|TCOT Day They Met
Author: DNPLC PM
How did Della come to work for Perry? This is how I envision it-chose the date based on Della's "over 40" years comment in TCOT Defiant Daughter, 1990. I try to write "to" the characters imagining dialogue but not how they might say it. DS in particular often seems misrepresented. This story lays groundwork for upcoming stories, which will be more uh...physical. Critiques pRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Mystery - Della S. & Perry M. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 14,274 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 2 - Published: 01-07-13 - Status: Complete - id: 8887329
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I have tried very hard to write to the characters and their personalities, imagining what they say but not how they might say it. Also, I've tried to keep to the facts as they have been set down for us in the show and TV movies, even where they are contradictory and, in some places, are they ever!
Monday, May 2nd, 1949, 7:30AM
The City of Angels was meant for driving and Della Street loved cars, in particular her cream-colored rag top roadster. When it nestled into a curve, the back end rising ever so slightly as she hit the gas, she felt an incredible sense of control.
Behind the wheel in her big dark glasses, the wind ruffling her curls Della lit a cigarette. Drivers and passengers looked twice thinking she was a movie star on her way to the studio—and she could have been. Since coming to this town as a college freshman, Hollywood had discovered her all over the place: on campus, at court, in restaurants, at nightclubs, even the Laundromat and pharmacy. Each time Della politely laughed it off.
Traffic was snarled on Wiltshire Boulevard so she used the time to review talking points not covered on her resume. Since graduating pre-law with a minor in art six years ago, Della Street had been working her way up in various law firms as a legal secretary, attending law school classes when she had the time and the money. This next job was an important step, particularly if she wasn't going to finish law school, which seemed increasingly likely.
Never again would she subject herself to the Bascombs of the world; attorneys who feigned interest in her skills but harbored unscrupulous desires.It was demoralizing; especially for a young woman, who wanted to work, wanted to excel at what she did.
And when, you had to ask yourself, was enough, enough? Steady, she thought as she started to tremble. Minutes from her much-anticipated interview a crying jag simply would not do.
"C'mon, sugar!" Ruthlessly a car horn shocked Della out of her ennui sending her through the green light.
Months of meticulous research on Los Angeles law firms turned up only three firms in which she was interested; and only one for which she actually wanted to work. Della wanted to do… more. Now what more was she couldn't say exactly but it had led her to the office of Perry Mason. Only five years older than she, he already had a reputation for brilliant, unorthodox defense strategies and an ability to know exactly where the wiggle room was within the law.
Clients paid any amount for his services since he always won his cases; if the case even got to trial, quite often it was dismissed in pre-trial motions. Mason's brashness, exploited in lurid and plentiful newspaper accounts, frequently left him on the wrong side of the Los Angeles Police Department. But while he may have skirted the law he never broke it. Perry Mason's mantra was that an innocent client was worth whatever his attorney needed to do to prove that innocence. Della had to admit there was little valid counter-argument.
Since this was Hollywood appearance was vital and it didn't hurt that Mason and his lead investigator Paul Drake had matinee idol good looks. Inevitably this led to numerous appearances in the society pages and gossip columns, where they were forever trying to entangle Perry Mason with some starlet. Della reasoned she would therefore be well under his radar in that regard.
In the office of Perry Mason, Della Street knew that she would find excitement.
First, of course, she had to find the office.
The Brent Building, an impressive new high rise, stood on Hill near 4th Street. With .50 she thanked the parking attendant, hoping it would make him more attendant and rode up the elevator to the 18th floor. Ducking around the corner where she spied a mirror, she gave herself a final once over.
While her resume made her supremely confident, Della Street was sensitive to the outer woman as well. A pencil skirt in pale pink with a fitted waist flaunted her slender figure and shapely legs. Beneath the matching jacket with its voluminous A-line hem and long, full sleeves, was a high collared white shirt also with long full sleeves. The heels towered but it was just an interview, she wouldn't be in them that long. Removing her Cashmere Bouquet lipstick in "Pink-A-Boo" and her compact Della reapplied her lips, blotted then tucked the pink-tinged Kleenex into her purse. Now she was ready.
Perry Mason's offices put her instantly at ease; not because they were particularly good-looking rather because they had stunning lines and a bright, modern feel. Taking off her new white gloves and slapping them in her hand she happily took in the surroundings. Absent were the heavy wood paneled walls, chipped leather chairs and moth-eaten Orientals of Bascomb with its rickety, hoary men reeking of scotch. In their place Della Street, if hired, would place sleek, contemporary pieces that were efficient and attractive, warm colored textiles and walls, fascinating art, and lustrous carpeting.
