Jane took a moment in her office to congratulate herself. The presentation had gone well and even her difficult boss Briars had been pleased. Beeps alerted her to the latest messages on her new company mobile phone. She had received the sleek and expensive gadget as a reward for her hard work and Jane was proud of the trophy, proof to her that she was truly valued. Suddenly, Briars appeared in her doorway.
“Have copies of the presentation printed. You can show the Americans this weekend.” Disappearing just as quickly, Jane had to run to her office door to call after him.
“Wait…” she shouted, and when he failed to break stride she had to pick her words carefully and quickly. “I can print the copies, but… I’m away this weekend.” She tried to look calm as he turned slowly, his face pinched with annoyance.
“You don’t think it’s important to attend?” he questioned with building frustration.
“You said you didn’t need me so…” but he cut her off with a wave of his hand.
“Come or don’t come, just print those copies.” As he walked away, Jane couldn’t decide if apathy was better than anger, but had no time to ponder as she raced to make the copies.
Wheeling her case from the platform she saw the unmistakable figure of her father. Wax jacket, flat cap and the small Lurcher by his knees. As they hugged in greeting Jane’s mind was on her decision to go away for the weekend. Insisting that Briars call if he needed anything, he had exercised that right several times throughout her journey. Tapping furiously at the phone during the car ride from the station, Jane hoped there wouldn’t be a permanent blip on her working record. Unable to concentrate, she reached for the radio dial to turn the volume down and was stopped short by a grunt from her father.
“Don’t touch it. They’re about to play an old Perry Como record I haven’t heard for years. It’s not in the shops any more.” Jane jumped at the sound of his voice and with guilt realised she hadn’t spoken to him the whole drive home without any word of complaint. She eased back into her seat and for a moment forgot about work.
“Do you know how the song goes?” she asked and laughed when her father broke into a few lines of verse with gusto. “I bet you can buy it online.” She continued happily. The dog’s head poked through from the backseat, not wanting to miss any of the conversation. Her father raised his eyebrows; Jane had forgotten his suspicion of the Internet. “By ‘you’, I mean I’ll try and get you a copy of course…” She watched her father smile slowly.
“Do that and I’ll think about waiving the bed and board charge for this weekend.” Jane laughed and the dog gave a sniff of approval.