It’s the beginning of the month, and we’re having a big meeting at work. It’s about the only time we get to mingle with other people in the office.

The meeting is called to order. We get updates on the financials for last month and on setting goals for the month ahead. I always zone out at these meetings; the issues really have nothing to do with us IT guys. But then something catches my eye and I hear a familiar voice close by – Lilly!

She is introduced as the new Director of Sales and Marketing and we’re told she’s here to “shake things up”.

I shiver.

She looks gorgeous in her grey pencil skirt and pink blouse. Her dreads are tied into some beautiful arrangement and her heels give her some height. She’s angelic, radiant!

After the meeting we scatter, but I can’t seem to get up from the corner of the desk where I’ve been perched. I’m shaking and sweating and I feel dizzy. I feel a sharp bang on my shoulder – Dave.

“Dude, my new boss is smoking!” he shouts into my ear. “Work just got a whole lot more interesting.”

He clearly doesn’t recognise Lilly because she’s not “plain” anymore.

“I’ll go introduce myself. Catch you later, bro.”

He saunters off towards Lilly.

My knees feel weak. I haven’t ever introduced myself to her. I’ve been watching her for two weeks and only found out her name by chance, when someone called her. Now Dave is off to talk to her. If I ever had a chance in hell with Lilly, now I know it’s gone for good.

The rest of the week is a blur. I hide out in our cramped little office, trying not to think about Dave and Lilly. I avoid him by working late and not responding to his WhatsApp messages.

By midweek I’m missing Lilly so much, it’s unbearable. I summon all my courage and go to the cafeteria just so I can catch a glimpse of her.

Then the unthinkable happens. She walks in with Dave and they are chatting and laughing. It’s taken Dave only two days. His salesmanship has worked again.

Dave shouts my name and waves me over. I have my earphones on and ignore them, pretending to listen to music. But then I see them walking over and I contemplate making a run for it.

It’s too late; they are at my table.

“Hey bro, where have you been?” Dave asks, pulling me into a bro-hug.

As I pat his back I can feel the muscles on him and wonder how many times Lilly has felt them. The thought makes me shudder and I quickly pull back.

“I’ve been … sick,” I lie.

“Shit, bro, hope you don’t pass any of that on to me,” he says, stepping back. I fake a little cough.

Lilly looks great. It’s the first time I’ve seen her so close up and she is more beautiful than ever. I know I’m staring, but I can’t keep my eyes off her.

“I’m Lillian, Sales and Marketing,” she says offering a hand.

“Tumie. IT.” My hand is sweaty and hot against her cool skin.

“You’re cute for a geek,” she says.

My glasses steam up. I shift from one foot to the other.

“We’ve just hit the gym and Lilly is a powerhouse when it comes to her workouts. As a boss, she’s just as ruthless – takes no nonsense.

I smile.

“I have to go, but see you Friday, Tumie,” she says and gives me the most beautiful smile.

I look confused.

“You know – my welcome party.”

I’m lost.

“A geek who doesn’t read his email?” she says with a laugh.

“Naah, we don’t want him passing on germs to the rest of the office now, do we?” Dave says, pulling Lilly away. “See you, dude. Get better.”

“Nonsense. I’ll email you a recipe to fix your ’flu. Better yet, since you don’t check your email, give me your number.”

She hands me her phone and I tap in my number with shaky hands.

“Then you have no excuse but to come on Friday. I’d love to see you there.”

Lilly would love to see me there.

I’m speechless. I stand there and watch them walk away. Lilly wants me at that party and I’m going to be there. I have a shot after all.


Question: Do you think Tumie will have the courage to talk to Lilly at the party?