There was a new girl in the office and everyone felt a bit weird about it.
The equilibrium of the workplace was askew as everyone tried to figure out what she was like and how she’d fit in. It wasn’t that they didn’t like her, but more that they didn’t know her; it simply wasn’t clear if she was going to be likeable.
The staff room was unusually quiet for a Friday lunchtime; the only noise that filled the air was the icky sound of chewing and chomping, slurping and munching. Everyone wanted to chat, like usual, but they didn’t know what to say.
They wanted to know more about the newbie, but they wouldn’t want to come off as nosey if they asked her too many questions. They also wanted to act natural, but they didn’t want her to feel excluded from the conversation as they went about their familiar idle natter.
Marie was the bravest. She broke the silence first. “So. What’s everyone up to this weekend?”
“Got a night out with the lads planned,” came the first reply. “It’s gonna be mental.”
“I’m off out with the girls this weekend too – might see you around!”
“I wish I was joining you. I’m stuck babysitting my niece while my brother and his missus go to a wedding.”
The responses soon came in thick and fast.
“Well I’ve got a boring weekend ahead too if it makes you feel better. Taking my car for an MOT, and then I’ll be too skint to do anything else, I imagine.”
“You poor sod. My boyfriends whisking me away to Paris.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot that was this weekend. I wish my boyfriend did stuff like that – instead he’s whisking me off to meet his parents at their local pub.”
“Ugh, meeting the parents sounds like an ordeal. Mind you, I don’t think I’ll ever get that far at my rate; I’ve got yet another first date tonight.”
“I’m going on another hike, long as my ankle holds up. It’s still a bit dodgy after that Scafell Pike disaster.”
“That’s why I don’t venture outdoors, mate. It’s a Lord of the Rings movie marathon for me this weekend. You can’t get injured from your sofa.”
“Loser. I’m going on a hen party.”
“Sounds fun! Me and my mum are going on a mega shopping trip. I can’t wait to splurge.”
And then it was the new girl’s turn.
“I’m plotting a murder.”
The room fell quiet.
The new girl smiled sweetly. “I’m thinking poison. Less traceable, y’know?”
“Joking!” she said with a short laugh.
Marie forced out some uncomfortable laughter first, and the rest of the room followed her lead.
“Or am I?” the new girl muttered, as she got up from her seat. She carefully closed her lunchbox and tucked it under her arm, before flashing a final, innocent smile at her colleagues and departing from the staff room.
Multiple nervous glances were shared.
“So…” Marie said. “Should we call the police, or…”
Everyone shrugged and returned to their lunches in silence, making mental notes to decline any future offers of cups of tea from the new girl.Follow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com