Disclaimer: Do you really think I own this? News flash…I don't!
A/N: Here I go again. I don't normally write this kind of story and I'm not really sure how it's going to turn out, but I guess we'll see. It's the only idea I have. I hope you enjoy!
"How'd it go?" Felicity asked her friend as soon as the office door closed.
Della Street shrugged. "It was okay."
Felicity raised her eyebrows. "You're lying. How'd your interview with the great Perry Mason go?"
Della sighed. "It was…amazing. He seemed to be really focused on his job and really wanted a secretary who could be just as focused as he is. He also seemed to like me well enough. He said I was the only one he interviewed that seemed to care enough to talk back or challenge him. I'm not sure how he could tell that from an hour interview, but whatever."
Felicity squealed. "You always get the best jobs! When do you start?"
"I don't," Della told her.
Felicity's jaw dropped and her brown eyes widened. "Why not? Don't tell me he didn't hire you after all that."
"He did ask me when I could start," Della admitted.
"And?" Felicity prompted.
"I told him I couldn't," Della said.
"You did what?" Felicity asked completely shocked. "Why would you tell him you couldn't work for him?"
"Lissy, have you seen the man?" Della asked.
Felicity wasn't totally sure Della wasn't changing the subject, but she answered anyway. "I've seen pictures of him in the paper. He looks absolutely gorgeous. Is that the problem? Is he really ugly in person?"
Della bit her lips to keep her eye roll in check. Felicity was her best friend and she loved the girl to death, but she could be so shallow sometimes. "No, he is gorgeous."
"I don't understand what the problem is!" Felicity exclaimed, exasperated. "The papers say he is fantastic in the courtroom, the papers show he's gorgeous. Therefore, he would be a great man to work for. He would pay a generous salary and you would get to look at him and get distracted every now and then too!"
Della sighed. "I don't want or need to get distracted while I'm trying to work! I need to get my job done to the best of my ability and not think about anything but that." Della didn't want to tell Felicity about the other problem with the interview, the one that made her even more nervous than this one.
Felicity tilted her head. "You know, Della, that's your problem. You don't leave any time for romance. Getting distracted by a gorgeous man while you're working isn't the worst thing that could happen."
Della shook her head. So she wasn't a romantic. That wasn't a bad thing either. She liked it better this way anyway.
"I don't need to be distracted," Della repeated.
"Della, I thought you wanted to get out of this job," Felicity reminded her.
"I do," Della agreed.
"Well, this would be the best way to do it," Felicity said. "Working for Perry mason would be a great job with great possibilities. Taking this job would open up so many doors for you should you ever choose to leave it. Saying you worked for Perry Mason would automatically make you respected and would automatically show you were good, which you are. It would be great."
"You really think so?" Della questioned.
"Girl, if you don't take this job, I'm going in for an interview!" Felicity cried.
"Well, you might as well," Della said. "I already declined the offer. I can't just go back now."
Felicity raised her eyebrows. "Why not?"
"I already declined," Della repeated.
"So?" Felicity asked.
"I can't just change my mind now," Della said. "I also can't go back and tell Mr. Mason that I did change my mind and want the job. He's probably already hired someone else."
"Just because you haven't heard of anyone going back before doesn't mean no one has," Felicity pointed out. "Besides, he sounds like he was pretty taken with you. Maybe he's hoping you'll change your mind and come back so he's holding off on giving interviews for a few days."
Della shook her head. "I doubt it."
"Oh, come on, Dells," Felicity pleaded. "Just once, believe in romance, believe in fairy tales. Believe that this man is waiting for you and go back tomorrow and see if he really did hire someone else. You'll see I'm right."
