Janet had just left work. She pulled a double that night, working for another employee who called in sick. While she doesn’t mind working the extra hours, she was hoping to get home early. She planned a wonderful night out with her boyfriend and was looking forward to this night for many weeks. Instead, she sucked it up and agreed with her boss to put in the extra hours. They had a deadline to meet. In a matter of days, her company was about to take on a large account. If they land it, it would bring millions of dollars their way and now, with her fronting the team and pulling this double shift, she might just get that corner office she’s been eying since she arrived.
Janet sat at her desk, typing away and looking over piles of paper. Every so often, she would watch someone leave. They would exchanged good byes and well wishes. She smiled at them, waved but it wasn’t real. She was growing tired and irritable. These people never put in extra hours. They never reached out a hand to help. They worked their shifts and left, knowing that once they beat the rush hour traffic, they will be home with someone they love. But still, the corner office was all she could think about. She buried her face back into the paperwork, taking her time to make sure it was all correct.
Her phone chimed. It was a text message from Aaron. Just seeing him name grace the screen made her smile. He was the one. He was everything she looked for in a man. He is something special. He would call her just to say hello. They would talk on the phone for hours. Usually it was about nothing. But that was what made her love him. He took the time to think of her. She read the message,
“Hey Janet! Just thinking of you. I wish we could have met up tonight. I was looking forward to it.”
She frowned. She was missing him. She really wanted to see him. She really wanted to spent tonight with him. He had told her that tonight was going to be a perfect night. He had big plans. A fancy restaurant, and a night where she was going to be the center of attention. All week long, she thought about this night. She wondered why this night was so special. the romantic in her, thought only about him dropping to one knee to propose. It was logical. It had to be. She sighed. She stared at the phone, reading the message over and over, knowing that accepting her bosses plea to work overtime ruined her chances for the perfect night, the night were she was not going to a just a girlfriend anymore.
The phone buzzed again. Aaron sent another text.
“What if I stop by and see you?”
Again, she lit up with excitement. It wouldn’t hurt if he stopped by. Besides the janitor, she was the last one in the building. She wants to see him, she really does. The only problem she has is she is a stickler for the rules. She always puts work first. She doesn’t bend the rules. Even knowing that him coming by for a while wasn’t going to cost her the corner office or her job, she just couldn’t come to the decision of if he should or shouldn’t. She tried to focus back on work, but she would always go back to looking at her phone to decide on what to do. The phone buzzed a third time. It was Aaron again.
“I really want to see you tonight. I’ll bring take out! It’s not “Pierre’s” but it will work.”
She laughed. Food did sound good. Seeing Aaron sounded even better. Janet scooped up her phone and starting typing.
“Sure! Sounds good! I’ll see you in a bit!” She hovered her thumb over the ‘send’ option a second or two, before she stopped thinking with her brain and thought with her heart.
She held on to the phone. The files on her desk sat there. She eyed them a few times but she only thought about what he would say next. Sure enough, Aaron replied,
“Okay, sweetie. I’ll see you in bit. Hope you like chinese food. I love you.”
Janet smiles from ear to ear. She loved hearing him say that. Many of her old boyfriends have said it before but to her, she never felt like they really meant it. If they did, she would be with one of them and not Aaron. She is happy with Aaron. She is happy she accepted that blind date her friend set her up on. If she didn’t, then she wouldn’t be as happy as she is right now. Janet felt a extra burst of energy overcome her. She jumped back into her work, only this time, her focus was on Aaron and not on the large account she could land the company. Taking a minute away from her work, she would look at her phone just to read the last message again. “I love you.”
