Time moves its slowest in that tiny cubicle. When there's nothing else to do but stare out the window wistfully watching everything you're missing. It's almost as if the world is leaving you out of...
This is the original "A Water Cooler Romance" written by XxTragic_Poet. I do not own Gerard Way, Mikey Way, or Ray Toro. I do own Elizabeth McCorin and the plot. This plot was inspired by the song "Cubicles" by My Chemical Romance. If you should come upon this story on another fan fiction site, it has been stolen and I ask that you kindly report it back to me. Thank you for your time and enjoy the story!
Time moves its slowest in that tiny cubicle. When there's nothing else to do but stare out the window wistfully watching everything you're missing. It's almost as if the world is leaving you out of all its wonders. For a second, you start to feel like a grounded kid again. The air is filled with the rings of phones and the soft tapping of keyboards. You can almost see life's hourglass in front of you, each grain making you older and more bitter.
I could've been something...at least that's what I'd like to think. I could've been an artist, a cartoonist, or an illustrator. I could've used what I learned in art school and taken it with me to create something worth my lifetime. But, unfortunately, I have a bad habit of destroying everything I create.
I try not to think of what could've happened if I went along with my instincts. I've always said I would try to live life without regrets. So far, I've survived humiliating myself in front of a cute girl, shaving my head, saying goodbye to good friends, and substance abuse. I say that whatever bad experience I've been through will only help me in the long run. But I find it harder and harder to find any more good reasons for staying in this office.
Working off an art school student loan takes a lot more time than I had imagined. I'm wasting my life paying off a debt that I underestimated. The office isn't what I would call a bad job. In fact, I should feel lucky enough to get in. I guess it pays off to have a younger brother working in the semi-higher echelons of the office. But something in the back of my mind tells me that I don't belong here. Maybe it's the intimidating fact that most of the employees are graduates of some of the most prominent colleges in Jersey. I can just feel their eyes burning on me, wondering what an art school graduate is doing in this place of organization and logic.
The hours in the office are always lonely ones. There's no one to talk to besides my brother, Mikey, and that's only when we bump into each other. He works longer hours than I do, but at least he somewhat enjoys what he does. For me, it feels like I'm the orange crayon in a box of dark blues and blacks. Like I'm the obscure shape in the middle of a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I'll admit that sometimes I wish I could be like them. Even with my pressed blue suit and tie, they can see through the whole facade and see the artist within. There's no place for an artist in this office.
Only two hours have passed, and it already feels as if I were in here for days. My notepad is filled with the black holes of granite from my stabbing at it for the last 20 minutes. I am a prisoner of time.
"I'm taking my break, Sandy!"
The voice echoes across the loud silence. I knew that voice better than I knew my own. It was a sweet tone and always made me think of green tea with honey. It sounded sophisticated without sounding stuck-up. Her voice was always so honest and genuine. Pure and melodic.
Elizabeth McCorin graduated as one of the top ten students of her college. She was a major in mathematics, and can solve a problem within minutes without a single error. She fit in well with the office conformity, but I always sensed that there was something different with her. Something I just couldn't detect, but knew was there.
She always had an approachable demeanor. She was extremely friendly, and could rarely be seen without a smile. She always kept a good, professional relationship with all of her coworkers. There wasn't a single person in the office who could truthfully say anything bad about her.
She was beautiful, of course. But it wasn't your average type of artificial beauty. She never wore make up, and she didn't need to. Elizabeth always had a way of looking classy even in her casual wear. So once you put her into a uniform, she looks like a famous anchorwoman. She had a habit of using a couple of number two pencils to tie her long, brown hair into a bun. There was always a string of pearls around her long neck, kissed with clusters of beauty marks. Her perfume was strong enough to smell from far distances, but left a gentle sensational tickle in the nose.
She was the only good reason for working in the office. I go to work everyday, hoping that she would say at least a few words to me. The most we've ever talked was a conversation about the weather. Spring was her favorite season, and she loved cherry blossoms. I memorized our small chats like I was memorizing a big speech due the next day.
