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Sarah had dark brown eyes that never lit up. Except when she saw Linnie. He was energetic, kind and funny. Linnie was everything she was not. There was no urge to fix her behaviour or tweek her personna. But she liked watching Linnie from a distance. It was creepy and if Linnie found out, he would move jobs and cities. They were in the same position at work; only different teams. He was that kind of guy. Kept out of everyone’s way and avoided complications.

Linnie noticed Sarah the first day he joined work. Sarah, though not very attractive, had a permanent smirk on her face. She was funny but she never laughed, wholeheartedly. She wore a mask to work or probably everywhere. He had no intention of forcing her to take it off. But he noticed that she treated him differently from others. Unfortunately, others noticed too.

They worked in the same office for 2 years before they had their first private moment. They both stayed late to catch up on work; she was making a cup of coffee when he walked into the pantry. It was unusual the tension in the air. He smiled; she smiled back. She nodded; he nodded back. The conversation ended. She already knew he was not corrupt and she had by then been labelled as the evil one. Those don’t blend well. In any world. He never made an effort. 

Five years of working together, neither of them budged. Every time they were alone, the tension remained. No words exchanged. Just the smile and the nod. Neither of them took that leap to even test the waters.

Eventually, Linnie got a transfer and he grabbed it. It was a promotion and a chance to work from the headquarters. A farewell party was thrown in his honour. Everyone loved Linnie and were sad to see him go. He looked for Sarah everywhere. She was nowhere in sight. He thought he would say goodbye. As the party ended and everyone left work, he packed his stuff to leave. There was a present wrapped in shiny red paper on his desk. He opened it up and it was a copy of The Little Prince. The scribble inside said: ‘What is essential is invisible to the eye’.

There was no name. But he knew it was her. He put the book along with his other stuff and walked out of office. He never saw her again.