It was maddening, he always seemed to know exactly what to say in every situation. It made her feel so plodding, so deer-in-the-headlights, naive and wide-eyed as he ducked and dodged and dissembled, and each time came up smelling of nothing at all.
This was a man who left no trace, who made no mark, whose words slipped through the brain so easily they left no more meaning behind than smoke slipping through an air vent. And that was why he had survived in this business, a dissembler so professional few could hold him in mind long enough to be impressed by him or offer him a promotion.
And so they had found themselves on the same team, him fifteen years older with (she sometimes thought for the merest of instances when she glanced over at his desk when he probably thought nobody else was looking) something of a slump about his shoulders. And then, with a strange little reptilian shimmer, it was gone, the glitch repaired, the gash already healed.
She tried not to hate him, which was infuriating in itself, because she was pretty sure he’d never hated anyone or tried not to hate anyone, or gotten stressed or-. God! Here she was feeling hot blood pound her temples, over a man who to all intents and purposes didn’t even have blood pressure. Or a pulse. Who was clinically dead. Bastard.
A sound brought her back to right now, and she swiveled her chair to face his. Crack, came his head again, down upon his desk. Crack, crack, crack. She felt her stomach go hard and her tailbone burrow into the chair. This couldn’t be happening. She must be losing it.