Paul sat down and pulled the lever on his chair to make it shorter. He hated it when Mark came in to use his office and messed with it. His scowl became a bit deeper. Yes, Mark didn’t have his own office and as a friend, Paul really didn’t mind if he used it, but couldn’t he put things back how they were before he left?
Paul pulled papers from the basket on his desk. He’d been gone no more than 40 minutes and the stack was already ten-plus high. The bottom had fallen out of the real estate market but the paperwork had doubled. Paul skimmed over them quickly and put them all in the outbox for his loan officer to deal with.
Paul had been in real estate for ten years and never had a bad year. Until this one. He was glad they’d saved so much of their income over the years. It helped him sleep better at night knowing that even if he had a month or two of no income, they’d be alright. Mark hadn’t been so lucky. He didn’t have as many years under his belt and he was never a good saver. He liked to have fun and spent his money accordingly. Paul was sure that was what had attracted his wife to him in the first place. He spoiled her from the moment they started dating two years ago. And now, Mark had no office and just a handful of clients, most of whom were lookers and not buyers. Mark didn’t have the security he had and Paul felt sorry for him. He let Mark use his office whenever he wasn’t there. That’s what friends did.
Paul absentmindedly ran though his email, sending some to the trash without opening them. The rest looked like the average emails he got everyday. None too urgent needing his immediate attention. Which was good because he wasn’t sure he had any attention to give.
He rehashed what they’d said at the coffee shop. It was so frustrating. Like talking to a brick wall. Margot had no idea how much he needed her to be there with him. He couldn’t say it out loud, but it was all about a girl.
Monica. Her name was Monica and she was hot. She was also athletic, outgoing, charismatic, obviously into him and married to his best friend, Mark. Paul didn’t want to notice her. In fact, he tried not to. The guys on the team all laughed about it behind Mark’s back. He seemed so oblivious. And Paul did everything he could to keep his distance and had never been alone with her in the two years she’d been with Mark. But he had to admit, it was nice to be wanted.
Paul hadn’t ever cheated and he wasn’t about to start now, but he’d never been tempted as much before. Monica was fun and always around after the games. After a few drinks, no one noticed that she had positioned herself next to him and had her arm across his shoulders, least of all Mark. But they all noticed if he kept getting up to move away from her. He could only do it so often.
No, his resolve was firm. Nothing would ever happen between them. But keeping his distance would be so much easier if Margot were around. Even just some of the time. Enough for Monica to see how happy he was being married.
Paul had considered bringing it up with Mark. He’d considered bringing it up with Monica. But it seemed better to just keep ignoring it rather than make trouble between them. Any way you looked at it, Paul would lose his best friend. He’d even thought about dropping the team, but why should he? He loved playing. And he wasn’t the one making the problem. Monica just needed to leave him alone so he could enjoy hanging out with the guys.
Paul checked the clock. Only a few minutes had passed since the last time he looked. This was going to be a long afternoon. An afternoon that called for lots of coffee.