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 a good neighbor, tag: sterling/kay
helen clarice mallory
 Posted: Feb 10 2018, 07:54 AM
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Happiness has brought you here!.

  queen clarion
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I just want to build you up, build you up 'Til you're good as new And maybe one day, I will get around To fixing myself, too
There was always a certain satisfaction to be felt when one of her patients was doing particularly well. Not satisfaction in herself of course - Helen was not vain or silly enough to attribute any progress to her own actions, when it was entirely to do with her patients’ own hard work and their impossible bravery in laying their soul bare on a weekly basis - but complete and utter pride.

Most of them were so young - some of them children before they had passed through the portal - and it was impossible not to think to her fairies in moments like these, when a patient felt comfortable enough to discharge themselves from her care (with the reassurance that Helen would always be here if they ever needed to talk). She saw Vidia in their stubbornness, saw Silvermist in their blind, bubbling optimism, and saw Tinkerbell in their sheer determination to make something of themselves in the world they had been thrust into. And when her patients did well - when they were hopeful and happy and ready to face their future in San Francisco - Helen could believe the same was true of her own beloved people.

Of course, it would be easier to think solely of happy thoughts if the discharge papers did not mean a visit to the office down the hall to hand her patient over for career counselling. Queen Clarion had certainly never been a coward - she had faced the few interruptions to the bliss of Pixie Hollow with courage and determination and the fierceness of a mother protecting her children - and she liked to think she same could be said for Helen. But her patience had been regularly tested by Sterling Spiegel in all the years she had worked with him, and she had absolutely no doubt that today’s encounter would prove to be as trying as all the others.

Helen steeled herself with a deep sigh, report clutched to her chest, and rapped lightly on the door to Sterling’s office.
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sterling douglas spiegel
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 12:27 PM
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What wouldst thou know, my Queen?.

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If only you'd have known me before the accident For with that grand collision came a grave consequence Receptors overloaded, they burst and disconnect 'Til there was little feeling please work with what is left
He'd been holding in a sigh for the last hour, and when his latest client left the room Sterling couldn't keep it in any longer. Leaning back in his chair and rubbing the base of his palms into his temples didn't help at all but it sure made him feel like there was pressure being released. If only that was the case. Honestly, he liked his job. He was useful, looked up to for guidance, and at the end of the day he was his own man. But sometimes, sometimes people just hit all the nerves Sterling had.

The last client, for example, was one of those people. A prince from some fabled land. He had described himself as a leader, a man of the people, a man of honor and blah blah blah... did he have any skills? Okay, he could ride a horse. What had he been known for in his homeland? Apparently, nothing, as he had just taken the throne. According to the papers the young man had come in with, he was a child king, no real skills, no real interest in doing ANYTHING, and oh, the way he came in like he owned the office had put Sterling on edge right away. He tried not to judge people when they came to see him yet he always failed. He blamed people like this young king. Somehow Sterling had grit his teeth and managed to stay polite... until the man finally left. Now that he was alone he was ready to tear his hair out. Maybe he could take an early lunch, run off to a little cafe, or even see if there was a food truck nearby.

On the corner of his desk sat a small mirror, one that was often turned to an angle where he couldn't look into it. Now, he reached for it. His fingers brushed against the glass when someone knocked on the office door.

As soon as he heard the voice, he pulled away from the mirror and picked up some papers on his desk to look busy. "Come in." He didn't sound happy, but he rarely sounded happy. Of course, it wasn't Helen's fault he was a grump. But knowing his next interaction with someone would be with the ever cheerful, the eternal ray of blasted sunshine, Helen Mallory, certainly didn't leave Sterling any more pleased with how the day was progressing.

helen clarice mallory

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helen clarice mallory
 Posted: Feb 16 2018, 08:09 AM
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Happiness has brought you here!.

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I just want to build you up, build you up 'Til you're good as new And maybe one day, I will get around To fixing myself, too
If it was anybody else, Helen would have tempted to say she had caught him on a bad day. But this was just Sterling; the same grumpy, irritable Sterling Spiegel she had worked with for four long years, and every day was a bad day as far as he was concerned. She had taken it personally at first, her feelings stung by the sort of cold indifference she had never before been subjected to in her long, long life, but she had soon learned that Sterling’s lack of patience had nothing to do with her - at least not just her - and everything to do with… well, everybody.

At least he had actually invited her in, which wasn’t always the case, and Helen pushed open the door, peering her head around it in anticipation of the mood Sterling was in today. There was a stack of reports on his desk almost as large as the one on hers, which did not bode well for her hopes for a reasonably pleasant conversation, but Sterling didn’t look any more irritated than usual so Helen presumed it was safe to come closer.

