A Sentimental Heart Ch. 02-03bytotallyatease©
'The dragon' who was Mrs Rogers, turned out to be a middle aged lady of fifty plus, with iron grey curly hair, and watery blue eyes that peered suspiciously at you through her thick rimmed glasses.
She was a tall thin woman who towered over Miranda's own five foot four inches, and so gave that woman the chance to 'look down' on her.
Miranda could see why they referred to her as the dragon, but she felt herself warming to the cantankerous old bat, as she saw the mountain of paperwork that that lady had to face.
"I don't know how you've been managing on your own!" Miranda exclaimed with a touch of awe and admiration.
The older woman smiled stiffly at her, although her shoulders did go back with a touch of pride.
"I am very good at what I do Miss Redmond!" she informed her in a superior voice.
"I don't doubt that for one moment Mrs Rogers!"
Mrs Rogers looked at her suspiciously for a moment as though she thought that Miranda was mocking her.... however all she could see, was absolute sincerity in this beautiful young woman's face.
"Yes... well..." she shuffled together a large pile of the work on her own desk, and thrust it at Miranda. "Here... that's your desk and computer over there..." she indicated the desk on the other side of the room, with her eyes. "Let's see what you can do with that lot!"
Peter had already shown her, her desk; before Mrs Rogers had arrived this morning, and thankfully he'd also sorted out her computer log on and password, so that she could actually use the computer which had been assigned to her.
Miranda seriously doubted whether Mrs Rogers would have been so helpful with any of that!
Miranda sat down with a forlorn little sigh, this job was going to be... testing!
She began to slowly look through the files and folders and paperwork, and was relieved to see that without exception, it all had little post it notes attached, telling her exactly what she needed to do with each file.
For the most part it was hand written notes, and experiments that simply needed to be typed up.
And so after a little while, Miranda logged on to her computer and pulled the first file towards her.
By lunch time her back was aching a little; and her brain was numbed, but the pile of work had all been done.
She rubbed her lower back with a sigh of relief as she hit the return key, which sent the last document across to the printer. It had been a good morning, but now she was dying for a cup of tea -- and her stomach was beginning to make grumbling noises.
Mrs Rogers glanced across at her.
"Have you done ALL that?" she asked with a note of surprise.
"Yes." Miranda nodded with a smile. "It was pretty much all typing, and as my CV said - I'm VERY good at typing."
"I suppose that you are..." Mrs Rogers acknowledged begrudgingly. She opened her mouth to issue more instructions, just as Peter walked through the door.
"I thought I'd show Miranda where the café is and we could grab some lunch together?" he smiled charmingly at Mrs Rogers who just scowled back at him irritably.
"Oh very well... I'll see you in an hour Miranda!" she looked across at her pointedly.
Miranda stood up and grabbed her coat and bag. "Yes of course!" she exclaimed gratefully.
At the door though, she turned back uncertainly. "Can I get something for you Mrs Rogers?" she offered hesitantly.
Mrs Rogers gave Miranda her first genuine smile. "Thank you for the offer, but I shall go out for my own lunch as soon as you get back."
"Would you rather go first?"
The older woman's smile almost reached her eyes. "No dear... you go and get yours... you've certainly earned it!"
The café that Peter took her to was just down the road, and around the corner.
It was a bustling little place, with clean plastic tables, and brightly coloured chairs.
Peter led her to one near the windows which wasn't so much on the main traffic route, of people coming and going.
"What do you fancy Peter, this one's on me," Miranda murmured softly. "I feel the need to splash out a bit, although I'm most certainly too late to get paid this month, I've got my redundancy from Harding's Enterprise, and some money saved up, so the bills will all be paid -- with cash to spare..."
"This isn't exactly your five star restaurant," Peter chuckled, "but since you insist on paying... then who am I to argue?"
They looked optimistically at the plastic menu.
"A portion of chicken and a jacket potato for me I think... along with a side salad; and we can share a pot of tea?" she looked questioningly at Peter who nodded in agreement.
"Yes, I think I'll go for the same; simple, cheerful and filling."
Miranda pulled out her purse and handed Peter a twenty pound note. "You go and order then, while I nip to the ladies room to freshen up a little, my hands feel like they are covered with ink powder from that printer."
