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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

What’s a girl to do when she discovers her boss is a wanted man?

Become a honey trap, that’s what
Poor Charlie, she really should’ve stayed home

For anyone (as long as they aren’t ginger)



Extract from A Proper Charlie (this book is available in all electronic formats) 

‘What the bloody hell have you done, Charlie?’ Mr Fanton stood behind her, his hands, somewhere beneath his large middle, were on his hips. He came forward and slapped down a wad of printouts on a nearby table. ‘I’ve just being ringing up the stationers to see if there’s been some kind of mistake, but apparently not.’ He jabbed at the printouts with a finger. ‘The quantities are all in triple figures! What were you thinking?’

Charlie felt terrible. ‘I’m so sorry Mr Fanton, I think the order must’ve gone through twice, somehow.’ She remembered how Faye had caused her computer to go blank while looking for her pen and Charlie had resubmitted the order.

‘Twice? Look!’ he shrieked picking up the printouts of her order and thrusting them into her hands. ‘That isn’t twice! What am I supposed to do with that lot?’

Charlie looked through the pages. It was her scroll on the bottom of the order. Oh God, she must have submitted it for the third time by mistake! ‘I’m sorry,’ she repeated in a small voice, realising that people in the canteen were taking great delight in witnessing her dressing-down. ‘I’ll sort it, Mr Fanton,’ she added.

‘Sort it?’ He glowered, spittle gathered at the corners of his mouth, and his jowls wobbled as he shook his head. ‘Are you going to pay for it, too? Are you going to work wage-free while you sort out the mess? Well, are you?’

Charlie felt close to tears. She was deeply troubled over her personal involvement over Sally, and felt that any moment now she’d collapse in a heap of convulsing sobs. She restrained herself.

‘For God’s sake girl, you are a hindrance to the company.’

Charlie bit her lip. This is it, you’re going to be fired, she thought.

‘What’s going on?’ said a deep voice.

‘Ah, Ben,’ Mr Fanton turn away from Charlie. ‘Nothing I can’t handle. There’s been a mistake in the stationery order.’ He turned as if to try and shield Ben from the stacks of boxes, not because he wanted to protect Charlie from further wrath, but because he wanted to be the one to dish it out. Ben side-stepped him and looked at the piles of packages and boxes.

Charlie had been looking at her feet, feeling fully chastened. She glanced up at Ben, with her bottom lip clenched between her teeth, and expected to see shock followed by anger on his face. Instead, he pulled his lips inside his mouth as if he were trying to stop himself from laughing.

Mr Fanton held the printouts of Charlie’s stationery order towards him. ‘Charlie can’t seem to understand the difference between single and double figures,’ he declared pompously.

Taking them, Ben glanced up and his gaze met with Charlie’s. He didn’t look at all angry or annoyed, and Charlie felt stupidly grateful. She had to stop herself from throwing her arms around his ankles and kissing his shoes.

‘Hmm, someone’s been a bit over-enthusiastic,’ Ben said, his mouth turning up at the corners as he read through them.

‘As I was saying to Charlie,’ Mr Fanton began, ‘she’s a hindrance to the company. It’s been one mistake after another.’

‘Really?’ Ben asked. ‘What other mistakes has she made?’

‘Well, nothing major like this, but she just causes disruption. She chats when she should be working—’

‘Excellent qualities in a reporter,’ Ben said. ‘It helps to break the ice, and encourages the interviewee to talk.’

‘She isn’t a reporter,’ Mr Fanton pointed out. ‘After this I doubt she’ll ever get a newspaper to hire her again! Charlie, I’ll have your P45 drawn up this afternoon. Don’t worry Ben, I’ll have this mess sorted in no time.’

Ben was taking off his jacket and unbuttoning his cuff buttons on his shirt. He rolled up his sleeves. He winked at Charlie, who stood miserably between both men. ‘I’ll not hear of Charlie being dismissed over a slight error.’

Charlie looked up, open-mouthed.

‘A slight error?’ Mr Fanton gave a small humourless laugh.

‘That’s right,’ Ben said. ‘Arrange a dispatcher would you? Er, you’d better make that several.’

Mr Fanton looked from Charlie and then to Ben. When his shocked gaze fell back on Charlie she controlled herself from sticking out her tongue, and instead permitted a smug smile to tease the corners of her mouth – well, if a girl can’t be smug in situations like this, when can she be?


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