“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” Helen said sweetly, knowing full well that her very presence was an interruption to the career counsellor’s solitude. “I’m sure your workload is big enough already, but I’m afraid I have one more case,” she held up the paperwork in question with an apologetic smile, “to add to it.”
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sterling douglas spiegel
 Posted: Feb 21 2018, 01:47 PM
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What wouldst thou know, my Queen?.

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If only you'd have known me before the accident For with that grand collision came a grave consequence Receptors overloaded, they burst and disconnect 'Til there was little feeling please work with what is left
There was no stopping the eye roll when Helen came in 'hoping she wasn't interrupting'. He at least had enough grace to avoid asking her, "If you didn't want to interrupt you wouldn't have come in." Had they not been coworkers, he was sure he would have admired Helen's politeness. But with her never-ending sweetness also came a workload for him. As if to confirm his theory, he spotted something suspiciously like paperwork in her hands and, of course, she went on to affirm it. What was with the influx of people needing counselling? It felt like the work pile never ended these days.

Helen was decent enough to look sorry, but the paranoid part of his mind wondered if she took some sort of pleasure in adding to his workload. It wouldn't surprise him, as Sterling wasn't really friends with anyone in the counselling offices. Once upon a time, he'd tried to be but, well... that didn't last very long. Outside of small talk, he didn't really care to get close to his co-workers. Some of them being so freaking smiley all the time made it just that much easier to distance himself from them. No one was that happy all the time! Not in this world at least.

"Thanks," He said, not sounding thankful at all. Sterling was certain it was another case with a kid turned adult thanks to crossing the portal. It actually made him feel sympathetic in a way. These kids were robbed of their homes, childhoods, even families. He didn't really understand why it pulled at his heartstrings, but he had to get over it. There was no helping anyone if he got wrapped up in feelings. "Mind adding to the stack?" He asked, pointing a pen at the file pile he had going while he started to read over his next client's file. They weren't due for a while, but he just wanted to look busy. Maybe even get a head start on how to help them find the perfect career.

helen clarice mallory ((Okay but how else would you describe her if you were in his shoes? xD))

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helen clarice mallory
 Posted: Feb 25 2018, 05:02 PM
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Happiness has brought you here!.

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I just want to build you up, build you up 'Til you're good as new And maybe one day, I will get around To fixing myself, too
Helen would rather not add to her colleague’s obviously already hefty stack, just as she suspected Sterling would rather she fling herself out of the window behind him before she placed another report on top of the intimidating pile, but it was his job after all, and hers, and they were no good to anybody if they shirked their responsibilities. Some days Helen wondered why Sterling had bothered going to career counselling when he so clearly detested it, but despite his brusque demeanour, his sarcasm, and distaste for almost every client that walked through his office door, she had to admit he had something of a gift when it came to matchmaking them with their perfect careers. He was far more insightful than he gave himself credit for, far more attuned to the needs and talents of the men and women who came to him in need of a direction. In fact, she rather suspected he cared about them, though she wouldn’t dream of voicing that particular suspicion out loud.

“I don’t imagine it will be a complicated one,” Helen replied brightly, laying the case file neatly on top of the others and perching lightly on the very edge of his desk as she would if she were visiting any other colleague. There were colleagues in the counselling department she was on better terms with - some she would even call friends - but she had known Sterling longer than most of them. He had been pushing her away for as long as she had known him, keeping her and everyone else for that matter at arms length, but Helen had lived a long, long life - much longer than the forty-three years that this human body had apparently born witness to, and she was firmly of the opinion that a life lived alone was not much of a life at all. “She’s a sweet girl. A little shy, so she might require a little gentle coaxing,” she put particular emphasis on the world gentle, but she doubted even Sterling could find anything worthy of objection in the delightful young woman who had reminded her so distinctly of a young water talent fairy that she had, for a moment, found herself breathless with hope that she had stumbled on one of her people at long last. The reminder was a brief blow to her optimism, but Sterling Spiegel was not the sort of man one showed weakness in front of, and the shadow was gone from her face as quickly as it had come. “But I think you’ll find she has a fondness for horticulture.”

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sterling douglas spiegel
 Posted: Feb 26 2018, 02:37 PM
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What wouldst thou know, my Queen?.