By the time Miranda returned from the ladies, Peter was back at their table with a tray, two cups and a pot of tea.
"The food will be out presently, they said, so we might as well have a cup of tea while we wait."
He looked across at her hopefully, and Miranda sat down and arranged the cups and poured the tea.
"Ahh, that's just what I needed." She sighed after taking a sip of the strong brew. "I've not had a drink since first thing this morning."
Peter frowned across at her. "Didn't Mrs Rogers tell you about the little room just at the end of your corridor?"
Miranda took another sip of her tea. "We were so busy this morning I never thought to stop and ask... the poor thing she must be dying for a drink!"
"Huh! I'll bet you any money that's she's made herself one, whilst you're out on your lunch hour!"
Miranda was saved from replying by the arrival of their food.
They were both hungry, so for a little while they were silent.
"So how did you enjoy your first morning?" Peter suddenly asked cheerfully as he paused in his eating.
Miranda delayed answering whilst she chewed and swallowed her food.
"Well, it was for the most part straightforward enough... just basic typing, but the contents were fascinating. Formulas, tests and experiments, followed by results and conclusions, and further proposals for study... and ALL of it to be forwarded to Marcus for his inspection and agreement."
"Yes that's where I come in!" Peter jumped in a little smugly. "I'll be reading through a lot of it, and gathering a summary for Marcus to look at; which we will then mull over between us, before passing it back down the line, with his decisions, and recommendations."
"Wow!" Miranda murmured impressed. "That's a fair amount of responsibility you're carrying, what happens if you don't understand it?"
He looked positively offended by her question. "I've been working here long enough, to at the very least get the gist of what happens up in the Research and Development Department... that was one of the reasons I think, that I was always assigned to Marcus in the first place."
They were silent while they finished their lunch, but as they were sitting over their last cup of tea, Peter suddenly looked across at her slightly anxiously. "So do you think that you'll enjoy working at 'Phillips'?" he asked, trying to sound casual but there was a slightly nervous edge to his voice.
"Well... it's still very early days..." Miranda murmured thoughtfully. "But, yes I think that I shall enjoy it... very much indeed."
His smile was positively relieved. "Oh good... Marcus asked me to check and make sure that you had no concerns or doubts."
"Did he... Did he really?" for the life of her Miranda could not keep the pleasure out of her voice, but luckily Peter didn't seem to notice anything untoward.
"Come on I suppose that we should be getting back," Peter sighed as he drained his tea cup.
Miranda glanced at her watch, "You're eager, we've still got twenty minutes of our lunch hour left?" she looked at Peter a little apprehensively. "Unless you only get half an hour for yours... I've not made you late or anything -- have I Peter?"
Peter's smile was reassuring and slightly sheepish. "No... Of course not, Marcus is very easy going; he knows that I would never abuse his flexibility... I just wanted to get back before one o'clock is all."
There was something in his tone, something slightly defensive that made Miranda look speculatively at him, but since he seemed reluctant to say anything more, then she felt that she didn't wish to push him.
"Come on then, let's get back."
As they left the little cafe, Miranda's eyes caught sight of a bright advertisement on the grassy island sitting in the middle of the busy ring road.
"Oh it's the end of summer concert at the park on Sunday... I'd forgotten all about that!" she exclaimed excitedly.
"So it is... of course we have to go... we've never missed one yet, so we'll walk down together as we always do," Peter declared firmly.
"That sounds like a wonderful idea Peter... I didn't know if you would still want to do it or not."
He draped an affectionate arm across her shoulders. "You know that I wouldn't desert you... wouldn't leave you to walk all the way down there and back again on your own."
"And of course it's got nothing to do with all those pretty girls who will be there, and probably in a festive mood... has it?" she laughed lightly.
"Well... I never claimed to be a saint." Peter defended himself although he didn't argue the point.
As they got up to the top floor and were just walking down to Miranda's office, Marcus came out of his larger room at the far end; and with him was a young woman, with dark curly hair of about shoulder length and whose silver grey eyes screamed out that she was Marcus's sister... younger and very pretty sister.
She was quite tall, coming almost to Marcus's shoulder, and her slender curves were perfect for the smart, grey suit she was wearing.
She looked young and smart; and the picture of elegance and sophistication.
