Click's good mood carried him on a lovely little wave of happiness for the next four hours. He showered, shaved, groomed his hair into its properly gelled state, then changed his clothes in the bathroom. Emily was still fast asleep, fully clothed and looking stunning, when he had finished. Breakfast was a temptation, but not only did Click survive entirely on microwave pasta and pizza, but he was also a terrible cook, even of that. The best choice seemed to be to let her sleep.
He took one glass of the wine from the previous night to go with his morning toast, then dumped the rest of the bottle down the sink, since wine didn't keep. Emily wouldn't be upset with him, though she would be upset by the smell of her pyjamas when she woke up. Click was hardly the cleanest person, and the bedroom showed this perfectly. Pushed close together by the lack of room, the two of them had both been sweating. His answer was to slip Emily's keys out of her pocket, pick up some perfume from her own flat, and spray a little of it around the room, so that she would have something nice to wake up to.
It was a bad idea, and this quickly became evident when he heard the single cutest noise in the world: Emily sneezing. It was like a mouse with an itchy nose, and certainly did not belong to the wanton goddess portrayed by Harmony. There was nothing more Emily about that moment.
Looking down, he could see her tearing her eyes open through the gum that sleep settles upon them. Seeing his face peering down at her, she offered him a warm smile. Did we she began, then hesitated.
Did we f--k? offered Click.
Did we, f--k.
Well that's a good thing, it would be bad for business, she told him, fighting through the yawns and the utter cute that was all over her face. I don't remember falling asleep here, and you smell horrible. You didn't choose the pink bottle, did you? That's a musk - kind of like an aphrodisiac, but Im really not in the mood.
No, I chose the white one, Click said defensively. The little cube of a bottle, with the nozzle coming from the top, had caught him eye. It looked expensive enough to assure the quality of it, and yet not so expensive that Emily was likely to cut off one of his legs. I have to be going soon. Julia wants to catch up with me before I go to meet the boys so we can run over just how much of a cretin I've been.
Nice word, cretin.
I like it.
You best get going then, instructed Emily. I need to get changed and get this stink off of me. It's my lazy day for a while today, and I intend to spend it smelling as good and wearing as little as possible. Do I still have clothes lying around in your drawers?
Click recalled something about Emily's clothes being here, but he couldn't recall the reason for it. He pulled open the lowest drawer of his dresser, where he kept his socks, and, sure enough, there was a dress there. There's a summer dress in here, not sure why, or how I know where it is though.
Underwear? she asked incredulously.
Looking back down into the drawer, he pushed the dress aside and discovered an equally sunny and ridiculous tiny thong. Yeah, he told her, there's a little chunk of fabric here, but I doubt you could call it anything-wear. Anyway- he began, snapping out of his underwear induced revelry and looking back over Emily, still completely engulfed in his bedding. The look on her face was far too knowing for his liking. I really should be focussing on getting to work. You going to abuse my stuff while I'm out?
Hell yes, answered Emily. You're not here, what else is there to abuse? Can I hang here for a couple of hours and watch your TV a bit? I do actually want to watch this film and Im guessing I felt asleep during it.
Sure, go nuts, Click told her. I'm going to get going.
And can I use your shower.
Told you; go nuts.
Julia had wanted to meet Click before her shift began, in a little caf downtown. However, this was downtown for her, rather than downtown for him. He drove down at the stupidly early time of half past seven, since Julia's shift was due to start at nine and he would have to make quite a colossal journey in order to reach her in time. Emily was in his head, contrasting between the cuteness of her face and the sexiness of her underwear. She would be in his shower right now; naked, wet and soapy. He had just left heaven in order to go to hell.
Julia was waiting for him as he pulled up across the street from his target. The place was called Chevelle, which meant something or other. Any real meaning escaped Click completely. She was sitting outside in the early morning sunlight, wearing one of her usual tightly buttoned shirts and her eternal look of displeasure. Little ever changed in the world of this woman. Likely her heart would only change on the day that it stopped.
