[The Project][Part 9]

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Dishes clinked in the sink, settling as water rushed over them from the tap. Dinner had consisted of pasta in a homemade red sauce and a bottle of wine. I knew I didn’t have to go through all the effort of making the sauce from scratch. He would have loved it if it had come from a can, because I knew had made it for him. I wanted to make the effort though because I knew it showed him how much I appreciated him on a daily basis. I wanted him to know how important he was to me.

I finished wiping the counter and dried my hands. I could hear him already watching the evening news, the volume low. The television was perpetually on nearly the lowest volume setting due to my condition, but I could still see the colour seeping through the doorway into the kitchen. I simply told him that the high volume hurt my ears, and he said that was fine and kept it low. It was still strange to see sometimes but slowly, it was becoming normal. I wasn’t sure how normal he would see my condition though. I felt bad because he didn’t know the entire truth. I loved him too much to rick the truth, just yet.

“Evelyn, are you coming? The news stories are starting.”

“Coming. Drink?”

“Sure, anything really.”

“Okay.” I opened the cupboard and picked up a glass. Walking to the fridge, I took a deep breath. I need to tell him, and soon I think. I pulled on the door. Soon… Yes, soon, just not yet.

~

The sound of a wall clock echoed in the lobby, but no clock was visible. The rhythmic ticking reminded Mave of how long she had been waiting to enter the inner boardroom, where she could only imagine ho as beyond the door. Eleven minutes since she had arrived out of the elevator and was told by the smartly dressed woman, who couldn’t have been much older than herself, to wait until the room was ready for her to enter. Mave took a seat and waited.

Nervous at the lingering motive for being summoned in the first place, all Mave could do as study her surroundings. She peered over at the receptionist, the woman’s fingers tapping rapidly across the keyboard in front of her. Her eyes never left the screen, not even to see where Mave was positioned. It was strange behaviour to Mave, though she knew normally she would have praised this woman for being so focused on her task. But right now, Mave was on edge and wished the woman would gossip like all the other employees.

Logistically, she was prepared to answer any questions they may ask about the Project and their progress. What she was unsure of was how she would respond in their presence. She had only ever seen the higher associates from a distance, never within speaking range, and never face to face. Her imagination was nowhere near the caliber to think of what could happen. The unknown possibilities worried her beyond belief. What if she said something contrary to what the associates believed? What if they wanted her there to replace her? There was too little information for her to arrive at any likely conclusion.

To make matters worse, he was there too.

When the elevator doors had opened, Kayden was standing there, with that ridiculous smile on his face that made her feel as though he knew something she didn’t. She hoped it was merely a coincidence her was there. Perhaps he was just returning to our own floor and back to his office to fake working. The first think she noticed though when the doors closed in front of her, only one floor button was lit up. The button for the 75th floor. The elevator had already ascended past our regular floor.

She turned and looked back where Kayden was standing off to the side. He was silent for probably the first time in his life, that smile still hanging on his face. At that moment, nothing would have made her more comfortable than smacking that stupid smile off. But she knew she had to remain professional, no matter how much the man irritated her. She tried to think of something to say to break the silence in order to gain any information as to why he was in the elevator as well. But nothing came to mind, so when the elevator stopped and the doors opened, they both just walked out and took opposing seats in the lobby.

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