The Adventures of Marian, the slightly aggressive Librarian, #8 :
Marian hated nothing more than having to repress her emotions for the sake of some trivial, mercenary reason like a job. She was naturally forthright and honest, and having to subvert her natural inclinations just so the weasels on the board would let her remain at her post was anathema to her. More than that, it made her mad.
She and Terry paused for a moment before they opened the door to the meeting room. Marian scowled at the doorknob.
"Don't worry," he said. "Let me do the talking."
"What are you going to say? You don't know anything about libraries, do you?"
"I think I know what I need to know about librarians."
Hm. That was reassuring and worrisome at the same time, mainly because what he knew about Marian wasn't really appropriate board meeting conversation. "Um…I don't think you should mention--"
"Don't worry." He kissed her on the forehead and swung the door open.
Marian was gratified to see Rita's mouth fall open when Terry followed her into the room. At least if they fire me, she thought, I can walk out on the arm of the handsomest man in the world. Ha.
"Excuse me," Larry (of the blue bunny suit) said. "This is a library board meeting."
"I know what it is," Terry said. He took a small leather wallet from his inside pocket, and flipped it open. "Terence Thorne, special attache from the State Department." Marian couldn't see what he was showing the five board members; she assumed it was something official looking.
"What state department? Roads? Revenue? We filed our sales tax on time, I know we did." That was Lester. Idiot.
"The Federal State Department."
"Bozo," Marian said under her breath.
Terry scratched his upper lip to hide a smile. "We've been informed that you are considering terminating the employment of Miss Mott."
"Darn right. And about time, too. That woman has no morals." That was Armageddon Pratt, the grandson of the famous evangelist, Reverend Revelation Pratt. Armageddon got a lot of mileage out of his heritage, trotting it out like a racehorse whenever it would do him the most good…….but conveniently forgot that his grandmother Rapture ended up on the scaffold for murdering her husband, the aforementioned evangelist. Her last words have been quoted by some sources as, "I have no fear, the Lord is my Shepherd, he sees into my heart, and shall take me to live with him in heaven this day." Other, more secular (and perhaps somewhat more cynical) sources quote witnesses to the hanging who swear that her last words were, "I'd kill the rat bastard again if I had the chance!"
It's understandable, then, that Armageddon spent a lot of time trying to convince everyone of his own saintliness; perhaps this accounts for his worry about the morals of the head librarian. Or maybe the fact that Marian consistently refused to ride out to Promenade Point with him in his Dusenberg had something to do with it.
Terry raised an eyebrow and glanced at Marian. She raised both her eyebrows and shrugged.
Terry snapped his wallet shut and put it away. "That has no bearing on the matter at hand. None of you have security classifications high enough to be given the details of any operations in progress, but I think it should suffice to say, I and my associates would be very unhappy if Miss Mott was forced to leave her position here before her mission is complete."
The board members spoke over each other. "What?" "What mission?" "This is the craziest thing I've ever heard." "Marian?????" Rita didn't say anything, her eyes were wide, her mouth was still hanging open.
"You heard me. I can't give you the details, and in any case, it's none of your business; but your government wants Miss Mott right where she is. And I've been given license to do whatever is necessary to see that she stays. Do we understand each other?"
"No," Lester said. "This feels like a scam to me. A card in your pocket means nothing."
"It means that I have the right and the means to do background checks on all of you. In your case, Mr. Limehouse, a little matter popped right out of the computer at me…..1965, Portland, a woman named Letitia Morgan. Do I need to go on?"
Marian swore later that even Lester's liver spots turned white. He shrank further into his chair. "No," he said sullenly.
Terry turned his gaze on Larry (the blue bunny suit guy). Before he spoke, Larry said hastily, "I've always liked Marian. I think she does an excellent job. The library is always clean and neat when we come in for meetings."
Terry knew Marian; he knew, if Larry didn't, the danger the man had just put himself in. He wrapped his arm around Marian very tightly, and said, "Anyone else like to know what's in their dossier? No? Then I think this matter is closed. I thank you for your attention."
He steered Marian toward the door. She looked back over her shoulder and said, "If I knew where the broom was, you bozo, I'd shove it--"
Terry interrupted her. "We won, Marian, but let's not push it," he said, just loud enough for her to hear. And he pushed her through the door and into the library proper.
The board meeting broke up rather quickly after that; Henny, not being privy to the events inside the meeting room, was mystified at the looks on the members faces. Terry and Marian retired straightaway to her office with the boxes he brought.
"So, what's my job description?" Marian asked while Terry was busy playing lady's maid.
"Job description?" He dropped her dress to the floor and reached around her to unsnap her bra.
"For the State Department. Or my job title. In case somebody asks me." A grin like his ought to be illegal, she thought. It could cause traffic jams. Her bra landed on top of the dress, and he pulled her close.
