at him.
“How’s ya day going today, Javi?” Polite and good-humoured, Joe could always be relied upon to make anyone feel welcome.
“Yes, good, good,” Javi blushed. He walked to each of our desks, collecting our empty bottles. Before he could reach, I took the bottle from my desk and turned to hand it to him. As he took the bottle out of my hand, I flashed another quick and deliberate smile.
“Thanks, Javi,” I said into Javi’s eyes. Javi nodded-and-smiled.
Javi placed our empty bottles on the lower tray. He then picked up two of the full bottles and turned, holding them out to us like a hawker in a market stall.“How many bottles you like today?” he asked.
“Fifty”!” Tonia called out, cartoonishly. “Fifty! One hundred! Two hundred! We are soooooooo thirsty. Very thirsty, indeed.”
Everyone laughed, Javi somewhat nervously.
“Sorry,” Mackie apologised, like a mother would for her daughter, “Tonia’s had too much sugar again.”
“What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis? I ain’t had a dime of sugar, sugar!”
“Could we maybe get three sparkling and three still?” Stefan asked, politely ignoring Tonia’s energetic outburst.
“Yes, yes, of course.”
Stefan held his hand out toward Javi. “I will have a still water, please.”
Javi nodded-and-smiled and handed Stefan a bottle filled with still water, before making his way around the rest of the room. As he delivered the bottles to our desks, I snuck a quick peak at Javi. Little Javi. Har-vee.
Javi is a short man, but that doesn’t bother me. It comes with the Mediterranean territory. When that territory comes with ageless, olive skin; smoldering, dark features; pearly white teeth; and a perfectly perky butt, then one’s height is of little importance. Little Javi. His visits really were the highlight of my week.
When Javi reached my desk, he passed me bottle of water. As I took the bottle from him, I gave him the Look. It was the same look I had gave him the first time I saw him in Facilities on the first floor. There was something wrong with my building access card, and the Facilities manager gave me an in-depth analysis about what could have caused the error. Understandably, I was barely listening. I must wanted the damn card fixed. I looked around the room derisively, the manager droning with his diatribe, when I spotted him. He was sitting in the corner of the room, being talked at by his manager. Javi his lecture as much as I was mine.
Javi noticed me staring. I looked in his deep, dark eyes and let it linger. Not too long, but long enough. It was The Look. A look that is long enough to let him know that I wanted him to know I was looking. A look that said that he was cute. A look that said I was interested. A universal look, known among men, that was part deliberate and part compulsion. Expression without words. Raw attraction.
“Thanks again, Javi,” Joe said, warmly.
“Thaaaaaaank yoooooou! Now don’t forget us”!” croaked Tonia, ever the comedian.
Javi took the trolley, readying to leave, “See you guys later.”
“Bye Javi”!” Joe, Tonia, Stefan and Mackie cried in cheerful unison, as Javi opened the door and back out with the trolley. As he exited the room and the door slowly closed, I turned and gave Javi the Look one last time. And as he had done each time in the past, Javi gave me the Look in return.
That is to say, Javi gave me a look. Whether it was the Look is always open to interpretation. I was as certain about his look as I am about life: a certainty I can convince myself of with various levels of veracity. The Look is a dance, a chase, a hunt. It is fun. It is exhilarating. But this one didn’t matter.
In all likelihood, I was a bored worker who had imagined the silent flirtation. Although I was certain he did return the Look and I am certain that it felt good. But, we worked together. Sort of. He serves me. It would be weird. Plus, (and I guess most importantly) I have a boyfriend. Nothing could happen. It was just a bit of fun. A harmless crush.
Nothing could happen.