Della didn't necessarily believe Felicity. In fact, she wasn't sure she did at all. She was positive Perry Mason had better things to be doing than to wait for her to change her mind about a job offer. She was sure after she left his office he didn't give her a second thought and went on about his work. Della knew all this was true. At the same time though, she couldn't get Felicity's words out of her head. This would be a great job and it would open up a plethora of opportunities. Besides, Della didn't think it would be a boring job and that was one of the things she hated about this one; sitting around and doing nothing. Della groaned, her active mind and her over excitable friend had convinced her. She was going to go back to Perry Mason's office tomorrow, push aside her worries, look like a fool, confirm that she was right and Felicity was indeed wrong, and then continue on with her job search.
Della Street was trying hard to not pace the floor. She had just walked into Perry Mason's office and the receptionist that had been there yesterday wasn't at her desk. Della knew she was somewhere in the office since her sweater was thrown over the back of the chair and her purse was at the foot, but she had been gone for at least five minutes. Della had walked into the office with complete confidence but as the minutes stretched on, her confidence had begun to lessen.
"Oh!" Gertie exclaimed when she came back into the outer office and saw Della sitting there. "Miss Street!"
"Hello, is Mr. Mason in?" Della asked, trying to get her confidence back.
"He is," Gertie confirmed. "I thought you weren't going to be working for him?"
Della bit her lip lightly. "Well, I wasn't, but—"
Della was interrupted by Perry Mason's current secretary coming into the office. "Gertie, Perry wants—Why Miss Street! Whatever are you doing here?"
"She wants to see Mr. Mason," Gertie answered for her.
Della closed her eyes. The visit was not supposed to turn out like this. Gertie was supposed to let her in to see Perry Mason immediately and his current secretary, Kathleen Harris, was not supposed to be looking at her as though she was suspicious of her motives. Good God!
"Why don't you come into my office, Miss Street," Kathleen suggested. "We can talk in there."
Walking into Kathleen's office, Della was wondering what she was going to say. She didn't want to tell this secretary the real reason she had left yesterday but she definitely couldn't tell her what she had told Felicity. She was also sure Kathleen thought she was a spy now because she was acting so strange.
"Please don't look at me like that!" Della exclaimed, seeing the suspicion and distrust in the secretary's gaze. "I don't have any ulterior motives. I just want to work here."
"And you didn't want to yesterday?" Kathleen asked.
Della sighed and lowered her eyes to stare at the flecks of green and purple in the ugly orange carpet.
Kathleen could see this young girl was really struggling with something. All her suspicions disappeared. She knew this girl would be a good candidate when she read her resume, which is why she pushed for Perry to give her an interview. Now she wanted to find out what was wrong. "Why didn't you want this job yesterday, Della?"
The gentleness in Kathleen's tone made Della want to talk. When she looked up and didn't see anything in her eyes but genuine curiosity and concern, the story spilled out of Della. "Mr. Mason asked me when I could start. He didn't call any of my references, he asked me a few questions about my previous work, but nothing of real significance and he barely looked at my resume. I don't usually react on impulse, but I panicked. I didn't want another job where the man I'm working for expects me to owe him something…after hours. Where I come from, when men are too nice to you, they want something and are not to be trusted."
Kathleen nodded slowly and felt like saying Ooooooooh. So that's why this woman ran like a scared rabbit. That made plenty of sense. Maybe it was a bit unfair to make her think Perry just wanted her on an impulse. Kathleen began to explain. "Perry isn't really a fan of details when it comes to things other than his cases. I try to handle as much as I can for him. I took all the resume's that came in and weeded out the ones that didn't seem promising. Then from the ones that did, I read them over again and called the references. I then weeded out the ones who didn't have good references. After that, I set up the interview and gave Perry the resume. That way he already knew this person was good, he just needed to have an interview and decide if the person was who he wanted."
Della closed her eyes and felt her cheeks coloring to a shade of red she never thought she'd experienced before. She was so embarrassed. She should've known the great Perry Mason wouldn't take advantage of women like that. She shouldn't have panicked and she should've been reasonable. There were so many things that she should've done yesterday of which she didn't even think!
"I'm so very sorry," Della apologized. "I should've realized. I guess I just wasn't thinking."
