A Della Street / Perry Mason romance
OUR KIND OF LIFE
Disclaimer: Characters are still not mine. I just love to tackle them when they tickle me.
Setting: Good question. This story starts before 1957 and ends around 1993. Los Angeles may be a safe setting to mention. ;)
Pairing: Della & Perry. Rating: T. Spoilers for The Heartbroken Bride.
Summary: Perry is invited to his niece's wedding. Who else would he bring but Della? But does she know everything about his relationship with the Parrishes? Does she want to know?
Author's note: This story is not yet finished. Although actually, finished it is, but the middle part is still lacking some details. LoL.
The story was triggered by a picture I saw from The Case of the Heartbroken Bride. Perry has his left arm wrapped around Della. They are both dressed up. Him with a red rose pinned to his suit and Della in a beautiful white dress. They smile. That picture made me so happy. And so does the TV movie episode now that I figured it all out in my mind. ;) The Parrishes and all. You'll see. I expect to have no more than ten chapters in the end. :)
"Miss Street?" Perry Mason's voice welcomed her in the reception area of his offices. He sounded gentle and crisp, showing a distinct sign of skepticism at the sight of her luggage.
"That's me," she said and got up, reaching down to her suitcases and her purse.
"Let me help you with these," the attorney offered and gestured his receptionist to store the luggage away behind her desk.
Della tried to protest, but he insisted with a smile. Gertie's set of eyes scanned her when she finally left the room, following him through the adjoined room into his office, boxes piled up everywhere.
"Please excuse the mess," the tall man said. "I just moved offices." His hair was dark and well-groomed. His overall appearance slick somehow. A smile here and there, but never too much. His eyes intense, his gestures smooth as he asked her to sit down.
"Thank you," Della answered, sat and nodded her head. "Is that why you are looking for an additional secretary?"
"Additional?" Perry Mason looked at her. "You mean Gertie?" He leaned back in his chair and laughed. "Oh no, she's my receptionist. I wouldn't know what to do without her taking my calls."
"She isn't your office help then," Della replied with a polite smile and moved her eyes away from his onto the right side of his desk. "Her notepad?"
Perry nodded approvingly. "You are very perceptive."
"A secretary should always have an eye for the essential," Della Street returned gracefully and held his gaze.
"Would you mind working with another secretary?" The attorney studied her and waited for her to look away. He knew that most women did at some point, blushed or shied. Not so the woman in front of him, her hair curly and richly brown, complementing her eyes.
"Indeed I would," she replied clearly, her voice gentle and warm.
"And why is that?" Perry Mason was surprised yet pleased. By her immediacy. Her honesty.
"Too many cooks spoil the broth," Della answered with a healthy sense of assertiveness.
"Is that so?" The lawyer in Perry was critical, the man tickled.
"Look, Mr. Mason," Della didn't want to waste her time convincing him and shifted in her chair. "You either need a firm hand to run your office. Someone who files away these boxes. Knows how to find what you need. Who is eager to learn what it is you do. What works for you. Then I suggest you look at my resume. Or you are looking for an addition to your secretarial pool. Someone who answers the phone, sits and waits. That I can do but I rather wouldn't."
Her eyes still held his gaze, her smile was warm but her voice was firm.
"So you rather work for a living," Perry Mason answered her without a smile.
"That's right. I am a working girl, Mr. Mason. I don't like sitting in offices waiting for my future husband." Della Street was blunt with him and cursed herself for it. His eyes strangely tickled her to say what she was so tired of hearing at her fifth interview that day.
"You don't believe in marriage?" Perry used his courtroom voice to further interrogate her now. He often did to scare unlikely candidates away. With her, he used it as a test to see how far he could play his game.
"Did I say that?" Della Street asked with a flirty smile.
"You see, I often work long hours," Perry Mason continued questioning her. "I expect my confidential secretary to be around at odd hours, too."
"I'm used to overtime," Della answered him with a hint of implicitness.
"I work on weekends. Sometimes at night," the lawyer added.
"You should get a couch," Della simply answered as she moved her eyes beyond the boxes that hid most of the room.
Perry chuckled. Her idea amused him. "You may be right." Then he looked at the resume she had put on his desk, only to close it after he had scanned her full name. "When can you start?"
Della wrinkled her forehead. "Don't you want to check my references?"
Perry Mason shook his head. "That won't be necessary. I have a feeling you'll do just fine." Then he smiled at her, for the first time with his eyes.
Della answered with a smile of her own and shied away at the intensity of his blue on her pair of brown.
So she isn't as hard-boiled as she seems, Perry noted to himself. Only to clear his throat and address her in his professional tone. "I need someone to bring order into chaos. Someone who will ask if my notes are illegible. Or illogical. I need someone to speak up if necessary. Who also knows when to be quiet. And I need someone who can shoot down my adversaries with a smile." The attorney got up and offered Della his hand. "Please come back here tomorrow, Miss Street. I'll prep you about everything then."
Della got up and didn't care to hide her joy. "Tomorrow then."
"Do you already have a place to stay?" He asked, suddenly remembering her suitcases behind Gertie's desk.
"Oh yes, I do. Thank you," Della answered. She was pleased by his care. "I don't like to go places unprepared."
Perry nodded. That alone was proof that he had picked the right girl. How old was she, he wondered. Her attire suggested twenty-eight or maybe twenty-nine. Her face, her looks a chaste twenty-five.
"I see you tomorrow then at nine," He answered her as he grabbed her arm to show her out. "I'll ask Gertie to call you a cab."
"Mr. Mason?" Della asked calmly and turned around before he opened the door.
"Yes, Miss Street?"
"If you don't mind, I would like to file away these boxes first thing tomorrow morning." She smiled warmly at him and pointed her head in the direction of the pile of unsorted office material and files.
"Do as you please, as long as you have your pencil ready for me if I need it," Perry answered her with a smirk. "This will be your office by the way," he said as he opened the door to the adjoined room to show her out. "Oh, and, don't you want to discuss your salary?"
"The monthly estimate you mentioned in your ad suits me just fine," Della answered matter-of-factly.
"That was a weekly average," Perry Mason added with a serious smile.
"That will do also," Della Street answered plainly and noticed his courteous behavior with a gentle smile.
"Glad you approve," he smirked at her as he was about to open the door to the reception area.
"Actually," Della bit her lips but dared to ask.
"Yes?" Perry Mason replied with a chuckle that died as she turned around and stood only inches away from him. Her face was pretty his eyes remarked. Beautiful even. Sophisticated yet innocent. And she was tall, heels aside. Too tall for him to avoid noticing her.
"It's only two o'clock and my room won't be ready before six," Della started plumply, covering her hesitation with a sparkle in her eyes. "If you don''t mind, I'd like to start sifting through your boxes right away."
Perry looked at her, her demeanor, her posture. Her dress. She came from a good family, that much he could tell. Was independent yet strangely traditional. A challenging mix.
"All right," he answered and held out his hand to show her back to his office. "Go right ahead." And he looked after her as she duck under his arm to dive right into work.
"Gertie," Perry Mason said flatly as he opened the door to see his receptionist on the other side of his secretary's office. "There's no need for you to come in for dictation today. I just found myself a Della Street."