by The Hag
Carol had done a convincing job on the paternity suit notifications. She had let most of the female staff members in on it, so avid eyes were watching the opening of the envelopes in the rest room.
A handful of pristine consciences recognised the joke immediately. Several promiscuous others searched their puzzled memories before catching on. Some fingers were counted to a muttered reverse recital of months. Blind panic filled the faces of Lucas and McCabe, and they beat a hasty retreat.
Doyle said firmly: "Sorry, love, I can't marry you. Already engaged."
Heads turned, some in genuine curiosity, others to see where Doyle would go with this one.
"Who to, you faithless swine?" Carol demanded, clutching at her heart with a dramatic eye-roll.
"Bodie, who d'you think?" Doyle's tone stated the bleedin' obvious.
"You know about this, Bodie?" Carol turned gleefully to watch Bodie's reaction.
"Known for the last two years." Bodie sauntered over and flipped his copy of Carol's document onto the table. Swiftly he cupped a hand under Doyle's jaw and planted a brief kiss on his mouth. "So I'm out of the running too, but I'll kick in support if the blood test checks out."
Vaguely disappointed that Doyle hadn't clobbered Bodie, Carol decided to string it out a bit longer. "So when's the happy day, then?"
Another barely patient statement of the obvious from Doyle: "Soon as the law changes."
Cowley proclaimed from the doorway where he had been lurking: "Doyle, Bodie, I've a job for you." Then, in an attempt to go along with the gowk-hunting spirit, although he considered their jest in abysmal taste, he added: "And you know all such plans have to be cleared with me ahead of time."
"Of course, sir," Bodie agreed. "Only it seems a long way off. But if you'd consider this official notice of our honourable intentions--"
"And we hope you'll be Best Man, sir," Doyle added.
"What about me?" Murphy sounded faintly chagrined. "Worst Man, I suppose."
"Aye, aye, very well, now enough of your nonsense," Cowley chided them. "Report to me in the computer room in five minutes. And the rest of you--"
Recognising the familiar implied files-and-records threat, the tea- and coffee-drinkers hastily gulped and scattered.
"Let me know if you think of any use for a Matron of Honour," said Carol, and drifted off to milk further agony from Lucas and McCabe.
"Amazing what people won't believe if you just choose the right moment," Bodie marvelled, pausing for a swift glance along the passage to ensure the coast was clear, then scooping Doyle close for a more leisurely kiss. "I'd say we're definitely technically in the clear with the Cow."
"Worth tryin' if push comes to shove. Handy, that, Carol givin' us such a good openin'!" Doyle extricated himself, delivered an affectionate slap to Bodie's rear, and started for the computer room. He grinned back over his shoulder. "See what they make of you wearin' a diamond ring next April First!"
-- THE END --
April 1, 1999