"Okay, so, we've got a few applicants lined up for the secretarial position," said Lenore, "and we're meeting three of them first thing on Monday."
She was perched on Kato's workbench in the garage. Britt had his head stuck in the mini-fridge, wasting energy like the rich idle bastard he was. Kato was just outside on the driveway, hosing down the Black Beauty.
Lenore wiped off a touch of perspiration as she opened the folder. It was the kind of a day when no shade was deep enough and no outfit amorphous enough to beat the heat, with the relentless July sun beating down on the city and even the wind sluggish and dry. "I've got some of the CVs here." She waved the folder at Britt, who offered her a beer wordlessly. She shook her head, so he opened it himself.
"This one's my favorite so far." She pulled out a few papers stapled together. "This guy has a bit of experience in publishing, but not too much initiative, judging by how long it took him to get a real job after college. But then, we wouldn't want anyone too energetic - he's going to need to look over your business scheduling without paying attention to all the shady deals and ammo purchases. A degree in economics is a bit overkill, though. What do you think?"
"Do I really need a secretary?" Britt took the application from her and glanced through it. "I mean, I've got a lawyer, Mike's handling the paper, and you take care of the clandestine stuff anyway."
Lenore snatched the papers back. "Yeah, okay, I'm not going to be a criminal mastermind, a reporter – which is my dream job, may I remind you – and your secretary, Britt. Maybe you don't have too many obligations as CEO, but you still have to meet the few you have."
"I guess," said Britt.
"I know it's an added security risk, but nothing unmanageable, and I've written up some of the tasks a secretary could safely take over..." She talked for a couple of minutes about lines of revenue and the corporate calendar before she realized Britt wasn't hearing a word she said. He was staring over her shoulder with a dreamy kind of a look on his face. "And that's why I think you should fire everyone at the Sentinel and replace them with purple ostriches," she concluded.
"Cool," Britt said, still staring. Lenore followed his line of sight out the garage door and understood immediately. Sympathized, even.
Kato had popped open the Black Beauty's hood and was cleaning the engine. He'd also taken off his T-shirt and made a turban out of it. Which left him shirtless.
All perfectly logical and reasonable, but it did mean there was a sweaty, half-naked Kato bending over a hot machine under the sun, and that man? Had more definition than Britt's latest overpriced plasma TV. Damn.
She lowered her voice. "Enjoying the view?"
"Who needs a pool boy, eh, Britt? I don't blame you, if I was you I'd probably steal and hide all his shirts."
Britt blinked and took a moment to process her sentences, then frowned. "The maintenance guy does the pool. Shawn. You know, with the mullet. And I don't know what you're talking about."
"Sure you don't. I mean, it's probably coincidental that you were staring in the direction of a hot guy washing a car shirtless while totally focusing on my discourse about ostriches."
"Was there a soapy bit? Did I miss it? Shame."
"You're totally objectifying. That is so rude, Lenore. I'm surprised at you."
Lenore snorted a laugh. "Must be the company I keep."
"Shit," Britt whispered, covering his mouth with a hand. "I think he heard you."
Kato was looking back at them with a decidedly annoyed expression. Lenore quickly pasted an innocent smile on her face. Kato rounded the car and rummaged for something inside.
"Did you have to be such a pig?" Britt asked her. "Now he's going to be in a snit all afternoon."
Kato found the remote in the Beauty's glove compartment and pointed it at the garage door, which came down between them.
"Aw, he's shy," Lenore said.
"He's a hypocrite, anyway. You should see his porn collection. Filthy stuff."
Lenore giggled at the very idea of Britt calling anyone a hypocrite. "Can I?"
"His laptop's right over there," Britt said and pointed.
The side door to the garage flew open. Kato glared at them from the threshold, still holding an oily rag, and still with the shirt on his head. "Don't even think about it."
"Either he's got really good hearing or this garage door doesn't muffle shit," Britt remarked.
"Bit of both, I imagine," Lenore concluded.
Kato threw the rag at Britt. It hit his head with a resounding smack. Kato knew how to throw things.
"Ow!" Britt rubbed the new oil smudge on his forehead, making it worse. "What did I do?"
"I'm not going to hit a woman, am I?" Kato explained and went to the fridge.
"It's the 21st century, you can hit anyone you like," Britt said.
"Hey!" Lenore interjected.
"If you say so," Kato said and flicked a beer bottle cap at Britt's head.
"Ow! Hey, what's this, I was just defending your honor!"
"You said I could hit anyone I like."
Lenore put a hand on her cheek and gave them the big blue eyes. "Guys, seriously, just do each other already. With all this sexual tension in the air, we're going to run out oxygen."
"You'd love it, wouldn't you," Britt said, rubbing the red mark on his forehead and getting that covered in oil as well. "Probably want to watch. Oink oink."
"I think you both need to get laid," Kato said with a snort and headed back out with his open beer bottle.
Britt and Lenore watched in uncomfortable silence until he was almost out the door. "He says that, and yet he still won't put out," Britt murmured.
This time he got hit with the T-shirt.