As I stared at Mr. Purvis standing in the door with a pink slip in his hands, I gripped the edge of the counter with both hands to keep from swooning yet again. The revelation that he had been duckwrangler508, my illicit internet romance, had already shocked my system beyond endurance. Now, to see that my rejection of him would lead to this? My bosom heaved with emotion.
With his back to me, he began to speak. “Miss Vanhese. I’ve come to apologize for my behavior. I realize I put you in a compromising position and I want you to know I had no intention of doing so.”
He turned to regard me, and I noticed for the first time that his eyes were a steely, piercing blue. “Will you forgive me?”
I nodded, momentarily overcome.
He took a step forward, looking at the page in his hands. “I hope this will make things easier for you.”
He laid it upon my desk, and turned without a word. I glanced down and the first words made my blood pause as if all caffeine had drained from my heart.
REQUEST FOR TRANSFER:
Employee: Keith Purvis
Reason for request: Personal
The sound of the lock opening pulled my attention away from the paper, the import only beginning to make its way through my distracted senses.
“Wait!” I cried, stretching out my hand. “Have you done this for me?”
His back to me, he nodded.
I trembled to think he could display such sensitivity. Yet, I must unburden myself and display my guilt, guilt as vile and dark as reheated coffee. “Mr. Purvis, I must tell you I did not present myself honestly to you.”
“Nor did I.”
“When you needed help, the solution I offered was not mine. It was from tech support.”
“Miss Vanhese, you know barista’s salaries are not enough to live on.”
“Of, of course, that is why tips are so important.” I stuttered, confused by this sudden, unmerited change in subject.
“My dear Sophia, don’t you recognize my voice?”
I gasped. With his back to me, I was able to separate his voice from his figure and realized that he was my tech support liaison. For a second time that day, I cried, “You?”
“After the first call, I deliberately asked a question that had no answer, hoping you would call again. I should have told you then. I planned to tell you today, to tell you I would be leaving the store. I know I don’t have the right to ask you this, but,” he half-turned his head, displaying his fine profile, with its high, noble forehead, “once I transfer, is there any hope…?”
I pressed my hands to my lips too overcome to form words, but my soft cry must have signaled my acceptance. He turned and seemed about to come to me, then stopped himself and simply nodded. “I will keep my staff list then.”
He unlocked the door and let in the customers who waited, wondering, on the street.
He paused and turned to face me.
“Will I see you on the Web?”
He smiled then, and I caught a glimpse of a spirit as wild and untamed as organic Kona beans. “Of course.”
I watched his retreating back, ignoring the clamor that filled the internet cafÃ©, content with the knowledge my Ducky was only a mouseclick away.