There were a few surprises for her, though. Della Street did not expect to find the utter bedlam and fevered commotion of a civilization's breakdown. People were milling aimlessly, phones were ringing interminably, there was no sound of typing— unheard of in a law office— and clients were sitting around unhappily considering their watches.
"Gertie!" a man boomed over the intercom. "What is going on out there?"
Gertie's lower lip was trembling. "Well, Mr. Mason I don't know really." When phone interrupted, she accidentally hung up on him.
Mason barreled through the door and smack into Della Street. "Forgive me, Miss…" Overwhelmed with work and an incompetent staff, Perry Mason almost didn't notice her striking beauty—almost.
"Secretary?" he barked at her accusingly. Thoroughly amused she answered, "Yes, Mr. Mason, I'm…"
"On the contrary I am, as always, rather early," the smile on this earnest young woman seemed out of place, as if she was…laughing at him?
"I asked for someone to come at 7, it is now 7:45," he insisted.
"Well…I was told to be here at 8AM and here I am." With her arms crossed in front of her and her head titled to the side that smile still on her face, she went toe-to-toe with the young but already eminent attorney.
Perry Mason was about to answer her when the young woman he called Gertie knocked a stack of files off the corner of her desk. Smoothly Perry stuck a hand in his pocket and turned to her, "Well, do what you can. I'll call you for dictation and meetings."
At 12:30 Perry Mason emerged from his office eyes wide with surprise. The entire room had been re-arranged in a remarkably fluid design. Gertie was calmly fielding phone calls in the professional manner for which he had longed, quick but not brusque, pleasant but not obsequious. Miraculously, the typist had whittled the stack in half, although she was blonde now. Another young woman was shuttling back and forth between the front and the law library with her head buried in a book, which accounted for her walking straight into his shoulder.
"Quite alright young lady. Who might you be?"
"Well, I might Rita Hayworth but sadly I'm Peggy Carmichael," she shoved her glasses back up her tiny nose. "I'm your new intern."
"I have an intern?" Perry said thoroughly amused by the petite, be-speckled raggedy-Ann with a mop of ginger curls.
"I'm second year USC Law and just happened to be working in the office when your secretary rang and said you needed help. She asked me to post a note on the bulletin board," standing on her tip toes she whispered conspiratorially, "But I didn't! I came right over! Well, you're behind so I'm behind."
Perry grinned as Raggedy-Ann bounced away. Della Street was smiling broadly at both the adorable student she had hired, and the thoroughly pleased look on Perry Mason's face. Returning to his office, he tried to surreptitiously manage a quick glimpse of the lovely young woman sitting just outside his office. But she winked at him!
By 2:30 Della had queried Perry about lunch three times. This time when he didn't answer she put her hands on her hips in frustration. Della was not to be trifled with when it came to food and unless she got something to eat soon she was going to turn into a puddle. When Perry Mason's stomach rumbled during dictation she stifled a laugh went to her desk and placed a call to the little restaurant she had noticed on her way in that morning—this morning…it seemed like a lifetime ago she realized.
After the delivery boy left she managed a couple of forks and plates, putting their lunch together at the conference table by the terrace. Not even the delectable aromas deterred the earnest attorney until she flashed the thick, hot, steak sandwich, potato salad, and coffee in front of him, actually plucking the papers from his hands. Lifting his head to meet her gaze, his enormous blue eyes were filled with gratitude and, unless she couldn't read men, genuine warmth.
Smiling, Della Street cocked her head and sat down next to him on the end of his desk, continuing her research. Throughout lunch they traded questions and answers with an effortless cadence. After he had devoured everything but the plate she caught him looking longingly at the other half of her chicken salad club with bacon, lettuce and tomato. Quietly she slid her plate towards him and out of the corner of her eye watched his dimples deepen.
They worked well into the evening in companionable silence interrupted only for meetings, which she recorded with rapid shorthand and sent off to the typist or stenographer to transpose. Throughout the day an undeniable rhythm had emerged between them. Impressed by her mind Perry asked more and more frequently for an opinion on this case, that brief, a bit of courtroom trickery or a potential client they had just interviewed. Repeatedly he found himself raising his eyebrows in delight at the cases she sited and her natural insight into human nature. Perry himself also possessed that gift, although his ran in a very different and complimentary direction.
