To Gypsyrosalie: Thanks for a great year, with lots of inspiration. I'm glad you survived your HSCs and passed, and I hope the future's bright for you, sis.

Even though I have some… issues with this pairing (The main issue being that I HATE one of the characters in it) I know you like it, and you requested it, so I'm giving it to you. Yes, you may have already begged to read it several million times- you probably have it memorised already- but reading it in type on fanfiction rather than scribbled in a few torn-out pages from a notebook will hopefully make it fresh for you. You're a great sister, and I probably couldn't have made it on fanfiction without you. Thanks a million!

Title: Martina's last stand

Fandom: Bread (There isn't a category for it, so I'm putting it in British Comedy)

Characters: Joey (BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) and Martina (The DHSS lady)

Pairings: Joey/Martina. Yeah, I know, they're both in different canon pairings, but this is the pairing gypsyrosalie wanted so... yeah.

Set: Ermmmmm…. Most likely the end of the second series in bread (before they brought Roxy and Shifty into existence and DEFINITELY before they changed the actor for Joey)

Summary: Martina is having a very stressful day, and just as she thinks nothing could make it worse, along comes Joey…

Okay, I probably should get on with writing the fic. I've wasted about ten minutes of my life putting this in.

She knew it sounded cliché, but Martina was having the worst day of her life. Her mind had lapsed into stressful insomnia, therefore delivering her in the morning with no sleep and a whole night of tossing and turning. Then, of course, her shower had to run out of hot water, the hairdryer had to blow a fuse, her favourite shirt had to rip and her car had to break down, leaving her to walk to the DHSS. And, as with all bad days, it started to rain heavily as she walked. By the time Martina got to work, her hair was mussed, her clothes were dripping and her favourite boots were encased in mud. To add to it, she was late- and was severely reprimanded before she stormed off to her counter. As the first person- a whiny housewife, no doubt- came to her counter, Martina picked up her elegant and brand-new fountain pen that had been an expensive gift. But as she held it, to her horror the delicate nib snapped off under her thumb- and for the rest of the morning, she was reduced to using a chewed up, running-out biro. She resolved to buy a new pen at her lunch break, having discovered that she'd left her lunch at her house accidentally, but when her lunch break finally came she realised that she had also left her purse at home, too, preventing the purchase of a decent pen or even some lunch. By the time her lunch break finished, and the next lot of customers came in, Martina was fuming.

Nothing could make this day worse. She thought, but as soon as she did, she wanted to eat her words, because there was the all-too-familiar sound of doors slamming open.

Please don't let it be him. Martina thought desperately. Please…

Martina slammed her head down on the desk. Of course- it was all she needed to make the bad day complete; a visit from the scam of the earth, Joey Boswell.

She didn't even look up to know that he was at her counter; she heard the chair creak as he tilted back in it, smelled the leather, sensed the smug smile on his face. Martina refused to move, in the hopes that he would go away. After what seemed like ten minutes, she lifted her head warily…

He was still there.

"Oh, God!" she groaned.
"Greetings!" he announced again. "I was wondering when you'd move."
Martina's lips hardened into a thin line, and her hands clenched into fists. Once again, he was ridiculously cheerful and optimistic- in fact; she'd only ever seen him get angry once. It irritated Martina more than usual- why was he so… pleased when she felt particularly rotten?

"What is it you want?" she snarled, frustrated. But as he opened his mouth, she continued "Are you claiming because there's a microscopic nick in your solid gold chandelier? Or do you need new leather gear- I mean, the thought that there's still one cow left in the world must really un-nerve you." Her voice began climbing higher in volume. "Or is it new paint on your allegedly borrowed jaguar? Or have you finally come to your senses, and you're getting an operation to sew your gob up?"
Right now Martina wanted nothing more than Joey to be enraged by her outburst- he didn't deserve to be so calm all the time- but, to her extreme annoyance, he smiled.

"You are a most cynical woman, sweetheart."

One eyelid twitched, and Martina had trouble holding herself back. She'd always hated it when he called her stupid things, like sweetheart and sunshine, and she especially hated it today.

"Please refrain yourself from calling me that." She snapped. "You have no right."

He shot her a ridiculously-false innocent look. "I was just trying to be friendly, sunshine…"


Every eye in the DHSS was suddenly on her, shocked by the slam of her fists on the table, the clatter as her chair fell to the ground, and the screech of her voice. Martina was pleased to see that even he looked shocked. But, once again, he remained calm- fury boiled up in her, for she had desired a reaction more than anything.

"I merely though that-"

"You couldn't think rationally if it was the last thing you ever did!" Martina raged, her lips almost disappearing into her face in anger. Her too tight fists clenched even harder. "The only thing that spurts from your gob is rubbish!"

"What emits from my 'gob' as you call it is nothing but truth." Joey gave her a large smile and an irritating hand gesture. Martina made a growling sound.

"Please! There's more lies that come from your house than Downing Street!" she roared, face turning red. By now, several other customers had vacated the social security office, and the few remaining people were watching intently, afraid of missing something that would be, no doubt, tomorrow's juicy gossip. Martina didn't care, didn't care if she was slandered, didn't care if she was sacked. All she wanted to do was wipe that smile off Joey's face.