"There's no way you could've known," Kathleen said. "I really liked you yesterday and I still do. I think, even though you reacted quickly yesterday, that's something you rarely do and you would be good for Perry. I'm guessing since you are back here, you still want this job?" At Della's nod she continued, "In that case, I am almost sure I can get Perry to give you a second interview."
Della smiled at this woman who she had come to like in a very short time. "That would be amazing."
Kathleen turned to go into Perry's office. Before she opened the door, she nodded decisively. "Give me five minutes."
Perry looked up as Kathleen entered his office. "Do I really have to go through the process of all these interviews? Can't you just stay?"
Kathleen laughed. "You know John is getting tired of all the hours I spend here with you and I can't blame him. Luckily, I have someone outside in my office who will be just perfect."
"Yesterday you said that about Miss Street," Perry reminded her.
"Well, then, it's a good thing that's who's in my office right now," Kathleen said.
"What?" Perry asked.
"She's back," Kathleen told him. "And she wants the job."
Perry Mason raised his eyebrows. He had all kinds of suspicions about her coming back, but he knew Kathleen was a great secretary and wouldn't have even mentioned Della unless she knew there was nothing about which to be suspicious. "Why?"
"Perry, she didn't know I had looked at her resume and called her references," Kathleen explained. "She thought you were just hiring her on a whim. She thought you were just hiring her because she was a pretty face and you were going to take advantage of her…after hours. Apparently she has had that kind of job before, where men take advantage of women. Really though, you can't totally blame her for thinking that. You are a very handsome man and I'm no spring chicken. I'm leaving and it makes sense that she'd think you'd hire someone who was easy on the eyes, as she is. Especially if she has experienced that type of horrible sexism before."
Perry sighed. He still wasn't sure about giving this girl a second chance. If she ran like that yesterday, what's to stop her from doing it again? He acted on impulses enough, he didn't need a secretary who did that too. On the other hand though, Kathleen was a fantastic judge of character and if she thought this woman wasn't good for him she wouldn't be pushing for him to give her another chance.
"Come on, Perry," Kathleen goaded. "You always give your clients a second chance, saying justice needs to be served. Wouldn't it be unjust not to give Della Street the same courtesy?"
Perry narrowed his eyes. "I hate it when you throw my own words and beliefs back at me."
Kathleen smiled. "Why do you think I'm such a good secretary?"
Perry sighed again. "Send her in."
Perry tried, he really did. He tried to find something in this girl that he didn't see yesterday. He wanted to find a fault or a shortcoming, something that would make her a bad secretary to him. The only problem was: it wasn't working! He did detect a bit of nervousness in her eyes that wasn't there yesterday, but it wasn't affecting her voice or her interview in any way. He even tried to panic her to see if she would run again, but she didn't. She stayed calm and cool. She still seemed to be an amazing person who would be focused and could keep him focused. He could tell she would be very efficient in everything she did. She would know what confidentiality meant and he knew he would be able to trust her not to blab his clients business to anyone. He liked the fire she seemed to have and he knew she would challenge him to be a better attorney. He also noticed that Kathleen had wrote 'has perfect work ethic' on her resume. Also, as Kathleen had mentioned, she was incredibly easy on the eyes.
Perry would never dream of taking advantage of her and he would most likely never act on the fact that she was beautiful. Of course, having a beautiful secretary could be an advantage for him. Even though he would never act on his thoughts, she was his confidential secretary and he would get to look at her!
Perry smiled at Della. "Thank you for coming in, Miss Street. Do you think you could start tomorrow?"
Della quickly looked around his office. "Actually, do you have any more pressing appointments today?"
"I'll have to check with Kathleen," Perry told her. "Why?"
"I thought I could take today and organize your office," Della informed him. "I am not going to have all these books cluttering up this table over here. And these files need to be put away. You're bound to lose something with everything all mixed together over here."
Perry raised his eyebrows as she started straightening up the table without so much as an okay from him. Suddenly, he knew why Kathleen wanted him to hire Della as his secretary. This woman was going to turn his office upside down, but make it better at the same time. He was going to hate every second of it, yet he was also going to love how it was helping his practice. Darn that Kathleen!
