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A Perfect Bloom 7 – Alex Ankarr
In his defence, he’d had to. In the conversation he was earwigging in the executive dining room, between dear Mrs Mugwort and the couple of offensively bright and perky graduate trainees assisting her through the process, it clearly wasn’t going in Sam’s favour. What gist he could get suggested that the fellow had seemed keen, yes… Adequate educational background, yesss… But no experience, sadly. No, absolutely none. Close call, short-listed, seemed like a nice chap, but the other candidates were just an extra bit stronger, so… (Cue heartfelt head-shakes, and a suggestion from one of the trainees – Rose? – that they keep his details on file. Just in case.)
So. He’d leaned over – so very casually – from the next table, and opined, seriously, earnestly, that up-skilling, training, and providing a trade that could change lives, was really what rehabilitation was all about. And didn’t Mrs Mugwort agree, surely?
Well, who knew what Mrs Mugwort’s true opinion might have been. She wasn’t fool enough to let it slip to the chief executive of the company, still less to disagree with him. So, mysteriously, Sam did, after all calculations and deliberations, make the final cut of successful candidates, for the small number of rehabilitative fixed-term contracts.
And Cory has been seriously fixated with him, in the six weeks or so since then. Oh, damn Linnet , still watching him, thinking if she makes him uneasy enough then he’ll betray himself. He may be a smitten fool, but he’s not a teenager.
“Of course not,” she repeats thoughtfully. And he thinks that maybe he’s going to be allowed to get away with it, for at least a minute there. Then she smirks at him, a gleam in her bright, too-intelligent eyes. “I’m willing to go with that, Cory. We’ll go with that, huh?” she asks innocently.
And as he’s grinding his teeth she laughs, and picks up her sheaf of papers and her five-buck foofy-la-doofy coffee, and turns her back. She’s at the door before she turns to add anything. And he thinks it’s done with, she’s finished with torturing him, maybe. “But,” she says, turning suddenly, and facing him with eyes that glow bright with malice. ”It’s a major factor in why you have the most crazy and persistent crush on the guy, isn’t it, love? Big old factor in that, right?” she asks, smirking, face a monkey-evil grimace. “This is really the happiest I’ve seen you since you broke up with Adam,” she adds thoughtfully.
© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014
No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.
Photo credit: Bonita Suraputra (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/in/photolist-6dZ9wX-6e1HhW) via a Creative Commons licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode), book cover modifications made.