NEW THING by Heather F.C.
To Ruin A Friday Night
Snow was falling down in all its frenzy in New York City while I was indoors at my cubicle, working, ruining my precious Friday night involuntarily. There were only two lights on in the entire office, unfortunately one belonging to my cubicle. I didn't mind working. I didn't mind sitting at my cubicle. Working late hours because of a notice that was delivered to me belated, I minded. I was hoping to get off early and do some grocery shopping, then spend the night with my fiancé. Yet here I was sitting alone at my cubicle, typing in a fine frenzy, unable to enjoy neither my Friday night, nor the beautiful snow outside. Snow had always been my favorite weather condition.
At the height of my career, I was lucky to be motivated by my boss and to be given an extended deadline instead of the one I would be likely to miss, yet as I typed more words into my office computer, I doubted my luck. Being young, I was expecting to spend my night out at the newly opened club downtown, having some drinks with my fiancé and some friends. Being stuck in my stiff, silent and suffocating office during the Friday night I was looking forward to after working two whole weeks without a day off was not something I was anticipating.
Earlier the day, I was counting down the minutes to get off because I had already finished all the work that was needed to be done, yet with a memo from my boss George Hamilton, all my plans were deferred. Being given heaps of documents needing attention and editing was the last thing I was looking for as I packed my things to leave once the sixty minutes I was counting down were over.
My visions of clocking out were never realized, instead I watched all those people who work under my supervision clock out. I thought about going to Mr. Hamilton's room and protesting because it was not my fault that we had forgotten about a deal with a new company that needed revision and correction of some of its articles. His silly secretary had forgotten to inform me about the task because she was busy with talking to her new boyfriend on the phone. I didn't do that because I knew Mr. Hamilton very well and objecting to his requests had never resulted positively in the past.
So I settled down in my office, turning my computer on and began working. Minutes rolled into hours and one by one, lights were turned off in the office as people left. At least it was warm in the office. I stared at my computer screen for a while, wishing I was somewhere else, but it didn't help. I needed coffee. When I got up to grab some coffee from the vending room, I realized that I wasn't entirely alone in the office. The other light in the office belonged to Jonathan Mason, the womanizer of our office. I didn't know whether it was a good thing or a bad thing to be alone with him in the office. I, then, decided that it was better to be in the presence of an insanely good-looking man despite the fact that he was a womanizer than to be all alone. Jonathan Mason would not use his charms on me, something I had come to learn over the years, and he would not take advantage of our situation.
I saw him looking at me and I smiled at him, then went back to my cubicle. The bulb of the table lamp I had on was making a creaking sound so I turned it off and grabbed the lamp from the cubicle next to mine. I found myself cursing about the new policy our company had as I sat in the darkness, with the only light coming from my computer screen. To reduce electric bills and to help saving the Planet by conserving energy, the lights in the office would be turned on when the shift started and be turned off when it ended. I had no right to go and turn them on even though I was still on the clock. I hated working with table lamps, but I had no other choice.
I was almost over with my work when I realized that my fiancé never called me. Peter was never the one who would call me several times a day, but still I was expecting a call from him because I hadn't made it on time to his apartment that we were living together in. I figured that he was busy with work like me. Being a member of the NYPD was not easy and I respected that. Yet still, I was a little disappointed because he didn't call me.
Peter and I were dating for ten months now and he had proposed to me on our forth month anniversary. It probably was the last time we ever talked about marriage. Peter was a great guy, he loved me and I was lucky to be his fiancée, yet at times like these, I wondered about why I had agreed to marry him in the first place. Maybe I felt obliged to him after all those things he had done for me. We had met in complicated situations and I always felt secure whenever I was around him.
My relationship with Peter was something that appeared out of the blue and that helped me when I was in despair. He proposed to me on our fourth month anniversary at the same restaurant we had gone to for our first date and I had accepted it immediately because I knew Peter would be a great husband and a perfect father. I would grow to love him in the future. I would grow to overlook his faults and be happy with him. I would disregard the fact that he was not as good as he thought himself to be in bed, that he was not aware of the things a woman would expect from a man in a relationship, like giving importance to certain dates and people.
After all those things I had gone through in my life, I had grown to appreciate things I had and never to ask for more and be satisfied with what I had. Why would I ask for more when I had a good career, a great fiancé who loved me and an apartment I owned in the West side of the island of Manhattan? I had grown to learn that there was no such person as "the one" and why would I give up all those I had for some idealistic happiness? I was happy with my life, in an adequate way.
