Pienaar Botha and Greg O’Reilly, the layout and design guys, were throwing teabags around the kitchenette, which used to be the original home’s scullery. Greg was wearing a merlot coloured t-shirt with ‘Evita Bez For Prez’ emblazoned on the front. “Hey how’s Jen the Pen?” Jenni blushed, she wasn’t entirely sure whether to feel proud of her moniker or mocked. The problem was she fancied Greg, so she tried to avoid him as much as possible. Her mumbled response was lost in the clang of her shoe hitting the foot pedal of the bin as she sidled past him on her way to the coffee machine. As the soft closing mechanism on the bin lid eased its way shut Pienaar managed to fire a teabag into the narrowing gap.
“Laduuuuuuma,” he cheered.
“Oops, looks like we’ve run out of rooibos tea, again,” said Greg.
Pienaar snorted as he hoiked up his jeans. His pale grey t-shirt, also with a bold cartoon–like slogan, had darker patches of sweat under the arms. “Hey Jenni, are you coming out for drinks tonight?” The spiked his thick fingers through his long blonde fringe and pushed it back off his forehead. His eyes were pale green and his cheeks were covered in a boyish dusting of light brown freckles.
Jenni raised her brows then looked down, thinking. She noticed he was wearing flip-flops and had darker blonde hair sprouting on his toes, “I have to walk my dog, but... I mean... where, who’s going?” she blushed a deeper shade, if that were possible.
“A couple of us are meeting at The Ant at about 8, you’re coming hey Greg?”
“Ja”, Greg watched them both over the rim of his mug. He had raven black hair and sky blue eyes which were crinkled a little in amusement just then.
The Ant was a favourite spot of Jenni’s in Melville, hardly bigger than an average sized living room, the crowd was never too loud or too large. The rough red brick walls were covered in black and white nostalgic prints and vintage metal signage, she loved their tapas platters and it was Friday.
“Yeth, awethome I’ll come,” inexplicably her tongue had gone spastic and her stomach dipped as she glanced over at Greg, who was smiling at Pienaar. She didn’t know Greg very well, yet, but his quiet reserve and quick wit brought out a fierce need in her to draw him out and say funny things in order for him to smile a little longer at her. The problem was she never felt funny enough in his presence, all the witty things she planned each evening to share at work the next day vanished as soon as she saw him.
“Cool bananas!” Pienaar grabbed his mug and the guys left the kitchenette to return to the creative department. As Jenni made her way back to her desk she glanced over her shoulder and caught them in the act of high fiving one another.
Her fellow editorial colleagues had arrived for work and somebody had flicked the radio on. Claudia Shapiro, the deputy editor had her head down and, using her two pointy fingers was grimly stabbing her keyboard to death. Nombulelo Makeba their editorial assistant was on the phone, Sanelle Du Toit (health, beauty and fashion) hadn’t yet returned from her first smoke break of the day. In the background Jeremy Mansfield could be heard working his grooves on The Rude Awakening breakfast show. “Ja that was ‘Nkalakatha...