Conflicts in Opinion

This little scene was inspired by a prompt from Tomi Adeyemi’s site.  I enjoy the interplay between Jocelyn and Henry…


“In your heart, you already know what you need to do,” Jocelyn said, her voice soft.  Henry blinked and she nodded.  “There comes a point in everyone’s life when they need to stand or to fall on their own, Henry.  Konrad’s at that point now.”

“I don’t see any reason why I can’t just… help him a little bit,” he said, shaking his head.  “We both know he’s capable.  He just needs some direction – some guidance, so that he can use the right language to help them see that too.”

“I’m not going to ask this of you, Henry,” Jocelyn said, frowning.  “This isn’t a request.  It’s an order: stay out of it.”

Henry frowned.  “Is that the last word you have on the matter, Lady Director?” he asked, his tone just a bit mocking.

She narrowed her eyes and clenched her fist.  “Do not challenge me.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he said.  Then, he whirled on his heel and stalked out of her office.  Jocelyn stared after him for a moment, trying to decide if she should follow him.  Ultimately, she decided against it.  He was frustrated as it was.  Once he had a chance to cool down, he would probably come back and apologize for his tone.

She was just about to get back to her work when here was an almost timid knock on her door.  She looked up to find Konrad Engel peering around the door at her.  “Do you know that your office assistant isn’t out here?” he said, his voice soft.  He was wearing a very smart dark blue suit with a red tie that had thin blue stripes running along it at a diagonal.  His usually tousled pale blond curls were tidy and he was wearing glasses that made his eyes look enormous.

“Kim has the day off,” Jocelyn said, nodding.  She folded her hands on her desk and asked, “Is there something I can do for you, Mr. Engel?”

He blinked and stepped into the room.  “It’s doctor,” he corrected, his tone polite.  He gave her a wry smile.  “I wondered if you might be willing to write a letter of reference for me, ma’am.  I have two from my professors and one from my pastor, but… being a director of operations… I thought one from you might carry a bit more weight.”

Jocelyn gave him a faint smile and nodded.  “I would be more than pleased to write a letter of reference for you,” she said, her voice soft.  “I’m honored that you would think to ask me.”

Konrad smirked and adjusted his glasses.  “Teva means well,” he said.  Then he shrugged.  “He’s like a lot of people, though.  He mistakes my social phobia for shyness.”  He looked up, actually meeting her eyes.  Even as his face turned a vibrant crimson, he said, “I’m not shy.  It’s just…” he motioned between them and added, “…this scares me.  The way some people are afraid of fire or heights or caves – that’s how I feel about speaking with women.”

She smiled.  “Is this some sort of therapy session, then?” she said, tilting her head.

“For me, you could say it was very therapeutic,” Konrad said, nodding.  He smiled.  “Here, we had a conversation and I didn’t once embarrass myself or say anything foolish.”

Jocelyn smiled.  Konrad could be charming, when he wasn’t falling all over himself trying to get away from her.  “I’ll give you the letter as soon as I can,” she said.

“Danke schön,” Konrad said, and then he bowed politely before he slipped out of her office.

As she stared after him, Jocelyn was struck by how different he was from Henry.  At the same time, it was clear that the older man had influenced the younger one’s development.  Shaking her head, she murmured, “Henry worries too much.” Then, she opened a blank document and began to write the letter of reference that both of them had requested from her.


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