Andrew Long

Andrew Long stopped by my desk on his first day back. He’d been off sick for over a week, and all us girls had missed him. I’d drawn the lucky straw to take the get-well soon card out to his home.

Andrew was a little under six feet tall, with dark unruly hair and a Hong Kong action star build. He was always impeccably dressed and wore cologne that smelled faintly of cherry blossoms. He was quiet and generally kept to himself, though he would always spare a smile for people. I think every girl in the office had a crush on him.

“Hello, Christine.” He smiled and gave me one of those half-bows that made me melt in my chair. “I wanted to thank you for bringing the card, and to apologize for not being there to receive it in person.”

I leapt to my feet and returned the bow. “It’s all right; your housekeeper Mr. Nu said it was for my protection. Did you like the card?”

“I did. It was beautiful, and the sentiments expressed inside were very… encouraging, especially yours.”

“Thank you.” I could feel myself blushing. I guess he got the double entendre. To deflect further questions, I added, “You have a lovely house. I especially liked the garden court.”

“I find it very relaxing.”

“It must be. The little trees and the bridge and the sculptures all fit so well together. I especially liked the one of the dragon; it was big, but it really complemented everything else.”

His brow knotted for a moment, then he smiled. “Ah yes, the dragon. It’s been there for so many years I hardly notice it. But I am glad you approve.”

“Approve? It’s the most beautiful thing I ever saw. The scales were so shiny, and the fringes were all so perfect, and those gorgeous eyes with the slit pupils! It just makes me… gives me goose bumps thinking about it.”

Now he was blushing too. “I had no idea you were such a lover of art.”

“Well, it’s mainly dragons. I’ve been fascinated by them since I was a little girl. Other girls like horses, I like dragons. I even have a dragon screen saver on my computer would you like to see?”

“Perhaps later; for now I must attend a meeting. My condition was such that I could not not socialize, and now I wish to enjoy human company again.”

“Even in a meeting? You must be missing people.”

“You have no idea.” He smiled. “If you would like to come and see the dragon in my garden again, I’m sure it can be arranged.”

“Can it? That would be great!”

“Then we shall do so.”

As he was turning away he blinked; it was that curious double-blink he always does, but this time I noticed something. In the split-second between blinks I could see that his eyes had slit pupils. Just like the dragon’s.