My name is Theresa but most people call me Reese for short. I am about 5' 8" tall. I have shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes. I am 35 years old. Those are the basics of me. I've been told I am beautiful, so why is it so hard for me to find love? My answer to that? I'm overweight. I am only about 50 pounds over my ideal weight, but that seems to be enough to turn off most men. I will admit, I am far from being "supermodel" skinny. I've struggled with my weight most of my life, but I've never let it hold me back from the things I've wanted to do.
I work at a telecommunications company in Michigan. My job isn't all that glamorous, just data entry, but it pays the bills. I've worked there for the last five years and I share a cubicle with a guy named Michael who has only been with the company for about two years. On his first day, Michael had told me that he'd never done this kind of work before and he was nervous about his new venture. I helped him get through some tough spots, now he's better at this job than I am.
We became friends quickly and he stuck to me like glue his first few days, wanting to learn all he could, as quick as he could. We eat lunch together everyday and we've even gone out a few times, just as friends. He tells me about the troubles he has with his girlfriend, I tell him about the troubles I have even getting boyfriends because of my appearance. We've actually gotten to know each other pretty well, right down to how we like our coffee, our favorite foods, even favorite movies.
I had already started falling for him about a year ago when he came over one night after he had caught his girlfriend cheating on him. We just watched movies, ate popcorn and talked, I loved being close to him. I convinced him to work things out with his girlfriend and he convinced me to try harder to get men to notice me. When he left, we hugged good-bye as we always did, but this hug felt different. It was a slow, lingering hug. He held me tight, his arms around my waist, his hands very low on my back. I had my hands under his jacket, feeling his muscular back flexing as his hands gently caressed my back.
It sent shivers through my entire body and I forced myself to break our embrace. He said good night, turned to smile at me, then headed down the hall and out the door. I closed the door and just leaned against it wondering what had just happened between us. After that night, our hugs were back to the platonic "I just want to be friends" type of hugs.
After the bump in the road with his girlfriend, our friendship seemed to have diminished, limited to working together and eating lunch together. I had fallen hard for him. Every morning I'd look forward to seeing him and hearing about what he did the night before. My heart would race as soon as I saw him get off the elevator and I sometimes wondered if other people could hear how loud my heart was beating.
Michael is 36, has short, sandy blond hair and the deepest, darkest brown eyes I've ever seen in my life. He stands about 6' 3". Oh yeah, he looks damn good in a suit and tie, too. He smiled at me this morning as he approached our cubicle and began removing his leather jacket to hang it up.
"G'morning, Reese, how was your weekend?"
"Not bad, Michael. How was yours?"
"Quiet. Sandy decided to go visit her sister so I stayed home and watched movies all weekend," he said as he pulled his chair out from his desk and sat down.
"Really? What did you watch?"
"While You Were Sleeping, Tango & Cash, and Underworld."
"Nice mix, looks like you got all the major genres covered!" I told him, chuckling softly. "While You Were Sleeping, huh? I don't recall you liking that movie."
"Yeah well, I remembered watching it with you and you told me it was one of your favorites, so I thought, what the heck, I'll watch it again," he said as he turned on his computer and searched for his coffee cup.
"Is this what you're looking for?" I asked him, holding his coffee cup out to him.
"Yep! That's it! Can I get you a refill while I'm up?" he asked, walking away from his desk.
"No, I'm good, this is my second cup already," I said. "Hurry back, we've got some new stuff to learn today." I watched him walk over to the coffee maker at the opposite end of the office.
We usually started our day at 8:00am, but I got here early today to start working on some new software the company wanted us to learn. I watched Michael as he prepared his coffee -- two cream, three sugars -- and chatted with the other workers who were filing in slowly to fill the rest of the cubicles in the office. He glanced over at me and smiled while he chatted with Veronica, the office floozy. Veronica had slept with just about every guy in the office at least once, except Michael. It always seemed to frustrate her that she couldn't break through whatever barriers it was that he had up. She tried every single day, only to face defeat.