One Year Later
"Perry, focus!" Della exclaimed. "It is nine o'clock, you have five letters to answer and you have one hour to do it in."
"It won't take an hour to answer five letters," Perry pointed out.
"It will if you don't stop fooling around," Della rebuked him. "Now, come on."
As soon as Perry picked up a letter, the phone rang. Della groaned loudly at the interruption right as she had got him to obey. Still though, she picked up the phone. "Perry Mason's office." Suddenly, her face lit up. "Of course, Gertie. Send her in!"
She hung up and then walked over to the door to began to show their guest in. "Who is she sending in, Della?" Perry asked.
Della just smiled and opened the door to reveal the guest. "Kathleen!" Perry exclaimed. He got up from his chair to hug his former secretary. "What are you doing here?"
Kathleen smiled. "Oh, I just thought I'd drop by and see how you were doing. Am I even in the right office?"
"Yep," Della said smiling as well.
"It looks so different," Kathleen observed. "A small bookshelf, a filing cabinet and a couch?"
"The bookshelf is for the books we use most often," Della explained. "It seemed foolish to keep them in another room when we were going to need them almost every day. Now, they are just a few feet away. The filing cabinet is for all the clients we have this week. I switch out the files every Monday. The couch is for Paul and for when Perry insists on staying here all hours of the night."
"You sleep?" Kathleen asked, amazed.
"No," Perry said. "But Della insists on staying here with me and she has to sleep."
"I don't have to," Della insisted. "Besides, I usually stay awake so you can use my ears to justify your own thinking anyway."
"You lay down," Perry countered.
Kathleen smiled slightly at their banter. She looked at Perry's desk and gasped in surprise. "Were you answering your mail?"
Della nodded while Perry did nothing but stare at the ground.
"I could never get him to answer mail in the morning!" Kathleen cried.
Della shrugged as if it was no big deal. "He had to do it now. He has a 10:00 appointment and an 11:00 appointment. Then there's two hours for lunch and a preliminary hearing starts at 2:00. He has to eat and there's no way I'm coming back to the office after the hearing just to answer mail."
Kathleen raised her eyebrows. "I'm impressed."
The phone rang again. "Excuse me," Della said. "Perry Mason's office." She smiled at Gertie's news. "Send him in."
She again walked over to the door to open it for their new guest. As she opened it, the occupants of the office heard, "Hello, Beautiful."
Della rolled her eyes. "Hello, Paul."
When Paul came into the office, he gasped. "Gorgeous! What are you doing here?"
"I just came by to see everyone, Paul," Kathleen answered. "I can see you're still as feisty as ever."
"No one can corral me, baby," Paul teased.
"Watch it, Paul," Della warned good-naturedly, handing him a cup of freshly brewed coffee and walking over to put another cup in front of Perry.
"Yes, Ma'am," Paul quickly agreed.
Kathleen burst out laughing. "Looks like someone can corral you, tough guy."
Perry gave Della a smile for giving him the coffee. "Did you have something for me, Paul?"
"Oh yes," Paul seemed to just remember. "Big news!"
All three heads swiveled to Kathleen, unintentionally. "I can leave," Kathleen said.
"No, Mrs. Harris, wait," Della called. "You and I can just go into my office while they're talking. It won't take too long, will it Paul?"
"No," Paul said. "Who's going to take the notes down in shorthand?"
"That won't be a problem," Della said. "Just give me your notebook really quickly before you leave and I'll make a copy of your notes. Then, I'll copy them again in shorthand and type them up."
"We're busy for the rest of the day," Perry reminded Della.
"So I'll come back after the hearing," Della said.
"But earlier you said…" Perry began.
"Perry!" Della exclaimed. "Mrs. Harris just got here, she's been here for all of two minutes. She can leave now and we can spend the next forty-five minutes after Paul leaves answering your mail, or she can stay and we can spend the next forty-five minutes visiting with her."
