Claire had her hands full of papers, her mind somewhere else when she walked right into the Senator. The carefully organized documents fell to the floor, scattering everywhere. Bill Hancock, the dashing new headliner, the new darling of the Republican hotshots leaned over to help her. But in his gentlemanly attempt, he tipped his coffee mug, leaving a nasty brown splash on her work. To her dismay, Claire looked at the mess, realizing that she’d been left with only one solution to her debacle.
Reprint most of it.
“Oh, Jesus. I’m so sorry, Senator.” Bill scrambled to put her work together before handing it over to her. “I’m afraid that I’ve messed up your day. I really am sorry.” His head tilted to the side like a dog’s, trying to communicate with its owner.
Bill was tall, tanned, and had penetrating blue eyes like she’d never seen before. His coy smile mesmerized Claire, leaving her in a state of unease. She wanted to scream about the mess, but was taken aback by her sudden shyness. She had of course, seen him many times, but never at such close range. His stare stabbed through her for a moment, giving her insides a flash of anxiety. She took a deep breath to recoup and smiling, she replied abruptly, “Don’t worry about it, Senator. It was my fault. I get going and forget to look out for obstacles.” She put her hand up to her mouth, realizing how she’d sounded. “No, I didn’t mean…”
He grinned. “Obstacle, huh?” Senator Hancock’s charm was oozing out of him as he flirted with her, “Saw you on the Rachel Ross show last night. You are some gutsy lady. Impressive, actually. Listen, Senator, I owe you for this.” Looking at the cluttered papers he’d handed her, Bill winced. “Hope you aren’t headed toward a meeting where you need these.” Claire was surprised to see him laugh. He must have read her mind, her expression of panic. He replied to her silent words with, “Oooh, I understand. My office is just around the corner.” He paused, “My secretary will reprint these for you. That is, if you have one of those memory pencils.” He laughed, knowing that he was showing off his lack of computer knowledge. “Seriously, it is the least I can do. Have you got enough time?”
Shaken by both his looks and the fact that she did need some order for her next meeting, Claire said, “Lead the way, Senator. Let’s do this so I don’t make myself look like a flunky in the next hour.”
He promptly followed her order, but while they walked, he asked with a smirk in his tone, “People are talking, you know. Did you not get the memo to ignore requests for that show?” Bill mocked his next words while shaking his shoulders and head to appear superior to the average person. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.” He slowed down his pace and whispered his next words, “But you might not want to make some of those old geezers too angry.” He looked into Claire’s eyes and winked.
She didn’t particularly like his warning, and began to let him have it. “Senator...” He motioned for her to suspend her words while he opened the door.
Entering the office, Bill handed the papers to the white-haired woman sitting behind her desk. “Helen, I need you for a few moments. Would you reprint these documents?” He turned to Claire. “Got that pencil thing?” Taking it from Claire, he handed the memory stick to the secretary, “We’ll be in my office. Please ring when these are ready.”
Before they left, the secretary asked Claire, “What’s the name of the file, Senator?”
“Oh, right.” Claire told the woman what she needed to know.
Bill took Claire’s arm and guided her into his office where he closed the door and invited her to take a seat at a small table. He selected a chair opposite hers.
“I’m going to be really honest with you. I’m delighted that I was able to be such a klutz, gives me a chance to get to know you a little.” He laughed at himself. “Listen to me go on. I’m supposed to be more mysterious, aren’t I? I mean, why would you ever think of going to dinner with me if I don’t act a bit more cool?”
Claire was surprised, and felt her face flush. “Senator.” She shook her head, feeling somewhat confused. “There’s no need for that, you’re saving my meeting as we speak.” She hesitated, but was determined to get her dig in at his earlier comment, “And as for your warning me of the…” she pretended to think of his words, “old geezers, I believe you called them. Well…”
Bill cut her off, “So, what time do I pick you up, Senator? Oh, does tonight work? I need to know so I can make reservations.” They heard the secretary knock at the door. Bill smiled and went to see what she wanted. “Thanks, Helen.” And then to Claire, “Your documents are as good as new. Shall we meet in the Senate lobby at 8pm?” Smiling, he took her arm again and led her to where Helen handed her the nice stack of newly printed papers.
Claire thanked him before leaving the office. But before she disappeared, she turned around one last time and nodded, “Ok, see you then.” When her face was hidden from his, she beamed. Forty years old, and that giddy school girl feeling had erupted inside her. So what if he’d been out of line to warn her, it did seem innocent on his part. She had a date with the powerful newcomer, the Senator with sensual blue eyes and a great flirty manner. Why not?
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