After Malcolm gives what is the most revealing and human speech of his time on the Thick of It, Terri simply doesn't understand. I wonder if the penny ever did drop for her. Set straight after episode six of series 3.

"What did he say?" (Ollie)

"I don't know- it was all about Ancient Egypt." (Terri)

OoOoO

Recently, things had been a bit tense at DoSaC – she may not be as attentive or as ambitious as her colleagues, but Terri prided herself on being sensitive enough to pick up on such things. She didn't stay after hours, and as soon as she left the PFI building, Terri didn't even pretend that her mind was on current affairs, but today something different had happened. Terri sensed that something was amiss, something very big indeed, but for the life of her she couldn't work out what it was.

"Are you alright, love? You've gone all quiet?" Her husband looked up from the crossword in concern. Terri flashed him a smile and muttered a response to let him know that everything was alright – even though she knew, somehow, that it wasn't – and went back to watching television. This was a regular pastime for her, and so he wasn't suspicious of anything being amiss.

Even if he had been, Terri wouldn't have known how to go about explaining it to him. One of the things they had in common was their mutual disinterest in allowing work to interfere with their time at home.

River City was Terri's favourite soap, and ordinarily she could focus on nothing else when it was on, and yet her talk with Malcolm kept drifting back into her mind. At first Terri wondered if it was because the characters all had Scottish accents, though even at their most pugnacious they never quite captured the same level of aggression that Malcolm often displayed.

Perhaps she was attracted to Malcolm. After consulting with the Ten Signs to Know If He's the One article she had memorised years ago for future reference, Terri dismissed the idea. It was probably for the best; she didn't have time for the theatre group and an affair. The volume of the voices on the television increased, the body language of one of the actors radiating defeat. There was something different about the way he had shouted. Terri frowned. His tone was sad, not angry.

Malcolm was sad about something!

But what did that have to do with Egypt? Dunking her biscuit in her cup of tea, Terri considered the problem as she munched. Maybe work was making him feel stressed. She still didn't understand what motivated people to stretch themselves too thinly, career advancement or not. It was possibly something to do with Steve Flemming – Terri had seen the identical looks of disbelief when she had mentioned that name, and also the predatory way in which Malcolm's eyes had narrowed. But that didn't make sense to her. Surely Malcolm wanted someone to share his colossal workload.

Still, Malcolm was a man, and the male ego did not take such things lightly. Maybe after a while Malcolm would feel better about working alongside Steve. If not, she would offer to help them reconcile.

Feeling pleased with her generosity, Terri decided to treat herself to another biscuit. And another.

"Sod the diet." In time things would work out. She could lose some weight for the production of Joseph, and Malcolm would see that Steve coming back was a very good thing for him indeed.

OoOoO

If you even suggest that I like 'River City', I'll send Malcolm around to perform a living fucking autopsy on you. That being said, thanks for reading and please review.