Today ~ A Flash Fiction Romance by Jo Jackson

Oct 20 2017, 6:09 am in , , ,

Today

 

     “So, what’s it going to be today? Chicken or ham?” Her voice wasn’t as chipper as it could have been but then given the sodden trainers that were squelching her around the office space and the torrential rain battering the windows, no one could have been overly surprised.

     “Do you have tuna?”

     “Really? We’re really going to do this. Again.” The sandwich girl sighed wearily, switching her basket of clingfilm smothered sandwiches and rolls to the other hip. The plastic wrap decorated with droplets of water that sparkled under the lighting. She rolled her shoulders to try and get the wet shirt to stop clinging to her back, the fabric making her want to shiver.

     “Well, do you?” his tone was hopeful.

     “Dan, let me ask you a question. It is Dan, isn’t it?”

     Dan nodded.

     “Dan, did I have tuna yesterday?”

     He shook his head.

     “Or the day before?”

     Another shake and his overly bright smile began to fade ever so slightly.

     “Have I ever, in all the months I’ve been bringing sandwiches to your office, had tuna?”

     “No,” he replied quietly.

     “And do you know why that is, Dan?”

     “Because no one orders any?”

     “Because no one orders any. No one has ever ordered tuna and so no tuna sandwiches ever make their way into my basket. And yet every day, every single day, you ask if I have one.” She tried to keep her voice down but there was little chance that her words didn’t carry to the nearest cubicles around them, even more so given that most people seemed to have paused their work to listen in. “May I suggest if you’re so keen to have a fish based sandwich for your lunch, Dan, you bloody well order one when asked!”

     In the silence that followed a droplet of rain dripped from her pixie cut hair and ran down her forehead and dripped off the quirked brow currently aimed at the hapless Dan.

     Somewhere, in someone’s cubicle, a phone rang and the bubble burst instantly. Quiet noise filling up the office space once more and prompting Dan into responding.

     “I’ll have ham, please,” Dan took the offered sandwich with a muted word of thanks, dropping some coins into her outstretched hand to cover the cost.

     Closing her eyes and taking a slow breath to try and calm herself down she turned away from Dan and his non-tuna filled sandwich and headed to the next cubicle. The man inside clearly amused by what had just gone on given the grin on his lips.

     “Well, that was rather dramatic for a Tuesday lunchtime, even for you and Dan and your daily battle of the baguettes.”

     “You need to get out more, that was nothing. You want drama? Go to the office where only one gluten free sandwich has been ordered and someone else has taken it.”

     “I can imagine,” he chuckled, holding out a box of tissues. “Handbags at ten paces.”

     “You’re not far off,” she smiled gratefully, setting her basket down on the corner of his desk and taking one of the offered tissues to wipe at her face.

     “Aren’t you worried someone might make a complaint?”

     “Oddly enough, this isn’t my dream job,” she countered defensively, balling up the damp tissue and tossing it into a nearby bin. “If I’m completely honest, when I left the sandwich shop and the heavens opened I was genuinely tempted to just chuck this lot on the ground, put the basket over my head and go home.”

     As if to emphasise her point there was a massive flash of lightning outside followed by a crash of thunder so loud it shook the huge windows that stretched from floor to ceiling.

     “I don’t blame you,” he assured her, frowning slightly. “But, even so, you’d probably need a reference, wouldn’t you? A bad comment from a client could really mess that up.”

     “I appreciate your concern,” her voice was a little softer, it surprised them both, “but if he hasn’t got the balls to order the sandwich he wants I highly doubt he’s going to be picking up the phone to start making complaints any time soon.”

     “Fair point.”

     “I’m sure I’ll be back here tomorrow, with a basket devoid of tuna based lunch items, just as I always am.”

     “Well, I hope so. I kind of like watching you and Dan every day.”

     “Then I’ll do my best not to disappoint, assuming I don’t get washed away on my way to the next office on my list of course.” She blushed slightly. “So, what’ll it be? Chicken or ham?”

     “Today?”

     “Today.”

     “Today I’d really like to take you out for dinner but I didn’t put that on the order slip this morning so…” his words tailed off and her eyes rose from the basket to his face. “I guess it’ll have to be chicken.”

     “Dinner?” she repeated quietly, suddenly hoping her eyeliner wasn’t too badly ruined by the rain.

     “No, chicken,” he repeated slowly, stressing the syllables slightly.

     Grinning bashfully, she pulled out a chicken roll from her basket and held it out.

     “But, I don’t even know your name,” she admitted as he took it from her and pulled his wallet from his suit jacket pocket.

     “You’re Sophie, the sandwich girl, and I’m Chris. I like sandwiches and walks in the rain. Seems like we’d be a good match.” He held out a ten pound note to pay for the sandwich along with his business card.

     “I don’t have enough change for this.”

     “Don’t worry, you can bring it along tonight. Give me a call or a text later and we’ll sort out where to meet.”

     “Ok then,” Sophie smiled, pocketing the card and hoping like hell that it survived the rest of the lunchtime deliveries.

     “Ok,” Chris repeated, watching her walk away.

     “So,” Sophie approached the next cubicle with a much brighter expression than she had been wearing a few minutes earlier. “What’ll it be today?”   

 

 

       

I’m Jo Jackson and I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. I wrote my first serious attempt at a novel at the age of 14 and wrote regularly after that until real life and ‘adulting’ got in the way.

A few years ago I allowed myself to have enough belief and confidence in my writing to try and do something about the stories that have been trapped in my imagination for too long. I’m a British born preschool teacher and photographer who’s been living for the last 12 years in Northern Finland with my husband, two children and our crazy black labrador. Here I write under the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer, taking large amounts of inspiration from family holidays spent in the Scottish Highlands as well as the adventure games of my childhood. I tend to write about love, in various guises. Check out my book, ‘Moments Matter: The importance of family photography’

 

 

 

   

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