It was mostly dark outside. The lights in the office building were mostly off. Most everyone had gone home. The ones who didn't go home were members of Charlotte's team and most of them had gone to a local pub to celebrate the completion of the long-term project that had them all, without exception, pulling overtime and working from home. Charlotte was not at the pub. She remained steadfastly at her desk, seeing to the loose ends in unnecessary detail: her brow furrowed and her foot bouncing a leather heel on her stockinged toe.

The sound of gentle steps failed to pull her attention upward as her assistant, Jack, stepped into the doorway to her office, his suit jacket draped over one shoulder.

"I thought you were going to the bar," she murmured, her fingers still moving over the keyboard of her computer.

"I made it all the way out to my car before deciding I couldn't leave you to your own cruelty," he said smiling. He was only half-joking. She had spent the majority of this project taking her stress out on herself and her staff in turns; either holed up in her office with her own expectations or marching through the office like a drill sergent, a noted change to her usual demeanor. Other than herself, Jack had taken the brunt of this change. "Why don't you stop for the night? The team can finish this up on Monday."

"I can just do it now."


She shot an irritated glance at him and he put his hands in the air, stepping over to her, "Charlotte, the job's done. You need to learn to relax. You've been terrorizing this office since the project began." His hands found her shoulders in a not unfamiliar gesture. She sighed. The foot beneath the desk stopped bouncing and the heel dangling from her toes slipped to the floor.