"Ah Miss Pennyworth, a good morning to you," said Sir Walter Wyles-Smithe.
"And too you, Sir Walter," said Miss Pennyworth. She closed the door to the long but narrow law office and hung her outer jacket on the coat rack. "I thought you were in the Fifth Circle for another two days."
"The trial was adjourned, I'm afraid. Missing witness don't you know. That's the demonic courts for you; frightfully disorganised."
Miss Pennyworth nodded and settled into her seat behind her desk. There was a large pile of papers waiting for her, but first she opened the large leather bound appointments book and flipped to the week's page. She trailed a long manicured finger across the lines.
"It seems you have no court appointments for the remainder of the week. Has the Fifth Circle rescheduled yet? We will need to book the time."
"Not yet, I'm afraid." Sir Walter idly pulled at the collar of his starched white shirt and scratched his neck. "I expect a runner within the week with the revised summons. And drat this rash. All the sulphur in the Fifth Circle will have me scratching for days."
"Very good," said Miss Pennyworth. "I will make a note." She lifted an ornate fountain pen and wrote a short message in her tight copperplate script. "Will you be taking clients until then?"
"The widow Hera is suing the executor of her husbands estate for a controlling stake in the Fillenbank Gas Works."
"Pedestrian twaddle." Sir Walter waved a hand like a Thespian on stage, the motion not directed at anyone in particular save perhaps the shrunken monkey head on the wall, sandwiched between two bulging books of case law. "Am I not a barrister of the Triple Crown? Have I not practiced before the courts of man, god, devil and beast? Have I not prosecuted the parties unnameable and sued on behalf of those unmentionable? Give me succour, woman. Succour!"
"Very good, Sir." Her fountain pen made a tiny mark. "The Sixtieth Street Murder—"
"The Rumble appeal before the House of Earls?"
"Mere gutter work!"
"The Ambrosia Tax case before the Exchequer's Court in Session?"
"Perhaps, perhaps, but no. Tax law is a young man's game." Sir Walter leaned back in his chair and let out a long sigh. He idly hefted a book of law from his desk and drew his fat thumb across the heavily embossed letters. Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of Hell, it read, a foundational tome in his craft.
"The Right Reverend Burning Gates is suing Heaven under its resident Person-hood of His Serene Worshipfulness, the Ambassador Plenipotentiary the Archangel Jegudiel."
"Ah, ha! That is more like it." Sir Walter sat bolt upright and slammed his copy of the Commentaries down onto his desk with a bang. The impact set the spun glass tea-set on a nearby worktable ringing. "The drama of the judicial stage. To weave the chains that bind men, gods, demons and angels alike. Who is defending?"
"His Serene Worshipfulness, the Ambassador Plenipotentiary the Archangel Jegudiel has retained Belloin Potts of the Chambers Potts, Black and Discord."
"Potts! Potts!" Sir Walter almost shook in his chair. His already ruddy face grew red with fury. "I won't have it, I say. I won't have it. Never will I share a courtroom with that man, not after what he did in '42. The bond between Pupil and Master is sacred. Why, the very structure of pupillage itself. And he burned it down!"
"Very good, Sir." Miss Pennyworth frowned slightly as she made another small note. "Would you be willing to advice Mr Jacobs on the case?"
"Oh I suppose I might." Sir Walter made a rolling motion with a hand. "Experience must give a few sage words to youth. But that won't take much of my time. No, it seems to me, Miss Pennyworth, that I must amuse myself for the remainder of the week."
He once more took up his copy of the Commentaries and leaned back as he idly skimmed a passage concerning the ancient privileges of Earls in the Upper Barrows of the Fourth Circle. It failed to keep his interest and he finally looked back up at Miss Pennyworth.
"Were are Jacobs, Mewl and that boy Fletcher?" he asked.
Miss Pennyworth looked up from breaking open a wax sealed document. It bore the mark of the High Court. "Mr Jacobs is preparing his closing remarks for the Blackshire Case. Mr Mewl has taken Mr Fletcher to visit Redgate Prison."
Sir Walter muttered an inaudible nothing under his breath and once more returned to his book. It didn't last long and yet again he turned his attention to Miss Pennyworth. His eyes narrowed just a fraction.
"What are you wearing, Miss Pennyworth?"
Miss Pennyworth coloured slightly. "It is the newest fashion, Sir."
