(Author’s Note: Not owning the book, I’m unsure about whether this scene was supposed to go before or after the Verna scene. It’s probably before, but since the potential is far more interesting if the answer is after, I’m going to pretend that Fred’s recap order is auto-magically the real one. Yay, ignorance!)
Alice leaned against the door struggling to hear the conversation between Verna and Buck. There wasn’t much to make out. There was a banter about names and then a lot of silence. Suddenly, she heard marching and quickly ran back to her seat at her desk and pretended to shuffle papers.
Buck came out self-consciously. Looking out over the crowd of workers very clearly staring and smiling at him as a few suppressed a brief urge to laugh. Alice herself smiled to see it as it meant that however briefly it was almost ok to laugh again. And then she leaned back in her chair to check out Buck’s well-toned butt in his tight business pants. Alice raised an eyebrow in approval and then recomposed herself. It was rude to stare, but sometimes, how could one resist?
She glanced up at his face and grew momentarily worried. There seemed to be a storm brewing on his face. Alice wondered whether or not Verna was too harsh on him or called him to the carpet about the last story. Verna tried to put on a brave face, but Alice knew that she hadn’t yet let out any of the anger over how that went down. Well, she could always try to cheer him up a little.
Buck’s facial features seemed to shift into something less obviously angry or hurt as he turned and winked at her. Alice felt herself giggle at the attention and felt her hand nervously go to her choker, before rerouting it to her short spiked hair. The ruffles on her shirt would hopefully distract him enough to have hidden the faux pas.
“Your boss says I need an appointment to get settled in. Can you take care of that for me?”
Alice felt herself blushing as she looked at his dapper, nerdy charm, and completely to die for earlobes. Not nearly as butch as her normal type, but still, enough to make her blush for sure.
“Sure Mr. Williams, one second.”
He leaned closer letting her get a whiff of his cologne. It was overly strong, the sort of mistake a casual beginner or teenager would make, but the cuteness of the attempt and his awkward attempt to flirt were making her flashback to her days as a little boy watching Xander on Buffy.
“You can call me Buck,” he whispered into her ear. There was something odd about the statement, but she couldn’t quite place it. Something just seemed slightly off, seemingly demanding maybe. She wasn’t quite sure, but still the experience was still rather pleasurable and besides she could see down his shirt slightly to see that it was well shaven and had that definite metrosexual quality.
“Thanks,” she muttered back nervously, before indicating the empty chair beside her desk.
Buck sat in the chair oddly, a sort of parody of masculinity and there was a quality of her eyes that seemed to make her laugh nervously. She worried that the laughter might offend him, but as much as she waited, he didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he began to flirt back with her, seemingly well adjusted to the post-Event world.
Alice’s immense attraction to that fact was a great relaxant and she felt more eased into the conversation, though she did find herself occasionally troubled by the forcefulness of the flirtation. It wasn’t the casual fun or even highly suggestive flirting that she greatly enjoyed, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what exactly seemed off. She couldn’t stop nervously giggling after most lines, even if they were intensely cheesy and ludicrous.
“So how do you like working with the greatest investigative reporter of all time? Think I can shape these mmm, heh heh, boys into something fitting this place.” Buck stated while his sexily gangly arms betrayed his own immaturity.
Again, it was a rather pathetic self-indictment in its seriousness, but worse, it seemed overly off, seemingly fighting in its own structure. She looked up into his eyes again after long avoiding it and was struck dumb and dry by what she saw.
A shake and it returned, an angrier predatory core that seemed to bore into her mind. Alice became mute, laughing incredibly nervously as she saw the eyes bore deep and something else creep along absent-mindedly alongside.
“Yup, good. Young whore. Slut.”
“What did you say?” Alice jerked up abruptly finalizing the conversation.
“I didn’t say anything,” his eyes while still with the previous sheen, seemed genuinely puzzled and hurt, so much so, that she balked at the outburst.
“I thought I-“ Alice began, nervously clutching her choker with both hands before composing herself.
“I’m sorry, I must be going. My new apartment has already installed phones, you see, and I’ve hardly had time to make good use of them. It was a pleasure meeting you my dear.”
With that he walked out, blithely whistling to himself as his colleagues continued to stare.
“What a mess, eh?” Verna responded from behind her, causing her to spin around in a panic.
“Don’t do that,” Alice hissed back.
“I would say the same thing. Again, also gay.”
“He could be bi,” Alice said briefly clinging to the most unlikely rumor about Buck’s orientation, though she already knew that one of the aspects most troubling about his recent behavior was how badly it was attempting to compensate or prove something. Alice cursed her aching sex drive that she wasn’t able to note it sooner.
“Besides, there’s something off about him, something dangerous that reminds me of something.”
“Latresha the bodybuilder,” Alice asked, unable to resist the opening to tease Verna about one of her more amusing and as usual completely un-acted upon crushes. Already in response, she could see Verna’s ears glow red.
“N-no. Not exactly, but make sure you put on your sensible shoes tonight. We’re going to-“
With that Tiny entered in with a sorely bruised Chen Yao in his arms and a police officer’s badge in his teeth.
“I, er, we, uh, help?” Tiny garbled as he set Yao down gently. “I wasn’t her able to stop the guy bringing him, but I did, er, get his badge.”
Verna turned to Alice and continued, “Or rather back to work.”
With that she ran on to the trials of the rest of the day while Alice pre-checked off another two likely DBs.
“I, er…don’t know if.”
One down. Efficiency makes a good secretary.
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