Word Count: 597
Disclaimer/Author's Note: I own nothing, being but a textual poacher. This is set sometime prior to the beginning of the 1933 movie Footlight Parade, easily one of the most underappreciated musicals ever. It and its companion "Intermission" were both written as gifts for my friend Jordanna Morgan, and were posted at various times on my LiveJournal.
It had been not quite a month, but Nan Prescott was already about a hair's breadth away from quitting this crazy job.
Frazer & Gould Studios was a zoo, a bus terminal, a music hall, and a particularly chaotic lunatic asylum all rolled into one loud, frenetic package; and Chester Kent, creator of musical prologues, was right at the center of most of that madness.
Which, of course, meant that his personal secretary – one Miss Nan Prescott, previously accustomed to much, much more sedate secretarial work – was also right at the center of most of that madness.
Honestly, it hardly gave a girl time to read her magazine.
Nan pushed her copy of True Romance Stories to one side of the desk and reached for the phone yet again. "Mister Kent's office . . . no, he's not to be disturbed . . . no, he's working on ideas for the new prologue . . . yes, I'll tell him."
She set the handset back on the receiver with a sigh. The exact same line she'd been feeding every caller for a day and a half – and Chester Kent seemed no closer to emerging from his office to deal with the pile of messages that were building up during this little brainstorming session of his. He'd buzzed her twice – once to request supper the previous evening, and once today to request a sandwich – and other than that, he remained silent behind his tightly-shut door.
Honestly, the man was infuriating.
And the worst of it was that he was so utterly charming about it that the "infuriating" never managed to stick.
It was something about the eyes, she thought absently as she picked up True Romance Stories again. The eyes, and maybe that crooked grin . . .
She'd only gotten halfway through a paragraph when she was interrupted again – this time by Kent's door cracking open and the man himself poking his head out, looking weary.
Nan lowered her magazine abruptly. "Oh, Mister Kent – Mister Frazer has been on the phone for you . . ."
"Sure he has." Chester interrupted with a half-hearted dismissive gesture. "Listen, Miss Prescott, I want you to . . ." His voice trailed off as his gaze came to rest on the magazine, and he frowned. "Say, what're ya reading?"
Oh-oh. Nan tried and failed to conceal the cover, which bore a staged-looking photograph of a cowboy and a schoolmarm embracing on it. "Oh, uh . . . that is, I . . ."
He was away from his office door in two long strides, catching up the magazine before Nan could protest and examining the cover with an unreadable look.
Nan's heart sank, and she rose with a faintly sheepish noise -- it looked like she might not have to quit this crazy job after all . . .
And then Chester Kent grinned – that mad, crooked, infectious, I've-got-an-idea grin of his. He caught her by the shoulders. "You know what this is?"
Nan floundered. "I . . . er, no?"
His grin grew impossibly wider. "It's a great idea for a prologue, that's what!" He squeezed her shoulders. "Miss Prescott, you're a lifesaver!"
Chester gave her shoulders another squeeze and then disappeared down the hallway towards the dance studio, his feet moving in an intricate half-skip, half-shuffle of dance moves.
Nan examined her boss' retreating back with a puzzled expression for a moment, and then glanced down at the magazine he had shoved back into her hand, grinning slowly.
Maybe this crazy job wasn't that bad, after all.