For her part, Della Street knew that she had found a home. Since the Mason office had devolved so swiftly into an apocalypse in the absence of his secretary, Della knew the infrastructure must have been lacking. In between all of the work in his office—where admittedly she much preferred to be—she rearranged the entire outer offices so they would operate at maximum efficiency, her life's blood.
After ordering very necessary missing office supplies (how she loved buying office supplies, it was better than jewelry) and a couple pieces of intercom equipment meant to prevent Gertie from disconnecting her boss, Della tackled what could only loosely described as a filing system.
Then there was the staff, which near as she could tell, was a lovely if haphazard band of mismatched socks. Gertie wasn't a terribly complex girl but seemed to want to learn. As gently as possible, Della corrected her phone manner, taught her to greet new clients and, in time, would have her running the front part of this office. Another part-time secretary/receptionist required similar instruction plus some help tightening up her shorthand skills.
As there was no "fixing" the typist so she had fired her immediately and hired a girl from her old steno pool who boasted 71 WPM. Della hoped the lovesick law clerk would follow her and leave, but in the meantime she corrected the misconception he had of his job. Then there was little Peggy, number three in her class at UCLA Law and a stroke of genius on her part. Satisfied with the outer offices she ducked back into the inner sanctum where she was happiest.
An hour later, twilight danced into the office as Della exited the law library arms stretched with books. Perry Mason had noticed the moment her scent reinvigorated the room, watching her intently as she stood by the window serenely gazing at the burnished sky.
Taking the books from her arms he set them on the table, "You can step out there if you'd like." Holding the door for her, a slight grin curled the edge of his lips when she met his gaze. "I know I could use some air."
Della walked to the rail to watch the lights flickering on in buildings across Los Angeles. Perry Mason stepped behind her and she felt her jacket, which had been over a chair in his office, fall gently around her shoulders.
"Why thank you," there was that mischievous smile again. Perry returned the smile and nodded.
Lighting two cigarettes he handed her one, which he immediately realized was entirely too intimate. Laying her hand over his she took it from him. Neither of them said anything, lost in their own private reveries.
The sky changed colors in waves and when at last the poppy-colored sun had melted into the Hollywood Hills, he heard the faintest sigh escape her beautiful lips. Della walked to the door giving Perry a dazzling smile as he held her elbow, and once having stepped through the looking glass they were studiously back at work. Perry took Della's jacket to the coat rack while she went out to check on the outer offices.
"Whelp," laughed Della as she slid back into her seat. "All is quiet with the Mason Chain Gang."
Perry guffawed. "That was a miracle you performed." Della just smiled, fluttering her lashes, making Perry smile. "That's not the same typist, right? Or am I losing my mind?"
"Well, I can't speak for your mind, boss, but you see that stack of typed pages on the right hand corner of your desk?" Della's arms were crossed, her chin indicating the 3-inch high pile. "When was the last time you saw that much get typed around here?"
Perry dutifully nodded. "I'm not losing my mind. Well…" Della made her exit laughing, bowing slightly as she pulled the door behind her in an exaggerated way. He was fast realizing that he loved the way she did… everything. There was a rare mix of qualities about her that he hadn't quite parsed, yet, but the combination was both singular and intoxicating.
Della returned to the library but was having trouble concentrating, unusual for her. There was a heady connection between her and this man that she neither wanted nor anticipated. In the many times that she had been in love, or imagined herself to be so, she had never experienced such feelings for someone and she suspected that she wasn't alone in this.
An austere man who seemed to show little emotion, Perry Mason was warm with her, and seemed to enjoy laughing as much as she did. There was something else though something that touched her deeply about him and that was his quite obvious vulnerability. The safety of his innocent clients was paramount to him; his theatrics, she could see now, were specifically designed to out the truth not to be dramatic.
The few little things that she had done for him today, getting and then making him eat his lunch and hers, bringing him coffee, extra notes and research for cases and giving him aspirin when he rubbed his forehead, had elicited such gratitude in his eyes, words and smile. This, very clearly, was a man unused to being looked after and it made her hurt a bit for him.
A romantic but also a pragmatist, Della had ever believed in love at first sight—until today.
