The Price of Entanglement - Chapter 9, pt. 6

Transient

They didn’t have much of a chance to discuss the case after that. Jo was pulled into several assignments in the name of training. They were all supremely dull affairs, checking records in potential acquisitions, talking to the land owners, dealing with files and electronic paperwork. She went through four such cases in the two remaining days of the week. It was exhausting. It was also, she believed, intended to keep her mind off the incident while showing her what typical cases were like.

The next week, things started to ease off just a bit. She had time to catch her breath and just breathe. She also had time to notice that she was being treated differently at work. Of course, that was only reasonable, she supposed; she’d gone from a complete unknown to an unfortunate celebrity around the office awfully fast. But it was more than that. She caught funny looks directed her way anytime she spent time with Quinn.

She dismissed it as her imagination, and put it out of her mind. They weren’t keeping her quite as busy as they had right after the incident, but there was still plenty for her to do, and when she wasn’t off on cases with one of the others, she was going through files, establishing patterns of equivalence as part of the company’s backup strategy in case deals fell through; they could switch to other projects as close to the lost one as possible.

It was, if anything, even more dull than her first week’s research, and she found herself longing for even the most mundane of cases that got her out and doing things.

It was during one such lull in her schedule that she finally had the chance to meet Mike face to face. His face, usually stoic and expressionless, actually looked a bit hesitant as they ran into each other at the water cooler. “Hey,” she said, suddenly not sure herself what to say.

“Hey,” he nodded back.

He looked like he was about to keep walking, so she blurted out, “Hey, thanks.”

“Thanks? What’d I do?”

“You got my ass out of there alive. I haven’t thanked you for that yet. So, thanks.”

He stopped and looked at the ground; not nervous, she judged, but as though he was considering what she’d said and thinking of a response. “Ahh, yeah. No problem.” He tensed a little. “Something’s been bothering me about that.”

“About your saving my life?” She arched an eyebrow at him.

“Heh. No, not that. That whole setup there.”