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If only you'd have known me before the accident For with that grand collision came a grave consequence Receptors overloaded, they burst and disconnect 'Til there was little feeling please work with what is left
He knew it was coming, he should have tried to stop it but even if he tried looking busy, tried telling her he had stuff to get done, there wasn't stopping friendly little Helen from sticking around. With a slight sigh he set the file he was (sort of) reading down and leaned back in his chair. The look he gave Helen was a mix of annoyance and amusement if that was even possible, but it only lasted a second before he quickly looked away. There were few people that he just couldn't get to leave him alone. He still wasn't sure if he respected their friendly determination, or absolutely despised them for it.

As she made herself at home, perching on the edge of his desk, Sterling kept an eye out for anything that might fall over- though between his mirror, computer and the avalanche of files waiting to happen he was sure nothing was at risk of hitting the floor... still he worried. "Hope for the best, plan for the worst." He commented, reaching for the new file to look it over as she spoke. The girl seemed ok on paper, but that didn't stop Sterling from bristling at Helen's emphasis on the word gentle. There were times he was gentle! Those times just never happened when he was at work. He could be kind if he wanted, he simply didn't let that get in the way of his job. It was better to be honest than sugar-coated.

"Fondness is one thing," Sterling commented, diving into the file unaware of the chink in Helen's armor of happiness and rainbows. "Skill is another... I'll see if any greenhouses are hiring just in case." He added the later part in a tone that he hoped conveyed more exasperation but even Sterling felt that it sounded fake. He found himself rushing to cover it up with another comment, "Anything else to add? Or can we please get back to what we're getting paid to do?"

There was no doubt- okay some doubt but not much, in his mind that Mallory just wanted the best for this girl, for all of her clients. In the four years that he'd known her it was all sunshine, smiles, and success for everyone the counselor ended up seeing in her office down the hall. She just seemed to connect with people so easily. Too easily. Either Helen was just that trusting (which he doubted anyone was) or there was something else going on. He knew for certain he wasn't above using his magic to get the job done. Was Helen? What powers did she bring across the portal? Geez, he was really tumbling down the rabbit hole of paranoia.

helen clarice mallory ((And he sees... not much ^^; ))

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helen clarice mallory
 Posted: Mar 1 2018, 04:22 PM
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Happiness has brought you here!.

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I just want to build you up, build you up 'Til you're good as new And maybe one day, I will get around To fixing myself, too
Entirely aware she was pushing the limits of Sterling’s tenuous patience, Helen smothered an amused smile. She was not entirely unused to dealing with difficult people, as sheltered and blissful as Pixie Hollow had been; her ministers had been a law unto themselves, prone to squabbling amongst themselves at any given moment, and not all of her fairies had embraced the positivity she had worked hard to instill in their community. In fact, Sterling often reminded her of a certain fast-flying fairy. She and Vidia had never been close - Vidia, as hard as she had tried to nudge her into forming the sort of friendships that other fairies enjoyed, had never been close to anyone - but there had been respect there, forged through time and effort and her appreciation of the fast-flying fairy’s formidable talent, the likes of which had remained unrivalled… until Tinker Bell had arrived in Pixie Hollow. Sterling was a harder nut to crack, but Helen was nothing if not determined. And she had made some progress. Some of the coldness had thawed in the years they had been working together, but Helen was still aiming for friendship. If for no other reason than she suspected Sterling needed a friend.

“I’m sorry,” she demurred with an apologetic grin, hopping off the desk but making no move to actually leave. “After five years, you would think I would find it easier to remain objective when it comes to my patients, but I still find it difficult to let go.”

That much was true. Helen still saw some of her patients long after they had been discharged from her care, and still found herself invested in their emotional wellbeing. Rosemary was just one of those patients that had made the transition from patient to friend, but she was no less concerned for her welfare than she had been when she had first walked through her office doors, even if she was no longer her counsellor.



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sterling douglas spiegel
 Posted: Mar 9 2018, 07:22 PM
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What wouldst thou know, my Queen?.

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If only you'd have known me before the accident For with that grand collision came a grave consequence Receptors overloaded, they burst and disconnect 'Til there was little feeling please work with what is left
He felt himself become slightly more at ease when she moved away from his desk. As if to reclaim the space, Sterling pushed his files out of the way and propped his elbows up on the engineered wood. To top it off he sent her a sidelong look as she spoke, though his expression was a curious one. Why did it feel like Helen was always apologizing? Oh, because she was. As he listened to her, he found himself shaking his head and eventually resting his chin on his now folded hands. Obviously, she was going to be sticking around... yay...

Normally at this point in yet another special of Helen Mallory Invades a Co-Worker's Office, Sterling would have just gone back to looking at files and pretending to be too busy to converse. Today, however, he was willing to try new tactics. She obviously wanted something out of him. Maybe he could just get her whatever it was and she'd leave? Was there a magic word- geez, did he have to go there?