She wore a tight white dress shirt, cut to fit her figure. It clung tight to her large breasts and hugged her flat stomach. The 'V' of the high pointed collar bared the exposed skin of her neck. Below the shirt she wore a tight skirt that ended a little below her knees.
Her auburn hair was twisted into a tight bun and held in place with a pair of large hair pins. Ruby earrings glittered on her years, almost the exact same colour as her make-uped lips.
"Newest fashion, right, right." It was Sir Walter's turn to colour slightly, a distinct crimson cast coming over his corpulent face. Slowly, so as not to be noticed, he reached into his suit jacket's pocket and withdrew a small cheap volume, barely more than a pamphlet really, bound in cardboard. It smelled of sulphur and in letters only a slightly different colour than the cover it read, 'Six Words to Control a Vixen.' He'd picked it up as a lark in the Fifth Circle but now ... He shifted in his seat as his member stirred in his breeches.
He slipped the volume between the pages of the Commentaries and turned to page one. His eyes devoured the words in a way they hadn't legal text since his own long gone pupillage days.
Finally he said, "Miss Pennyworth, you look frightfully hot. Maybe you should undo a..." Dare he?" "A button?"
Her eyes flashed and her pen skittered, making an ugly black mark. "Sir Walter, that is a highly inappropriate comment. You know very well I am engaged to the Baronet Wellesley's son."
A hot flash ran over Sir Walter's face and he started to sweat. He tugged at his collar and pushed on. "I only say because I am feeling very erinaceous lately." That was the first word in the book: erinaceous. Now he just had to hope.
Slowly Miss Pennyworth nodded. "Of course, Sir. I apologise. I shouldn't have assumed such an improper character to your words, and it is very hot."
Her fingers rose to her neck and fiddled with her topmost button. The pearl disc popped free and her tight dress shirt opened an inch.
Sir Walter gobbled in the sight. The curve of her throat was now completely bare. And was that? Yes it was, just a hint of cleavage. His heart hammered in his chest and his member grew so hard it made sitting dreadfully uncomfortable.
Hands shaking slightly, he turned to the next page of 'Six Words to Control a Vixen' and started reading.
It took Sir Walter almost half an hour to grasp the second word and during the time Miss Pennyworth worked her way through more of the piled paperwork. Her pen made a scratching-squeaking sound as she inked another bill of credit.
Sir Walter's lips were dry. He licked them and tried to speak. His voice came out like a frog's croak, and not a noble frog either, such as the one he'd represented in the famous case of Crumb-snatcher v Puff-jaw.
He coughed and said, "Miss Pennyworth, might I trouble you for a glass of water?"
She looked up and smiled. "Of course, Sir. I will get it at once." She stood and walked heel-toe to the small kitchenette. Sir Walter's eyes stuck to her shapely rear as she did.
"And a snifter of the good port while you are about it!" he called after her.
Miss Pennyworth returned shortly a few minutes later, carrying a glass of water and a cut crystal goblet containing a splash of port. From the slight iridescent cast to the colour, it looked to be a gift from the parties unmentionable. The other gentry were known for their skill in such things.
She leaned forward and placed both on his desk. As she did, he had the perfect opportunity to look down the neck of her shirt and just caught the swell of her breasts. His shaggy eyebrows went sky high and he dabbed at his forehead with a monogrammed handkerchief.
"You still look frightfully hot, Miss Pennyworth," he said. "Perhaps another button?"
She froze in place, hand still on the port goblet, and Sir Walter hurried on.
"And you have been seeing to your jentacular duties I trust?" There it was, word two.
"I," she said, voice hollow and a little dazed. "I think ... I mean yes, Sir. I will see to it at once."
She stood upright and flicked open another button. There was a noticeable looseness to her dress shirt now. If only she'd still been leaning forward ... Oh what Sir Walter might have seen. Still, there was the next word.
Sir Walter chugged down half the glass of water, swigged the port and took to the next page of his book with a hunger he'd seldom known. Miss Pennyworth returned to her desk and paperwork.
The third word took longer still for Sir Walter to grasp and it was nearing lunch by the time he was done.
He looked up and saw Miss Pennyworth still at her desk. Her shirt hung loose off her shoulders but still hid all the tantalising titbits beneath.
.... There is more of this story ...