Marvin fulfilled his promise and considering the size of it, she understood why he had apologized beforehand. His idea of a party seemed to be dragging people that could afford a break to their floor, set up the tiny corner of a kitchen aisle with drinks and crisps. There were two A4 papers stapled together that spelled 'Welcome' and 'please stay longer' in two neat rows hanging above. In a tiny inked script, as if tacked on later, her name was written underneath.
She snorted at the sight and pulled out her clunky phone, sacrificing some of the memory to take a somewhat overexposed photo of it all.
With that done, she decided to socialize. Helen ambled around with a drink, conversing with Lily and Harriet from two floors down. A few barristers that she hadn't yet met that she took the time to introduce herself to, a caretaker that she cheerily exchanged a few words with, three secretaries that had a sharp eye to their telephone, a couple of IT personnel that Ryan unenthusiastically introduced her to and also the man himself that made this all possible. She immediately went towards him after noticing his floppy hair from a distance.
"Naomi!" He mimicked her greeting, eyes creased from the smile. "Do you like it? Wait, no, don't tell me. It's a synonym with impressive, isn't it?"
She looked around again at how much the entire floor had transformed from what it had been a few hours before. There were some drinks. A barely noticeable banner hung sadly over the chips. Well. There were certainly more people idling instead of working, she would give him that. Naomi nodded slowly. "That's a word for it, sure."
"Oh pssh," he retorted, waving a hand. "You're just upset Borque and Hunt isn't here to pamper you."
Naomi stilled. "I – what? What's that supposed to mean?"
His expression was half teasing, half wary at her reaction. "That's no secret, really. Hunt has cancelled all of his other calls from women, and you know how he is."
"No. I don't."
Marvin quickly back-pedalled, smile dropping entirely. "I didn't mean to imply anything. You are their intern, of course their attention would be on you. They're probably trying to recruit you if I know them right. And who wouldn't? I mean, your bedside manners might need some improving but that only makes you more loveable really, so who cares? And – and you're laughing again. Why are you laughing?"
His affronted expression only made her silent laughter go into the audible spectrum, giggles spilling out from her tightly pressed lips. She gave him a brilliant smile. "You really do ramble when you're nervous. I wasn't sure."
Marvin grumbled. "Where did you hear that? And no, don't answer that." He cast a baleful eye into the small crowd, zeroing in on Ryan. "I think I know."
"Hey, don't be like that." She patted his shoulder comfortingly, drawing his attention back to her. "I saw it with my own eyes, sorry. It included punching and parties, remember? Your secret is out I'm afraid."
He heaved a sigh. "Yeah, about that..." The humor drained from his expression and he went back to seriousness. Marvin was apparently not letting the matter go. She wasn't sure if she liked that about him or not. "Borque and Hunt. They've been more," he paused, "active, than usual. I'm accustomed to handling the main load, but they've taken up the slack recently. I can't help but think it's related to you."
She blanked her expression, uncertain how to respond. Silently taking note of the way he phrased his importance in the company, Naomi gave him a smile that was more of a grimace. He allowed her fumbling for more time by sipping her drink and casting her eyes around the room. No one seemed to be paying them any attention.
"Am I supposed to answer?" Naomi said eventually, levelling him with a wary look.
As if flicking a switch, Marvin went back to nervous. His mood swings showed that while he might cast on a confident persona, the honest truth was closer to a nervous wreck more than anything else. Unconsciously, her eyes gentled and she decided to throw him a bone.
"I doubt I'm the cause of anything those two does. I can more easily coax a mountain to move than push those two into anything they've already decided to do." And didn't that just sum up their current relationship? "Besides, hasn't Jack been busier than ever on the phone? Hardly anything to do with my internship."
"Ah, that. Don't tell anyone, but that's his father apparently. Allegedly business. I think it's actually personal, why else does he clam up about it?" He shrugged. "Point stands. They're acting differently."
That was an interesting bit of news that he casually dropped. If he continued like that, Naomi would just have to re-prioritize who to spend more time with. He would officially become her new best friend. And why would Jack be on the phone with his father? She felt uneasy but wasn't sure of the cause. She shouldn't be. She had been careful. Maybe it was just this day.
When Naomi looked up again, Marvin had started shifting on his feet, lips pursed in worry. "That, well..." He trailed off. Delicately, he started, "If you're in over your head, or need any help..."
She blinked, taken aback. He had been trying to lead this conversation from the start. That's what this had been all about? He was worried about her?
The irony to whom he was talking to didn't escape her. He really shouldn't worry for her. She had training, this was her job, and while his focus was on the right person, he had fallen short for why that was. Nevertheless. It had been awhile since anyone had expressed any kind of worry for her. It was kind of... sweet.
The answering smile she gave him was small but heartfelt. "Thank you. For asking. And offering." She reached forward to briefly grip his shoulder, smiling wider when the tension eased out of him. "There's no need though. They're not doing –" she flickered her fingers at him, "whatever it is that you're thinking about."
"Good." He slumped. "I work with them so I know how they can be, but I don't really think they're that type. But, well."
"Thanks for asking," she said again.
He smiled. "Yeah. Sure. Always..." His eyes widened, rapidly blinking in surprise. He was looking at something behind her.
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