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Keys

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Keys.

Keys on the kitchen surface that do not belong to me. Keys that are smeared with some kind of sticky residue… A side glance towards the rubbish bin where lay a mangled yoghurt pot lid confirms the type of sticky residue I’m looking at. But really… You forgot your keys mere moments after using them to brutalise your breakfast? I eye roll, even though there’s no one here to see it.

Courier, I’ll courier them to her (after cleaning them of soy yoghurt) like the phone she left behind that time. But… but… is she coming here later or going home? How many pairs of her shoes are by the door? Head swivel confirms none meaning she’s going home after work tonight. Scratch head, call her? No, boil kettle and decide, she’s not screaming for them meaning she’s been able to get in to her office. An office I haven’t seen yet…

Sneak, sneak, sneak attack on girlfriend? Do I have anything else to do today? Check MY phone while drinking tea… NOPE. Sneak attack it is then.

There are no real reasons I haven’t seen her office yet, at the end of the working day she wants out, not hanging round there waiting for me to finish doing whatever and pick her up. I am curious though, and maybe slightly suspicious the front of ‘lawyer’ could possibly mean ‘secret service’. Because, please, her suits are better than mine. If it was a suit Olympics she would win. Right, now, I’m getting distracted at what goes on under those suits… OK Hiddleston shit together come on man, sort it out.

Walk or car? Tube even? Jog? Car I’m going with car, after Google informs me her office building has an underground car park, which in the middle of London is NOT to be sniffed at. She gets the tube though, although she can drive, there’s a car key on the bunch of keys in my pocket, however I’ve no clue what kind of car she drives but she LOVES to roll her eyes at my Jag.

“Good morning welcome to Johnston and Johnston, how can I help?” This office is NOTHING like I expected, this looks like an old school boys club all red leather and dark walls, heavy colours, grandmotherly receptionist behind the front desk

“Good morning, I am here to see Ms Johnston if she’s available?”

“Isobel?”

“Yes…”

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No I am a erm… friend and erm… she said if I was ever in the area”

I get eyeballed as she picks up the phone and pushes a button “Belle? There’s a man here to see you…” She looks back up at me “…tall, red hair, could have done with a shave if you ask me…” I move my hand towards my chin automatically letting my fingertips feel the three day bristle spreading up my cheeks, I get distracted by the reason I’m not clean shaven and fail to notice the phone being placed back down “Ms Johnston will down to greet you shortly you can take a seat”

I perch on the end of a long low green leather sofa, legs twitching, keys spinning round my fingers, slightly apprehensive at being in this kind of environment, I always feel like I don’t belong, like they know I’m a fake without the generations of upper class ‘breeding’. Not that Isobel cares about that, in fact from what I can gather she positively rebelled against it.

“Mr Hiddleston?” I smell her perfume arrive before she does and I wonder if she’s a bottle of it hidden in her desk drawer “If you’d like to follow me…” Her heels are turned and moving away from me, hips swaying before I’ve had chance to untangle myself and almost fall over my own feet getting up from the sofa. I follow her through a maze of corridors, past doors and portraits hung on the wall of men in suits who all look identical to each other “… come in” I pass her holding the door open for me into an office space like nothing else in this building, exposed brick wall, modern technology, huge window looking out over London “So…” she crosses the room and settles behind her desk comprised of a slab of bright red plastic acrylic that has no legs and is suspended from the ceiling instead “… how can I help?”

“Yours” I place the keys on the desk and sit in the chair opposite her

“Thanks, you could have couriered them”

“Had time on my hands, is man not allowed to visit girlfriend at place of work?”

“Come to snoop more like”

“Isobel we have been together over six months, I love you, you’ve been on set to see me, I thought it was time I came down here”

“Well then welcome, and thank you for my keys, I’ll need them to get in to my flat later, I don’t know why I took them out of my bag in the first place”

“To wage war on the lid of an unarmed yoghurt pot”

“Fucking thing”

“Language…”

“They make me so mad with the…” She wildly gestures her hands making a motion of ripping a lid off “URGH”

“You really are a lawyer then?” There’s stacks of papers piled up next to her desk, a case file open in front of her, and the certificates framed above her desk showcasing her credentials are the real giveaway

“What on earth did you think I did?”

