The front door to Crasob Engineering opened, sending a cool autumn gust into the reception area. As she swiveled her chair in the direction of the door, Alana Morton expected to see a FedEx or UPS delivery person carrying in a package. Her eyes opened in surprise as she saw an out of breath Jane Summers, face white with frustration as she burst in. Nearly every employee at Crasob entered the building through the back door, which faced the parking lot.
“Jane?” Alana rose to her feet, stepped out from behind the half-wall which separated her desk from the front door. Upon seeing Alana, Jane seemed to relax a bit, yet her pasty complexion and wind-tossled brown hair continued to convey confusion.
“Gary. Is — ” the nylon back on her back slipped off her shoulder, and she caught it with the crook of her elbow — “I need to see Gary.”
Alana turned, but Gary had all but reached the reception area already. The worry on his face was amplified by his voice. “Are you all right? I’ve been calling — ”
Jane raised a hand. “Not here.” Her voice was strained. She pointed to Gary’s left. “Office.”
Alana stared back at Jane, slack-jawed. Jane was assertive, occassionally abrupt, but never this dismissive, this rude. It wasn’t like Jane to brush past her, without a word, as if Alana were a street-corner beggar. Gary stepped back, allowed Jane to stomp past him.
Alana glanced at the analog clock above the front door. “It’s 9:25. Jane’s never this late.” Gary held up both palms to her, silently mouthing it’s OK before turning towards his office.