In all fairness, I wasn't grossed out or disappointed with Ross. It was the way I had found out that bothered me more. Had he told me in the privacy of our own bedroom, I'd have been okay with it. Hearing it from a complete stranger, who also had a bone to pick with him, wasn't the way to find out about such things. But it didn't really matter; unfortunately for Kyle, I now had one more reason to have a bone to pick with him. His revelations only had cemented the foundation of the relationship between Ross and me; and in my eyes he'd become an even lower life form than he'd already been.
The next few days of that first week I spent cold-shouldering Kyle as much as I could, not that I had to spend much time with him; he generally came by to check on our progress but other than that he pretty much ignored me too. Once there would be actual scoring sessions and decisions about the themes, he'd become more active with the sound department. For now, I worked on a structure together with Mason and Jodie.
I did find out a lot more about him, in the first two weeks, though. For instance that he wasn't just a sound supervisor; he was the supervisor of pretty much everything that was going on. Mason knew nothing about him, but Jodie, who admitted on having had a crush on Kyle before realizing he was hailing from the People's Republic of Gayland, was a real treasure trove of information. Apparently, Walter and Kyle had broken up quite a long time ago. According to Jodie, Walter had come to his senses pretty quick. Before Kyle, he had been in a relationship for two decades. During a rough period in that relationship he'd sought, and found, solace with Kyle, whom he had met at some social function. Their relationship hadn't endured all that long. After just two months Walter reconciled with his previous partner but somehow, during their short fling, Kyle had managed to land a job at Warner Gaming.
"You might think he's nothing more than a good-looking bum who got lucky but he's pretty good at what he does," Jodie told me. "He's very funny, knows his stuff and he's pretty relaxed. Total workhorse, though." Yeah, right. If only she knew.
But that's where I underestimated Jodie. She was very bright, beyond her 23 years. She already knew, or had guessed, a lot, including who I was and who my boyfriend was (which wasn't that hard, I guess, since she probably read a newspaper). She also correctly guessed why I was prodding her for info.
"Wanna get some dirt on him, eh?" she winked. "Don't worry, you can trust me. Hell, I can't blame you, at least from what I've heard about that split between him and your cutie. But I don't have much to divulge. From what I understand, he cleaned up his act. He doesn't have a boyfriend, actually lives alone with a cat, I think. He usually works until pretty late; first one to show up, last one to leave, that sort of thing. He rarely goes out and if he does, he only stays for like... a quarter of an hour."
That didn't sound like the jetsetter I had heard Kyle Garcia to be. According to Sofia he was a good-for-nothing bottomless money pit, loving his designer clothes, jewelry and flashy cars; a party-animal extraordinaire with an obsession for his looks. Okay, so my source wasn't entirely objective, but Ross had pretty much given me the same info. What I was hearing now was a one-eighty degree turn; hard working, alone.
"Not what you expected, huh?" Jodie asked when I didn't immediately say something.
‘Honestly? No. I heard it somewhat differently."
"Yeah, I've heard the stories too." She grinned. "It's a shame, really. He's one hot-looking specimen, don't you agree?" I shrugged.
"Oh come on; you mean to tell me he doesn't make things... ‘stir' for you?" I laughed.
"Sure, he's nice to look at but no, he doesn’t ‘stir’ anything for me; he’s not my type. I'm very happy with what I've got already."
"Mmmm uh! Ross Forester. Tell me, is he as perfect as he looks?" she asked. I nodded. "Good in the sack?"
"Jodie!" I gasped, semi-shocked. But I wasn't that shocked. I'd gotten to know her pretty well in the last two weeks.
Since day one, I had taken a liking to her. Mason was very quiet, preferring to work in complete silence. A bit of a boring guy, really. Jodie was his complete opposite, a bubble of life. A bit rough in the mouth at times, which was a cause for many laughs (and annoyed looks from Mason); she made me think of my mom.
"Pretty fantastic, actually," I then admitted, winking.
"Oh man, I'm jealous. The last guy that had a poke at me was like... I dunno... four, five months ago? I think I'm healed over down there." I loudly laughed, and, as if on cue, Mason looked up annoyed.
"How about Mason?" I whispered. "He's cute. Boring, but cute." He wasn't, not really. He was a bit of a geek. Then again, even geeks are wanted by some. Attraction works in mysterious ways.
"Oh puhlease," Jodie hissed back, "there's only so many shopping lists you can make while he's having his way." I raised an eyebrow at her. "Wait... you two already...?" She clawed at her chest, feigning shock.
"Hell no, give me a break; at least someone with a pulse." I grinned, stealing a glance at Mason. If he had heard any of it, he didn't let on that he did.
"Hey, Mason!" Jodie yelled, ignoring the annoyed look he sent her. "It's almost 4pm. Turn that crap off, man. Let's go!" She went over to his station by pushing her wheeled chair in his general direction, stopping right before crashing into her colleague and then hung an arm over his shoulder, peering at the screen. "Oh damn, you did that just now? Lemme hear."
It was Friday, which meant that the employees just wrapped things up for the week and waited for 4pm, to go to the cantina and have a beer or some other refreshment, snacks and just wind down from a week of hard work. I liked that ritual, instituted by Walter from day one of the company's founding.
His philosophy was that good ideas generally were discussed at gatherings where one could speak freely and have a drink, as long as the employee was careful with alcohol. If anyone drank that, he or she had to surrender their keys and hitch a ride home with someone else. There was no hierarchy in the cantina on Friday afternoon. A lowly typist could speak up and submit an idea to anyone he or she thought could benefit from it, be that Walter Warner himself, a graphic designer or a doorman; it didn't matter. If the idea was good, and would be used, the employee would be rewarded by a little extra in his or her paycheck at the end of the month.
The first week I had experienced the Friday gathering, I had been amazed at the level of camaraderie I saw. Groups quickly formed, of course, as is the case with any gathering. But you could just walk around, stand by any group and listen. If the topic was something you knew something about or had a suggestion, you could feel free to speak up. The first time I did it, I made a (granted; stupid) suggestion that had half of the group on their hands and knees, but I didn't feel stupid of looked down upon; they poked fun at me but not in a degrading way. I actually learned something and it quickly ‘broke the ice', so to speak.
I looked at my watch while simultaneously listening to what Jodie and Mason were doing. 3:58pm.