When Perry finally took his eyes from the brief he noticed it was pitch dark outside. Exhausted he was never-the-less heartened by how well the day had gone—for the first time since he opened his own practice two years prior. As the door from his library opened, there she stood, conical light shining behind her, looking as fresh as she had when she walked in that morning at 8am…well, 7:45.
"The two subpoenas are ready to go," she remarked casually.
"Thank you." Perry tried not to "study" her but couldn't help himself.
Her dark curls were…mussed was the only word he could think of (not that he ever thought of that kind of thing) and her cheeks were flushed behind the stack of law books she held. Also, she seemed somehow… shorter. Looking down at her feet he noticed perfectly manicured pink toes in silk stockings that had long ago shed their shoes.
Suddenly Perry Mason laughed out loud, making Della start. When she saw him looking down, her sexy, throaty laugh poured out of her. "I'm sorry!"
Mason looked down at her, her eyes turned up to him, lips pursed in a smile. "I don't know how women wear those things to begin with but boy they look..." Embarrassed he stopped as she started to apologize again. Putting his hand up, he tried to rescue them both, a wide grin still on his face. "No, it really is fine."
"Well, here you are, Chief," a stream of breath escaped from of the corner of her mouth rattling the curls that hung on the right side of her forehead. Putting a fist on her hip and crossing one leg in front of the other she leaned on the corner of the desk.
In each book over, a long slip of paper with detailed annotations in her lovely writing marked each pertinent case. Perry scanned each one quickly, nodding. There were also detailed notes about cases for which he had not asked and extremely insightful points that had occurred to her as she researched.
Outwardly he tried to remain calm, acting as if her performance was nothing more than he expected. Inwardly he was thrilled. This was the third case she had expertly researched, while also rearranging the entire place, recording perfect notes during six meetings and straightening out the rest of the staff in an unerringly kind but firm manner that he caught while eavesdropping.
Smart, brilliant even, he marveled at her concrete knowledge of the law. This was no ordinary secretary or, for that matter, woman. Lithesome, with warmth that radiated from within, she had the loveliest face he had ever seen. For a man who specialized in details it shocked him that she had toiled for him for over 15 hours without him knowing so much as her first name, and yet, this mystery gave her an dreamlike quality.
"Gertie," he called on the intercom as he watched her slip back into her heels, an almost imperceptible wince escaping her lips, "Whatever happened to the interview with the legal secretary today?"
"Gee, I don't know Mr. Mason. I guess…mmm… Miss Street it says here, I guess she never showed up." Della bit her lower lip, a smirk on her lovely face.
Standing, Perry held the other chair at his desk for her. "Thank you."
Trying to keep the hopefulness out of his voice, Perry turned to her, "I know that you're just supposed to be here for the day but if you're interested in a full-time job I need a confidential secretary who is also a legal secretary, Miss…."
"You'd better take a look at my resume first…" she reached into her black patent Marc Cross, smiling in eager anticipation of the denouement.
Mason leaned into the intercom once again. "Gertie, phone this Miss Street immediately and inform her that her interview will not be re-scheduled; the position has been filled."
"Yes, Mr. Mason…Umm, Mr. Mason?"
"Yes," he sighed impatiently into the intercom.
"Well…" There was only silence.
"What is it?" he barked.
"Sir it's after 11…"
"Go home, Gertie. Call her tomorrow if she doesn't call first."
Mason looked at what he could only hope was his new secretary. "I'm sorry I didn't realize…"
Della looked him in the eye, nodding her head at the intercom. With his finger still on the button and his mouth agape, Perry Mason looked quizzically from the intercom back to Della who nodded towards it once more.
"Nice… job today…Gertie." When Della smiled warmly at him, he felt as if he had just been awarded a gold star in school.
It may have come out sounding a bit like a question but Gertie was happy to take the compliment hidden in it. "Gee… thanks Mr. Mason," she sounded as if she might cry. "See you tomorrow…bright and early!"
"Bright and…early then…"
Della gave a slight approving nod as she handed him her resume. When their hands brushed Perry Mason tried desperately to ignore the current that passed between them but that was impossible, as the other hand would have concurred. In seconds, he smiled in a way she hadn't yet seen—all his teeth showing, a little crooked hitch on the left side of his mouth that was adorable.
"Why didn't you say anything?" All Perry Mason could do was shake his head and laugh, those arctic glaciers he had for eyes melting into warm blue pools.