Michael finally broke free of Veronica's clutches and headed back to our cubicle. He set down his coffee cup, removed his suit jacket and sat down. As we sat at our desks, we faced each other, our computer monitors "back-to-back." He scooted his chair around to my desk and I scooted my chair over a bit to let him get closer so he could see my monitor.
"OK, what's this new stuff we gotta learn?" he asked, taking a sip of his coffee.
"We have some new software that I already installed on both our computers. It's supposed to make our jobs less tedious," I said as I just took a deep breath and enjoyed the scent of his cologne. He had one hand resting on his thigh, his fingers gently brushing against my thigh. I felt my heart beat faster. "Instead of manually entering the numbers, all we have to do is enter the ID number of the customer and the software should do the rest."
"So, where's this ID number?" he asked, looking at the invoices in front of me.
"It's right here in the corner. See?" I replied, pointing to a string of numbers in the upper right hand corner of the invoice I was holding.
"So this number," he said pointing to the same one I was pointing to, "Entered in this box," he continued, reaching for my mouse while still looking at the screen, he put his hand on the mouse before I brought mine away, causing a jolt of awareness to surge through me. He clicked on the entry box on the monitor and entered the number from the invoice.
"Yeah, that's it. Pretty simple," I said and he was even closer to me now, my heart skipped a beat. "See? Now all the information we'd normally enter manually is there." I turned my monitor so he could get a better view.
He sat back in his chair. "We should kick up productivity by about a thousand percent with this new program!"
"Makes our job easier, but gives us more work. Ironic, isn't it?" I hoped he didn't notice the nervous tone of my voice. Our legs were touching and it was driving me crazy.
He scooted his chair back to his desk, took another sip of his coffee and began working on the stack of invoices on his desk. I just sat there staring at him out of the corner of my eye, feeling my heart still race. I really did love him, but I knew he didn't feel the same way about me. I broke my daydream and went back to work on the stack of invoices on my desk.
We worked silently for awhile, glancing over at each other on occasion. When the lunch bell rang, it startled me and I felt Michael's hand on my shoulder. He already had his jacket on and he was reaching out one hand to me to help me out of my chair.
"Where do you wanna go for lunch today, Reese?" he asked me as he took my hand.
"I'm in the mood for Chinese, how 'bout you?" I asked as he helped me with my coat.
"Sounds great! I'm buyin'!" He took my hand and led me to the elevator.
We rode in his car to the restaurant and both of us were surprised at how crowded the place was for a Monday afternoon. We decided to order our food to go and headed back to the office. We sat at our desks eating our lunch, talking about what we'd be doing after work. Michael's cell phone rang and he fumbled to answer it before it went into voice mail.
"Yeah, I'm eatin' lunch right now. What's goin' on?"
"When?" he asked and I saw the look on his face turn from happiness to anger.
"You've gotta be kidding me!"
"Okay. Just relax, I'll take care of it as soon as I can."
"I can't leave work early, it's gonna have to wait 'til I get home!" he told the person on the other end. "It's not like anything else could happen before I get there!"
"Yeah, I'll be home about five. Okay. Bye," he said and closed his phone. He started eating again and refused to look up at me.
"Everything all right?" I asked.
"Yeah, everything's fine," he replied quietly.
"You sure?" I prodded.
"Yes. I'm sure. Let's just finish our lunch." The tone of his voice was cold and he looked up at me and forced a smile.
We finished our lunch in silence. I just sat there wondering what that phone call was about and why he didn't want to tell me. He usually confides in me, even though our friendship is strictly at the office these days. I figured he'd tell me when he was ready. We worked quietly for the rest of the day and occasionally, he'd get up to refill his coffee or grab us a snack from the vending machines in the break room, but other than that, no words were spoken.
.... There is more of this story ...