Today, Ed found himself feeling a bit lonely. It was funny how after having someone's company for even a short while could make moments without them feel empty. He had only known Kylie Wood for a little more than a month and he had already begun expecting her to be spinning around in his desk chair, clutching a caramel latte in her hands when he unlocked his office door every morning. The assistant seemed to have a knack for lock picking, something he noticed the first time she appeared in his office. In response to his inquiry on how she entered, the blonde only tapped the side of her head (which he later found out harboured a bobby pin) with a crooked smile before wrapping pink lips around the straw of her latte.
It was interesting how the human brain clung to the idea of routine, like the kitten on those cliché motivational posters, and felt uneasy at the lack of it. This morning he couldn't help but feel like his office was a place of desolation. His office chair was devoid of a certain dark blonde woman, his desk barren of warm coffee, and the books on his bookcase were still in alphabetical order, something she insisted upon scrambling everyday before he arrived just because she knew it irritated him. He eased into his chair with a sigh, pushing one foot off of the floor and sending it on a lazy spin. Ed leaned back and closed his eyes, catching a whiff of something familiar. He turned his head so that his cheek rested against the plush back of the chair and inhaled.
Vanilla and burnt sugar. That's what Kylie smelled like. He had first noted that when she had hugged him three days ago after catching Miss Kringle at a rather inopportune time. He stopped his chair. Kylie had insisted that there was nothing wrong with him, that anyone would be lucky to have a guy like him, but Ed couldn't help but feel that something really was wrong. Why else wouldn't Miss Kringle return his affection? Kylie thought he was clever, that he was funny even. So why didn't the pretty archivist think the same? He knew that he was exceptional at puzzles but why couldn't he figure this one out?
He closed his eyes and let out another sigh, thinking about the reports that he just did not have the motivation to fill out. Instead, he let his mind wander back to his fair-haired friend and how she was so much different from Miss Kringle. For starters, she liked video games, and was good at them too. She loved to read and one whole wall of her small office had shelves piled with books. These were things that the head archivist did not enjoy in the slightest, and this was just the beginning. Kylie liked Forensic Files and Doctor Who, just like he did. She smiled differently than Kristen too, like she really thought what he said was interesting and insightful. She defended him when Arnold Flass read his letter to Miss Kringle out loud. She was loyal, retaliating against Officer Thomas's brutish advances and demeaning comments with well versed venom. She was truly a diamond in the coal mine that was the GCPD. It was a surprise when he called to mind the incident a few days ago when she hugged him, he recalled it with a warm fluttery feeling. The way her arms wrapped around him, hesitantly at first but eventually relaxing, how her head rested on his shoulder and her hair fanned out, slightly curled golden locks tumbling over his arm, the aroma of vanilla and sugar encompassing him with a feeling of safety, the way the side of her body pressed against his as she leaned ever so slightly into the embrace.
He jerked himself from the memory with a jolt of panic and a shaky breath. He couldn't, no he didn't fancy Kylie. His heart's affections belonged to Miss Kringle.
Who treats you oh so very well.
There it was again, that small part of him that always seemed to contradict everything he ever thought. That always whispered things he was never brave enough to say to the faces of those who ridiculed him, that now, seemed to continuously remind him of how well the short assistant treated him and how poorly her superior did. He groaned and attempted to shove back the images that the voice was trying to let bubble to the surface.