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When our work piled up we tried coming in earlier and when that wasn't enough we added staying later to our workday agenda. Veronique is a night owl, I was the early bird in our partnership and we were both ready to divide our business checking account for good when Veronique's husband suggested we hire an intern. The decision to hire her was a quick one. There was a student my aunt had suggested but Veronique thought a woman would enhance our environment so the pale girl with big eyes became a fixture around a place where there was always something to learn.

Quiet at first I wondered how our intern would handle being on her own. Veronique's style is different than mine. I suspect our opposite yet similar approaches are what brought us together. Veronique is comfortable in skirts and blouses that display her considerable cleavage while I tend to show up in as many layers as I could piece together. Veronique bought our new intern a scarf after a client complimented the way she had handled a situation. That day our intern demonstrated her gift for diplomacy when she complimented Veronique on her oversized draping and stated that my scarf looked like it would keep me warm during my walk home.

Eventually the newness of having an intern wore off. She made some expected mistakes while we made decisions of our own that didn't always work out the way we had planned. An oversight of mine kept us all working late, Veronique stayed as long as she could but left so she wouldn't be late handing out the scholarship money we had donated to a local student. When I told our intern she could go with she said she didn't mind staying.

After a particularly long phone conversation that I thought would not end, my intern made a comment about the way that I typed. That led to a conversational place I would rather not have gone. When I was first getting started I had a thing for this guy who typed well. He did many things well, as a musician his fingers touched the keyboard in a way that was appealing to me. My impatience in wanting to get to know him better drove a wedge between us that hasn't narrowed with the passage of time. My intern didn't know this but I went home and cried for a long time after that conversation.

We took our intern out for Veronique's birthday. When I found myself short on time I gave my intern some cash along with directions to the florist two streets over. Not long after she left I took a call that lasted longer than it should have. The clock told me it was almost quitting time and I was ready to scold my intern for wasting time picking out flowers but then she showed me what she had gotten for Veronique. Sometimes I think that God deliberately puts art and artists in my life as a way of mocking me for the talents I admire yet don't possess. Tears stung my eyes when I saw what lay beneath the tissue paper. My normally collected partner Veronique was openly crying when she unwrapped the gift my intern had chosen.

Another month passed before my intern brought up my former friend the musician. She wanted to know what had happened and I had to explain that we had never gone out although for a while I thought we had been friends. I still listen to his music but I save it for special times when I'm home alone and can relax. When my intern wanted to know which intrument he played I explained that he played the cello among other things and was, in my opinion, a virtuoso. I can't explain why I was reluctant to let my intern hear music I had loaded onto my laptop but I made sure Veronique was gone for the day before I pressed play.

Veronique gave our intern a raise after our second quarter earnings showed a twenty-one percent increase. Hiring an intern had been such a good idea we both tried to take credit for it before Veronique's husband reminded us it had been his idea. All three of us laughed when Veronique's husband said he could tell that I had trained our intern to answer the phone. We bought her a laptop for her three month anniversary and sent her home early the day she came in with huge dark circles beneath her eyes. Later Veronique told me that a guy she liked had taken her out but it had not ended well. Sensitive to that I gave her a mindless filing project. Her computer had been acting up so I let her use my laptop, that was a mistake since Veronique gave me a pointed look when she heard the first few measures of the song on my favorite playlist.

For my birthday we went to an Irish pub. The poster on the door announced that live music would be playing during the upcoming weekend. I stared at an older version of a face that had just killed my appetite. That night I went home and avoided listening to anything he had a part in creating. But I couldn't forget and part of me really wanted to go and hear him again. I wasn't sure if I was attracted to him or his voice but memories of the past haunted me when I saw a picture of him holding his favorite instrument. Veronique thought I would want to see him again which I did but the pain of rejection wasn't worth it so I told her I wasn't interested in going out Saturday night.

Veronique countered my unwillingness to sit in a bar by inviting the band to participate in a photo shoot. My shy intern held out her hand while introductions were being made. I held mine out as well sure that I wouldn't be getting a hug from anyone. When Veronique held her arms out for a hug I sat down at my desk. Luckily I was the closest to the phone when it rang. I waved goodbye to the departing group that Veronique ushered out. She called after I ignored the text inviting me to meet them out at a wine tasting bar. I wasn't interested and asked her to stay out of it. Ultimately she had to respect my decision but she made comments for weeks after the event.

Chance brought my nemesis to the office during the last week in March. Allegedly he had seen my intern struggling with an oversized box and had offered to help her bring it upstairs. I was on the phone when they entered and I saw no reason to cut my conversation short except I wanted to get rid of him since he was talking to my intern when she had work to do. It had not been a good day and my patience with everyone was wearing thin. Despite my continued efforts I couldn't soothe my irate customer. As much as I realize you can't please everyone this upset me because I thought we had a good relationship and I didn't want to lose someone because of a mistake I had made months ago.

The musician and my intern were still talking when I hung up. Frustrated with my afternoon I went to the kitchen for a break. When I got back I reminded myself that I was relieved that my intern was alone. It was a tense silence but I couldn't find anything to say to her. I thought I had held myself together well except I knew I was going to start crying. Unexpectedly she started talking first. During a conversation with her I had admitted that I had always wanted to play an instrument well even if I couldn't attain virtuoso status. When I was younger the boy next door played the piano exceptionally well. My parents had publicly stated that their daughter couldn't play as well as someone else's son and I suppose that stuck with me.

My intern stood against the filing cabinet near my desk, not facing me or the door while I reached for a tissue in case I did start crying. If I could ride these next few minutes out I was going to let her leave early for the day. Before I could dismiss her my intern said that she had talked to the man currently responsible for my emotional state. I wasn't going to ask her what the conversation was about since they hadn't had much time to talk. Before he left she had mentioned that I had called him a virtuoso. I'm sure he didn't mean for this comment to get back to me but my intern said that he had enjoyed listening to my half of the conversation he had overheard, apparently he told her that my instrument was the phone and no one else he knew played it quite the way I did.