Paul was out yesterday afternoon visiting his teacher agency client. Maria and I took the opportunity for a woman-to-woman chat over our work - I'm still re-creating the bookkeeper's books and Maria is preparing the books for a farmer client who brought in a huge box of papers.
"Calum's just lovely," she tells me. "He's so kind, Allie. Last night my brother got knocked off his bike -"
"Oh no, is he OK?" I interrupt.
"Yes, thank God, he's fine, but I was really shaken up. Calum was so kind, insisted on coming with me to the hospital and stayed with me until we knew Ric would be OK. And he's going to take Ric home today when he's discharged from hospital."
"He sounds like a keeper, Maria!"
Maria's whole face lights up with a beautiful smile.
"Yes, I think he is!" The smile fades. "But I think Lucy doesn't like it. She keeps saying really nasty things about people who date their clients - things about the office being an introduction agency or an escort agency."
"She's jealous, that's what it is," I reassure. "But Maria, you don't have to put up with that, you know you don't. Have you spoken to Tessa about it, or to Jack or Henry?"
"I don't want to get her into trouble."
"Ask Tessa to have a quiet word with her. Or do you want me to?"
"No, Allie, don't. I don't want to cause any trouble. I'm dating a client and I don't know whether that would cause even more trouble if it got out beyond you and Paul knowing. Don't say anything, please."
I agree, but resolve to keep my ears to the ground and listen out for any spiteful remarks from Lucy. If I do hear any then I will tell her off. That's out of order.