He answered her, BUT….this whole affair is Top Secret, of course, and so we can't tell you Marian's job title without compromising the entire operation……and anyway, there may be young people reading this without the consent of their parents (regrettable, but it happens)…..but I can give you a hint…..or two. It's a long title, 10 words (counting the little ones), and starts with "Best". Ends with "Hemisphere". You adults can figure it out.
Marian thought about it while Terry was dealing with the rest of her underwear……and then she said, "I can't tell anybody that."
He put a hand around each of her thighs, picked her up and set her on her desk. "Maybe I don't want anybody else to know."
"I thought we had to hurry."
"We are," he said, and unzipped his pants. "We'll have you in the dress I brought and out the door before you can say Bob's--" A short pause, during which Marian made a noise that added nothing to the conversation except punctuation……. and then Terry said, "…..****…...." in Marian's ear. You may wonder if that comment had anything to do with the unfinished conversation. Colloquially speaking, that's a good question; or in common English, a hard question. Good and hard, same thing.
Not a lot of conversation after that. Of course they were in the office a little longer than it took to say "Bob's ****", no matter what Terry told Marian. Henny stayed out by the circulation desk even though the signs said closed and she could have gone home, because she wanted to see Marian in her dress, but after an hour or so, she began to think she should give up and leave. She was getting her jacket out of the closet, when the door to Marian's office opened, and the pair came out.
Marian was becomingly flushed, a healthy pink, although there were some odd red marks on her neck……and Terry seemed slightly less well groomed than when he arrived. A wrinkle here, an open button there, and a hair out of place. But still gorgeous.
And Marian's dress!! Henny wished she had her camera so she could take a picture of Marian in that remarkable dress. A deep saffron, made of filmy crepe, the body gored and the skirt full, but not to the floor. Embroidery rising up from the hem in places, and the bodice cut just low enough to let anyone who cared to look know what was there, but not so low as to be vulgar.
Marian liked that. She would never want to be vulgar.
You may wonder how Terry ( a man) knew what size dress to get Marian. That's another good question. Marian swirled around in a circle, and Henny saw the laces in the back, to adjust the dress to the wearer. "Oh!," she thought. "One size fits all! How clever of him!"
The other boxes contained matching heels, very sexy; a silky shawl in case the evening turned chilly, very practical; and matching 24k gold necklace and earrings, very tasteful. What a guy--thought of everything.
After Terry whisked Marian out the door to the waiting helicopter, Henny was accountably restless. Very restless. She remembered Mr. Thorne's arrival, and she remembered Marian's Cinderella dress……but the rest was a blank. She hurried to lock the library doors and turn off the lights. What reason there might be for her extreme restlessness, she didn't know for sure (ok, actually she had a pretty good idea, I think we all have that one figured out)……it didn't matter, she wanted to get home and grab Mike. Immediately. Right now.
She took one moment to stop in the employee bathroom and apply the new lip gloss she'd had in her purse for a couple of days, to her lips and a couple of other interesting places……Non-Smear Glo-in-the-Dark Raspberry. Yum.
Mike was polishing his bowling ball when she got home.
"Hi," he said.
She didn't reply; just turned off the lights, adjusted her clothing, and opened her mouth. There was one thud (presumably the bowling ball hitting the floor), and then another thud as Mike tripped over it in the dark after he stood up and started toward Henny.
"Oh, dear," she said, "do you want me to turn the light back on?"
"No! God, no," he said, picking himself up. "Just hang on. I'm coming." As it turned out, that remark was somewhat premature, but Henny didn't mind.
Later on in the evening, they applied the lip gloss to another interesting place or two……on Mike……and that was fun, too. Raspberry, yum.
High above the city in a helicopter, Marian looked down on the lights. For a moment. Really, who wants to look at stupid fricking lights when you have the most handsome man in the world sitting beside you?
"I hope we're not going to be too late," she said.
"We have plenty of time."
"I thought you brought the dress because we had to hurry. So we wouldn't be late."
Terry grinned. "Actually I just wanted to take your clothes off myself. In the library. We had to hurry because I didn't want to wait."
A kiss is just a kiss, but there was something about being kissed hundreds of feet up in the air, kissed deep and long and thoroughly in the clouds, that made Marian light-headed. She felt like she might faint…..and then she realized her nose was mashed up against Terry's face, and she hadn't been able to breathe for several minutes. She pushed him away for five seconds, took a couple of deep breaths, and then pulled him back for more.
Good thing he wasn't driving.
This is as good a place as any to leave our heroines this time…….pursuing happiness for all they're worth, and actually catching some of it. Some questions, like, 'what sort of surprise has Sid engineered for Henny and Mike?' and 'what the heck is the deal with one-eyed kings, anyway?' will just have to wait until next time……