a/n: Hello all! Taking a break from my usual angst genre and trying my hand at humor, let me know what you think.
Roses. There are roses on his desk and a bottle of supreme vintage and if he didn't know any better he would say that Francis was try to seduce him. To be fair though he was, kind of.
'Enjoy mon ami.' Elegant script draping luxuriously across the note card; Henry could almost see Francis winking in his mind's eye.
"Crom!" He calls and instantly his secretary is at his side complete with a clipboard in his hand and a pen tucked behind his ear. Henry gestures to his desk, eyebrow raised.
"Oh yes!" Cromwell nods, "I forgot to mention, Mr. Valois came by while you were out to lunch. Dropped that off for your 'ten year anniversary' he said." Quotations clearly visible, the corner of Crom's mouth twitches and Henry narrows his eyes. "Of your friendship," Cromwell adds quickly, "Ten year anniversary of your friendship."
Henry heaves a sigh and waves his hand to dismiss the man. Lunch with Catherine and her nephew had already dampened his mood and returning to find his office saturated with French cologne was not helping at all. He blamed Anne.
Anne Boleyn, senior editor of the fine dining department at the publishing company where they were employed, had accepted an invitation to judge the annual 'Best of London' competition that pitted the city's gourmet restaurants against each other. But of course, she decides to flake last minute because, 'Edward got a week off work!' and, 'They have the competition every year, my fiancé only gets so much vacation time,' so, 'We're going to Paris!'
And thus Henry was left with Anne's workload. 'But I'm in charge of home and lifestyle, that's nowhere close to fine dining!' he had protested. 'Close enough.' His boss had replied, end of discussion. Damn Wolsey. Damn Anne. Damn Edward Seymour.
When Francis found out that Henry had taken over the judging he had been over the moon. 'I shall design a menu especially for you.' Playing the friend card with not even a hint of shame. Catherine was worse though, all passive aggressive and 'I thought you said Spanish food was your favorite.' His wife had even invited her nephew Charles, the head chef of their family run five star authentic Spanish restaurant, to stay with them for the duration of the contest.
The ringing of his phone is obscenely loud through his brain crippling headache and he considers hurling it through the window until he sees Wolsey stroll by his open door. "Hello?" he answers, playing perfect employee.
"Bonjour, mon ami," Francis chirps brightly on the other end, "Do you like my gift?"
Henry winces, glances up, Wolsey's still there chatting with Cromwell, "It's very…nice. How thoughtful of you." He says lamely. He swears he can feel Francis beaming rays of sunshine through the phone.
"I do cherish our friendship very much. So about the competition…" No shame, no shame at all.
"…and they just keep badgering me, Janie are you even listening?" Jane Seymour assistant junior editor of the fine dining department nods placatingly while she taps out a text message on her phone, having long abandoned any efforts of keeping up with Henry's complaints. He huffs in annoyance, arms crossed, "This is your fault you know."
"My fault? How is it my fault?" cue another round of Henry-logic.
"If you hadn't decided to play cupid and set your brother up with Anne, I wouldn't be in this situation."
"Seriously?" incredulously raised eyebrows, "Seriously that's your reason?"
"Now, now children settle down." Charles Brandon steps into the conference room, thrusting a coffee, each, under their noses. Henry grabs the steaming mug and presses it against his temple, "I still don't understand why you can't do the judging." He glares at Jane.
"For the millionth time, 'senior editor' looks a lot prettier than 'assistant junior editor' in photo captions." She throws her hands up, thoroughly exasperated.
"Don't do fine dining. We know Henry, we know." Brandon says, mixing an unhealthy amount of sugar into his coffee. Henry slumps in his chair sulkily. "What are you complaining about anyway?" Brandon asks, taking a sip of the sugar charged monstrosity in his mug, "You get a week of free five star restaurant dinners."
"What do I have to complain about?" Henry puffs up.
"Oh dear lord…" Jane face-palms.
He peeks behind the door, eyes scanning the empty parking lot before rushing to his car.
"Henry!" God, no. Francis is behind him toting a large picnic basket. He raises it and wiggles his head in that smarmy French way of his, "The second part of my gift to you." He says voice low and husky. Oh God is that his bedroom voice?
"Henry!" Brandon. Lovely, lovely Charles Brandon with his sugar addiction could smell confectionery from miles away. "Hey Francis." He greets the Frenchman with a heavy slap on the back, "Do I smell chocolate?"
Francis flinches, annoyed, "Chocolate covered strawberries," he says, "a gift for Henry." Who couldn't help but cringe, just a bit.
"Sounds delicious," Brandon smiles blithely, "mind if I try one?"
"Help yourself." Henry says before Francis can protest, he's already got a leg in his car, "I have to go, I'm late." He speeds away leaving a very put out Francis and a chocolate smeared Brandon in the parking lot.
He's just crossed the threshold and prepared to relax when he catches the smell of smoke in his house. Panicking, he's panicking and suffering a minor heart attack and about to call the fire department when a flour coated Mary bounces into the living room.
"Daddy! Daddy!" She tugs at his suit jacket, leaving dusty white fingerprints. "Cousin Charlie's teaching me how to make coca!"
"Just a little burnt," Charlie says, carrying the dish to the table, "Come try some Uncle Henry."
His phone vibrates madly in his breast pocket and Henry almost screams when he sees the caller id, Francis, instead he does what any proper gentleman would do in a situation like this. Henry fainted.
a/n: Chapter two coming soon.