There were oohs and ahhs as Liz walked into the office, it was only a few months since she last set foot in the place, but anyone listening to the other girls would have thought they had not seen her for years.
‘Oh, he’s gorgeous, take his hat off so we can see him properly’ said Carol.
‘Can I hold him? Look Lucas, do you like the Christmas decorations?’
‘Must be your family he gets his red hair from… he’s very pale, I thought he would be more sort of coffee coloured.’
‘Well he hasn’t seen any sun yet,’ said Liz defensively ‘besides, Jarrod’s got such a mixed ancestry I expect he had some ginger forebears.’
‘So how’s it been then, does Jarrod change the nappies?’
‘Of course, he’s a fantastic Dad, even gets up to make me a cup of tea in the middle of the night, fetches Lucas from his cot and plants him on my breast so I don’t have to move, then sits and chats so I don’t get bored.’
‘Lucky you, I had to make do with my phone for company during night feeds.’
‘Are you going to take the whole year then?’
‘I’m not sure, Jarrod’s so besotted he reckons he should take time off work when Lucas is on solids, he hates having to leave him to go to work.’
By this time a few of the fellows considered enough minutes had passed to show they weren’t gaga about babies and wandered over.
‘Pity you’re going to miss the office Christmas party,’ said Dave ‘wonder if it will be as wild as last year?’
‘I don’t remember it being wild’ Liz blushed.
‘You were so drunk you probably don’t remember anything.’
‘You’re a fine one to talk, Dave.’
‘I was quite sedate compared with the boss.’
‘No, he was dead sober,’ said Carol ‘at least he stayed till last to make sure everyone left safely, he was going to call a cab for Liz.’
‘So what else has been happening, did John go to head office?’ Liz tried to steer the conversation away from parties and tried to avert her eyes away from the desk that used to be hers. She hadn’t been so drunk she couldn’t remember. Hopefully Mr. O’Brian would stay in his office. It had been a mistake to come, but all the girls had phoned and e-mailed pleading to see the new baby. Liz couldn’t really recall how it had happened. She was gathering her handbag from her desk and he was leaning over to use her phone to call a cab – he did call a cab afterwards, for both of them, made sure she got home safely before he returned to his wife and their lovely children. She knew they were lovely because he had a photo on his desk, two boys and one girl, all with hair of burnished copper.