Perry quickly looked to Kathleen. "Please, don't leave! You just got here!"
Della nodded. "That's what I thought. Come with me, Mrs. Harris."
"Gosh, I knew when I told Perry to hire you, you'd be good, but I had no idea you'd be this good!" Kathleen mused.
"Would you like some coffee, Mrs. Harris?" Della asked.
"No, thank you, dear," Kathleen declined. "And, please, call me Kathleen."
"Okay, Kathleen," Della agreed. "What did you mean when you said I'd be 'this good?'"
"You're perfect!" Kathleen said. "You got Perry to answer his mail in the morning. You know all his appointments for today, who they're with and I bet you know them for the rest of the week without even having to look. You bought a bookshelf for his office and a filing cabinet and organized everything ideally. You're even going to come back after the hearing now. It just amazes me how efficient you are. How perfect you are!"
Della's cheeks colored at all the praise coming from Perry's former secretary. She was sure Kathleen had been just as good. "I'm just being his secretary."
Kathleen shook her head. "You're being too modest. You go above and beyond the call of duty. I take it you like working here?"
Della smiled. "I love it! It's everything I hoped the job would be. Paul is hilarious and can always make me laugh no matter what. I love the dedication Perry has to his clients and the justice he always brings them. He always believes they're innocent and can usually find the real criminal. The best part though is seeing the frustration and anger on Hamilton Burger's face. You'd think he'd learn by now that going up against Perry is bound to end badly for him!"
Kathleen chuckled. "Yes, Hamilton Burger was one of the more enjoyable parts of this job. I just loved it when Perry beat him."
"Which is every time," Della pointed out.
Kathleen laughed at the truth in Della's statement. "Very true. I'm so glad Perry ended up hiring you. I can tell it's working out very well. Paul obviously loves you. He gave you one of his cheeky nicknames and he seems to trust you. As for Perry, he just adores you. It's evident in the way he looks at you, the way he talks about you, the way he is with you."
Della blushed again. She wasn't about to tell Kathleen she adored Perry too. It was more than that though, she was afraid she was falling in love with him. She wasn't about to leave the job, but she was angry that she wasn't strong enough to withstand his inevitable charm.
"You know," Kathleen began again. "Perry might be falling in love with you."
Della gasped. It was like Kathleen was reading her thoughts.
Kathleen took her gasp as one of fear and rushed to calm her. "Don't worry, he won't do anything about it for a while. If he ever gets up enough courage to ask you out for a fancy dinner, he won't say it's a date unless you do. He won't do anything unless you feel the same way."
Della shook her head. "Why in the world would he be falling in love with me? I'm just his secretary. I don't mean to sound rude or assume I know Perry better than you, but I do think you're wrong, Kathleen."
Kathleen raised her eyebrows in skepticism. "You can't tell me you don't see it. All you have to do is look in his eyes. Maybe it's irrational, it might even be stupid, but regardless, it's there."
At that moment, Paul opened the connecting door between Perry and Della's office. "We're finished."
Kathleen gave Della one last look and turned to Paul. "Great!" She got up to walk back into Perry's office.
"Paul," Della called to get his attention. "Give me your notebook really fast and I'll make a copy of those notes."
He gave her the notebook and she went to the copier. As she was waiting for the notes to copy, she had to grudgingly agree with Kathleen. Perry loving her was irrational and she knew it was most likely stupid. Just as she couldn't deny the first two things Kathleen said, she couldn't deny the last. It was there.
The end. Now, if I were reading this, I would be really mad right now because it ended there. If you are, I'm so sorry. This is marked as complete because I won't be continuing as of now. If I should feel really ambitious I might, but I don't think it will happen. Besides, I want to leave it to your imagination to decide what Della's going to do about this. I really wasn't sure about this idea and I'm still not sure if it's any good, but I had a ball writing it. I hope you had the same pleasure reading it. Please leave me a review to tell me what you thought and thanks for reading.