As Miranda studied her with interest she guessed her age to be about twenty two, making her a couple of years younger than Peter, and about four years younger than herself.
Miranda suddenly felt very short, and very plain, and rather old and tired.
"Hello there!" the girl smiled brightly although her eyes after sweeping quickly over Miranda seemed to latch on to Peter, who was standing silently beside her.
"I'd heard that Peter's sister was going to be working up here... I thought that I was going to miss meeting you, since I'm just about to go off for my driving lesson..." she glanced across at Miranda again and her smile widened cheekily. "I'm Amanda -- Marcus's baby sister, and the bane of his existence!"
She stuck out her hand, and Miranda placed her own in it.
"And I'm Miranda -- Peter's older -- tyrant of a sister!" she greeted playfully.
Amanda laughed lightly. "It's so very nice to meet you at last Miranda... I've heard so much about you..."
Marcus stepped up behind her. "It's getting on, Amanda you'll be late for your lesson if you're not careful," he prompted her firmly.
Amanda glanced back at him impatiently.
"Yes, in a minute Marcus..." she looked back to Miranda. "Since I haven't got time to chat now, how about if we meet up... you me and... Peter say... on Sunday evening... we could go for a drink and get to know each other?" she asked brightly.
"That would have been lovely." Miranda began apologetically. "But I'm afraid that Sunday is spoken for... maybe we could do Friday or Saturday even?"
Amanda scowled a little sulkily. "We have a family do on Friday... and it'll over lap into Saturday since we've got to travel down to London for it."
"Maybe some other time then... it's the end of summer concert this Sunday, and Peter and I, never miss it... we used to do it with our parents... so it's a bit of a family tradition."
"Oh I've heard about that!" Amanda exclaimed "it's over in the large garden park - next to the river."
"Yes that's the one." Peter spoke up for the first time, and his voice was full of enthusiasm. "You should try and get to it, it really is great fun, and when they do the fireworks at the end... well!"
Amanda opened her mouth excitedly, but Marcus cut her off. "It's nearly one o'clock, Amanda you really need to get going."
He grasped her arm firmly and literally began to pull her along.
"I'll catch up with you later... Miranda!" she called out cheerfully, although Miranda wasn't entirely convinced that it was her she was talking to.
"It was nice to meet you Amanda!" she called back; she turned to look up at Peter. "She seemed nice?" she said brightly.
Peter was gazing at Amanda as she walked down the corridor with Marcus. "Yes..." he murmured absently. "She is... very nice."
Miranda's afternoon pretty much went the same way as her morning had, although when she went back to her office, it was to find a new pile of folders on her desk and Mrs. Rogers was in the process of slipping on her coat.
Miranda sat down and looked across at her senior.
"Peter mentioned that there was a room where we can make ourselves a drink?"
Mrs. Rogers paused by the door and looked back a little guiltily. "Yes, I'd thought that someone would have mentioned it to you..."
Miranda smiled brightly. "What do you prefer Mrs. Rogers... Tea or coffee, and how do you like it... I'll make us a drink and have it ready for when you get back from your lunch."
"Oh that's very kind of you Miranda, but I'll have some while I'm out... don't you wait for me... have one when you're ready."
"Well... if you're sure?"
"Yes... now I'd better get on or the afternoon will be over before I get back."
Left alone Miranda glanced through a couple of the folders -- they were very similar to the lot from the morning.
She gave a little sigh, and then stood up determinedly. She marched down the corridor and found the little tea room, where she switched on the kettle and gathered together what she would need to make herself a mug of coffee.
She sang happily to herself as she waited, unaware that Marcus was standing just outside the room, listening with a little smile on his face.
'She had not changed', he thought to himself with satisfaction, the woman was still as soft and sentimental as before, she was still as beautiful and sexy as he had remembered, as he had dreamed about.
He walked away from the little room, with her soft singing still in his ears, and a half forgotten dream still in his memory.
As the week progressed, Miranda settled in nicely. She volunteered to make a morning and afternoon drink for herself and Mrs Rogers, earning herself a few brownie points with that lady.
And as word got out that Mrs. Rogers had a new, young and attractive assistant, the folders began to be hand delivered.
