"Geese, whattan asshole,” Gary mumbled as the two exited Carlos’ office. They were in search of Donna. Paul knew instinctively she was in need of a hug. He remained quietly distressed. He had a bad feeling about the coming months and working with a man like Carlos.
Unsure of the layout of the platform and after a convoluted search they found her standing at the end of a catwalk on a small platform directly above the ocean, the waves below active and animated imparting a sense of peace to the observer. The sweet cool breeze constantly funneling under the platform, the eternal shade and the view of the crashing waves on the distant beach made it a perfect place to contemplate ones’ place in the cosmos or in this case, an offshore oil platform.
As the two approached down the catwalk Paul could tell she had been weeping.
“I wanna quit!” she blurted, facing them and stomping her foot on the grating.
Sadness had turned to anger. She reminded Paul of a little girl. She turned her back to them and stood gazing out at the shoreline, still sobbing.
Paul was about to console her by placing his hand on her shoulder but she abruptly turned again, hitting Paul’s hand with one of her pendulous breasts. This went unnoticed.
“What does he think I’ll do? Fuck all the workers?” she shouted, adding “I’ve paid my dues, Paul. When do I get to collect? When will people take me seriously?”
She again turned her back to them and continued sobbing. Like most men Paul and Gary were unsure of what to do or say.
“Donna, you winked at him,” Gary finally said, trying to be helpful.
“I know! I know! I do it all the time. I don’t know why. I can’t help it. It’s an innocent habit. It’s not like I’m flirting, well, I don’t know. I just wanna be liked.”
“Must be a father thing,” Gary murmured, trying to be funny.
“Fuck you Gary!” she shot back playfully, breaking into tearful giggles.
Donna turned and slapped Gary playfully on the arm, laughing and crying at the same time. Unbeknownst to Paul, Donna and Gary were once lovers. Years before Gary was employed with her at the same engineering firm and during those fruitful years Gary, like everyone else in the industry, enjoyed bouncing around from firm to firm getting the best pay rate. At some point in their relationship Gary bounced away, from both the engineering firm and Donna. Now that their both working for the same company again he’s been trying to bounce back into her life but Donna is too ambitious for that. She refuses to work for the same engineering firm twice. She applies this same ethic to her men.
“Well, I’m gonna get some measurements. You commin’,” Paul asked the two of them.
“Naw, I’m gonna stay here with Donna for a minute,” Gary replied, their eyes meeting.
Paul left the two of them standing together on the small platform.
“So, you wanna get a drink after work? Get caught up on old times?” Gary suggested.
Donna looked away, not prepared for this offer that exacerbated her brooding and remembering their history together and how she tried to make him stay. She was seeking a sympathetic ear but knew this was not to be the case. She knew what would happen if she accepted his offer. She would end up drinking way too much and making decisions she would regret the next morning.
“I don’t think so,” she curtly responded, brushing by him and hurriedly catching up to Paul.
Gary watched her bound up the catwalk, his loins tingling.
“God you’re beautiful,” he whispered, watching her disappear onto the second level.
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