If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write - Stephen King, On Writing, p. 147
Carol gritted her teeth as the recorded voice began its spiel. Of course, her option was the last one on the list.
"...speak to an operator, press 7."
Her finger hovered over the seven button for a fraction of a second. She knew what would happen but there was no alternative. She pressed and heard empty air as the call floundered and then caught the correct connection.
"Please hold. Your call will be answered..."
She held the phone away from her ear, glanced about the empty glade and then swore at the top of her voice. Tinny, scratchy classical music played on an endless loop as she paced the mossy clearing, absently chewing her fingernail.
She oriented on her couple, saw them two fields over, sitting together and so ripe. Why now? It wasn't fair by anyone's standards. They hadn't been apart in two days. In the depths of her being she knew they were ready.
"This is your operator, Heather. How can I help you today?"
"At last! I'm out of arrows."
"Have you checked your emergency quarrel?"
Carol's grip on the phone tightened and she took a deep breath before replying.
"I've been on this job for two hundred years. I think I am capable of remembering to check my supplies!"
Heather obviously didn't appreciate the tone of Carol's comment.
"Perhaps I should take this opportunity to remind you of our policy on polite interaction between operators and our customers."
"Look, I need arrows. That's all. I don't need a lecture on..."
"I'll transfer you to supplies."
Too late. Empty air, a faint chattering, a whine and then soulless music. She’d already been to supplies and been referred to services. The cycle had begun anew.
"Your call will be answered as soon as one of our operators..."
Carol was sorely tempted to throw the phone at a tree but a new voice sounded as she tensed for the attempt.
"Hi, this is Kevin. How can I help you on this beautiful day?"
"I need arrows and I warn you now, if you mention my spare quarrel things will not go well between us."
She could easily envision Kevin either poking his tongue out at the phone or considering calling his superior. Instead he hung up.
Carol was too stunned to do more than stare at the dead phone and almost dropped it as it rang in her hand. Hesitantly she answered, worried by the unknown number.
"Hello Carol. Having a bad day?"
"Who is this?"
Even as she said it she knew exactly who it was and her heart sank.
"I'll pretend you didn't ask. How did you manage to loose all you arrows and not hit once? Even your spares."
"Rabbits hop at inconvenient moments ok?"
She regretted her tone but it had been a trying day.
"Perhaps your aim is off for other reasons?"
She shook her head, realized he couldn't see her and spoke, irritation in every syllable.
"I am not an idiot! I know my job. I'm just struggling with these stupid rabbits. Why the hell is someone of my experience being asked to deal with making rabbits fall in love?"
"Perhaps you needed reminding of the reason you do what you do. So busy hitting targets that you have forgotten what love is. Perhaps" he paused and she could see that smirk on his face as clearly a if he was before her, "our workaholic is in love herself?"
"I am not!" she exploded, ready to let rip even if he was her boss and then he stepped out from behind a tree, grinning.
Her heart lurched and she felt the insane urge to run into his arms. He held his hands out to her and she was moving before her brain could catch up with her feet. Even as she stepped into his embrace and lost herself to his boyish smile and sparkling eyes she wondered how she could have fallen for her boss.
Using her distraction; Cupid brushed his arrow out of her rear.