"So you'll get me Ms. Young's contact information by tomorrow?"
"Of course, Mary, I—”
The woman on the other end of the line stopped abruptly. "What was that?"
Mary, the receptionist at Almaelou, glanced over her shoulder towards Mr. Peterson's office.
"Just Mr. Peterson's door slamming," Mary answered. "Rose must be in a mood again."
The woman on the other end of the line (Cate, a sort of agent who often spoke with Mary regarding potential clients for Almaelou) laughed.
"What do you suppose he's done this time?" Mary laughed as well.
"Who knows. Whatever it is, Rose is pretty steamed."
"I bet it's got something to do with his mother," Cate guessed. Mary shuddered.
"What an awful woman. Of course, we can't rule out Mr. Peterson simply behaving like himself."
"Awkward, shy and forgetful?" Mary laughed in agreement.
"Is that shouting I hear?" Mary paused to listen. It did seem that muffled shouts were coming from her boss' office.
"Sure sounds like it."
"It's a wonder those two are still together," Cate said with a sigh.
"It's a wonder we ever get anything done in this office!" Mary retorted with a laugh. "Honestly, the company's owner and his secretary spend more time fighting with each other and making up than they do working."
"Have they stopped yet?" Mary looked over her shoulder at the closed door that separated her from Rose and Mr. Peterson. What had been muffled shouts now sounded like soft murmurs.
"Sounds like they've transitioned into making up and apologizing now," she reported.
"Don't you ever worry that you'll walk in on the two of them 'making up?'" Cate asked, barely concealing a mischievous tone.
"Cate!" Mary laughed. "What do you think they're doing in there?" There was a pause. Mary could imagine Cate shrugging her shoulders in response.
"You never know, Mary. How serious are they?"
"Well, they've been together this long..." Another pause.
"What are they doing now?" Mary lowered the phone to listen. Silence at first, and then very softly, just loud enough for Mary to hear-
"I love you, Rosie." A soft laugh.
"I love you too, Albert."
"They've made up," Mary decided. Cate laughed on the other end.
"Think they'll close the office early?"
"Almost certainly," Mary said. The words had barely left her lips when she heard a door open behind her. She lowered the phone again and turned to see Rose and Mr. Peterson walk out of the office, with Rose hanging onto Mr. Peterson's arm.
"We'll be closing the office early today, Mary," Albert said as he passed Mary's desk.
"Of course, Mr. Peterson," Mary responded with a barely suppressed grin. She waited until the pair of lovers had left the office before once again lifting the phone to her ear.
"Almaelou has been closed early." Cate laughed.
"I never would have guessed."
Mary smiled to herself. "So, about Ms. Young..."