Janet stood behind the closed door that led outside her apartment, as her friend Colin laid out on the couch in the living room, half-asleep, half-awake.
“I didn’t know you’d be back so early.” Colin said.
“It’s Labor Day, Colin. Azure Planet Software had a half-day today.” Janet said.
“Oh. Right.” Colin said. He adjusted himself to sit properly on the couch.
“Rough night?” Janet asked.
“Not really. Though I did lock myself out earlier this morning when I went to get coffee.” Colin said.
“How’d you get back in?” Janet asked.
“I found the key under your mat.” Colin said.
Colin tossed a small patina-covered key at Janet’s general direction, which landed at her feet.
“A word of advice, Tron. Get a thicker doormat. You can see the outline of a key from a mile away with the one you have now.” Colin said.
Janet picked up the key and placed it in the pocket of her jeans. Making her way to her bedroom, she turned on the lights in her living room and kitchen.
“So, Tron, what were you planning to do today?” Colin asked.
Though Janet’s door was closed, her apartment’s walls were thin. She raised her voice and spoke freely:
“Well, I was planning on meeting a few co-workers for a couple of beers at The Viridian Room.” Janet said from her bedroom.
“Really? You hate beer.” Colin said.
There was no response from Janet. Colin continued:
“And the last time you went to The Viridian Room, they messed with your tab and overcharged you by $200.” Colin said.
The bedroom door opened and Janet appeared soon after, having changed out of her work clothes into a comfortable outfit of a black t-shirt and a pair of pink cotton pajama pants.
“Oh, yeah. That’s right. I guess I’ll just have to stay here with you until your flight later tonight.” Janet said.
She promptly sprinted to the living room couch and jumped on the cushion to the right of where Colin sat.
“Was the Viridian Room even an option?” Colin asked.
“Of course not. When is your flight, anyway?” Janet said.
“10:35 PM.” Colin said.
“So that gives us around eight hours to do whatever.” Janet said.
“What did you have in mind, Tron?”
Janet grabbed her television remote that was on a table to the right of the couch.
“Law & Order?” Tron held the remote up to show Colin her suggestion.
Colin put his arm around Janet, who pointed the remote at the television in front of them.
“Great idea.” Colin said.
Janet turned on her TV and began navigating through her DVR archive.
“Y’know, Tron. Uh…” Colin said.
“Hmm?” Janet responded.
Colin cleared his throat.
“I love this. Everything. Being here. With you.”
Janet put down the remote and looked at Colin.
“I do, too. Colin.”
“I don’t want to leave, Tron.”
“You’ve got a job back in California.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m not skipping out on them. I, uh, just wanted you to know that I’ve really enjoyed my time here. It’s been a welcome respite from all the stuff I deal with over at Arcast Tech. It’s going to be a nightmare to get back to work, to have to have my suits ready, to give all of the product demonstrations to our clients, to cram that friggin’ CDI into my suitcase along with the presentation discs… We’ve got one client group in Fairway Grove that we’re meeting with on Wednesday that… Hell, I’m rambling.”
“You’re fine.” Janet said.”
Colin took a deep breath.
“I think I love you, Janet.”
Janet’s eyes widened.
“You called me by my name. My real name.”
“I want you to know that I’m serious.”
“I… I believe you.”
Janet rested her head on Colin’s shoulder.
“What airline are you flying, anyway, Colin?”
“I have a friend who works as a check-in agent for Delta at O’Hare. I’ll call her later and see if she can get you a seat upgrade.”
“You don’t have to do that, Tron.”
“Too bad. I’m going to.”
Janet sat up and looked at Colin.
“Alright, Mr. Gear. We’ve got around eight hours to kill.”
“Yeah, we do, Ms. Blue… Damn, that sounds odd. Even more odd than calling you by your real name…”
“We should probably get started.” Janet said.
She grabbed the TV remote and hit the enter button on her DVR selection, which made the familiar opening to their show begin to play:
“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups…”