Part Twenty Seven of You Will Find Your Way
An unexpected and entirely unwelcome guest. Giselle is forced to take off her pants and take one for the team. Not her team. A team.
“Maybe we can pretend we’re not here?”
Another knock sounds, this one more pointed and forceful than the last.
Dallas sighs, her fingers fumbling with the leather until she knots it and her arm looks like an arm again, “He’ll probably find a university-sanctioned justification to break down the door.”
Scrubbing her hands over her face, Giselle looks around the living room before she gets up and starts pacing back and forth next to the coffee table, “I can’t let him in with all this on the table. And you are so drunk.”
“I don’t see how that matters, he’s here to yell at you.”
As if on cue, Doctor Sweeney yells again for Giselle—well, for Quiggle—to open the door.
“Yeah,” Giselle snorts and drags Dallas to her feet, gestures to the table in silent askance for her to make at least some of the bottles go away before she lets Sweeney in. “Yell at me about you.”
Dallas sweeps a bunch of bottles into her arms, “Just stall him for a minute. And take your pants off before you answer the door.”
“What?!” Giselle whisper screams so Sweeney won’t hear.
“Trust me,” Dallas shrugs. “It’ll help stall.”
“You are beyond insane,” Giselle grumbles, but does unbutton her pants and shove them down her legs before she whirls around, gropes for the afghan on the back of the couch and wraps it around her pale, stick-like appendages.
Sweeney’s knocks grow louder and louder—it easily muffles the rattling of glass bottles that echoes from the other side of the house—and Giselle squares her shoulders as she shuffles into the foyer.
Before she can bring herself to open the door, Giselle glances down and finds her shoes still on her feet, and she grunts and rolls her eyes as she kicks them off, “Hold on a second, I’m coming,” she half-calls, gets her hand on the door as she mutters, “Cool your damn jets.”
Obviously, it’s Doctor Sweeney on the porch, and the yellow lights on either side of the door turn his face an interesting shade of puce, his glare darkening when he gets eyes on her, “We need to talk about firing your assistant. Now. Her behavior is unacceptable and unbecoming of this institution.”
“Hello to you too,” she pulls the door open wide enough that he sees her state of half-dress. “Sorry that took so long, I was in the middle of something.”
Not for nothing, but he does look somewhat cowed by the look on her face and the death-grip her other hand has on the blanket. His brows hike to his hairline and he clears his throat, “I’ll give you a minute, but we need to discuss this now. As you know, we have quite the situation on our hands.”
Giselle can feel her eyebrow twitching at Sweeney’s tone, but she can only hope that he doesn’t notice as she shuffles to one side to give him room to step into the foyer. She sends a quick prayer to whatever entity that gave Dallas her arm back that she hid at least some of the wine, but—it’s not like things can get much worse.
She shouldn’t have thought that.
“Well?” Sweeney demands as she shuts the door behind him, like it’s her who’s barging in on his off-time. “Please. Get yourself presentable. I can wait.”
A crash echoes from the kitchen, followed by a shattering of glass and Dallas shouting, “I’m okay!”
None of this is remotely near okay.
All Giselle can do is sigh as Sweeney’s face goes back to that weird and hilarious puce color, “This is exactly what I’m talking about,” he spits, and it looks like Giselle’s time to put her pants back on has come and gone. “Not only is your assistant highly unqualified for the work you have somehow convinced the dean that you are attempting, but she is an interruption to the functions of this campus and we should begin proceedings for her immediate firing and replacement.”
“Like she’s the first person in the history of humanity to accidentally interrupt a lecture,” Giselle mutters as Sweeney goes on about Dallas gallivanting around campus like she owns it.
Honestly, if Sweeney really wanted Dallas out of the way, he should be harping at the head of campus police, but there’s no way Giselle is going to get a word in edgewise as he starts in on Dallas’ marked lack of qualifications, let alone an undergraduate degree.
“You know I can hear you, right?” Dallas shouts from the kitchen around the tinkling of glass shards falling into the trash.
“Let me handle this,” Giselle snaps as Doctor Sweeney goes on, but she holds up a hand to stall him before he can start in on whatever else he does or doesn’t know about her. “Why don’t we discuss it over dinner? When are you free?”
He pauses mid-rant, his mouth gaping before he snaps it shut and clears his throat, his face turning from puce to a red flush high that blooms on his cheeks, “Dinner, you said?”
“Sure,” Giselle chirps, even as she gags on the inside. “You and I should start over.”
A slow smile spreads across his face, “Friday. I’ll treat you to Ristorante Italia.”
“Sounds wonderful,” she inches him back to the foyer. “I’ll see you and your list of viable candidates then.”
Dallas sneaks out of the kitchen as Giselle pushes a now pleasantly stunned Doctor Sweeney out of the house, and she slumps against the door after it clicks shut behind them, takes a long, slow breath.
“Well, that wasn’t as awkward as it could have been.”
Giselle glares, “Why are you speaking to me?” She snaps and lets the afghan fall to the floor in favor of scrubbing her hands over her face. “I just staved off whatever this is going to be for another two days.”
“Yeah, to go on a date with a man you’re definitely not interested in for so many reasons at the most pretentious restaurant in the entire city. Sucks to be you.”
“You could be a little more sympathetic, seeing as this is all your fault.”
“Remind me to be sympathetic when I’m sober.”
You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Twenty Eight
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