Smack Happy by Clare London

“For God’s sake, put it down!” Bryan didn’t mean to snap, but Phiz had been pacing the floor of Bryan’s home office for at least ten minutes now, with a bowl of ice cream and spoon in one hand and a gift-wrapped bag in the other. “I’ll have finished for the day in a few more minutes. I want to draft this appeals letter to HMRC tonight.”
Smack Happy
Smack Happy by Clare London
“Can’t you just take a look? If it’s no good, if you don’t like it, I can… well, I can’t send it back, you see, ’cos it’s… you know. Well, you don’t yet, that’s true, but it’s mine now—yours—and the small print says that’s it, no refunds, but that’s pretty obvious I guess, because it would have been… would have been used… well, anyway. Bloody hell.” With a frustrated huff of breath, Phiz came to a halt just before he banged his shins on the back of Bryan’s office chair. He scooped the last spoonful of ice cream into his mouth, perched the bowl on the top of Bryan’s filing cabinet, then swung around and started pacing again. Bryan’s home office wasn’t small, but there still wasn’t space for a restless human animal like his boyfriend Phiz. “Just need you to look, Bryan, that’s all. I mean, I know you’re up against a deadline and everything, and I’d help if I could, well, if you’d bloody well let me. I apologised about those files I deleted last week, didn’t I? Yes, okay, I knew I did, but I suppose this is partly to say sorry for all that trouble I caused, and partly because it’s, well, you know.” No, Bryan didn’t know. But whereas when he first met Phiz, that stupid phrase had infuriated him, nowadays it just made him smile. To himself, that was. It meant Phiz was nervous and was therefore starting to ramble. Phiz so easily slid off the wagon of self-control and would soon be in dire need of reining in. They both knew that was how things went. They both knew that was how they liked it, too. “Look, why don’t I just do some filing for you?” Phiz loomed rather alarmingly over the edge of Bryan’s desk. “Save you some time. Just have to bundle the stuff into the files, colour-coded aren’t they? Well, whatever system you use, I’m sure I’ll pick it up. I won’t touch anything electronic, of course I won’t, and anyway it’s not as if I know the passwords you set up for the clients’ records, though God knows what I’d make of all that maths mumbo-jumbo even if I did, never had a head for accounts at school. I wouldn’t be able to tell if anyone was shit-broke or washing millions through their accounts—” “It’s called laundering,” Bryan broke in. “And don’t touch anything at all. Please.” He leaned back on his chair and sighed. “Show me, then.” Phiz grinned broadly and dropped his bag down with a thump onto the pile of papers in front of Bryan. Maybe he didn’t see Bryan tense up, or the gritted-teeth way Bryan slid the papers out from underneath, to settle them more carefully to one side. Or maybe he did, because he nudged up behind Bryan and rested his hands on Bryan’s shoulders. “Thanks,” he murmured.


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