She reads it over and over, each time it assures her that Aaron is a great guy who is going to make tonight a memorable one, even if they have to sit in a dark office and eat chinese food. Janet rose to her feet. She stretched her arms in the air, and yawn widely. She walked around, getting any type of exercise she could. She looked at the clock. It was just after eight. It would be only another two hours before she would head home. The long day at work was hard on her. She really wished she was like everyone else who would just drop what they were doing and leave the work till they next day. Staring out the window, she looked at the empty parking lot. It was her car and the janitor’s truck. He was always the last one to leave. She wondered if he even knows she is still upstairs. If he doesn’t, he’ll surely discover she is when Aaron shows up with dinner for two. She watched cars drive by. Whenever a car slowed down, she would press her face closer to the glass and wish that is was Aaron. But the car never pulled in the parking lot. It would slow down but keep forward, driving off in the darkness of the night.
Janet looked at her phone. No messages. She wondered what was taking him so long. She was ready to send him another message but before she even pressed the very first letter, her phone buzzed. It was a message from Aaron.
“Sorry. Long line. Be there in ten.”
The reassurance of his text put her at ease. She retreated back to her desk. The clutter on the desk was no way to have dinner. If they were going to make this night magical, she wanted everything to look perfect. Grabbing the file box from the floor, with one swoop, she shoved all the papers in to it. “All clean.” She said to herself. It wasn’t right still. It was still missing something. Janet strolled around the office. She passes by a few other desks and grabs anything that catches her eye. Gretta had a vase sitting on her desk with a bouquet of flowers. Janet puts it on her desk and again, still feels it is missing something. She remembers Eric talking about the candles his kids made for him at summer camp. They weren’t the prettiest of candles but with so little to work on, she take the opportunity to put them to a far better use than the paper weight Eric was using them as.
Janet sat at her desk. It looked perfect. “Oh, I almost forgot!” Janet turned on her radio to the soft jazz station. It wasn’t her favorite music but Aaron likes it. If this was going to be perfect, everything has to be. She sat there, her arms folded on her desk. Her eyes focused on the elevator in front of her. Her phone buzzed. It was Aaron.
“I’m on my way up! Twentieth floor, right?”
She replied ‘yes’. Janet began to shake. She was so nervous. She didn’t know what to expect. She could see Aaron. She could see him walking out of the elevator with two boxes of chinese food and a silly grin on his face, almost like he was saying “this is the best I could do on such short notice.”
With the office empty and not a peep from her, she hears the whirl of the elevator. The numbers above the elevator doors lit up With each number getting closer to twenty, her stomach twisted and turned inside her. She wanted to surprise him. She raced to the door to stand in front of it. She was going to leap inside and give him a big hug and kiss him. The numbers grew closer. She watched it go from 12 to 13…and before she knew it, the car was at 19. She took a deep breath and shut her eyes. The car stopped. A bell chimed and the doors flung open.
With her eyes still closed, she leaped in. “Oh, Aaron! I love you! I’m so glad you came!” She held tightly on. But something wasn’t right. This hug was different. It didn’t feel like Aaron. She opened her eyes and backed away. Janet screamed and back slowly out of the car. Standing in the car was the janitor. He was covered in blood. He looked at Janet, an evil grimace smeared on his face. The janitor pulled out a cellphone from his pocket. He punched a few keys then smiled again at Janet. Behind her, she hears her phone buzz.
The janitor stepped out of the elevator car and walked over to Janet. She screamed but it was useless. No one was going to hear her. No one was going to save her. Backing up, Janet was blocked by her desk. She fell backwards, knocking the candles and the vase to the floor. Standing over her, was the janitor. He shoved her on to the desk, grabbing her neck with one arm. “You’re special, Janet. You’re so, very special.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small felt box. Using his chin, he opens the box to reveal a diamond ring. He presses her face to hers. He licks her face from chin to ear, stopping briefly to smell her hair. Janet’s head gave. Her lifeless body laid motionless on her desk. There the janitor removes the ring and puts it on Janet’s still warm finger.
He moves her hands across her body, feeling every inch and every part. He grabs her breasts, squeezing them tightly, feeling an area of him growing tighter as well. He stops himself before he went any further. As he leaves, her kisses her on the cheek. He presses the ground floor button on the elevator. The door closes in front of him. The soft jazz fades away and he descends back to the ground floor to clean up the bloody mess left behind by Aaron.