Gary suddenly rose from the chair behind his desk. “Hold on — be right back.” He walked purposefully to his office door, opening it so swiftly he hit his shoulder. He grunted, stepped back, quickly exited, shutting the door behind him.
Jane Summers put the backpack on the floor again, sat in the chair and leaned forward, rubbing her hands over her scalp. She could feel her brown hair lying in uneven clumps over her head. “Dammit,” she muttered, bringing her fingertips to her temples and rubbing aggressively. “Dammit.”
Scott walked to her chair, stood over her. In the five years he had known her, he had never seen her like this. He knew from experience what Jane was like when she was too frustrated to speak, too headstrong to be reasonable, too giddy to be cautioned, too focused to be distracted. But now, kneading her temples and muttering under her labored breathing, staring down at the floor as if she wanted to tunnel and hide under its surface — she seemed too lost within herself for anyone to find.
Scott did something he had never done before. He put a hand on Jane’s shoulder, and squeezed. “It’s OK. We’ll figure this –”
The door suddenly opened, Gary’s head popping in. “OK, I cleared the room. Let’s go in.”
Jane looked up, confusion on her face. Gary could see her eyes were red. As Jane rose, joined Scott in walking out the office door, Gary explained that he’d asked Rahul and Megs (Jane seemed to relax in recognition of the names) to take a break, so that they could talk to Jane alone in the room.
Jane recognized where they were going — a few feet to the right, down the corridor on the left, then the second door on the right. “The drafting room,” she said as Gary walked into the room where Jane had spent almost all her working hours over the past decade. But as Gary passed the door which was so familiar to her, she saw a sign she didn’t recognize. Blue with white letters — CAD Room.