Della was laughing now, too, in part to cover her incredible attraction to her new boss. "You Counselor, were in need of help. I thought the best thing to do was just pitch in. I wanted this job very much and what better way to get it?" Perry Mason nodded, still laughing. Della was struck by how different, boyish almost, he looked when he smiled.
"Besides, I was anticipating this moment—just didn't know how long you'd make me wait for it!" Della rolled her eyes looking at her watch.
"We were expecting a temp, I just assumed…" he tried but it was too late to take it back.
"You assumed, Counselor?" One eyebrow jumped so high it hit her widow's peak, her smile at once teasing and generous.
Perry couldn't help but notice the familiarity between them, the ease. He had slept with plenty of women with whom he didn't feel as comfortable. During the day it had been a shadow at the back of his preoccupied mind; their rhythm as they talked throwing ideas back and forth, moving seamlessly from one task to another.
At one point, just after lunch, Perry noticed that he had almost stopped needing words to communicate with her. This woman seemed to know what he needed before he knew and he knew that she was going to give him what he needed before he asked.
"Would you like to examine the witness, Counselor?" Perry realized he hadn't even been reading the resume. Taking a new box of chocolates from the console behind him, he removed the top pushing the box her way as he read.
"Mm, chocolate; holding out on me, Counselor?" Perry laughed. "Let's see…caramel…"
"Good. I like crunchy," he declared, tapping a square of chocolate for her to take.
"Figures," she teased. "We can negotiate the cream-filled on an as-need basis," continuously amused by this creature and their chemistry he could not stop grinning at her.
"Alright, young lady…down to business. Why did you leave Bascomb, Brady and Talmadge after just 6 months?"
"Because it wasn't my secretarial skills they were after." He nodded but could see there was more—a lot more. His eyes never left hers. Della hesitated, chewing her candy slowly but Perry continued to wait, keenly watching her.
Della who endeavored always to keep things light, who never shared her pain with anyone, was soon telling him as tactfully as possible about her near-rape. Bascomb, drunk, asked Della to stay late for dictation, then attacked her after she spurned his advances. When she went to gather her things from her desk, Bascomb snuck up behind her and pushed her against the filing cabinet were she fought him until she could get her hands on a piece of bric-a-brac to open his skull.
Della stopped talking and although Perry knew there was more he didn't push. Years later, when Bascomb called for representation, he got the details. All that Perry Mason had to hear was how Bascomb ripped her skirt while holding her prone over the filing cabinet from behind and the bastard wasn't even through the office doors before he was laid out on the carpet. After the first punch Paul struggled to hold back his raging friend; anyone who made Perry Mason that mad Paul reasoned, must have really have had it coming.
Perry was at a loss to explain it but Della's pain hurt him, too. "Bascomb belongs in jail. We could go after them…" he said, his deep voice grown angrier and his eyes dark and glowing with rage, the deeply furrowed brow ageing him 20 years.
"Of course not," she still managed a smile, though a sad one, "And you know that, Perry. Not without them ruining me with salacious lies."
Perry pushed the box of candy back toward her as she peered over the edge, investigating. He tapped another square chocolate. Lips curved in a tight smile she reached in, hesitating until he raised his eyebrows and nodded. Della Street had called him by his first name the miracle was that it emerged so naturally from her lips.
Clearing his throat, thick with uninvited emotion, Perry continued reading. Thrown in with steno pool entries and secretarial work was a shock that suddenly explained her incredible work today. "Of course; first in your class at the end of your second semester at USC Law School. Why did you leave?"
"The short answer is I ran out of money."
"Do you take me for a 'short answer' kind of man?"
Della snorted at that. Maybe it was the late hour, maybe their instant connection, but this imposing figure known to be cold, domineering, humorless and difficult had shown her nothing but softness, his deep voice rendering her a bit too truthful…and a bit woozy.
"Dad wanted me living next door with my high school sweetheart, raising his grandchildren. Paying for law school after four years of college was not going to happen, so…" Della trailed off happily inspecting the chocolates again.
As she was about to reach for the "wrong" candy he playfully slapped her hand. Della jumped and began to laugh. In mock disapproval Perry pointed to another square chocolate, which she snatched as she cocked her head and tossed him a warm smile.
"So, your father felt he had to throw impediments your way," Mason finished her sentence.
"Well said Counselor." Della stood and moved to the console to pour coffee for them, black, with one sugar for him.
"I take it black with…" but when he looked back she was letting the teaspoon of sugar slowly fall from the spoon, lips pursed in a sly grin.
