These thoughts went in rapid order through Dylan’s mind as he stepped away from the fountain and toward his office. This shouldn’t be a problem, he thought. He walked these halls everyday, and despite the occasional nickname to pester him, he was gratefully overlooked, and unfortunately underpaid. So he plowed forward with his head down and feeling foolish and out of sorts - all because of that wretched cookie. How could one tasty sweet upset his life balance? This thought stopped him in his tracks, along with two other people directly in his path.
One he ran smack into - that would be one of his tormentors named Adam. “Nice to run into you Trout! Sheesh! Trout Run - get it, like the fish that he is?!” This was par for the course for Adam’s daily dialogue with the person-least-likely-to-want-to-be-social-with-Adam. Nothing was reportable, but there was no denying the bullying activity was habitual and demeaning.
The second person interrupting his retreat was someone he frankly wished he could run into. Jill had everything Dylan could ever hope for in a woman - the looks, the smarts, the organization and meticulous grooming. As a surreal bonus, she even was kind to him and acknowledged him without an inside joke or sympathy wave. Yet, as with many interactions in his life, Dylan never really committed any effort to building a friendship, let alone a –gasp!- interoffice relationship. Still, he looked up and smiled at her even while Adam was… being Adam.
“Hey, Fish, you better get that report back to me by noon or you will really be up the river without a paddle, if you know what I mean.” Dylan neither understood the poor metaphor or cared about Adam’s threat, but it did cause something to click in his head about his schedule and his daily plan. It was time to complete the retreat and return to some sort of working routine. Dylan mumbled something to Jill and Adam, certainly not a charmimg way to depart, and then climbed back into the hole from which he worked and watched the world go by.
Fortunately for Dylan Trout’s nervous system (and digestive system as well), the rest of the day was uneventful. The report was most certainly handed in to Adam’s office by 11:15 AM. Lunch, consisting of an apple, a sandwich, ten crackers, and a diet soda was steadily consumed between 11:45 and 12:30. As he ate, Dylan tried his best not to make eye contact with Jill. All the while, he so wished to see the sparkle of those hazel eyes and the flash of her smile. It was often what got him through the afternoon. Yes, the thought had already occurred and been discarded that she could be the mystery cookie deliverer. Still, no other good clues existed and he left the office with more questions than answers - a fairly rare occurrence.