Sometimes, I wondered what it would be like to be with a girl like Elizabeth. A girl who only deserved the finest things. Things I could never offer. An expensive restaurant, a stretch limo, and the most valuable jewelry. Elizabeth McCorin probably wouldn't expect anything less.
She ate sushi and drank tea for lunch. She used chopsticks just as naturally as I would use a fork and spoon. Even at work, she practiced her high-class table manners. Taking small bites at a time, and softly patting her tiny lips with her napkin. She didn't cross her legs; she tucked one over the other. She ate like she was eating with a queen.
There are a million reasons and then some why a girl like her would never give the time of day to a guy like me. She was used to a pampered and wealthy lifestyle, while I was stuck to my dirty, poor one. Sure, I was born into a middle-class family but with the choices I've made I've only fallen lower in the monetary hierarchy.
Elizabeth liked to go on strolls in the park. Coincidentally, the very park across the street from my apartment. I would pass by her, from time to time, and quietly say hello. She would always be sitting on the park bench completely captivated by one of her favorite novels. But she would never hesitate to lower her book, smile, and say hello right back to me. I liked having the comfort that she at least had no bad feelings toward me.
She worked two cubicles away from mine. Whenever I was dozing off in the middle of a slow day, the sound of her voice taking a call would instantly wake me up. I would lean my ear against the thin wall and strain to hear her quiet murmuring.
I never asked for Elizabeth to fall in love with me. I knew it was out of question. But the least I could ask for was her friendship. I knew that if I did happen to speak to her, she wouldn't turn me down. If I could have just said more to her than a simple "hello" or a brief chat about the weather, we could've been the friends I'd wanted us to be. But I didn't know there was a time limit.
Word around the office was that Elizabeth was leaving soon. She was being offered a job in New York. Knowing fully well of her incredible record, there was no doubt that the big companies were giving her offers here and there. Everyone knew that Elizabeth was something more than just a worker in the office. She was destined for greater things.
I made it my goal to speak to her before she left. The problem was that I didn't know exactly when that day would actually come. But I figured they would have a big farewell party for her on her last day. Since everyone enjoyed her company so much. That's when I would do it.
I planned it out in my head while I was waiting for phone calls. It definitely made time move a little faster. I thought about buying her some flowers as a farewell gift, but I was afraid of being too forward. I couldn't stand her leaving thinking of me as a freak. I tried to plan what I would say to her, but decided that it would best left unscripted. Just let the words flow naturally, so I won't sound like a fake. I even thought of how I would walk up to her. She had so much grace that it would be an insult for me to approach her rudely.
But the next day, she wasn't there. I thought maybe she just didn't feel well enough to go to work. I walked past her cubicle and noticed that it was bare. Still, she must have taken her things out to prepare for her leaving. She just wouldn't leave out of the blue. Would she?
No one was even talking about her, anymore. Not that I asked anyone, but usually I would hear her name around the office. I couldn't concentrate on anything that day. I was too busy listening for any clue as to where she may be. I was carrying a pile of documents as I peered into her cubicle again. Searching for a single item of her's that she may have left behind. But everything was gone. It used to be decorated with photographs of her with her family. But it was as empty as a newly built house.
"Watch it!" someone cautions.
I nearly bump into Mikey. I've had my share of office accidents. If I kept screwing up, there would be no doubt that I'd be fired.
"Sorry," I murmur.
"Spacing out, again?" he asked.
"Yeah...hey, you wouldn't happen to know where Elizabeth McCorin is, do you?"
"She left," he simply replied.
"Just like that?"
"Yeah, she just told the boss she quit and just left," Mikey confirmed.
I felt like someone had just slapped me in the face. She was gone and was probably on her way to New York while I stood there in the same place I've always been. She had moved on.
I was taking it harder than I would've thought. We were strangers toward each other, and already I missed her as much as I would my longtime friends. It felt more like I was grieving her death than missing her presence.
But there was nothing I could do. She was gone.
I couldn't rest after work. Usually, I would go straight to my apartment and fall face down on my bed. But I lost my will to sleep. Elizabeth's sudden disappearance was bothering me as badly as a stiff neck. Every moment made it worse. I found myself walking around the park, and sitting on the bench where she always sat.
