“Happy birthday, Samantha!” Sam looked up from her place by the desk. She was still new enough to not know the woman’s name, even less how her co-worker could have known it was her birthday.
“Thank you,” she said, only quickly glancing up from her computer screen hoping that it wouldn’t be taken as an invitation for further conversation. It didn’t work.
“So, do you have any grand plans after work today?” The woman came into her office and walked right up to Sam’s desk. “I know you’re new to London, so me and some of the guys were thinking that we could take you out.” Sam resisted the urge to growl at the woman to leave. She didn’t want to celebrate her birthday, and definitely not with this woman.
“Actually,” she said, trying to sound as polite as possible, “I’m kind of tired, I was looking forward to just going home, taking a bubble bath and drinking some wine.” The woman looked as shocked as if Sam had told her the sun had stopped shining.
“Well,” Sam’s co-worker said, “it’s your own choice of course, but I think we could have a good time.”
“I’m sure we could,” Sam said, “but I also have a lot of people to call, and…”
“Ah,” the woman replied before letting Sam finish, “say no more. I understand.” She winked at Sam, making her wonder what the co-worker thought she had understood.
“Wha-?” Sam started to say but then another one of her co-workers stuck his head through her doorway.
“Samantha, what are you still doing here?” Sam almost groaned out loud.
“I’m working,” she said, “the thing you pay me for.”
“You Americans are always such workaholics,” the man said, “it’s your birthday! No one expects you to stay at the office past five on your birthday!” Sam didn’t know which part to respond too. Americans are always workaholics? Who had told them it was her birthday? What did the woman think she had meant? She gave up.
“Well, I’ll pack up and go home then, thank you,” she said even though she would regret not finishing her report later. This just wasn’t her day.
Sam missed her old work back home in the US. As cool as living in London could be, it just wasn’t the same. She even missed the stupid pranks they used to play on each other. But more than anything else, she missed Maura.