It was then that he did the unforgivable thing- he laughed.

Just a little, barely a snigger, but it was enough- enough to make Martina snap from the thread that had been fraying all day. She couldn't help herself. It was just so… annoying. Before she knew what was doing, the back of her hand collided with his grinning face.

A gasp rippled through the people in the DHSS, and even Martina felt shocked. She looked up, saw the vivid mark on his face, and wondered what was wrong with her- or, to be honest, him- she'd just HIT him, and yet he didn't look at all angry or shell-shocked. He looked up with her, and strange look in his eyes, and then his hands reached over and clamped her arms tightly to her sides. Martina's heart stopped- was he going to hit her back? He drew his face close in over the counter, and inch from hers, until she felt incredibly intimidated as his eyes stared into hers with a weird look she'd never seen before. Martina's strong resolve crumbled, and she was about to apologize when something crashed onto her mouth like an express train. It took a few seconds for it to kick in…

He was kissing her.

Her eyes grew enormous and her face tensed, but somehow she couldn't find the will to pull away, even if it were possible with the way his arms restrained hers. She wondered what everyone thought, wondered if she would still have a job- let alone a reputation- after this. Still frozen in shock, she felt his lips mould to hers in an urgent, almost hurried way…

And then she was staggering down, his hands gone from her arms, and a loud murmur began brewing in the room. Martina looked up, wanting an explanation, but her eyes hit the space where she thought he was to find only air, and her ears heard the doors slam.
He'd gone.

It had been two weeks.

Two weeks, and an hour of being shouted at by her senior, not to mention all the whispers and funny looks that began following her wherever she went; two weeks and two written warnings. Martina was surprised she still had a job- her senior had assured her she wouldn't, had the "victim" pressed charges.

Yet, the most important thing was that it had been two weeks since she'd seen him. There wasn't a whiff of leather or shiny jaguar in sight- and that worried Martina. Had she finally driven the ever-present Boswells to leave? Now that she thought about it, she missed them- though she hated to admit it. Not even Billy, the youngest, had turned up- a factor that shocked Martina; how could they go two weeks without claiming for some insignificant thing, or collecting their several-thousand allowances? It had appeared- to her, at least- that they had had some irritating addiction to the DHSS, but now they were gone, and it felt… boring.

"Number 97?" Martina called listlessly, looking down and shuffling her forms before plucking a fresh one from the pile. When she looked up, she almost had a heart attack.

He was sitting in the chair.

For a moment, Martina was filled with relief, until she realised something; he wasn't acting cordial to her any more.

There had been no cry of 'greetings', no smile, no face-an-inch-from-hers. He wasn't even looking at her, his face turned away from hers, nor was he tilted in the usual smug position; in fact, his chair was further away from the counter than it had ever been. Martina felt a strange guilty sensation, and a question she never thought she'd ask sprung to mind: Had he meant it? Despite herself, Martina began wondering if he'd actually meant the kiss, of if he'd just been trying to shock and anger her.

I hope he did. Martina thought, though she wanted to kick herself instantly. Wait- do I actually WANT him to have meant it?

"May I help you?" she kept her voice devoid from all emotion as she spoke to him. His head snapped around, and his face- she noticed- looked angry, thunderstruck

He didn't mean it. He's angry. Disappointment flickered inside Martina, and before she could help herself a tiny ripple of sadness crossed her face. Then, without warning, his face split into a familiarly evil grin.

"I am here on a purely personal matter this time." He said, in his usual cheerful tone of voice. Relief whacked into Martina.

"Oh yeah?" she found her voice again.

In a swift motion, he moved his chair back into its usual position closer to the desk, grin stretching wider.

"Well, I was wondering if you would accompany me out for dinner, since you seem so utterly stressed at work."
Martina's heart skipped a beat, eyes growing wide again. Then, before she could help herself, a question burst from her lips, one eyebrow cocking.

"In your jaguar?"

He nodded slowly. "The one and only."

Martina glanced down at her watch unnecessarily. "Well, since I get off… oh, right about now, and my car still isn't working, I guess I have no choice." She forced a pained tone into her voice, though she couldn't curb how ecstatic she was in her mind. He seemed genuinely pleased, too- though Martina never could tell- and remained patiently until she packed up. When everyone else had left for the day, Martina stood up and began walking out with him- all the way to the jaguar she'd been condemning for so long. However, a thought struck her and she stopped in her tracks.

"But I'm still out to get you, Mr Boswell." She threatened, narrowing her eyes. He laughed again.

"Of course. It wouldn't be half the fun if you weren't." And he ushered her into the jag.

Well, it's done- though not permanently: a deleted scene I also wrote for gypsyrosalie is working its way up to publishment (It involves Billy being incredibly annoying). I know, once again, that that is NOT a canon pairing so please don't flame. Gypsyrosalie, I hope you like it because I almost died from the horror of having to write about the disgusting Joey.