There’s a hunk in reception. But romance is flourishing elsewhere
“Was that Rupert I just saw in reception?” said Miranda. Her cheeks were two points of scarlet in an otherwise porcelain visage.
“Yes,” said Giles. “He’s here for an interview.”
Clara breezed into Giles’s office. Well, as much as one can breeze in combat boots, thought Giles.
“Like them?” said Clara, reading his expression or his mind. “New Rock Planing-Sole Steampunk Boots, got ‘em in Camden on Saturday.”
“I wish we could persuade you into more… work-appropriate attire,” said Giles stiffly. “It looks as if you’re off to take on Tina Turner.”
“Thunderdome?” said Giles. “Mad Max Three? Sheesh…”
“Never heard of it,” said Clara breezily. “Must be a generational thing.”
“You should get it on DVD, plenty of fashion tips for you,” said Giles.
“DVD?” Clara echoed, as if Giles had advised she go look at a cave-painting. “God, no-one does hard copy these days. So gay. Anyway, who’s the hunkalicious buffster in reception?”
“I should probably advise you,” Miranda said sharply, cutting off Giles’s response, “that your use of the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative term to describe something ‘lame’ or ‘naff’ would get right up the nose of the ‘buffalicious hunk’ in reception.”
“Hunkalicious…” Clara started and then sighed. “Oh what’s the use. I might have known he’d be on the other team. We always get stuck with worthy dorkazoids like this one while all the hotties are ab-crunching for each other’s benefit. What’s he here for?”
“Artem and Fritz are interviewing him for partnership,” said Giles. “And I’ll thank you…”
“He’s an old friend of Giles,” said Miranda, cutting Giles off again, this time with an impish smile and a little nod of the head.
Clara took the hint. “Oh I seeeeee…” she said with a wicked little chortle. “Chums.”
“It was nothing like that!” snapped Giles.
“I must admit I did find it difficult to believe,” said Clara, turning on one steampunk heel. Giles smiled smugly. “He’s way out of your league.”
Before Giles could respond, Clara glided out of his office, leaving only a laughing Miranda.
“Do you think…” started Giles.
“What?” said Miranda.
“Do you think he’s… out of my league?”
“What?” said Miranda, nearly jumping out of her seat. “You mean you…”
“No, no!” said Giles, reddening. “I most certainly didn’t mean…”
“I do worry about you sometimes,” said Miranda, getting up to go.
“What I meant was, do you really think he’s that much better looking than me?”
Miranda stopped in her tracks and looked at him as one might look at an especially needy puppy. She was about to say something and then allowed her thoughts to drift for a moment. She could see that this conversation might be going in a particular direction and wondered what she thought about that. Then she remembered the weekend, alone, bottle of Grenache and the Old Marigold Hotel Ladies Calendar Diaries or whatever the film had been called. And the weekend before that, at her mother’s, the endless barely-veiled comments about biological clocks. And the weekend before that. And the endless weeknights filled with boxed sets of The West Wing, The Sopranos, Homeland…
“Actually, I think you’re cuter,” she said. Giles’s mouth hung open. “Rupert is all very well in a flashy, look-at-me way, but discerning women like a little more substance in their… dorkazoids.”
Clara’s expression hung in the air between them for a long moment.
“Would you…” said Giles eventually.
“Yes, Giles, I would. I’m a fan of Italian and full-bodied reds, if that helps.”
“I was going to ask you to pass me the stapler, but, well, you know I’ve been, well, yes,” he reddened again.
Miranda felt her cheeks flush. She might have to do all the early work on this one. “I’m free on Wednesday,” she said. “There’s a great new Italian in Angel. We can go straight from work if you like.”
Giles’s face looked like an eight year-old who had been told that Christmas would be in Disneyland this year.
“In the meantime,” she added, “let’s hope Rupert gets the job. We could do with some fun around here.”