“Spy possibly… MAYBE you simply parade around the fashionable parts of London in those suits with a sign over your head… you know the arrow ones telling people where to get them”

“In these shoes?” She lifts her feet towards me, flexing five inch black heels with red soles waggling under the desk “I don’t think so… sorry to disappoint you, but lawyer I am as you can see… and spy? You’re the avenger darling”

“Enemy of the Avengers… whatever…”

Before I can say another word the door to the office swings open and I’m greeted with the face I’ve only ever seen photos of “Isobel… oh sorry I didn’t realise you had a meeting I’ll come back”

A heavy sigh escapes her lips before she opens them to speak “Dad this is Tom”

A look of recognition spreads across her father’s face and he raises an eyebrow, clearly a family trait “Ahhh…”

“Daddy…”

“Now shush Isobel this is the first boyfriend I’ve seen since university, since the boy with the hair and metal in his face… Well Tom come on then up let’s have a look at you” I stand, on slightly shaky legs, and dust myself down, thankfully for the shirt and jacket I’d put on as opposed to coming here after a run in sweats and a hoody

“Dad PLEASE behave”

“I thought Norse gods were… I don’t know… bigger”

“DAD… OUT… OUT OF MY OFFICE”

“Do you play golf Tom?”

“Occasionally… out at Brentwood, where it’s not as crowded and no one can see how bad my swing is”

A roaring laugh booms, reverberating off the bare brick “I like it… excellent… yes…” he looks me up and down again as I feel her hand slip into mine, I’d not noticed her move from behind the desk “…you’ll do…” he holds out his hand to me and I take it with a firm shake “come and see us for dinner this Sunday, Isobel’s mother does a splendid roast, none of this health nonsense…. ANYWAY I’m going to lunch, Isobel I’d come to see if you’d like to come but why don’t you take an extended lunch with the war horse here and I’ll be on my way…”

“OH NO YOU WON’T, I know what you eat when I don’t watch you, heart attack remember? Crushing chest pain with the falling over and the being in hospital”

“I’ll have a salad with my steak, Tom distract her for a couple of hours… OH was it your Jag I saw pull into the garage earlier? I like to watch the CCTV, once I saw David Beckham thought old Maggie on reception was going to swoon”

“Yes Sir”

“Please call me Isaac… splendid piece of technology, I like a comfortable car ride these days, this one however…”

“So you do have a car?”

“NOT had the car conversation, right I really am going, bye pumpkin”

“I swear to all that is good father get out of my office and go and eat your dam steak”

“Tom, pleasure…” He pulls the door back open and steps through it “Sunday don’t forget”

“Pumpkin?” I look down on her because even in sky scraper heels, she’s still only at shoulder height to me

“Don’t get any ideas on that one Hiddleston, there’s a very select list of people allowed to refer to me as pumpkin and last time I looked you weren’t on it”

“What do I have to do to get on this list?”

“Let’s go to lunch, no yoghurts though”

“Surprised you didn’t manage to spill any down yourself earlier” She’s not got the best hand eye coordination, usually because she’s got one eye on her food and one eye on her phone

“Darling I didn’t eat in the suit, I sat on your sofa naked, I thought perhaps you’d rouse and come downstairs before I left but when you didn’t I ate the yoghurt got dressed and came to work”

“GODAMMIT”

“We’ll take my car” She’s moving around the office gathering her things to go, an opened closet door reveals racks of shoes, suits hanging in garment bags and most interestingly the evening gown she wore to the ball where we first met “Ready?”

“I think so…”

Five minutes later when we pull out of the garage in a 1960’s E Type Jag in British Racing Green with cream leather interior I understand why she rolls her eyes at mine. I could get used to this…