Topher was halfway across the office before he looked up and realized that the wrong person was sitting in Dewitt's ergonomically designed leather chair.
"I wanted to talk to you," said Saunders.
Topher didn't want to talk to her. He felt guilty every time he saw her. Guilt was his default state. Instead of saying, "Did I fall asleep?" Topher said, "I did all of this." He was a genius. He knew Newton's third law. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, but Saunders had scars that plastic surgery couldn't cure, and he hadn't been punished. He was still in Tucson, wringing his hands and wondering whether or not he had any morals.
"Why were you waiting for me in Dewitt's office?" he asked.
He didn't remember why he was there in the first place. He'd wanted to talk to Dewitt about something. She was comforting for someone who had threatened to kill him on more than one occasion. She called him darling now, and he knew it was because she was sorry too, but it still made him feel better. It was a guilty pleasure, which was the only kind of pleasure Topher knew. He had a drawer of inappropriate starches and a patent for the apocalypse.
"I'm sorry I killed her," said Saunders.
She walked over to Dewitt's liquor cabinet, and picked up a decanter of whiskey. The accent lighting and the Los Angeles sun made the alcohol light up like a neuron. Topher pretended not to notice her palm a plastic canister that matched the amber liquid in the glass she handed him.
He remembered Priya's medical records, and the look in her eyes when she said, "They're filling me with poison to make me crazy." Topher was a genius. He knew what Haloperidol did to a healthy brain. Saunders would run out someday, but his brain wasn't all that healthy to begin with. The right woman could drive a man crazy The right woman could drive a man to drink. Topher drained his glass.
"It wasn't your fault," he said.
If he was filled with poison, he wouldn't be able to ruin anyone else. A glass of whiskey in an office with a view wasn't equal or opposite, but Topher needed someone to blame him. It was a guilty pleasure, which was the only kind of pleasure Topher knew. This is not a judgment, but maybe it should be.