Der Klatsch (Rumours) By D.I. Jolly

It’s long been said that Jacob, was different. The son of a Satanist and a demon, he’d been born between the first and second war, and had been different for a lot longer than most people realised. He wasn’t unliked, he still looked human. In the early years of man, he had been considered very tall, but as humanity grew up he settled into being just slightly taller than average. And while his personality was kind and easy-going, the one prevailing opinion of him, was that he was different.

“He’s weirdly knowledgeable.”

Said Greg joining the conversation with a fresh round.

“Not in a bad way, but, I mean, he’s what? 30? 35? And he speaks about history as if he was there.”

Jacob liked people, and gravitated towards them. He’d live a normal life for a few years then move on, city to city, country to country, taking in the ever-changing wonder of civilisation.

Greg handed out the drinks then did a quick look round to see if Jacob had arrived.

“Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy but, I don’t know… I wouldn’t let him date my daughter, if you know what I mean.”

Gabby and Tim didn’t want to, but they both nodded in agreement, because they did know what he meant.

“Well…” Started Gabby but then stopped to do her own little look round, all too aware that the company Christmas party was both the best and worse place to have that sort of conversation. “I heard that Sandra has a massive crush on him.”

Which drew a few gasping, and giggles of disbelief from the other two.

“No accounting for taste.” Scoffed Tim as his crush on Sandra flared up. Which made Gabby kicked him in the shin to remind him that they were dating. Greg, noticing the annoyed glances between his friends thought he’d rescue the topic and said,

“I don’t actually think I’ve ever seen or heard of him going out with anyone, ever. You?”

Gabby and Tim turned back to the conversation thinking.

“Nope.”

Said Tim and Gabby thinking a bit more said,

“Maybe, when he first started, but not since then.”

Which wasn’t a lie, but was still wrong. Jacob who was older than history had only ever been with one person, and when they had died, he decided he wouldn’t do that sort of thing again. He wasn’t human, but he did have feelings.

Just then a thought began to grow in Greg’s mind and he said.

“Maybe we should try set them up?”

Tim didn’t like that personally but the bruise on his shin told him that if he wanted to get laid again anytime soon, he should agree, so he did.  Gabby, who actually hated Sandra for being the object of her boyfriend’s desires, didn’t want something good to happen to her, but decided that she too would avoid having a fight and also agreed. Greg, suddenly overtaken by the idea, smiled triumphantly.

“Great, how can we get this done?”

“Get them drunk and lock them in a room together?”

Suggested Gabby dryly.

“No, I don’t think that would work.”

Said Tim hoping he hadn’t let on that he’d tried that exact same thing with Sandra and the result was him holding her hair back while she filled a wastepaper bin. Greg still riding high on his great idea said.

“What if we tell her that Jacob told us that he had a crush on her, and was just too shy to do anything about it? Then let her get herself drunk enough to do something.”

The plan shot through the three of them like a spark and their eyes grew wide with excitement. They then started looking around for their victims.

Jacob had finally arrived and was, as usual, chatting to some of the older office workers. Sandra, luckily, had not. Greg and Tim joined the conversation with Jacob and the others, patiently making general office-party chit chat, while Gabby got herself another drink and started texting around. She knew just the way to do it, just who to push to get the story to Sandra. It wasn’t hard, she had been told about the crush from Sally, who loved nothing more than sharing hot office goss. So, Gabby text Sally’s best office friend Brenda. Brenda then instantly called Sally.

“Oh my God babe, get a load of this. Gabby just messaged: Got to tell someone, having a couple drinks at the office party, Jacob seems to have had one too many and apparently has a bit of a crush on old Sandy Sandra.”

Sally then text 5 other people and an outsider chat group and within a few minutes, Sandra was on the phone with her office bestie making a plan for how they were going to make this the best Christmas party ever!

She then quickly changed from the simple black dress she always wore to company events into a red one. It was the one she wore on first dates when she thought the guy might be worth some effort and a bottle of bubbles later arrived at the party with a purpose. She then ‘accidentally’ stumbled as she joined the group and bumped Jacob, spilling both their drinks. He caught her and helped her get steady. She blushed and apologised and went and to get him a replacement drink.

A manoeuvre that had Tim and Gabby both furious for different versions of the same reason and Greg prouder than he’d ever been.

“I did not think she had it in her.” He said genuinely impressed. “That girl has got game.”

The three then spent the next few hours watching Sandra expertly throw herself at Jacob. But as time ticked over and Jacob continued to be himself, Sandra began to slip. Seeming more and more obviously desperate and Greg started to lose faith in his ‘great’ idea. Gabby, on the other hand, had decided she was enjoying watching Sandra fail since it so clearly made Tim jealous. And even though they had only agreed to it, to avoid a fight, a fight was definitely coming. Then as Greg heard Sally making not so subtle comments, his nerve broke and he jumped up and joined them, hoping to run interference and spare the woman’s feelings and any more embarrassment.

A gesture that made Jacob smile. He’d been painfully aware of what was going on and of the growing malicious energy coming from Tim and Gabby, so he was proud of Greg when he broke free from it to do the right thing. He then directed Sandra into the company of what he now knew to be a good man and went home.

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