"You're late," she gave as greeting.
Click was instantly defensive. "You know, it's not easy driving all of these miles with a near empty stomach and a haze in front of your eyes."
"And you can soothe your guilty conscience by crying over all the puppies you killed later," Julia shot back, her eyes explaining, quite clearly, that she was far from happy with him. "Now, I know what you're here about your money problems and your dear Dim and his cronies. What I don't know is why you thought it a good idea to call me in the middle of the night and ask me to meet you the next morning. I'm sure you can guess I'm not that happy about it. Now, I have work soon, and my dearest cousin is already wondering why I skipped out so early, so why not focus a little and tell me what it is you wanted to see me about?"
A little lost for words, and stuck for any time to come up with some, Click was powerless against the wave of harsh words that came out of Julia's fine lips. He tried to come up with some response, but his constant pausing and stammering only further infuriated her. She hurried him, which only made the problem worse.
Finally, when she drew a sip from her half finished cup of coffee, he managed to pull some words together. "I'm just unsure where to go from here," he got out, which made little sense of its own. "There have been a lot of things going on lately that are getting more and more out of my control as the day goes on. I've completely lost control of things, and I can't confess this to Mr. Cooper because he'll fire me in a second. I'm hoping you'll be able to give me some advice, or just help me out from under this. They're acting like babies. What kind of people are still acting so selfish and insecure at this age? I need a big heap of help and you're the only one with the knowledge to help me."
The last words almost brought a smile to Julia's features, though Click couldn't quite imagine why such a thing might occur. "And what makes you think that I won't take this little sermon straight to the office of my superiors?" she asked him, an evident glint behind her glasses.
Now it was Click's turn to smile. "Such people don't exist," he replied. "Not in your mind anyway. When's the last time you considered anybody your superior? You barely even believe people are capable of being your equals.
"Fine," Julia sent back. "Let's start at the beginning then, and maybe we can save this crummy job of yours. Who knows; you might even end up actually getting good at it, but you'll owe me for this. I haven't exactly come up with details of the debt quite yet, but it's going to be a really big one. Those are the terms. Do you accept?"
The teasing smile on her face was likely one of the most singularly terrifying things that he had ever seen. Anything that made such a callous and heartless individual this happy was not good news, especially for somebody that she barely even liked to begin with. Something mean beyond words was about to take place.
No alternative options springing to mind, Click did the only thing that he could do, and nodded silently.
"Good," said Julia in an eager flash. "Now that we've worked out just how much control you've lost in the last couple of weeks, let's identify the big problems. We can stop people spending big numbers of money if we can start by working out just what people are spending so much on. First and foremost, we need to get rid of the big expense; the hooker. We need to get that creature out of Dim's life as soon as possible. Who makes the call when he wants her there?"
"I do," Click answered quickly, thinking of how he would have to call Harmony on her line whenever he had been adequately abused into it by Dim. "Sometimes Dim gives her the details of the shows in advance though, and then she just sort of turns up."
"You pay her when she just randomly turns up?" asked Julia, in both mockery and disbelief. Now, of course, Click could tell just how stupid he had been about all this, but, in truth, he was always glad to see Emily's face. It wasn't Emily, but Harmony was close enough to still make him tingle.
"Well, you know-"
"No," stated Julia, leaving no room for discussion. "That won't be happening. Only a complete idiot pays somebody for a job that wasn't requested. You've done some thick things in your time Josh, but that is truly ridiculous, so you'd best stop that. Dim's a pain, but we can deal with him, we just have to stop you from giving him whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. I'll take some time off work to sort this crap out, so empty all of the filthy underwear out of your flat and make room because, in about eleven hours, I own your home."
"What do you mean?"
"Well I'll be working with you, so I'll be on the clock and watching over your shoulder to make sure this is done right. You're going to owe me a huge favour by the end of this Joshy boy."