"It is indeed a man's world," Perry said matter-of-factly, as she set the coffee down.
"Maybe it doesn't have to be; not all of the time anyway," she sat back in the chair across from him with a pensive smile. "Maybe it's all in what you want and how you do it."
"If I can be of any service..."
"I believe that you can, Counselor," nesting her cup in its saucer. "Let the negotiations begin."
Perry Mason was a bit shocked. "Well, insurance, of course and I pay…"
But she cut him off laughing. "You're known as an extremely generous employer." Someone had done her research, he noted, which gave him an idea of his own and he doodled Paul Drake's name on the pad in front of him.
Della's eyes were wide and she was sitting on the edge of her seat. "I know that you don't have an ordinary law firm, not that a criminal attorney's practice is ever ordinary. Your methods are … unorthodox but then, so are your results. You run on the edge; it pays off."
There were those eyes again. She was thoroughly enjoying herself, "Well add court, obviously, to what you did today, plus you get the unenviable task of handling all of the money. And then there are, oh, let's call them errands…" he drew it out wanting to give her the excitement she clearly craved. "I'll have plenty of errands for cases, things by the way that may only be incidentally, even accidentally …legal."
"You get into some close shaves, you and your ace detective Paul Drake," she said glancing down at his pad. She had caught him. "Seems like you need a girl to round out the act; after all, there are some things only a girl can do. And I, Mr. Mason, am a very handy girl to have around."
"You, Miss Street, have already made that quite clear."
They were smiling at one another when Paul Drake busted in. "Perry listen… Wow!" he stopped dead in his tracks and with enormous eyes stared at Della Street, starting at her legs and moving his gaze steadily up. Della looked at Perry answering his amusement with her own.
"Why thank you, sir!" Della stood with a flourish and bowed with her hand outstretched.
Perry Mason laughed at the cheek of the girl. "Paul Drake this is Miss Della Street. Miss Street will be my confidential and legal secretary, as well as managing my office starting…"
"Tomorrow," answering his gaze while sliding her hand out to Paul.
"Tomorrow," Mason nodded brightly not even trying to contain his pleasure.
"Well, things are sure looking up around here," he kissed her hand then stole her coffee and plunked down in a nearby chair, throwing his leg over the arm. "Now Miss Street, I'd like you to pay special attention to my invoices when they arrive. Hey, this is great coffee! In return I will take you to dinner at your earliest convenience; just to thank you, of course, in advance for your attention to this matter."
"Gee…" she clicked her tongue and wagged her head sideways, "I'm afraid you're going to have to take that up with my boss. He alone assigns my duties and he alone decides on their priority. Isn't that right, Chief?" Standing with her hand on her hip and her legs crossed one in front of the other, she bit her lip enjoying Paul's crestfallen look. Della felt immediately as if she had gained a big brother.
Perry smiled triumphantly at Paul. In one deft maneuver this clever girl had given him one-up bragging rights, which were sadly important to men, showed where her loyalty lay and thwarted Paul's flirtation with grace and humor.
Snickering, Paul shot Perry an envious glance then acted like a little boy who just got sent to the corner, "Well, I don't care. I'm still going to enjoy having you around beautiful, for any number of reasons!"
With that Paul stood, stubbed out his cigarette and bid them good-night. Della looked at Perry and shook her head laughing. "There goes the wondering boy, out into the dark Los Angeles night. Look out, ladies!"
Perry laughed. "Okay, young lady; it's our turn."
Della's eyebrows shot to her widow's peak again, which Perry hated to admit he was starting to love. "But we have so much to do! By the way, may I redecorate the offices?"
"Do you have any idea how much you've already done? And I think you mean 'decorate.' I just wanted to get the doors open last year. But sure that would be great," he said looking around.
"In the meantime it's almost midnight and we're leaving. Trust me, someday you're going to look back on this night, Miss Street," pausing Perry saw the same pensive look on Della's lovely face that he knew he was wearing on his own. "And … you're going to appreciate that once upon a time, long, long ago, I spirited you from the office before the stroke of midnight." He took her elbow gently.
"'Spirited me…' but my car is in the…"
"Miss Street, will you be arguing with me a great deal?" he was smirking now, enjoying her.
Pursing her lips, which then opened into a wide smile she tipped her head to the side and nodded in the affirmative. "You know, Counselor, I do believe that I will."
"Good. Let's go," Perry helped her into her jacket then took her arm.