Nothing Quite Like It
John tears his eyes from the scribbled drawing on his notebook to meet Monica's, his heart instantly leaping to his throat. Without thinking he covers up the pad with one hand, though it's likely she has already viewed its contents.
"It's nothin'," he mutters rather defensively. "Just my notebook." He makes a show of flipping it to the front page and setting it down on his desk.
Monica quirks an eyebrow and smiles. "I meant what's in it, John. The picture," she explains. "It looked like…was it a dog? It was hard to see clearly from here."
Shrugging, John reaches for the file he's supposed to be working on the report for and begins to shuffle through it. It's merely a ploy to busy his hands. He is too distracted to seriously focus on it.
"John," Monica says again. "Tell me what it was, please? If you're worried I'll laugh, I won't. I promise."
He studies her expression: innocent, hopeful and determined. Determined. If he is to keep hiding the drawing from her it's likely she'll keep asking about it. Damn.
He reluctantly slides the notebook over to her and watches as she pounces on it like a lion on its prey. He studies her expression as she turns the pages and settles on the drawing he'd made. He frowns.
"Wow," she says. "It's actually quite good."
He can tell she's lying.
She nods and looks up but refuses to make eye contact. "Really, John. It's good."
"Huh. Well that's gotta be a lie. I thought it was pretty awful myself."
Her lips curl into a tentative smile.
"Admit it," he says. "You hate it."
Her smile widens.
"Well," she begins. "I've never seen a dog – or any other animal for that matter – quite like it."
He rolls his eyes, but smiles back. "Yeah, I thought so."