Clack clack clack clack. The repetitious union of high heels and floor sounded impossibly loud to her. The sound was cold. Hollow. And yet she was grateful for it; concentrating on the noises of her parting kept her from thinking too much on what she was walking away from. On who she was walking away from.

The tears threatened to spill over, but she somehow kept them in check. Against her will, her thoughts turned back to the exchange that had just taken place. I can't stay here… The words were painful, even to her ears. The entire speech, so carefully constructed and rehearsed to cause the least amount of fuss and pain to both parties, still wretched at her heart. She felt guilty; this self-pity was not something she was accustomed to, yet it seemed to be her most constant companion today.

Clackclackclackclack…the tempo increased to match her speed. Irrationally, she wondered if she could literally outrun her problems. I knew you didn't feel the same way… The remembered words caused a painful constriction in her throat, mainly because she accepted them as truth. She could see it in his eyes. Oh, she had no doubt that he viewed her differently than the other associates that he occasionally worked with. She even believed that he possibly had a special affection for her; he certainly seemed to want her to stay with him at his new firm. But love? Maggie had outgrown her ignorance. Eli was simply not capable of embarking upon a new relationship at this time. The turmoil he had been experiencing in all areas of his life made to idea impossible.

The realization had prompted her to leave, as soon as was rational. She wanted, needed to do this. Needed to for her. Literally for the first time, she was making a decision where the only beneficiary would be herself. Eli would move on- just like she had to.

"I need to speak with Mr. Posner, please."

It was time to begin.