A/N: I know it starts off weird. Just keep reading, and if something seems Mary-Suey, tell me and I'll see what I can do. I'm trying not to write a Mary-Sue for once.^^ 9/14/09

Reaching Out

She'd only worked there a month, yet just about every day she had seen him: a tall, dark-haired man whose eyes were always filled with fear. He always slouched, rarely talked with others, and seemed afraid of even the slightest attempt at conversation. Although, she could not blame him for being so fearful. Whenever anyone spoke with him, they always ripped another chunk out of him. Even-no, especially their boss tormented the poor fellow. She wished she could help him, but what could she do? There was no one to tell, no one to call for help.

"I guess there's only one thing to do. I'll befriend him, and perhaps, that will start a wheel in motion, and others will do the same. Now, I just need a reason to go up to him..."

The very next day, she was given that reason as the black-haired man slowly walked into the office in which six people worked. His arms were full of papers, and his head was down as usual. She saw Nathan get up out of the corner of her eye, a wicked grin pulling at his mouth. As he and the man walked past each other, he stuck out his elbow, scattering the papers across the floor. Biting back a laugh, Nathan kept walking, leaving the man to silently gather his work. "Now's my chance."

Quietly, she stood from her seat and strided over to the kneeling man. He glanced up at her before returning his gaze to the floor. Feeling her co-workers' eyes on her back, she kneeled before him and began gathering what papers she could. Surprised, the man's head shot up, his blue eyes studying her. "Here you go," she said, smiling and handing the papers to him. He gingerly took them, still shocked at her kindness. "Um, forgive me for asking, but what's your name?"

"Uh, Willard, and you?"

"Alice. Alice Daniels." He nodded his head quickly and smiled at her, saying, "Thank you, Alice."

"Oh, no problem, Willard." They then stood and walked to their respective desks, each of them feeling a bit warmer and not quite so alone.


Two Days Later(Thursday)

For once, Alice was late to work. Flushed and distressed, she hurried into the office, accidentally slamming the door behind her. Instantly, everyone's eyes were on her. Her face burning like fire, she quickly walked to her desk. Once there, she fought the urge to break down and cry. "God, they're all staring at me, thinking how lazy I am, how worthless I am!" She opened a drawer to grab a tissue, only to find her box was empty. "Not today! Aww.... No! No! No!"

"Here...." She looked up towards the voice and mentally gasped. There stood Willard, his arm outstretched, offering her a box of Kleenex. Trembling, she took it, unable to force the words, "Thank you," from her lips. He nodded, seeming to understand, and silently walked back to his desk, unlike many others, who would have stood there, towering over her and upsetting her further.

The Next Day(Friday)

"We're friends now, right? I can ask him if he wants to hang out now, right?" Alice nervously intertwined her fingers, thinking of different ways to ask Willard if he wanted to go to a movie or something over the weekend. She'd never been the one that asked if someone would go do something with them. She had always been the one asked. "I'm so awkward..."

Her head shot up as Willard entered the office. She watched as he sat at his desk and just stared off into space, his eyes glistening with what looked like tears. She continued staring at him for almost twenty minutes, just pondering what could be wrong, when she was pulled from her thoughts by Nathan. "Hey, Alice, I was wondering if you wanted to go to that new Italian restaurant tomorrow night." "I hate rejecting people, but...."

"Sorry, but I have plans." Nathan's face turned dark as his brow furrowed.

"Let me guess, Rat-boy already takin' you?" She cocked her head.

"Rat-boy?"

Yeah, old Willard over there has a house full of rats. He even has some in his desk drawers." Her eyes widened and she glanced at Willard, who was now looking in his desk drawer, and even appeared to be talking to something. "See?" She nodded her head, unsure of what to think. Satisfied, Nathan walked away. "So what if he lives with rats? My apartment's full of mice. Though, I don't carry them around with me..."

Sighing, she stood and walked over to Willard. He looked up at her and smiled slightly. "Hello, Alice."

Her face blushed crimson and she said, "Hi, Willard, I was kinda wondering if you, um, wanted to go to a movie or something this weekend. Just as friends, of course!" His smile disappeared.

"I'm sorry. My mother is sick and..."

"Oh, I understand. I'm sorry." She placed her hand on his, mimicking what she'd seen people in movies do. His eyes widened and he pulled away, blushing and looking away. Dejected, Alice turned and walked back to her desk, unaware that Willard's eyes followed her every step of the way.