I know where to look. I know all the tricks; which mirrors reflect where and what can be seen from each.
My eyes blink off to the corporate girl pretending to be unamused with the pamphlet being turned over in her hand.
I don’t get it..?
What is she doing?
My eyes linger on the little bow nestled above her bum; sitting up and out on her skirt and not bothered by the prospect of a chair which may flatten it. Nice skirt, tailored and matching her blouse. Expensive.
Her eyes blink to the mirror I know reflects in my direction. My eyes sharpen in the other one. She hasn’t noticed yet. I hold it; refusing to give her my eyes, or let her know she has an audience.
Her hands fumble the tourist pamphlet back to its stand; and tease out another, turning it over with the sort of deliberation reserved for the fine print on contracts.
She isn’t interested in that. I know she isn’t.
Her eyes blink to the mirror, and still… sharpen… and ricochet around the room even as her head tilts down feigning to the pamphlet.
Her hands turn it over; and over again; and over again with the sort of exaggerated disinterest one shows to something they are certainly not interested with.
For some reason my breath tightens in my chest, my lungs refusing to relinquish the already spent air.
Her brows raise, face to the pamphlet but with her eyes darting everywhere except on the writing she’s pretending to read.
My neck seems to heat.
My throat hitches on a would-be cotton wad I didn’t realise was there.
My insides thrum with the prospect she’s trying not to be noticed. And that I’ve noticed her.
I can feel it; them; her eyes as they blink through the room from the camouflage of the mirror.
My lips threaten my cheeks with discreet little dimples; but I hold it; plastering picture perfect blasé across my face as I put on an efficient concierge’s demeanour, lest she realise her cover is blown.
The heat seems to tease my cheeks.
I could offer to help, offer to fetch her whatever it is she is looking at. But I hold fast, refusing to stray from the lectern which is my station in the foyer. Not till someone explicitly requires my attention.
Is she looking at me? My heart quickens with the nerves I wasn’t expecting.
Breath evaporates from my chest.
Can’t do this.
I’ll get the sack.
My eyes blink to every prospective pedestrian on the off chance they will turn off the sidewalk and into the lobby… offering me reprieve from her eyes and the implication of having to face her.
But no one does.
The sharp tacks of high heels on hard marble echo around the atrium; reverberating back on themselves and building a discrete cacophony in the stillness.
My eyes stick to the passing pedestrians.
A tired tinker bell tolls long and hollow in the void.
The hum of door motors whir with the soft hiss I’m all to familiar with; they’re opening.
Breath draughts deep in through my nose.
A soft clunk.
I know the sounds. I listen to it a dozen times a day; guests taking to the elevator; and I chance a glance back.
And she’s gone.
I can’t… I daren’t. I’ll get the sack, and right now this job is like oxygen.
I breathe… long and slow…