Charlie escorted Veronica to the glass double doors. She turned to him with a smile and handed him her I.D. badge. “I’m going to miss this place.”
Charlie laughed, “Yeah, sure you will, you just won four million dollars in the lottery and you think you are going to miss cubicle-world. My gosh, Veronica, live large – and don’t look back.”
Charlie turned and saw Brian running towards him, “Hey, Melody just phoned looking for you – she’s in labor. “
Charlie smiled. “ I can’t believe it! I’m going to be a dad!”
Brian slapped him in the back of the shoulder, “Go on - get out of here.”
Brian followed his best friend to the exit and noticed his reflection once the door closed. He was excited for Charlie but couldn’t help feeling envious. Jane had now been gone for over two years. He had done everything right, the new house, the new dog, but Jane wanted more. So Brian threw himself into his job; where he would work to the point of exhaustion each night before heading to the house…which was no longer a home.
Without thinking Charlie shoved Veronica’s I.D. badge into his back pocket but it slipped out when he got into his car.
Amy Jenkins had been homeless for two years. Her stepdad abused her, and her mother was an alcoholic. To make money she would play her violin on the Pearl Street mall, while Toby her Yorkie snuggled inside the open violin case. People would toss in coins, but it was winter now so pedestrian traffic was light. Hungry she crossed the Cisco Industries parking lot and saw something shiny lying in the snow beneath a lamp post. She picked it up. The badge displayed the kind face of a woman by the name of Veronica Campbell. With Toby tucked inside her coat she ran to the back door and tried her luck. “Dear God, please forgive me for trespassing – I’m just so cold, and hungry.” Like magic the doors opened and she entered the warm lobby before venturing into the break room. Inside the lighted vending machines she saw fresh food and drinks. She scratched Toby’s head, “I think we still have a couple dollars.” She bought a sandwich and chocolate milk.
The snow was falling harder as he crossed the lot and scanned the badge at the fitness center- it worked. After a warm shower she was finally able to comb the tangles out of her hair. The company uniform store was adjacent to the locker room. With guilt in her heart she took a uniform and put it on. She stacked some exercise mats, covered herself with clean towels, and fell asleep. Toby curled up beside her.
The uniform was a blessing that made it possible to enter Cisco Industries and blend right in. The company was so large nobody even asked what department she worked in. She found a job by checking the want ads on the employee advertisement board; somebody was looking for a full-time housekeeper and dog sitter.
That afternoon she went to the house of Brian Metcalf and he smiled warmly when he answered the door. He introduced her to Thor his Great Dane. Thor and Toby hit it off immediately, and so did Brian and Amy. You can stay in the guest quarters out back. Thor was my wife’s dog, but she left him - I mean us.”
A month later Fred Cisco, the President of Cisco Industries, entered his office and found a folded uniform, an ID badge, and a written heartfelt apology from Amy Jenkins.
That same afternoon Brian drove home in a state of dismay. In one short month Amy had made the house feel like a home and he didn’t want to lose her. He walked into the kitchen with the note. Amy smiled as she stirred the spaghetti sauce, excited to tell Brian about going back to school to study music. Brian set the letter on the counter... Amy’s smiled faded.
Amy whispered, “Where did you get that?”
“Fred Cisco gave it to me – he is a good man Amy – he forgives you.”
Amy set the spoon down and cried tears of relief.
Brian’s eyes misted, “Don’t cry Amy, you survived the best way you could, and that part of your life is over now, so don’t look back.”
He took Amy into his arms and whispered, “Besides, I think it’s time we both move forward.”
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