The receptionist stared blankly at Tom. “Um, I’m not sure what you mean,” she said, and then glanced back at the guard with a longing look. The guard shrugged and returned the amorous stare.
She looked back at Tom. “I’m sorry,” she continued, “I was a little involved in conversation with the guard after Mr. Clark came out. I wish I could help, but I really didn’t pay attention to what happened. I mean, you seem like a nice guy who just needs to get cleaned up. Maybe you could come back and try again another time.” She smiled a hollow smile which melted into a genuine one when she turned back to the guard leaning on her desk.
Tom felt alone and defeated. His shoulders dropped and he walked slowly to the elevator, pushed the button, and waited for the car to take him farther down.
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