Jane paused in the office’s kitchen doorway as Tyler drew out the coffee pot. His stance immediately reminded her of Hans Stewart from the big screen the night before. The unassuming crisp shirt and slacks, even his drooping head, mimicked the introductory scene with eerie precision.
A sudden weight seemed to fall on her slim shoulders as she gazed from the movie’s supporting actress’s perspective and endured a surge of Hollywood déjà vu.
Meanwhile, the glass spout clanked against Tyler’s supersized mug as he poured out a gurgle of dark brew.
Drawing a deep breath, Jane shook away the film’s tendrils, checked her watch and walked into the kitchen.
“Leave some for the rest of us.”
Grunting, Tyler set the canister back on the hot plate. He snagged the bottle of sugar. Shaking in a grainy stream, he stirred.
Jane set her own mug on the counter and shook out two pink packets.
Tyler shrugged. “Saw a movie.”
“Really? Me too.” She grabbed the pot’s handle and drowned the white powder mound at the bottom of her cup in a muddy pool. “What did you see?”
She frowned and leaned against the counter, cupping her steaming mug at the waist of her A-line skirt. “Which one?”
“The new dinosaur flick.” Tyler sipped and hissed against the hot liquid. “The trailer has them all on the submarine, sinking into the Marianas Trench. They pop out in the center of the earth, where of course, the raptors then attack.”
Jane snorted. A crimson flash full of shrieks and dashing bits of scales skittered across her thoughts. “Sounds riveting.”
“It had its moments.” Tyler rubbed at one eye. “There’s a scene near the end-.” He clamped his mouth shut with a set of puffed cheeks.
“It’s OK.” Jane grinned. “You’re not going to give anything away I can’t handle.”
“Well…” He inhaled, seeming to savor the coils of caffeine tinted steam while organizing hazy thoughts. “The survivors are in this canyon, right, surrounded by tropical jungle and mist. The raptors are in the shadows, beady eyes, snorts, jaws and sharp cries from all directions. The humans start running.
They end up at this dead end where there’s this massive waterfall.” Motioning with his cup, he approximated the size. “The survivors cluster together on this rocky slab in the center of the pool. Then, just as the raptors launch the final assault, this huge beast surges out of the water like Godzilla and clomps down on all the raptors.”
Jane leveled her eyes at him. “And that was a good moment?”
“Special effects wise, yeah. ‘Water dino’,” he said, adding the air quotes, “was a nice twist and looked pretty authentic.”
Jane shrugged and blew on her coffee.
“What did you see?”
Her cheeks colored and her eyes dropped down to the black and white tiles on the floor.
“That chick flick?”
“Hey,” she snapped.
He held up his hand and mug in apology. “I just can’t see you going to something like that.”
“Why not? Just because a girl works with a bunch of guys, and codes all day, doesn’t mean they don’t like something girlie every once in a while.”
“Right.” Tyler ran a hand through his hair. He leaned against the counter at her side, staring into the face of the office fridge. “Did you like it?”
“I did actually.” She swallowed down a gulp. “You might too.”
Tyler nearly choked. “Seriously?”
“Sure.” She felt her smile wavering as the films dialogue trickled off her lips. “It might give you some good tips.”
He snorted. “Like what?”
“They did a good job getting into a woman’s head, into her thoughts.”
She shook her head and laughed. “Not as scary as you might think.”
“If you say so.”
Jane drew a deep breath and lowered her voice. “Wouldn’t you like to know what Sara’s thinking about when you’re waiting for the meeting to start? Or when you’re riding up in the elevator?”
Tyler’s face froze as if suddenly made of stone. “What do you mean?”
“Oh come on. I can see how you look at her.”
As Paul wandered into the kitchen, Jane’s fingers tightened around her mug, her palms warming to a near burn. Tyler sipped stoically on his coffee.
“Morning,” said Paul after a lengthy yawn.
“Hey,” said Tyler. Jane gave him a little waggle of her fingers.
Paul poured his own cup then left them to the silence.
Jane shook her head at the man’s obliviousness to the tension hanging in the air like the disinfectant from the night time cleaning.
“One scene at the beginning,” she began quietly once Paul’s sleepy steps had dwindled, “is set in an office.” She felt Tyler glance at her, then back to the magnets and bulletins. “The guy, Hans, obviously likes the heroine, but she’s clueless. She thinks of him as a friend because he doesn’t, you know, make his interest clear. He waits on the sidelines, hoping for her to notice him.” Jane blew out a breath and checked her watch. “Near the end though, they end up talking. He brings up all the little things he notices about her that she didn’t think anyone noticed and her eyes open up.”
Tyler began nodding slowly. “Like how she drinks chamomile on Friday instead of coffee, or her thing for daffodils. The way she puts up her hair when we’re here late.”
He mumbled a few more of Sara’s idiosyncrasies as Jane refreshed her cup.
“Bringing those up is harder than it seems,” he said.
“I didn’t say the movie made things easy.” She shook out another faux sugar packet. “If you want I could slip her a note like we were all back in high school.”
“No,” he said quickly. “I’ll figure out how to talk with Sara.”
She didn’t think Tyler heard the little gasp at the door. His head continued bobbing as if to some inner debate.
“Maybe you don’t have to.”
When Tyler looked up frowning, Jane pointed toward the door. He gulped. Jane worried his eyes might tumble from his head.
Sara meanwhile had braced her hand on the door frame and stared at him as if Tyler was the only man in the room, perhaps even in the whole building.
Jane smiled. “If you two will excuse me.”