I imagined what would've happened if I talked to her in the very beginning. Maybe we'd meet in this very park. We'd sit on this bench and she would read her favorite lines in her books out loud, or recite her favorite pieces of poetry. Maybe we'd meet on a beach and just sit down until the late evening. Watching the sky turn that brilliant shade of red orange. Would it be that impossible for a girl like her to fall in love with a guy like me?
I'm not sure how long I was sitting there, but it must've been quite a while because the sun was beginning to set. Mothers were calling over their children and walking them home. I sat up to leave, but sat straight back down when I saw her.
Elizabeth McCorin was standing right in front of me. Looking straight into my eyes. She had a somber gaze and she was smiling awkwardly. It was the first I've ever seen her flash an unconvincing smile. She was slightly slouching, and her hair hung down her shoulders free from the usual pencil bun. For once, she looked more like an average woman. Not a superior, high-class lady. But I still felt her regal presence.
"Hi," she said in her same sweet tone. She had never been the first to say hello to me.
"Hi," I replied back in a state of disbelief.
"I don't know if you already know me, but my name is Elizabeth," she introduced clearly and politely.
"Of course I know your name," I said. "Everyone at the office loves you."
"Well, I don't know about everyone," she said with a laugh. I could see the deep dimples on her cheeks.
"I mean it," I assured her. "Everyone adores you."
"Even you?" she asked, slightly arching one of her eyebrows.
I felt my face burning with embarrassment. I must've turned three shades redder.
"What's your name?" she asked, sparing me any further humiliation.
"Gerard," I replied.
Her smile became more natural as she set her hand on my shoulder.
"Well...it's nice to finally meet you," she said with a wink.
She started to walk away and, for a moment, I was at a loss of words. She was leaving and there was so much I wanted to say to her. Yet, I didn't even what to say at the same time.
"Elizabeth!" I called out before she could disappear.
She turned around, but she didn't seem surprised. She seemed more curious as to what I had to say.
"Good luck in New York."
Her smile vanished. At first, I thought she could've misheard me. Her eyes glistened with tears as attempted to smile again.
"That is where you're going, right?" I asked, trying to voice my concern.
She sat down next to me with only a wistful gaze. The silence hung in the air for a few minutes before she finally spoke.
"Are you happy with where you are?"
Surprised, I answered, "I guess."
"Honestly, Gerard?" she asked skeptically. "Are you happy with your job?"
"Well...no, not really," I sighed. "Actually, I hate it."
I felt her fingers entwine with my own, and looked up to meet her light brown eyes.
"I'm dying, Gerard," she said, barely above a whisper. She blinked away a stream of tears.
I didn't know what to say. Maybe because I was still having trouble believing that a girl like her was slowly fading away. I felt my bottom lip twitch, and I swear I was feeling everything she was. Our fingers connecting our senses as one.
"I'm going to New York to become an artist," she said in the same soft tone. "I'm going to do all the things I've ever wanted to do. The things I should've been doing in the beginning."
"I didn't know you were into art," I said, attempting a smirk.
"I am. Got any tips for an amateur?" she asked, returning my half-smile.
"I'm no expert," I said with a shake of my head. "Just do what you feel is right."
"I've always admired you, Gerard," she confessed. "I wished we could've talked sooner."
"Me, too," I replied, hardly believing that she would have any interest on me.
The sky darkened and we both knew that it was time for her to leave. She got up and, before walking away, brushed my cheek with the back of her hand and told me, "Don't waste your time doing things you never wanted to do. Because one day you'll wake up and it'll be too late to go back."
I never saw Elizabeth McCorin after that day, again. I did read about her famous paintings in the newspapers. One, in particular, of a lone boy in the park with dark hair and green eyes. As for her advice, I took it to heart. Because without Elizabeth McCorin I wouldn't have left the office. I wouldn't have called up Ray and persuaded Mikey to start a band. I wouldn't have the fortunate things I have now. Maybe I would still be in that lonely three by four wasting my life away doing something I didn't feel was right.
Now, I don't think that it's so impossible for a girl like Elizabeth McCorin to fall in love with a guy like me.
This is my first attempt to post a short story. Please let me know what you think so I can write more short stories like this! Thanks for reading!