Their room became positively busy with people coming and going -- to 'just check that there was no problem with their notes' or they 'just wanted to have a quick word and emphasise the importance of this or that result'.
"We seem to be gathering more and more work on our loads." Mrs. Rogers griped. "I'm pretty sure that at least some of this could go down to the main typing pool."
Miranda didn't know the protocols of this company so she just shrugged her shoulders and smiled.
"It is rather hectic..." she agreed, "but I think we can manage it between us."
The week came to an end and Miranda sent a last file to the printer with a little sigh of relief. "Well at least that's the last of it!"
Mrs. Rogers had already shut down her computer and had slipped her coat on.
"Yes, it's been a bit of a trial today, but we did finish it all." she smiled a little smugly. "I'm off now Miranda... you have a nice weekend, you've worked very hard this week so I think that you deserve a treat."
"Thank you Mrs. Rogers, I'm looking forward to my treat on Sunday -- the concert in the park." She smiled at the older woman. "Have you anything planned for the weekend?"
"Oh I just thought that I'd sort my garden out -- start to get it ready for autumn."
"That's sounds like a good idea; I suppose I could do something like that tomorrow..." Miranda murmured thoughtfully, as she leaned forward all ready to start a discussion on the subject.
"Well you never can start too soon with these things Miranda... but I REALLY shall have to be going now."
Mrs. Rogers gave her a little wave and had gone before Miranda could say anything else to delay her.
She was a pleasant enough young woman; Mrs. Rogers thought to herself as she walked down the corridor, but she could certainly chatter on at times.
Miranda collected the last of the printouts and placed them neatly in the folder, she was sat at her desk gathering them all together, when Marcus strolled in.
"Mrs Rogers has already left?" he asked lightly as if surprised, as though he'd not just seen her hurrying down the corridor.
Miranda smiled up at him. "Yes, she'd finished the last of her work so it didn't seem to warrant her staying any longer... and it is after five o'clock," she added almost defensively.
"Yes it is; so why are you still here?"
She stood up with the folders clutched protectively against her chest. "I hadn't finished yet... and Peter always pops in when he's finished, so we can travel home together."
Marcus smiled a little smile. "He's currently being interrogated by Amanda -- about that Sunday night thing you were talking about."
"Oh? Oh I do hope that she manages to get to it... it really is such a wonderful event!" Miranda exclaimed, as her eyes sparkled with enthusiasm.
Marcus stepped towards her -- almost involuntarily she thought hazily, as he seemed as surprised as her that they were suddenly almost nose to nose.
"You almost make me think that I should come too!" he whispered huskily.
Miranda felt his warm breath on her lips and a shiver of excitement shot down her spine. She closed her eyes on a little gasp and when she opened them her eyes were the deepest darkest blue that Marcus had ever seen.
"You should come... everyone should try and get to it -- at least once... I promise you -- you'll love it!"
He reached out a hand slowly and Miranda sucked in a breath of anticipation, was he going to touch her? Kiss her? Oh please....
The sound of Amanda's animated voice told them that they were about to be joined by the other two.
Marcus took the folders from Miranda's arms.
"What is this lot?" he asked calmly as he stepped back from her just as Peter strolled in with Amanda.
"They are today's tests and results, to be passed on to Peter." Miranda could not believe how calm her own voice sounded, when her heart was racing and her hands were positively shaking. "They need to be placed in the tray by the door, and Peter will collect them first thing on Monday."
Marcus was frowning slightly. "This seems an awful lot of work, have you done ALL of this on your own?"
"It looks more than it is," Miranda hurried to reassure him, "and Mrs Roger's lot was twice as big." She pointed across to the tray, to show that it was already full to the brim.
She didn't add that it was slow going with Mrs Rogers, that that woman was slow to let go of things, to hand over to Miranda... to trust Miranda.
Marcus glanced at his watch. "We had better get a move on Amanda... if we want to reach London before this evening."
"I'm definitely going to try and get to the concert on Sunday Miranda... I can't believe that I've been missing out all these years!" Amanda declared enthusiastically.
"We'll maybe see you there then." Miranda smiled happily. "But in the mean time, I hope that you have a good weekend with the family... and all that," she added a little enviously.
Marcus glanced at her thoughtfully but he was obviously impatient to get going.