Natalie twirled her dark glossy hair around in her left hand again, leaned forward with her head to one side and frowned slightly to look as if she was really concentrating hard, her little white teeth biting into her full bottom lip as she scribbled something in her notebook to reinforce the impression.
It wasn't actually like following this presentation was all that difficult, if she put her mind to it; Hendrik was showing the Sales Director, Josef, the new filtration system concept and if she concentrated on it, it all kind of followed a logic and made sense; but she was instead thinking about Hendrik, and how he hadn't really seemed to notice her all that much since Brussels last summer, six months ago.
He would have been a good catch, even though he was technically already caught at that time, well people got divorced all the time, it wasn't like he'd got kids or anything; maybe he was one of those who just enjoyed the chase, something they had in common, although mostly men never really knew that they had been chased and drawn in, their steps mapped out before they made them in an elaborate dance.
The music was her body and her brain, both lively and kittenish, the dance steps were accidents, encounters, snares; a glance and blush, perhaps a clumsy collision in the kitchen spilling her drink on her (cold drinks and black tops only, that one), maybe a drink after work offered by way of apology, and on and on as they gave her gifts, adoration, weekends away, but not so far the final prize of a wedding ring to pledge their life and money.
And if that was not forthcoming, well, life was a game to be played in subtle variations, and if that dance grew dull, if the offerings and presents faded, it was only a matter of time until the next more powerful man beckoned, and onward and upward as the band struck up a slightly different tune.
Josef's hand brushed hers as they both bent down to retrieve the pen she'd accidentally dropped, she gazed upward at him as if in admiration, mouthed "Thank you," and bent back over her notebook, blushing prettily; at the next pause she would ask him if he could please help her, she hadn't made a note of the critical tolerances of the internal diameter in all the confusion...