"Why," He asked, just desperate to get away from his own thoughts as he was to get her out of his office, "do you even allow yourself to get attached to people? They are paying for a service, they aren't coming in here to make friends." Sterling didn't bother trying to hide his disdain with politeness. Normally he would have tried to keep everything formal, but damn this woman made him so exasperated. Couldn't she just go away? Or just be straightforward with whatever possessed her to keep coming in and hanging around? Four years with this, he should have figured out what her plan was by now. Then again, maybe he was just curious enough to put up with it. There wasn't anyone else trying to pester him in the workplace. Why could he keep others at bay, and not Mallory?

His eyes now glued to her face, searching for any reactions that could give away any information, Sterling spoke up once more. "Patients or not they are still customers at the end of the day. You do your job well, you'd do better if you remained detached." He realized it was a back-handed compliment, but he was just being as honest as he could be. At least, in his opinion, he was just being honest.

helen clarice mallory

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helen clarice mallory
 Posted: Mar 10 2018, 08:25 PM
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Happiness has brought you here!.

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I just want to build you up, build you up 'Til you're good as new And maybe one day, I will get around To fixing myself, too
Her eyebrows almost disappeared into her hairline. Was Sterling Spiegel, master of the monosyllabic, get the hell out of my office, actually engaging her in conversation? It was hardly friendly chit-chat, and she was far too observant not to miss the blatant disdain in his voice, but she didn’t think he had ever managed, or rather bothered, to string so many words together in her presence in all their years working together combined. And was she hallucinating or was there a compliment in there somewhere? It was high praise from the career counsellor, even buried as it was amongst his usual, cynical brand of negativity, and she might have smiled had his ethos not clashed so spectacularly with hers.

Customers, really. Helen knew Sterling well enough to know he was trying to bait her, to get a rise out of her and disturb her usually unflappable composure, but she had learned a long time ago not to rise to the challenge, to meet his cynicism with relentless cheer. Besides, she was a queen, or at least, she had been once, and she had more than a little experience with difficult characters under her belt. Enough to know that often cynicism was a deflection, a defence mechanism to ward off the possibility of pain. But it was difficult not to be disheartened by his attitude, by his casual dismissal of the desperate souls that sought them out as nothing more than clients.

“You can’t possibly believe that,” she replied, her brow furrowing. “The people that come here need a friend. They’ve suffered through incomprehensible horrors, they’ve been torn away from their homes. They’ve lost everyone they ever loved…” Helen knew how that felt all too well, feeling the weight of her own loss bearing down on her, the familiar ache blossoming in her chest, and it was that pain that made it impossible for her to become anything but attached to her patients. She sucked in a breath, the momentary weakness making a chink in her usually impenetrable armour, but by the Second Star this man was infuriating! “They need compassion, not disinterest. They need someone who cares.” She arched one elegant brow. “Surely even you can understand that?”



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sterling douglas spiegel
 Posted: Mar 11 2018, 07:27 PM
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What wouldst thou know, my Queen?.

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If only you'd have known me before the accident For with that grand collision came a grave consequence Receptors overloaded, they burst and disconnect 'Til there was little feeling please work with what is left
Was there a tiny, childish part of him that repeated her words in a mocking tone? Yes, yes there was. Thankfully all Sterling managed was to roll his eyes at her and shake his head. Why would he have said it if he didn't believe it? He wasn't always a good person, but he wasn't a liar. Then again, Sterling wasn't sure if Helen knew that. Or if she was just in denial of what Sterling perceived as the truth.

As she went on, expressing how the people that came to their offices needed friends, compassion, caring, etc. Sterling started to look away. Actually, he turned, swiveling in his chair to face the window behind him. Years ago, he was one of those people she talked about. Once upon a time, Sterling was sitting in a counselors office, dancing around questions, only talking about his present and future, and finally, he just stopped seeing his counselor. He remembered his counselor being friendly, trying to empathize with him. At the time, Sterling was confused about it. Looking back, he wondered if he could have just opted out of counseling because it bothered him to this day that he'd spilled his guts to someone getting paid to find out his secrets and try to advise him. How could anyone relate to being a spirit, forced to watch the world with endless knowledge, endless answers to the many problems of many worlds, and being unable to do so?

