Lorie walked back to her workstation in a daze. As she sat down she started freaking out internally. Her supervisor had been patient, had even suggested she might benefit from some time off. Her boss, Mr. Harris, did not strike her as a patient man. At all. He oozed authority.
She closed her eyes, concentrating on her breathing.
"Everything okay, Lorie?"
Startled, she let out a little yelp. Next to her desk stood the only colleague with whom she had some connection. Grace was an elderly lady who had sort of invaded her life, acting like a mother-hen.
"Grace! Yes. I'm fine. I'm just a bit tired."
She tried to sound as normal as possible, probably failing at it given the fact that Grace narrowed her eyes.
"I'll be fine. Honestly."
Giving Grace a practiced smile seemed to work.
"All right, honey. Don't overdo it."