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Izzy was sitting in the conference room at work.  She tried not to look like she wasn’t paying attention.  Even if she could pull her attention into the meeting she was not sure she wanted to.   They were discussing projections for the next year, and what they planned to sell and upgrades to existing phones they planned to make. 

Izzy was never quite sure how she ended up working with a company that bought and sold cell phones to the expanding wireless companies.   She knew she liked the places cell phones could take people in the future but she really didn’t have a business mind. 

“Izzy?” a voice was calling to her and she looked up from the notebook she was pretending to take notes in and looked towards the voice.  All the eyes in the room were on her, she could feel her ears burning out of embarrassment.  

“I’m sorry,” She started.

“Can you tell us the progress the manufacturer has made on this “smart” phone they keep bragging about?”  The grin on the man’s, Tony’s, face was eerie.  She always hated that guy but couldn’t place why.  She felt that he thought she never belonged in her position; it was his egotistical arrogance that kept her in her job as long as she had.  She wouldn’t let him win and push her out.

“The last time I spoke with them they said they were near completion but they were still not sure they wanted our name to be branded on their phone.  They are being sweet talked by our competitors which is proof that this phone will revolutionize the wireless world.”  Izzy spoke up.

She could see that the meeting leader was about to speak, likely to say something sarcastic and undermining but her boss spoke up before he could.

“We need to get our hands on this phone so we can start the bidding for which wireless company will have exclusive rights to sell this phone first.”

“That’s another thing; the company doesn’t want their phone only with one provider.  One of their stipulations is whatever company they give their product to; they will have to allow all providers to sell it.”  Izzy added though she didn’t think this was a problem, if everyone could by the newest phone no matter who their wireless service provider was then it would mean more money for her company.

Her boss smiled.  “I have my utmost faith that you will obtain this phone for us.  The sooner the better, we need to get our name on them and start our testing and mass production. See me after the meeting so we can discuss our strategy.”

Izzy nodded and smiled.  She hoped she could pull off what her boss was asking her for.  It was a tall order but his faith in her was encouraging.  While the meeting continued, Izzy’s thoughts went elsewhere.  It seemed natural for her mind to linger on the image of Brian smiling at her moments before shaking her hand.   She couldn’t believe she was daydreaming about a man in a boy band but his face calmed her.  There was something about him that seemed familiar.  Then last night she saw him in a dream.  She didn’t remember much of the dream, only that he was in it.  She didn’t think he had made that much of an impact on her mind that she would dream about him.  He was attractive but she would have much rather dreamed about the tall one with dark hair, Kevin, she remembered.

The meeting ended and the person next to her tapped her shoulder letting her know.  She blushed; embarrassed again that she’d been noticed as not listening in the meeting.   That was all she needed for Tony to see.  He’d love to take over her project for himself and would jump at any opening she left.  Izzy hung back until the last person left the room, she cleaned up the random papers that had been left and then made her way to her boss’ office. 

“You wanted to see me?” she asked as she popped her head into his office.

“Come in Izzy, take a seat.” He gestured towards the chair and waited until she sat down before he continued.   “Has there been anything going on in your life you’d like to tell me about?”

Izzy waited a minute before shaking her head. “No,” she answered cautiously.  “Why?” 

“It seems to me that your head hasn’t been in the work lately.  Didn’t you just take a vacation?” 

She nodded and wondered where this was leading.  Was Tony getting her project already? 

“It doesn’t seem like you got enough rest in during your time off.  I’d hate to ask you to take more time, especially with the deadline for acquiring that phone approaching.  I know about Tony’s desire to have this project but I like your work and want you on it.  I feel you are the best person to get it done, but if your head is not in it I will have to hand it over to Tony.”  Her boss was kind but serious in his tone as he spoke. 

Izzy nodded in agreement.  “Truth be told, the trip wasn’t that relaxing.” She admitted.  “The actual time was great but on the way home the strangest thing happened.  A car chased us, crashed into us and then attacked me and my friend.”  The words spewed out of her before she could really stop them.  Thankfully, her mouth had chosen not to mention the real reason she’d been daydreaming, thinking about an unobtainable man was nothing to daydream about during a meeting.

“Attacked?” He asked sitting in the chair next to her showing concern for her.

Izzy nodded and told him about how two men followed her and by sheer luck she managed to fight and get away from them.   How her friend was lucky and only shaken but not hurt.  

“If you need the time, take it.” Her boss practically commanded.

Izzy shook her head this time.  “No, I need to get on with my life.  It has been several days, nobody was seriously injured.  I think it’s best if I am at work and move on so that I can forget about it.” 

“If that is your wish.” Her boss added standing again.  He turned to her as she stood to leave.  “Don’t forget about the party tonight, Patricia would be upset if you missed out.”

“Of course,” She thought quickly and remembered the dinner party that night at her boss’ house that she had agreed to a few weeks ago.  She didn’t want to go but like her boss said, Patricia would be upset if she didn’t come. 

Izzy decided that she needed to get some work done before she left for the night to get ready for the party.  She was sitting at her desk looking over the phone when she heard a voice.

“Everyone must have.” 

She looked around wondering if Tony had come into the room.  She knew that was one of the taglines he liked for the phone.  When she didn’t see him she shrugged, rubbed her eyes and finished up the sentence she was on before calling it a night. 

Despite leaving a little early from work to give herself plenty of time to get ready, Izzy was still fashionably late to the dinner party.  The guests were well into their cocktails by the time she arrived and she was thankful that she only had to wander around the room of guests for a short time before everyone found their seats for dinner.   

She was happy to find herself sitting next to Patricia. She and her boss, Mike, were really the only ones she knew at the party and was glad that she’d have someone to talk to during dinner.

“So, Mike tells me that you were in an accident on the way back home from your trip?” Patricia asked in hushed tones once everyone was seated and starting to eat. 

“Mmmhmm” Izzy murmured in response.

“He said two men attacked you?” She was very quiet now.

“Yes, it was freaky.”

“Do you know why the cleaners were after you?” Patricia asked in a tone so quiet Izzy had a hard time hearing her. 

“I have no idea why the men chased and attacked us.  They disappeared after the police arrived and we didn’t see them again the rest of the trip home.” 

Patricia smiled and patted Izzy’s knee.  “Well we are just glad you are safe.”  She took a few bites of her food and talked with another guest before turning her attention back to Izzy.

“So anyone special in your life lately?”

“No,” Izzy laughed.  The last person she had dated ended very quickly.  She wasn’t sure what went wrong but he couldn’t break up with her fast enough it seemed. 

“Well there is this man; you do like men don’t you?” She paused and waited for Izzy to nod her head before she continued.  “I want to introduce you after dinner, his name is Greg and he is a surgeon.” Patricia indicated the direction Greg was sitting in.  He was sitting on the opposite side of the table a few chairs down talking with Mike.  He had dark hair and light colored eyes.  Izzy instantly liked his smile and couldn’t help but smile at the thought of meeting this man.  

The rest of the dinner was rather ordinary and Patricia was thrilled with Izzy and Greg hit it off and found a secluded spot to talk.  The two talked like they had known each other for awhile and they left with each other’s numbers and a date for dinner the next night.  

It wasn’t until Izzy was pulling the covers up that night that something that Patricia had said that night found its way into her head.  “Cleaners?” She asked herself wondering what Patricia had been talking about.