But Tina has a sexually transmitted disease and for some reason that makes me smile.
I hear another in a string of annoying complaints about my overall tone with her when James’ voice calls to me through the door interrupting my phone call with Tina. “Bette, Alice is here to see you.” And then in walks Alice with a potted plant.
“Very nice. Very Dean-y but nice.” Alice spins around my office and comes back to rest facing me. “Just a little housewarming present for your new move up in the world. Dean Porter feels good, I bet. Dinner with The Governator tonight and everything.”
“Thank you, Alice. I guess I could stop and have tea with you.” Then I lower my voice, “Although I just got back from a faculty coffee and I’m a bit wired at the moment. And I have a headache from trying to tune my ear to decipher grains of truth from professorial bullshit. It’s a whole new language of lying.”
“Something you know nothing about.”
Alice flinches as I burn a glare at her from behind my desk. “Fuck you, Alice.”
“Hey! Lighten up. Here’s your plant, just wanted to say, Hi, I’m on my way to see Phyllis, anyway.”
“Phyllis did you say?” Now, I try to control my tone with her.
“I did. We’re going out tomorrow, maybe on a teeny date. I’m not sure.”
My eyes widen and I stand up from behind my desk and walk slowly toward Alice to not spook her so she runs into the hallway crying out more indelicacies.
“Alice, we talked about this. Phyllis is my boss and you can’t bring her into our circle. Alice, it would be very complicated for me, do you understand that?”
“Not sure who made you Phyllis’ gatekeeper but I have a little something you might be interested in if you want to step back about two feet and quit trying to run my life when yours is, ah, the way it is.” Alice ends at a softer volume. We look at each other. A deal on the table.
“A little something or a big something? About Tina, of course.” I do as she asks and I give her some space. Alice can be easily spooked but just as easily riled into scalding emotional outrage. I’ve seen it. She’s impressive.
“Well, let’s see. She’s still hanging around Henry, right?”