A/N Quite short, this came upon me at three in the morning. It is kind of pointless, but I am nonetheless rather fond of it. I would like constructive criticism very much, although I certainly wouldn't object to shameless gushing either.

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"I still say it could do with more of a jazz feel."

She rolled her eyes fondly. "You think everything could use more of a jazz feel. If Mozart played for you you would complain that he was too structured." He grumbled in an absent way, and she added slyly: "I still don't see how you don't go crazy with the same introductory song every day."

"Same way I am not driven insane by the same unstructured teenagers every day."

"How's that?"

"Short attention span and a good imagination."

Maybelle laughed delightedly and he grinned up at her. (it was clearly unexpected; it was his crooked unpracticed natural smile instead of the one for the cameras.) "I've been meaning to ask you, Mr. Collins; how is Link working out?"

He shrugged, pushing his reading glasses back up his nose. "Quite well. Lot of talent...and pretty good work ethic when driven to have one."

"And the..." she twirled a finger vaguely in the air-- "other thing?"

"Still unnervingly respectful to me, yes."

"Honey, the day will come when you will think wistfully of these glorious times when that boy listened to you."

They had just got stuck back into the score when there was an unpleasant interruption.

Velma von Tussle.

The exchange was brief, and entirely lacking in wit and substance--at least on Velma's side. Suffice to say that quiet venom was released, Motormouth Maybelle was enturely serene, and Corny Collins was either totally absorbed in his work or just simply ignoring the exchange.

Maybelle looked after the departing manager calmly. "Do you know, I don't think she likes me."

"It's because she's jealous of your beauty, talent, and ability to hold a man's attention when she can't," he said around the pencil in his mouth.

"Not used to holding anybody's attention 'round here in a way she'd envy."

He blinked up at her like a myopic owl, his dark hair awry where he'd distractedly ran his hands through it. "Ms. Stubbs, if you don't fit a man's standards of what is appropriate or beautiful, he will adjust his standards--if he has any kind of sense at all."

Apparently not needing a response to this simple bit of common sense, he bent back over the pages, and Maybelle smiled gently at him, feeling a little misty. Any man could flirt, and he was better than most; but before his childlike flashes of utter sincerity she was increasingly helpless.

Best not to let him know. Corny Collins was persistent, and he tended to get the things he devoted his considerable energy too--if he decided to secure her affections, for whatever reason, she might be in trouble.

But then again, she was stubborn too.

"And do you have any kind of sense at all?" she asked lightly.

He pulled off his glasses and grinned. "Enough to know that I'd be silly to claim my standards ever needed adjusting."

"Very smooth," she approved.

"Glad you like." The ridiculous man's inability to stay still held true, and she suppressed an affectionate sigh as the earpiece of his glasses found its way into his mouth. "Although you do have a way of fooling with a man's perspectives, Maybelle."


"Yep. I escorted a lady to her car the other day. Tiny little thing, delicate as a flower." He waved his glasses demonstratively. "When I took her arm, I sincerely thought she was going to break. It was more unsettling than the kids' hero worship."

"Thanks." I think, she considered adding, but decided against it. He deserved to wrap up a conversation uncontested every now and again.