By Jan Snook
The new girl was having a really bad day… Would her luck change after noon?
Gemma took a deep breath and got into the lift. In a month, all this would seem normal. The first week in a new office was bound to be scary. Though technically this was the Tuesday of her second week. And still very scary.
It didn’t help that it was quite a small legal firm, and that everyone seemed to be decades older than she was. Well, nearly everyone. There were James and Hugh who were in their early thirties and seemed to be the office clowns, but everyone else was at least eighty.
OK, so she was exaggerating, but not by much. Sarah, the Senior Partner’s PA (and a bit of a dragon) was over fifty and the other secretaries were almost as old.
Though James was devastatingly good-looking, there was no point in dreaming about him: he was a high-flying lawyer, the youngest partner they’d ever had, Sarah said. None of which actually stopped her dreaming about him, of course. Stupid, really.
There he was, six foot of heaven
The doors opened at the fifth floor and there he was, six foot of heaven. James smiled widely at her as she stepped out, making her heart thud. She reached her desk, still dreaming, and saw a typed note on it: Sarah’s ill. Please take minutes at Partners’ Meeting, Conference Room, 8.30.
Partners’ Meeting? 8.30? Gemma glanced at the clock. She was already ten minutes late! And she’d never even met the Senior Partner.
She grabbed a pad and rushed to the lift, which was crawling towards her floor. She couldn’t wait, dashed for the stairs and arrived at the Conference Room out of breath. She opened the door tentatively, burbling apologies – and Sarah looked up from her notepad and glared. Clearly not ill then.
The Partners looked puzzled. Only James smiled.
Sarah, still looking stern, said, “Somebody’s idea of an April Fool?”
She was going off James rapidly
Back at her desk Gemma was seething. She’d kill him! No wonder he’d smiled at her by the lift. He must have just left that note. April Fool indeed!
Her desk now sported a file labelled Company Rules, and a cupcake. Gemma looked at both suspiciously. The icing on the cake was unnaturally white. She sniffed it. Shaving foam. She was going off James rapidly. She moved the cake, then picked up the file and tried to open it. Superglued shut. Oh, absolutely hilarious – what an idiot!
Gemma opened her emails and got stuck in. She’d lost nearly an hour of the morning with all this tomfoolery, but spent the next couple of hours printing documents, finding files and putting court dates in the diary before lunch.
His smile was still magical
There was a knock on the door and James poked his head round. His smile was still magical, even if he was a buffoon.
“Yes?” she said coolly.
He was gazing at the cupcake. “Oh dear, I see you’ve been treated to one of Sarah’s cakes. You didn’t try it, I hope? She gives one to all new staff.” He paused. “She’s more fun than she looks.”
Gemma smiled weakly. “She must be.”
“And Hugh’s sorry about that note – you looked terrified.”
“And the glued file?” Gemma asked.
“Oh dear, you have been having a bad day. That was probably the boss.”
“So none of them was from…”
James looked aghast. “You thought they were from me? Oh dear, this doesn’t augur well at all. You really thought I’d play such silly jokes?”
Gemma could feel her heart balloon with rekindled desire. “But you gave me such an odd smile by the lift…”
“Because I knew I was going to ask you out to dinner.” He beamed.
Gemma almost spoke, then stopped. “This is another April Fool, isn’t it?”
James reached out and shyly took her hand. “No. Look at the time. It’s after twelve so you’re safe. I’m a lawyer, remember – I don’t take risks, so I would never have dared to ask you earlier… not on April Fool’s Day.”