When I moved out and started living on my own in Manhattan, all that mattered to me was finding the one and giving up my habit of having as much sex as I could and settling down with him. Then came Peter and I gave up those habits, knowing that they never worked out for me. Peter was not perfect, but I was settling down with him. I found myself living what had been my late grandma's mantra: the closest thing to the flawless was as good as the flawless. Peter was the person closest to the flawless and I was lucky to have him.
While I made an analysis of my relationship with Peter, I didn't realize that I was almost done with my assignment and that it was almost midnight. I did the final touches, checked everything for the last time and saved them on my computer, making an additional copy of it on a CD, just in case. I sighed as I finally turned off my computer, satisfied with the fact that I was finally going home, five hours late than usual.
I grabbed my coat, put on my scarf and wrapped myself tightly, knowing that it was freezing outside because the snow had already stopped and there was the cold after the snow. I turned off my table lamp and let my eyes adjust to the darkness for a second when I realized that there were still some lamps on in the corridor. I walked to the elevator like a woman on a mission and pushed the button. Just when the doors opened, I saw Jonathan Mason running to the elevator and I held the doors for him.
He entered inside and I let go off the doors. I reached for the button for the entrance floor and the doors closed. I leaned back on the walls of the elevator and gave a weak smile to Jonathan Mason which he reciprocated with a gorgeous smile of his. His full lips were curved and he was showing some of his white teeth. He was quite a sight to share an elevator with. "Rough night Chloe, huh?" I heard him say just when I was about to close my eyes.
"Yes, one of the worst." I replied. The elevator descended on its course. That was what I hated about the top floors of skyscrapers. The elevator rides would take ages. "Yours wasn't any better, right?" I asked to Jonathan back and he replied with a nod. He was leaning on the opposite wall of the elevator like me.
Just when I was thinking that I would be out of the building, heading to my fiancé's house in a few minutes, the elevator gave a shake, the lights turned off and it finally came to a halt. Before I could realize what was going on, the red emergency lights were turned on. "What the hell?" I heard Jonathan saying as he stepped towards the control panel of the elevator and started pushing some buttons. I just stood in my place, looking at him.
We were standing in an elevator that had stopped between the eighth and the ninth floors. The red light on was rather hurting my eyes. "What's going on?" I asked Jonathan who was sitting pushing some buttons in vain.
"The electricity went dead and the emergency lights are on instead." he said with his deep English accent as he looked at me with a rather worried expression. "What time is it?"
"It's a few minutes past midnight." I replied as I checked my watch.
"Oh, great!" he said and hit the panel. The elevator shook a little. "That wonderful plan of the company to save the planet is likely to squander our night."
"Please don't tell me that we are stuck here because of that stupid saving energy plan." I said and he shrugged. "Damn." I found myself saying as I fished my cell phone out of my purse. I dialed the first number that was on, but the call didn't go through. "There's no reception." I replied, mentioning the phone, then I put it back into my purse.
Jonathan was now trying the emergency phone hidden under the control panel. He tried it a few times, shouting at it, but there was no reply. The wonderful idea of our company and our building to turn off the electricity every night at midnight to save on energy had apparently resulted in leaving us abandoned in the elevator. "This is just great. The electricity will be back in the morning." he said, but his words failed to comfort me.
"So we just need to stay here for eight hours, right?" I asked, my voice breaking down a little.
"Nine, actually." he replied. "The shifts start at nine on Saturdays."
I cursed within. "I think I hate George Hamilton right now." I said and he smiled a little. "First he makes me work the entire night, then because of some policy he agreed to, he makes me spend the entire night in an elevator." I muttered under my breath. Knowing there was nothing I could do, I sat down on the floor, not wanting to spend the entire night standing on high-heeled shoes.
"So, what do we do now?" Jonathan asked as he sat down next to me. I sighed and leaned back on the wall of the elevator. I decided that I didn't mind working late hours or the company policies to conserve energy. Being stuck in an elevator as a consequence of those, I minded. What a way to ruin a Friday night…
A/N: I wrote "New Thing" almost four years ago and ever since I wanted to rewrite it because it was full of mistakes, both story-wise and grammar-wise. There were several stupid things going on. So, this is the edited + revised version of the story. The characters are more mature now, as the writer herself has matured. And also, geographically, the story sucked because I didn't know New York before and apparently my knowledge was limited to things I had learned from the TV. Visiting NYC has helped me writing "New Thing" better and I hope you'll like the new version better. The former version is still on the site, you can find it on my profile. On a final note, this hasn't gone over beta because I couldn't find a beta… So, if you're interested in beta'ing the story, please PM me. Thanks and love, Heather F.C….