He could see the appeal of it though, for those with far less magical backgrounds. He could see the usefulness of connecting to scared people forced into a world they knew nothing of if he reminded himself not everyone was as antisocial as he could be. Fear left people shadows of themselves, left them resorting to instincts. Sterling hadn't been scared though, not back then. He'd been happy to be free- especially considering when the darkness fell upon the castle all those years ago, he had thought death was coming with it. Of course, he understood that not everyone who came through the portal was at the point of welcoming the end. Most were happy, loved, and living their lives to the best of their abilities. Those were the people she was talking about. Those were the people she claimed needed a friend. And yet, he just couldn't agree with that.

He swiveled back around to face her, this time catching the unfathomable Helen Mallory with a look on her face that just seemed far too foreign to be real. Sterling paused at that. Confused, utterly confused. She never looked anything but happy and encouraging. Seeing just a flash of anything else was... unsettling, he decided, even though a tiny part of him was rejoicing because it believed he was finally getting his message through to her. Finally, she was realizing what nearly everyone else had realized, he was to be left alone.

Sterling wasn't sure why he didn't try interrupting her, but he didn't. He even took a breath before he responded to her question. "Sure." Sterling started, though he hesitated for a moment to make it seem as if that was all he was going to say. "In theory, I can understand that these people have lost much. But now, they can start new here." He gave her a pointed look before adding, "Everyone you meet does not need you to be their friend. They just need your guidance for navigating this world." And he was certain she didn't need to become so attached to people for that. He helped plenty of people, and only a few he actually kept in contact with. Very few, and even fewer had actually affected him in any way. Surely Helen could do the same.

helen clarice mallory

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helen clarice mallory
 Posted: Mar 23 2018, 09:01 AM
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Happiness has brought you here!.

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I just want to build you up, build you up 'Til you're good as new And maybe one day, I will get around To fixing myself, too
The longer Sterling spoke, the harder Helen had to fight the sudden, irrational urge to hit her head against the nearest wall in a rare wave of frustration. They were so different, so completely, fundamentally different, and sometimes Helen wondered why she tried as hard as she did to reach him, to break through the sarcastic, icy veneer as if she expected there to be something softer beneath. Perhaps there wasn’t. Perhaps Sterling’s caustic indifference was all there was, and she ought to just give him what he so clearly wanted and leave him to his self-imposed isolation.

Helen wasn’t entirely sure why she was trying so hard to be his friend anyway when the very idea was obviously so abhorrent to him. She had plenty of friends, plenty of colleagues that did more than just merely tolerate her company, not that Sterling could even muster up the enthusiasm for that, and she would lose nothing if she left him to his own devices and kept their relationship strictly professional. But it was not like her to give up, no matter how improbable the odds of success, no matter how hard Sterling railed against her efforts, and her faith in people - in their innate goodness - was too strong to be disregarded, even when pitted against all of Sterling Spiegel’s derisive might.

Besides, deep down she knew why she was so relentless; five years and her fairies were still lost to her. There was nothing she could do for them, but if she could reach Sterling… Well, maybe there was hope after all.

“No. I suppose not everybody does,” she said, feeling none of the cheer she forced into her voice as she drew herself up to her full height. “But some people do, and I have no intention of giving them any less than my best.” It didn’t always mean befriending her patients, but at the very least they deserved all of the warmth and compassion she could give them with their lives in disarray. She suspected she and Sterling would never see eye to eye on that, but maybe they could agree to disagree. “Anyway. I have a pile of case files on my desk almost as big as yours and another appointment coming up, so I suppose I ought to leave you to your work.”

He would be so disappointed, Helen thought dryly, as she made her way to the door.



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sterling douglas spiegel
 Posted: Apr 30 2018, 04:50 PM
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What wouldst thou know, my Queen?.

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If only you'd have known me before the accident For with that grand collision came a grave consequence Receptors overloaded, they burst and disconnect 'Til there was little feeling please work with what is left
“No. I suppose not everybody does,” He let a small smirk find its way to his face. Finally, she understood it seemed. Great, she even seemed happy about it and-

And she went on to flip it in the opposite direction he thought she was going, making the smile disappear as quickly as it had come. He had to respect her strong will though. That was something he didn't always have, and something a lot of his coworkers seemed to lose when it came to socializing with him.

He opened his mouth to speak up, but thankfully she spoke up again about having work to do. Perfect, because he was realizing just how involved in this conversation he'd gotten. This was the most they'd spoken since he started work in the Haven Hill office. Though Sterling wasn't too worried that she would assume it made them friends now. She was finally leaving, just like he wanted after all.

Sterling straightened his tie and sat back in his chair. "That would be best." Without so much as a goodbye or second glance, he made to look at the files on his desk once more. For some strange reason, he wasn't really worried about finding a place for lunch anymore.

helen clarice mallory ((Sorry it's so short, thought this would be best for the short post for the posting bee!))

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