Opening Line Prompt #11 — Draft

This needs an ending. I’ll come back to it.

I only ever met one woman I’d call truly outgoing. Her name was Rachel. She was one of the better lawyers at the firm I worked for. Unlike anyone’s mental image of a lawyer, Rachel had a wild mane of strawberry-blonde hair, wore jeans to the office as often as she could get away with it, and had a laugh that was as boisterous and infectious as it was perpetual.

I was the receptionist for a law firm. As the first thing a potential client saw when they walked in, my desk was huge and wooden and imposing. It was designed to look like a judge’s bench. I was eating my lunch under my desk, as usual, when Rachel came by to pick up some files she’d asked me to find for her.

I’d messaged her that they were on my desk, and as I heard her approach, I mentally kicked myself. I would generally pull my chair in to make sure that I couldn’t be seen but I had forgotten to. If she stayed on the visitor side of the desk, or even the side, I’d be safe. I held my breath. No luck.

She’d paired a black-and-gray pinstriped skirt with red Keds, which meant that she had to be at the courthouse later. I’d gone with her often enough to know that she kept a pairs of heels in her car.

She laughed when she saw me.  

I’d had few close calls over the year-and-a-half since I started eating my lunch there, but nobody had ever spotted me. I couldn’t believe I’d left my chair pushed back so far. I was never that careless!

“Did you drop something?” she asked. Then she spotted the empty yogurt container next to my crossed legs and the half of a sandwich in my hand. The other half of my sandwich was on a folded paper towel on my floral-skirted thigh.

I pictured her shouting everyone in the office over to laugh at me. My face flamed with humiliation. I mentally drafted my resignation letter.

But her ever-present half-dimple disappeared as she regarded me seriously. Her body made jerky little movements as she decided what to do. Then, she looked around quickly, before ducking down.

“Shove over,” she whispered.

I reluctantly moved over so that she could sit next to me. Even with our legs straight out, the desk was big enough to completely shield us from most angles.

“This is a genius idea!” Rachel whispered, drawing my chair in the way that I should have. “I wish my desk was big enough to do this! You could take a nap under here!”

“I do, sometimes,” I admitted in a much softer whisper than hers. The carpet was plush and I kept a small pillow in my bottom desk drawer, behind some files. With her around, that wasn’t going to happen and I couldn’t help but resent her a bit.

“Damn, I should have brought my lunch,” Rachel said, her half-dimple returning. “I didn’t know we’d be doing this.”

I gestured to my thigh.

“Oh, I couldn’t,” she whispered, as she reached over and picked up the sandwich half. I always cut my sandwiches on a diagonal because I’m not a barbarian. I never saw anyone outside of a Wonder Bread commercial take their first bite from the center of the triangle, before, or since.

I suppressed an urge to laugh.

Opening Line Prompt #5 — Draft

This is is far as I got tonight. Going to have to finish this tomorrow night.

The world is full of people who despise Jane Marchant. Therefore, being Jane Marchant is not a comfortable thing to be. But I don’t have much choice. I could change my name and my face and my location, but, hell, that’s how I got to be Jane Marchant in the first place.

The dentist’s office smells of the usual disinfectant and bottled-up terror. A small, blonde boy sits on the floor, coloring in a book that his mother pulled out of a large, long-suffering bag. He alternates coloring with a blue crayon and a red crayon and he occasionally glances up, just to glare at me.

I can’t tell if it’s because he recognizes me from TV, or if it’s because every time he looks up to glare at me, I’m watching him.

Aside from the boy, not a person in the room looks directly at me, but every one of them is watching me. Jeez. You bring down one entire government (that anybody knows of) and all of the sudden; you’re the center of attention.

I can feel how many people in the room secretly want to thank me, and how many of them are barely suppressing the urge to murder me. It’s 3-to-2, with the boy a question mark. Just as I feel an impending lunge coming from my left, the door that leads to the inner sanctum of the dentist’s office opens.

“Ms. Marchant?”

I stand, as the man to my left reins back his rage. After all, murder is still illegal, even without a government, probably, right?

The receptionist who calls my name is not a fan of mine, but she is bristling with the judgment of a woman who believes that it is impertinent to bring down a government. A pure bureaucrat. Believe it or not, you get a lot more of these than you do people who conform to any sort of ideal. Mr. Angry in the waiting room is the same way, just more intense about it.

The receptionist leads me to a room and indicates with a disapproving jerk of her head that I should go inside. “The doctor will be right in.”

I smile and enter. I like a dentist who insists on being called a doctor.

Opening Line Prompt taken from here: